I don’t normally post reviews on here but after receiving my second Glossybox yesterday I felt compelled to share my thoughts.
For those of you who don’t know Glossybox and Birchbox are beauty “monthlies” where basically you fill in a questionnaire about your skin tone and type and then for about a tenner a month (+p&p) they post you products and samples in lovely boxes and it’s a wonderful girly pampering treat!
I heard about Glossybox first through some friends and loved the concept. I live a long way away from any department stores and the idea of receiving a box of surprise treats in the mail. The website really sold it to me:
A MONTHLY PACKED FULL OF HIGH-END BEAUTY SAMPLES FROM TOP COSMETICS BRANDS MAILED STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR.
Beauty addicts rejoice! The hottest new service to hit the beauty world is GLOSSYBOX, a monthly beauty box full of carefully curated high-end beauty products. For only 10£ (plus p+p), GLOSSYBOX mails you five deluxe-sized beauty samples from your favorite luxury brands – and brands that you may not yet know, but will soon fall in love with.
For me the buzz words were “high-end”; “deluxe-sized” and “luxury brands”. I live in the middle of nowhere in a town with a miniscule Boots, a small Superdrug and a Tesco as my only real cosmetic emporiums and only ever buy a “women’s lifestyle” magazine in a (usually public transport related) emergency or if it’s got a particularly good free gift so the opportunity for discovering new brands was a further temptation.
I was hesitant though about subscribing, ten pounds is actually quite a lot of money to be spending a month on stuff I might never use. I found it hard to justify such flagrant and decadent spending on little old me considering my low-budget income but I was bolstered by the fact that I could cancel at any time and Mr Kapow’s assurances that I deserved treats and should go for it. Furthermore, if this was truly going to be full of high-end, luxury brands in deluxe sizes than I would be able to have products I would never be able to afford otherwise.
I was excited, the website is all glamorous and the boxes themselves – even sans contents – looked lovely, I love a box me!
I eagerly awaited my first box which would be November 2013 and due to arrive around the time of my 30th birthday. It was called the Christmas Wishlist Edition so I was expecting glitz and glamour!
Glossybox November 2013
Photo from Glossybox.co.uk
It came via Hermes which is not a service much used in the sticks as yet but it arrived safe and sound and was very well packaged. The pink Glossybox box inside was a thrilling and decadent looking discovery and then the products inside were lovingly wrapped in a coordinating tissue and ribbon indulgence. I felt so spoiled!
Vichy Idealia Life Serum (2x3mls) & Smoothing and Illuminating Cream (3mls)
In a little pink organza bag which made them look prettier than three tiny little boxes I suppose. I’m assuming their tininess has a lot to do with how expensive the full products actually are but Vichy was a brand I had been wanting to try and might have considered purchasing so I was quite pleased with these.
Yves Rocher Hand Cream Cacao & Pistache (75ml Full Size)
I got the Cocoa and Pistachio fragranced one in the middle. This is a lovely hand cream which smells divine and very Christmasy and while I knew I’d use it I know the brand Yves Rocher pretty well having been given a lot of products by them in my childhood by my Mum and various Aunts in the form of free samples. I was initially surprised to find a full-sized product in the box but quickly realised that it costs less than £2. Result I guess as I genuinely like it and can afford to buy it but not exactly a high-end product like I expected.
Elegant Touch Rapid Dry Spray (Full Size)
I got the spray for drying nail varnish.
This to me is a bog standard product available from common as anything shops like New Look, Boots & Superdrug.
I can buy this at the same time as I’m picking up my Gran’s prescription and to be honest I’d be more likely to leave it on the shelf!
Not a high-end product. Huff.
Scholl Dry Skin Exfoliator (60ml Full Size)
Yep so another full-sized product but really?
I have nothing against this product as it’s probably quite good but again, high-end?
Practical, hideously packaged and in a way I’m kind of insulted.
Yet another product I could have stuck in my trolley at the supermarket.
Where’s my glitz and glamour?!
Emite Make Up Micronized Eyeshadow (Full Size 1.48g)
I got the light pinky / kidd shade. This somewhat helped redeem the box as it’s a full-sized product from a company I hadn’t heard of and which I probably couldn’t afford in a nice inoffensive shade I probably will wear.
