With so much to do and so little time, subscription box businesses have been popping up to help you out. This box boom means that you can get everything from groceries to pet toys to shoes shipped directly to your door on a monthly basis without ever leaving your house.
One of the earlier pioneers of this concept is Glossybox, a beauty subscription service first founded in Berlin. Starting up in 2011, this company has experience to bring to the table, but is it the best way to get your beauty fix?
We’ve rolled up our sleeves and done the work so you can fill your bag without racking your brain. Read through our Glossybox review to see if this subscription is right for you!
What is Glossybox?
Glossybox is a beauty subscription box that offers makeup, skincare, and haircare. For a monthly fee, you receive a surprise box filled with 5 deluxe-sized beauty products handpicked for you.
After you’ve picked a plan, Glossybox asks a brief questionnaire about your beauty preferences. This helps them pick products for your box that are best tailored towards your beauty needs.
Pricing varies depending on how long you commit for. If you just want a monthly subscription that you can cancel anytime, it will cost $21 per month.
However, if you commit to 12 months, it will cost $18 per month. You can also pay upfront to save (they offer gift subscriptions as well).
- 3-month paid upfront subscription: $58.50 ($19.50 per box)
- 6-month paid upfront subscription: $111 (18.50 per box)
- 12-month paid upfront subscription: $210 (17.50 per box)
Our Glossybox Reviews
I personally haven’t actually tried out the subscription, but our editor Laurice had tried them out for quite a few months. So, keep reading for her experience actually trying out a few boxes.
“I subscribed to Glossybox for 3 or 4 months and overall, I wasn’t very impressed. The value isn’t there at all, I have no idea how their boxes can be worth $60 or more. Having tried nearly every other popular beauty subscription out there since then, there are much better options out there.
Unboxing – The only part I really liked about Glossybox was the unboxing experience. Each comes in a very thick, sturdy box that just feels so luxurious to unbox. That said, this type of luxurious packaging is the case with most subscription boxes, so I wouldn’t get too excited about this.
Products – The products themselves weren’t impressive. I received a lot of small, niche brands that I had never heard of before and didn’t work very well. Only one or two products in each box were decent and there were a few higher-end brands every so often, but nothing to write home about.
On top of that, the “deluxe” product samples were typically very small. They did send occasional full-size items, but this was typically cheaper products that didn’t perform well. They also didn’t seem very customized to my beauty preferences.” – Laurice
My Glossybox Review
Although I haven’t tried out the subscription, I did find a lot of information on their website that I wanted to give feedback on.
My initial feelings toward the website were mixed. The presentation was slick, but I noticed a couple of discrepancies. A banner at the top of the first page claimed to send five products, but other boxes had been described as sending six items.
The value of each box was also listed differently on certain pages, with the initial Google advertisements guaranteeing a minimum value of $75 per box while the FAQ page only guaranteed a $60 minimum value.
These did concern me a bit, but I decided to keep an open mind. After all, I don’t necessarily mind a one product difference if a company does what they promised, and Glossybox promised quite a bit.
The advertisement for the latest box swore to contain everything I need to get my glow ready. Below, adoring glossies gush about the size, quality and uniqueness of the products, pledging to send referrals to every friend and family member they know.
The list of available brands was extensive, containing niche brands that I hadn’t heard of but plenty of heritage house cosmetics as well. There are plenty of designer brands I would love to have in my makeup bag, but I also like the more out of the box stuff from smaller brands, so Glossybox seemed like my cup of tea.
That said, I can be ridiculously picky when it comes to even the smallest tube of lipstick, which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to. Even if I’m only paying $18 a month, I want to make sure that the people picking out my products are putting in their best work.
To get more info, I went exploring and saw that they offered the chance to fill out a beauty profile on which they would apparently based my selections. Intrigued, I supplied an email and answered the 14 questions they offered.
The profile was fairly extensive, asking for my skin tone, hair and eye color, skin and hair concerns and rounding out with a few preferences regarding my style and favorite colors.
Allergens + Ethics Preferences
The one thing I can say I find lacking in the profile is that there’s no option to select any allergens or ethics preferences such as sustainable packaging, vegan or cruelty free.
Given that the profile supplied a sensitivity option for the skin concerned question, it seems odd that they wouldn’t ask you what your skin was sensitive to.
Glossybox is also no stranger to working with vegan brands and even supplies their own line of sustainably packaged and vegan skincare, so the fact that they don’t allow you to specify that you want only products addressing those concerns seems like a pretty big oversight. Imagine Blue Apron asking whether you can handle gluten, but not offering any gluten-free options. Weird, right?
As somebody who has recently gotten more conscious about what’s in my cosmetics, I was already quite disappointed that I couldn’t request sustainable brands. They can already be pretty hard to come by, so I would love a subscription service that went out of its way to connect me with sustainable cosmetics.
As I was going through the website, I noticed that they allowed me to view previous boxes. These boxes weren’t specified by the client, it was presented as if everyone got the same boxes.
I thought I might be mistaken because there was obviously a beauty profile, so it didn’t make sense to ask people questions and then not use them. They even specified on the FAQ page that they didn’t allow you to view your items ahead of time because they wanted to maintain the surprise.
Keeping that in mind, I thought they might just be offering an example of what you might get or what they most had in stock, but the details section on the boxes told another story. Clicking on the details section for any previous box gave me a list of about 10 items and told me that each box contained six products from the following list.
If Glossybox advertised itself as anything other than a hand-picked subscription service, this would be reassuring. In this context though, it made me lose my trust in them. In my book, it’s not “hand-picked” if everyone gets nearly identical products and there are only 10 things to choose from.
Glossybox does offer limited-edition boxes that contain the same products within each order, but these are not advertised as being custom for every customer who orders one as the monthly boxes are. So much for keeping it a surprise I suppose.
Other Customer Reviews
Before we finish up, what do other customers think of Glossybox? We didn’t have a great experience, but we’re just one person, so we did some research and will be sharing the top feedback we found on the subscription.
Aside from the things we mentioned above (small products, poor customization, not worth the value), another main complaint we noticed from other Glossybox reviews was bad customer service. This was true across both Glossybox and other brands underneath the parent company (the Hut Group), including Lookfantastic and SkinStore.
“My boxes were usually small samples, often brands I’ve received at hotel stays. I wasn’t happy with customer service, either.” – sakurasunset on Reddit
“I subscribed to Glossybox, but canceled due to terrible customer service as well as missing/broken items. I still receive Look Fantastic which is from the same parent company.” – cyclicalconsumer on Reddit
To sum up our Glossybox review, this brand has obviously gotten the presentation down, but if you really want a beauty subscription box, there are better ones out there. There’s a nice range in what Glossybox could offer, but they miss the mark in so many key ways.
The boxes are almost carbon copies rather than hand-picked, you have no control over ingredients or allergens, and the relatively small price tag isn’t small enough to compensate for the tiny amount of product that you get in each sample. You can get a better experience at a better price somewhere else.
If you’re looking for an alternative, try out the Ipsy Plus – it costs $25 per month and provides five full-size products every month. We have had much better experiences with this subscription!