The Raised Eyebrow – Beauty Sample Subscriptions (Part 1)

Hi everyone! Glad to be finally back here after a pretty rough week! And yes, I suffered a case of vertigo while networking, which is why this blog went silent for two straight days. Wednesday was a whole day of networking for my blog and online store and when Thursday morning came, I got up and all of a sudden the whole world was spinning sideways – I couldn’t even stand on my own two feet. And this went on until Saturday night.

When vertigo hits me, it hits HARD, but I managed to recover well enough to write at least one entry since I went off the radar on Wednesday. And today, I’d like to discuss the beauty sample subscription service – basically, for a monthly or yearly fee, you get a box or bag of beauty samples – two prominent names in this sector are Ipsy and Birchbox. Glossybox and Boxycharm are also pretty popular.

Until now, I didn’t even know such a service actually existed until I saw an advertisement for Ipsy on Yahoo!’s homepage. So I decided to check and see what it’s about.

I did a quick browse of Ipsy and after a round of quizzes, I came across a grid of cosmetic brands that, if I had to guess, they’ve partnered with in order to obtain beauty samples. And I was less than impressed – 14 of the brand names listed are reasonably priced and available in drugstores or available in Sephora. I was under the impression that I’d get beauty samples of products that I couldn’t find in a store or only a celebrity (even a D-list) could afford.

Birchbox runs on a slightly similar premise – they will also send you a box of beauty or grooming samples (they’re unisex compared to Ipsy) for $10 a month, they also have a store here in NYC (which I haven’t come across. And probably never will thanks to the MTA’s fare increase).

Glossybox runs a little higher at $21 per month but with a larger access to medium- and high-end beauty and grooming products and Boxycharm also charges the same price, but instead of small samples, they will send you the full-size product.

In a nutshell, all four companies run on the premise that as long as you tell them what you like and what you’re like, they’ll send you products that are tailored for you.

For the prices that they charge, these companies can potentially save you hundreds of dollars from hit-and-miss runs at the store or online. And I’m not gonna go in-depth with each company and recommend you which one is the best, since I am in no position to literally try each of them for a month. Not only that, you can Google reviews for each company and decide for yourself whether you’re willing to give them a try or not.

What’s making me raise an eyebrow is the “convenience” that these companies are trying to sell themselves on.

As an unemployed college graduate, I have time on my hands to sit down and blog. But even when I was still in college and didn’t work until the school year that I graduated, I was still able to go to a Sephora or a drugstore and check out cosmetics and when I could afford to, buy them. And I still managed to keep up with my academics.

Nowadays, there is a general consensus that we simply “don’t have time” to do things: we don’t have time for or do XYZ so we look for something that offers convenience for us. Yet somehow, it’s normal to say that we’re willing to binge-watch our favorite TV show on Netflix or Hulu or Instagram what we’re doing.

What gives? Why do we find it hard to invest in ourselves yet willing and eager to do things that aren’t really beneficial for us in the long run?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Raised Eyebrow!

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