The July Violetbox* was waiting for me when I got home from an average day at work last week. I don’t think anyone is averse to surprise parcel deliveries, and especially not ones that contain beauty products. That being said, I’m not really on the boat with subscription beauty boxes and I don’t think this one has done much to change my mind. I was more receptive to the June Violetbox, largely because of the Glyco Peel product, and the fact it was my first ever subscription box, and it was all a bit novel and exciting.
The biggest thing weighing on my mind with subscription boxes is whether they’re worth it. Not in pure monetary value, because on paper you always get more than what the box costs, but in real, actual, I-have-twenty-five-dollars-to-last-me-to-payday terms. So that is how I will evaluate this one.
Appelles Apothecary & Lab Blackseed Shampoo and Tamanu Conditioner
Appelles is an Australian brand I hadn’t heard of before, which doesn’t set off my excitement levels to begin with. (Then I saw Lilian had an Appelles makeup bag in the video she did with Shannon, which at least confirmed it is a brand that exists in reality and not just in beauty boxes.) The monetary value of these is $7.58 each, or $15.15. I don’t use sample shampoo and conditioner, because I’ve got my haircare sussed already, so these get a Morgan-value of $0 (although Callum will probably use them).
Things I’d rather spend my $15 on: a cheese scone and a long black, two mornings in a row.
Ivory Lace Cinnamon Highlighter Pencil
Chella is what I called my then-best friend, Rachel, when we were eleven. Apparently it’s also a brow product brand, but it’s a brand that exists only in beauty boxes – their website doesn’t even list stockists. The pencil I received is in the shade ‘Cinnamon’, rather than the Ivory Lace shade advertised on the card. I presume people who actually paid for their boxes received a shade that corresponds to their skintone, but sending me something that has literally no utility to me isn’t a good incentive for getting me to subscribe. The monetary value of this is $22, but I wouldn’t spend $22 on a brow-highlighting pencil. Morgan-value of $0.
Things I’d rather spend my $22 on: an Essie nail polish from Farmers.
Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum
Italian brand I’ve never heard of with the most un-Google-able name ever. After a read of the ingredients list this serum looks like it will be pretty effective, but probably not because of the truffle extract. Once I was on holiday in Italy in a district known for its truffles (tartufo, in Italian, which sounds much nicer) and we ate a number of truffle-adulterated dishes. I say adulterated because they were certainly made worse by the addition. Why would you ruin a nice plate of gnocchi with extract of armpits?
Monetary value is $12.50. Morgan-value of $0. If someone handed me this little tube and said “I’ll give you this for $12.50”, I’d say no.
Things I’d rather spend my $12.50 on: Two glasses of Happy Hour bubbles with Amy, and fifty cents change.
Sukin Skin Purifying Facial Mask
Finally a brand I recognise. I haven’t used any Sukin products before, but have always been interested to. Also, clay-based masks are my favourite and I am always open to more of them. In the July Violetbox you get two foil sachets, which means two masks, or one for you and one to give away if you didn’t like it the first time. The thing with masks is that a couple of uses is enough to get some good utility (rather than a cleanser where you really need at least a fortnight to decide if it works for you) so these sachets are very welcome. Monetary value is $2.40, which is decent and yes I would spend $2.40 on giving these masks a go.
Things I’d rather spend my $2.40 on: Come on Morgan, if you’re not prepared to throw some small change at a skin treatment designed for your skin type, you’re not a good beauty blogger.
LAQA&Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil
My last makeup clear out involved the purging of a large number of bright pink lip products from my collection. Bright pink is not my colour. I do like the LAQA&Co branding, but branding is not worth the monetary value of $20. It’s a shame, because if this pencil was one of the more neutral shades the brand does (or even purple, or red, or orange… just not pink!) then I’d be interested in using it. As it stands, it will probably languish in my drawer until I give it away to someone.
Things I’d rather spend my $20 on: Petrol. Less than 10 litres of petrol (who else remembers when it was less than 90c a litre?) but petrol nonetheless.
So Susan Flutter Mascara
Susan, I’m really sorry. I have more than enough mascaras on the go at the moment that I am desperately trying to use before they dry out and/or harbour too many germs for me to feel comfortable putting them near my eyes. Violetbox says this mascara is worth $32. I visited the So Susan website and found the mascara would cost, including shipping, NZ $26.75. This doesn’t give me much confidence in the other prices Violetbox has supplied me but I’m too lazy to go back and figure out what they are actually worth.
Things I’d rather spend my $32 or $26.75 on: my overdue power bill.
There’s clearly an underlying current here that is causing me to have a pretty big bias against this box: the fact that I’ve got a bunch of real-life debts to pay off before I could justify spending $30 a month on a subscription beauty box. $30 doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you’re spending it every month, it adds up.
You may notice that lately there have been less ‘haul’ type posts on Hyacinth Girl. I haven’t really been in a position to spend money on beauty products for a while – there have been ‘grown-up’ expenses including getting a Warrant of Fitness for the car; paying for an eye test and new glasses (more on those soon); an astronomical power bill because it is winter and my house is poorly insulated, like every other house in Wellington; my rent is going up in a couple of months… and so on. I’m not listing these to make anyone feel sorry for me. I’m listing them because it’s easy to overlook the reality behind a beauty blog. I don’t actually entirely know why I’m doing so badly with money at the moment, because I’m not earning any less than I have been for the past eighteen months, but there you go. I still allow myself some treats, like coffees and scones and occasional after-work drinks and the odd nail polish. I’m grateful I’m in the position where I can still do that for myself, because when you’re stressing about debt, a little self-love treat can help you relax, even if it’s only slightly.
My own financial situation aside, I would recommend subscribing to Violetbox if you’re in certain circumstances – if you’re prepared to spend $30 a month on the thrill of a surprise parcel, the excitement of opening it and the novelty of trying new things. Like I said above, a little self-love treat can be a good thing! This just isn’t the right self-love treat for me right now.