File this under the stuff no one tells you about being a grown-up: Getting mail isn't fun, it's just bills and credit card offers and random furniture store flyers. And for that reason, we'll gladly pay to make the experience a little less dreadful. It's something oodles of start-ups have banked on with subscription beauty boxes, curated packages of
beauty samples and full-size product that arrive on our doorstep like clockwork.
Thankfully, a handful of players have followed suit in the wake of OG power players like Birchbox and created subscription boxes for every budget, personality, and more. For example, after getting into the subscription box game this fall,
Sunday Riley began sending quarterly mailers stuffed with the kinds of things we'd pick out of the world's coolest gift shop. There's even a box for clean beauty devotees and luxury fragrances at a non-luxury price point.
Now, splurging on a subscription for ourselves doesn't just mean looking forward for the USPS truck every afternoon. They make some of the best gifts that keep on giving, not to mention they're content fodder for excellent #unboxing videos on Instagram, too. Here, we take a closer look at the top ten boxes worth your monthly investment.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
For: The Woman Who'd Rather Pick Her Own Gift
With quarterly mailings offering 8-10 full-size products at a savings of 75%
and control over what's inside, FabFitFun may have perfected the subscription box art form. Beauty-centric collections include skin care, hair care, makeup and nail care from brands like Klorane, Dr. Brandt and Deborah Lippmann. Subscribers can select exactly what they want or opt to keep contents a total surprise. Add in an accessory or two (such as scarves, jewelry, or clutches), and you've got a substantial gift that feels like you're being treated to a shopping spree. Photo: Courtesy of Fabfitfun More
For: The Drugstore Beauty Whisperer
Did you know Target made beauty subscription boxes? Well, you do now. Each month, the retailer curates a box of samples that sells for $5 to $7. There are also themed boxes like "So Fresh, So Clean" (not sponsored by Outkast, for the record) and "Bloom Into Beauty" for the floral obsessive in your life.
For: The Makeup Maven
If you have a thing for the fancy stuff, Glossybox's assortment of deluxe and full-size products is for you. Sign up for a commitment-free monthly subscription, or choose from the three, six, or 12-month plans.
Photo: Maggie Yahvah/Glossybox More
For: The Skin-Care Guru
If your love for all things retinol, vitamin C, and AHA knows no bounds,
Dermstore's beauty box is going to be the best thing to hit your doorstep. You can either subscribe to the box for $24.95 a month, or buy 'em à la carte for $34.95 each. More
For: VIB Rouges in Recovery
When's the last time you walked into Sephora and bought what you came for — and not a single item more? Let's see... never? That's why we're giving the store's monthly subscription box to our sisters who are resolving to step down their impulse beauty purchases in 2019. Each month the Play box facilitates that need for new beauty discoveries with five deluxe samples housed in a little makeup pouch. And if they're compelled to re-up on a full-size purchase? Sephora offers 50 bonus insider points for doing so.
PLAY! by Sephora Monthly Subscription Box, $10, available at
For: The Cool Girl
When Sunday Riley got into the subscription box game this year, it could have thrown a selection of their beloved skin-care products in a mailer and had a hit on its hands. Instead, the company opted to create something even more lust-worthy: a quarterly subscription box stuffed with some of the most desirable — and useful — gear out there. The current box features a full-size Tidal Water Cream (plus travel-friendly sizes of Good Genes and the A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum), plus full-sizes of products by Coola, Tan-Luxe and R&Co — not a throwaway item in sight.
For: The Beauty Editor-In-Training
The OG of subscription boxes is as solid as ever, thanks to a deep bench of editor and fan-favorites for hair, skin, scent, and complexion. After receiving the first installment of a three, six, or 12-month subscription, you're able to customize the contents of boxes by setting personal preferences and choosing specific deluxe-sized samples from brands like Oribe, Sand & Sky, Stila, and Ouai.
Birchbox Monthly Subscription, $10, available at
For: The Clean Beauty Fiend
In the Venn diagram of those who love clean beauty but hate environmental waste, overlap abounds. The folks at The Detox Market know this, so they created a monthly subscription box that showcases the very best in clean beauty, loading mailers with more than $90 in picks from a single brand that you'll actually use. Full-size products from Tammy Fender, Pai, Odacité, Innersense, Osea, and Skin Owl have been featured in months past. The assortment gives recipients a true taste of what these brands have to offer without any unwanted filler items that eventually find their way to the waste bin. No wonder these editions sell out on the regular.
The Detox Market
The Detox Box, $55, available at
The Detox Market More
For: The Soul Searching For A Signature Scent
We've found soul mates in less time than a signature scent. If one of your loved ones is still searching for
the one that will bring joy with every deep inhale, embody one's true spirit, and feel like home no matter what time of year — yes, we're talking about fragrance here — then why not play matchmaker with a fragrance subscription? Each month, the recipient can choose from more than 450 scents (including options from Glossier, Tom Ford, and Juliette Has a Gun) before receiving a 30-day supply to fall in love (or like) with before trying another option next month. ScentBird
Scentbird Subscription, $14.95, available at
For: The Devout Vegan
We fully support our vegan friends, but still manage to order the occasional shared appetizer made with a hidden animal fat. Oops. This bimonthly box ensures the same thing doesn't happen with their holiday gift. Each edition is cruelty-free, vegan, nontoxic, and certified palm oil-free, through and through. It's not just the brands inside that are socially conscious: Each Love Goodly box purchased supports a like-minded organization, such as L.A.'s
Farm Sanctuary, the country's first shelter for farm animals. Love Goodly
Essential Bi-Monthly Subscription Box, $34.95, available at
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