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Subscription boxes: are they right for you?

Posted by Jessica Chong on July 5, 2013 @ 11:33 a.m. EDT

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Overwhelming is an understatement when it comes to the vast selection of high-end products out there. Online subscription boxes offer an unique shopping experience for those wanting to sample different high-end products geared towards specific interests. From beauty and hair to health food, these sites curate the latest products worth sampling and send them directly to you.

Luxe Box by Loose Button

With seven to eight handpicked beauty samples, you’re guaranteed the newest and latest of the season. Luxe Boxes has quality sourcing with high-end cosmetic products such as Laura Mercier, Benefit and Shu Uemura, as well as perfumes by labels Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Prada.

Pros: The presentation and packaging is beautiful and is great for reusing. If you sign up annually (four mailings) or semi-annually (two mailings), you’ll save a couple dollars versus buying the quarterly subscription. Between skin, hair and face products, Luxe Box provides great variety and some of the products are even full-size items.

Cons: Subscription boxes inevitably involve the element of mystery and surprise so some may not be pleased with their beauty haul.

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Myntbox

Jewelry and accessories can perk up anyone’s mood, and there’s no better way than surprising yourself with the season’s hottest trends. Myntbox delivers three to five pieces of jewelry and accessories to your door.

Pros: You have the choice of three styles of boxes: Boho, Luxe or Mix, to further cater to your personal style.

Cons: Myntbox charges $9 for shipping and handling to Canada, and be wary about their no return or refunds policy. Myntbox also bills every month starting from the first day you sign up so be sure to be proactive in pausing or skipping a subscription if you’re not up for such a frequent billing commitment.

Bespoke

Bespoke leads the pack when it comes to fresh and interesting lifestyle products for men.

Pros: Each box is usually tailored around a theme so you can expect a good refreshing variety of boxes. Customers are not under any obligation to purchase each box every month.

Cons: They only ship to Ontario and Quebec and don’t accept returns from Canada. Also, prepare yourself for an extra $10 shipping and handling fee. An upside, though, is Bespoke has you covered in advance for sales tax and duty fees.

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Snackbox by Food.ee

Snackbox boasts gluten-free, all-natural and tasty snack foods. Save yourself the trouble and time of scouring the organic and health section of your supermarket with a Snackbox subscription.

Pros: Subscription rates range from $24 to $33, which is fairly reasonable for the amount of snack foods in each package and considering most of these items are only found in specialty organic retailers. Snackbox also provides great variety, from organic candy and nutella to dried fruits.

Cons: Shipping is an additional $6.95, but expect your mid-month anticipation to never last long since they have super speedy delivery times. If you’re a picky eater, you should be cautious: with flavours such as spinach and broccoli veggie puffs, some items may not meet everyone’s taste.

Remember to always review a site’s particular shipping and return policy before subscribing, and make sure to check beforehand whether a site charges a standard fee to cover sales taxes and duties. If you’re still on the fence about subscribing, consider a monthly or one-off subscription as a trial.

Online subscription boxes may not be for everyone, but if you’re not a makeup fiend, you may not know where to begin selecting the right beauty product. Word of mouth and online reviews can only do so much, especially when you only really can know your preferences from first-hand sampling.

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