Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beauty Boxes: LustHaveIt & ILoveThisBox

You may have seen and heard over the past few month a few beauty box houses popping up in the Australian market, all wanting to emulate the success of Birch Box in the US and Glossy Box in the UK.

For those of you who aren’t familiar,  these beauty box services are a subscription based sampling service that promises to deliver a surprise box of newly launched beauty products right to your door-step for you to play with and test out. Most of the items sent are sample/travel sized with some full-sized items thrown in.

The first to come into the local scene was Lusthaveit, and then BellaBox and Glossy Box AU (formerly known as Beauty Box). Last month another beauty box service - ILoveThisBox has joined the growing beauty box service market.

In Australia, this service will set you back A$14.95 a month and you can cancel the subscription at any time. The various services differ in their brand partnering and it’s best to go to their website directly to see latest brand partnering up with them as they are always signing up new brands and companies.

To date, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two boxes from two separate services. The first was one given to all the beauty bloggers at the September ABBW event received an exclusive LustHaveIt and more recently, I was provided the very first ILoveThisBox.

From observing what's been provided by these services over the past few month and what I've received in my two boxes, I thought I'd mention a few strengths and weaknesses I see with this service offering.

  • You get to try out the newest products that you would otherwise not consider or even know about.
  • You're getting a big surprise every month because you’ll have no idea what you are getting in your beauty box. 
  • If you live out of town and away from stores with a good selection of beauty products then you don't even have to get out of your PJs or get into the car and you'll still be able to receive your monthly beauty fix. 
  • Is relatively cheap for a great range of products and great value for money when full size products are included into the box.
  • No choice in products sent. Generic products sent means no tailoring to to your skin or preferences (wave good bye to a matching foundation shade) so if you are the sensitive skin type or just don’t like certain products (eg. SLS shampoos break you out or you hate brown eyeshadows) then bad luck. On the plus side, your friends will love you more and happily take these items off your hands.
  • For alot of these samples provided, if you go and visit to the counters and ask the lovely sales assistants nicely, you'll probably be able to get a free sample. But this will cost you time and effort to walk around collecting samples and is not mine or everyone's cup of tea (my time is far too precious!).
  • If you don’t like surprises, you might not like the idea of buying a box of random beauty items every month.
 Now that's off my chest, let’s take a look at the offerings I received.

I must stress that this box of items is not the exact products received by subscribers in the first or second box (although it included some items from those boxes) but instead, a representation of the brands and product variety you would get your this beauty box subscription.

In the ABBW Beauty Bloggers exclusive LustHaveIt box:
  • Mirenesse Secret Weapon Mascara – full size. This alone retails for more than the subscription cost so you’re already making a great saving!
  • I Love My muff – feminine freshing up wipes sample for your *ahem* downstairs area. I haven’t used this but can see it being handy if you are travelling/playing sports and need freshen up afterwards without going for a shower.
  • OPI - Touring America Collection in "On Collins Ave"- full size . A beautiful bright coral pink shade, this is perfect for Summer.
  • Kerastase Exilir Ultime  - this tiny sample would probably not be enough for my head or at most single use only. Thankfully I have a full size bottle of this product so don’t have to make judgement on whether it’s any good with this teeny tweeny sample.
  • Laura Mercier Foundation primer - sample size. This light and easily absorbed primer will make sure your makeup goes on smoother and stays in place for longer.
  • Bioeffect EGF (epidermal growth factor) Serum – sample size. An amazing new product that warrants a whole post on its own and I’ll write about that another day. Suffice to say, I’m glad to receive another sample of this miracle-like product.
  • Dermalogica hydrating mask –sample size. Great for stressed and dry skin, I’ve yet to use the product so can’t elaborate more.
  • Pure Fuji Cocunut milk shower gel –sample size.  It smells delicious already and can see this being a handy travel item.
  • Nougat Rejuvenating hand polish – travel size. This great hand product moisturizes and exfoliate at the same time to give smooth supple skin. I definitely like the sound of that.
This special edition LusthaveIt box is certainly impressive. I believe the standard version contains 5-6 samples instead of the 9 seen above. I like the brands being offered here and if it contains as many and such great variety of products in its monthly boxes, I’d definitely to sign up for the service.

ILoveThisBox decided to send me their very first box that went out to their subscribers last month (no special treatment for being a blogger here!). Interestingly, I prefer this rather than a ‘special edition’ box as it gave a truer representation of what to expect each month and allowed me to evaluate whether the product offerings were items I’d like and want to subscribe to.

These are the contents of the box - 3 full sized and 5 sample items:
  • POD liquid tan face tanner serum – full size. I’m not much of a tanner so personally won’t use this but I do know of a few people who’d love to try this out so will be passing the love along.
  • NVEY Eco’s eyeshadow in Taupe #172 – a versatile colour, this sample pan will be added to my growing collection of neutral colours.
  • Essie French Affair Collection – mini size. I love my pale pink shade "French Affair" and can see it on my digits during the working week.
  • Sunsilk Keratinology shampoo & conditioner – full size. I haven’t used the products yet but am intrigued with the product description promising amazing hair through the use of micro keratin technology.
  • Caudalie 3 facial skincare products  - sample sizes. These 3ml size products will be able to give you a good feel of the texture and to try it out for any reactions but personally tiny samples are a pet peeve of mine as I struggle to squeeze more than 50% of the products out of these tiny tubes and have to cut it up to use the contents inside.
  • 10% off promo card for jewellery purchase from Magnolia Jewellery.
As there are full size products in the box, you are easily getting twice or 3 times your money’s worth in the service fee you paid. If ILoveThisBox continues to include a few full size items every month, it's definitely great value for money. 

So if you are keen to try out new products each month, don’t have sensitive or reactive skin and don't mind offloading unsuitable products to loving friends and families, these beauty box subscriptions are worth checking out.

For me, the novelty of receiving a surprise package wears off quickly after a few months and I’ll be left wondering what to do with all these small samples (already an occupational hazard of being a beauty blogger with so many products to trial) that will just accumulate unloved and untouched. I rather save up the money and pick up something I really, really love. But I know that I'd probably miss out on the next cult product in the near future (hello Bio Effect!) when it gets included in one of these boxes and I’d be kicking myself then. Oh well - you can't win them all.

Have you subscribed to a beauty box service? Which one would you choose?


  1. So glad you posted this, I'm crazy about this stuff! I am loving your blog. Thanks for sharing us.
    Bio Oil

  2. I'm subscribed to lust have it & Glossybox (since their beauty-box days). So far, I'm not complaining but if I'm not wowed soon, I'll most likely unsub.

  3. I subscribed to BeautyBox for a month before I cancelled after reading horror stories about it. Next it was Bellabox. No problems with them so far. To be honest, I only subscribed for "research" purposes and will cancel after 3 months :P

  4. Hey Rin, I think these beauty box service will have their good and off months like we all do. The question is whether you are willing to go accept the good with the bad. For a small price I don't think it's a bad service and great for those that don't have shops close by them.

    Tine - I know I buy stuff for 'research' all the time. It's the only way for me to justify spending $80 a pop on god knows what haha.


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