Lately, I've been obsessed with boxes. But not just any boxes. These are boxes that I pay to receive. And I love them.
My first box venture was with Birchbox. I cannot remember how I first learned about it (perhaps from Daily Candy? I really don't know) but the idea of receiving four or five deluxe sized samples of luxury brand beauty products each month for $10 had massive appeal for me. When you join, you are asked to complete a beauty profile so that Birchbox can customize your box for you. Aside from the usual hair color and ethnicity questions, you're also asked to describe why you're signing up, your beauty knowledge level, and how you typically get your beauty intel amongst other questions.
While I've always been happy with my Birchboxes, I can understand why other people would not. The beauty profile seems to be integral as to what you get, but even certain modifications don't
seem to work. Which is unfortunate, because it's a really great idea and concept. In three months some of the products I've received include perfume samples (didn't like them all but what are the odds that I would), a Baublebar bracelet, tea mints, a full size Be Fine lip exfoliator, a salon sample size of Redken's Brilliance Spray, and lip balms or glosses. While most of these have been sample sizes, you can purchase full size products of what's been sent in the boxes and more directly from the Birchbox website, which I've taken full advantage of. And the nice thing is that I've received many discount codes to promote purchasing, which comes in handy because aside from the "drugstore" brands, how often do you get discounts on beauty items?
With the success of my Birchbox, I also ventured over to Eco-Emi. Eco-Emi is a Birchbox for those interested in pursuing a green/organic lifestyle. For $15 a month, you're guaranteed at least five deluxe samples of products to help you achieve your natural lifestyle goal. These products can range anywhere from beauty products to household cleaning solutions to socks. Based on what I've seen on past reviews however, not only is everyone extremely happy with the contents, but nine samples seems to be the appropriate number for Eco-Emi boxes.
Signing up for Eco Emi is easy. You sign up. No profiles to complete, it's just here's my address, here's my payment now send me a box! Everyone gets the same things so it's one of those things where you either like it or you don't. But in my December box, I got socks, vitamin chews (yummy!), a full size lip balm, a full size lip gloss, and a sample of green laundry detergent amongst other things. One difference between Birchbox and Eco-Emi though is that Eco-Emi doesn't sell the full size products on their website. They will however direct you to the company's website and many of the companies include discount codes for future purchases with their sample products. And please excuse the salt shaker and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" in the background of my picture.
And finally, there's White Apricot's Green Grab Bag. Like Eco-Emi, Green Grab Bag, as the name suggests, is a company dedicated to promoting a more natural life. Your $15 a month gets you the same bag as everyone else, provide Truthfully, there's not much difference between Eco-Emi and Green Grab Bag in my opinion other than the samples themselves. Eco-Emi's boxes are more varied in it's contents whereas the Green Grab Bag is more beauty oriented. And like Eco-Emi, Green Grab Bag doesn't sell products directly on their website but there are discounts offered for future purchases of the product samples found in your bag.
All three companies have the following traits they share:
- Shipped via USPS
- Monthly subscription is charged to your credit card, though both Eco-Emi and Green Grab Bag are both PayPal programs and so it's quite possible to have the charges taken directly from your bank account
- Beautifully packaged. When you receive your package, you feel like it's a present to yourself.
- Gift subscriptions available.
Obviously at $40 a month, receiving all three boxes may not be in your budget. Honestly, once 2012 hits and I take a closer look at my financial goals and monetary restrictions, I'm not sure it'll be in MY budget. But for now, I'll just let them keep coming.