I love me an under $20 beauty box. They are filled with deluxe sized samples so that you can try out new products that you might want to purchase in the future. As we all know, those full size products are expensive and if there is a deterring factor when purchasing a new product, price is probably number one. I’m starting a new blog series called the Beauty Box Face Off to help you decide which boxes you want to try. Every month I will get two $10-20 boxes, and I will review head-to-head style. Each box will be judged in the same categories each time, and each round will be best of three- the winner of three rounds will move on to face off against a new box in the next round. I am paying for these boxes, so the reviews of the items and the overall value are unbiased! If you could use our links to purchase boxes, that would be greatly appreciated! It’s time for Beauty Box Face Off round 1! Ding ding ding!
Beauty Box Face Off: Product Assortment
The first boxes I am trying are the Allure Beauty Box and the Play! By Sephora box. I am pretty impressed by both boxes. Both offer products in the three major beauty categories: Skin care, makeup, and haircare. Both boxes feature (mostly) high end beauty brands.
Sephora Play!: The Sephora box comes with 5 deluxe samples and a bonus sample. There are two make up samples, three skin care samples, and the bonus sample is a haircare multivitamin. I would have liked to receive another deluxe sample hair product. All of these are deluxe samples of products found online and in stores at Sephora.
Allure Beauty Box: This is my first beauty box from Allure, so I received a very nice first-time subscriber gift (more on that later). Aside from the gift, this box includes six samples, two of which are full size products. There are two make up products, two skin care products, and two haircare products. Very balanced.
Product Assortment winner: Allure
Beauty Box Face Off: Brand Assortment
Allure Beauty Box: This box is a bigger assortment of brands ranging from mid grade brands, high end brands I hadn’t heard of, and premium beauty brands. The assortment does, however, appear to be curated by the writers and editors at Allure Magazine. I respect journalism, so I am trusting that they wouldn’t attach their name and face to products they didn’t believe in. Still, I’d love to see more recognizable brands.
Brand Assortment winner: This one goes to Sephora
Beauty Box Face Off: Product Review + Use Value
Sephora Play: My favorite product in this box is the Laniege Lip Mask. I wore it this morning while I was getting ready and it made a noticeable difference. You can, and should, wear this product overnight for maximum benefit. This product sample will last a while because only a little product is required. It was also much needed, as my lips are currently uncomfortably dry.
Another product I love is the Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask. I patch tested it on my t-zone. It smells very natural, and creates a calming sensation on the skin. I was left with soft skin that was visibly soothed. Squalane and Tea Tree are both beauty buzz words right now, with many supposed benefits!
The Belif cream was fine. I was neither excited nor disappointed by this product. I have this AMAZING jelly cleanser from the same line that I love, though!
Two products I can not use are the Tarte foundation, and though I tested it I can’t imagine wanting it even in the correct color. I am on the fence about including foundation samples in beauty boxes. With such a wide variety of skin tones, it’s nearly impossible to match customers with a usable product. The coverage was weaker than I expected and it is definitely my least favorite Tarte foundation formula. Another product I cannot use is the Stila waterproof eyeliner due to the fact that I have lash extensions. However, I have used this product before and it is the best liquid eyeliner, in my opinion. I’ll save this one for some time in the future or give it to a friend.
Allure Beauty Box: My favorite product in this box is actually widely available in Target stores. It is the SGX Do-It-All. It is a dry shampoo and texture spray in one, which works fabulously. I will definitely purchase this product again. You can try the full size product for under $6 with code ALLURE19 + In-Store Pick-up!
There were two products in this box that I really liked but had never heard of. First is a very nice eye brow pencil from The BrowGal. At first I was concerned it wouldn’t match because the shade is Medium brown, but it works great and is a very well designed tool that has a built in sharpener and eyebrow brush. It’s a full size product. Another full size product is a lipgloss by Floss. It’s beautiful on it’s own, or applied on top of another lip product you love (though, don’t pair it with a stain or paint as it will cause it to rub off everywhere!).
There are two products that didn’t blow me a way- Context all day eye cream and Avene thermal spring water. The eye cream is actually a gel, which gives it a lot of flexibility for use. I will continue to test out the product, maybe it will grow on me. The Thermal Water spray… but why? Fancy French water for your face. Neat. I did not feel instantly refreshed, just a little damp, but I’d probably use it to reset my make up mid day. Or just toss it in my car in case I become dehydrated. Seriously, if someone knows why in the world one would need canned face water, please, indulge me.
The final product in this box is Moroccanoil Treatment by Moroccanoil. I love the way these products smell, but I don’t have much luck using them in my fine hair. I will regift this sample to my mom, who has a ton of course hair and would benefit from a product like this.
Winner: Sephora. I liked that there were no products in the Allure box that I can’t use, but I was more excited by most of the products in the Sephora box.
Beauty Box Face Off: Actual Value
I nerded out with a calculator and figured out the value of each sample relative to the retail value of the full size product. I didn’t want to use sample size price because typically when you buy a sample you are paying a very inflated price for the extra packaging and convenience.
Allure Beauty Box: With a few full size products, the Allure box value came in at around $80, which is insane for a sample box. Additionally, that $80 value point doesn’t include the welcome gift that I received.
Sephora Play: $25, which is more inline with what I’d expect from a $10-15 box.
Actual Value Winner: Allure, by a long shot.
Beauty Box Face Off: Extras
Sephora Play!: This isn’t my first box, but there was no welcome gift with my first box, so I feel comfortable in comparing them. Every Sephora Play box comes with the added benefit of 50 beauty insider points when you make a Sephora purchase that month. There was also an additional sample for hair vitamins. They were pretty tasty, but I cannot and will not be able to speak to their efficacy as they require 6-8 weeks of use for results. I’d say they’re worth a shot if you’re looking to add a supplement to your routine. While the bonus points are nice, I’d like to see a referral program in place.
Allure Beauty Box: Holy moly. I have to admit, I ordered this box because I knew there was a sample of Sunday Riley CEO Glow face oil. When I signed up, I thought it was going to be a sample. It is a full freakin’ size $40 product. I am obsessed with Sunday Riley products, and use them as part of my routine every single day. In addition, there is an extra deluxe sample in this box, not just a packet size sample like the bonus sample in the Sephora box. [To see more of our favorite Sunday Riley products, click here.]. The referral program doesn’t necessarily save you money on future boxes, but you can earn more samples for referring new customers.
Extra Perks Winner: Allure. I didn’t receive any special new customer perks with Sephora. The bonus insider points is a nice perk, but a free $40 product is a VERY nice gesture.
Round one of the Beauty Box Face Off goes to Allure. If Allure wins again next month, I’ll be kicking Sephora to the curb and trying something new! What would you like to see? Birchbox? Ipsy? Comment if you have a suggestion, just keep it between $10-20 per month!
Want to play along?
Click to purchase Allure box
Click to purchase Sephora box