It may be a while until you can walk back into a department store’s beauty hall or your favourite brand’s shop to replenish your trusty beauty buys and have a mooch around for exciting new products.
But thankfully the beauty subscription box service has never been more appealing, not just for the fact that they arrive on your doorstep without having to worry about sporting a mask and gloves before stepping foot outdoors, but also because of the array of new and unknown beauty brands that can be discovered.
How many times have you been hesitant about buying a new mascara, eye cream or serum? Exactly. Subscription boxes allow you to try and test new beauty products without having to commit to buying full-size bottles, that may or may not take your fancy. It’s the perfect way to trial new products and still enjoy your old favourites too.
Perhaps you’ve used your time in isolation to have a good old Marie Kondo style beauty clear out or are simply stuck in a beauty rut and need some inspiration, then a subscription box is well worth the investment.
In fact, it is usually competitively priced and can save you money in the long run. Plus, the packaging always deserves a little squeal of delight. The boxes are great for upcycling for storage or even for your children’s latest arts and crafts creation.
And contrary to popular belief, several brands offer one off-boxes, so you do not have to commit to months of subscriptions. Curated beauty boxes that complement your skin tone, hair colour, age and even your lifestyle are also an option.
We’ve unpackaged the beauty boxes to reveal the best pick of the bunch that we guarantee will be the highlight of your month, whether you’re stuck indoors or not.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Michaella Bolder the facial box by MD: £49.99 a month, Michaella Bolder
Known as the facial expert Michaella Bolder, A-list facialist (Dame Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris to name a few) and BBC Strictly Come Dancing’s head of tanning, knows anything and everything there is to know about skincare.
Born from Michaella’s desire to offer a package of her “cult” favourites that have been personally tried and tested over the years on lots of different skin types and shades. Each product makes up part of your daily optimal skincare routine and includes cleansers, exfoliators, masks, SPF, self tan and lip balms.
This first limited-edition box is sunshine approved for your ultimate summer skincare. Made up of seven skin nourishing and perfectly portable products, including Rodial, Weleda, St. Tropez, plus an exclusive 15 per cent discount on any Elemis product of your choice.
With Michaella’s beauty expertise and the inclusion of some of the best hard-working skincare brands, this is definitely a subscription box that we trust. We’re already looking forward to next season’s delivery.
Hanx condoms: From £4.24 for a pack of 3, Hanx
We know this isn’t a beauty box as you know it, but while you may be stuck indoors with your loved one with extra time on your hands, we thought this condom subscription service is well worth the mention.
Founded by childhood friends Farah Kabir and Sarah Welsh who were fed up of garish condom designs. They wanted to create condoms that encouraged people to be proud of caring about their sexual health. This discreet and luxuriously packaged subscription box comes straight to your door saving you the embarrassment of buying condoms in store and standing sheepishly in line at the checkout. These latex-free, spermicide free, and vegan condoms have a clean scent with no irritating lubricant, plus the subscription saves you 15 per cent off RRP. Win, win all round.
Oh Mumma mum & babe luxe subscription box: £25, Oh Mumma
Whether you’re looking for a baby shower gift or simply spoiling yourself, Oh Mumma is a luxe subscription box for modern mothers. Each box has five to seven handpicked beauty and lifestyle products for new or expecting mums, as well as something extra for your little one’s ever-changing needs. Products are tailored to the mother’s beauty profile and baby’s birth/due date.
Expect to find some much-loved brands (Weleda, Benefit) alongside more independent brands (Pai) founded by mums, with the value of the box guaranteed to be more than double the selling price. Best of all, a percentage of profits goes to the Pandas Foundation, which supports families coping with pre- and postnatal mental illnesses. Plus, it’s free delivery to everywhere in the UK and you can cancel your subscription whenever you want to. What’s not to like?
Flo period sorted subscription packs: From £4.99 for 16 non-applicator tampons, Flo
With the recent Covid-19 outbreak, there is an unprecedented level of demand for tampons, sanitary towels and other period products. A Flo subscription quite literally comes to the rescue with a box (delivered free!) straight to your door each month, making your period and staying at home a little bit easier.
You won’t ever have to ruffle through your handbag in the hope of finding a tampon again. Plus, these are more friendly to you and the environment. Flo tampons are 100 per cent organic and come in either a non-applicator or plant-based sugarcane applicator pack. The pads and liners are made from organic bamboo with biodegradable and plant-based wrappers. And if you needed one more reason why you should sign up, Flo donates five per cent of its profits to charities supporting girls and women in need. We heart you!
