Birchbox recently. Other companies are coming out with better valued boxes or bags as the case may be, the boxes tend to have a lot of repeats of a few brands, people aren't excited about what comes in their boxes, we expect more. I've felt similarly but also have continued with my subscription. First of all, it is only $10. For those on stricter budgets, this can provide a gift each month and for others, it can quell spending as you are definitely getting something in the mail once a month. If you feel you are getting a better deal with the other boxes and you don't feel it's worth the $10, that's absolutely fine. For me, I think it's worth it, here's why.
I joined Birchbox in May, 2011 so I've almost been subscribed for a year. Since I've joined, I've received the following full size (or smaller bottles sold in retail stores) in my boxes:
Stila eyeshadow (no longer sold as individual pans) May 2011 ~$18
Laura Geller Baked Blush & Brighten June 2011 $29.50
Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist (small retail size) July 2011 $8
Oscar Blandi Jasmine Protein Mist (small retail size) November 2011 $5
Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eye Liner January 2012 $20
(total "worth" $80)
Granted, would I a) paid the retail price for these items or b) picked out these particular items if I was shopping on my own? Maybe yes maybe no.
I've spent $10 for 9 months or $90.
I've also accrued 410 points by taking surveys (this is key!) and I've had 1 referral (50 points, total of 460 points). This means I have $40 right now that I can use in the Birchbox shop as each 100 equates to $10 worth of products. And I can pick out exactly what I want. Now you aren't going to get a huge store with thousands of options like Sephora but the brands range from inexpensive to very luxe (they carry a few Deborah Lippmanns as well as an edited selection of By Terry products).
The points system makes the Birchbox a much better deal than it looks in the onset. The surveys are short, sweet and to the point and you receive 10 points for each survey. Each box typically contains 4-6 items so each month you can accrue 40 to 60 points/$4-$6 (plus referrals). Additionally, every anniversary Birchbox sends a 20% code (I received one at 3, 6 and 9 months) to use in their shop in additional to the points. I'm waiting till I accrue enough points to get free shipping ($50) so I'll probably wait till my 1 year anniversary to use my points.
Factoring in only surveys, the box price is more like $6 a month and if you factor in the full size products I've received then I'm basically making out ahead. For me, this is a great way of getting travel sized products, trying new things and getting a surprise package in the mail every month. I know the boxes vary, so your experience might be different; however, I can definitely say that I'm a fan of the program.
Disclosure: Referral link used and this post was brought to you courtesy of graduate school procrastination.