At the risk of seeming stereotypically feminine, I love tiny little things in cute packages. Tiny little toys, tiny little erasers that look like food, cheap tchotchkes that come in the center of Kinder Eggs, and especially, I love makeup samples.
So imagine my glee when several months ago I heard about a new service that will send you make-up samples every month. Every month! In the mail! After I subscribed to Birchbox, a little birdie I knew told me there was yet another service that did the same thing – Glam Bag. I signed up for both, because I love me some free makeup.
Now that I’ve been receiving their products for several months, I’ve learned that not all sample services are the same.
|“Specialized” quiz to select “˜personalized’ products?||Yes||Yes|
|Special packaging?||Monthly samples show up in a sturdy box, good for using for gifting at the holidays||Monthly samples show up in reusable make-up bags. Styles change monthly.|
|Tips and tutorials?||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Service?||Unused||Super fast response, polite and reasonable resolution|
On paper, they look the same. Birchbox has a more advanced website and offers a (beta) service subscription for men. They’re shinier. My Glam’s site is”¦ fine. It does what it needs to and the bells and whistles are sparse. But both are easily navigated and the wait to join their service was about the same in each case – several weeks after I submitted my name to their waiting lists, I was in.
I’ve been a member of Birchbox for four months and My Glam for three, and I just canceled my subscription to Birchbox. Below are pictures of the last two months of samples from both services. Each month from Glam I get at least one full size product – the last two months it was full size nail polishes, as well as a full size lip gloss. The month before I received two (two!) full size Nyx lipsticks. When I emailed them to ask why my Philosophy sample was missing from the box, they apologized within an hour and sent me a replacement.
In contrast, Birchbox samples seem puny. The Stilla foundation from this month is a dot of product on a postcard. The perfume is always stingy. The nail polish was mini. I got a full size razor and sample shaving cream – but let’s be honest, opening up a box to a new razor is kind of a bummer. In short, Birchbox sends me more things I have no use for (self tanning towelettes) and seems to really delight in sending me products for “aging” skin. I’m in my 30s, gang. There’s nothing like receiving a box full of products for thinning hair and wrinkles to make you want to go full Miss Havisham.
After weighing my loot, my ten bucks a month seem to be better spent over at Glam Bag.
Birchbox was previously covered in this post by the fabulous Hillary!