Subscription boxes have become increasingly popular over the last few years. It seems like there is a subscription box for almost any kind of hobby, niche and lifestyle. There are boxes specifically for pet owners, at-home chefs, kids, beauty lovers, you name it there is probably a box out there for you to order. It’s a great concept, you fill out a brief questionnaire and then a curated box of items arrive at your door month after month. You are introduced to new products, foods etc. without ever having leave your home.
Now, to be completely honest I have a love-hate relationship with subscription boxes. I love trying new products and it’s fun to receive packages in the mail, especially when its surprise not fully knowing what each package will contain! Since I predominantly talk about beauty products, it will probably come as no surprise that the few boxes I have subscribed to in the past have been beauty boxes, specifically Ipsy, Birchbox and Sephora Play.
I first subscribed to Ipsy years ago and for months I was excited to receive my boxes (or in this case a super cute bag) of goodies! After awhile the initial excitement started to wear off and I began to receive a lot of products that just weren’t my thing. There were a lot of eye liners and an increasing amount of lip colors that were just too bold for my personal style, and despite subscribing to try new products I just wasn’t happy. I adjusted my profile, but didn’t see much of a change in the type of products I was receiving. Alas, I canceled.
A year or so later I tried Birchbox and Sephora Play, and I loved them! They both had so many great brands and the products were better suited towards my personal preferences. I looked forward to opening my boxes each month and sharing my items on Instagram. So why did I end up canceling? Essentially it came down to two major factors for me. The first being that I was accumulating a lot of products while still purchasing a fair amount of beauty products on my own. I simply needed to de-clutter and use what I already owned. Secondly, small little luxuries like subscription services are always the first things to go when I need to tighten up my budget (and despite how much I love beauty products, I certainly wasn’t giving up my coffee habit). While these particular services weren’t overly expensive, a little bit adds up over a course of time.
Fast forward another year or so to the present, I’m browsing social media (imagine that!) and I see that Walgreens teamed up with Birchbox to create a Build Your Own Birchbox (BYOB) at select locations. Luckily, one of those locations was here in Chicago! What intrigued me so much about Birchbox this time around was that I could go to the store and see the products myself and pick out what I think will work best for me! It’s the perfect balance-I’m introduced to new brands, but can still have a choice in what I receive. Additionally, there’s no monthly commitment, so I don’t have to worry about canceling if it doesn’t fit into my budget
Visiting the BYOB station inside Walgreens was so much fun, everything was presented so nicely and there was even an “Instagram-worthy” wall for you to show off your Birchbox loot! I was kindly greeted by an employee who explained how the boxes worked and provided some information on the program. For $15.00 you choose a box and fill it up with five items. There were fourteen options available ranging from haircare to lip balms and makeup to skincare products. I was happy to see there were some really great, high end brands like Living Proof and Laura Geller along with some that were new-to-me.
I ended up choosing a mix of haircare and makeup items. I’m always on the hunt for the best dry shampoo, so I grabbed The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo, as well as the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat milk. Setting sprays are one of my favorite makeup items, so when I saw the Lise Watier Magnifix Make-Up Fixative spray, I knew I had to make room for it in my box! I had never heard of Lise Watier before and was very impressed with the brand story. Another new-to-me brand was Arrow, an exclusive brand to Birchbox. I was intrigued by the idea of color enhancing lip balm and added it to collection. To complete my box, I added the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in the shade Diamond Dust. I’ve heard a lot about the Baked Gelato Swirl highlighters, but have yet to try them, so this was the perfect opportunity without spending a lot of money on the full size!
Overall, I was impressed with the BYOB concept. I was introduced to new brands and was able to pick out items that really interested me and suited my personal preferences. My hopes are that in the future Birchbox and Walgreens will continue to partner and expand the number of stores that offer this experience, so that more people are able to build their own beauty boxes. Of course, the monthly subscription is still available to those who don’t live near a participating location or just like the surprise of the curated box! I’m curious to hear everyone else’s thoughts on subscription services. Leave a comment if you’ve tried any (beauty related or not). Thanks for reading!