Teenagers are inscrutable creatures, so it should come as no surprise that the task of buying a gift for one can be a challenge. In fact, you might be tempted to stuff some cash in an envelope and call it a day. But not so fast—there’s a better solution. Our roundup of the 24 best subscription boxes for teens has something for every interest, so even the angstiest and pickest high schoolers will be impressed.
1. Penny + Grace Gift Subscription
Jewelry enthusiasts will swoon for this subscription box that includes a set of three coordinating baubles, all of which boast the brand’s sleek and elegant aesthetic. The versatile, sophisticated designs and wallet-friendly price will go over well with parents and teens alike. Subscribers can also change their settings at any time to reflect a preference for gold, rose gold or silver. Whatever option your teen selects, it won’t rub her the wrong way (or leave her with green rings around her fingers) because the entire line is made without nickel or lead.
2. Ipsy Box
What you get: Five skincare and cosmetic samples from highly sought-after brands, neatly packaged in a chic keepsake bag. What you pay: Not quite as much as you’d expect. The entry-level version of Ipsy’s subscription box is a total steal at $12 a pop and a great way for the product-obsessed teen in your life to experiment with various creams and lip gloss shades without blowing through her babysitting money in one go.
For a flat fee, this clever service offers subscribers the opportunity to rent six articles of clothing from Urban Outfitters, Free People, Levi’s, AYR and more of their fave brands, for a full month. Once the apparel is returned, Nuuly sends out the next round of fresh, new threads. Fashionistas will love having the opportunity to try out new styles without the pressure to commit—although, they also have the option to buy their fave piece (or pieces) at a discount.
4. The Inky Box
If you’re looking for a subscription box that speaks to the creative spirit, the Inky Box on CrateJoy is a great option. Unlike other more general art subscriptions, Inky Box, with its narrower focus on lettering and calligraphy, lends itself to the acquisition of a new hobby. Overall, the projects are diverse and you can expect each package to include printable practice sheets, free video tutorials and high-quality tools for extra skill-building potential. Hint: If you give this one to your teen, you might want to pass on the scrapbook-caption-writing torch.
5. Comic Mystery Box
Newcomers and die-hard comic book fans of all ages will be thrilled by this mystery box, which features a wide selection of classic and modern titles. This subscription allows teens to start or grow their collection, since every comic book arrives new (first print); even those who are novel to the medium are sure to be sucked in by the bold visuals, action-packed storylines, and expertly curated offerings. There’s even room for special requests, in the event the teen in your life has a favorite character or two.
This monthly beauty subscription will win you big gifting points with the “I am 16 going on 17” crowd (i.e., teen girls who are unlikely to get that reference). Each box comes full of generously-sized samples from some of the top skincare, haircare, fragrance and cosmetic brands. Best of all, the selection isn’t random, but rather customized according to the specific needs and concerns of the recipient. In other words, ultra-rich, anti-aging face cream won’t go to waste on a high schooler battling hormonal acne.
If your teen has started sneaking spritzes of your expensive perfume, we strongly suggest you nip that habit in the bud. (Seriously, we heard from a friend that kids as young as five can start showing interest in fragrance they don’t know how to apply and can’t afford to replace...) All joking aside, this high-end perfume subscription is a nice indulgence that doesn’t go too far—the small sample vials feel just right for teens who are interested in trying out different scents. There’s also a cologne subscription option, in case you’re the proud parent of an awkward teenage boy on the prowl.
8. Allure Beauty Box
For serious beauty buffs, the Allure Beauty Box is hard to beat—namely because the selection of products sent out have been expertly curated by the magazine’s editorial staff. You can expect to see three full-size products and three deluxe samples in every shipment, and usually at least one item that has received the coveted Allure Best of Beauty Award. The takeaway? This is a high-quality subscription with professional heavyweights behind it...But before you sign on, it’s worth noting that the Allure box doesn’t offer any kind of customization option, unlike some of its competitors.
9. Book of the Month Club (Young Adult)
Books are the bee’s knees and teens who read ‘em might turn out to be kinder, smarter people. (Seriously, studies suggest that reading for pleasure has a number of benefits.) Of course, it’s hard to make a teenager do much of anything, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t pry that iPhone from their grip. But do celebrate if you have an avid reader at home and encourage the habit with a book club subscription that delivers an engaging novel every month. Bonus: It’s easy to add additional titles to this one-per-month subscription, should the young bookworm in your life make short work of the material.
10. KiwiCo Tinker Crate
The KiwiCo Tinker Crate is an educational goldmine, serving up engineering projects that promise to enrich and entertain tweens, teens and grown-ups to boot. These science-based crafts are challenging and sophisticated enough to pique even the interest of older kids who would otherwise be inclined to dismiss STEM activities.
11. KiwiCo Maker Crate
Sign up for this one and your crafty teenager may very well become the next Pinterest sensation. This subscription box is all about art and design, with a focus on hand-crafted decorative items, from hanging macrame planters to punch-needle throw pillows. Truly impressive is the range of techniques covered by this subscription box, which seamlessly incorporates cool new skills into crafts that inspire both creative expression and hands-on engagement.
