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POPSUGAR Must Have Box Winter 2019 Review + Coupon

Liz Cadman
ByLiz CadmanNov 19, 2019 | 102 comments

POPSUGAR Must Have
3.9 overall rating
530 Ratings | 71 Reviews

POPSUGAR Must Have is a lifestyle subscription box for women. Each season, members get 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!)

This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

The Subscription Box: POPSUGAR Must Have

The Cost: $75 a box

If you haven’t signed up yet, use coupon code MSA20 to save $20 off of your first box!

The Products: “Must Have” items for women selected by POPSUGAR editors. (Fitness, Home, Beauty, Food, and more)

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

Hudson + Bleecker – Preto Nomad Round Travel Case – Retail Value $60

I love the vintage hat box vibes of this case! Such a classic design, and the black exterior with gold metal accents + the striped lining = forever chic!

The inner clear circle bag is TSA friendly and easy to clean, while the outer case has a hard exterior to help protect your items in travel. It could even double as a purse! I have yet to figure out how to make packing a non-stressful event, but this surely has to help!

Nima Oberoi Lunares Blanco Nero Tray – Retail Value $69

This piece is handmade by artisans, using the ancient technique of sand casting. The inside of the dish is an abstract white and black enamel design, and the exterior is aluminum. This could be used as a trinket dish, jewelry catchall, etc. And the nice surprise is that it is food safe! It also comes in its own box, so I think it would make a lovely hostess gift if you’re thinking of subscribing to this box and using some of the items as holiday gifts!

This might be a little out there, but right now I’m using this tray as a remote control holder on our coffee table – I think it looks really good!

Kevyn Aucoin Beauty – The Neo-Blush in Rose Cliff – Retail Value $38

This gorgeous gradient blush allows you to get different shades that best suit your skin tone. If you scroll through the photos, I included a swatch that shows the colors on each end, and the bottom swatch shows a blend of the colors. The lighter, left side has shimmer, and the darker right side is more matte. The formula is well-pigmented (I recommend using a light hand), and I personally love the blended color – it’s the ideal amount of subtle shimmer for me.

Rifle Paper Co Boxed Set of Merci Cards – Retail Value $18

I don’t know what came first, my love of subscription boxes or my love of Rifle Paper Co, but I’m always happy to see anything Rifle Paper Co in a box! I’ve framed several of their cards I’ve received over the years, too. (It’s my go-to move for inexpensive office art!)

These cards feature a classic Rifle Paper Co floral background with a metallic gold foil stamped “Merci.” I am making a conscious effort to bring gratitude into every day, and these cards are a great reminder for that, too.

Rainbow Arc Necklace– Retail Value $60

This is the item that all subscribers got to pick! Lately, when POPSUGAR includes a jewelry piece in their subscription, they let subscribers select the jewelry piece of their choice. (Swipe through to see all options).

Delicate gold jewelry is my weakness, so I had to pick the rainbow necklace. I love the tiny rainbow sparkles, too. I don’t have any piece like this in my collection.

M.S Skincare KAPHA Energizing Body Oil – Retail Value $68

This brand is new to me, and it’s one of my favorite discoveries in the box! First, I love that M.S Skincare is ingredient-conscious for both the formulations of their products and their packaging.

Now let’s talk about the body oil itself. I was delighted by the scent – it’s my favorite essential oil blend for winter: orange, cinnamon, and clove. (One of my favorite holiday traditions, when I was a kid, was making pomander balls with my mom, so this scent is equal parts warmth and nostalgia for me.) The formula is a rich blend of oils including Coconut oil and Vitamin E. I found it took a minute or two to fully absorb, and it left my skin feeling soft and hydrated.

Here’s more from M.S Skincare on the benefits of the oil:

Coconut oil and gotu kola extract are known to help reduce the appearance of cellulite, scars and skin damage. Vitamin C rich kakadu plum and amla oil are known to brighten and firm skin for an even, all over glow.

Apotheke Reed Diffuser in White Vetiver – Retail Value $48

This frosted glass diffuser should work with any decor, and it has already found a home in our powder room. The scent carries well in a small room, and still holds its own in a larger room without being overpowering in either case. The scent is described as: “Cashmere, eucalyptus, and lilac are entwined with earthy vetiver, sandalwood, amber, and cedarwood to form a sultry fragrance.” I keep smelling it and can’t decide if I really like it or just sort of like it!

Fast Bar – Value $3.20

This bar is “scientifically formulated with premium ingredients to nourish the body and keep it from feeling hungry.” This bar is primarily a blend of nuts (including coconut), cocoa powder, and honey for some sweetness. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and works for the ketogenic diet.

