Subscription boxes has been popular in the US and in the Philippines for the last two years. I wanted so bad for something like this to come to Saudi Arabia. There’s nothing like being surprised and being excited with a gift box every month right (even if you’re just technically surprising and gifting yourself haha)? I was really thrilled when I learned that Glambox, a subscription box for beauty products, is operating in the United Arab Emirates. I’ve been following their page to check if they are also catering to Saudi Arabia but during the first few months, they weren’t. Then finally, they opened their subscription to KSA dwellers! Yey! I so wanted to see what the fuss is all about.
Glambox is literally a box delivered to your doorstep (or in PO boxes in our case here in Saudi Arabia) every month. It contains five deluxe-sized beauty products. It’s a surprise in a way that you don’t know what are inside and you’ll only know when you open your box or try as hard as you can to get the first glimpse in Instagram (via the hashtag #glamboxme lol) before you receive your box (my story). Anyway, products includes makeup, skincare lines, and other non-beauty items.
There are three subscription plans: 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. The 3-month subscription costs SR 279 or SR 93 each. The 6-month subscription, otherwise known as their Most Popular subscription package costs SR 539 or SR 90 each. The 12-month subscription is their Best Value because it costs SR 999 or SR 83 per month. Basically, the longer you subscribe, the lower amount you pay. I subscribed to 3 months because 1. I just want to try it and see if it’s worth the longer subscription and 2. SR 279 is already a hefty price for me but in the name of trying new things, there I go. LOL. I got sucked into subscribing because they work with really good brands like Givenchy, Bioderma, Benefit, OPI, The Face Shop, and other known brands (and brands that I use and like).
Subscribing is easy. Just go to their website, pick the subscription plan you want, sign up, and pick whether you want to pay via credit card, Paypal, or COD. I chose to pay via cash on delivery. There’s also an option to pay through the Sadad system for Saudi Arabia subscribers. I eagerly waited for my first box, which was last August. They usually send the boxes on the third week of the month. I got a text message from SMSA Express here in KSA on August 19 that I will be receiving a shipment for me from the “Glambox Project” (I guess that’s what their partnership is called). Either I will wait for a call from them or I can visit their site as http://smsa.co to schedule my delivery. I went into the website and opted to picking up my packages (instead of them delivering to me) at the SMSA Express Dabab Street branch. On August 23, I received another text message that my package is on hold for collection at the Dabab Street branch.
I was so excited that I started scouring Instagram for the contents of the August Glambox. So much for the element of surprise right? Haha! Yeahhh, my mistake I know (wala akong EQ). I shouldn’t have done that because it raised my expectation so high. I saw that the August Glambox in the UAE contains nice products and a few discount vouchers. My interest was glued to the Oil Control Water Cushion by The Face Shop. I have a similar cushion foundation from Etude House and I was excited to compare them. There’s even a refill pack for it. That got my spirits really soaring. After work, I immediately went to the SMSA Express branch to get my box and then… it still wasn’t there. WUT?! I even called their customer service who assured me the box was already there before going. So why is it still NOT there? The guy working the counter was giving me an attitude and ignored me for more than 10 minutes before getting back to me ( I was the only customer) and kept tsk tsking me (hello, I’m the customer and you don’t have my box!). Another SMSA Express guy who saw my frustration promised that I’ll get it tomorrow and he’ll even deliver it to wherever I am. That actually defeats the purpose of me getting the box in the branch but okay. I guess they were trying to make up for the mistake.
The following day, the guy finally delivered my August Glambox to our workplace. I paid him SR 279 (the full payment should be paid on the first delivery). Even though I had to wait for another day, I was still giddy with excitement. I immediately opened my box. In all fairness, they really went over the top on the box. It was really sturdy and apart from the pink box, there’s another beige box inside. These boxes are great for storing other items (can be great gift boxes too if you’re into recycling).
