Battle of the Beauty Boxes – Conclusions from the 2017 unboxing and reviews on Cohorted, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Birchbox!

One of the most common questions that come my way is: “Which beauty box should I get?”. I’ve previously written a quick decision guide on “Which Subscription Beauty Box is right for you?” but now that the year has ended, I though it’s a good opportunity to compare them all to each other!

To do this, I am only taking into consideration the last 9 months of the year, from April to December 2017, instead of the entire year, because those are the month’s I’ve blogged about. This way, if you search my blog by beauty box name and month, you can find all the unboxing and product reviews, for all four beauty boxes (Look Fantastic, Birchbox, Glossybox and Cohorted), for each month, and you can see for yourself what I’m talking about.

Beauty Boxes 2017_20171220220032069

Before we start, please note that I am not sponsored by anyone to write this post, I am not affiliated with any of these beauty boxes and I have payed out of my own pocket for all of these.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the details!

If you read any of my monthly beauty box reviews, you would have noticed that I give them two scores every time. The first one is “Initial box score, in terms of products and first feelings”. This is the score that represents what I feel like when I’ve opened the box, before I tested any of the products. It is usually based on a few things, like is the box design beautiful, is the box theme interesting and do the products contained fit the theme?

I don’t ever remember a box not being beautiful or the theme not being interesting but the one thing that beauty boxes tend to fail a lot at, is that fact that the products contained don’t often match the theme and design of the box. It’s a very simple thing and yet it is also one of the biggest downfalls of beauty boxes.

The other score I give the boxes is the “Overall box score after product testing (a sum of product scores)”. As the name suggests, this is a sum of the scores of all products contained. It’s actually very interesting to compare the initial reaction to actual product quality if nothing else, to check if my initial “judging” was founded or not and if the unboxing experience of the box is good. Most of the time, my initial box score was close to the product testing score which is great. Overall though, my initial box score is slightly higher than the product testing score which is normal and acceptable.

It’s been very rare for my initial score to be lower than the actual product testing score, which means that the beauty boxes are at least doing a good job at creating excitement and a nice unboxing experience, even if the box design, theme and products don’t always match. Imagine if they did!

There’s a lot of other conclusions that can be drawn as well, but before we get to that here’s all the scores from April to December 2017 for the four beauty boxes.

PS. If you click on the month’s score you will be redirected to that month’s unboxing and product review post.

Month

Cohorted

Initial unboxing score

Cohorted

Product testing score

Glossybox

Initial unboxing score

Glossybox

Product testing score

Look Fantastic

Initial unboxing score

Look Fantastic

Product testing score

 

Birchbox

Initial unboxing score

Birchbox

Product testing score

December 9 7.8 8 7.6 6 8 7

8.6

November

8 7.6 7 8.6 7 8 8

9

October 8 8.4 10 7.6 8 7.3 9

7.2

September 10 8.6 7 7.8 10 8.4 9

7.8

August 8 6.8 9 7.7 8 7.4 7

6.6

July 9 8.5 9 9 7 6.3 8

7.5

June

9 9 7 7.7 6 6.3 6

6.2

May 9.5 8.5 7 7 7 7.4 7

7

April 9 8.2 8 7.6 8 6.9 6

5.8

AVERAGE 8.833333 8.155556 8 7.844444 7.444444 7.333333 7.444444

7.3

Firstly, I always felt that Cohorted is the best beauty box followed by Glossybox, and I always felt that Birchbox is the least exciting one. These numbers show this clearly. I always placed Look Fantastic third in my head but I never thought it would be on the same level as Birchbox, so that’s a surprise. I mean, the averages are identical! I did not expect that, that’s a shame for Look Fantastic as it is meant to be pitching both mainstream and higher end products and it puts more effort their monthly box design than Birchbox, all of which should have given it a lead over the latter.

Beauty Boxes 2017 2_20171220215952962

The funny thing is, which I also did not expect, the first two beauty boxes, Cohorted and Glossybox, are the ones that invest the least in monthly box design. They both have a standard Cohorted and Glossybox design which they repeat every month, with the exception of Glossybox doing a 3-5 special boxes a year (their design is not far from the original either though). On the other hand, Look Fantastic makes fantastically designed boxes and Birchbox also puts effort and makes beautiful boxes and yet they loose on unboxing experience. This clearly shows that the products contained and the themes are much, much more important factors than the actual box design. Don’t judge a box by its cover 😉

Let’s excuse Cohorted for the time being because it is £20+ more expensive than the rest of the three and quite frankly if it didn’t make first place, it be a waste of money. So back in the even field, the Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Birchbox are all the same price (a couple of pence to a £1 difference) and yet the Glossybox is clearly scoring best initial impressions and best after product testing. This clearly means that Glossybox is the best value for money and for that it is the Bonds of Beauty beauty box of the year 2017.

