by Ann Roberts
Image by Meghan Wilker via Flickr
Americans spend nearly $39 billion a year on beauty products, reports Jezebel.com. But much of that money is wasted when products just aren't the right tone or fit for a particular skin type. The cycle of searching for the newest beauty products that fit your look, budget, ethics and individual skin sensitivities can lead to a cabinet full of under-used items, and that's exactly what the latest trend in beauty seeks to change. Instead of purchasing full-size, full-priced items you may or may not love, new monthly sampling services bring a customized "beauty box" right to your door.
One of the most popular and buzzworthy boxes, Birchbox brings together a selection of four to five high-end beauty products based on your input on a small survey about your preferences and sensitivities. You'll find everything from skincare to glamorous glosses, plus fun, non-cosmetic extras. Birchbox also solicits information on how experienced you are with using makeup and skincare in order to give you tools you'll actually use. Subscription services are available for men and women and start at $10 per month, making this one of the most reasonable boxes around. But sensitive buyer beware: While Birchbox offers a range of options, they cannot tailor boxes for those with allergy sensitivities, or those craving 100 percent eco-friendly products.
If the thought of someone else selecting your beauty products makes you squeamish, try Beauty Army, a service that lets you select the six samples you'd like for just $12 per month. This is a great option for customers with sensitive skin, or those who wear contact lenses. Typically, eye shadows that use synthetic chemicals tend to be harsher on sensitive eyes. If you wear Vision Direct contacts, take time to browse the selection at Beauty Army, and choose all-natural cosmetics for the delicate skin of your eyelids to protect your eyes.
For a more upscale sampling subscription service, luxe-minded ladies may want to try out Glossybox. Featuring five to six samples each month selected according to your individual beauty profile, you'll find samples of high-end products tailored for your age and style preference delivered for $21 per month. While the price may be a bit higher, Glossybox frequently includes larger samples of truly high-end goods, making this a savvy way to stock up on the best for less.
Image by Bramblewood Fashion via Flickr
Beauty Box 5
Beauty Box 5 offers volume discounts, with monthly subscriptions available for $12 per month, and yearly subscriptions at $100.
Beauty Box 5 also stands out for its inclusion of eco-friendly and vegan options, which can be free of some of the irritants that bother some customers with sensitive skin or eyes. This Box is also a good bet for the customer who wants to find more affordable products in the long run, since each shipment contains a mix of both drugstore and luxury brand samples. Don't go with Beauty Box 5 if you're looking to always sample the most luxurious, top-of-the-line products, but do check them out if you'd like to try some new, earth- and animal-friendly products while keeping your wallet happy.