On beauty subscription boxes, and control issues: Birchbox UK September

I've never been particularly attracted to beauty subscription boxes. I can see the appeal -- part of the reason I even started this blog was because I like trying new things, and I figured I would document the process; my beauty "journey", for want of a better word. But I've always been a bit of a control freak when it comes to choosing those new beauty products, and this, coupled with the fact that I'm something of a brand snob, meant that I never succumbed to the temptation of the subscription services in New Zealand. Besides, I'd been trying to de-stash and not hoard so many products, and the beauty box subscriptions seem like a recipe for accumulating piles of samples that I would never use up.

There are a few more options here in the UK, though. In addition to stalwarts like Birchbox and Glossybox, there are companies that cater to more niche or high end tastes. I've also had a look at Memebox -- they ship worldwide, and I know a few addicts from Beauty Review who can't stop raving about these.

Birchbox UK September.JPG

I was totally suckered in to the September Birchbox. They ran a promo which included a beautyblender (plus their solid cleanser), something I'd been wanting to try out against my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (previously mentioned here). 

Not pictured: the Urban Fruit pack of Perfect Pineapple, because I ate it.

Not pictured: the Urban Fruit pack of Perfect Pineapple, because I ate it.

My September box cost £10 (plus a free shipping offer, usually £2.95) included:

  • Agave Healing Oil Treatment (sample size)
  • ModelCo Lip Lacquer in Morocco (sample size)
  • Benefit It's Potent Eye Cream (sample size)
  • Premae Mild Dermabrasion Face & Body Scrub (sample size)
  • beautyblender and their Solid Cleanser
  • Urban Fruit Perfect Pineapple (one pack; sells in a pack of 6)
  • A couple of "lifestyle" items -- a weird drawstring bag that I guess you could put a snack in, and a photo holder clip.

This seems to be picked from a selection of products, which I suppose is curated against your beauty profile and preferences. There is a theme for each month; September's was Happy Days which prompted customers to look "back at the happiest days of our lives" -- something about the season of going back to school, which is... a bit odd.

I'll be honest: I had an idea of what was coming in the box, and the only reason I wanted it in the first place was the beautyblender -- something that retails for £26! (Which is completely ridiculous, by the way. Review and comparison with the RT sponge to come.) I'll admit that the possibility of getting Benefit, Jane Iredale, or Korres products was appealing as well, but I'm under no illusions as to the superiority of these brands compared to others. It was more about the novelty factor for me.

None of the products I received particularly wowed me, so I won't bother reviewing them -- I just thought I'd write this post for informational purposes. It was worth it for the beautyblender, but I would not have been happy paying £10 plus postage for the remaining products. I would rather use that £10 on something that I know I'll like, or put it towards a higher priced item. I actually cancelled the subscription, but not before I was charged for the October box, because I am an idiot.

(I'm actually pretty happy with the October box! Just not enough to want to resubscribe. If you're interested, they are yet again offering a beautyblender this month. Is this going to happen every month?)

What's your take on beauty subscription boxes? Are you a control freak like me? I've also got a Latest In Beauty Caudalie sample box in addition to the October Birchbox to review, so watch out for those if you're interested. 

Want to sign up to Birchbox? Use my link and get £5 of Birchbox points to spend in their shop as well. Note: this gives me referral points.