If you find yourself in a beauty rut, buying the same boring products time and time again, a subscription could be the answer. Typically delivering a handful of items to your door, beauty box services promise to broaden your horizons and take you on a journey to colourful, glittering and sweet-smelling places.

But the surprise element of these parcels can also be their downfall. Should you not choose your subscription wisely, you could end up with a lot of duds cluttering up your drawers.

Fortunately, IndyBest has tested all the beauty boxes out there that we could find. We have evaluated their value for money, the range they give and the quality of the products to make sure you are informed before venturing into the beauty subscription world.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn some commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent. 

Roccabox: £10, roccabox.co.uk

The most appealing part of the Roccabox was the price, £10 a month for around six products seemed like a bargain to us. Our packages included a decent amount of full-size cult classics that would be useful to almost everyone. One box we tested included a tube of Dr Paw Paw ointment which soothed our chapped, winter-worn skin and lips.

Although not all the products were full size, the miniature items we received  – such as bottles of Pureology shampoo and conditioner – were good quality and proved helpful travel companions. We did not find a single let-down product in our packages, with all the makeup we received working on almost any skin tone – not an anaemic nude lipstick in sight.

Buy now

Latest in Beauty Box: £9 for three products; £15 for six; £18 for nine, latestinbeauty.com

If you can stretch to £15 a month, Latest in Beauty’s “beauty enthusiast” subscription is a good choice. With brands such as Dr Jart and James Read making an appearance, this is a subscription for someone who knows about skincare.

All the products we tested from the Latest in Beauty Box were of extremely high quality, making their selling point that “each product has been carefully selected by their team of industry experts” seem believable.

The subscription is a fully “customisable service”, meaning you choose all your items. While this means you lose the giddy excitement of opening a mystery parcel, it all but eradicates the chance of being landed with stuff you don’t want.

Buy now

Cohorted The Black Edition Beauty Box: £35 a month, cohorted.co.uk

The Cohorted box is one of the more expensive options we tried, but you get plenty of bang for your buck. One box we tested included Nars, Clinique and Lancome products in versatile shades and well-chosen formulas. Although they were delivered in smaller sizes, the products were large enough to get some real pleasure from.

Cohorted join up with other brands for some special edition boxes. The one we tried, curated by New York-based brand Doucce, was mostly wonderful – it came with a full size face palette filled with delicious, rich colours – but the lipstick shade was disappointing, since it would not suit everyone.

Overall, even with the odd misstep, the contents of this box amount to around £100, making the subscription good value for money.

Buy now

Glossybox Beauty Box: £10, glossybox.co.uk

Glossybox is also among the cheapest we tested, at £10 a month for five products. One of our boxes included an eyeshadow palette filled with autumnal shades and a matte lipstick, both full sized and good quality.

It also contained several healthy-sized minis including a Living Proof hair mask, Context exfoliator and YourGoodSkin serum. Importantly, you can provide the company with a “beauty profile” when you subscribe, meaning the products sent are tailored to your skin type.

Buy now

Little known Box: £14.95, littleknownbox.com

Little Known Box seeks out independent and emerging brands, meaning you discover something entirely new every month. Each box includes 5-6 cruelty-free full size or travel size products, plus the odd bonus item.

The subscription has an emphasis on “wellness” and most of the products are focussed on feeling good, rather than just looking good. We enjoyed the rose-scented bath bomb, mineral body mud, skin recovery balm, relaxing face mask and sleep mist that came in our “sleep and relaxation” box.

There is a survey to take that asks what beauty products you like when you sign up, which helps you receive a tailored box.

Buy now

Mintd Box: £70, mintd.com

If you want a luxury box, this is the one to go for. Mintd is far and away the most expensive beauty subscription we tested, but the products inside are outrageously lovely and have a collective retail price well above the cost of the box.

We tested the “winter survival guide” box, which included a full size jar of Farmacy Honey Potion – a face mask that looks like honey, until you rub it into your skin and it turns white. Our skin loves this stuff. Other superstar products inside one of our Mintd packages included a Neom body scrub.

Buy now

Nomakenolife Beauty Box: £27, nomakenolife.com

Named after a popular phrase used in Japan by people who believe makeup and skin care is essential to their lives, Nomakenolife delivers popular Tokyo brands to your door. The choices range from cute and fun face masks, to weird and wonderful face-massagers shaped like cats.

This is not a choice for middle-of-the road beauty consumer, but for anyone with a love for all things Japanese. The packaging is loud and often anime-themed, but the products themselves are high-end and lovely to use.

Buy now

Look Fantastic Beauty Box: £15, Look Fantastic

The Look Fantastic subscription features luxurious brands with a collective retail value of £50 for a low price. We received products from Elemis, Ren and Laura Geller in our November box, along with an own-brand Dark Wonder bath bomb, which turns hot water indigo. December's looks a real treat, too.

The beauty box also contains a copy of Elle magazine and the Lookfantastic Beauty Box magazine, with heaps of beauty tips. The brand also have a handy section on their site where you can snoop on beauty boxes from earlier months, which is useful for getting an idea of the haul you'll receive.

Buy now

Olive and Bloom Gift Set: £28.95, oliveandbloom.co.uk

This is a cheat option, since it is not a subscription, but instead a one-off package. Worth including, though, for it’s handmade quality. Each Olive and Bloom box contains a bar of soap made in the kitchen of working mother who set up the brand, who says running the business while looking after a toddler is “a difficult juggling act”. Each box typically also contains a scented candle and a lip balm and some sweets, making the Olive and Bloom Box a perfect gift.

Buy now

The Verdict: Best beauty subscription boxes

Overall, the Roccbox was the most generous of the cheaper subscriptions, offering the best value for money. If you have cash to splash, however, try the Mintd box.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Black Friday 2019 is nearly here. Find out how to get the best deals here