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Stowaway Cosmetics Subscription Box Review – January 2016


Stowaway Cosmetics has their own subscription service that sends you “right sized” products. They call it “makeup you’ll love in sizes you can carry and finish, before it expires.”


They have a few different subscription plans (explained below) – this is a review of the Complete Solution subscription.

As a sub box addict myself, I know we tend to have a stash (or hoard!) of products and I know I definitely don’t get through them all by the time I should!

Their subscription has a few different varying factors you get to customize as far as how often it’s sent and what products you get. Here’s how it works:


First, you pick your routine/how often you use makeup. This affects how often your subscription ships (every 3 months, every 4 months, or every 6 months).


Then, you select your kit/what products you want. There are 3 choices:

  • Complete Solution, $60: includes complexion beauty balm, concealer, 2 mascara formulas, and 2 eyeliner colors (this is the kit in this review)
  • Complexion Perfection, $35: includes complexion beauty balm and concealer
  • All About Eyes $35: includes 2 mascara formulas and 2 eyeliner colors

Note: you select the shades for the concealer and beauty balm, but not the eyeliners


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

The Subscription: Stowaway Cosmetics Solution Subscription

The Cost: The Complete Solution is $60/shipment (every 3, 4, or 6 months – you choose), the Complexion Perfection and All About Eyes are both $35/shipment

The Products: Travel-sized cosmetics from Stowaway’s brand. Each kit option contains slightly different types or numbers of products (see above explanation for details).

Ships to: US

Check out other makeup boxes in our Beauty Subscription Box Directory!


Also included was a list of all the items in my Complete Solution kit and how much they cost on their own. The subscription is $60, but if I were to buy each item a la carte in their store, the value would total to $82.

(Good to know: if you order and cancel your subscription before 30 days has passed, they charge your card the difference so that you ultimately do pay the a la carte prices).


Because the products are small, the box is small – I wanted to show you so I used my hand for rough comparison.


Stowaway Cosmetics Defined Lash Mascara, black – 4 ml/.14 fl oz, value: $12

Stowaway Cosmetics Extreme Lash Mascara, black – 5.4 ml/.18 fl oz, value: $12

The main difference between these two mascaras is the brush. The Defined Lash has a fluffier one, and the Extreme Lash has a stiffer, more comb-like one. I’ll talk about performance later with photos of these applied. One thing that irked me, though, is that these mascaras say nowhere on the actual bottles which formula they are, only on the boxes. (Also good to know: they only have black formulas, no brown option.)


Stowaway Cosmetics Effortless Eyeliner in Jet – .005 oz, value: $10

Stowaway Cosmetics Effortless Eyeliner in Spice – .005 oz, value: $10

These eyeliners are very thin and cute – I really appreciate how chic the packaging is for Stowaway’s products! The colors here are black and a sort of slightly shimmery brown (see below for swatches, application photos near the end of article).


Jet (black) is on top, and Spice (brown) is on bottom. Spice has a little shimmer to it, but nothing drastic at all. I also noted a difference in the softness of the formulas. Jet was a harder formula and therefore really easy to achieve a super thin line if you want. Spice was softer, and that’s why it swatched thicker on my arm.


Stowaway Cosmetics Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm Cream, Fair – 25 ml/.85 fl oz, value: $22

Stowaway Cosmetics Creaseless Concealer, Fair – .15 oz, value: $16

Both of these products are in the shade Fair, which is the lightest one they sell. Unfortunately, they weren’t pale enough for my ghostly complexion (I kind of knew the shades wouldn’t work – I’ve tried practically every brand there is!). The formulas aren’t bad, though.


The Beauty Balm Cream (BB cream) was lightweight and had enough coverage to even my skin tone, but not heavy/full coverage.

The concealer went on well and blended nicely. They recommend using this as an under-eye concealer, so it’s not super heavy duty for blemishes or anything.


