(NEW YORK) — Ever since the coronavirus pandemic put shopping in stores on pause, it’s been difficult for those who want to try on makeup products in person before buying.
But during the pandemic, companies like FabFitFun and Ipsy have grown in popularity and taken on the challenge of finding the right makeup products by helping subscribers discover different brands and products in a monthly box.
Influencers like Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner swear by makeup subscription boxes and hype them up in advertisements on social media.
The cost of makeup subscription boxes can range from as low as $7 a month to as much as $50 a month.
“The makeup subscription business has been steadily growing as it becomes more crowded,” said Ashley Phillips, style and beauty editor for Business Insider. “Social media influencers are really helpful in bringing more visibility to different makeup brands.”
To see if these boxes are worth it, ABC News’ technology and consumer correspondent Becky Worley tried out four boxes and Good Housekeeping’s April Franzino weighed in on which ones have the best bang for your buck using the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
For $25 a month, Boxycharm subscribers will receive up to five full-sized beauty products, which can cost $120 or more. The products can range from makeup and skin care, to beauty tools and color cosmetics.
Brands that have been included in past boxes include Tarte, Too Faced, Fenty Beauty, Dr. Brandt and more.
Overall, Franzino said Boxycharm was worth it.
“Boxycharm was a great value for the price that you pay,” she said.
FabFitFun is the priciest of the four boxes, but it also had the most value.
Subscribers have the option of either paying for an annual fee of $179.99 for FabFitFun boxes, or a quarterly fee of $49.99 for each box. In return, FabFitFun will send a box each season filled with eight products from home goods, fashion, wellness, beauty and more.
Franzino said the box has the best value — in fact, in Worley’s spring box, one of the products was a face cream worth almost $100.
“You receive products up to more than $300 in total value,” said Franzino. “I even was shocked when I opened the box and I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you get this for $50."”
Walmart beauty box
Believe it or not, Walmart also has its own beauty box. For $6.98 per box, with one sent each season, consumers will receive beauty items from brands sold at Walmart.
Products in each box could be everything from nail polish and shampoo to face masks and toothpaste.
While the caveat for this box is that the products are sample size, Franzino said the value is still worth it.
“The value was $20,” said Franzino. “So you’re getting twice as much than you’re paying for.”
Like Boxycharm, Ipsy also aims to help subscribers discover new makeup brands and products with their beauty box or “Glam Bags.” But instead of offering just one beauty box, subscribers can choose from three different types.
For $12 a month, subscribers can receive a Glam Bag that offers five personalized, deluxe-size beauty samples, which can be worth over $50. Their next box, Glam Bag Plus, is $25 a month and delivers five personalized, full-size beauty products to subscribers. And finally, the Glam Bag X is similar to a FabFitFun box, with seven to eight full-sized products sent to members each season or quarter. Glam Bag X costs $55 per quarter.
Franzino called Ipsy a great deal.
“Each of those boxes came with seven products in them and they were all full size. They were from a lot of well-known brands; we felt like you were getting even more than promised,” she said.
The only downside was that the Ipsy Glam Bag Plus took the longest out of the four boxes to arrive.
Ipsy told ABC’s Good Morning America in a statement that “since the staffers signed up on April 15th, they received our May bag” and that glam bag plus membership includes a window “to build their perfect bag through ‘Ultra Personalization."”
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