GQ Best Stuff Box Subscription Box Review – Winter 2020
The GQ Best Stuff Box is a quarterly men’s subscription from GQ magazine that’s $50 a box with free shipping. The box features $200 worth of products the editors have curated after testing and finding them to be the best in their class. Although this subscription is geared towards men, women love it for themselves as well.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About GQ Best Stuff Box
The Subscription Box: GQ Best Stuff Box
The Cost: $50/quarter + free shipping. Save with an annual subscription.
The Products: “The GQ BEST STUFF BOX is a quarterly subscription box featuring the things we love—rigorously tested and loved by GQ editors. It includes our favorite electronics, grooming products, and accessories—every box valued at over $200 each”
Ships to: The US (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico)
GQ Best Stuff Box Winter 2020 Review
The GQ Best Stuff box always comes with a fold-out info sheet that lists the included items and a little bit about each. It also tells you where you can purchase the item on the internet, along with the retail price. (Note: Sometimes what is included in the box is only a sample. The price is for a full-size item. I’ve done a little math to estimate the cost of what is actually in the box.)
This quarter’s box was curated by Kevin Love, a five-time NBA All-Star. He is an advocate for self-care and normalizing conversations about mental health. This box is filled with self-care items and good vibes.
RiLEY Home Chunky Throw – Retail Value $87.00
This quarter’s big-ticket item is a “Chunky Knit Throw” by RiLEY. It doesn’t come in the box. You have to order it separately online with a promo code. RiLEY’s Chunky Knit Throw is 100% acrylic and comes in grey. Like most throws, it measures 40 x 50 inches. So it’s not really something you share with someone, but it is perfect for curling up with a book, or letting your kid roll around in it (see photos). I’m curious about them using the term “chunky knit throw,” because a quick internet search brings up results of actually chunky blankets like you might expect and this one is nothing like that. This throw is more like a sweater or blanket your grandmother may have knit for you. It’s rather nice, but I think “chunky” is misleading. It does have a handmade feel and there is a maturity to it compared to most blankets we have. I’m sure it will be the first one grabbed when the family snuggles up for movie night and it will be in the family until it falls apart. (The blanket, not my family.) I’m going to say that I would never in my life spend $87 for a throw – no matter how nice – but maybe that’s the point of receiving one in a box like this. Again, a quick search will give you several nice, cheaper options for something similar or, if you want a really chunky throw, they are around the same price as this one – give or take. Having said that, I really do love this throw. I think it fits the theme of the box well. I’m going to give it a quick wash and throw it on the couch for my family.
Rains “Dopp Kit” – Retail Value $34.00 (Currently sold out in all colors)
I’m using quotations here because the info sheet says “Dopp Kit,” but the tag on the pouch says “Pencil Case.” I received what is pictured on the info sheet, but the website seems to confirm it is indeed a pencil case. There is also a “wash bag” on the site, which is larger but somehow costs the same. Not that this one can’t be used as a small Dopp kit. It just seems like there is some confusion here and I bet it will cause some discontent.
The case is very sleek, almost foreboding. It is waterproof, which is amazing. It measures 2.9″ x 8.2″ x 3.3″, holds 1.3 liters, and is 60% polyurethane, 40% polyester. The zipper pull is rubber and there is a webbed handle at one end. Mine is black, but colors will vary for subscribers. It’s hard to see, but it has the Rains logo on it with the words “drip, drip, drip.” I really like the slick look (and feel) of this case. However, it is unlikely to unseat my current toiletry bag simply due to its size. Or maybe this is a good time to strip down what I carry in my kit? I feel like this is a case I might take on a specific weekend I plan to be dressed up, like a wedding, but who knows when that will be?
BestSelf Co. Impact Deck – Retail Value $15.00
Like its name suggests, this deck of cards attempts to impact your life by giving prompts to elicit a deep, honest, perhaps uncomfortable response from you. Cards fall under three categories: Action, Reflection, and Affirmation. Actions challenge you to go out of your comfort zone, like “Share something vulnerable with someone you care about to deepen your connection.” Reflections help you to explore the way you think or feel, like “Which value do you care about that you’re not currently living?” And affirmations have you repeat a saying out loud, like “As I take on new challenges, I feel calm, confident, and powerful.”
I think an item like this might be easy to dismiss. It’s easy to be comfortable and settled, because we don’t challenge ourselves to do better, think better, or be better. But, if taken seriously, I think this deck could lead to real self-discovery or deepening of connections with the people in your life. I can tell you honestly that I would never buy this for $15, but I really do think it is an interesting item, and am glad I received it. I’m going to keep it near the dining room table for a night with my friends when we need a conversation starter.