But here’s my main question – how does it taste? It’s just slightly chewy (which is good because my first fear was crumbs everywhere.) The cocoa taste is very apparent to me, and I didn’t find it to be that sweet. In fact, I have a sweet tooth and would have liked it to be a little sweeter. But, it’s a health food, so it’s a good thing that there are only 7 grams of total sugar!

So I didn’t mind the taste, but I didn’t love it, and I know I would never find myself craving it. I ate half a bar midday and decided that was enough for me. But here’s where things get a little interesting… I totally forgot I had snacked on the bar earlier in the day, but then later that night I realized I had skipped snacks without realizing it, never craved or ate dessert after dinner, and still wasn’t feeling hungry. This could be a complete fluke, but I’m definitely going to try this bar again to validate if it actually does help curb unnecessary snacking. Again though, I want to stress that this could be a fluke (I could just have gotten plenty of sleep or something) so it may not work this way for you or even really for me!

Either way, POPSUGAR Editors have an excellent track record of including new-to-me food products in their boxes, and this is another interesting discovery!

Verdict: This box has a retail value of about $364! I think that’s an incredible value for a $75 box! I think this box has a perfect mix of home, beauty, and fashion items. The brands and the quality of products are great, too. I think this is a very classy box that has items I’ll be using for years. I do miss the special extras (sponsored items), though! But hopefully, those bonus goodies will be back in the Spring Box!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, if you sign up today, your first box will be the winter box.

DEAL – If you haven’t signed up yet, use coupon code MSA20 to save $20 off of your first box!

What do you think of the Winter POPSUGAR Must Have Box? What’s your favorite item in the box? 

POPSUGAR Must Have is a quartely lifestyle subscription box curated by the editors at POPSUGAR. Each box features their "must have" products for beauty, fashion, home, food, fitness and more. Every box has a value of $250 +!
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!

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!
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102 comments

Amy

Just got an email to resubscribe and get the winter box for half off with code Winter50 – total was $40 after taxes! All 3 jewelry customizations appeared to be in stock!

Excited to have the travel case and silver necklace for a wedding I’ll be in over the summer, and the trinket dish seems precious!

Pretty meh about the rest, I’ll probably use it but it doesn’t excite me. For $40 though, I’m thrilled!

Amy

So my order from February 11th finally arrived today.

My travel case was damaged (CS was quick to replace when I sent pics!)

My silver necklace didn’t arrive. I got the gold earrings instead and the silver necklace is now out of stock. I can’t wear gold and pretty much only ordered the box for the necklace.

CS offered me a $10 credit for my necklace… but I’m no longer a subscriber and can’t use a credit. Waiting on a reply to see what their resolution is but yikes on taking nearly a month to get to me and double yikes on not being what I ordered. Pretty good CS so far though!

Izzie

I guess I had your same selection. My box (purchased on 2/11) arrived this Tuesday with the Earrings instead of the necklace I selected, and a candle as extra to make up for the missing necklace (as told by cs). I actually don’t have my ears pierced and the candle has a smell that I find extremely unpleasant. I gave up, I’m getting getting tired to contact CS. On the bright side, everything else was perfect.

Amy

Okay I’m still super excited, but come on PS I ordered on 2/11, it’s been 11 days, 10 if you subtract what they may have treated as a holiday, but I still have nothing!

Box in hand would have been nice by now, but I should have at least gotten a label created by this point, sheesh. I know I’m being impatient, but it’s not like regular shipping season where they’re swamped, so I just can’t figure out what’s up, and CS only had a boilerplate “the warehouse is on it”.

After having been burned by Causebox Black Friday, and dealing with FFF being their usual shipping mess, I just want to know when I’m getting what I bought.
This long of a time being incommunicado, plus my year having been an FFF member means I’m always nervous that another company is going to have inventory issues and be out of stock on my customization .

Izzie

Me too, I ordered on 2/11 and it’s still processing. No news

pb

rec’d box today and have to admit that it is soooo much better in person than it seemed in photos! really like everything + def helps that box was well more than 50% off!

enjoy everyone!

Angela

I just used this code and it worked, thank you so much for sharing!!!

Izzie

I did too. Do you know when they ship?

Alice

I received my black friday deal box today. Love everything. However, the Wander beauty duo promo deal items were not with the box. I’ve sent an email to PSMH. Man, I hate having to track down promised promo items! Having flashbacks to Boxycharm…sheesh.

Lily

Thumbs down to PSMH for not putting a bottle of oil in ANY plastic protective covering.

I LOVE body oil but i don’t have any. Mine leaked out in my box over everything else.