Symprove: From £52 a month, Symprove
If you’ve read about the importance of gut health, it’s almost certain you’ve probably heard about the power of Symprove. It is a non-dairy, gluten free, water-based barley drink that contains four strains of live bacteria to help balance your gut’s microbiome (a massive ecosystem made of up trillions of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses that live in your digestive tract).
At a time when health is at the top of everyone’s agenda, your gut is a good starting to point to take care of yourself and ensure your immune system is on top form, which is why Symprove made this hit list.
It comes in two varieties; original, and (a less offensive taste) mango and passion fruit. It is a subscription service that offers deliveries either monthly, or every six or eight-weeks. You will never run out and can continue to look after yourself. There’s no binding contract, so you can cancel at any time.
Birchbox beauty subscription box: From £12.95 a month, Birchbox
The pioneers of beauty subscription boxes, who still remain top of its game. Its chic, innovative, Instagram-worthy box designs and collaborations with fashion labels and influencers earn it its loyal subscribers.
When you first sign up, you complete a beauty profile to ensure your monthly box is curated; filled with items you will use and most importantly, love using. Birchbox never fails to impress with luxe products and new beauty offerings from smaller brands.
Each box is well-considered with makeup, skin, body and haircare delights and often there’s a bonus product, just because (who needs a reason?). If you’re hunting for a great birthday present to give a loved one that also saves you from leaving the house, this is a perfect choice.
Masktime face mask subscription box: From £9.95 for 4 sheet masks, Masktime
If you’re obsessed with Korean beauty (us too) and love nothing more than a pamper session with a sheet mask, then look no further. This affordable subscription box will give you endless amounts of pleasure and deep hydration to your skin with an array of masks hand-picked especially for your skin needs.
Save it for a girl’s night in and let the masks get to work. Our favourite? The entia no filter brightening mask. It is a Zoom and selfie skin saviour, and a great vitamin C fix, so keep an eye out for when it's next back in stock.
Glossybox beauty subscription box: From £8.50 a month, Glossybox
For all the girly girls and beauty junkies out there, this signature pink box is home to five products – from brands you’ll mostly know, think Ritual, Nails Inc., The Sanctuary. Before you sign up to your subscription, you create a beauty profile to ensure your products are tailored, so no product is left unopened.
Plus, you’ll receive super-helpful description cards explaining how best to apply the products. And if commitment isn’t your thing, you can unsubscribe at any time (though we have a strong feeling this won’t be the case). You’re bundle of pink will soon become your new BFF.
Luminous London facial yoga membership: £29.99 per year, Luminous London
Although not a subscription box per se, this is a subscribe only website that allows you to benefit from facial exercise, massage, relaxation, acupressure and breathing tutorials with live online classes. It also offers members discounts on luxe skincare brands.
The brainchild of two sisters in their thirties trying to juggle family, work, home and more (sound familiar?) they saw a direct correlation between stress, muscles and tension in their face and neck area, which after being stimulated led to a glowy complexion and more relaxed, toned muscles.
You can choose to do either a full routine or focus on a specific part of your head, neck or face. This innovative concept is the perfect way to bring self-care into your home or to someone else’s. Just remember to sanitise your hands first!
The Perfume Society perfume box: From £15 a month, The Perfume Society
Never underestimate the healing power of scent. This fragrance subscription box is a fun way to try and test perfumes without spending extortionate prices to smell good, while experimenting and exploring new notes. We particularly loved the luxury layering discovery box, which encourages you to layer fragrances – this is hot news right now in the scent industry.
It also offers boxes solely for men too – the Mr. Scentastic discover box. If we’re still in lockdown on Father’s Day, this makes a nice change from a new pair of socks! And it’s really affordable too.
Every member gets access to the beautifully written online magazine The Scented Letter which makes for a fascinating read on fragrance and smell. Oh, and did we mention that the perfume testers also come complete with a scent card, detailing each and every note, a gorgeous finishing touch. Lots and lots of reasons to sign up now.
The verdict: Beauty and health subscription boxes
Although pricier than the other subscription boxes, The Facial Box stands out for products that have been carefully selected with years of expertise. You don’t feel short-changed by this box because even the packaging has the luxe-factor.
We also think Hanx deserves a shout out for putting a contraceptive subscription box on the map. This is the first of its kind and although it’s a relatively new brand, it has already changed the way women view buying and carrying condoms. Definitely a welcome change for female empowerment.
If ever there was a time to try out a subscription box, this is it. Plus, there’s the added bonus of never missing your delivery while you’re on lockdown.