Consumer Reports: Beauty in a box

Consumer Reports: Beauty in a box

How nice to come home and find a pretty package full of goodies just for you. That’s the appeal of beauty box subscription services, which deliver samples of makeup and skin-care products every month. Consumer Reports ShopSmart signed up for eight services.

The services cost between $10 and $25 per month and contain about four to six samples per box of everything from hairspray to nail polish to beauty tools. In many cases, you take a short quiz so that the companies can tailor the products to you.

How did the boxes stack up? ShopSmart found that the best ones are a great way to try new products. But in its informal tryout, the editors also found that some give you a lot more for your money than others.

For example, BeautyArmy. It costs $12 per month, but ShopSmart got mostly tiny samples, the kind you might get free in a department store.

Others gave more beauty bang for the buck. At just $10, Birchbox delivered generous sample sizes, perfect for taking on a trip. And GlossyBox was the hands-down favorite. It promises five luxury beauty products each month for $21.

With GlossyBox and most of the other beauty box services, you can stop them whenever you want. But you often get a discount if you sign up for several months at a time.