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POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box Review – November 2019

POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box Review

POPSUGAR Must Have is a lifestyle subscription box for women that delivers beauty, fashion, food, fitness, and home items from top and up-and-coming brands that POPSUGAR editors have tried, tested, and loved. (It was voted one of the Best Subscription Boxes for Women by MSA readers, too!)

For Black Friday, they’ve teamed up with luxury home fragrance brand, Apotheke, to create two fantastic box assortments that are perfect for gifting! One features their deep woody scent “Charcoal,” while the other highlights the lighter, airy “Hinoki Lavender.” 

These boxes were sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About these Curated Black Friday Boxes from POPSUGAR

The Box: POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box

The Cost: $44.95 ($115+ value)

The Products: 4-5 products (depending on which box you choose) from luxury home fragrance brand, Apotheke.

Good to Know: Both boxes will be available via the POPSUGAR Must Have site on Black Friday (November 29th) but only while supplies last!

group shot of POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box - Charcoal version

POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box – Charcoal


Apotheke Charcoal Bar Soap, 5 oz. – Retail Value $10.00

Bar soap was the first item Apotheke began making in 2011. Each batch is handmade with an olive, palm, and coconut oil base using only natural ingredients and high-quality essential oils. This particular Charcoal version of their soap includes not only their scent of the same name but also charcoal powder which causes the deep black color. It’s also known for its skin benefits that help oily skin, acne, and skin conditions like dandruff and psoriasis and well as detoxification. The fragrance is very light here and fades quickly after washing (which gives you a slight grey foam that rinses clear). Afterward, my hands feel well moisturized due to the three included oils.


Apotheke Charcoal Candle, 11 oz. – Retail Value $38.00

Be still, my heart! If you’re like me and are a fan of woody fragrances like Commodity’s Book (RIP) or Maison Margiela’s Replica – By The Fireplace, you’ll most certainly be a fan of this hand-poured candle that uses cedarwood, sandalwood, smoky amber, and oud. Perfect for fall and winter, this has serious campfire vibes and I cannot. Stop. Smelling. It. I want to permanently insert this scent into my nose and smell it until my last breath. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but it’s just so full-bodied without giving me a headache and I love it. The candle included in this box is a hefty 11 ounces and will last a whopping 60-70 hours. Not enough for the rest of my life, but I’ll take it. Like all of Apotheke’s candles, this one is hand-poured in the USA and made with a soy wax blend.


Apotheke Charcoal Diffuser – Retail Value $48.00

Can you believe that I’ve never owned a reed diffuser before? They’ve been wildly popular for quite some time now and I’ve never been really tempted until I laid my eyes upon this beauty. First of all- I love the sleek black matte glass design and very minimal branding on it. The 10 black reeds match the monochrome colorway and are each 10 inches long. The fragrance is, of course, the same Charcoal scent as the other items in this bundle which I find just intoxicating. The diffuser has a life of 3-4 months and I find it to be lingering without being overpowering. I have it sitting directly on my desk in my office and it isn’t offensive or too strong. It’s bringing me quite a bit of joy, in fact.


Apotheke Wick Trimmer – Retail Value $24.00

Whether you choose the Charcoal or the Hinoki Lavender box, you’ll receive this gorgeous gold-plated metal wick trimmer. If you’re not a super serious candle aficionado, you may be unaware that you should be trimming your candle wicks before burning each time. Doing so will maximize the burn life of your candles and eliminate black smoke and residue. This scissor-like tool allows you to easily trim your wicks down to 1/8″ even on tall candles that have burned far down to the bottom of their vessels. One snip is enough for these sharp little shears to get the job done. The design also allows you to catch the trimmed wick piece as you cut so that you don’t have to dig it out of the bottom of the vessel.

group shot of POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box - Hinoki Lavender version

POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke Box – Hinoki Lavender


Apotheke Hinoki Lavender Candle, 11 oz. – Retail Value $38.00

If you love soft scents that make you feel cozy and remind you of freshly cleaned laundry- this candle is perfect for you! Quite different than the bold woody smells of the Charcoal line, this Hinoki Lavender is somehow calming and uplifting at the same time. I’d describe is as a more floral scent than your traditional lavender. This candle is still earthy but has a more floral vibe with lotus flower, lavender, Hinoki cypress, and sandalwood. The vessel the candle comes in is a clear frosted glass with simple “Apotheke Brooklyn” branding in grey text near the bottom which keeps it the focus on the scent. As with most candles, this glass could easily be cleaned out after the wax is gone and reused for cotton balls or makeup brushes since it’s such a nice holder.


