Glossybox vs. Birchbox: Samples Beauty Box Showdown!

Updated on March 28, 2016

What Are Subscription Boxes?

I have to admit, I have a beauty box obsession. There, I said it. It started really innocently when I heard through a friend that there are these monthly subscription beauty boxes out there, perfectly curated to include the latest make-up and beauty products. Try before you buy is the motto and I loved the concept. I wanted in.

Come to find out, there are actually sub boxes for every category you can possibly imagine: make-up, pet treats, kids crafts, teas, etc. The most popular category though, is the beauty box and it's this category that reeled me in.

So I began researching: Which box should I get? It came down to two contenders: Birchbox or Glossybox. I had a dilemma. How do I pick?

So I researched and researched and ultimately ended up buying both. But in case you're facing the same dilemma, I hope to make your decision process easier in my little compare/contrast project, aka the Birchbox vs. Glossybox showdown!

The June Birchbox Unboxed!

The June Birchbox had a Kate Spade Saturday gift card for $25. Pretty sweet!
The June Birchbox had a Kate Spade Saturday gift card for $25. Pretty sweet! | Source

The Review

Birchbox is basically the pioneer in beauty boxes. For just $10 a month, the company sends you a couple of high-end beauty and lifestyle samples customized to your specific profile, plus some coupons here and there.

As of mid-March 2015, Birchbox subscribers have the option to upgrade their subscription to where they also get two full-size products, all for $30 (and they promise the total value of the box to exceed $50).


  • At just $10 a month, this beauty box is cheap
  • High-end samples, usually good for one-time use. They're perfect especially if you're looking to try a certain product before you buy or if you're traveling and don't want to bring heavy full-sized products
  • Awesome rewards program where you get points for reviews of the products that you get in the boxes that you can use to buy full-sized products in their awesome online store that has everything. You get 10 points for each sub box you buy, and 10 points for each product that you review from your sub box. 10 points equals $1 that you can spend in the Birchbox online store. On average, you get five products in each sub box so if you review those, you basically get $5 to spend at their store. Disclaimer: You need to have at least 100 Birchbox points ($10) to redeem them
  • Products are customized to the beauty profile you submit
  • Frequent promo codes for free add-ons (i.e., I got a make-up bag for entering a coupon code)
  • Birchbox instituted Birchbox Plus, which is the option to add on select one or two beauty or lifestyle items to your monthly box subscription for a discounted price
  • Birchbox Book Club! The monthly book picks include popular titles such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Vacationers by Emma Straub. There's usually a promo code to get the book for free with a $35 purchase!


  • Samples are tiny
  • Birchbox isn't exactly a 'deal' box like other beauty subscription boxes. The total value of products cost about the price of the monthly subscription. No bang for your buck here.

The May Glossybox Unboxed!

The May Glossybox had a special collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman and we even got a BG gift card for $25!
The May Glossybox had a special collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman and we even got a BG gift card for $25! | Source

The Review

At just $21 a month and providing a mix of five full-size and deluxe-size samples of high-end beauty products, Glossybox is what's referred to as a value box. Each month you get a box of trendy make-up, tools, and beauty creams.


  • You get bang for your buck. Each monthly box is valued at over $60
  • You get luxury beauty products from American as well as international companies
  • Even the box itself is amazing since it's really cute and sturdy. I use it for storage
  • Coupon codes are sent to you to buy products featured in boxes in the future


  • Boxes aren't customized to your personal beauty profile (although you can create one)
  • You cannot buy directly from Glossybox but must go to each company's site if you want to buy a product yourself

Birchbox or Glossybox?

Below I've completed a cost breakdown of Birchbox and Glossybox using March 2014 boxes as my samples.

March 2014 Birchbox



Full Product Size
Box Product Size
Full Product Price
Box Product Value
HAVVN Night Cream
30 ml. / 1 fl. oz.
4 ml.
theBalm® cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples?™
4.25" wide x 6.25" long and 0.5" deep (6 types)
1 type
Agave Healing Oil Treatment
2 oz.
0.1 oz.
Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo
250 ml
50 ml
Jergens® BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream
7.5 fl oz / 221 ml
1 oz / 29 ml.
$12.38 (Total Birchbox Value)

March 2014 Glossybox



Full Product Size
Box Product Size
Full Product Price
Box Product Value
Alex and Ani: Scent 7 Body Mist
3.4 oz
3.4 oz
Alterna Haircare: Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist
4 fl oz
0.85 fl oz
Jelly Pong Pong: Lip Blush
.09 oz
0.9 oz
Nail Inc: Baker St Nail Polish
.33 oz
.13 oz
Sisley Paris: Black Rose Cream Mask
2.1 oz
.38 oz
Alex and Ani: Charm Bangle

Do you subscribe to any monthly boxes?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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