You hear it often: Invest in your own self-care and you will reap the benefits of greater health, happiness, and longevity. But it’s not always very obvious what that actually means. Eating healthfully, exercising, spending time in nature, and doing some kind of mindfulness exercise, especially meditation, are often trotted out as ways to care for oneself that are low-cost, and it’s true, those are all smart, long-lasting solutions.
But sometimes, it’s nice to have a short-cut (and no, I’m not talking about a boozy cocktail evening out). Another way to treat yourself (or someone who you know needs treating—and we all know someone in that boat), that’s easy and fun—and longer-lasting than a night of drinks—is with a membership to a subscription box.
Getting a fun box of beauty surprises in the mail once a month? It’s like getting a care package—except unlike when you were a kid, now the packages will help you keep your skin healthy, support your yoga practice, find new products you probably didn’t even know existed, and just generally slather yourself with lovely smelling things. And if that’s not self-care, I don’t know what is!
Because I believe that you can have all of the above benefits while still using non toxic products that aren’t gunked up with unnecessary chemicals that could have negative effects on your health (or the water supplies you rinse off into), I didn’t even consider reviewing boxes that included overpackaged, overprocessed beauty supplies (plus fake smells gross me out). I rounded up (and tried out!) each of the thoughtful boxes below—consider giving a treat to yourself or someone you love as the summer closes and the school and work years get serious.
All boxes include free shipping in the US.
BuddhiBox is a “yoga lifestyle” box, but in six months, I’ve yet to receive any product that I didn’t use, even though I only practice yoga a couple mornings a week for a half-hour at home. There are lots of small-batch, all-natural beauty products, including items like refresher sprays (useful post-workout however you get your sweat on), herbal teas, a scarf, hairbands, cleansing oil, socks, and plenty more (most boxes are a mix of full-size and sample-size products). I love that every Buddhibox has a delightfully illustrated yoga-pose card (I keep them on my fridge to remind me to stretch before reaching for a snack) as well as vegan recipe cards. Each box feels like a genuine namaste from Maxine Chapman, the yogini who founded the company.
Cost: $30.95 monthly with discounts for 3-, 6-, and 12-month commitments.
Spa Heroes is a little different from the other beauty boxes: Instead of a collection of products, you get just one–but they are some serious, special, full-size items, and they arrive in a notably beautiful package. I was lucky enough to try July’s offering, which was an incredible Mahalo Beauty facemask (and an extra treat of a generous-sized bottle of the same company’s Vacation Glow oil which is literally one of the most divine scented oils I have ever used). The company’s tagline is “Nontoxic beauty, on Hero product at a time,” and the products rotate among skin, sun and haircare products.
Cost: $39/month with 3- 6- and 12-month commitment discounts
Vegan Cuts offers both a beauty box and a snack box, and as the name indicates, all items are cruelty free and vegan. The beauty box includes 4-7 items and I loved that they included hair care, skin care and cosmetics—I got to try out a fun eyeshadow that I probably normally wouldn’t have, and
Cost: $19.95 a month
Goodebox expert curation shows: It has included some of my all-time favorite healthy beauty brands, including Kahina Giving Beauty, Strange Invisible perfumes, Yarok haircare, and Angel Face Botanicals. Each month, (or you can sign up to receive the boxes every other month), you’ll get a selection of trial-size products, so this box is ideal for those who like to try a range of new products regularly rather than a few larger-sized items.
Cost: $21 a month or $18/month for 12 months
LaRitzy was borne of the founder’s desire to avoid products tested on animals, which then led her down the path of non-toxic beauty, so the LaRitzy box is both. With 4-6 full-size or luxury-size products, this box felt indulgent; the quantities were great enough that I tried a great Fairtrade coffee scrub several times and shared it with my partner, am still using the rose clay facial mask weeks later (there are dozens of applications in the minimally packaged bar, and haven’t even gotten into the other two products yet (an essential oil-based lash lengthener and sea-salt bath crystals).
Cost: $24.99 a month or $20 a month for 12 months.
Native Box is Australia’s green beauty (they have a food/snack version as well) subscription box. I haven’t tried this one, but it looks to be packed with great products, and there are so many great green beauty brands coming out of Australia that it’s great to see a service like this one gathering them up for Down-Under natural beauty lovers to try.
Cost: $24.95 a season (quarterly)
Zhestia is a brand-new (it’s still in Kickstarter mode!) box that is a bit different. Each collection is called a “travel experience box.” Rooted in a sense of place, you get a gorgeous, reusable wooden box that includes items so you can reproduce a traditional spa experience from that place at home. The first box is Hammam in Marrakech, which includes traditional black soap and a kessah for scrubbing, Moroccan-scented argan oil, and mint tea to complete the ritual (a book and music are also included for the full experience at home).
Cost: Depends on Kickstarter reward chosen
The boxes included in this article were received by Starre at no charge for review purposes. All opinions are her own.