See? These products are not my color. Also to note: they aren’t the same shade exactly; the concealer leans pinker than the BB cream does. This isn’t a huge issue, though; they blend pretty well.

I didn’t want to go totally orange-face for photos here, but I did swatch them on my neckline.

Pro tip: this is where you want to swatch foundations and concealers, so you can compare them to your face AND neck. You want to match to your NECK, not your face! This prevents getting that “mask” look, because often your face is redder than your neck (as it is in my case) or there’s some kind of similar difference in coloring.


Top: eyes with no eyeliner or mascara

Bottom: Left has the Jet eyeliner and the Extreme Lash mascara, Right has the Spice eyeliner and the Defined Lash mascara (one layer of mascara)

I’m really happy with the performance of the mascaras! Ultimately, I didn’t see a huge difference in the results, except slightly more length and definition with the Extreme Lash.

I really didn’t notice a difference in the formulas that affected application, just in the brushes. The Extreme Lash is my favorite because it has a stiffer, more comb-like brush (slightly different than Benefit’s They’re Real), which I like because I feel I have more control over separation and get my lashes coated better. The Defined Lash was good, too, if you prefer fluffier wands. I felt like it had a lighter product application, though.


Here’s a closer look at the eyeliners. Again, the left has the black liner and the right has the brown. It’s quite a subtle difference, but just enough to give you control over intensity.

Verdict: I know this was a slightly wordy review, but I like being thorough and specific about cosmetics and offer tips (this is thanks to my Sephora training making me like that). I’m happy with the performance and formulas of Stowaway’s products! I also think Stowaway has an interesting idea with their vision (the “right size” products so you use them up before expiring). I see this subscription as being very good for minimalists, people who travel light, or even people who just want to make sure they have a set of touch-up makeup with them or in their purse. (This isn’t a sub designed for discovery, though, since each kit is the same thing).

Now for the value. Paying $60 for $82 in cosmetics is pretty good! A lot depends on what your budget/spending style for cosmetics is like, and seeing how much product you get for $60. Stowaway cosmetics also offers a one-time purchase kit that is a “complete face,” which contains your color choice of BB cream, concealer, cream lip/cheek rouge, eyeliner, lipstick, and a Defined Lash Mascara. I wish this whole kit were available as a subscription, too – I feel like a “complete solution” should have also included a cheek and lip color.

What do you think about Stowaway Cosmetics?

Written by Haley Faye

Haley Faye

Haley Faye first discovered the wonderful world of subscription boxes in 2012 and began writing for MSA in 2014. Over the years, she has found many subscriptions to love. Now a mom of three, her favorite boxes are ones that dress her kids, help her get organized, feed her family, send her snacks, and offer educational fun for her children.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Makeup Subscription Boxes, Stowaway Cosmetics Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: stowaway cosmetics | 22 comments

Comments (22)

  1. Thank you for the review! I appreciate the in-depth look into these products. But are the organic and vegan? I can’t find anywhere that says the actual ingredients. ?

  2. Those mascaras are amazing… *runs off to store’s website*

  3. For all of you with issues finding light enough shades, I love Wei to Go Ideal Skin Perfect Finish in Light.

  4. I also have a very fair complexion. Dr. Jart’s Premium BB cream (gold tube) has become my Holy Grail product. I’ve been using it for about 3 years. I have found a couple of foundations that work (Tarte especially) but I always use Dr. Jart.

  5. Thanks for the review! I was considering this, but I’d have a similar issue with the BB Cream color only on the opposite end. I’m about the same skin color as Sanaa Lathan and it looks like their darkest color would be a shade too light for me. And the undertone is probably wrong for me too. They really need to expand their color selection!

    Instead of two mascaras, why not give a choice? And the complete kit should definitely include a cheek and lip color!

