I’m as guilty of analogue nostalgia as the next ageing hipster (vinyl! 35mm film cannisters!) but every time I read one of those wistful posts about “the death of mail” I want to puke. Firstly, because as far as I’m concerned the switch to digital has in fact minimised my tedious mail (ie bills, junk) and maximised the arrival of cool stuff (ordered online). Secondly, because if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have any friends in far-off places who wanted to send me things. And thirdly, because I am a Famous Blogger and therefore get way more cool stuff in the post than you.[Plus, as Domestic Sluttery so astutely commented the other day:
[W]e all read and think “oh yes, it IS nice to have something to open that isn’t a bill, let me dig out my best pen and nice writing paper and – OMG is that a dog with a fluffy tail outside, which Instagram filter shall I use to bring out his fur?”
I suppose you can argue that I have some control over the arrival of cool things I have ordered myself, and there’s a tote bag full of dubious promo CDs waiting to be discarded that would like to argue the point re: the ‘cool stuff’. But here’s something else I’ve noticed: since Graze started their whole healthy snack box subscription service (you can get a free one using the code GJJKCTH to try if you like), various postal subscription clubs have become an industry in themselves. There is little you cannot sign up to, should you choose. Meat. Pants. Artisan marshmallows. The Domestic Sluts do a great job in tracking this too.
But I’ve never been tempted to sign up for the increasing proliferation of beauty boxes and I’ll tell you why: you are pretty much without exception paying ten quid a month for the things and then they expect you to pay postage on top of that (psychological pricing, y’all). Now I pay way more than that over the course of a month for my Graze boxes, but it still sticks a little. That’s why, when my lovely pal Jo informed me she had signed me up for a three-month She Said Beauty gift subscription I was particularly thrilled.
The second of my boxes arrived this week, so it’s as good a time as any to let you know what to expect!
The first thing to point out is that it really does feel like getting an indulgent treat in the mail: under the bright pink external packaging the box is beautifully put together; samples nestled in straw under tissue paper and ribbon. She Said Beauty promises five sample-sized products – although depending on what they are you’ll sometimes get full-sized ones – with the occasional bonus treat, like the Pop Chips I got in September. And the boxes are only part of it – the site describes itself as a free-to-use beauty social network and encourages ratings and reviews, for which you can earn free boxes.
So that’s the sales pitch – what about the reality? To be honest, it feels a little as if the quality of the samples has slipped since I joined – She Said Beauty promise high street brands, unlike some of their more pompous competitors, but last month’s Collection 2000 primer (not to sound like a snob, but when it comes to make-up I tend to wear Benefit) was topped for classiness by the celebrity perfume that bore the name of reality television star and ‘Essex Girl’ Amy Childs. It’s hard not to feel a bit hard done to when you discover that previous (although still pretty recent) boxes included Nails Inc polish, a really cute eyeliner and one of those nail files made by the guy that won The Apprentice the last year it was halfway watchable. From the comments on their Facebook page, I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Do you know what it is? I’m just not that into face creams, hand creams and all the other lotions that now I am In My 30s every female-orientated magazine I catch an accidental glimpse of thinks I should be using. I remember to moisturise my face maybe four nights out of seven, and I keep the (Neutrogena) hand cream my mum got me for Christmas on my desk in case of emergencies – and that she got me it for Christmas should tell you all you need to know there. I can’t get excited trying stuff I don’t really have any use for: give me nail polish, eyeshadows, lip gloss. On the evidence of the past two months I’m not convinced that I’m She Said Beauty’s target demographic, but they still have a month in which to prove me wrong.
In the meantime, though, the box is an excellent plaything for the kits.