With that being said, Cohorted still being the front runner, offering branded cosmetics, mostly full size (but not always!) definitely wins the Bonds of Beauty luxury beauty box of the year 2017. Although please, next year no more sample sizes Cohorted! That’s for the £10 beauty boxes not a £35 box!

If you compared the prices, you’d almost expect Glossybox to be 1/3 less as good as Cohorted (yes, I know it doesn’t really work that way but you know what I mean), but it is not! The Glossybox average scores are much nearer the Cohorted scores than they should, for it’s price, and it truly shows how great Glossybox is.

The lowest ever, product testing score, was Birchbox April with a score of 5.8/10 and the highest ever was a 9/10 for Cohorted June and Glossybox July. Once again, Glossybox gets right in there!

I went back and had a visual look this time, at all of the boxes, to decide which month from each box was my favourite, so here’s the results:

For Cohorted I actually couldn’t pick between September, April and May which is amazing. It truly shows that Cohorted can do top notch boxes a couple of times a year.

For Glossybox the best and most exciting box was very clear. Who can argue with the Glossybox Unicorn October box?! Gorgeous box, gorgeous theme, gorgeous items.

For Birchbox the best box of the year was the Vogue edit in November. I truly hope they repeat that theme next year!

Finally, for Look Fantastic the best box was actually the December one. The products were great and interesting, they just didn’t fit the festive theme, which is why it actually didn’t get the best score.

PS. You can find all the pictures of all boxes throughout the year 2017 (and next year coming) on my Pinterest account here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/bondsofbeauty/subscription-beauty-boxes-unboxing-and-product-rev/

The most beautiful box designs were: the Glossybox Unicorn October, the Look Fantastic Beauty in Wonderland December and the Birchbox Vogue Edit in November. Is it a coincidence that I thought the best products were in the best box designs?! Hm….well the unboxing experience is a factor for sure.

In terms of which beauty box has the best looking boxes and best unboxing experience, consistently throughout the year (based on only box design/look), that would be the Look Fantastic for sure. But as the numbers above and the way I feel show, it’s not enough of a factor to bring a beauty box on top!

It’s been an amazing year of makeup and it’s been lovely to share all these unboxing experiences and reviews with you. I am really looking forward to next year’s boxes and I’d really like to see if these scores remain the same next year too. Curious!

All beauty boxes were lovely monthly treats and amazing tools for product and brand discovery and I highly recommend you treat yourself in one…or a few. However, if you can only afford one, go for Glossybox but if you have the cash, then Cohorted is the best choice.

 

Beauty Boxes 2017 3_20171220220012702

For general Subscription Box reviews see my: BirchboxGlossyboxLook Fantastic and Cohorted general review posts. For help on how to choose the right subscription box for you check out “Which Subscription Beauty Box is right for you?”.

I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.

 

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2 responses to Battle of the Beauty Boxes – Conclusions from the 2017 unboxing and reviews on Cohorted, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Birchbox!

  1. zakeeyak says:

    Excellent analysis as usual! I absolutely love reading about these boxes every month. Just a thought – Glossybox is a personalized box as I understand it; do you think that had an overall effect on the box, especially compared to look fantastic which is standard? Also, how much of a difference does standardisation make in scoring, especially when it comes to product scores? Of course personalised boxes will score higher, but is there a way to adjust for that and should we be adjusting for that?

    I’m curious as to your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading my lovely. Box personalisation is something I completely forgot to mention in this post, even though I complain about it in monthly posts! Thanks for bringing it up! Both Glossybox and Birchbox offer a personalised beauty profile where you let them know if you have oily or sensitive skin etc but unfortunately this year I also got boxes from both of them with items that didn’t fit my profile, so it never became a deciding factor. It’s sad because the idea of a personal beauty profile is excellent and needed as beauty can be very pesonal, but since they don’t always follow it, it doesn’t make a difference. So to answer your question I never really standardised for personalisation because it was never really a consistent thing.

      Liked by 1 person

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