MOTD: February 14, 2018


Subscription Box Face Off: BoxyCharm vs. FabFitFun vs. Deck of Scarlet

This summer was the summer of subscription boxes for myself. I had so many different friends and coworkers recommending different boxes, and they all seemed appealing, so I thought, why not try all three that had been recommended to me? I decided to give them all a go, and at the end of the summer I would decide which one(s) I’d carry on with.

Before proceeding, I just wanted to give a brief warning about how financially dangerous subscription boxes can be. They’re quite sneaky! I find that they are an expense that you forget about, as it gets automatically taken off your credit card, and because each box itself isn’t necessarily that expensive. But when you add up the totals for each year–yikes! I signed up for paying individually for each box, rather than the yearly lump sum, and this is what I found:

To get FabFitFun in Canada, it’s roughly $75/box, depending on the exchange. Seems a lot more than the $50/box they always advertise to their American customers, for sure, but I guess that’s how it goes with crappy exchange rates. For a year of boxes then it came out to about $300 if you pay as you go. These boxes come out quarterly.

For BoxyCharm, a monthly box, it is roughly $34 CAD/box, coming out to roughly $400/year.

For Deck of Scarlet, a box that comes out every two months, it is roughly $38 CAD/box which comes out to about $230/year.

There’s a lot you can do with $230, $300, or $400 a year, or roughly $1000 if you count all three! Day trips, clothing, bills, tuition–I guess for myself, consistently subscribing to more than one subscription box at the same time will never be something I do. It is also A LOT of makeup (and other items) to consume! If you’re getting 1-3 palettes per month, depending on the month, you’re never going to use them all up. As well, what about the cost of the other makeup you purchase throughout the year? These boxes have you set for lip colours and eye shadows usually, but what about foundation and concealer? I think it’s important to factor in other makeup spending, as well as the fact that you may not like or use every single item you receive in your box. There are trade groups out there solely for this, but again, they’re not for everyone.

It’s also important to note that all these friends recommending subscription boxes to you may be doing it at least partially because they benefit from you subscribing. FabFitFun gives discounts and other perks to members who recruit other members via subscription links. I don’t believe that Deck of Scarlet or BoxyCharm do this, but it’s something to keep in mind. As well, FabFitFun and BoxyCharm do have waitlists, which is rather frustrating for impatient folks like myself.

ANYWAYS, back to what you get for what you spend:

We’ll start with FabFitFun.
*Note: All all of these pictures are taken from the respective website of each box, with the exception of Deck of Scarlet*
Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 11.04.06 AM

For what you are spending, I do think you get a decent amount of product. For example, the box cost $75 CAD but the Dr. Brandt Pore Dermabrasion itself normally costs $68.00CAD, and you’re getting the full size. I really enjoyed the bkr water bottle and the large makeup bag, as those are items that I always use. Everything else was nice, but not mind blowing in my opinion. The Pore Dermabrasion has a high price tag, yes, but there are plenty of other exfoliators out there that have worked way better for my skin. The eyeshadow palette was pretty average, as was the lip product. However, I think that a lot of people like that this box isn’t JUST makeup. You get workout stuff, occasionally you get cooking stuff and snacks, accessories, etc. It’s more well-rounded, and you complete a questionnaire to somewhat determine what you will get. You also have the option of selecting a few items for your box before the boxes are finalized and shipped. What’s really annoying though, is that FFF sends you dozens of emails reminding you to purchase add-ons, or to upgrade, etc. Drove me up the wall. Just send me an email to confirm when it has shipped, or when there’s a sneak peek, and that’s all I need! All of the other nonsense most consumers would seek out on their social media platforms if they regularly follow them.

Next up, we have BoxyCharm.
Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.57.00 AM

Again, you do get bang for your buck. I was really excited to receive the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea palette, and the brushes we received are pretty good quality. The liquid lipstick was pretty awful if I’m being honest, but I did enjoy trying out falsies for the first time. This box is sneaky because although it does have the lower monthly pricepoint of the three, you do receive it every month, so yearly it does end up being more expensive. However they did give a good variety of makeup related products, and didn’t spam me quite as much as FFF. From what I’ve seen, BoxyCharm usually sends out a lot of popular mainstream products, if that is what you’re into!

And finally, Deck of Scarlet.

