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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ultimate Battle of the Subscription Services

Each month I have a Battle of the Subscription Services between Birchbox and Ipsy, but over the past two years, I've actually been trying quite a few others to see what makes each one so different than the next. After much trial and error, I'm finally here to give you a list that lays out the features and highlights of each one so that you can make the best choice for you when wading through the populous sea of subscriptions.

Birchbox: For $10 a month, you receive 5-6 deluxe-sized samples based on your beauty profile (although I'm not sure how closely they adhere to it). For every product from your box that you review, you receive 10 points in the Birchbox store. For every 100 points you accrue, you receive $10 to spend on full sized products in the Birchbox store. They also have a robust social media community where you are given the opportunity to interact with Birchbox staffers and participate in contests. This service is for the true beauty sampler. If you want a mix of travel sized hair, skin, scent, nail, and makeup products each month, Birchbox is for you!

Ipsy:  For $10 a month, you receive 4-5 products that vary from deluxe sample sizes to full sizes from both new and well-known brands and consistently add up to a value many times the cost of the service. Each month you get exclusive discount codes for each of the brands in your bag. Ipsy has an online community where you can create looks surrounding no they themes for a chance to win prizes from featured brands. They tend to stick more closely to full-size color cosmetics and fragrances so this service would be for the subscriber that wants to switch up their makeup routine.

Beauty Box 5: For $12 a month, Beauty Box 5 offers a mix of sample and full sized products from lesser known brands like MICA, blinc, and Makeup Geek. The mix includes both cosmetics and skin care, amd you receive discounts for featured brands each month. While every subscriber receives the same products, color selection will vary according to a beauty profile you fill out upon subscribing. This is a good service for someone looking for a mix of full sized and samples sized products from lesser-known brands (that still have great quality)! 

Little Black Bag: For a mix of accessories, jewelry, shoes, and beauty, look to Little Black Bag for  monthly dose of it all. They recently revamped their membership program so that it's a little different than the video below describes, but it retained many of the same characteristics. Each month, you get to pick one of three items that go in your bag - the price for your bag now varies depending on the item you pick whereas before all of them were $49.95. Once you choose the item to purchase or "open" your bag, you will get to see the rest of the products inside. Once opened, you can trade items you don't want for others you are more interested in with other members on the site. You have until the 5th of each month to skip your bag without getting charged. If you haven't skipped by the 5th, you will receive a merchandise credit of $9.95 to spend on your next bag. The selection of beauty products in this service is primarily hair care so this would be a great service for fashion and hair lovers!

Le Tote: A newer subscription service to the market, Le Tote is all about the fashion. Each month you get 3 clothing items and 2 accessories hand picked to fit your style for $49 a month. Fill out your style profile and provide your measurements to get the right clothing for you and send it all back in a pre-paid box whenever you want. While this is the one service out of all those in the post that I haven't tried, it's the only affordable one I've found that provides multiple articles of both clothing and accessories. When it comes down to it, each item will only cost $10 to use for as long as you would like.

Blush.com: For $24.95 a month, you can receive a box that promises at least over $100 in makeup, hair, and skincare products curated from the experts at Blush.com. While the price tag is just over double what you might pay for Birchbox or Ipsy, you are virtually guaranteed a few full-sized product as well as a few sample-sized, so it ends up being worth well over what you pay. Those that like a great value, love mystery, and enjoy a mix of hair and skin care, nail products, and cosmetics will like this service!

Sample Society: A collaboration between Allure Magazine and BeautyBar.com, Sample Society promises 5 deluxe-sized hair, skin, and makeup products each month from higher-end brands that services like Ipsy or Birchbox typically include. This $15 box also includes a $15 gift card to use on $50 purchases that contain products from brands included in that month's box as well as a booklet filled with tips and tricks from the editors of Allure. This is great for those that prefer sample sizes from high-end brands like By Terry, Dermalogica, and Diptyque and know they will get some use out of the monthly gift card.

RocksBox: Get three pieces of jewelry based on your style profile delivered to your doorstep each month for $19.99. Rocksbox lets you keep each piece for 60 days after you receive them and provides prepaid postage to send them back. If you like any of the pieces you received that month, you can purchase them for a lowered membership price. If you didn't like what you received, you can provide feedback so that your selection gets better each month! Post a picture of your swag on social media (#rocksbox) to get a $5 purchase credit or refer a friend that makes a purchase to earn $25! Check out my Rocksbox review!