Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014

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Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014 Box

Sample Society is a monthly beauty subscription from and Allure Magazine. Typically the brands they include are high end, and the sample sizes are generous.

They recently had a bit of a revamp – I’m not sure what the changes are anymore besides the packaging.

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014 Items

The Subscription Box: Sample Society

The Cost: $15 a month

The Products: Deluxe and full-size beauty and makeup samples. (Each month you also get a $10 off $50 to use on any order from

Ships to: the US

Delivered via: UPS

Check out all of my Sample Society reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!

Swap for any item in this box from the Sample Society Swap page!

Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014 Info

The box comes with a mini-mag detailing each item and why Allure editors decided to include it in the box. (This is one of the best/most helpful subscription box info sheets I’ve seen).

Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014 Mascara

Lorac Cobra Mascara – .14 oz Value $11.20

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Omega+ Nourishing Oil – .2 oz Value $4.50

These are my two favorite items in the box. I love pretty much any Alterna hair product I try, and this one is a nice light-weight oil. I like the mascara formula for length and volume, so I’ll use up this sample, but it’s not my favorite, so I won’t be buying more.

Sample Society Subscription Box Review – November 2014 Malin

MD Solar Sciences MD Creme Mineral Beauty Balm in Light/Medium – .17 oz $5.50

Malin + Goetz Bergamot Body Wash – 1 oz (Value $2.25)

This MD Beauty Balm is a BB cream with a matte and sheer finish. I prefer my BB creams to provide some coverage, so this one isn’t for me. If you are looking for a high SPF with shine-protection though – I would recommend trying this one.

And I’ve sampled this body wash before, so while it’s not a new sample for me, I already know I love it! (And pretty much any Malin + Goetz scent).


Reveal by Calvin Klein . 04 oz Value $3

I never really like getting perfume samples in subscription boxes. This scent isn’t for me either.

Verdict: Technically this box has a value of about $26, but it doesn’t really feel like it to me. I’ve been used to getting more deluxe sized samples from Sample Society, so to get all relatively small samples plus a perfume sample this month was not so fun. (To be fair – the mascara sample is more than half the size of the full-sized version, so it is deluxe sized).

What did you think of the November Sample Society box?

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!

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, sample society, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| 83 comments


  1. I cancelled as soon as I opened this. 🙁

    And really, the booklet this month… WHAT were they thinking?!

  2. I cracked up reading the information booklet.
    Thick and syrupy-just what I wanna put in my hair!
    very wet even after it’s been on your lashes for hours-that sounds lovely!
    Slippery greasy gel-exactly what I look for in a face product! (and now I have greasy grimy gopher guts running through my head)

    I’m still laughing. What on earth were they thinking??

    • I’m a marketing copywriter, and sometimes if I get stuck I’ll write crazy, sarcastic copy as rough draft to get unstuck. But then I delete it all and write the real copy meant for customers to see. This reads like someone’s rough draft that they never fixed. It’s truly astonishing.

      • I’m laughing since I draft motions and briefs this way when I’m tired or irritated. I’d die if one ever got filed in court! This was a jaw dropping kind of bad.

  3. Cancelled my sub once I saw the contents of this box. I’ve been trying for months to swap for the Malin + Goetz Bergamot Body Wash so I’m happy to finally get that, but not worth it when the other items are so mediocre. Another mascara, some BB cream, and a mass market perfume sample? Too bad because I didn’t hate last month’s box as much as some folks did — I actually used all the items. I’m going to swap for the 1 item I might want from future boxes. Signed up for Frenchbox. More expensive but seems to have a better value and more inspired curation!

  4. I was really disappointed in this box, after seeing Liz’s review. When I got home, I didn’t even want to open it. But, I gave it a try. The value sucks, the editors( unpaid interns?)who tested and wrote the booket, clearly despise almost every product in it. It’s quite funny, if we all didn’t shell out $15 bucks for crappy samples. This box is almost on par with Sephora’s samples, which is fine, but random and too small to get a feel for the products. And not worth a real retail value. I will say the perfume(I hate perfume samples), is great as a gym shoe deordizer. I am going to spray it next near the cat box and see if that works too. And yes, I am being completely serious(try it!). One more month of cat box deodorizer, and Sample Society, gets the axe.