12. Menlo Club
Teenage dudes that want to look sharp will love the monthly gift of new threads, courtesy of Menlo. The price tag is a bit steep but trust that every piece included is high-quality, not to mention trendy and tasteful. Best of all, the recipient of this gift can customize his look by picking from one of several style profiles ranging from preppy-casual to downtown hipster (and everything in-between).
13. GlobeIn Subscription
Beautiful artisan goods from around the globe are packed in this subscription box, which has plenty of grown-up appeal, but is sure to succeed with young cosmopolitan types or anyone with wanderlust. There are a variety of themes to choose from, some more teen-friendly than others (we suggest the Binge or Cozy Boxes) but the products are high-quality across the board, and the cultural diversity represented is even more valuable.
Give the teenager (or college student) in your life a care package stuffed with snacks and he’ll probably be psyched. The CampusCube reliably features a well-rounded menu—a few sweets, plus some healthy noshes, for good measure—and at least one high-quality item that’s meant to stick around (think, a fancy thermos). Best of all, you can scope out the monthly offerings well in advance and choose to only sign up for the months that speak to you.
There’s no shortage of companies competing for the title of best beauty box these days, but GlossyBox is not to be missed. For starters, this beauty subscription deal pulls products from an incredibly extensive list of premium brands, so nothing they receive is likely to disappoint. Each box contains an assortment of five samples, although there’s no option to customize—but that’s part of the fun, right? Bonus: GlossyBox also offers subscribers an opportunity to earn credit by writing product reviews.
Sign your teen up for a FabFitFun box and she’ll be treated to an array of luxury seasonal scores that cover all her major areas of interest—fashion, beauty, fitness and even decorative accents. This option also boasts extra flexibility on two separate fronts: no subscription is required, and the contents of each box can be customized or kept as is, for a regular surprise.
17. KiwiCo Eureka Crate
Yet another STEM subscription box that will make your teenager swoon, the KiwiCo Eureka crate comes complete with engaging design projects that yield incredibly cool and functional creations. Previous crates have included the instructions and materials required to whip up an electric pencil sharpener, a ukulele and a desk lamp, to name a few. Not to mention, the DIY process is reliably entertaining and thoroughly satisfying.
18. Loot Crate
There’s a Loot Crate for gamers, anime enthusiasts and pop culture buffs, so there’s a good chance this subscription box will float your teen’s boat. No matter the theme, subscribers can look forward to receiving a comic book, a couple collectible figures, and an item from each of the following categories: wearable, household and utility. All in all, it’s a pretty good haul.
19. Billie Smooth Operator
When Billie first came on the scene, their signature razor was met with rave reviews, all due to its reliable, silky-smooth shave. And considering what a hassle grooming can be, anything that makes shaving one’s legs a luxurious experience is an instant winner. The Smooth Operator box also includes bottles of the brand’s dreamy shaving cream and body lotion, both of which leave skin feeling and looking amazing. Plus, the jewel-toned colors of the razor and its matching magnetic holder look darn cute in any shower.
20. Casely Club
Give your teen the gift of fabulous fashion...for her smartphone. Yep, Casely has certainly succeeded at carving out its own niche in the subscription box market—and they might be surprised by how much fun it is to give their phone a new look on the regular. At least, we’re pretty sure the teenager in your life will agree. This subscription service includes one new phone case per month, and the diverse styles available are all pretty ‘gram-worthy, so it’s hard to go wrong.
21. Finders Seekers Mystery Box
The Finders Seekers mystery box has accrued something of a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why. Every month subscribers receive a new box and a new mystery to solve, with the help of the clues provided. The ensuing adventure takes players on an exploration of a different city and its unique culture. Exciting and engaging from start to finish, this puzzle is one any teen will look forward to solving with a friend.
22. KiwiCo Doodle Crate
Creative kids will feel like they hit the jackpot every time this monthly art subscription box arrives in the mail. Each delivery includes a new project with straightforward instructions and a selection of premium materials required to complete it. Young artists can expect to try their hand at everything from washi tape crafts to stained glass painting—and all the techniques covered are downright cool.
23. Candy Club
This one is a pretty easy sell: Give this subscription box as a gift and your teen will feel like, er, a kid in a candy store. Every month, a box arrives that’s overflowing with sugary treats and the selection of candies—which includes chocolates, gummies and sour stuff—is sure to have something that suits the preferences of any teen with a sweet tooth.
24. Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix offers a monthly clothing delivery curated by a personal stylist (aka an algorithm). The idea is that the apparel you receive will be a better match in terms of individual style and sizing, as opposed to what you’d get if you just went on a blind internet shopping binge. Plus, you don't pay for any items they don’t wish to keep. That said, you've got to stay on top of returns (‘cause let’s be honest, your teen probably won’t) or you might end up wasting a lot of extra money on stuff that never gets worn. Still, this subscription experience is fun for young fashionistas—enough so that it might cut down on time spent at Urban Outfitters.
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