A beauty box is a fantastic way for everyday shoppers to try cosmetics they couldn’t otherwise, introducing a carefully selected bundle of skincare, makeup, haircare and body products every month to sample. It’s no surprise then that LOOKFANTASTIC, Europe’s leading online beauty store, feature their own monthly beauty box - sporting brands like Olaplex, Clinique, MAC and Elemis amongst many others. The question is, does it hold its own against the best beauty boxes in the business?
A household name for many already, LOOKFANTASTIC sells thousands of beauty products from hundreds of popular brands to countries around the world - with items ranging from designer-brand antioxidants to vitamins and lipstick. With such a wide inventory to pick from, newcomers and casual shoppers can feel overwhelmed and play it safe by sticking to the products they already know. To help introduce your skin and makeup bag to fresh styles and formulas year-round, we’re here to offer our recommendation for the LOOKFANTASTIC beauty box. Don’t take our word for it though, we’ve weighed the pros and cons from three of the best beauty subscription boxes on the web so you know the value you get when you opt to feel your finest.
Setting itself up as the premium beauty and makeup box online, the LOOKFANTASTIC beauty box can be as big or small a commitment as you like - stay flexible with a monthly recurring subscription or opt for a longer 3, 6 or 12-month subscription and save up to £24 a year, with the option to pay either monthly or upfront. Every beauty box includes six items - four of them travel-sized products ranging between 60ml and 2ml and two full-sized cosmetics - with previous contents including Revlon Lipstick, Elemis moisturiser, Illamasqua primer and VERSO eye cream. This immediately edges out LOOKFANTASTIC above the competition, as other beauty brands rarely stock travel-sized items larger than 20ml. To ensure you can commit with confidence, the brand always reveals the entire contents of their upcoming beauty box at the beginning of the month. The number and size of the cosmetics alone make it top value from the money you pay, ranging from £13 to £15 a month depending on your subscription. You can even get a great deal on your first LOOKFANTASTIC box, depending on what offers the brand is currently hosting, such as £5 for your first instalment when committing to a 3-month or longer subscription plan.
Expect plenty of benefits to come with your subscription once signed up, starting off with immediate access to the ‘Unboxed Area’ - a member-only hub of offers, competitions and LOOKFANTASTIC discount codes exclusively for beauty box-buyers. If you’re a real beauty enthusiast eager for deluxe products, you’ll be glad to know you’ll net additional discounts on limited-edition boxes when subscribing - including collaborations with other top-notch beauty brands like Laura Mercier, Kate Somerville and Bondi Sands. LOOKFANTASTIC believe in complete transparency when it comes to their products, allowing you to see the contents of previous boxes so you can make an informed decision before committing to a subscription. There’s also a cheaper alternative for low-budget shoppers in the form of the LOOKFANTASTIC Mystery Box - a reasonably-priced bundle of assorted cosmetics and beauty products that’s available to buy year-round for £15 without any commitments.
- Six total products, including full-sized items alongside larger-sized travel items.
- Ultimate flexibility for both upfront and monthly-based subscription options.
- Immediate access to exclusive offers and price cuts on limited-edition products.
- Mystery Box makes for an affordable alternative for one-off purchases.
- Can view the entire contents of this month’s beauty box before buying.
- Slightly more expensive monthly subscription compared to competitors.
- No ability to tailor or personalise your box.
A common partner to LOOKFANTASTIC, GLOSSYBOX are keen to provide equal flexibility when it comes to their incredibly affordable makeup subscription boxes. Monthly payments start at £13.25, although their 3, 6 and 12-month subscription plans offer far greater value - allowing you to save up to £27 a year if you pay upfront. It’s worth noting that only the 12-month plan can be committed to with a monthly subscription, whilst the rest require upfront payment, making it slightly less viable for those seeking some financial flexibility. Your GLOSSYBOX subscription will net you five items every month - traditionally three travel-sized and two full-sized - with previous entries including Garnier cleansing water, SKIN&CO morning gel and Feel Free eye contour cream. Unlike LOOKFANTASTIC who will reveal the entirety of this month’s beauty box contents before you buy, GLOSSYBOX instead offers a sneak peek that reveals two of the five items included, meaning there’s less certainty over how much use you will get from each box. However keeping in mind that the overall cost of GLOSSYBOX is lower, with 1-month recurring plans costing £13.25 and a 12-month commitment an even cheaper £11.75 per month, the difference in price makes both boxes of near equivocal value.
Like LOOKFANTASTIC, GLOSSYBOX supplies its own subscriber-exclusive discounts, competitions and rewards in The Glossy Lounge. GLOSSYBOX also tends to provide discounts on your first box if setting up a subscription - currently offered at £10. Though the £3.25 discount here is dwarfed compared to the £10 reduction at LOOKFANTASTIC, you’ll make up the difference and more if you’re a regular beauty shopper thanks to GLOSSYcredits. Earned by reviewing the items from your latest beauty box and referring friends (£5 credits for either), these credits can be used on purchase from either the LOOKFANTASTIC or GLOSSYBOX stores - a win-win for fans of both businesses. The fact that you can earn these credits every month you’re subscribed through surveys and reviews ensures your discount grows along with your commitment.
