Whenever a beauty box is mentioned, Birchbox and Glossybox always crop up. Are they really that good, or do they just have good exposure? Now, I’ve tried Birchbox for the best part of the year and you can read my review here, but each time I looked at the spoilers for Glossybox, all they did was put me off subscribing. Anyhow, you can’t review something without trying it, and that means reading the small print, going through the ordering process, and experiencing the customer service besides actually receiving the box, which should be the easiest part. Boxes cost £10 each (with discounts if you subscribe for longer plans) and postage is £3.25 per box. Each box contains 5-6 items, which are described as luxe, but as many of the products cost around £5 in the local chemist, to me that is classed as budget.
I’ve been monitoring Glossybox all year, and to say that they have luxe beauty products is a bit of a stretch. There maybe the odd one here and there, but generally they are budget to mid-price products in my opinion. They do have promotions from time to time (money off or buy one get one free), but often they are time sensitive, and are only in the last week or few days of each month. Now, there is a huge catch here, which I see as slightly dodgy and tricky. When you sign up for the monthly option is says you can unsubscribe at any time. That’s not technically true—you must cancel before the 14th day of the month, otherwise you will be charged for another month, or if it is to cancel a longer subscription then you must do it on the 14th of the month before your subscription is due to renew. There is another sting in the tail; any GlossyDots you have (loyalty points) will cease to be valid even if you resubscribe, and are only valid with active subscriptions.
Yes, the small print, and the contradictory information is enough to give you a headache, but some people do like the boxes. However, I am a member of several beauty swap clubs and I can tell you most of the products are always up for swaps. When I see that, I know that it’s not a successful curation. I had been tempted before to get a box, but at the beginning of the year all new subscriptions would consist of a starter box, and not what other members had that month. I saw that as a ploy to give new people a random selection of old samples, and I was not going to pay for that. Then there was another offer of buy one box get another free. Sounds great, but they wanted you to pay £3.25 postage for the free box, so not so free.
There are several subscription options:
- Monthly @ £10 a box plus £3.25 postage per box
- 3 Months @ £9.50 per box plus £3.25 postage per box
- 6 Months @ £9.00 per box plus £3.25 postage per box
- 12 months @ £8.50 per box plus £3.25 postage per box
The GlossyDots loyalty scheme doesn’t seem to inspire or to encourage people to stay, as 1000 points are needed in order to redeem a free box. Points are gained by completing surveys on each box at 50 points, and referring a friend for 200 points, plus you must have an active subscription to keep those points valid. Compared to the US version, the UK doesn’t seem as good, as while members only get 20 points for each survey in the US, they do get more dots for referrals (up to 1000 points if someone buys a yearly subscription).
I decided to cancel after ordering one box to see how easy it was. Well, it wasn’t—I had to search for the right section on my account, and once I had ordered the welcome email sends you instructions on how to cancel, but is written in a contradictory manner, that could be clearer.
“Please note that for monthly subscriptions we need to receive cancellations prior to the 14th day of the previous month. Any cancellation past that date will end with the following months box. For example, if you subscribe on the 1st of the month you would need to cancel before the 14th of the same month, in order to not receive following months box.”
Therefore, if you order on the 15th of the month, even though it’s not a previous month, you will be charged for the next month. You can however cancel the subscription under the ‘cooling off period’ under UK law where orders made online, over phone, or by post maybe cancelled within 14 days of the order being received, and the sender should also refund any postage charges. I’m glad to say that Glossybox (under section 6 of their terms and conditions) allow cancellations and refunds, but it took me a week and a couple of emails before I got a response. They do refund postage charges, but you have to pay them upfront, and get refunded in total when the box is returned.
The customer service seemed slow; I got a response on Facebook and Twitter before the email response, and my query was resolved. On the delivery side, the box did arrive quickly; I ordered on Friday and received the box on Wednesday, but it did look as if just an address label was put on it with no despatch note. The presentation is okay, but I haven’t been into pink since I was teenager (but many women do like pink) and the box didn’t wow me, even though I knew what to expect inside (a sheet mask, a razor, hair thickening spray, an eyeshadow brush, and a grey eyeshadow pencil). Receiving a disposable razor is not a luxe product, and other months included a Primark product, a Revlon Top Coat, MUA Eyeshadow Palette, Soft and Gentle Deodorant, Revlon mascara, Next make-up, Olay creams, and Hawaiian Tropic sun oil—all budget priced items that can be found in the local chemists. There have been some luxe brands such as Philosophy, and Darphin, but the samples were small, and were in the minority.
I’m not sure why Glossybox is so popular, perhaps it’s good for teenagers or those who with disposable cash, but isn’t for the person who knows what kinds of products they need and like. Of course, these boxes are for discovering new brands, but looking back over the offerings there weren’t that many new brands, or premium items.
Rating 2/5: The box arrived quickly and gets points for that alone, but as for the contents, in general the majority are not luxe. The loyalty program is complicated (Birchbox lets you keep your points for 6 months, and allows you to resubscribe at anytime) and doesn’t seem to have any incentive, the cancellation process is not easy and is misleading with the terms ‘cancel at anytime’, and their customer service is slow in responding to queries. There are better beauty boxes around that offer discounts, with more flexibility to cancel or to freeze a subscription. If you choose to subscribe, read the small print first, very carefully.
©2016. Beauty Super Spy.