I do not know how to even begin to contact them about this mess. It’s awful. I feel sick from smelling this scent all over me and my other packages too. NO damage to the package, it’s all an internal leaking of the body oil. I have about half a bottle left is all, and i REALLY wanted the product.

I’d also love the scent if it was on, you know, my skin and not the box, the floor, the table, the other things.

Did anyone else have a box that had leaking oil? If so, did you do anything about it other than clean it up/ throw things away?

Melissa

Hi Kimberley, out of curiosity, what ingredient are you allergic to in the blush? I’m finding several makeup items that I am becoming HIGHLY allergic to, like today, I used IT Cosmetics Bye Bye CC Cream and the new Pallette from Beauty Bakerie from FFF and I had tears running down my eyes from the irritation – just wondering what in the world I could be allergic to… thanks for any help!

karolyn94531

Love the Apotheke Reed diffuser. I’d like to trade my tai medallion necklace for it. I know some people hated the scent. I also have the walk of shame lipstick from the last box I could add. I tried the swap link but it says I’m on a wait list? Anyone want to trade?

Coco

My box came today. I cancelled after the Fall box, but resubscribed after seeing the full spoilers. Oh, I wish I had waited for the BTBF deal to save $25 on this. At least nothing leaked, was broken or missing. I really like the oil, the diffuser, the dish, the blush, and the cards. Not sure about the travel case, though I like that it has a clear insert. I’ll use it for something. The earrings are a joke, they’re so small. But overall, I agree with the others who said this one feels on the light side. I think my favorite item is the oil. I live in a cold, dry climate- this should provide some welcome dry skin relief, and I love the scent. But still, underwhelmed overall.

Melissa

My box came yesterday, and it’s not a bad box, but there’s nothing in it that I’m excited about.

The earrings are very tiny and delicate- you can barely see the individual stones. They are pretty, but I haven’t been brave enough to try and put them on yet- they’re very very small!

I hardly ever use blush, so it’ll go for swaps, the packaging makes it seem like a quality brand though.

I don’t know quite what I think of the diffuser scent- it’s not necessarily bad, but it’s just odd. I set it out in the living room last night, so we’ll see how it is once the scent has had time to “spread”.

I was surprised by the body oil- normally I don’t go for that kind of thing, but it’s actually got a nice scent AND it doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky! The scent is pretty strong (I think smelled better on me than in the bottle), and it isn’t super moisturizing, so it’ll probably get regulated for using in the bath, but it’s still way better than expected.

I haven’t taken the travel case out of the plastic. I’m not impressed that it’s vegan leather. The dish is disappointing too- it’s heavy, but doesn’t seem like the greatest of quality in person, and I’m not wowed by the design.

The protein bar just made me go “really?”. Seems like a cheap afterthought that should have been considered a promotional item. They could have at least included a sampling of their different flavors if they wanted to count it as one of the box items. It’s not bad tasting, but I doubt I’ll ever seek it out in stores.

Overall I would not have been upset to miss out on this box. As others have mentioned there’s not a hero item, and nothing that really wowed me (especially since I paid full price!). If the case had been actual, real leather I would have been thrilled.

I had been considering signing up for an annual subscription to Popsugar (since I’m not renewing the dumpster fire that FFF has become), but now I’m not so sure. I really wish Oui Please had their act together, and I’d sign up for an annual with them, but since I’m still waiting to receive something more tangible than excuses for my first box, I don’t dare! Looks like I’m just going to have to go spend money at the Coach sale instead (oh darn.). =)

melanie711

I’m out of control lol. I bought this box, a 3 month subscription to Bombay & Cedar (both with the awesome better than Black Friday deals) AND spent way too much at the Coach sale. This was after add ons with FFF which I have an annual membership that just ended. My New Years resolution is going to be stop the “first world shopping”!!! I say you need to get to the Coach sale. It’s fantastic. But obviously don’t listen to me, haha.

Lily

I don’t know what it is about PSMH, but I just can’t quit them.

Great review, Liz, and after I bought the BOS after reading that review, I ordered the PSMH box with the code and for the rainbow necklace. I wanted one of these with real gemstones for a few seasons, but was afraid people would ask me if it was a ” Mother’s necklace” where each gemstone is for a child’s birthday.
They were popular for years, but aren’t any longer ( just sentimental for the people who own them).

I love colored semi-precious and precious gemstones, and although these are simulated, I think the necklace will be pretty with all the black and gray I wear.
I’m going to raid a long black strap with clip openings from my purse closet and see how the makeup bag looks worn as a bag. I like the top handle, it adds some pizazz that my regular round leather handbags don’t have. Note- they are also around 7- 8 inches diameter. Any larger and it looks like you have a hatbox if you aren’t large.