- Five products of equivocal value to LOOKFANTASTIC, with cheaper monthly payments.
- Free GLOSSYcredits allows for additional savings throughout the year.
- Great variety of subscription options - both monthly and upfront.
- Immediate access to member-exclusive discounts.
- Largest yearly savings (£27) for 12-month subscriptions.
- Less transparency as you can only view two items included in your box.
- No monthly subscription pans for 3 or 6-month commitments, only upfront payments.
No list of top-value beauty subscriptions would be complete without a mention of Birchbox boxes. Bar a recurring monthly subscription of £13.95, any longer-term commitments of 3, 6 or 12 months only being payable upfront - with a 12-month plan currently costing £145.40 (savings you £22 over the course of the year). For this, you’ll get five travel-sized makeup and beauty products in your box (with the occasional full-sized item thrown in for good measure), two of which are revealed before you buy. Though the slightly higher monthly cost and lack of certainty over receiving full-sized products may make Birchbox seem like a less good investment on paper, the real rewards come from Birchbox benefits. From the get-go, your Birchbox subscription unlocks a wealth of perks - including choosing one of the products you receive manually or changing up your box design for a more personalised beauty box. Besides that, you’ll get 10% off sampled products, tailored deals, a birthday discount and more. Stay subscribed for six months and you get bumped up to VIP status, which gives you a 15% Birchbox discount on anything bought in their online store on top of all the previous perks.
To top off the array of bonuses you get for sticking with Birchbox, you’ll be glad to hear they offer money-saving incentives for new customers too. For example at the time of writing this article, Birchbox is offering half-price on any 3-month subscriptions - which makes the decision of paying so much upfront somewhat negligible. Besides offers for new customers, Birchbox is especially popular amongst young learners thanks to the Birchbox student discount - which halves the price of your first delivery and then lowers each consecutive box to £10 a month (plus P&P).
- Ability to tailor content slightly by selecting one of your five products.
- An array of benefits help you save throughout the year in the web store.
- 15% sitewide discount if committing for three months or longer.
- Student discount ensures top value for young subscribers.
- Seasonal offers on certain subscriptions, depending on when you join.
- No guarantee of full-sized products.
- Have to subscribe for six consecutive months to receive a sitewide discount.
4. Latest in Beauty
Latest in Beauty may not be quite as well known as other competitors, yet their unique take on the beauty box model makes them an equal contender. A somewhat alternative choice, a Latest in Beauty box takes a different approach by instead letting you choose all six of your monthly items. This could maybe put off newcomers unfamiliar with beauty products, though the sheer variety of items on offer can make even mildly curious customers capable of trusting their gut and order after a quick browse. If you’re really unsure about what you want, the Latest in Beauty personalisation tool can help shortlist some recommendations for you after answering a few simple questions regarding your age, skin tone and what you want from your cosmetics. Be aware that whatever you buy, all six items come either in travel or sample sizes, with no full-sized product included. Subscriptions are priced monthly at £12.95, making this the cheapest one-off investment for anyone interested in trialling a beauty box for themselves. However, the lack of long-term commitments and payment options means there’s no way for you to cut costs by committing to a larger upfront payment or subscription plan.
Taking a leaf from Birchbox’s book, LiB beauty box subscribers earn VIP status after three months (called LiB Box Pro), which comes with its own array of benefits - free delivery, exclusives offers and rewards, the option to pause your subscription and 15% off any limited-edition ‘Collection’ boxes sold onsite. Another interesting feature of Latest in Beauty is the ability to order a second box at the same price whenever you wish - allowing you to trial double the products when you’ve got money to splurge.
- Complete control as you pick all six items in each box.
- Cheapest monthly subscription rate.
- The personalisation tool helps narrow down your ideal cosmetics.
- LiB Box Pro offers a wealth of perks.
- Can order a second box in the same month if desired.
- No full-sized items.
- No longer-term subscription plans to help cut costs.
Beauty boxes are all about choice - you may want a lucky dip over what you get, tailor the contents to your personal preference or have a subscription that suits your monthly spending. When it comes down to brass tax however, you won’t get greater value than from the LOOKFANTASTIC beauty box - as long as it’s within your price range. You get two full-sized items with larger travel-sized items to complement, immediate access to member-exclusive discounts and full knowledge of what you will receive before you buy. Tie this with their budget-friendly mystery box option and their flexibility when it comes to ways to pay and it’s quickly apparent that a LOOKFANTASTIC monthly box gives you more bang for your buck in almost every regard. If you know someone eager to try it out for themselves, you can make their day by gifting a subscription - there are 3, 6 and 12-month gift cards available to suit all budgets.
If you're curious about how to make the most of your beauty box contents, or which alternative products make a cheap replacement for designer brands, take a tip or two from our LOOKFANTASTIC hair care guide and our vouchercloud article on skincare dupes.