Hands up anyone who’s never received a subscription box. With these monthly – or even weekly – box drops spanning all categories from food (Hello Fresh) to fitness (Fabletics) and of course beauty (Birchbox was one of the first in 2010), you’ll be hard pushed to find a subscription box novice. I first discovered the concept with Glossybox seven years ago, then transitioned to a film subscription and finally dabbled in Graze boxes. Whatever your passion or your needs – including geek gear and stickers – there’s a box out there for everyone. The industry has seen huge growth in the last few years, with huge companies like Sephora and Look Fantastic jumping on the bandwagon, but has it reached its peak? The element of surprise as well as the convenience are two clear benefits of the subscription model, so can these boxes continue to innovate and deliver new and exciting offers? British company The Natural Beauty Box has tapped into the rising demand for natural and cruelty-free beauty products. I review their line up to find out what today’s subscription box has to offer.
The offering from this beauty box subscription centres around natural, cruelty free and vegan beauty products. Each month the box is delivered to you containing 5 or 6 products, a mix of travel size and full size, with a promise of their worth reaching at least £50. Not bad for a cost of £24.95 per box, meaning you’re guaranteed to be paying these items half price or less. Products – anything from cleansers, serums, oils, scrubs, creams and balms – adhere to a monthly theme like Sparkle & Glow or Winter Skin Saviours – the one I received, which is advertised with a worth of £56. The brown rectangular postal box is unbranded save for a Natural Beauty Box round sticker. Once opened you’re greeted with a postcard sized leaflet highlighting the theme and providing a little detail on each of the products featured. I found this very useful as it showed how the six products form a skincare routine. The items themselves are wrapped in red tissue paper and nestled in brown shredding for protection.
Starting off with my favourite product in the line up, this face polish exfoliates to remove dead skin cells. There is currently a preference in the beauty world for chemical exfoliants, which break apart the bonds between the skin cells like The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, rather than mechanical ones (ground hibiscus flowers and rice powder in the case of this product) which feature abrasive materials to physically remove cells from the skin. Regardless of the trend I’m still a fan of old school exfoliators as long as the particles are fine and the formula is rich in oils. This one delivers on both counts, featuring coconut, sweet almond, peppermint, bergamot and mandarin oils. The peppermint scent really comes through and seems at odds with the blueberry mousse-looking formula, but my skin felt so smooth and baby soft after using it. Discovering such a great find is what makes beauty boxes so attractive. 30ml RRP £7.00
Clear, lightweight, fragrance-free and enriched in hyaluronic acid for plumper skin, this serum claims to do everything: protect, strengthen, prevent moisture loss, reduce the appearance of fine lines, improve luminosity and skin texture. The non sticky formula sinks quickly into skin and leaves a satisfying feeling of hydration. This serum is such a pleasure to use it’s now part of my skincare routine. 30ml RRP £26.00
As mentioned in my blog post Top 5 Natural Facial Oils for Healthy Skin, the face oil category is having a bit of a moment, which spells opportunity for niche beauty brands focusing on natural ingredients. This one has a distinctive – though not unpleasant – scent which fades quite swiftly and comes from a blend of nourishing oils, namely rosehip, poppy seed, raspberry seed, kiwi seed and pomegranate seed oils. Once massaged into skin it doesn’t leave an oily residue, just soft skin. 20ml RRP £19.20
Well this is one of the prettiest beauty products I’ve come across in a long time. The glass black pot is simple and sleek and can be re-used if you take off the label with white spirit. But the best part is revealed as you unscrew the lid, showing off a delicate blend of peachy pink Himalayan salts sprinkled with juniper berries, rose petals and lavender. I don’t often indulge in a luxurious bath but if I was spending a night in a hotel (as the blurb on the brand’s website suggests) then this beautiful pot of vegan and organic bath salts would have a place in my overnight bag. 50g RRP £8.00
I’m really not into products dedicated to feet and as a result mine tend to look neglected and unloved. So when I saw this foot balm I can’t say that I was motivated to try it. The presentation of both sticks doesn’t help either, with plain white plastic and labels that look like they’ve come off a home printer. The foot balm smells medicated and the body one seems odourless, but once applied the balms do sink into skin quickly without leaving any residue. My feet do need more love and care so I’ll persevere with this treatment balm, however the body version didn’t make the cut. 4.5g RRP £3.00
The Natural Beauty Box champions small upcoming British brands and eco-luxe artisans, meaning you’re likely to discover new little beauty gems in every delivery. The downside is that you can’t tailor the box to your preferences so it’s a game of Russian roulette as to what you’ll end up with each month. It’s a great way to discover new brands and products you wouldn’t otherwise come across, but only suitable for beauty enthusiasts willing to stray from firm favourites. What beauty boxes do you rate? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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