Beauty boxes seem to have been the thing of 2014. There are a tonne of different options to subscribe to overseas, but as usual here in NZ they’re pretty limited unless you want to pay up for massive shipping costs.


The idea behind beauty boxes is generally that you sign up for a subscription and are sent out a box containing an unspecified number of beauty products and samples every month or quarter. It’s all a surprise and a sort of lucky dip for grown ups as you don’t know what you’re getting until you open your parcel and unbox it live on YouTube.


I thought some of you might, like me, be feeling some FOMO around beauty boxes so I took one for the team and pulled out my credit card. I chose to spend my cash on the latest addition to the beauty box market, the Beauty Review Beauty Box. This guy is quarterly (they are already advertising the March Beauty Box), and is said to be made up of full sized products which are currently available in NZ shops with no crappy discontinued colours. Beauty Review also don’t use a subscription based model, you have to jump on their site each quarter and elbow all the other beauty junkies out of the way to get your paws on one.


Once I’d paid the $48.95 + $5.00 shipping fee, I was sent through a questionnaire asking about the condition of my hair and my preference in lip colour. A nice touch so they can personalise the boxes slightly for each customer. I chose the red tones of course…


Now I need to preface this next part with some insight about me:

a. I’ve been working as a makeup artist for over 10 years, and have worked for prestige brands such as Bobbi Brown, Chanel, and Guerlain during that time.

b. I use prestige or makeup artist brands in my kit.

c. I love beautiful, high qual (read: expensive) things.

d. As much as I have expensive taste I also love home grown NZ beauty products (Tailor, Trilogy, Karen Murrell,Antipodes to name just a fewand like to support local business.

f. I’ve reached a stage in my life where I’m not often sucked in by Gift With Purchase, unless I already use the products or have wanted to use the products in the Gift.

e. I’m vaguely stuck in my ways and have both hair care and skin care routines I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting.


Thus I’m really not the target market for the beauty box.


But I can’t lie, I was a little excited when my partner told me I had a massive parcel delivered. Who doesn’t love parcels, especially massive parcels. I was hoping there would be some Trilogy in there and some fun new NZ brands which I hadn’t yet tried as it would be an awesome opportunity for small NZ brands to showcase their wares. And I know that Beauty Review does work with a lot of NZ brands - either for trials or giveaways.


Anyway I was a bit disappointed upon opening. Don’t get me wrong, they’d loaded up the box with a whole bunch of full sized products valued at over $169. It was a weighty beast, and I’m not disputing the value it contained. But it was full of product I wouldn’t normally use and am not that excited to try, and to be honest I’ll probably give most of it away to my younger (teenage) sister. Also the median value of the product would be less than $15. This makes the box a lot fuller yes with 13 full sized products, but personally I would have preferred three or four products with a $30 - $40 value that I totally swooned over upon opening. This beauty box wasn’t so much about discovering new small brands as it was giving the big power players - Schwarzkopf, Shiseido (of whom Za and Moisture Mist are subsidiaries), and Nivea - even more of a leg up.


Just so you’re a bit more in the know, the box contained:

- Za Eyes in Groovy Lady Brown RRP $20.00

- Moisture Mist Moisturising Lipstick RRP $22.00

- Nivea In Shower Smooth Lotion RRP $9.49

- Yes to Carrots Facial Cleansing Wipes RRP $5.99

- Schwarzkopf Extra Care BB 11 in 1 RRP $11.99

- Za Pure Shine Lips RRP $14.00

- Za Total Hydration Foamy Cleanser RRP $15.00

- Moisture Mist Moisturising Emulsion RRP $33.00

- Discreets Scented Sanitary Disposal Bags RRP $3.00

- Skinfood Breast Cream RRP $11.95

- Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Refill Shampoo RRP $6.39

- Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Refill Conditioner RRP $6.39

- Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Refill Instant Hair Filling Serum RRP $11.99


I’m not going to be buying up any more beauty boxes in a hurry - unless I know and like the brands they use, or they have a policy of helping local brands get more exposure.

I think that being a NZ company, Beauty Review missed a really golden opportunity to do something different and push NZ brands rather than popping in the usual mainstream supermarket/chemist brands. But more than that my first beauty box experience has shown me that my nana’s old saying of “it’s only a bargain if you would have bought it anyway” is now well engrained in my shopping habits.


If you’re not fully stocked with hair care, makeup or skincare and are not too precious about what you use you might like to try a beauty box or two. When you’re reading reviews be aware that quite a few of the beauty boxes offer their members cash back or a discount if they can get people to sign up (an affiliate type arrangement) so reviews may be exaggerated in order to boost the income of the reviewer.


Have you subscribed to/bought any of the beauty boxes on the market yet? What were your thoughts about them? Did they really make you squeal with glee when you opened them?