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Subscriber Survey: What Box Do You Recommend for Newbies?

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Sunday Subscriber Survey time! This week’s subscription box question is:

What subscription box would you recommend to someone who is completely new to subscription boxes? 

It’s a tough question for me! But here’s what I’m thinking:

Birchbox-April-2017-0003

First, I’d recommend a cheap monthly subscription box. (Something $10 or under.) Likely Birchbox or Ipsy. I think it’s always safe to start with an inexpensive subscription box to see if it’s right for you.

If someone has been subscribing to Birchbox for a while, they may be frustrated by repeat brands, but if you’re completely new to the world of subscription boxes, I think Birchbox is great for discovering amazing beauty brands.

Ipsy-February-2017-0002

And of course, Ipsy is such a great value and you’re likely to get full-size products each month.

Alternatively, I’d also recommend FabFitFun to start if you are open to spending a little bit more on your first box.

Fab-fit-fun-spring-2017-0072

FabFitFun always provides a huge value compared to the cost, with a variety of full size items, so I think it will appeal to a lot of potential new subscribers. Even though it’s a higher price point than Birchbox and Ipsy, it’s only once a quarter. (FabFitFun is $49.99 a box, but only $39.99 for your first box with coupon code MSA10). And you can see FabFitFun reviews and FabFitFun spoilers before signing up so that should help minimize risk.

Plus, since it is quarterly, that gives you plenty of time to cancel if you decide subscription boxes aren’t for you after one box. But how could that happen? 😉

What subscription box do you recommend for anyone who is new to subscription boxes and wants to get started?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

51 Comments

  1. I started with BB and loved it at first so I’m sure someone just starting out would like it. If you want a $10 box it’s fine. But you can get a lot more for $25 Beautyfix. I’ve recently branched out to the lifestyle boxes and have BOS, FFF, and Pop sugar. FFF is great if you want a quarterly box. I’m enjoying Pop sugar too but those boxes are a bit more money.

  2. I would highly recommend ipsy/play by Sephora/or Allure. I luv all three for different reasons but really these are all great beauty Box subscriptions. Ipsy and play by Sephora are around $11 with taxes and allure is like $16. I have two others I subscribe to but they are a little more expensive but in my opinion what you get in them well worth it. I have Julep, which is full sized products and they have really great products not just nail polishes. The other is Liplove by so Susan cosmetics again full sized items and vegan. Both run around $25 ish and I’ve been subscribed to Julep for a year and still love it. Just switched to Liplove after cancelling my lip monthly and birchbox. Received two shipments and I can’t say enough good things about it.

  3. I’ve tried more than 35 different boxes in 2.5 years and my faves are Allure for beauty and Popsugar for lifestyle.

  4. Ipsy and/or Boxycharm

  5. Thanks for this post! I’m thinking of subscribing for the first time, but I’m not sure what box I want, but I’ve got a list going from things I’ve seen on cratejoy. Nothing that’s really been mentioned here though…..

  6. Play! by Sephora or even Ipsy if you are watching your wallet. But if you are not money conscious then FabFitFun!

  7. My aunt bought a year’s subscription to StitchFix; this was my first experience with a sub box. I enjoyed trying items I would never think to touch in a store. Honestly though, after maybe 2 Boxes, I could see the redundancy despite my efforts in working with my bi-monthly stylist. I canceled before I received a box in 2017.
    If you want to try StitchFix, spend time organizing your preferences and such to maximize your SF experience. However, I personally know that i can get more than twice the amount of clothes, wayyyy higher quality names, and certainty in my style preference by shopping on eBay via consignment stores from swanky metro areas. I’m a sucker for NWOT (new without tags) clothing. I scored an amazing Gucci dress this month for $13.20 shipped.

    I was put on the PLAY! By Sephora waitlist around Christmas this year; this was my first attempt at a makeup subscription box. LOVED my first few boxes. Play! will ALWAYS be a monthly sin for me.

    I learned of MSA (this site) after subscribing to Play! Now I’m in here everyday checkin reviews and spoilers. Since I found this amazing forum of awesome beauty recs and advice, I have gone thru a couple of Target boxes, Walmart box, even the Target Baby box (I don’t have children). Any chance you get to purchase the Target or Walmart boxes, DO IT. There are always things you need on hand!