Inside the beige box is a black paper lining tied with a beige ribbon. Upon unravelling the ribbon and unfolding the lining, I saw a bunch of black shredded paper that served as the cushion to the products. And then… the products!!!
My jaw fell… in disappointment. SERIOUSLY?!?
Can you look closely and tell me what’s wrong with this box? There’s no The Face Shop Water Cushion foundation. And no refill. I understand if there are differences in brands they can feature. Maybe they have different agreements with brands and the cushion is not available in Saudi Arabia. Or maybe they can’t get some products past Customs. WHO KNOWS? But look at this box and tell me if the content inside is worth SR 93. I was disappointed. Okay, angry! Haha! I felt like I was duped. The replacement of the cushion was a travel size eyeliner from Bobbi Brown. Okay, okay so it’s Bobbi Brown cosmetics but an eyeliner? Hahaha! Dismal. The other items were more lackluster. Samples of Flower By Kenzo (L’Elixir) and Givenchy Moisturizing Lotion. Both can be used probably twice and they’ll be empty. The only redeeming product is the L’Oreal Elvive Moisturizing Oil Hair Replacement tube which is a full-sized product. Bravo! Hahaha! It’s so funny I’m not kidding.
Anyway, I set my anger aside and looked at the bright side… I have a pink box which I can use for my craft stuff. I promised myself not to write about Glambox in the blog immediately because I just got one box and I want to give it another shot, the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the second one will be better. So I told myself I need to calm down and wait for the second box. After the second box, I will definitely be writing a review! That’s it. And yes, this is it. You’re reading this because I received the second box aka September Glambox already. And here it is:
This time, I made sure that the box was already in the Dabab branch before I went. I called SMSA’s customer service and asked. The agent said yes it was there and I said ARE YOU SURE?!? I think he got scared so he double checked and he said yes. Haha! So I went after work and got my box. I already felt that it was heavier than the first box but I didn’t think anything of it yet. I don’t want to expect and then have my hopes squashed again. I remained calm and when I got to my room, I opened the box carefully and came face to face with 2 full-sized L’Oreal Elvive products (shampoo and conditioner, which completes the line, I guess), a sample size of L’Occitane’s Hand Cream, a bottle of Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil (not sure if it’s full-sized bottle but I think it’s just travel-sized), and sample of Lanvin’s Eclat D’Arpege.
It’s better than the August Glambox but I still think I’ve been robbed of SR 93. Haha! I mean, they’re not worth SR 93 at all. And for me to wait for a month to try these products? I can just buy them on groceries and pharmacies if I wanted. They’re easily available here in the Kingdom. It’s probably cheaper if I bought them here anyway. I’m bummed. Hahaha! But serves me right for leaving my beauty products to chance. Haha!
I won’t disregard Glambox just yet because I have yet to receive my October blox but at this point, I’m no longer eager to receive them. Is Glambox worth it? With the products I received so far? No. Even the element of surprise that makes these boxes irresistible doesn’t seem to be working. Because what if the products are so-so? I might be happy with the feeling of surprise but I feel disappointed with reality. Not worth the stress. Haha! I still say kudos to the team that runs these boxes because they are working with good brands, they put a lot of thought into the box and the delivery, and they’re probably more worth it if the subscriber is based in the UAE because they also have discount vouchers and gift cards for them.
You can be a beauty insider they call a “Glamista” if you review the products you receive in the box. I reviewed the L’oreal Elvive in our Beauty Bets section. Anyway, if you’re not interested in subscribing, Glambox has a shop that offers beauty and lifestyle products which you can check out HERE.
I guess we just have to wait for a team (or another subscription box service) that will directly work in Saudi Arabia. It’s also good if the boxes are a bit customized to the subscriber’s complexion, skin type, hair color, etc. because not all Glambox subscribers fits a certain mold. It’ll be great to receive products that work on a person’s type and interests. Just like Ipsy. It’s another subscription box that I tried. Review on it soon. 🙂