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Best Beauty Subscription Boxes: Makeup, Skin Care, and More Delivered to Your Door

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Updated December 20, 2023

If you’re constantly running out of shampoo, shaving with dull razors, or are overwhelmed by all the options for hair and makeup products out there, you might benefit from checking out a beauty subscription box. Beauty subscriptions take the legwork out of keeping your cosmetics stocked, offering the opportunity to test out night creams, eyeshadow palettes, perfumes, and more from brands you love and brands you’ve never heard of before committing. The best part? Beauty subscription boxes are delivered directly to your home on a regular basis, usually automatically, which is a time-saver. With a beauty subscription, by the time that shampoo bottle is almost empty, a new one is on your doorstep.

Beauty boxes are more than just convenient, though. They are also a budget-friendly way to indulge in self-care, and they make a fun gift for friends or family. Many are filled with products that adhere to a theme or are chosen for the season, creating a more “curated” experience. Some brands give you a heads-up on what to expect in the box, while others make it a surprise. Some services give you the chance to choose what you receive. Many beauty subscription services let you try sample sizes to discover your new favorites, but others will deliver full size bottles — usually monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly — so you’re always covered. There’s a subscription box for practically every beauty need, and many services take time to customize your products.

How to choose the right beauty subscription box

If you have considered signing up for a beauty box, you’ve probably seen the seemingly infinite amount of subscriptions out there. Some subscriptions cater to a specific niche; others are more general. One box might be skin care-heavy while another is more focused on makeup. Certain services will even tailor their product picks to your individual needs. So instead of wondering which beauty subscription box is best in general, identify which is best for you. Here are some factors to consider:

Budget

Beauty subscription boxes run the gamut in price — some can be as low as $10 per month, while high-end boxes can run over $100 per box. Cost matters, but so does value. Compare the cost of the subscription box itself to the entire value of the goodies inside. Are you getting a decent bang for your buck or are you breaking even?

Frequency of delivery

How often can you expect a new beauty subscription box? That depends on the service itself and which plan you sign up for. Boxes most commonly arrive monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly. There are also subscription services, such as shaving subscription boxes, that send you shipments according to your own grooming behaviors.

Types of beauty products

Here’s where the tailor-made aspect of beauty subscription boxes comes into play. Many services include a variety of makeup, skin care, hair care, nail care, body care, and fragrance products, which are best for subscribers looking to stock up on a mix of cosmetics. But there are also specialty subscriptions that focus exclusively on one category (such as fragrances) or one popular niche (like clean beauty).

Customization

It can pay to ask yourself why you’re signing up for a beauty subscription box. Do you want to discover new brands and products you’re not even sure you need just yet or would you prefer to have some control over what you’re sent? If you’re more discerning when it comes to products, you might prefer a service that takes your preferences into consideration or lets you hand-pick a few products per box.

Sample-size vs. Full-size products

Beauty subscription services include either all sample sizes, all full sizes, or a combination of both. So first, before committing to a subscription, determine what your goal is. If it’s to test out different products all the time, sample-size products (or a mix) may suit your needs better. If it’s to replenish your supply with a handful of products, or a specific category of product, full-size products will offer more value. Bear in mind that many services let you order full-size versions of any samples inside the box, often at a discount.

Our Top Beauty Subscription Box Picks

We’ve waded through an array of options to select the best boxes out there based on what you’re looking for.

Best Beauty Subscription Box for Variety: Glossybox

Glossybox

If you want a beauty subscription box that hits all the right notes, it’s Glossybox. Each box has a theme and contains five products representing any or all of the key categories: makeup, skin care, hair care, nails, and fragrance.

