GLOSSYBOX and BIRCHBOX: A Beauty Box Comparison


A few weeks ago the folks behind the GLOSSYBOX beauty subscription service contacted me and asked whether I would be interested in receiving their inaugural U.S. box. Since I am a big fan of BIRCHBOX and am absolutely in LOVE with the PopSugar Must Have Box (BEST. THING. EVER.), I jumped on the chance to check it out. I’ve been dying to review it for you, but instead of just covering the GLOSSYBOX I received, I decided to wait for the May BIRCHBOX to ship so that I could do a comparison between the two services.


BIRCHBOXIf you sign-up for the BIRCHBOX subscription service you’ll receive a monthly selection of deluxe samples from both well-known and up-and-coming beauty brands.  Some samples are sent to everyone and others are chosen specifically for you based on your personal profile.  You can expect to receive a variety of  generously sized samples with enough product to allow you to figure out if they’re right for you.

  • Cost: $10/month
  • Number of Products: I have averaged 5/month
  • Points: Earn points toward free boxes in a number of ways, including referral credits, surveys and full-size product purchases
  • Brands I have received to date: ZOYA Nail Polish (0.25 oz), Kerastaste (0.16 oz), Juice Beauty (0.5oz), AHAVA (0.51 oz), Annick Goutal EDT (0.06 oz), Tea Forte, Weleda (0.23 oz), Marula Oil, Yes to Blueberries, Atelier Cologne, Befine (0.5 oz), Kate Spade (0.05 oz) , blinc mascara, Redken, philosphy, NUXE (0.33 oz) and more.

GLOSSYBOXGLOSSYBOX US went live on Friday, May 11th, but the company operates in 18 countries throughout the world making it the world’s largest beauty subscription service.  From what I can tell, some samples are sent to everyone and others are chosen specifically for you based on your personal profile.  The samples come beautifully packaged in high-end gift boxes and are heftier than the samples found in BIRCHBOX (some are even full size).

  • Cost: $21/month
  • Number of Products: at least 5
  • Brands they have worked with in past: check out the list. It’s kind of amazing.
  • Points: “GLOSSYDots”, the brand’s loyalty program, gives members 20 dots for each product review.  1,000 dots = a complimentary box.


BIRCHBOX packaging is completely recyclable, from the box all the way to the tissue paper.  The outer box is generally bright pink, but May’s packaging is black and pink instead due to the Gossip Girl theme.  Special boxes, like this one, usually have a sleeve covering the normal brown box.

In contrast, GLOSSYBOX packaging is much more luxe. The grey and pink outer box is more substantial than the BIRCHBOX counterpart and bears the GLOSSYBOX logo.  The main box is a lovely pale pink on the outside and black and pink on the inside.  The products themselves are wrapped with a black ribbon and printed tissue paper. What you can’t see here is the shredded black paper that also protects the products within the tissue paper.

There is a definite difference in the size of each box which can be attributed to both the packaging itself and the larger products found in the GLOSSYBOX.


Now this is where the differences between the two boxes really becomes apparent.

The May 2012 Gossip Girl BIRCHBOX:

Products included (size/value):

  • Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream+ : an anti-aging moisturizer (0.25 oz / $7.10)
  • Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15: love this!  (0.08 oz / $12)
  • BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline EDT: not my kind of scent (0.05 oz /$2.40)
  • Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer in GLOW :  a color corrector for the body (0.05 oz /$5.03)
  • 2 notecards: they could have left this out of the box. Really? ($2.40)

The May 2012 Inaugural U.S. GLOSSYBOX:

Products included (size/value):

  • basq cucumber tea eye gel (0.5 oz / $24)
  • C.O. Bigelow lavender + peppemint shampoo (5.2 oz / $ 12)
  • ERNO LASZLO Hollywood Collection samples
  • KRYOLAN High Gloss Brilliant Lip Shine in Toffee (4ml / $18.10)
  • O.P.I. Kiss Me on My Tulips Polish (0.5 oz / $8.50)
  • CARGO EyeBronzer: love, love, love this!  great gold color (0.035 oz / $22)

Left: CARGO EyeBronzer/Right: Kryolan Lip Gloss

Not counting the Erno Laszlo samples, the value of the GLOSSYBOX comes in at $84.  That is pretty amazing.

NOTE: this inaugural GLOSSYBOX came with 5 full size products ONLY because it was the launch boxfuture boxes will/do contain 5 travel size items. Occasionally you may receive a full size item, which is also the case with Birchbox as well.  


The thing about beauty subscription services like BIRCHBOX and GLOSSYBOX is that there are no guarantees.  You may love every item you receive one month, hate most of them the next, and fall right back in love the following month.

This time around, I wasn’t impressed with my BIRCHBOX.  I love the Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment and am a huge fan of Kiehl’s, but the rest of the items just didn’t do it for me.  And the notecards?  No thanks. They can leave those out next time. That being said, I still love me some Birchbox. I have discovered plenty of products I love via the sub and the product reviews are an EASY way to get credit in the store that can be applied towards full size items.

The May 2012 GLOSSYBOX completely won me over.  The luxe presentation, full size products, selection and overall value just blew me away.  Even if the items had been typical travel sizes, the value would surpass the monthly cost.  At $21/month the GLOSSYBOX is pricier than BIRCHBOX, but, in my opinion, it is well worth it.

Is it indicative of other boxes you will receive from Glossybox? No. Again, future sample sizes will be travel size but, in my opinion, still well worth it.




Have you tried either service before?  What do you love and/or hate about them?

Do you subscribe to any other beauty subscription services that you would recommend?

EDITOR NOTE: Although this GLOSSYBOX was provided for consideration this is not a sponsored post.

