Debate: so what REALLY makes a good beauty box?

Over the past few years, beauty subscription boxes have become a massive market. Getting a box of treats through the post every month might sound like a great idea, but is it one that translates in real life? Some beauty boxes seem to be flavour of the month, whereas others fall in and out of favour. And it got me thinking: so what REALLY makes a good beauty box?

The whole principle of them for me is about discovering things that you might not do normally. Whether it's a trial size of a new mascara, or a wonder product from Korea, the excitement of finding something you’re previously not tested is always exciting.

Good value for money is also important - most of the boxes available at the moment retail around the £10 (plus postage) mark. Is a collection of unknown products worth the investment? £10 might not seem like a huge amount, but it can easily add up if you receive a box or two that you don't like the contents of. Would it be better to save your money instead and use that money to buy a single item of slightly higher value that you know you really want? There have been too many boxes I’ve received that have had very small samples of things (including perfume vials you can get for free) which is a massive disappointment.

Another thing that often crops up near the top of the ‘irritation list’ is the repetition of brands and products. I’ve lost count of the number of Jelly Pong Pong/So Susan products and Benefit Porefessional samples I’ve seen over the years, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. For me, the variety of content is what makes these things interesting and when beauty box companies seem to have a set rosta of brands they work with, things get very dull, very quickly.

There are several boxes on the scene that now allow you to choose items from a set list of products, which I think is a great idea. This way you get to try things you're most interested in, rather than receiving a random assortment. Yes, it might take away the surprise element, but at least you’ll have a higher chance of enjoying what’s inside your box.

My Little Box is also an interesting one - it's been around on the French market for a long time but recently hit the UK and the mix of lifestyle items and beauty products seems to be drawing people in and justifying its slightly higher price tag. Yes, they might put own brand items in each box, but I’ve also seen the likes of By Terry, Nails Inc and Cowshed popping up in just the few months they’ve been available in the UK.

For me, I think this is the year when beauty box brands either need to up their game or get out of the kitchen. People are no longer happy to receive average boxes; we expect so much more. Perhaps it's time to think about quality of box rather than quantity. Would a better box less often be more attractive? Or a slightly higher price to guarantee full size products or more expensive brands?

What are your thoughts?

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