  5. Another disappointing box for me. I’ll give them one more try hopefully it gets better or I’ll have to cancel. I expected better from this subscription….. I’m better off with 2 Birchbox subs!

  6. This month was not a winning box for me. Fingers crossed December is much better.

  7. I couldnt cancel fast enough. Such a disappointing box for me.

  8. I wasn’t impressed on opening the box, either. Everything was so small. This was only my second box. I’m going to keep the sub for another month since I was so impressed with past boxes, but if the next one disappoints, I’ll cancel.

  9. Last month’s was terribly disappointing (those hair ties do not hold my thin, straight hair) . . . plus the drug store shampoo?

    I canceled this month because the sneak peaks were all very cheap/skimpy. I’m glad because this box certainly has a low value compared to past boxes. =(. I may resub next month if they have a good sneak peak . . . otherwise I’m receiving my first Glossybox and Boxycharm this month.

  10. I’ve purchased every box since the revamp and have to say that this box is the worst by far. July, August and September were great! October was disappointing due to the $1 L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner and yet another perfume sample. Now we get a box of samples that I’m pretty sure I could get from Nordstrom (the greatest department store ever!) for free. I love Malin + Goetz, but the sample was pretty small. I would not consider any of the samples in this month’s box “deluxe” except for the mascara. And this is the 3rd mascara they’ve sent since the relaunch 5 months ago. And the 4th perfume sample. And the second Alterna product. Out of all of the hair product lines, they couldn’t find another luxury hair oil sample? And they made a point of saying in the mini mag that they wouldn’t recommend the product for people with fine hair. And wouldn’t recommend the BB cream for people who like coverage. And wouldn’t recommend the mascara if you like to blink.

    Strike 2, Sample Society.

    • I’m dying! Lol, well, I like to blink so this mascara is def not for me! Really good post Ariana!…And I wouldn’t recommend sample society if you like decent size product that wont repeat in the same theme each month! I could go on…and I have b4. I unsubbed SS the month b4 they announced the big allure makeover…and they almost had me but I waited…and it never got better, just kept going down that hill. In the beginning SS was all high end, exciting brands that were at minimum travel sized but more often full size or deluxe. I found and became a life long user of amazing brands (jane iredale, perfeckt) that I never would have tried otherwise! This month is a mess imho. I’m sure each prod on its own is fine, but shouldn’t there be a tad more bang for your buck?
      PS if anyone is still reading this, I really want to have a look at the prod list booklet, bc it sounds hilariously good reading. Someone out there, pls post a link!! : )

      • Haah, I’m glad you enjoyed my sarcasm. 🙂 I took pics of the mini mag, but have no idea how to post them here!

        • Thanks Ariana! Yes, sarcasm my fave. Omg I must read it…perfect bedtime laughs to share with hubby. My daughter is in publishing so she would love to see it I’m sure. Can u send the pics to my email? You r awesome. Happy Saturday!
          [email protected]

  11. I’m one and done with Sample Society. Not impressed, but I do like the Lorac mascara.

  12. I think the revamp seemed to be to include more beauty products instead of totally focusing on skincare products.

    I have cancelled Sample Society twice in the past and then regretted it and missed it and resubbed, haha. I always think I am bored with it until I realize that the product I have been using the most all month was from there.

  13. Not even the mini mag editors were fond of November’s items, but they gave them to us anyway. The July, August, September products were amazing and a great value at $15 (imo). Everything before and after leaves me thinking, “Seriously, wtf is this? I can walk through the cosmetic section of Macy’s and score all this crap plus more for free.” I just canceled and signed up for Boxycharm.

