Posted: Apr 22, 2013 9:00 AM
From makeup grab bags to curated beauty bonanzas, sample box subscriptions are one of the hottest trends this year. Learn about the top beauty subscription services and find out which is right for you.

Want to treat yourself to a little surprise each month? Sign up for a beauty box subscription. These boxes of samples and full-size products offer the latest in makeup and beauty — but are they worth the price? We take a look at the top beauty boxes to see what they're all about.

Beauty sample box: Birchbox


COST: $10 a month

The Goods^ Recent Birchbox goodies included a full-size concealer, an elastic headband, a small candle and a cleanser. Most boxes contain a sample of perfume.


This box comes in an adorable package with pink tissue paper. Unlike many subscription boxes, you can influence what you receive by answering questions about your beauty and skin care routines. The price is great for what's offered and you can buy the products you love online at competitive prices.


Subscribers have reported fewer full-size products in recent boxes. The men's version is twice the price. Though you can influence what you get, there's no guarantee you'll receive products you'd use.

Beauty sample box: Popsugar Must have box

POPSUGAR Must Have box

COST: $35 a month

The Goods^Recent POPSUGAR Must Have goodies included a Nicholas Sparks novel, a designer robe, a designer thong, candy, jewelry cleaner, lip stain and high-quality chocolates.


The Must Have box claims to always contain products that value over $100 total. While prices can change quickly, this has proven to be the case with recent boxes. The full sizes give you plenty to work with and recipients get a mix of beauty, fashion, home and snack products. Each box is curated by fashion experts.


The items in the box can be a little hit or miss, and when you're talking about full-size products it can feel like a waste if you get something you don't like. This is a pricy indulgence compared to cheaper subscriptions.

Beauty sample box: Ispy glam bag

Ipsy Glam Bag

COST: $10 a month

The Goods^Recent Ipsy Glam Bag goodies included a pore minimizer, a mascara, gel eyeliner, an eyeshadow sample and a mascara application card.


Each Glam Bag comes in a collectible makeup bag. If you frequently buy makeup or sign up to subscription services, these bags really come in handy. The price is reasonable and each bag contains a decent variety of beauty products ranging from skin care to makeup. The service includes an exciting beauty-themed social network.


Not every item is full size. Subscribers have no option to personalize the items that come in each glam bag. You can't buy products from the Ipsy site.

Beauty sample box: Beauty Army Subscription

Beauty Army subscription

COST: $12 a month

The Goods^Recent Beauty Army goodies depend on the results of your beauty quiz and include products like wellness teas, moisturizes, eyeshadow and beauty tools.


Unlike other subscription box services, you have control over what you pick and receive. A quiz guides you, but if you don't like what it offers, you can try the quiz again to change your choices. The price is great and you can turn your deliveries on and off at will. The quiz format is fun and the shopping experience is elegant.


While you can select the samples you receive, the selection is still limited to the brands that work with Beauty Army. Some subscribers have found that the selection doesn't align to their shopping habits and the products are sample sizes.

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