Apotheke Hinoki Lavender Bar Soap, 5 oz. – Retail Value $10.00

Similar to the charcoal soap, the scent for this Hinoki Lavender bar soap is very subtle and not nearly as strong as the candle. The bar measures 2.25 inches wide and tall x 1.5 inches deep and is made with the same sustainable oils as the other soaps from Apotheke: coconut, olive, and palm. This bar is great for travel since it’s not so large, or can be placed on a decorative tray in a guest bath for a soothing and aesthetic touch. I rather like the lather it creates in my hands and the scent doesn’t linger too long.


Apotheke Hinoki Lavender Liquid Soap, 10 oz. – Retail Value $22.00

The liquid soap version of this scent comes in a well-sized 10-ounce plastic bottle with a pump that can be used in the kitchen, bath, or powder room. Paraben-free and phthalate-free, this soap is made with plant-based ingredients like coconut, aloe, and jojoba seed oil. The liquid produces a more fragrant smell than the bar soap and has a conditioning feeling to its rich viscosity.


Apotheke Hinoki Lavender Lotion, 10 oz. – Retail Value $22.00

Exclusive to the Hinoki Lavender version of the curated box is this full-size lotion. While I don’t find it to be the thickest or richest lotion, it does have more fragrance than the liquid or bar soap that sticks around after absorbing into my skin. It’s not greasy at all and doesn’t leave any sort of residue on the skin but after washing my hands with the other three soaps, I did feel the need to use a little extra. This formula is made with aloe, sesame seed oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil to name a few, along with the essential oils needed to create the scent carried throughout the box.


Apotheke Wick Trimmer – Retail Value $24.00

The Hinoki Lavender box, like the Charcoal version, also comes with this fancy yet sturdy wick trimmer! This item (which I just love), along with the candle is already worth more than the cost of the box and there are still three other fragranced items to behold.

Verdict: Whether you prefer dark woody scents or lighter, floral, earthy ones, I think both of these curated boxes by POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke are well worth the $44.95 cost! The Charcoal box has a retail value of $120 while the Hinoki Lavender has a retail value of $116.00. They’re extremely giftable since most of the items already come in nice boxes so you can parcel them out or give the whole set to someone who loves bringing rich scents into their home. I think the packaging, ingredients, and fragrance all read as luxury to me and would love to receive this for the holidays. My preference? Definitely the moodier Charcoal!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you order today? Yes, both boxes will be available via the POPSUGAR Must Have site on Black Friday (November 29th) but only while supplies last!

Check out all of our POPSUGAR Must Have reviews and the Women’s Subscription Box Directory!

Will you be grabbing a POPSUGAR Must Have x Apotheke box on Black Friday? Which one sounds the best to you?!


How do subscribers rate POPSUGAR Must Have?

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Written by Marne Orenich

Marne Orenich

Marne is a lipstick connoisseur, record collector, and twice over cat mom. She loves discovering new clean beauty brands and has quite the collection of beautifully packaged serums and moisturizers.

Posted in POPSUGAR Must Have Box Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: POPSUGAR Must Have Box | 47 comments

Comments (47)

  1. Great review, Marne! I purchased the charcoal box and your review solidified me making the right choice. I love a musky, woodsy scent and I need the wick trimmer, I have been using my scissors. Now I will feel fancy.

  2. Ladies – you’ll have to play around with adding both charcoal and lavender to your cart.
    That’s what I did and charcoal eventually appeared and I removed lavender.

    It’s really weird but I was able to get it after multiple tries.

  3. Lavender ones just appeared and are on sale. Charcoal looks to be sold out.

    • No matter which one I put in my cart, it changes to Lavender. The charcoal one is not working.

      • I was having same problem. Opened a new “incognito” browser and it looks like I could buy both. Separately.

      • THANK YOU!!! It was placing only lavender in my cart until I did the incognito browser and then I was able to get the charcoal set!!

      • Try it now – I was able to purchase 2 Charcoal & 2 Lavender

      • I read the original email wrong (I thought it was 11am CST), so was disappointed (but not surprised) to see they’d already sold out. I just got an email from popsugar though and was able to order 1 of each box. They gave the option of ordering up to 5 of each in the checkout (talk about overload!) so I’m guessing this box isn’t quite as limited as previously announced… 😉

      • I’m able to put them in my cart now but the charcoal set is showing up as the lavender in my cart… kept trying but it’s only showing up as lavender.

  4. Does anyone know if this box went on sale yet? My email said 11:00AM EST and I signed on at that time and it’s showing Sold Out. Not sure if it started earlier than the email or is just running late?

    Either way, I’m not sure why you’d put a time if it’s not going to be timely – should be easy to schedule accordingly.

    • I’m wondering the same thing I looked in at 10:50 and they said sold out. then I kept refreshing and was able to add to cart but it went back to sold out!

      • I went on right at 11:00 when it was supposed to go on sale and it showed sold out. Kept refreshing and still sold out. Makes me think they never actually launched it for sale yet?

