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Letterbox luxuries: Treat yourself to the best beauty subscription boxes


Whether you’re stuck in a beauty rut and need some inspiration, or you’re a beauty obsessive that loves to try out new products, you’ll find a beauty subscription box that’s perfect for you.

Receiving a handpicked edit of beauty products straight to your door is a sure-fire way of putting a smile on your face each month when the postman arrives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, whether you treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas.

Beauty packages are also the easiest way to try something new, as we can’t swatch and try on in-store like pre-pandemic times. They’re also the most cost-effective, as they won’t break the bank like playing trial and error purchasing full-size products can.

Most subscriptions are monthly or bi-monthly, where you sign up to a 3-month, 6-month or 1-year subscription – the longer you subscribe the cheaper they become. And you get a choice to pay monthly or up front. You’ll also find flexible sign-ups with a rolling contract, where you can cancel or pause anytime, as well as just buying one-off boxes.

No longer are there just a handful of beauty subscription boxes to choose from. You’ll find specialist ones to suit your lifestyle – think vegan and natural-based. One’s to suit your stage in life, from becoming a new mum to the menopause, as well as ones to suit beauty novices and know-it-alls. So, to make sure you find the best one for your wants and needs, we did some investigating.

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How we tested

To find the best beauty subscription boxes, we judged each on a number of criteria. We looked at what’s inside, considering the quality of brands, the variety and the sizes of products. Then we compared it to the price and flexibility of the subscription, and the overall value for money. Here are the winning boxes of beauty treats worth signing up to…

The best beauty subscription boxes for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Glossybox: From £11.75 each for 12 months or £13.25 for one, Glossybox.co.uk
  • Best for well-known beauty brands – Look Fantastic beauty box: £13 each for 12 months or £15 for one, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for over 40s – TOYL beauty box: £35 per month, Toyl.co.uk
  • Best natural beauty subscription box – Wellbeing Sisters discovery box: £35 every 2 months, Wellbeingsisters.com
  • Best for new mums – Oh Mumma beauty boxes: From £30 for 1 or £25 for 6, Ohmumma.com
  • Best for personalised skincare – Skin + Me: £19.99 per month, Skinandme.com
  • Best for fragrance lovers – The Fragrance Shop scent addict: £12 per month, Thefragranceshop.co.uk
  • Best low price subscription – Birchbox: £13.95 per month, Birchbox.co.uk
  • Best luxe products for less – Beauty Pie membership: £15 per month or £59 for the year, Beautypie.com
  • Best for creating your own – The Lib Box by Latest in beauty: £12.95 per month, Latestinbeauty.com

Glossybox: From £11.75 each for 12 months or £13.25 for one, Glossybox.co.uk

(Glossybox)

Best: Overall

  • Rating: 9.5/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: Full size and travel size

This pink box is one of the original beauty subscription box services that started it all and is still much-loved today – now selling in 10 countries. The brand sources products from around the world, so you can trust them to bring you a mix of exciting newness as well as established classics.

Every month there are five products in the box worth over £50, with a theme to each. The November offering is “beauty desires”, promising soft, silk-like textures and radiance-boosting make-up with four full size products. We found products from brands we already know and love like the E.l.f Cosmetics bitesize eyeshadow palette, but also brands that are new and exciting like the relaunched Commodity Fragrances Paper scent with its beautiful woody amber notes.

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Look Fantastic beauty box: £13 each for 12 months or £15 for one, Lookfantastic.com

(Look Fantastic )

Best: For well-known brands

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: Full size and travel size

You can bet the website, with such an incredible amount of beauty brands, is going to have an impressive subscription box too. Worth over £51 with six products in various sizes, you can get your hands on this one for as little as £13 a month if you sign up for 12 months.

Our testers’ favourites in the November box include the skin-brightening Balance Me BHA exfoliate concentrate, a leave-on salicylic acid formula. The Prai throat and décolletage cream that gives the often-neglected area some skincare love and the Le Mini Macaron foot mask, because your soles should be looked after all year round.

The brand also does some fabulous limited-edition boxes with brands. The November boxes are with Neom and Perricone MD, so if you’re fans of either be quick if you want to get your hands on one.

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(TOYL)

Best: For over 40s

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: Full size

Put together with the beauty wants and needs of women 40 plus in mind, TOYL (Time of Your Life) offers a collection of skin, hair or make-up products each month that’s always worth a minimum of £100. Subscribe to three, six or 12 months to make a bigger saving, and it’s flexible as you can cancel or pause anytime – handy as you get to see in advance what’s inside.

The November box is an edit of party make-up perfect for the season ahead, including the Code Beautiful VLM mascara for stay-in-place lash volume and length, the Bellapierre ultraglow highlighting and bronzing palette, the Lord and Berry vogue matte lipstick in fuchsia for a suit-all bold lip, and the brand’s skin control mattifying/blurring primer to make sure your make-up stays flawless until the end of every Christmas do. There’s a bonus sample size of the new Vita Liberata heavenly elixir to give your skin a natural golden glow too.

We got a sneak peek at the December box too with a range of products including the Prai Beauty menoglow hot flush cool fix serum, the Floral Street iris goddess EDP, the Percy & Reed wonderbalm hair primer, the Gatineau exfoliating body polish and the Rodial freeze and smooth neck mask. There’s something to keep every part of you looking and smelling your best.

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(Wellbeing Sisters)

Best: Natural beauty subscription box

  • Rating: 8.5/10
  • Regularity: Every other month
  • Product sizes: Full size and travel size

Turn to this brand if you’re looking to make cleaner choices when it comes to beauty and personal care. Started by two sisters who benefited from making better conscious choices in their lives, this subscription service is a brilliant introduction to new natural brands. You can sign up to receive a new box every other month and cancel anytime – the current offering is worth over £50 and comes with six products inside.