  • What’s inside: A mix of sample-size and full-size beauty products from hundreds of different brands, both major players like Sunday Riley and Benefit and lesser-known names like Eslor and Koh Gen Do. All products are scouted and tested by Glossybox’s international team of experts. The service will sometimes throw in accessories like makeup brushes or single-use products like sheet masks.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $18 a month
  • Value: At least $75 per box
  • Other things to consider: Glossybox doesn’t offer the option to handpick the products you’re sent. Instead, you can take a quiz about your beauty preferences, and the company takes your results into consideration when stocking your box of surprises. Glossybox offers limited edition boxes as well as gift subscriptions, and every shipment comes in the company’s reusable pink box. If you love something in your subscription box, you can usually buy it through Glossybox at a discount.
Best Beauty Subscription Box for Variety

Best Beauty Subscription Box for Variety

Best beauty subscription for trying new brands: Birchbox

Birchbox

The first of its kind when launched back in 2010, Birchbox is still a fantastic beauty box when you compare price to value, as long as you’re fine with receiving sample sizes only. It’s the go-to subscription for discovering new, often high-end brands and receiving a vast array of product picks tailored to you. Birchbox tends to skew more towards hair care and skin care products.

  • What’s inside: Each box contains six products including makeup, skin care, hair care, nail care, and fragrances from about 500 big brands like Lancome, MAC, and Stila. You can opt for a fully curated box or a box that’s mostly curated with one item chosen by you.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $13 a month
  • Value: About $40 a box
  • Other things to consider: Birchbox is interested in curating a box that suits you to a T. To that end, they’ll quiz you on your physical attributes, style, makeup habits, product preferences, and more to get it just right. You can tweak your preferences along the way, ensuring everything in the box — from mascara to moisturizer — is up your alley. Even though they emphasize sample sizes, Birchbox does sell full-size versions of any samples you want to invest in, and even offers a review-based points system for discounts.
Best beauty subscription for trying new brands

Best beauty subscription for trying new brands

Best value beauty subscription: Allure Beauty Box

Allure Beauty Box

The beauty editors of Allure magazine curate the products included in the Allure Beauty Box, which is packed with a selection of makeup, skin care, hair care, and more. The value is particularly noteworthy: In each $25 subscription box, you’ll get products worth up to $242. Allure Beauty Box offers discounts for new subscribers and savings if you subscribe in bundles, too.

  • What’s inside: Seven products in total—three sample size, four full-size—chosen by Allure’s beauty editors. Expect brands like Fenty, Charlotte Tilbury, and L’Occitane. You can also preview what’s inside before you receive it.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $25 a month ($10 for the first box); $60 billed quarterly ($45 for your first three boxes; $213 for your first full year up front (that’s a rate of $17.75 a month; going forward you’ll be billed yearly at a rate of $19 a month)
  • Value: $242 a box
  • Other things to consider: Sometimes you can save money on your first Allure Beauty Box with a provided coupon code. Membership also lets you buy beauty products directly from Allure’s website at discounts of up to 80% off retail, so it’s a great investment.
Best value beauty subscription: Allure Beauty Box

Best value beauty subscription: Allure Beauty Box

Best nail beauty subscription:Olive and June - The Mani System

Olive and June - The Mani System

This nail subscription box just might wean you off of regular salon visits. Olive and June’s The Mani System box comes with either one or six bottles of non-toxic nail polish (depending on your subscription) that’s as long-lasting as gel polish, plus all the tools you need for a perfect DIY manicure. The cost is pretty high, but it provides a decent value considering everything you get.

  • What’s inside: One to six bottles of nail polish, cuticle serum, a cleanup brush, polish remover pot, nail clipper, nail buffer, nail file, and top coat inside of a limited-edition box.
  • Frequency: A la carte
  • Cost: $55 for a one-polish box; $85 for a two-polish box; or $40 a year for a membership that gets you free shipping, 10% off everything on-site, and free gifts.
  • Value: Up to $109 a box
  • Other things to consider: While it does save you money compared to regular salon visits, an Olive and June subscription is probably best for people who already do their own nails at home, considering that you’ll be DIYing all the clipping, nipping, filing, and painting.
Best nail beauty subscription:Olive and June - The Mani System

Best nail beauty subscription:Olive and June - The Mani System

Best skin care beauty subscription: Dermstore BeautyFIX

Dermstore BeautyFIX

If you’re obsessed with skin care, then you’re probably already familiar with Dermstore, the dermatologist-founded retail site that specializes in products derms love most at prices consumers love. Their skin care subscription box, BeautyFIX, focuses primarily on skin care, but also includes makeup and hair care items. You can’t beat the value: Each BeautyFIX box is worth four times the amount of what you pay, and it’s packed with the most reputable brands you can find, from Skinceuticals to Skinmedica.

