You can’t go wrong with a beauty subscription box. From razor refills to luxe skincare, meet the monthly heroes bringing joy to your letterbox.
It’s finally here. The box that promises a bespoke edit of products catering to all your beauty needs, delivered to your door. But underneath the pastel-coloured tissue paper lies an anticlimactic mix. Single-use sachets that fail to excite, a chalky eyeshadow and a mini shampoo don’t quite add up to the £45 value of something which is meant to be one of the best beauty boxes around. And for those with darker skin or textured hair? Maybe one in five products is suitable – if you’re lucky. Sound familiar?
Since subscription beauty boxes first appeared almost eight years ago, they have excited and disappointed in equal measure. Once the novelty of receiving fun post wears off, we need to be left with something a lot more satisfying. And this is where the new breed of subscription boxes comes in.
Function prevails over one-size-fits-all thanks to services that deliver practical items such as tampons, razors and toothbrushes. That’s not all: these new boxes are more inclusive than ever. There are several specialising in natural and textured hair. If, like the Stylist beauty desk, all you actually want is a box of nice skincare products for no real reason, there’s a box for that, too.
Yes, subscription boxes are functional and thoughtful – they make the best gift subscriptions, especially as they might not be something someone would treat themselves to. Maybe you or someone you love is struggling to find much-needed self-care time – then try a wellness subscription box that houses little monthly pick-me-ups to help you schedule in some well-deserved me-time.
It’s fair to say we’re spoilt for choice, so read on to find out which ones are top of Stylist’s list. Go forth and treat yourself – we promise you won’t be disappointed.
The best beauty subscription boxes:
Now that we’re spending more time at home, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with different products. That’s where Curls Club comes in. Created for people with curly hair, this clever box contains a line-up of carefully-selected items that will hydrate, define and protect your curls.
There are two main services available. First, there’s a limited-edition bi-monthly subscription that contains a curated edit by a different expert. Each box is packed with a full hair wash routine that has been tried and tested by industry experts, meaning you can see how well they really work. While the products are worth between £70-80, the box costs £45.
Or, you can opt for one of Curl Clubs’ everyday essential boxes known as “the weekender”, for just £17.
£17 for standard box or £45 for a limited-edition bi-monthly box, curlsclub.co.uk
If you’re getting a make-up and skincare subscription box, you’d expect some variety – and Glossybox delivers exactly that. Their previous boxes have included favoured products from Huda Beauty, EOS, Rituals and Nails Inc, alongside a host of brilliant independent skincare brands. You’ll also be able to see previews of what that month’s box contains ahead of time on their website if the anticipation becomes too overwhelming. Considering every box has products worth over £50, paying almost a quarter of the price is pretty good value.
£13.25 a month, glossybox.co.uk
If you’ve had Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino in your shopping basket for weeks but want to take it for a month-long test drive before committing, you’re not alone. Scent Addict is here to help. Like speed dating for fragrance, you curate your dream list from 250 fragrances (from Clinique to Chloé) and Scent Addict sends you an 8ml atomiser. Choose a different scent each month, or keep the same one on repeat. And if you do end up finding your signature scent, that £12 a month is redeemable against a full-size bottle.
£12 a month, thefragranceshop.co.uk
Friction Free Shaving
As the first razor delivery service just for women, the excellently-named FFS is on a mission to make shaving as hassle-free as possible. Blunt razors are, quite literally, a pain and can lead to infection and ingrown hairs if not replaced every four to six weeks. Each box comes with a sleek razor and two replacement stainless-steel blades to give the smoothest shave we’ve ever encountered. The razor head can pivot 90 degrees to glide across knees and ankles. If you don’t use all your blades, you can request to hold off on deliveries until you need them, plus you can add on shave creams and scrubs as needed. It seriously takes the pain out of hair removal.
£9.95 a month, ffs.co.uk
Black women spend six times more on haircare than anyone else yet the amount of afro hair products on the high street doesn’t reflect this at all. Curls Allowed offers a mixture of cult and emerging brands that cater to curly, wavy and kinky hair types.
The edits are very much approved by the curly-haired members of the beauty team, and it’s pretty much your entire wash-day routine in one handy delivery.
£17 a month, curlsallowed.co.uk
You might have noticed your Instagram feed slowly being overtaken by bathroom shelfies, but filling yours with lustworthy brands can cost more than a month’s rent. That’s where Mintd comes in. They’ll post you four or five full-size products or deluxe samples from brands such as Oskia and Malin + Goetz. Take a quiz to tailor your box, then opt for monthly or bimonthly delivery. That gives you enough time to properly trial the products and get the perfect Instagram shot before the shiny new ones arrive.
£70 every 1 or 2 months, mintdbox.com
More than two-thirds of us forget to replace our toothbrushes as regularly as we should (every nine months instead of the recommended three to four). But Ordo is here to change our bad habits by delivering a slicker-than-your-average electric toothbrush, with a replacement head arriving every other month. Also in your first box is a full-size tube of sensitive whitening toothpaste, mini travel tube, AAA batteries, travel cap and brush stand. Plus, there’s the option of a couples’ package and either a charcoal grey, silver or chic rose gold brush.
£55 for a starter kit, ordolife.com
Coming home to a wholesome pamper kit on your doorstep is enough to a) get you through the most Mondayest of Mondays, and b) make you feel virtuous, thanks to the fact it has a serious conscience and is packed with an impressive selection of natural and organic beauty bits. LoveLula’s boxes combine a mix of skincare, body and wellness products (every spritz of Ren’s bestselling pillow spray is like taking an Ambien). Each bottle and jar included has been handpicked and tested by the LoveLula team, and is cruelty-free, waste-conscious and will often come from either a start-up or small business. Expect a mix of cult brands like John Masters Organics and a monthly introduction to niche brands that are about to blow up. Whether you’re already a fully-fledged natural beauty buff or are just curious about trying a back-to-basics routine, this box gives you everything you need to nurture yourself from the outside in – starting with that pillow spray…
£14.95 a month or £19.95 for a one-off box, lovelula.com
Main image: Getty