What is REALLY in a subscription box?

By now we're all familiar with the concept behind subscription boxes. You chose a theme, find a company to order from, pay a fee and a shipment of goodies arrives at your door. You try out all the items and decide which ones you want to keep buying. Subscription boxes come in all types, sizes and prices. Some are monthly while others are quarterly. The best part of subscription boxes is the surprise aspect. But how do you know if you're actually going to like what's in the subscription box?

Month to month, you really don't know, but you can make an educated guess. The contents of some subscription boxes are tailored to your choices, others are completely random and still others are identical for everyone. Most companies offer 1 option but many have created a small/medium/large size (and price) choice. They key is knowing what type you're ordering and looking it up!

See subscription box contents

We get several subscription boxes here. My son is dying for a gamer box, but so far only gets a snack box from Japan. The dog gets her own treat & toy box and I get a few makeup subscription boxes. 

Every one of these companies puts out beautiful advertisements and glossy pictures and makes the boxes look amazing.....but how do you know what's really in there? After all, some of these pictures show you all the options possible. So while the promotional image shows 3 lipsticks, or 6 crystals, or 4 bath bombs, each box only contains one. Or the promotional image is the deluxe box, but you're thinking or ordering the regular. So, what's really in the box you're ordering?

Subscription Box Contents


While you can't find out what will be in your box every month in the future, you can get a look at what is typically sent out for each company. Here's my simple trick to finding out what EXACTLY is in the subscription box: Instagram!

Simply go on Instagram and use the search feature. Click the tags option, enter the name of the box and start browsing. You can add the month or even year to get different results. Always sort your results as most recent, not most popular.

Using search to find subscription crate contents

Got your results? Good. Now ignore all the brands, big bloggers and basically anyone with more than 5,000 followers. Why, you ask? I learned the hard way that certain brands send big influencers special boxes. (I'm looking at your Fab Fit Fun!) If you make your purchase based on these 'not available to the public' boxes or even 'limited edition' boxes, then you are bound to be disappointed....and we don't want that!

What you're looking for are plain, non stylized photos of what the average person receives in their box. Those photos will show exactly what you can expect in your box!

know what you're subscribing to before you buy!

If the box is one that comes in different sizes, you 'll probably have to count the items to make sure you're looking at the same sized box that you're considering. Some subscription box companies price their boxes according to item. For example a small snack box may have 5 items, a medium 10 and a large could have 15 different snacks....so you want to check the companies info and compare accordingly. 

You can go back months or even years to see what kinds of items they send out and if they send repeat items or not. By looking at images from various people, you can also see if everyone gets the same items or if they vary. Many of the sites that vary the items let you choose categories that you don't want to receive items from. 

For instance: Ipsy will let you choose to not receive items from a category like nails, lips, eyes etc. Some snack boxes will take food allergies into consideration. Still other subscription boxes (like Julep) let you customize your whole box every month as long as you log in by the deadline. 

Of course you could still get items you won't use, but since most subscription boxes follow the same pattern month after month you'll at least have a good idea of what to expect!

~L

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