  • What’s inside: At least five beauty products, mostly skin care, in a mix of sample sizes and full sizes. If you want to buy full-size versions of your samples, you’re entitled to subscriber savings.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $24.95 a month (and shipping is free after your first box)
  • Value: At least $100 a box
  • Other things to consider: This is one of the best beauty subscription services available, but if makeup is important to you, you might have to sign up for a second subscription service.
Best skin care beauty subscription: Dermstore BeautyFIX

Best skin care beauty subscription: Dermstore BeautyFIX

Best hair care beauty subscription: Prose

Prose

With a Prose hair care subscription, you benefit from an online consultation where Prose learns everything about your scalp, hair, lifestyle, environment and so on to custom-make formulas just for you.

  • What’s inside: Your Prose subscription is a la carte and offers your choice of pre-shampoo masks, shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, dry shampoo, styling gel, root product, curl cream, and leave-in conditioner.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: Depends on what you receive, but starts at $23.80 per product
  • Other things to consider: Since this is a more customized beauty subscription box, the Prose company relies on your feedback to finetune its custom formulas for you. For the best experience, remember to check in periodically and provide that feedback.
Best hair care beauty subscription: Prose

Best hair care beauty subscription: Prose

Best fragrance beauty subscription: Scentbox

Scentbox

The fragrance subscription box category is a saturated market, but two stand out, and Scentbox is one of them. It’s almost identical to its main competitor, Scentbird, but it’s slightly more affordable and membership tiers are more customizable, letting you choose how many scents you want to test per month, and offering a storefront to buy perfumes or colognes that you love.

  • What’s inside: One eight milliliter bottle of cologne or perfume per month (about 120 sprays) from one of 850 different designer brands including Versace, Burberry, and Diesel. You can upgrade to higher tiers to receive two or more bottles per month. They also throw in an atomizer.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $9.72 to start; $16.95 a month thereafter, for the basic tier
  • Value: Varies depending on fragrance.
  • Other things to consider: As a member, you can take advantage of Scentbox’s rewards program, which gives you cash back on fragrance purchases made directly through their site. You’re also eligible for up to five exchanges per year, if you happen to get fragrances you don’t like.
Best fragrance beauty subscription: Scentbox

Best fragrance beauty subscription: Scentbox

Best dermatologist beauty subscription box: Dermy Doc Box

Dermy Doc Box

The next best thing to seeing your dermatologist each season is signing up for Dermy Doc Box, a four-times-a-year skincare subscription box service curated by the Instagram-famous @dermy_doctor, a.k.a. board-certified dermatologist Dr. Fatima Fahs. Each box contains five of Dr. Fahs’ hand-picked products by brands like La Roche-Posay, Elta MD, and Purlisse. You also get application tips plus discount codes in each box.

  • What’s inside: Five skincare products — everything from creams and serums to masks balms — and the occasional hair care product. You can see Dermy Doc Box’s past boxes for yourself — the products and retail values — on their site.
  • Frequency: Every three months.
  • Cost: $55 every three months (you can make a one-time purchase at $65 a box)
  • Value: Up to $200 a box
  • Other things to consider: Dermy Doc boxes are seasonal, so you’ll get picks tailored to the weather, which can have a huge effect on skin. Dr. Fahs also curates specialty boxes for holidays like Mother’s Day and has even curated a box just for teens.
Best dermatologist beauty subscription box: Dermy Doc Box

Best dermatologist beauty subscription box: Dermy Doc Box

Best Korean beauty subscription box: BomiBox

BomiBox

Korean beauty, or K-beauty, is a hot topic among skin care lovers especially. South Korean beauty experts known for its impeccable skincare practices, using gentle, natural, effective products. BomiBox subscription boxes offer the best overall assortment of K-beauty products, unlike other popular K-beauty boxes that focus mainly on sheet masks. Bomibox also offers good value.