      • plain out ridiculous! they haven’t even sent out an email yet confirming whether it is sold out or not. but how could it even sale out before the sale started! PopSugar can be awful when to comes to their sales and timing. has anyone been able to purchase the box?

      • Sold out 😭😭😭 Was anyone able to purchase one? I got on the email list…

      • At this point I’m going with Sold Out. Not sure if they had any limits so maybe they started earlier + no limits. Pretty annoying though.

    • I had checked periodically through the morning, and there wasn’t even a black friday option that I saw, until right before 11. And at 11 on the dot, they all showed sold out. Oh well, guess I didn’t need it. I got my daughter and I matching HP jammies instead 😆

      • I bought myself an Outlander Premium box from Bookish Box instead. I’m pretty happy with that!

      • Ohhhh! Tell me more! =)

    • I been refreshing the site for 30 minutes now. at this point im like oh well my money is safe for another day. im going to buy a diffuser and some scents from Aera anyway. lol and I wish they wouldn’t have included the candle wick trimmers as part of the actual package price. on their site you get the wick trimmer for free if you purchase 3 candles.

    • I have been signing on since about 7am, and nothing was available. The Black Friday link finally appears and BOTH are sold out? Riiiiiiggggghhhht. Try again, PSMH. They are almost as bad as FFF when it comes to big sales and box releases.

    • its up now but only putting the lavender box in the cart. ugh

  5. I have an Apotheke candle and I have to say, it’s not a great quality for the price. It has tunneled no matter how long I let it burn (yes I let it burn entirely across the first time so the wax stayed even). They smell lovely, but they don’t burn well, in my experience.

  6. Great review! Both boxes look fab!

  7. This is going to sound dumb but I’m wondering how ordering just this box from the site works? I’ve never ordered from there so will the one-time box pop up on the main page or will it be on another page? And does anyone know what time sales begin? The 29th at midnight or should I just keep checking back? 😆

    I want the charcoal set so badly!

    • After checking their web-site and then checking and then re-checking again I found on their blog that this sale begins at 8 am PT/ 11 am ET on Black Friday.

      • it was sold out when I checked around 10:50 am and now its still saying sold out

  8. I want both. For me. 😬

  9. I love when MSA does reviews prior to box release or really early so that it helps us to decide if we want the box or not! I didn’t know such thing like wick trimmer existed and I should bet one! Maybe from Amazon as I don’t think I will be buying this box although I like them 🙂

  10. I’ve been wanting a wick trimmer, if anyone puts one up for swap!

  11. I wish the lavender scent came with the diffuser – if it did I’d have been all over this one! The Charcoal would probably be too strong of a scent for me and the dark doesn’t go with my decor 🙁

    • feel same exact way!

    • Same here! Sometimes scents like the way the other one is described make me sneeze and irritate my sinuses. I was still thinking of grabbing one and gifting it if necessary but when I go to PopSugar’s site I don’t see anything about them.

      • I just checked and they are sold out

  12. The Apotheke reed diffuser from the Winter box has such a strong smell. It’s not necessarily bad, but too much for it to be in my office. I had already lugged it up there and didn’t want to worry about taking it home, so I put some distilled water in to dilute the smell and it helped.

    I’m glad you mentioned the smell with the first option containing the diffuser. I don’t think I’ll get either.

    I wish they were having a Boutique sale.

  13. Marne, I just want you to know I am so appreciative of your alt-text image descriptions. Thank you so much!

    • Hey, no sweat Lauren! I’m so glad you appreciate it and we can hook that up for you!

  14. Can’t wait! But on my calendar Black Friday isn’t on November 27th. I immediately rushed to the site hoping I hadn’t missed it. 🙂

    • Thanks for the heads up on that, Sharon—I updated the dates!

  15. As soon as you mentioned By the Fireplace, I knew I wanted the Charcoal version. I hope to get this!!

    • By The Fireplace is THE BEST! 🙂

    • is it close to BBB marshmallow fireside? thx!

      • Yep, that Apotheke Charcoal box is going to be my very first Pop Sugar purchase. Robb Vices put that candle in one of its boxes a couple of years ago and I’ve been in love with that scent ever since. It’s an expensive candle (very high quality; the scent permeates an entire room and it provides dozens of hours of burn time), so I only snatch one up when I see it for a reasonable price on Ebay. Excited to be able to get a whole set for such a great price.

      • Oops – didn’t mean to reply to this comment; sorry! But I can say that Apotheke Charcoal fragrance doesn’t smell sweet; it literally smells like a fireplace. Like when you’re outside and you can smell in the air that someone somewhere has a fire going.

  16. The lavender set is catching my eye. Hopefully I’ll be able to grab one!

  17. WANT.

  18. These look like great gifts for the people on my list who are difficult to shop for. I hope there’s plenty for everyone who wants them.

  19. So excited to see these! Thanks for reviewing!

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