Flashback: When Beauty Boxes Disappoint

Beauty Boxes are great on the whole, getting to sample new products, bonus samples of products you already own and love and just generally expanding your knowledge of what’s out there. It’s a little treat for yourself every month and something that I look forward to.

I’ve tried out 4 different boxes: Birchbox, my favourite of the bunch; Look Fantastic, a box I’ve only tried a couple of times but have been generally impressed by; Glossybox, after a 3 month sub I gave up as it just wasn’t for me; and now Cohorted, and this is where my problems begin.

Cohorted’s Beauty Box release was a hugely hyped affair. An exclusive run of only 100 boxes was to be released at 6pm last Monday, along with the launch of their newly designed site. At 5.55pm I logged on, along with 100’s of other eager fans and by 6.30pm there were still no boxes to be had. ‘Out of Stock’ had been displaying on the screen since the release time and people were getting impatient. I was one of the few who snapped up a box when the ‘Add to Basket’ button appeared 5 minutes later and they were all gone shortly after.

Following the problems with the release, I was hoping for a smooth delivery. Wishful thinking! Hermes messed up, and to cut a long story short it’s taken me a week and a half to finally get my box. I had spent that week and a half crossing my fingers that I would be 1 of 5 lucky people to get an Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette as a special gift. I wasn’t.

Enough of that and onto the actual box contents. You might be wondering why I have such a negative opinion of it. I was super excited when I saw the first review – Bobbi Brown! Benefit! Dolce & Gabbana!!! What amazing brands to be included in a debut box! However the longer I waited to get my hands on it, the more opinions about it I read. And the more facts I realised. Yes, they’ve included a D&G skincare product that’s got an RRP of £20, but this can currently be bought on eBay for £6.99 with free postage. The Korres products (an eye primer and cleansing foam) appear to only be available in the US and I couldn’t even find the cleansing foam on Sephora.

A quick review of the products that are found in the box:

Korres Eye Primer – Not sure how this will turn out as I tested it on my hand and it seemed quite lumpy…I’ll be trying it out with my eyeshadow tomorrow.

Korres Milk Cleansing Foam – I tried this out in place of my Body Shop Facial Soap and I wasn’t overly impressed, my skin felt a bit odd afterwards, like there was residue left on it.

D&G Cleansing Lotion – Overly perfumed for my sensitive skin and left my skin feeling sticky. Just not for me at all.

Benefit Bella Bamba Lip Gloss – Sweet watermelon scent and a light wash of colour, I can see myself using this.

Bobbi Brown Smoky Eye Mascara – A decent addition to my collection and a handy travel size but I don’t think it replaces my love for They’re Real and Roller Lash.

Overall, it was a disappointing box considering all the hype. A successful box to me would contain at least one product I would happily buy on my own and sadly this doesn’t. Add in the delivery issues I experienced and it’s safe to say I won’t be purchasing anything from them again. I have nothing against the ethos of the company and after messaging them on Twitter and giving them some feedback about my disappointment, I received this message:

“We understand there may have been very high expectations of our box and we will always try to do our best to meet those expectations, but sometimes they are just too high! To get high end brands into a box for £19.99 they cannot always be new releases or readily available in the UK! Our ethos and approach has always been to make high end beauty a little more affordable! Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to achieve this with the latest beauty items! We try to compensate for this by including full size products and not insultingly small samples! However, we always treasure feedback that can help us improve so your points will be taken on board hun xx”

The expectations on this box were huge, people were looking for big brands and big samples and I just don’t feel like they delivered. Some deals they have on the site for individual products are great and the weekly cohorts are usually pretty good and sell out quickly. I understand that you can’t always have the latest releases and readily available samples included, but when 3/5 products are old stock/US only, it is a little annoying. I wouldn’t say that I’ve received ‘insultingly small samples’ from other boxes, maybe the odd sachet of something here and there, but even the smaller samples can lead to a new found adored product, the perfect example being a sachet sample of a pink clay mask from Birchbox. Although I haven’t bought that specific mask, I did discover a love for a nighttime pamper session, face mask included.

I’m glad that they’ve said they will take my feedback on board, no doubt they will continue to grow and improve, maybe in a few months time the boxes will be better, but at the moment it’s a definite no for any future boxes. As March’s box has already sold out (300 pre-orders were released straight after the February box sold out) it will be interesting to see what they will bring this time around and if it will be an improvement.

I think this box is a bit of a ‘marmite’ situation, some people absolutely loved it and thought that as a debut it was spectacular. On the other hand there are people like myself who’ve been left disappointed and wanting more. The lesson I’ve learnt: don’t get caught up in the hype.

What’s your opinion on Cohorted?

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