Only thing I might not use is to eat the bar or bars. I’m just not into calories which don’t taste great. 😉

ALL the jewelry choices and robe sizes are still available as choices. YAY! 😉

Kimberley

In person this box is sooo much more luxurious! The dish has a very cool art vibe! I’m going to use it for nuts at thanksgiving! The room diffuser is lovely and not overly scented. The travel case is high quality and I will use it! I may put my watercolor paints in this ,…
My the earrings are small! But cute!
I like the smell of the body oil ! But will swsp this because of allergy to fragrance. Blush is also lovely! But I can’t use it because of an ingredient. So will swap that too. Let me know if you are interested!
I’m happy with the box!

pb

agree! Winter box is WAY better in person!

still taken back by the blue light glasses spoiler for the Spring box, such a bizarre item; could live w/necklace but not at full price….

Melissa

Hi Kimberley, out of curiosity, what ingredient are you allergic to in the blush? I’m finding several makeup items that I am becoming HIGHLY allergic to, like today, I used IT Cosmetics Bye Bye CC Cream and the new Pallette from Beauty Bakerie from FFF and I had tears running down my eyes from the irritation – just wondering what in the world I could be allergic to… thanks for any help!

amyr

I got my boxes and I love it all except for the “snack” bars. They are so bad I can’t eat them. They taste very bitter to me. The unopened one goes to my husband who is a chocolate lover.

I love the earrings and am going to keep one pair as a spare. They are tiny and I am glad the rainbow pattern is small because it keeps them from looking tacky.

The travel case is perfect for me because I tend to lug way too much makeup when I travel. This will hold foundation, blush, bronzer, setting powder, eye shadow, mascara, eye liner, lip balm and lipstick.

I will use another for skin care products.

The tray is beautiful. I am going to use one of mine to hold pens and pencils. I will use the other to hold a few pieces of jewelry.

I love the body oil and any smell that a person feels is off putting very quickly goes away and leaves the skin so soft.

I like the reed diffuser. It would not be my first choice as a fragrance but I like it well enough for it to be a winner item.

The cards are cuter than I expected and in person I like them. I think I will use some for a DIY project.

The blush is beautiful and I love the gradient pattern. Although it has shimmer it is very subtle. This is the first Kevin Alcoin makeup I have ever owned.

In closing I do not feel I wasted my money at all. This is one of my favorite PS boxes ever. I was so glad to not have tea or anything tea related.

Viktoriya Klishyna

I don’t think many of us would buy made in China blush, let along pay $38 for it.

The body oil and the diffuser sound really great.

amyr

I did not pay $38 for it so it doesn’t bother me.

I am not a huge fan of makeup made in PRC but I like the blush enough to use it.

Jean

This box is actually looking better and better for me. I like that the earrings are delicate and the other items (body oil, reed diffuser) are things I use regularly even if I’m not currently using these specific brands. Hudson & Bleeker cases are great. I have a set of two makeup bags and this black one will coordinate with them. I’ve never tried Kevyn Aucoin but have always heard good things about the brand. Note cards I use regularly. The only thing I don’t really have a use for is the dish, but it looks giftable.

Faye

I’m so upset. I like the items in this box but when mine arrived it had been taped shut, nothing was neatly placed and my earrings are missing. I’m not sure if it was just packed poorly or if someone rifled through it. The earrings are what I was most looking forward to. 🙁

Anna

It is interesting to read the different “takes” on this box. Some people loved it and some people weren’t really impressed. However, I LOVED it! I am keeping half of it for myself and the other half will be gifts. I love how delicate the earrings were as I expected them to be more costume jewelry chunky. My tray had a lovely pattern on it and it was the item I was looking forward to the most. I am keeping that. And even though I don’t really like chocolate the bar was so good I will probably order more. I think this is one of the best boxes yet.

Sarah

I loved everything about this box! It felt so much more luxe / quality than my FabFitFun box. It just feels much more tied together with the curation.

The scent of the reed diffuser is pleasant to me — very light and not overpowering. The travel case feels substantial; I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. I haven’t tried the bar yet, but that’s breakfast tomorrow. The cards are perfect and easily used for all occasions. You can never go wrong with Rifle Paper Co. I tried the body oil this evening and it felt very luxurious, although the cap perplexed me. It seems like it should be a squirt bottle, but my cap is stuck together. My tray is also storing my remotes and I think it’s perfect for that. 🙂 I chose the earrings and really like the style; I didn’t anticipate the jewels to stand out and appreciate they’re delicate or I don’t think I’d wear something with rainbow colors on it every day and could see myself wearing these a lot!

