The Natural Beauty Box is the new sample box on the block. Launched over the summer by The Natural Beauty Store, it's a subscription service, much like Birchbox, that contains 10-15 deluxe samples of products that promise to be at least 95% natural. The Natural Beauty Box promises no foil samples and also that they will never include the same product twice. I signed up for the November box, and it arrived today!
The box is available worldwide, but the cost does vary depending on location. In the US and Canada, it will cost you $20, in the UK, £19.50, and anywhere else, $32. There are also discounts if you purchase a subscription for six months or a year. The box arrived at my door, regular brown cardboard and unassuming, but when I opened it, I found this:
Cute packaging is definitely a go! Inside the bag were all the samples, as well as an envelope containing my invoice, a list of products (and coupon codes should you wish to purchase the full size products), and a card detailing the company's new lipstick project. But, I'm sure what you're most interested in seeing is what products came in the box!
Clockwise from top left, I received...
> Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate
> Native Touch Rooting Bear Rub
> Dr. Emerald Golden Berries Extra Moisturizing Facial Cream
> Queen Oompabulous Glam-Dust Loose Eye Shadows in Fallen Star and Fairy Wings
> Fruition Papaya Orange Split End Saver
> Delizioso Cream Stick Eye Shadow in Bronze Sunlight
> Fruition Blue Raspberry Lip Yum
> Delizioso Sour Cherry Whip Lip Scrub
> L'Sensuelle Natural Aphrodisiac Sold Perfume
> Temptations Bath 'n Body Cupcake Soap
In all, that's 10 products: 6 samples and 4 full size. The bottom of the information sheet lists the box's total value as $92.
I'm a little conflicted on this box. Obviously the $92 value is a lot more than what I paid, which is great on paper, but in reality, there are several products in this box that I will be passing along to others, since I know already I won't be using them.
The information sheet lists ingredients for most products, but it does refer you to the website for a couple. Problem is, I can't seem to locate those products on the website at all, let alone their ingredients. Of the ones that do have ingredients, several contain fragrance oils, which I guess is where the 5% not natural ingredients come in. I'm picky about scents and, at least to my nose, most of the box smells like synthetic fragrance. I'm most excited about the Eye Shadow pencil and I'll also be hanging on to the Rooting Bear Rub, the chocolate, and the loose eye shadow samples, but because of the fragrance ingredients or lack of ingredients all together, the rest will likely be looking for new homes.
In terms of customer service, I would offer some constructive criticism too. To get a box, you need to buy it the month before you will receive it. (I paid for mine back in October.) During all that time, I heard nothing from the company until earlier today when I received a shipping notice. Even an automatic acknowledgement goes a long way - with only a Paypal invoice, I was left wondering if they had even received my order! Also, not to nitpick too much, but the site says boxes are shipped mid-month and will arrive mid- to late month. I live about two hours drive from where the box was shipped, and I received mine today, November 29. Assuming all the boxes are shipped around the same time, this means that anyone outside of the province will not be receiving their November box in November. The Facebook page has already been buzzing with customers wondering where there boxes are, and in addition to any unsatisfied customers, this kind of schedule also leaves the company unnecessarily susceptible to Paypal disputes.
The Bottom Line
I'm disappointed to not be able to give a more universally positive review. The Natural Beauty Box is a new subscription service and I definitely think there are kinks that need to be ironed out, in terms of logistics/customer service and perhaps also product selection. That said, there's lots of potential here, so hopefully the company will step it up and get there! And while I'm not sorry to have purchased it, at least for now, I won't be buying another box. For me, samples boxes are fun on occasion, but it makes more sense to put my $20 towards a product I know I will love, as opposed to a bunch of samples I may or may not even use.
What do you think of sample boxes? Are you subscribed to any?