    By March, I was starting to get all sorts of awesome recs for boxes with FullSize items. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to BoxyCharm. I have only received one box, but I must say that I was very much thrilled with the contents. That OFRA highlighter? EVERYTHING!!! I almost chose Glossy, and I’m so grateful I did not, as it seems that Glossy has been slacking in their variety since around December per the awesome readers of MSA. BEAUTYfix is the one I am not a subscriber for, yet I can’t quit obsessing over their news and spoilers. I’m sure I’ll pull the trigger on that one soon.

    I have the BULU, house cleaning box; but I haven’t received a physically box yet. I’m hoping to be content with the products as others have shown via reviews.

    I have also been dabbling with getting Ipsy. The spoilers are too good not to continue to obsess over. I can see myself getting this Subscription sometime before Summer.

    If I were only allowed to buy one box consistently and just be surprised, I would have to choose Play! Sephora…. Can’t go wrong there. It makes you feel pretty walking back from the mailbox. <But Forreal it does!

    I'm dying to try BEAUTYFix and Ipsy if anyone has any further advice to make me pull the trigger; or any advice to wait for promotions in the future….

    For reference, I am 30 years old with dry/combo skin. I don't wear makeup as much as I should, but I'm totally obsessed with skincare. It's our largest organ and should be treated with the utmost respect.

    GET ON THE SEPHORA WAITING LIST!
    Sign up for Alerts to Walmart and Target boxes

    And don't forget to give as many reviews you have time for; without true consumer feedback, I would never buy anything probably. Thank you Liz for this amazing site and community we have here.

  8. I would recommend Play! by Sephora. It sends on-trend items that can be found in the store and you also get bonus points to use in the store. 🙂

    For something more expensive, I’d suggest POPSUGAR and FabFitFun. Both have a little bit of everything in them and they are two of my favorites. 🙂

  9. My gateway box was actually BarkBox! It was the first subscription box I’d ever heard of that made sense, since I love spoiling my dog and she’ll eat any treat and play with any toy. I got into trying out other subscription boxes for myself because of how fun it was to see new things in the mail (I tried NatureBox, Kawaii Box, Play, and am currently on ipsy and love it) but I don’t know if I would’ve pulled the trigger if I didn’t make my dog try it out first. 😛

  10. BoxyCharm and Ipsy are my favorites for makeup w/ some other beauty products mixed in, and FabFitFun is my favorite lifestyle box.

  11. 1) Ipsy for younger girls learning to experiment with makeup and skin care

    2) Sephora Play for someone who wants to try high quality skin care and makeup on a budget

    3) Medusas Makeup for the bold and brave and Gothic who like likes bright and bold colors for makeup mixed with darker colors for someone with a darker side who wants to build a collection of great loose pigments and glitters.

    4) Vanishing Cabinet by Notoriously Morbid, if you can off the wait list, for those with a darker side and loves unusual color eye pigments and sparklies and liquid matte lipsticks. Brings out my Goth side but also has beautiful colors for the office.

    5) Look Fantastic to experiment with products from Europe rather than the US.

    These are all under $20 a month.

  12. I would say Play (because of the educational material) and FabFitFun!

  13. Julep! Julep! Julep! I love the quality and effectiveness of everything I’ve tried. Nail polish of course, but also their makeup, body and skincare! It’s also really fun to customize your box every month and be able to add additional products at a discounted price. I wasn’t even planning on continuing after my 6 months was up (I mean who really needs THAT much nail polish or even beauty products for that manner) but I just couldn’t give it up. $16.66 a month with the 6 month plan makes it the best deal ever.

  14. The smaller $10 subs are a waste of time and money for me. I’d rather spend a little more for beauty Fix or Test Tube and get higher end products.
    Goddess provisions never disappoints and Brick Loot is cool to have on hand for kids who love Legos.

  15. Birchbox and PopSugar were my gateway boxes. Through all their ups and downs, I’m still a PopSugar loyalist. If I was forced to choose just one sub to keep (heaven forbid), it would still be PS.