Natalie

So disappointed – I got the wrong jewelry item sent to me. The arc necklace was the main thing I was looking forward to, and I got sent the silver necklace instead. I don’t wear silver toned jewelry. I hope that they rectify this and let me swap out the necklace, if not, my first experience is totally ruined and I will not continue to subscribe.

Christine

Same! Wanted the gold arc, chose it super early on, got the silver!

Natalie

Well, I got an email from customer service saying that they were sending a replacement, so if it shows up with the right thing I’ll be thrilled and very pleased with the customer service.

Natalie

Ug, same! I also chose it on the first day that personalization was available. It was the only item in the box I was really excited about, and all my friends are waiting for me to recap the box with them, and I just feel so bad about the experience. They are still offering the box for sale, so if they say that the gold arc necklace is gone, that’s pretty shady.

Christine

The box is ok — my least favorite since my first in Fall 2018 (which I loved). But I’m really dissapointed because they did not send me the arc necklace I chose on the first day of customization (which my account reflects) and sent me the pendant instead, which I don’t like as much. I emailed them, so we shall see how good customer support is!

PJ

I wish the instructions for the diffuser would have indicated that the top on the bottle of oil had to be pried off! I wasted so much time trying to remove it!

D

That’s why I’m here. Can’t for the life of me get it open. I’ll try prying, thank you!

Sarah

I’ll say I liked this box. The diffuser is beautiful, and the oil is an okay warm/musky scent but feels like good quality, and I’ll use the travel bag as my new toiletries container. I’m gifting the blush and jewelry.

My only disappointment was the tray. Mine looks like a legitimate reject. The black is just one huge blob on the side with no swirling, AND (the biggest complaint) there are tiny pieces in the varnish? It looks like dirt and little hairs got stuck in the glaze so it just looks… dirty. :/

Emilia

My tray has the same inclusions.

Sarah

Ugh, very disappointing. 🙁

Reneekathryn

I know everyone is different, but for me, this is huge win for me! I loved this box!

The body oil was the surprise win for me- didn’t think I’d like it at first but it is the perfect fall scent of orange, clove, and cinnamon. I’m pregnant, so I’ve been using it on my belly and my hubby has been using it for foot and back rubs. It is a huge bottle and nice ingredients. 😊 My next surprise favorite is that diffuser. I didn’t think I’d like it when I first opened it, but I have it in my bathroom and it smells amazing! Not too strong and fragrance is neutral smelling. The necklace is really dainty and not something I would buy myself, but it is really pretty and will get use this summer. Everything else were nice bonuses for me.

Katie

I got my box yesterday and am very pleased with it so far. The blush and necklace are very pretty in person. The oil smells divine and is huge. The case is very sturdy. I may end up using it as a purse without the inner bag. Over all I thought it was a good mix of items.

Emilia

I will gift both the oil and the diffuser. The necklace looks and feels incredibly cheap, it’s not even real silver, it’s SILVER-PLATED. The trays all look different and I don’t like the design of mine, but when I put the stuff in it, it’s all right. You can tell it’s a quality piece. I don’t care for the blush (made in China, BTW) nor the makeup case (round for packing? I don’t think so). I have enough thank you cards and not enough occasions to send them. This leaves the snack bar… The lack of sponsored items is baffling.

It cost me over CAD$100.

Beth

I love opening Popsugar boxes sooo much. I also keep most of it a mystery and it makes it worth it. The items just seem so much more expensive compared to FFF. It costs more but it’s worth it. I wish I had waited to open so I would have a treat for Christmas. I’m a happy camper of course.

MaryBeth

I’ve been a PS subscriber since the beginning. I was so sad they stopped monthly and went to quarterly, but I stuck around. The lack of extras in this box, the lack of a wow item. I’m officially done. Canceling.
– The oil was leaked in my box too, but I don’t like it enough to ask for a replacement.
-The tray is pretty.
– I’ll give the black box to my 4 year old as a lunch box
-diffuser. Shrug I’ll use it but it doesn’t smell amazing.
-the gold necklace is lovely, but too tiny.
Was that all that was in the box? ..
-Oh yeah, blush. Don’t need it. Can’t really gift it.
-fast bar. Glad they still include a food item. I’m happy to try it.

Overall, this box is worth maybe $30 to me.

pb

don’t you miss old popsugar monthly?!? I do a lot! xx

Jessi

The purfume scents in the diffuser are really strong and since we’ve switched to essential oils in our home this one definitely was a miss for me. But it’s beautiful, so I washed it out and added essential oils with water and a splash of which hazel. It’s found a great home on my bathroom windowsill.

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