  14. I just cancelled this one too. Last month’s box was just ok for me, but this month’s box is a complete dud. I figure with all the competition out there for subs, companies have to bring their A game. Allure went from A game a couple months ago (with the Oribe) to C game with last month’s box, to D game with this one. For me, that means it’s time to let it go. 🙂

  15. I had cancelled 6 weeks ago after the nearly valueless box last month (which thank God I only paid $5 for with a coupon) yet they still charged me for this month and even after I cancelled again online and they hadn’t yet shipped, they still sent me a box. I finally got a response from their CS telling me to just refuse the UPS delivery. That would be fine if I sat at home all day, every day. But like most people I work outside the home. Now I have to haul this to a UPS drop off box or store (pick ups aren’t reliable/safe in Vegas unless you don’t mind boxes being stolen). So despite cancelling well in advance (as in the day I got my last box) and doing it again via both email and the suet, they still sent me one and refuse to refund me until the box is returned to them. I call that lousy customer service to say nothing of charging me after I cancelled being the equivalent of theft. Once a sub does things I consider shady/unprofessional, I’m done for good (I got 2 opened/used samples last month that looked like they had been returned after switching by the previous customer who returned their box).

    This box confirms even more so why I cancelled. It’s a total ripoff. Any time they count a tiny perfume vial as one of their main items, it’s a good indicator of a changed business plan focused on increased profit margin. The subs that do this tend to rely not on loyalty but on mostly first time/one time buyers.

    • Erin(and company :),
      This happened with me and Julep and Taste Trunk, I would cancel, they confirmed and still kept sening me boxes. I finally screen capped all emails and sent them to my banks fraud dept. In 2 weeks my bank returned my cash and Julep was out of my life. It took another 2 months with Taste Trunk. If a box sub will not honor their own policies – call your bank. The onus is on the company to honor their contract–not you–and they cannot keep charging you. Every state is different. I hope this helps and sorry for the rant. I hate when people feel/get scammed. Besides, sub boxes are supposed to be stupid fun.

  16. I was very underwhelmed (again) this month. After seeing online reviews of September’s amazing box, and hearing there would be a full-sized EL product in the October box, I signed up. Laudergate was a buzz-kill, and this month’s box is even more disappointing. My hair is too fine for the Alterna oil, I don’t really wear mascara b/c of allergies (and definitely can’t wear a “wet” one), and I don’t really like perfume samples in general (I’m picky about my scents). This month’s box didn’t feel like it was worth the $15 at all. One more month, then I’m cancelling if it isn’t better. I’ve signed up for French Box- fingers crossed it will be better. Let me know if anyone wants a referral # for $10 off the French Box!

  17. A while ago I signed up for 1 month, it reminds me very similar to this box. I canceled immediately. I can understand profit margins, yet if the boxes are like this and people are canceling, it is much more difficult to get a customer like I was to resign back up. I keep reading the reviews hoping the box will get better and stay that way. I’ve noticed some wonderful sample society boxes after I unsubscribed. Yet the the boxes have not been consitently wonderful. — I’ve stuck with Petit Vour and am happy happy I have, same price for $15 a month. The products have always been interesting and fun, most importantly the boxes have always been consitently good. Never a bad month in my opinion.

  18. My first box was awesome, the last few have been mediocre so I cancelled. I only have two sub boxes I do as two other, which were awesome, declined in products value and it is just not worth it for me. Maybe once I get through my sample backstock I will start another sub box again. I wish these boxes were more consistent.

  19. After seeing this months box, I think I’m going to cancel also… Just not impressed. I’m thinking about canceling Glossybox, Julep, and Lip Monthly as well, but the ones I am definitely keeping are: Birchbox, Ipsy, Boxycharm, Lip Factory, Popsugar, MSA and Wantable. Those are my absolute favorites!!! If I had to recommend a box in the $20’ish range, it would definitely be Boxycharm. They are always spot on, in my opinion.