  16. I think it depends on the person who you are suggesting to!

    YA book reader? UpperCase!
    Beauty? Ipsy!
    Lifestyle? PopSugar of FFF!
    Bath and body? Ticklish Giraffe or Fortune Cookie Soap!
    Geeky? Fandom of the Month!

    So many different boxes means that you can suggest one that they will love based on preference!

    • I totally agree with Uppercasebox! I enjoyed every book I ever received from them, and the fact it always comes adds value for me!

    • Fortune Cookie Soap Box is my all-time fave. I feel like their regular product prices are getting high because they do so many discounts/rewards, but the box itself I am never disappointed with.

  17. I started with allure beauty box and Fabfitfun. I would currently recommend Fabfitfun and Sephora…

  18. PopSugar. PopSugar. PopSugar.

  19. I always have people asking me, and I think it does depend on the person. I just had a friend get Box Of Style as her first ever sub, because she wanted luxe and trendy items at a discount.
    But, Popsugar is usually the one I recommend, since it’s got a little of everything. I actually think the ‘beauty sample’ type boxes aren’t that thrilling and were not a good first box for me.

  20. I’m with most of y’all !! I think I started with BirchBox and FabFitFun. Orange Glad and Love With Food for food boxes. Mighty Fix was a fun one for a while too.

  21. Well for beauty, I would recommend Ipsy. That’s where I started and in the $10 range they are overall the best as far as customer service if you have any issues. They also have started to send out sample lists to allow us to choose a product monthly and you can email them to opt out of a product you don’t want, such as hand lotions for example, for 6 months. I don’t think any other sub offers both of those features included in the $10. They also have the biggest samples in that price range. And the bags are awesome.

    I would also recommend Sephora Play. It’s actually my favorite to unbox. And I love getting to sample high end brands every month for $10.

  22. The post is tagged popsugar, but popsugar wasn’t one of the recommended ones.

    It used to be a given that BB/Ipsy would be someone’s gateway sub, but these days people are coming from different directions. Food boxes, home boxes and gamer/geek boxes seem really popular lately, so I’m not sure if the traditional advice would still apply.

  23. I agree w/ all of your suggestions Liz, but would add mystery boxes!
    That’s what I did for awhile when first getting my toes wet in the sub world(had julep, and glossy only then – have since tried like 10 other boxes! I think I’m a sub hopper, 6 or 3 months and switch!).
    It’s also great for me now as I am trying not to spend much – saving for a trip (that seems like a dream, it’s study abroad to NZ!!! <3)
    Especially good if you're one to only sub for 3+ months, which is always my tip to people as you save more this way!

  24. In terms of beauty boxes, I would recommend Ipsy or Boxycharm as a gateway box.

    Or a limited edition box from any of the beauty or lifestyle box brands just so they can seek if they like receiving a box in the mail with random beauty products in it.

  25. I’d go with fabfitfun and lovewithfood so you get the beauty/fashion and the snacks which who doesn’t like getting treats in the mail??!?

  26. What about us women who don’t care whatsoever about beauty or makeup? I think most mentioned are ones that would not appeal to me. I’d love to try some food boxes, but allergies are a concern in our house (eggs and tree nuts).

    • Do you like to read? I really enjoy Book of the Month. You can skip a month if you are not interested in the selections and the book are pretty easy to swap after you read them.

  27. I first got hooked with Birchbox, so I would recommend that, as well as Ipsy and FFF.

  28. I first got hooked due to PopSugar but the quality of their monthly boxes has gone down since they offered so many great deals at Christmas. I wouldn’t have been happy to have paid full price for the last few. They also seem to be trying for uniqueness over value (while sand art is unique I don’t especially want it – while I’d be more than happy to get another high-end beauty product or fancy scarf).

    I’d vote for FitFabFun – you get a sampling of what boxes can be (beauty + lifestyle + fashion).

  29. Ipsy and Boxycharm for more makeup, Beautyfix for skincare.

    • I agree! My 3 must have subs!