  • What’s inside: Eight full size and sample size Korean beauty products, curated by Korean skincare experts. You can expect a mix of bestsellers and new skincare products, plus some makeup and beauty tools. You can view past boxes on their site.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $44.99 a month
  • Value: $80 a box
  • Other things to consider: Because K-beauty is all about clean ingredients, you won’t find heavy-hitter ingredients like retinol in these boxes, but you’ll get powerful, plant-based substitutes. Every product in a Bomibox is imported from Korea and guaranteed authentic.
Best Korean beauty subscription box: BomiBox

Best Korean beauty subscription box: BomiBox

Best shaving subscription box for men: Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club

There are lots of shaving subscription boxes out there, but this one is customizable and affordable with good value, which sets it apart. Dollar Shave Club says its products are unisex, but it seems to be marketed as a male-first subscription. The company has you answer a few questions about your shaving habits and skin type, and they’ll customize your order accordingly. They let you choose between 2-, 4- or 6-blade cartridges, too, so it’s a pretty customized service.

  • What’s inside: A starter kit includes one handle, two cartridges (you choose), and shave butter. You can pay for add-ons grooming products like post-shave dew and deodorant, and even include those in your recurring shipment.
  • Frequency: Customizable based on your shaving habits
  • Cost: $5 for a starter kit; $20 per two cartridge replacements after that.
Best shaving subscription box for men: Dollar Shave Club

Best shaving subscription box for men: Dollar Shave Club

Best shaving subscription box for women: Billie

Billie shaving subscription box

Billie markets itself as a razor subscription for women, and then goes on to make you feel pampered during registration by letting you pick your razor colors and quizzing you about your shaving habits. It’s affordable, provides value, and products are clean and sustainable.

  • What’s inside: The razor kit (their starter kit) includes a handle, magnetic holder, and two five-blade razor refills. You’ll get four refill blades going forward at the frequency you need.
  • Frequency: Customizable based on your shaving habits
  • Cost: $10 to start; $10 per four refill blades after that
  • Other things to consider: Shaving subscription boxes don’t necessarily offer the auto-pilot process that other beauty boxes, too. Because they’re delivered based on your personal grooming habits, you have to be on top of maintaining their delivery frequency, otherwise you may end up running out early or being overstocked.
Best shaving subscription box for women: Billie

Best shaving subscription box for women: Billie

Best customizable beauty subscription: Boxycharm

This beauty subscription box—which recently merged with popular subscription service Ipsy—skews a bit pricey, but it has a high value to match. Boxycharm offers three subscription tiers and fills them with full-size products only, primarily makeup, all tailored to your needs and preferences.

  • What’s inside: The standard subscription includes five products from premium brands like Yves Saint Laurent, NARS and Tarte, but you can upgrade to a premium subscription and get up to seven. In addition to beauty products, Boxycharm subscription boxes might contain high-value extras like teeth whitening kits and hair brushes.
  • How it’s customized: Upon signing up, you’re given a quiz that lets Boxycharm create a beauty profile for you based on your skin and eye color, which products you use and how often, and which brands you’re most interested in, and they use your answers to inform their product choices. (You are able to adjust your beauty profile at any time.) They also let you pick three products per box yourself.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $28 a month (plus $58 a quarter if you upgrade to Icon Box)
  • Value: At least $200 a box
  • Other things to consider: You have the option to upgrade to an Icon Box and have your regular BoxyCharm box replaced four times a year with a premium box filled with eight high-end, full-sized products curated by an expert—and you can still choose three of them yourself.
Best customizable beauty subscription: Boxycharm

Best customizable beauty subscription: Boxycharm

Best makeup beauty subscription: Tribe Beauty Box

With so many generalized beauty subscription boxes out there, it’s refreshing to find one that’s focused almost exclusively on makeup. Tribe prides itself on including products exclusively by female-owned brands in all of its boxes, helping makeup lovers learn all about new and indie brands they might not find at their favorite stores.

