The great Glossybox debate

There’s been a lot said about the Glossybox service (and similar services, of which there appear to be more every day) over the last few months and until now I’ve kind of stayed out of it. I’ve avoided reviewing or talking about any ‘direct to your door’ sampling because they’re on every blog going. Everyone seems to have an opinion and most of them aren’t great, to the point where it’s about time LBQ stepped in and had her penny’s worth! I love the idea of these services as the whole point is to open yourself up to new products, innovative brands and generally things you wouldn’t otherwise use. For a small fee you get these delivered directly to your door once a month and have the great Christmas morning feeling when you open it up to find out what’s inside… And I think that’s what’s been lost along the way. Bloggers complaining that the products they’ve been given aren’t as good as their mates, shouting about products like Batiste being included and having a good moan when they’re given a fragrance sample. For a tenner, what do you expect?

Every month Glossybox promise to give you five samples to enjoy at home, most of which are premium and some of which are full size. If you were to buy these in the shops I guarantee you that every single box is worth much more than ten quid. Small or sample sizes actually cost nearly the same to produce as large sizes – I worked with the production of cosmetics for many years and the reason those mini samples in Boots are so expensive is because that’s how much they cost to produce. A lot of companies actually sell them at a lost just to get them in the hands of consumers, with the hope that they’ll invest in a full size one when they’re done. You still have to pay for the plastic container no matter the size of the product, and that’s what costs the dosh. I don’t see a problem with the size of products in these boxes at all – that’s the whole point of the scheme.

Furthermore, I wholeheartedly disagree with every single complaint about the Illamasqua Freak fragrance sample that was included in this month’s box. I love the fragrance and was lucky enough to try it before it was released, but I was still happy to have it in the box. It’s a premium brand that sells the fragrance for £59.00 for 75ml – if you take the actual quantity per ml it’s around £4.00 for one of those mini samples. Not only was everyone given a chance to sniff it, but enough to keep you going for at least a couple of weeks. Isn’t that the point of Glossybox? Giving you the opportunity to try a product for a while, see if you like it and buy the full size? It was never going to be a way of you stocking up on expensive, premium brands on the cheap. You wouldn’t have a go at Glamour magazine for only including enough CK One on an advert for you to rub your hand on!

This month there were some great products in the Glossybox and I think it may have been one of the best ones yet. Nail wraps worth £6.65 alone, an iconic product in the form of Philip Kingsley’s Elastercizer (again, it retails at £24.95 for 150ml so you’re getting a good deal) and some other brands that are perfectly sized for traveling or popping in your bag. I continue to think that Glossyboz is a great idea, as long as you have realistic expectations. It’s the price of a coffee and a copy of Elle magazine, so you shouldn’t expect it to come gold plated with keys to a new Porshe inside. It’s just not gonna happen. They put a lot of thought and effort into the box and the way its presented, which seems to be forgotten as soon as it’s ripped open. I think we need to take a step back and remember what we signed up for and what we’re getting – a lot for ten quid.

What do you think of Glossybox and the other sampling services?



  1. SpittingPink
    November 27, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    I agree with you in principal, BUT, if you compare Glossybox to its cheaper rival, the feel unique beautybox, then I do think the quality of the contents could be improved.I had Glossybox and it wasnt only the products, but also the price, the various issues with the site, the reduction of glossydots for feedback and the issues with damaged products that made me cancel, where as the feel unique box continues to impress me moth after month!To those who whinge about the boxes, I agree with the comments above if you have only tried Glossy, but I would shop around if I were you! there are more and cheaper options out there with (in my opinion) better quality products! 🙂

  2. sugarpuffish
    November 27, 2011 / 4:00 pm

    Great post and I totally agree with you. I am not a subscriber to these boxes but I read several blogs that feature them each month. They always complain about the products but you can't please everybody all of the time.