Deck of Scarlet is an outlier because unlike the other two boxes that simply curate products from other companies, Deck of Scarlet straight up creates their own palette and product every two months. DoS collaborates with Youtube beauty influensters to create a palette plus one full sized item. The quality for this was pretty decent. I was surprised by how long the liquid liner lasted, as mentioned in a previous post, and everything else worked for me with no complaints. I mean it’s no Modern Renaissance type of shadows of course, but what is? The decks are collectible, and the artwork they feature is always cute. It’s kind of nice in a sense because the format stays the same, so you always vaguely know what you are getting, just with a different shades. I think this is particularly great for beginners because you get a full look every two months. The only negative thing I really have to say is that unsubscribing requires emailing in and not just clicking a few buttons on your profile, and that they are a newer subscription service so they are not yet as well known, so it’s a little more difficult to find them on Youtube, though there are still definitely tutorials.

Ultimately, I will definitely be unsubscribing from FabFitFun, as I don’t regularly use many of the products I got, and their emails are driving me up the damn wall. Still though, I believe it is a good subscription service, depending on what you are looking for! For now I will likely keep both BoxyCharm and Deck of Scarlet for another round or two, and then weedle it down to just one when I have a better idea of what I prefer!

I can definitely see how easy it is to become addicted to these sorts of subscriptions because it is so lovely walking down to your mailbox to discover you have an adorable box of beauty supplies in there! It’s like a little present to yourself. So easy to get carried away!

Deck of Scarlet no. 3

This summer my friends and coworkers have gotten me into a lot of different makeup subscriptions, and I’ve been trying them all out so that I can narrow the number down once the school year hits and I’m on a tighter budget. I’ve been meaning to do a big pros and cons comparison post of them all, but I dug into my Deck of Scarlet palette today and wanted to review it on its own as well.

Deck of Scarlet is a subscription that nobody I know has really heard of. Even my makeup collecting coworker who is subscribed to every subscription service under the sun had never heard of it! It popped up on my Facebook feed one day as a sponsored post and it looked promising, so I clicked on through.

Essentially, DoS sends you a makeup palette plus a full sized pencil item of sorts every two months. Each palette has a different YouTube beauty guru as Artist-in-Chief who picks and names the shades in the palette. It includes three eyeshadows, two face options (either blush, highlighter, and/or bronzer), two creamy lip shades, and then the pencil product (liquid eyeliner, pencil liner, or lip liner, etc). You get to preview the palette and have the option of skipping it at no cost if the shades don’t suit you.

No. 3, the first one I’ve received, looks something like this:

It has separate magnetic flaps for the powder and cream sections, which is great for reducing the amount of fallout that gets stuck in creams and stops the creams from drying out as quickly. The packaging is very compact and I was glad that it included a decent quality and decent sized mirror.

As for the makeup itself, I wouldn’t say it’s high end, but it definitely would be great quality drug store makeup or cheaper high end if sold separately. The powders are soft and blend well, and you can build up good pigment. You get the most colour payoff with your fingers of course, but I used brushes and didn’t have any problems either.

I gave this makeup a really good test run today! Before are pics I took right after doing my makeup. My eyeliner is ridiculously uneven because A) I need to practice more with liquid liner and B) my sinuses felt like they were going to explode out of my head. But that’s okay!

With this makeup I had watery eyes because of my sinus pain at times, eye drops leaking everywhere because of the eye dryness that accompanies my migraines typically, tons of sweat from the hot weather, and about an hour of being splashed and submerged in a chlorinated pool while spending time with my partner and my step-kiddo. I didn’t think it would hold up well, but it did!

Some of the eyeliner had cracked off from where I had rubbed my eyes (oops) but the majority of it stayed put with pretty much no smudging. I was genuinely surprised and impressed by the eyeliner to be quite honest.

The lip products had a very similar consistency and look to ELF’s lip palette products, but DoS’s were a little bit thicker.

Coming in at about $35.00 CAD every two months for this subscription, it’s a decent amount of makeup you get for the price. It’s nice that you can’t get this palette anywhere else, and it is really beginner friendly. It’s not an overwhelming colour selection, but it gives you enough makeup to create multiple entire looks. As well, there are always YouTube tutorials that accompany the palette and teach you how to use it. The format stays the same each month so you know what you’re going to get, and the “deck” format is nice for those who like to collect. I can’t say for sure which subscriptions I’m going to end up cancelling, but right now I’m leaning more towards keeping this one as long as I can.

Edit/update: I just tried to remove my makeup, wash my face, and shower before bed. Normally I use an oil cleanser from Tatcha to remove my makeup and eye makeup, so I used that before my shower, and the eyeliner still. Did not. Budge. Damn!