For those who don’t know Boxy Charm is a beauty subscription. The premium tier is $35 per month and for that price you are supposed to receive six full sized items with a minimum retail value of $120. This month’s theme was Mother Nature. I’ll be honest, I was not happy with my May box. Generally I really like Boxy Charm. They have a few months here and there where the box isn’t the greatest, but even then it is still fun to get. Other times it is super amazing.
For the record, I really hate writing negative reviews. Usually even if I don’t like a product or a box, there are enough positives about it that I can see it working for someone else. This month was different.
Now here’s the deal. All of the products in this month’s box are ones I like. The products are fine, but this isn’t a product review, this is a subscription box review. Even though each product is individually fine, it is their sum taken as a whole that makes up the subscription box and determines whether or not the subscription is worth paying for.
This month not only did the box not feel premium, but when I opened it my first thought was ‘They must have forgotten to pack something.’ The box felt incomplete. It was light weight and the items sort of rolled around looking a little lost in the large box. Even when I counted the items and read over the card, I still pried out the bottom of the cardboard to make certain nothing else was hidden because it really felt as though something was missing. I think I would have felt that even if it was a regular box. The fact that it was a premium one made it even worse.
But let’s get into the box.
We’ll start off with the high note of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (retail $30). It was the item I chose for this month’s box. It is gorgeous. It looks luxe. I love the packaging and it felt very premium. I look forward to using it.
The second item was the Pure Heals Centella 90 Ampule Serum (retail $28). I’m always up for trying new skin care. At the moment however I am completely awash with skin care so it is going in my skin care drawer and will be used at a later date. I am happy to have it to try, but lately there has been so much skin care in subscription boxes it is really hard to get all that excited.
Next there was the Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Mascara (retail $29). It is a good mascara. I’ve used it before and really like it. It is actually in my top five mascaras. It is one I would purchase on my own. In subscription boxes, however, mascaras always feel like filler. It is something that gets added in because there are already several higher priced items in the box. I got a mascara last month as well, so even though I like this mascara, I wasn’t terribly excited to see it in the box. I do hope this means there will be more Kevyn Aucoin in future boxes because I really like the company’s products and would love to have more of them to try out. Again this nothing against the product.
The next item in my box was the tarte sugar rush best bud lip butter balm (retail $12). Do I like tarte? Yes. Is it pretty? Yes. But it is a lip balm.
I like lip balm.
I currently have a lip balm subscription with Jersey Shore Cosmetics. (incidentally even though their lip balms are also $12 each, their monthly subscription for a four pack of lip balms with tax and shipping comes to $13. I actually received this month’s JSC subscription on the same day as Boxy Premium which invited direct comparison, just so you know where I am coming from.)
But in a box like this, a lip balm is still a filler item. Like mascara it is something that gets added to the box when the value is already high. Will I use it? Yes, it’s a nice lip balm. But that’s not why I get BoxyCharm.
Following the tart lip balm was the Milk Make Up Glow oil lip and cheek (retail $15). Again, I like Milk. There are several of their products I use and repurchase on a regular basis. I’ve even used this product before and loved it. It is an excellent lip oil and gives the cheeks a naturally flushed look for a no make up makeup look. It’s a great product.
And if it was full sized, you might be reading a different post. Despite the fact that one of BoxyCharm’s claims to always provide only full sized products, this was a travel size. I won’t lie, I felt cheated. The size of it made it feel like a chubby lip balm, which it kind of is, but it also made it feel like a quick add on not a featured product. which is not something I like saying about Milk because again, I do like their products.
So at this point I am looking at the last item in my May box to not only get the value for the box in the way Boxy Charm is known for, but to make up for two filler items and a travel sized product. A tall order in general and one not really fulfilled by the final item; a set of Battington Beauty powder and contour brushes.
Before I even mention the retail value of these brushes lets go over something. Last month, I received the 5 piece Lavish eye brush set (which I love by the way and will be posting a review on soon) It retailed for about $30. The month prior I believe I received the brush trio from Alamar Cosmetics. Those are also great brushes. A few months ago (late last year sometime I can’t remember which month) I received a set of the Boxy Charm Brushes. They are fabulous as well. These brushes set the bar relatively high for the kinds of brushes I expect from BoxyCharm.
These Battington brushes have soft bristles, and really light weight cheap feeling metal handles. In addition, the handles are really fat. It is like gripping one of those chubby pencils little kids use when they are starting to learn how to make letters for the first time.
Because I have so recently gotten brushes from BoxyCharm, I had plenty of items to compare them to. In fact a direct comparison was inevitable. The Alamar and BoxyCham brushes both beat these hands down for quality and usability. The bristles are fine. I can’t complain about those, but I do not like those handles. Even if you neglect the quality issue, the fat handles are not for me. There needs to at least be a dent or something in there for better gripping. I know I have relatively small hands to begin with, these just made my hands look tiny and they felt awkward to use.
If the set of two was listed as retailing for $30 I would consider that fair value for the duo. I wouldn’t consider it a particularly good value, but I wouldn’t think I was being rooked. When I looked at the card and realized they were listed as retailing for $90, not only was I floored, but I was kind of mad.
If you add up the retail value of everything in the box without the brushes it comes to $114. With the brushes it comes to $204. Boxy Charm Premium is listed as having a minimum value of $120 per month unless it is a brand take over month. This was not a brand take over month. I understand that not every month is going to be a super fabulous month. Subscription boxes are a gamble. Sometimes you get products you want, other times you get products that don’t work for you. I kind of like the gamble which is one of the reasons I purchase subscription boxes instead of just putting the cost of the box towards a product from Milk or Kevyn Aucoin. Sometimes I get products I would never have purchased on my own and I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone with them. Sometimes the new products become favorites that I repurchase on my own again and again. Sometimes I try them for fun and decide they aren’t for me.
This month not only am I disappointed, but I sort of feel as though someone at BoxyCharm is taking revenge for not letting them win at Dodge Ball in elementary school or something. (Admittedly I never defeated anyone at dodgeball. I always deliberately missed because I wasn’t a big fan of actually hitting other people, so maybe it’s vengeance for not helping them win.)Its like they put in the item I chose, selected the cheaply made over priced brushes and then added enough items to consider it complete.
While I have noticed that the boxes that come the month before a Boxy Luxe Month are never the greatest, this was a new low. It should have been a warning not to expect too much when they started showing spoilers for the June Luxe month at the end of April. That should have been the moment when expectations were lowered for May. Maybe that’s it. They were so excited about June that they rushed through May. But quite frankly if they aren’t going to pay that much attention to Premium the month before a Luxe box then maybe they shouldn’t have a Premium category.
At the moment I am not happy, and at the moment am seriously considering cancelling my Premium box. I am willing to concede that times are a little strange with everything going on in the world. That is at this moment one of the primary reasons I am not automatically cancelling my Premium subscription. Truthfully, if it was any higher than $35 I probably would have cancelled it, but as I would have paid more than $35 for the products in this box that I like, I’ll let it ride for a few months to see if it is just a sign of the times or a continuing trend. The premium tier is also less than a year old so they still may be working out a few details and learning to juggle their various subscriptions. So I will be watching and at the year mark (which was my initial re-think marker for this subscription) I will decide if it is worth keeping or not. As I have loved having BoxyCharm, even in the somewhat boring months, I really hope this is just a sign of the times and a temporary slip up.