  6. Thanks for the review. I have looked at their website several times since receiving the lipsticks in PopSugar. Now that I see how really small everything is I am a little surprised at their prices, figuring a deluxe sample of mascara seems to be about the same size. I think I will pass on this line and just use my samples in my purse “emergency you better put on makeup as you look like a shlub” kit. 🙂

    As for convenient travel makeup I recommend Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Shadow Stick in Rosegold as its flattering on most complexions and has staying power, what ever sample mascara you have stick to black or brown, what ever small sample eyeliner (best if its black or brown so you can use it in any occasion) you have, and a brow pencil/gel. Keep vacation looks simple so you can spend more time relaxing!

  7. I think cosmetic reviews are your niche, Haley!! 🙂
    Really loved all aspects of this review, especially the total eyes before and after. I wish I had been first to say it, but let me add: you have beautiful eyes. 🙂 I know it takes a lot to ” put yourself out there” in reviews with photos and I hope you can coax Liz out of her shell to show us more than her wrists. :).

    I know I got the set of 3 Stowaway lipsticks in a Pop Sugar box not long ago, and I liked the size, the colors, and the formula. I do NOT like the cases which have a slightly rubbery texture similar to Smashbox. They grab any fingerprint smudge, any piece of lint, just not user- friendly, and neither is Smashbox, IMO. Based upon the colors and formula of the lipsticks, I would probably have ordered a kit from them, also.

    I’m glad for this review, because if there’s anything I hate it’s orange toned makeup. I’m also fair and usually pick the lightest shade if I’m ordering online, like you did. Personally, I’d send the foundations back with a note about how very few American women have orange toned fair skin. If they are going to survive as an American company, I think they need to make some significant changes right now.
    The other things I didn’t like:
    2 mascaras- why? If one mascara is not good, why send it? If one mascara is very good, why send another formula too? It’s not sensible, and for me, it would be a waste of money.

    I, personally, would not have liked the very limited selection of these products at all. Every ” Complete Solution” kit should have lip colors and blush colors.
    Plus, do they make eye shadow? It’s a bit strange to offer eyeliner, as it is NOT a short- life product under usual single- user, proper storage conditions.
    I’m all about neutral but enhancing color cosmetic items, like blush, eye shadow, lip color, as I use my own choice of foundation and tinted moisturizer which is perfectly matched to my very fair skin and am not going to change them up with anything else.

    One last thing I’d like to mention as it is a staple in my handbags now: There are other options out there which are also very compact, designed to work together, are really cute and extremely handy. They can be a lifesaver for a spontaneous weekend getaway, as I have used them to quickly create a neutral but enhanced face in the AM. For a long time, Victoria Jackson Cosmetics has made and still makes a Survival Kit . It fits in my hand, costs around $35- maybe less, I don’t recall. I just bought a new one about 2 months ago and believe this is as much as it cost- maybe less. I keep my Survival Kit with me at all times when I have a handbag larger than a clutch, and I do update the kit as I don’t keep old cosmetics around. It contains everything except a face makeup ( but it used to have one and it was also orange- looking to me).
    This tiny black compact has the following:
    Brown Eyeliner
    Black Eyeliner
    Then the little square compact unfolds to reveal:
    2 blushes-one which is a neutral pink- beige and the other is the ” night” blush which is a slightly deeper neutral but colorful shade and this one has some sparkle. The other side of the flip is a mirror for application ( It used to be 4 blushes, but times change).
    5 lip shades from sheer gloss to a sheer true red. The shades in between lightest and darkest are my faves.
    10 eyeshadows are in the last flip open part. Every shade is a neutral ( they used to be bright blue and so forth which was the style at the time) and these have been updated with the current trends in neutrals as well as the lip colors and the blushes. There is a drawer with a blush brush, a lip brush and an eye shadow blush. Tiny, to fit in the compact.
    There is a sleek matching black lid which keeps all parts of the slide out compartments closed and secure, and covers the mascara and eyeliners as well.