It was make-up too which was nice as so far I hadn’t found within this box any opportunity to doll myself up without feeling like a teenager too impatient to let her nails dry or an old lady with horrid scabby feet.
This was the only product in the box I felt tied in remotely with the Christmas Wishlist theme but even so the packaging was pretty dull so the overall excitement factor was not really improved.
I use the hand cream and will probably finish it. The smell is lovely and it’s quite light and absorbs well. I also tried the eye shadow which was nice enough however not as nice and long-lasting as my favourite MAC one in a similar shade which is also cheaper to buy! I tried the serum but there’s not really enough of it or the illuminating cream I feel to get a good idea of whether the products are any good, they smell lovely though! The other two products went straight into a box where I keep mundane stuff like extra cotton wool and last year’s sun cream.
My overall impression is of disappointment and guilt that I paid £10 (+p&p) for something I wanted to make me feel special and pampered and instead has made me feel like someone who wastes money on beauty box subscriptions. This box was nowhere near my idea of a Christmas Wishlist and especially since I indicated in my questionnaire that I was particularly interested in make-up I wasn’t feeling very listened to.
I went online to cancel my subscription but got distracted by reading blogged reviews where some people seemed pretty happy with their boxes and others like me felt they’d been robbed. These people mostly seemed to be saying that Birchbox offered a far better service with more high-end brands. Before I knew it I’d signed up to them (SUCKER!) and decided to cancel Glossybox. As my finger hovered over the button though I was overcome by the temptation of a Christmas themed box….. I resolved (naughtily) to give the another shot and cancel in December if I wasn’t more impressed.
The process for signing up to Birchbox was much the same, similar questionnaire, similar layout but more grown up and less celebrity endorsed looking website. There were a few additional questions which asked me whether I had an interest in natural and organic products. I really am so took this to be a very good sign!
Birchbox December 2013
Another lovely wee box. Not as girly and swanky looking as the Glossybox but certainly inviting. Instead of tissue and a ribbon the products are encased in a drawstring bag. This is a nice idea but surprisingly I’d prefer the tissue because this bag is so shallow and pointlessly shaped that I can’t imagine what I might re-use it for. I don’t feel that bad about binning a bit of tissue and could even reuse it with its ribbon to wrap a gift but I would feel bad about binning this…
Nail Rock Nail Glitter – Red (Full Size)
This was the first thing which caught my eye and initially I was excited by its glitteryness and the fact that it’s red (how did you know Birchers?).
I have opted not to wear nail polish brands that are at least “3 free” which as far as I can tell this one is. Hooray!
Having read the blurb though and discovered it’s going to take me 2 coats followed by 15-20 mins drying time (where’s that drying spray?!) and the faff of dipping my nails in glitter and probably getting it everywhere I’m pretty sure it’ll stay in its box.
I *might* try it and am suitably charmed by its originality and Christmasy sparkle so this is actually something I’m happy with.
ModelCo. Party Proof Lipstick – Get Naked (Full Size)
Photo: Konnie Kapow
Exciting to get a lipstick but I’m terrified of the colour! Will it not just erase my lips?!
This product was also covered in an orangey coloured sticky substance as if it had been lurking down the back of someone’s sofa for a while.
There is no way I would wear it. Nope nope nope. Although it would be tempting to draw round it with a dark lip-liner and then pluck out my brows and draw them back in to finish the look.
It took me a while to work out that this was actually a product and not just a bit of card with a ribbon tied round it.
I liked the card showing me things I could do with it but probably won’t as I’m rubbish at “hairdos”.
To begin with I didn’t trust it but it seems to work quite well and apparently there will be no snags or dents in my hair when I take it back out. Who knew?
Delarom Acquaconfort Mask (15ml)
Now this is a reasonable size for a sample, I can use this product a couple of times to try and actually see if it’s any good!
It smells great and is an eco-friendly brand I hadn’t heard of or used before.
Pleased with this!
Photo Konnie Kapow
I haven’t tried this yet but it claims to detangle, glossify and heat protect my hair.
It’s a good size and also an exclusive product.
That’s more like it!
Laura Mercier Body Souffle ambre vanille
Photo: Konnie Kapow
I had to laugh when I saw this because I was recently given another sample of this in the Almond / Coconut “flavour.”