  3. Zoe
    November 27, 2011 / 4:02 pm

    I think Glossybox is great even though everyone was slightly more disappointed this month, i still unsubbed last month though, the other beauty boxes (bp +feelunique)are cheaper and have just as good products so they seem to be coming up better than glossybox atm!

  4. London Beauty Queen
    November 27, 2011 / 4:10 pm

    Fair point Zoe – I have to admit I haven't really had other subscriptions services, other than one offs, so I don't have anything to compare it to. However, with all of them you're never going to please everyone and they do only cost a tenner!

  5. Lucy - Beauty and the Blogger
    November 27, 2011 / 4:22 pm

    I like Glossybox and was pleased with the ones I've had but tbh I think I'm a bit too picky for one of these services…I tend to know what I like and what I want so although I might pick up something fab, chances are I won't like 75%. Which is fine, that's my problem, not Glossybox's – I do think some people are being overly harsh about it, especially for a tenner.I'm actually considering getting my Mam one for Christmas as she's more of a product junkie than I am and practically stalked me about the contents of my October box 🙂

  6. Kat M
    November 27, 2011 / 4:38 pm

    Being someone who has to stick to a really tight budget, I think the idea behind all beauty boxes is brilliant, because 99% of the products I would never be able to afford in the real world. So that is pretty great.Unfortunately, I've just started to get bored of them, purely because there seem to be so many of them around now, and I get sick of hearing about them (that's no offence to either the boxes or the bloggers, but it's like when you eat too much chocolate and it makes you feel ill, if you understand what I'm trying to say!!)In relation to Glossybox, I just think that they've made a few too many mistakes and haven't necessarily handled it that well. But with so much potential, if they actively show that they have learnt from their errors (and let's face it, they're only human and mistakes do happen especially in a very new product), then I think the overall opinion towards them could pick up again.

  7. Sparklz and Shine
    November 27, 2011 / 5:24 pm

    I think the problem with these box services is that the type of person they are aimed at isn't really the bloggers who are writing about them. We are out there exploring brands all the time, the boxes are to meet the needs of people who haven't the time or inclination to be into every beauty brand going. I totally agree with you on too much expectation for price. Maybe some of that is GlossyBox's fault for building the expectation beyond what was maintainable. I also totally agree with your comments about people putting it down for having a standard size sample of Freak in. Here I wonder if this is because people have seen the 'press' size sample some bloggers have received and are comparing it unfavourably. I've also seen comments that perfume samples this size can be picked up in department stores. Maybe this is the case, although in the case of Freak I think not, but again I would suggest these services are for people who aren't necessarily exploring beauty halls at every available opportunity. As with any service, shopping around is always a must. There's huge competition out there right now for your tenner, make the most of it.

  8. xXxStundonxXx
    November 27, 2011 / 5:31 pm

    I completely agree with everything you have said here. Fab post x

  9. Marmalade
    November 27, 2011 / 7:55 pm

    Really interesting read! I'm glad you covered off this debate as I've not been sure whether to sign up to it or not! And If I do sign up, to which brand? As there are ate at 3 or 4 to choose

  10. Jac
    November 27, 2011 / 10:16 pm

    They've just started with these services in Australia and I've signed up to 3 to test them out… I have been really pleasantly surprised and have to agree with you, LBQ, that people have unrealistically high expectations of what will be in these boxes. I think I came to the services with more of an open mind, and with the hope that I would find products I would fall in love with and buy full size versions of. I never expected anything in full size, so when I do find amazing products in really decent quantities included I am over the moon.I cannot speak highly enough of these services. 🙂 Very happy to finally see a blogger giving the companies the appreciation and kudos they deserve!

  11. Anonymous
    November 28, 2011 / 10:47 pm

    I agree with Sparklz and Shine, these boxes certainly aren't aimed at bloggers the expectations are way too high. We are always looking for the newest, latest and greatest and for the non-bloggers/beauty addicts out there Batiste could be that product. I'm quite picky about what I spend my beauty bucks on so I wouldn't take the risk of being disappointed every month because it would be my fault no theirs!

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