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  • WendyLS January 4, 2015, 6:40 PM

    The points for Birchbox is what makes it well worth the “lesser overall value” of the box in comparison to Glossy. I can’t buy products directly from Glossy which means I have to shop around and find everything elsewhere (who has time for that?) Plus although the Birchbox is $10 per month…if I review all 5 or 6 products (50 or 60 points right there), and then get the 10 points just for receiving the box, and then tweet my monthly birch box (once per month 10 points) and then once per month on FB (10 points)…I’ve already earned back the $10 I spend on the box, making it free. (That doesn’t include people who earn 50 points for each friend they refer…I don’t bother with that). And then when I DO buy a product on their website, I earn 1 point for every dollar spent on top of it! Having basic beauty products that are mid-range (like Benefit and Smashbox) are now nearly free and I don’t have to every order from a department store, somewhere awful like Ulta, and can sample each item before I waste my money. Glossy is fun if you just want to try new stuff, but still need to go buy basic items, mid-range items, and pay full price for the ones you already know you like. Glossy is fun…Birchbox saves you time and money.

    There is no such value in the GlossyDots system at all, no way to make back your money spent, and no easy way to order the products you’ve sampled all on the same website.

  • Jessica May 17, 2013, 2:23 PM

    Now that GlossyBox has been around for a year, have your opinions changed?…Is it still better than Birchbox? Is there a subscription box that is even better than these two?…I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

  • Sarah November 30, 2012, 5:46 PM

    I have been getting Birchbox for a year now and have loved the sample sizes. I heard of Glossybox recently and ordered it to make a comparison. Your post really helped in thinking I’m going to like Glossybox more and hopefully I will receive mine soon to make a decision! 🙂

  • juana October 20, 2012, 1:38 AM

    Good one

  • Amal August 28, 2012, 5:43 AM

    Thank you so much for this review! It has helped me decide which way to go!

  • mb July 21, 2012, 2:27 PM

    Have you tried Goodebox yet? Love the review. I’m considering trying one of the many options but I wasn’t sure which. Glossy seems to be over Birch but now I’m considering Goode since it’s ecofriendly and has healthy products. let me know what you think

  • Daphne July 18, 2012, 11:05 AM

    Totally agree! We added up the value of the boxes too and in terms of pure monetary value, Glossy Box was worth way more. Plus its samples are higher-end. It all depends if you can afford $21/month though 🙁

  • Anna Pietka July 17, 2012, 5:04 AM

    Hi!Personaly I subscribe to Glossybox Poland. I have received my first box a week ago and I was very satisfied with the products. I had one-full size masacara which already covered the price of the box not to mention other samples.

    Anyway, I also write about subscription services from the business perspective. You can check it out here:

  • Boby May 20, 2012, 3:00 AM

    Thanks for sharing this…
    I am waiting for the Glossybox order. It should be a good surprise for everyone…

  • carly May 19, 2012, 4:04 PM

    Ooooooh! I’ve never heard of Glossybox before. I’m a sample junkie and their items looks awesome. Plus, getting those travel sizes each month will be nice for weekend getaways. 🙂

  • Pearl May 19, 2012, 1:56 PM

    This is so interesting, I guess I just couldn’t part with my money for samples when I can go around the beauty halls and collect them for free. I would be more interested in a box if it was full size products, but then it is nice to try out new things. Everyone does seem to love these boxes and it must be a nice surprise each month!

  • Red Tag Chic Los Angeles May 18, 2012, 9:43 AM

    Hmmm thanks for the advice/info….been thinking about this for awhile now 🙂


  • World According to Shia May 15, 2012, 5:29 PM

    Thanks for the info…I currently get Birchbox which I think is just sort of so so on the products. Just signed up for Glossybox!



  • Kirstin Marie May 15, 2012, 4:09 PM

    I’m actually waiting for my first Glossybox! After reading your review I cannot wait to receive it and compare to my May GossipGirl Birchbox. I am so excited!

  • DallasSkirtEnvy May 15, 2012, 11:38 AM

    Does anyone have the inside scoop on’s new Sample Society? I received an email about it this morning and it seems to emulate the box of high end samples theme.

  • Kimberlee May 15, 2012, 9:32 AM

    Thanks for the comparison! You don’t receive full size samples in Glossybox every month which makes me wonder why it’s twice as much as Birchbox. I also receive Sample Society which is $15 a month and you are guaranteed 5 “deluxe” size samples. They too have luxurious packaging. But I wouldn’t pay more than $15 for a monthly beauty subscription box.

  • Adrienne May 14, 2012, 11:18 PM

    Thanks for such a great review! I just placed my first Birchbox order this week, and was curious as to what I might receive. Glossybox looks awesome!

  • Courtney May 14, 2012, 10:44 PM

    Great post! I almost signed up for Birchbox a month ago, but decided against it. However, if I had the funds, I would probably be more likely to try Birchbox, to be honest. While I love getting 5 new things a month, I think $21 is just a bit too much for me.

    Also, I have read and watched a fair amount of Glossybox reviews from other bloggers, and many people have said they don’t receive the same/as good of quality of items as the bloggers do, which makes me wonder what REAL customers actually receive. I think with Glossybox coming to America, it will become more apparent what you actually get vs what reviewers get. I don’t mean to be so negative, but this has been a major point of detraction for me with Glossybox.

  • Ashe @ Ash in Fashion May 14, 2012, 9:56 PM

    First off: SO JELAOUS.

    Second: I loved my Birchbox, don’t get me wrong. And I think they’ll both have their niches, but I am SUPER eager to get my hands on Glossybox.

  • faye May 14, 2012, 6:34 PM

    Glossybox can be a bit hit and miss. They’ve sent me a few oxes over the past few months and i was unimpressed with the first two but loved the most recent one which was an all natural box containing organic products and a box made from recycled materials and 4 of the 5 products were full size.