9 best beauty subscription boxes

Get the latest make-up and skincare products delivered straight to your door with one of these pampering packages

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The Independent Online

What better way to kickstart 2017 than by signing up for a surprise delivery of beauty gifts every month?

The number of beauty subscription boxes available has risen over the past few years as more and more have launched. The concept is you sign up, pay a monthly fee and every few weeks a box filled with about five or six beauty items lands at your door.   

The boxes vary from high-end, specialist to themed and usually the monthly price of a box is cheaper than what you would pay for one of the items individually. While some of the items are sample size, others come at their regular shop-sold size meaning you really are getting value for money. The boxes also range from more beauty-focused to skincare-focused so you really do have a wide range to choose from.

We rounded up the best beauty subscription boxes:

1. Cohorted: £35 per month, Cohorted

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Arriving in a sleek black box with a satin tied bow, Cohorted offers luxury hand-picked brands as well as one new “discovery” brand, so something you won’t have tried before. Offerings for January included favourites like Nars’ limited collection Andy Warhol eye shadow, Lancome eye cream and Smith & Cult nail varnish (a hot brand from the creator of Hard Candy). There was also a super-useful foundation brush and some ingenious anti-frizz helpers from top New York stylist Nunzio Saviano in the mix. So, considering the monthly price is £35 per month, we think it is well worth it. 

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2. Birchbox: £10 per month plus £2.95 p&p, Birchbox 

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One of the more well-known beauty boxes, Birchbox is a themed smaller box that comes with five products each month. The theme of its January box was “Sprinkle happiness” and included samples from Nuxe and Nails Inc - we’re now firm fans of the metallic Stratford nail colour from the "its special effects" range. Subscribers can update their beauty profile online to say whether your preference for products would be to cater for coloured/thick hair or dry/oily/sensitive skin so everything you receive would be suited to your hair or skin type. 

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3. LookFantastic: £13 per month for 12 month subscription, Look Fantastic

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The Look Fantastic box guarantees a value of at least £50 and varies from relatively unknown products to beauty staples. The box contains a good balance of make-up and skincare products, for example, the January box included tweezers, Nuxe toning lotion and the newly released Liquid Luminiser by Trifle cosmetics (worth £15). A magazine is also included.

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4. Glossybox: £10 per month, Glossybox 

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One of the cheaper boxes on the list, Glossybox comes wrapped in a pink box containing five treats. For January, the company partnered with Instagram sensation Deliciously Stella – can you tell who her account parodies? – to provide products with a link to food. The products are varied across make-up and skincare with January’s collection including moisturiser, face masks, an eye shadow and hair ties. Despite the cheaper price tag, the organic Manuka honey face mask freshened up our  post-festive season skin and the zero crease hair ties are a life saver. The company is also planning future limited editions and collaborations, including a partnership with La Mer (creators of the cult Crème de la Mer moisturiser) in February. You can subscribe for three, six or 12 months.

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5. Love Lula: £12.50 per month, Love Lula 

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This box only contains natural and organic beauty and skincare products and is an offshoot from the Love Lula natural skincare online beauty shop. The box is one of the more simple ones in design terms. Respected skincare brands such as John Masters, Ren and Balm are included. Different Natural Beauty brands are included each month and this box would be ideal for someone who prefers using natural, organic products and wants to focus on nourishing their skin and hair.

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6. Mintd: £65 per month, Mintd 

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This is the most expensive box but also the most luxury and premium. The products arrive in a clean-looking, Scandi-style box and the value of each haul is at least £135. The January box included skin treats from brands you might not splash out on for yourself. The likes of Dermalogica, A-list favourite Magicstripes, swanky French, Japanese-inspired beauty brand Evidens, LA-based luxury skin care brand African Botanics (the products are all made in South Africa) and sensitive skin specialists Sond.  You can subscribe monthly or bi-monthy. The premium brands are definitely noticeable, the Evidens day moisturiser instantly lifted and rejuvenated our dry winter skin – but we are trying to limit our use of it due to the usual hefty price tag (£205 for 50ml)!

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7. Pink Parcel: £10.50 per month, Pink Parcel  

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This box is different from the rest in that it has been created specifically to provide some comfort to women on their period. Subscribers to the box log their cycle as well as favourite tampon and sanitary towel brand and then the box arrives in conjunction with the customer’s period. As well as the sanitary products, there are chocolate, biscuits, tea, skincare products, mascara and other cosmetic products - a welcome treat for women at their time of the month.

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8. My Little Box: £11 and £3.95 postage per month, My Little Box  

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Newly launched in the UK, the box originated in Paris and found subscribers in Germany and Japan too. Each box is themed and contains French-inspired kooky gifts as well as beauty products. For example, the November box was themed “goodnight” and as well as Garnier face cream and My Little Box’s own make-up remover jelly, there was an eye-mask for sleeping and a moon-shaped jewellery tray. The box is at the cheaper end of the scale at £11 per month (not including postage) but you get a lot, and something a little different, for your money.

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9. Betty Box: £10.50 per month, Betty Box

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Aimed at teenagers, this colourful box is designed to tie in with that time of the month. You select the delivery date to fit with your cycle and delivered to your door will be a selection of pampering products to relax with and a useful supply of sanitary products (you can pick whether you’d prefer pads, tampons or a mixture, the brand and the absorbency level).  Every item is well presented in mini bags or boxes, making it a great gift idea for teens who hate buying these products in the shops. Our box included beauty bits from Burt’s Bees, Carmex and Aussie, as well as a cute pair of earrings and some sweet treats. There’s also a handy booklet telling you how to use each product. The first box only costs £6.99.

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The Verdict: Beauty subscription boxes

Our favourite was the Cohorted box due to its value for money yet inclusion of luxury limited edition products like the Nars x Andy Warhol eye shadow and the variety of products. For those wanting a splurge, the Mintd box is incredibly good value and contains luxury products to properly indulge in. The Pink Parcel is also a wonderful idea and a nice pick-me-up for all women at one of the times they need it most. 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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