    My point is that REALLY nice and FUN ” tiny” cosmetic products can be found elsewhere if a person knows where to look or does a search for mini size items.
    Also, I do NOT know if Stowaway is vegan, organic, gluten and paraben free, and I also do not know if Victoria Jackson’s new formulation of her famous Survival Kit has any special properties either. There is a complete ingredient list, but I’d need a magnifier to read it. Tiny compact, tiny box. 🙂

    I do not, nor have I ever worked for any cosmetic company or sold any type of beauty product. This is just my comparative observation of ” today’s latest thing” vs. a name which used to be chic, is not currently advertised, but has a really useful product without a lot of money. I just wanted to share a pretty and affordable kit with tons of color. Also, the mascara is really good, and it’s easy to replace it a with sample or GWP size mascara as well. Almost all samples fit in the drop in hole on top for the mascara.
    The ONLY difference is that Stowaway is calling their purchase options a ” subscription” when they really aren’t, and Victoria Jackson used to offer automatic refills of her items, but does not any longer as far as I know.

    I must say that I believe Pop Sugar sent out the set of best products that Stowaway makes.

    • Thanks for the flashback! I had a few of those Victoria Jackson kits years and years ago (I think it was back when she had infomercials). I LOVED those little things. I may just need to order one!

      • They are nicer now than the older ones were. Every product is extremely usable.

      • Do you happen to have a link to one, I am not finding one.

  8. Wonderful review! Thank you so much!

  9. Awesome review, Haley Faye!!! I just signed up for the complete kit. And, as another poster said, you have gorgeous eyes!!! XO

  10. Great review. I have been curious about them since I got their mini lipsticks and love them from the PSMH box.
    For all you fair skinned folks out there, I found a new all natural foundation called Pure Anada. They are a Canadian company and they offer 15 shade varieties (I am on the opposite side of pale and so I was searching for them for tanner options). Anyway, they have a shade called Arctic Alabaster. Plus you can order $1 samples with a special shipping rate to try out several shades. I tried four shades for $4 plus $2 shipping. Just an fyi for all of us that don’t fit into the 3-6 shade mold the cosmetic company has made!

    • Oh wow, thanks! I will try this out (after I make sure they’re cruelty-free)! Great deal!

  11. Thank you for the tips, Haley! It helps us makeup hopeless folks!

  12. This seems like a really great subscription. Unfortunately I have enough ‘back up’ make up to last around 100 years, so I’m going to resist.
    Also, as another super-pale person, the BB cream would be far too dark. One of the best I’ve found for my cool toned skin is Urban Decay in 0.5. Pricey, but better than looking like an Oompaloompa.

  13. Just curious, if the formulas are not listed on the packaging are the expiration dates listed? I could always write it on myself if it is only on the box, but I was just wondering.

  14. I LOVE your review. And than you for the pro-tip, I will mention it to my daughter who has been having pasty-face issues.

    BTW, you have the most beautiful eye color. Did your baby inherit it?

  15. Love the concept so sorry to hear their light shade isn’t light enough.

    Have any of my sister-ghosts tried the honest beauty lightest shade? So tempted but I’ve been burned so many times before.

    • I hope I am allowed to say this. If you buy cosmetics or anything from the shopping networks, QVC and HSN, if you don’t like the item you can return for full refund even if you use it. Cost to send it back is your responsibility. They both have name brand cosmetics so you would have a wide selection.

      I agree about the blush and lipstick. they are the only things that keep me from looking like a fright.

  16. Love their lipstick trio from PopSugar! I’d like to try their eyeliners. Thank you for the great review! I love that you go into detail & take pictures of you wearing the makeup! you really put time & thought into all your reviews & it’s much appreciated:)

  17. Good review! Sadly, I think I would have the same problem with the BB cream shades as you did. (Also I don’t need anyone shipping me any more mascaras as I already have enough to last 3-4 years, using one per month and then tossing it…) I can see how this would work for a certain type of person, though.

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