Headspace Two-Month Subscription – Listed Value $26.00
To go with all the self-love items this quarter, GQ has included a 2-month trial subscription to Headspace, a meditation app. They offer hundreds of guided meditations on everything from stress to sleep, sleep sounds, expert advice, and exercises for cooking, eating, and more. If you are inexperienced like me, they suggest a 10-day beginners course to get you familiar with meditation. They offer monthly or annual subscriptions that you can cancel at any time. I have always wanted to get into meditation. I hear it does wonders if you take it seriously, sort of like the impact deck. I did a couple of meditation “classes” just now and it is very powerful how it feels to just take a little time for yourself.
I will say that I do not like when boxes include limited subscriptions into the value of the box. Maybe it’s just me but it feels like a bit of an advertisement, which is fine. However, to include it in the box’s value seems like they’re inflating their numbers. You could certainly argue that most things in subscription boxes are advertisements (e.g. deodorant, face wash, soap), but there is something about the limited use of a service that doesn’t have the same value as something I can hold. How do you feel about it? Comment below.
Note: After this 2-month trial, you will be automatically renewed for a $69.99 annual subscription. To prevent this, you can go onto the website (not the app) and select “TURN OFF AUTO-RENEWAL.” Just a heads up cause auto-renewal stuff drives me up the wall. I signed up without giving them any payment method, so I don’t see how they would charge me anyway.
Pintrill “GQ” Enamel Pin – Listed Value $12.00
Subscribers will get one of two exclusive GQ pins. Either the GQ logo aflame or, like me, a tie-dye smiley face with the logo as its eyes. I could not find either of the pins for purchase, but I don’t think anyone would want to buy them anyway. They are a cool little bit of branded merchandise, but I see no reason to spend money on them. In fact, I think it’s kind of lame they even listed the price as if it adds to the value of the box. I love pins and these are definitely neat, but I cannot imagine a scenario where I would wear a GQ pin. I think things like this should just be a throw-in to say ‘thank you’ and spread brand awareness. That all being said, Pintrill makes a lot of cool pins. Check them out.
Like my last review, I feel as though I should start this part of the review by mentioning I am not a big personal care guy. I take quick showers and my self-care regimen mostly consists of bar soap, toothpaste, and deodorant. I really do try all these items out, but I’m not savvy in the ways of personal-care products. Please do not let my lack of expertise sway you too much one way or the other.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, 0.45 oz. – Retail Value $15.00
This was a first for me. I’ve never used a powder-to-paste face wash. It actually took me a few tries to get a good consistency, but once I did, I was really impressed. My skin is incredibly soft. Dermalogica’s description says your skin will feel “polished” and I think that is spot on. GQ’s description says your skin will feel “power washed,” but I spent a week this summer power washing my fence and I disagree with that assessment. As much as I liked this item, I’m a guy who doesn’t like extra steps between me and what I’m doing. I’m going to use this up – and love it – but moving forward I’ll probably just use my regular face wash, which is bar soap.
Cocofloss in Delicious Mint, Retail Value $9.00
I know I’m not alone when I admit that I do not floss as often as I should. I know it. You know it. Our dentists know it. This floss smells great without being overpoweringly minty. I really liked that the back of the case illustrates approximately how many days you have left before you have to buy a refill. That’s a great idea. Even the case itself is superior to the generic ones that I’m used to. It has a place for your thumb for a solid hold. However, I’d have to say I don’t prefer Cocofloss. I flossed a couple of times today for this review and each time my teeth shredded the string. I admit my teeth are a little crooked, so maybe it’s on me a little bit. Cocofloss is cruelty-free and vegan. I honestly don’t know if I can say that about my preferred brand. Just for kicks, I did a cost per yard. For this item, you’d pay about 28 cents per yard. For about the same price of this roll, you can buy more than 100 yards of a common brand, which is 9 cents a yard or about three times less. Maybe it says more about me, but these are the things I think about.
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant, Retail Value $9.00
I was recently introduced to natural deodorant and am enjoying it so far. One of the staples of natural deodorant is that it doesn’t contain aluminum, which, when combined with sweat, creates those nasty “pit stains.” Subscribers will receive different scents. I received cedarwood + juniper and true to its name, it smells gently woody. Schmidt’s is also cruelty-free and vegan if that is important to you. I immediately threw this in my shower bag.
Lapcos Sheet Masks – Retail Value $3.00 each (Two per box)
Let me start by saying I actually did not try these. My Election Beard® has gone into overtime and, despite my wife’s wishes, it shows no signs of getting snipped. That is to say, I don’t think a mask will work for me at the moment. So I let my wife try out the regeneration one. She said it felt great, but she uses masks so rarely that any time she does, it feels amazing. She was happy with it, but it was more just a fun thing to do one night.