Try the rejuvenating Wild Pharmacy good things happen face mask for perking up a tired complexion, or banish frizz with the John Masters Organics leave-in conditioning mist, a brand our tester loves. Go natural with your toothpaste and deodorant with the two offerings from Ben & Anna and spritz your way to a better immune system with the BetterYou Dlux 1000 vegan vitamin D oral spray. And then there’s some Booja-Booja almond salted caramel chocolate truffles thrown in too.

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Oh Mumma beauty boxes: From £30 for 1 or £25 for 6, Ohmumma.com

(Oh Mumma)

Best: For new mums

  • Rating: 8.5/10
  • Regularity: Every other month
  • Product sizes: Full size and travel size

Look no further if you’re struggling to find a gift for a new mum, as a box of beauty treats hand-picked by mums, for mums, couldn’t be more of a winner. Choose a one-off or sign up for a box delivered bi-monthly, which they say is always worth double what you pay. You also get to pick whether you want a “mum and baby” box or a “just for mum” box, too.

Every box contains between five to seven products. A stand out product for us is the full-size new Bloom & Blossom hands up hand cream that has been keeping our testers’ hands comfortably hydrated for over a month now. The Wick & Wonder coast candle is also perfect for encouraging a little me-time, and the Pai middlemist seven cleanser and cloth, which makes quick and easy work of lifting away the day’s make-up and dirt.

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(Skin + Me )

Best: For personalised skincare

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: One full size

From smoothing fine lines and wrinkles or banishing acne, Skin + Me offer a “dermatologist to your doorstep” service to treat an array of skin concerns with their prescription-strength topical treatments. Simply fill in the online questionnaire and upload three photos of your face to be prescribed a bespoke cream that’s personalised to you.

It can be a minefield trying to work out which actives should be in your regime, so this is the perfect choice for those that aren’t clued up on the benefits of different skincare ingredients.

The concentrations start low and get stronger with time, offering you a powerful and effective treatment that we can’t believe is so reasonably priced.

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(The Fragrance Shop)

Best: For fragrance lovers

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: One travel size

This subscription is not strictly a beauty box, but rather a fragrance subscription service perfect for those who still haven’t found their signature scent or are looking to add to their fragrance wardrobe. From brand new designer fragrances to classics and everything in-between, simply pick the ones you’d like to try out of the 500, and sign up to a three, six or 12-month fixed membership to receive one 8ml atomizer monthly (around 100 sprays).

There’s a helpful perfume quiz too for making recommendations if you don’t know where to start. And best of all you get a £12 voucher to redeem on a full-size bottle should you fall in love with your selection.

Testing a new scent can be impossible, so we found this service invaluable. A quick spritz in a department store can make you instantly love something and buy it, but make you loathe it later in the day when the dry-down isn’t the same. This ensures you properly try out the scent so that never happens again.

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(Birchbox)

Best: Low price 12-month subscription

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: Full size and travel size

Another OG beauty subscription box that is still hard to beat, as shown by the four million worldwide subscribers and customers. Expect five products each month from a mix of haircare, skincare, make-up and body in various sizes. We love that the brand takes a more personalised approach, asking you to fill out a beauty profile, so they can tailor the box to you when needed.

There’s no commitment with just one, but you save money the more you sign up for – making it the cheapest of all our winners. And if you try something in the box and love it, subscribers can purchase it on the brand’s site with 10 per cent off – leading to 15 per cent off everything after six months in a row of subscribing.

Our testers favourite products in the November box, on sale until the end of the month, include, the full-size KNDR eyeshadow trio – a beautifully packaged palette from a new US brand (choose from two shades). We also liked the travel size Percy and Reed hold it right there hairspray, perfect for popping in your handbag for touch-ups, and the Nuxe organic antioxidant serum – because everyone should be layering their skin with one.

Buy now

Beauty Pie membership: £15 per month or £59 for the year, Beautypie.com

(Beauty Pie)

Best: For luxe products for less

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Product sizes: Full size

It’s not technically a beauty box, but it is a beauty membership well worth knowing about – if you don’t already. Become a member for a minimum of three months and you’ve got access to cutting-edge skincare and make-up from the same factories that supply the luxury brands.

It’s an affordable option for those looking to refresh their beauty routine, and that doesn’t mean it’s any less quality. You’ll find the most powerful and effective actives in skincare, and make-up that rival some of the very best.

Buy now

(Latest in beauty)

Best: For creating your own

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Regularity: Once a month
  • Product sizes: Travel size

Turn to this beauty box if you’re not into surprises and prefer a personalised approach, as you get to pick your own six products each month out of 100’s of products. After 30 days you get to pick another edit, and there’s no minimum subscription so you can cancel anytime.

Each month there’s a new product introduced to the line-up, as well as a hall of fame product for the month that’s worth £15 or more. This November it’s the Bybi bright eyed illuminating eye cream, and past picks are from some of our testers favourite brands including 111Skin, Nars and Philip Kingsley to name a few. A brilliant option for making sure nothing goes unwanted.

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The verdict: Beauty subscription boxes

For a mix of familiar finds and new brands to know, GlossyBox is our best buy, thanks also to its purse-friendly prices too. If you’re over 40 you can’t beat TOYL’s offering, with generous sizes and products with mature skin in mind.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on skincare and the beauty offers, try the links below:

House your new beauty buys in the best make-up bags for everyday organisation and travelling

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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