    • I just went on a cancellation spree and it felt GREAT! In the mast 2 months I’ve cancelled Sample Society, Glossybox, Julep, Ipsy, BoxyCharm (I agree the value is there but I feel like the make up is a bit too “young” for me, same w/ Ipsy), Bonjour Jolie, Cate & Chloe VIP, Splendies, Yogi Surprise and I cancelled PopSugar Must Have, but re-subbed right away when I saw the November box. Oops 😉

      So that leaves me with PSMH, Buddhi Box, Birchbox (I have 2 subs I love it so much), The French Box and I am WAY looking forward to my very first MSA box! I am super happy with my box selection now!

  20. I’m disappointed with this box so far. However, this was only my second box. I’m going to give Sample Society 1 more month and cancel if the box isn’t better. I thought for the price of the box and that allure was associated with it the boxes would be amazing, but they don’t seem worth the money. Birchbox and Ipsy are more impressive than Sample Society so far.

  21. I usually will not cancel a subscription bc I have a huge FOMO problem but I just cancelled this one!! I just couldn’t. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse than October’s box, November comes. Yikes. I haven’t heard one person say they loved this month!

    What is going on with all these sub boxes?!

  22. This was realllly disappointing, and I am usually a huge SS apologist and adorer. After the Loreal shampoo samples I thought they’d go big this month.

    I do always absolutely love their sample info booklet though. I love how they say “WTF” re the mascara wand and that the perfume isn’t too “porny”. Heh.

  23. This was my second box and I’ve already decided to give it just one more month as I’m completely underwhelmed thus far. Mascara two months in a row? Really? The Bobbi Brown last month was great but this Lorac is easily clumpy and a pain to remove (my eyes are still smeary from wearing it yesterday and I used 2 different makeup removers AND my Caudalie cleanser that usually removes whatever makeup is left). I’m perfectly content with that Bobbi Brown from last month so I’ll be passing this on to my mom.

    The Alterna Caviar Oil and the Malin + Goetz body wash are the only two items I will use.

    The BB cream is decent but feels more like a primer and has no coverage. Besides that, the tube literally has about 2 uses in it!! The small tube isn’t even FULL…wth?

    Don’t even get me started on the perfume samples….

  24. I have been very disappointed in the last 2 boxes. I subscribed because of the revamp, but decided to cancel after this month. I am taking my $15 to the new Happy Mail subscription starting this month!!

    • I signed up for Happy Mail too! 🙂

  25. Like many of you, I am thinking of cancelling Sample Society. This month’s box was so blah!! My Ipsy & BB5 subscriptions were much better. I already dropped my Wantable Accessories subscription because I wasn’t impressed.

  26. Bummer box! The samples are super tiny and meh. I want a box to have at least a couple really exciting skincare and makeup items. I don’t get how they can’t wow us each month – it’s so to their benefit. Allure gets $15 and who hasn’t purchased a full sized brand after sampling and loving it? Ditto on the Jan cancel if Dec is a dud.

  27. I am so, so disappointed with this month’s box. For $15 I don’t expect the world, but I do expect more than this. I’m this close to canceling. Can anyone recommend another beauty box that offers high-end brands for $15-25 a month?

    • I love Boxycharm and Blush Mystery Beauty box, but lately Blush has been offering mostly hair and skin products. Boxycharm has been my favorite by far though. I’ve been thinking about signing up for Lip Factory, but haven’t heard much about it.

      • I’ll check out BoxyCharm – thanks!

  28. I cancelled after last month’s SS. I feel like they lured a bunch of people in by doing the revamp and putting out a few amazing boxes, just to go back to sending out disappointing boxes again. I don’t understand why sub services do this. They HAVE to know that they are letting everyone down. Yet, they act like there’s nothing wrong and continue to send out crappy boxes.

