My First Subscription: Allure Beauty Box Review


At work, a large portion of the companies within my team’s portfolio bring in their revenue from subscription business models. As such, my colleagues and I have been experimenting with the vast ecosystem of subscriptions in New York in order to better understand the product offerings and the consistency of experience.

I cover strategy for a beauty subscription business, and if you’ve been inside my bathroom, you know that I don’t need an excuse to research anything beauty. My research led me to follow Michelle Lee, the sensational Editor-in-Chief of Allure Magazine. She’s a refreshing Asian-American face in the world of publishing, and I’ve really enjoyed the dynamism of her cover models. In January, the opening cover of Allure featured tennis phenom, Serena Williams. If you’ve ever see Allure’s Best of Beauty stickers on beauty products in department stores and drug stores, you’ll know that for many avid beauty enthusiasts, Allure is the go-to beauty Bible.

In 2018, my skin-obsessed friends were constantly espousing the miracle powers of the cult favorite brand, Sunday Riley. By recommendation of a friend, I tried the Luna Retinol Sleep Oil for a month, but I found myself slightly repelled by the formula’s scent. I personally think retinol is a bit premature if you’re under 30, but it has become quite the “hot” ingredient in anti-aging formulas.  As a sidenote, don’t use retinol products if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

When January came around, Allure and Sunday Riley had a special collaboration for the Allure Beauty Box, a monthly beauty subscription, that retails at $15/month. The exclusive partnership meant that subscribers would receive first access to a full-sized Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil and a Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum. The phenomenal offer made me think about giving Sunday Riley another audition for a starring role in my beauty tray.

By merely doing the math, it made economic sense to subscribe since I needed a new Vitamin C product and the full-sized Vitamin C product in the box would normally retail for $45~. There was nothing but upside for me, so I enrolled in my first-ever subscription!

Above is the box that I received in January. Everything is packaged within a chic and reusable neon-orange pouch.

Highlights for me include the sparkly Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick in Burnished Bronze. The creaminess of this eyeshadow makes for a long-lasting effect. I use it at the edges of my eyes to have a little pop and definition. I barely wear make-up, but when I do, I try to make everything as efficient as possible so that I have more time to sleep in the morning. I recently packed this on a business trip to Silicon Valley and found it to be all that I needed to put on my eyes after a gold, shimmery powder shadow from Pat McGrath’s Sublime Bronze Ambition collection.

The Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil was also a hit in my books. Vitamin C is known for its brightening properties and my Mom used a turmeric face balm every night when I was growing up, so the two ingredients combined sounded like a superpower duo. Word of mouth between friends is incredibly effective when it comes to influencing beauty purchases. When my best friend (who has the smooth and perfect skin of a baby’s bottom) brought me some Vitamin C vials from Korea before it became trendy in the US, I was an early and eager adopter. The product will launch on March 1st.

The one drawback is that I haven’t had the time or need to utilize everything in my box. Beauty boxes could potentially have better customer retention if their products were more personalized towards an individual’s predilections (i.e.: If I tell you I’m a skincare maven and you send me fragrances, it’s a miss for both parties) and if they pared their offerings down to more quality, full-sized products. I would not churn from a box that sent me 1-3 high-quality, full-sized products every month. The sample bottles sometimes feel insignificant and as if they’d end up unused in some cabinet on the bathroom shelf.

What are your favorite skincare products these days? Are you subscribed to a beauty box?





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