Makeup Subscription Boxes 101

There is something about walking into a Sephora and pampering yourself straight into bankruptcy. Instead of spending all day in a makeup store, trying on a million products, standing in long lines, and ruining your credit score, why not just skip the makeup store? Why not just get samples of beauty products shipped to you so you can experiment with your look in the comfort of your own home? Well that is the idea behind beauty subscriptions, my friends. Beauty subscriptions send sample or full size beauty products to subscribers every month. Sample sizes allow for subscription users to try out new products and brands without committing to full size products. Below you can check out our top picks for not only basic beauty subscriptions, but also subscriptions that cater specifically to women of color, subscriptions committed to providing vegan cruelty free products, and subscriptions made specifically for hair care and skincare.

The Good

  • The value of a beauty box generally far outweighs the price of the subscription
  • We’re all, stressed, busy, and too lazy to go to Sephora. Why not bring the store to you and try out great new products from the comfort of your own home ?
  • With beauty subscriptions, a makeup addict can slowly refill her stock without breaking the bank
  • Some subscriptions let you choose one of the products that you receive
  • They let you explore new brands and new products that you wouldn’t necessarily want to splurge on or commit to buying the full size product

The Bad

  • Most products are sample sizes
  • Most subscriptions don’t allow users to choose the products they will receive each month. This means you are at risk of getting products that you don’t need or want.
  • Repeats. If you have a beauty subscription for more than a year you will have more Berry colored liquid lipsticks and eyeliner pens than you will know what to do with.
  • Since users can’t choose their own products, it’s hard to use a beauty subscription as a primary source for makeup necessities.

Top Basic Beauty Subscriptions:



Price: $10/month

Ipsy is one of the original players in the Beauty Subscription game. Every month subscribers find 5 sample or full size products from popular brands ranging in quality from drugstore to luxury brands. Along with each month’s products, subscribers also get a free makeup bag each month and access to exclusive brand deals.


Price: $10/ month

Similar to our first basic beauty subscription, Birchbox provides 5 sample or full size beauty products from top brands. When you shop with Birchbox, you get 10% back to spend in their store. Birchbox users also get the opportunity to choose one of the samples they receive from a list of featured products,

Play! By Sephora

Price: $21/month

What you get: With Play! by Sephora, you’ll get 6 trial-size samples from sephora’s top brands. Each beauty box contains a pass that gets subscribers 50 Beauty Insider points when they bring it into a sephora store (along with a free one-on-one makeup tutorial. As a bonus, subscribers get access to Play!Dates, subscriber only events that allow you to come into the store and try new products that specifically compliment the products from your beauty box

Best Beauty Subscriptions for Women of Color:



Price: $19/month

Onyx is a beauty company created by women of color, for women of color. Every OnyxBox comes with 4 to 6 full size or deluxe sample size beauty products ranging from hair to skin to nails, all created with POC in mind.


Price: $25/month

What you get: 6-8 full size hair and beauty products made for and by women of color, focused on self care. Bonus! When you subscribe you’ll get 12 months worth of Essence Magazine, free!

Best Vegan and Cruelty-free Beauty Subscriptions:

Petit Vour:

Price: $15/month

Petit Vour is a subscription service that handpicks products from companies who have committed to producing vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics. This means you’re getting 4 products from companies like tarte and LUSH, valued at $45-$60.

Medusa Makeup Box:

Price: $15.95

Medusa is a growing cosmetics line that is committed to producing natural products that are vegan and cruelty free. A subscription to the Medusa makeup box will get you 3-5 full sized vegan products from Medusa, every month.

Best Hair Care Beauty Subscriptions:


Curl Mix DIY Box:


With the Curl Mix DIY Box, subscribers can make their own hair care products using the instructions and natural ingredients provided in the box. Just choose the haircare products that you need, and get the ingredients delivered straight to your door each month.


Price: $25/month

CurlKit gives users 6-9 full-size and deluxe sample-size hair care products. All products that users will receive in a CurlKit are meant to nourish and strengthen natural curls

Best Skin Care Beauty Subscriptions



Price: $20

What you get: Curology provides you with a skin treatment if you have problematic skin(specifically acne and unwanted signs of aging). They customize your treatment with prescription level medication and give you consults with providers who will adjust your treatment based on how it’s working for you. As a bonus, they have a 90-day money back guarantee.

FaceMask Tonight:

Price: prices range from $12-$25 based on the plan you choose

What you get: With FaceMask Tonight, you decide whether you want 1,2, or 3 facemasks per week. You then fill out a few preference questions, and they send you a supply of the sheet mask that is right for you.

Bliss BathBox:

Price: $25

What you get: The Bliss BathBox supplies you with 5 full-sized handmade beauty products that are designed to pamper. Products you can expect from this subscription include bath bombs, scrubs, soaps, and lotions.

P.S. if you’re interested in purchasing one of the beauty subscriptions above (or really any other one), you can get a better idea of what you’ll be getting every month by watching unboxing videos on youtube.