  29. This was my second Sample Society box. I cancelled after opening it. I used exactly one item from the previous box, and have put the entire contents of this box up for swap. Super disappointing. I also had a really odd customer service thing with Beauty Bar last month, when I got a followup email after taking a survey, responded, then never heard anything back. Just not impressed with this company at all.

  30. I had subscribed earlier this year, then unsubscribed, then got back in when they had their “revamp” in time for the September box (BEST ITEM EVER, full size Restoresea eye cream!)… but after Laudergate and L’Oreal shampoo packets last month, I said I’d give them one more month, and I did. I can’t. I’m out. Fool me twice… It’s interesting, I’m coming up on about one year when I started seriously into subscription boxes, and I’m refining it more and more to get a lot fewer boxes but ones I know I’ll like, that I can trust the curation, even if they cost more. One box I’m sure I’ll never give up is your MSA Quarterly Box, Liz!

    • Can I ask what your other trusted subs are? I am newer to this, and struggling to find the right fit. So far birchbox is my only consistent winner.

      • Well, I just got my “Happy 13th box!” email from Birchbox, and so I know I’ve been doing this for a year. In the last year I have subscribed and then unsubscribed to: BB5, Bare Bliss Box, Glossybox, Love with Food, Popsugar Must Have, French Box, and Sample Society. I’m about to cancel Julep and Rainbow Honey (honestly, I have enough polish to last me until the end of my life!). The ones I’m keeping? Birchbox and Ipsy. Even when they’re not great they’re pretty good for the price and of course, there’s the Birchbox points system. I am also keeping my Volupties subscription (hard to find cute panties for larger girls), Pet Box (I like that I can choose only treats and no toys for my 14 year old dog, who only wants to sleep and eat these days). And of course, Liz’s MSA Quarterly box, which is looking like it’s going to be in a category all to itself. The other boxes, maybe it’s that I got so many samples so fast? But I can’t use 3 new mascaras a month. Or drugstore shampoo foil packets. Or I got tired of getting too dark complexion products (I am paperwhite) or ugly shades of orange or brown in lipcolors, blush, and nail polish. At this point, I’m more about the curation, and if I have to pay more for it, I will. If I need another makeup box subscription (and I don’t think I will for a long time, now that I’ve discovered so many great items/brands and still have Ipsy and Birchbox under my best), I think I’d get Wantable, just because of the level of customization and that you can send it back! And I have a number of Memeboxes I am anxiously awaiting; I think I might end up falling in love with the Korean skin care lines. Hope this helps.

        • Thank you for the detail, this is a great list!

    • Laudergate! Love it!

  31. I paid 10.00 for my first months box and I thought it was a joke. I thought they giving me less because I only paid 10.00. I cancelled right away. Not impressed.

  32. So disappointed! What happened to the revamp? Canceling after december if there is no change!

  33. I’m really glad I cancelled after last month’s disappointing box. It’s a shame because I loved the few boxes before it, especially September. It just looks like they don’t care about revamping the box anymore and went back to their old ways. I’m happier spending my money on a second Birchbox sub, which rarely disappoints.

    • Curious do you change up your answers so you get different samples I your two birchboxes?

      • I do. My first subscription I answered honestly as someone who isn’t very adventurous and likes a more classic look, but for my second sub I put that I was more adventurous and open to trying new things so I get a good variety of items. Between the two I’m guaranteed to get some items on the safe side that I’m used to and some new things I probably wouldn’t have tried but end up loving.

  34. This was my first sample society box, and it will be my last. I canceled as soon as I received it. For $5 less, I can get a second Birchbox subscription, one that’s actually worth it and sends out products I actually love. Not necessary for me though, because I can just use my BB points to gift myself a second subscription, which I just did the other day.

  35. I cancelled this and glossybox after last month and this month. Why spend the $36 on things I won’t even use. I could get a full size item I will use for that. On to look at other boxes.

  36. I bought a 3-month subscription for my best friend after seeing the September spoiler. Very disappointed with the October and November boxes….