  • What’s inside: Expect five full-sized products per box. That includes all the cosmetics you can think of from foundation to lip gloss.
  • Frequency: Bi-monthly
  • Cost: $39.99 bi-monthly; $113.97 for half a year; $215.94 for a full year
  • Value: About $120 a box
  • Other things to consider: The one possible drawback to consider here is value. Although your $40 subscription fee is spread over two months for this bimonthly box, you’re still getting just five products. That said, they’re full-sized and will likely last you until your next box arrives, so this one is a quality over quantity option.
Best makeup beauty subscription: Tribe Beauty Box

Best makeup beauty subscription: Tribe Beauty Box

Best clean beauty subscription: Petit Vour Vegan Beauty Box

Clean beauty—which typically means vegan, nontoxic, and cruelty-free products, sometimes in sustainable packaging—is more popular than ever, and Petit Vour is the subscription box that tops them all. That’s because in addition to the integrity of their products, they have an online store where you can buy anything from your subscription box directly if you love it. The brand offers two membership tiers, and both are a great bang for your buck.

  • What’s inside: Four to seven clean beauty products — makeup, skincare, hair care and body products in both sample and full sizes — depending on your subscription. Review your products to earn points that grant you discounts on future Petit Vour purchases.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Cost: $18 per month for the original box (four products); $25 per month for the PV Plus box (five to seven products) after a 30-day free trial
  • Value: At least $50 and at least $100, respectively
  • Other things to consider: Petit Vour offers free shipping for all of its beauty boxes, and they have a rewards system for points that can be applied to purchases made on their site. Because this is a specialty box, you probably won’t get many, if any, mainstream brands you recognize.
Best clean beauty subscription: Petit Vour Vegan Beauty Box

Best clean beauty subscription: Petit Vour Vegan Beauty Box

How we chose the best beauty subscription boxes

For each subscription box, we analyzed what the brand offered in terms of products (their uses, brands, and formulations), product mix, and frequency of delivery. We also also took into consideration the retail value of what’s generally included in each subscription box and compared it to the cost of each box to determine value. Other factors included customization options, curation by beauty industry experts, and membership tiers. By fact-checking, personally testing products, and scouring hundreds of reviews, we selected our top picks from all of the subscription services on our radar. Our comprehensive list covers what we determine to be the best of what beauty subscription box services have to offer for various needs, interests, and budgets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are beauty subscription boxes?

Beauty subscription boxes are packages filled with beauty products that are mailed to your home when you sign up for a beauty subscription service. These services often rely on beauty industry experts to curate subscription boxes with makeup, skincare, hair care, and other beauty products, often from third-party manufacturers, to satisfy a general interest—like overall beauty—or a niche concern, like skincare- or fragrance-only. Beauty subscription boxes are typically delivered automatically on a regular basis (monthly, bimonthly, and quarterly are common frequencies) when you have an active paid subscription.

Are beauty subscription boxes worth the money?

This is up to the savvy consumer to decide. Each beauty subscription box has a value — the total retail value of the products inside—and beauty subscription services will often advertise the average value of each box. In order to determine if a beauty subscription box is worth the money, it’s useful to compare the box’s general value to its cost; i.e. how much you pay per box via your membership.

What kind of products can I expect to receive in a beauty subscription box?

The products included in a beauty subscription box depend on the service itself, your membership tier, and, sometimes, your own selections. First, choose a service that suits your needs; many subscription services offer a mix of beauty product categories, and others are more specific. Then determine whether the products offered by that service come in sample size, full size, or a combination of both. Finally, compare the service’s membership tiers to see what kinds of products, and how many, are included in each tier. Some beauty subscription services pick all the products for you; others allow you some control over picking the products yourself.

Are beauty subscription boxes suitable for men?

It’s safe to say the lion’s share of beauty subscription services are marketed to women—although some are intended for men—but most beauty products are gender-neutral by nature, and subscriptions are available to all.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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