So: Are Makeup Subscription Boxes Really Worth It?
Covid changed shopping habits for most people, both in the short and likely long term. Over the last two years, ordering online had never seemed more convenient or necessary. Consumers who typically shopped in stores made the switch seamlessly to do their part in staying safe and reducing the spread of the virus.
While working from home brought more comfort in a big way, it also brought the onslaught of back-to-back Zoom calls. So for many people, makeup didn’t go away even while pants may have (ahem).
For many, it was a time to experiment, like signing up for a subscription box (or several!). Those little pleasures—a box filled with unknown products to discover—not only buoyed spirits, but opened consumers up to new products, brands, and categories they may not have embraced prior to the pandemic. It was a stroll down the supermarket aisle without ever needing to leave the house. What a luxury!
The pandemic looks like it changed long-term shopping habits, too. Many consumers opened their eyes to the impact their purchases have on their planet, their health, and the people who make their products. As many of us watched animals taking over towns quieted in the early weeks and months of the pandemic, we felt the pressure of human activity on the natural world. And we felt the obligation to do better.
More people experimented with vegan food as a way to do this—delivery apps saw vegan meat sales spike during the pandemic. Many gardened or upped their houseplant game.
This wanting to do better is a process—a holistic one at that. It’s a shift that requires experimentation. It’s next to impossible to change habits and behaviors overnight, especially when those habits include using the same products for years. Here again, subscription boxes may play a key role in making the switch to cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable makeup products.
What are makeup subscription boxes?
It’s likely you’ve heard about subscription boxes by now—the concept isn’t exactly new. But the number of box options—from snacks to shaving equipment to menstrual products and more—has never been greater. There are subscription boxes for every habit, hobby, and craving you can imagine!
Think of subscription boxes like your favorite affinity club but from the comfort of your couch. Each box is filled with the products you love—or, rather, the types of products you love. The subscription box invites you to explore and discover.
How to know if a makeup subscription box is right for you
Getting ready to sign up for a subscription box? It’s always best to ask yourself a few questions, first.
Are these items things you can actually use?
While most subscription boxes offer an element of surprise, there’s typically a thread tying it all together. If makeup is your jam, then chances are you’ll find a use for all the items in a makeup box, even if that means on occasion gifting something you won’t use yourself.
Ask yourself if there’s an inherent value to the items even knowing that every product may not be a hit. Are you interested in experimenting or would you prefer a subscription for the same items each month? There are options for either, so be sure to do your homework and be clear about the offerings, the benefits, and the value you’re looking for in a box.
Is there a cost benefit?
A subscription service is almost always bundled with a discount. So if you’re a frequent user of any product or service, looking into subscription models is a key way to reduce your overall spend on items.
It may be useful to look at how frequently you would make those same purchases at retail and compare the cost savings that way. Sometimes sample boxes can go a lot further than you might think and that may be a better route than full-size items. Review the options, review the costs, and go from there.
Is it easy to change or cancel your subscription?
Traveling, career changes, health issues—these types of events can be reasons to need to pause or cancel a subscription box.
Companies that make it easy to find out if this is an option usually make other things easy, too—so this tends to be a sign of a good company to purchase from. Always check into the cancel or pause options before committing to a subscription box.
Is there a return policy?
Just like you want the opportunity to pause or easily cancel a subscription box, you also want to know that items can be returned or replaced in the case that’s necessary. Shipping accidents can happen, products can go bad—whatever the reason, be sure there’s a return policy in place that meets your needs.
Why Use a Makeup Subscription Box
Whether you’ve been ordering online for years or it’s a new endeavor for you, the convenience factor can’t be overstated. Things you need or want, delivered right to your door—who can say no to that?
Subscription boxes take all the guesswork out of purchases for things you use often, like makeup. The simplified process means one less thing to manage, and for many, that can be a huge weight lifted.
For the makeup lover, these boxes can be a big win. If you’ve always been a red lipstick wearer, for example, a makeup subscription box may let you try a new shade—perhaps purple was your color all along and you just never tried it!
There are other benefits, too—some possibly more compelling than the thrill of finding new colors.
First, there are the financial gains. Subscription boxes give you the opportunity to experiment with different products before making a purchase. Most everyone has made the mistake of purchasing something because of a recommendation, or maybe eye-catching labeling, only to get home, slather it all over your face, and realize you kind of hate it. No fun.
Subscription boxes can help you explore and discover products that work perfectly for you. So the potential is there to save money by testing products out first and only spending on what you absolutely love afterwards. What a great deal, right?
By committing to letting a subscription service like Kinder Beauty curate for you, you’re saving money on the pre-selected products that would normally run you a lot more at retail.
If you’re less picky about makeup products, or rather, more excited about any and all vegan makeup products, subscription boxes can be a way to scratch that itch without breaking the bank. Makeup subscription boxes really do let you have your bronzer and eat it too (if that’s your thing).
More Is Less Is More? The Climate Benefits of Makeup Subscription Boxes
While it certainly can seem like getting a box of new products delivered to your door every month isn’t exactly the most planet-friendly idea, it’s not exactly so cut and dried.
First, not all makeup subscription boxes are the same, so be sure to vet the brands for their shipping policies and packaging materials.
But second, and perhaps more important, is what’s coming in the box and how that changes your personal shopping habits. By trying out products (at a discounted rate, mind you!), you end up shopping smarter when it comes time to make a full-size purchase. And that means you’re less likely to buy something you won’t use, which minimizes waste.
This also allows you to minimize your purchases overall (instead of five half-used mascaras, for example, you just have one really great one you love). And that means better shopping habits, fewer purchases, and again, less waste.
It also matters what’s in those products, too. Ingredients matter. A subscription box service that’s committed to clean, animal-free ingredients like Kinder Beauty enables you to reduce your impact on the environment by supporting brands working to promote biodiversity and sustainability.
Brands that care about ingredients and the planet care more about you, too. Does this mean that every product in a makeup subscription box is going to be a slam dunk? No. But it does mean you’re supporting better brands that are doing good things for the planet.
Kinder Beauty goes an extra mile, making it a priority to support charities doing important work to protect animals and the planet. Every month, a portion of proceeds goes to support various charities like animal sanctuaries and advocacy organizations.
Jill Ettinger is an LA-based writer and editor focused on vegan and cruelty-free living.