  37. I just don’t get why they sent mascara TWO months straight. C’mon now…

  38. I cancelled after this box. They were doing SO WELL. And then October and November were awful. Completely not worth the $15. It’s such a bummer too because I LOVED July-September. Those boxes were awesome. I’m starting to think they revamped and gave us a few good months to lure people in and now they went back to the tiny samples they’ll normally be sending. I loathe perfume samples, so that’s one sample a month that I’m throwing away. I’m saving $5 and subscribed to Ipsy. I can’t WAIT for that to arrive. I’m thrilled with my first month.

  39. I signed up for Sample Society after seeing the revamp, but then last month’s box was nothing exciting and this box I swapped almost the whole thing I just canceled. I canceled Beauty Box 5, Sample Society and will probably cancel Escape Monthly and Glossybox too then I can hopefully get a new great sub box or just save my money.

  40. I’m also giving it one more month. I agree with the others on the strange description of the mascara. If they don’t like it, why is it included?

    I received an e-mail from Allure with a spoiler for Dec. (stop reading if you don’t want to know….)

    It is a sample of Burberry Fresh Glow luminous cream–not sure if this is a BB or a foundation or a moisturizer, but it does come in two different shades. Not sure how that will be handled by Sample Society. If it is not a large sample, then I will most likely cancel. I’d rather spend money on things I actually know I like. I can get samples this size from Sephora for free or 100 points.

  41. I almost subscribed to this box this month but was on the fence due to so many unhappy reviews the last few months. My first was ipsy 8 months ago and am waiting for my first BoxyCharm box this month. I think i made the right decision. This subscription really does not seem worth it, plus i love to get cosmetics and makeup in my bags and this doesnt seem to fulfill that.

  42. I wasn’t impressed with this box. Heck most of the last box is still sitting in the box! I think I’m going to cancel this and maybe just sign up for a second birchbox.

  43. Wow 🙁 so glad I cancelled. My Ipsy bag this month is so much better: $10 cost, $35 value, and items I will actually use.

  44. I’m on the fence with this subscription. I like the samples fine but for $15 plus tax it doesn’t really seem worth it. I suppose it would be if I used the $10 credit every month but I don’t always want to buy something from the box. If they made the credit applicable without having to buy something from the box and especially if I was able to use it on their other sites ( it would totally be worth it. But I’m just not getting enough out of this right now how it is. I just subscribed to Starlooks starbox, this is my first month and its on its way. I may cancel this Sample society box and replace it with the Starbox because they are sending full size products….

    Sidenote: Does anyone know when the allure winter beauty box is coming out? I am new to all these boxes (about 3 months now) and just read about that one. Seems like an amazing deal, I don’t want to miss it

    • Comment

    • I am actually looking at signing up for Starlooks, do you get any credit for referrals? If so, contact me at [email protected] and I would be happy to get you a bonus for you!

  45. As soon as I received this box I cancelled. Too many other boxes to subscribe to that have a better variety and value.

  46. Agreed, one more month (December) and if it doesn’t pick up, I’m cancelling. I used to love this box, not so much anymore. I just used the shower gel and I love it. The perfume is ok. I am not even gonna try the mascara because the card makes it sound so lackluster. The bb cream is not the right shade for my skin color and the oil is a maybe. Ho-hum, indeed.

  47. I’m with AmyM. Giving them one more chance and then i’m over it.

  48. They were doing well for three months then it went back downhill. What’s up with this sub. It was an amazing three months but it’s not worth it anymore. Too bad

  49. I cancelled, and I was even one of the people that tried to defend last months box. What got me is that they didn’t even like the samples – none of the descriptions in the booklet were very positive.

  50. I’m going to give it one more month and if Dec isn’t fantastic I’m cancelling. At this rate I’d rather spend the money on testing out a few fun drugstore products that I choose myself. The best part of this box to me was the hilariously long description of the mascara, which basically boiled down to “This is the best worst mascara you’ll ever use. Good luck.”

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