Cliff Original Essential Oil, 0.33 fl. oz. – Listed Value $15.00
This item had to be requested via a voucher, like the throw blanket. I’m not sure why, because it’s very small. Maybe it’s a shipping thing. It came in its own box, which included a personalized thank you note. A nice touch. I enjoy the smell very much, which is a good thing because I’ve already spilled a great deal on my wrists. My first thought was that it smelled like a relaxing tea. This makes sense since bergamot is an extract from a rind of a specific orange tree used for cosmetics and tea. I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure how or where to use this. On my pillow? Skin? Dab it under my nose? But the smell is indeed calming and relaxing. Although I suggest you take it easy with the dropper because you can certainly have too much.
SheaMoisture Coconut Oil Soap, 8 oz. – Retail Value $4.99
Made with coconut oil and shea butter, this big bar of soap leaves your skin feeling moist and smooth. I was really happy with it. The scent is not overly strong, which I am always thankful for. The oversized bar feels like you get your money’s worth. It’s going to take a few showers before it fits in our soap holder. I wouldn’t complain if GQ includes a big bar of soap in every box. SheaMoisture is cruelty-free and free-trade.
Vital Performance Pre & Recover Supplements, 5.7 oz. and 6.5 oz. – Retail Value $15.00 (Note: According to prices on the site, this should be closer to $26.00)
This may surprise you, but I am not an active guy – especially these days. The only exercise I get is chasing my kids around the house. The only weights I lift are 24 and 44 pounds. The only walking I do is around the grocery store. So these supplements are lost on me. I can tell you that they taste good, but that is about it. In fact, the pre-workout powder has a lot of warnings about not using it if you’re on medication or pregnant. So maybe I shouldn’t just be drinking it for fun. But it does taste good. If someone more active than me would like to chime in down below, I would be happy to have an educated input on these items.
Verdict: This season’s GQ Best Stuff Box focused on taking care of one’s self. The self-care items are all great, but overall I’m going to pick the throw as my favorite item. I liked everything else, but nothing knocked me out. The other item closest to impressing me about this box was the “Dopp kit,” but I imagine long-time subscribers already have a few and one they enjoy more. I know I do. The impact deck is not something I expected to like so much, but maybe I was due for an honest talk with myself. The personal care items were all good and will get used, but nothing to write home about. I know the point of this subscription is to be mature and sophisticated. To spend a little extra money to buy a better quality version of an everyday item. But sometimes I get stuck on prices and things being function over fashion. Some items, like the deodorant, are things I could see buying in the future. Other ones, like the floss or face scrub, do impress me, but I think I’ll stick to my familiar, cheaper brands. I will say this subscription and ones like it have opened up my eyes to personal care products.
A note about the RiLEY throw: Usually, GQ uses vouchers so that subscribers can get their size of something (shoes, shorts, etc.). It’s likely the throw was separate because there wasn’t enough room in the box for it. This isn’t normally a huge deal. Getting another package in the mail is exciting. However, I requested this on Nov. 16 and didn’t receive it until Dec. 3. That’s 17 days. Granted they are probably inundated with orders, Thanksgiving happened, and it didn’t help that I was eager to write this review, but 17 days is too long to wait. And it wasn’t just me. I know two other subscribers still waiting for theirs’ as well. I think that’s something that needs to be worked out on RiLEY/GQ’s end. After reaching out to GQ’s Customer Service, they did let us know that Covid and the holidays may have caused some of the delays.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, the Winter 2020 box is available now!
Value Breakdown: The total value of this box clocks in at $259. That includes the pin, Headspace subscription, and my own estimate for the powder supplements. Regardless, that is an incredible value for $50 – more than five times as much. Even if you don’t continue to buy the brands, these items will get used in the meantime. The deck is something you can revisit and the bag, while small, seems like it’ll last forever.
For $50 for this box, here’s what you’re paying for each item:
- Throw ($87): $20.88
- Dopp Kit ($34): $8.16
- Impact Deck ($15): $3.60
- Pin ($12): $2.88
- Face Scrub ($15): $3.60
- Headspace 2 mo. Sub ($26): $6.24
- Floss ($9): $2.16
- Deodorant ($9): $2.16
- Face Masks ($6): $1.66
- Bar Soap ($5): $1.20
- Essential Oil ($15): $3.60
- Powder Supplements ($26): $6.24
Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist.
Would you grab the Winter 2020 GQ Best Stuff Box for a guy in your life… or yourself?