I had heard of this brand and was interested in sampling it but when I used the first one was truly appalled by the smell. Coconut and marzipan are fragrances and flavours I really dislike anyway but the overriding aroma of this was just like I’d smothered myself in rice pudding!
I didn’t like the texture either which was so light and strangely greasy that I didn’t feel the least bit moisturised and the smell lingered to the extent that Mr K tried to throw me out of bed!
Still I haven’t removed the foil to smell this one and I’m satisfied that the sample is a good size and a high-end product.
Much, much, much better than Glossybox! Had the lipstick been a colour I could see a human being wearing other than in a sci-fi movie or a particularly horrendous driving instructor I once had I’d be really pleased.
The only other criticism was that whoever filled my box seemed to have pretty grubby fingers. I’m not sure how long I’ll actually subscribe for as the guilt regarding my indulgence will probably get to me but I am definitely interested to see what’s in the next one!
Glossybox December 2013
Lovely Christmas themed box which definitely aroused hopes that last month’s box was a one-off flop and this one was going to be awesome! Candy cane tissue with pretty white ribbon!
What the hell? A bog standard Wilkinson Sword razor? You’re having a laugh right?
The overwhelming opinion that I’ve gathered from reading other blogs and a comment thread into the 70s on Facebook is that everyone was pretty surprised to see this. It is very much the dominant item in the box taking up at least half of the space and it makes everything else in there look cheap.
I CAN GET THIS IN TESCO!
Last month my Glossybox implied that I might need to exfoliate the dead skin from my trotters and this month it’s reminding me that I need to shave my legs?! I’m seven months pregnant so will be lucky if I can even find my legs but that’s not the point here!
As soon as I saw this I knew we were over G’Box. It’s not even gold! You dug your own grave.
RITUALS Miracle Balm White Lotus and Ginko Biloba
More hand cream? Ok.
This is pretty good too actually and I like the packaging which is officially the most glamorous of any product I’ve had in my Glossyboxes.
It’s a bit sticky if you use too much but I’m always in the market for a good hand cream.
Maybelline BROW drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (7.6ml)
Photo: Konnie Kapow
This is interesting, I am always looking for new ways to tame my brows and will definitely give this a try.
I was also pleased to see more make-up in this box since it is the party month after all.
Maybelline though, yet another brand I can get literally anywhere.
I wanted new and exotic brands I couldn’t pick up in my tiny home town and would make me feel pampered and posh.
Glossybox seem quite determined not to give me that and to remind me that I’m never going to amount to anything more exclusive than brands I bought in high school.
Seche Nail Lacquer Chocolat (Full size 14ml)
Photo: Konnie Kapow
Perhaps it’s the horrible brown colour which is offputting because having googled this brand I can see that the range is quite good and since it’s only available at Liberty in the UK I’m unlikely to come across it in my day to day life.
It is also as far as I can tell “3 free.”
This is a good product to find in the box, I just hate the colour, that’s not Glossybox’s fault.
Photo: Konnie Kapow
Again I’m a bit frightened of the shade here but the last two products have saved me from marching down to Glossybox HQ to ask for my money back!
I haven’t heard of this brand and was pleased to discover that Beautiful Movements Cosmetics products do not contain parabens, synthetic colours, fragrances, animal products, fillers, petrochemicals or bismuth oxychloride.
The brand belongs to Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and I’m normally not keen on celebrity products but this may well be a brand I’ll keep an eye on.
Glossybox Vs Birchbox? – Birchbox
Are either of them worth it? – Not really
I’m definitely cancelling Glossybox and will see what’s in the January Birchbox but to be honest I’ll probably cancel that too.
My overall feeling is that I’m throwing money away each month on products that I like but won’t use because the colour isn’t right or can pick up in any supermarket.
The surveys on both sites cover skin type and colouring but they don’t ask anything about your style or preferences which would actually be very hard to do. I have also noticed that many customers on Glossybox’s facebook page are claiming that products they’ve been sent are not even suited to their skin type.
It’s nice to have the genuine high end products to try but I should probably just do some actual research into what I want and need rather than chucking away over £10 a month (+p&p) on a pretty box.