  30. I love Julep, probably the best box for a real customized box of great nail, face and skin care. I lost a lot of weight and have been really dependent on Just fab for building up an inexpensive wardrobe of great pieces. I love and adore their jeans. I also love fabfitfun and PopSugar and may never give up my Rachel Zoe Box of style.

    • I think Julep was one of my first boxes I ever got(along w/ glossy and one that went out of business right after) and it’s th only one I actually kept going(I skip a lot). I could get 4 free boxes by now LOL! (saving for whole shebang awesome month!)
      I’ve never tried just fab, but love all the other boxes you mentioned! (and have subbed to all those too)

  31. FabFitFun – it’s actually pretty low cost per month (vs per box) and very likely most people would like most items.

    In fact I’ve bought it 3 times as a gift – always a hit!

  32. It depends on you’re interests, but I started with Ipsy, Julep and stitch fix. Actually I didn’t know how many were out there until I came here. I no longer get Ipsy, but it’s a great beginners Sub and they’ve come a long way. You can’t beat $10. With Julep it’s the only nail polish I wear. I love it. It lasts long and you can always skip as many months as you need to. They also have Maven deluxe which is more expensive, but you get a lot more things. Plus you can customize your boxes each month with Julep no matter which plan you go with.
    Stitch fix is awesome for clothing. I like it so much better than Nadine West and they just came out with the Stitch fix plus, so everyone can now enjoy it. I like how you get your say in what you want them to send you and you can’t beat $20 even if you lose it, but in 3 years I only lost my money one time. Those were the three I started with, but it depends on your interests too as well as budget. I say definitely look at the directory of boxes online it’s easier than the phone and also check out cratejoy they have so many. Start with only a few. I can guarantee you that you’ll cancel some and then want to add in it’s place. Which I did for a long time until I finally found the ones I love and there’s always more coming out each month. It truly is an addiction once you start you can’t stop, but I’m truly grateful I found this place!!

  33. Ipsy, Beauty Fix, Benevolent Beauty, FabFitFun

  34. I think trying Ipsy, Birchbox, Sephora, and Allure at the same time is worth it for a couple months to get a feel for what you want in general beauty. Mt first non-beauty was Globe In, but it has changed, so probably FabFitFun after that?

  35. Boxycharm – due to the unexpected full size values that are packed each month. I would highly suggest FabFitFun because they bring it for the most part every quarter. And if you are looking for a little more on the green, but incredible value and quality, the Rachel Zoe Box of Style. As a newbie these were the ones I was most impressed with consistently.

    And my surprises as a newbie that I wouldn’t have thought would be good but have made me happy are Beauty Fix, Beauty Con, and New Beauty Test Tube.

    And to round out some more inexpensive ones that have included more deluxe sizes on the cheap, Target Box and Walmart Box.

  36. Fitness: Adidas Avenue A
    Lifestyle: FabFitFun
    Beauty: Boxycharm
    Skincare: Beautyfix
    Beauty – affordable: Ipsy or Sephora Play
    Bookworm: Book of the Month
    Fair Trade: Globein

  37. Beauty: Sephora Play
    Skincare: Beautyfix
    Lifestyle: FabFitFun
    Home: Luxe Pineapple Home
    Men’s: Bespoke Post
    Meals: Home Chef
    Fitness: Adidas Avenue A

  38. Depends on their budget and interests, but I think these are all good starter boxes:
    For women: Popsugar, Juelp or Birchbox
    For men: Sprezza box or Bespoke Post

  39. Popsugar or FabFitFun- both seem very popular and have a great variety of items.

  40. Probably Ipsy or Allure, Degustabox is pretty awesome too.

  41. I think Ipsy in terms of building up a good collection of makeup, Julep for their customization or Popsugar/FabFitFun for more of a lifestyle box.

  42. Julep is good for newbies because of their awesome signing bonuses, lol.

    Nerd Block is a good choice, too, since they have several different categories to choose from.

  43. I was going to say FabFitFun and Sephora Play. Both are excellent in terms of products and value!

  44. Love the destinys child gif ! I actually sang it in my head when I first read it lmao

    • Yay! Now I’m singing it in my head! 🙂

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