And now for something completely different. Here is a description of my first subscription box experience and a review of the Native Box Autumn 2015 Beauty Box.
What is Native Box? (in a nutshell)
Based in Australia, Native Box is a family run subscription box service whose mission is to source and share quality Australian-owned and made, eco-friendly, natural and organic alternatives to ‘conventional’ food, health, beauty and lifestyle products.
To date, Native Box provides a choice between the Classic and Beauty boxes which are available in monthly, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month subscription options. I chose the Beauty Box Seasonal Subscription at $24.95 a quarter.
Why Native Box?
It turns out that I have a shopping philosophy. Wherever possible I prioritise Australian made and owned produce and products that are ethically produced, cruelty-free and made from natural ingredients. It just makes sense to me. Buying local supports Australian agriculture and reduces my carbon footprint. Most importantly, Australia is blessed with good quality produce that is fresher and tastes better. What is not to like? I want to make the most of the opportunities we have particularly given the fact that there are a lot of people in the world who do not have this choice. I’m not a hipster, rather I’m just not comfortable with putting unnecessary chemicals on or in my body particularly when there are natural (and sometimes better) alternatives which, thankfully, are becoming more readily available (no more excuses!).
Subscription box “unboxings” are the latest craze in the online beauty community. I can see the appeal. Every month or season you get a box of surprise products to try. The quality and value of these boxes varies significantly yet I would watch unboxing videos out of curiosity both at what is in the boxes and the psychology behind them. I never contemplated ever getting one because I didn’t think that one would exist that meets my criteria. Besides, as the proliferation of black pots in my bathroom and bedside drawer suggests (not to mention the fact that all of the staff in my local store all know me by name) I am a proud LUSH devotee. However, the only drawback is that LUSH is a UK owned company.
Then I found Native Box.
Finding natural and ethnical products is getting easier. But finding Australian ones is a bit trickier. Native Box takes the hard work out of finding products that fit my shopping philosophy.
What’s in the box? (“in the box, what’s in the box today?”)
The seasonal beauty boxes are thoughtfully curated to suit each season. The Autumn box includes products to cater for the drop in temperatures and the accompanying dry winds by focusing on moisturisation.
The box came with an introductory welcome letter and a list and description of the products and companies included in the box which was a nice touch.
I received seven products in my Native Box Autumn 2015 Beauty Box. I enjoyed the mix of mini/sample and full-sized products. I find the former perfect for travelling. Here are the products in order of unboxing.
Sealicious – Hand and Nail Cream and Hand and Foot Scrub
These two sample pots were the first product I pulled out. I wasn’t sure how to best use them so I used the scrub on my feet and the cream on my hands. As a dancer and non-driver my feet take a battering and I am forever searching for the perfect tired and sore foot remedy and effective callous treatment. The scrub contains very fine sea salt that I didn’t need to wash off which is great because it is works as a moisturiser and scrub in one which saves time, effort and money = winning.
The hand cream had a strong but fresh citrus orange scent and worked fine. It was light but took a lot longer to absorb into my skin compared with and was greasier than the Absolutely Gorgeous product described below. But it now lives in my handbag and will come in handy (pun not intended but embraced in hindsight). Would I purchase? Foot scrub maybe? Cream, no.
Anerah – Rosewater Hydrating Face Mist
I. Love. Facial. Sprays. I use them often and abundantly. I use them as part of my everyday skin routine and throughout the day (particularly on days where Sydney’s humidity shows on my face just from doing anything). I douse my face and body in toner during Zumba drink breaks and after bellydancing. It also does the trick when I’m tired and need a refreshing boost and pick-me-up. The sample size fits perfectly in my handbag and goes everywhere with me. Rose is one of my favourite scents so it was love at first spray. Would I purchase? I might try and make something similar myself first.
Absolutely Gorgeous – Hand and Body Lotion (Lavender and Mandarin)
This came as a full-sized product which made me happy. Unlike most lotions this product has a light and thin consistency yet it still provides deep moisturisation that is quickly and easily absorbed into the skin. It has a subtle smell and I keep it on my bedside table for quick and easy use to give me immediate soft hands before I dash out the door. Would I purchase? Probably not, mostly because it will take me ages to get through the one I currently have.
Anerah – Organic Mint Lip Balm
I received this box towards the tail end of a very heavy head cold. You know the type when you’ve been buried in bed all week where even the simplest of tasks and bodily functions more than a cm away from an aloe vera tissue is unthinkable. The one where you’ve been breathing in and out through your mouth to the point where you start to question whether or not you’re Darth Vader reincarnated. For the first few days, in a mucus induced haze, I decided that my lips were fine and that I didn’t need to expend energy putting on lip balm. That was a mistake. By day three I felt like my lips were slowly detaching from my face. Attractive! I was using every lip balm I have to try to put them back together to little avail. Then I put a thin layer of this stuff on and they were cured almost instantaneously! Would I purchase? A resounding yes!
Skin – Line Smoothing Serum
I don’t use anti-ageing products (and at 28 years old I’d like to think that this is common!). To be honest the ‘dreaded’ signs of ageing doesn’t bother me, at least not at this point in my life. The box includes 4 generous sample pouches but I don’t think I will ever use it or I’d only use it once just because and so as not to waste it. Would I purchase? Nope.
Weleda – Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner
The box included a sample pouch of the shampoo and conditioner respectively which was enough for a single application to my thick medium-long hair. Contrary to the description, there was nothing delicate about the product’s scent (it reminded me of the cough-syrupy sickly artificial cherry flavour of Starburst chews that I always avoid). Even by sachet standards they were REALLY hard to open (particularly when you’re already in the shower – teeth were essential). BUT it left me with soft, silky, smooth and manageable hair that retained its body. I enjoyed leaving my hair down and showing it off, swishing it around for the next few days after which the effects naturally wore off. Would I purchase? Perhaps. I am certainly glad to have found this brand and will explore other products in their range.
Figue Essence – Vegan Eye Shadow Spring/Summer in Impress
As the saying goes – last but certainly not least is a make-up product. Eyeshadow is my favourite part of make-up so needless to say this was one of the most exciting items I received. For such a light shade it is a remarkably pigmented pale yellow gold champagne colour with lots and lots of shimmer. It would make a dramatic inner corner highlight but on its own perhaps too much for an every day look. I will be perfect and I will save it for bellydance performances. Being a loose mineral pigment it should be mixed with a binding agent to prevent fallout and enhance its longevity (or just muddle through like I inevitably will). Will I purchase? No, only because I have so much eyeshadow already and don’t perform enough to justify a re-purchase.
At first my experience was less than positive. I decided to try Native Box to as part of a ‘self-care’ initiative in an effort to make myself feel a bit better (I truly find it hard to do nice things for myself). I submitted and paid for my order following the website’s instructions and prompts but my order was not showing. I emailed Native Box customer support immediately but it took a long time to receive a reply and I was not satisfied with their responses. In my experience, the ordering process was unnecessarily complicated and inefficient. Also, a simple apology for the problems I was experiencing would have been appreciated. After numerous back and forth emails, my order was finally processed and I received a number of automated emails notifying me of each step of the shipment process. For me, one major drawback, is that Native Box use Australia Post to deliver their products. My local Australia Post facilities are very inconvenient and do not follow instructions or proper procedures *pats self on back for suppressing desire to majorly rant*.
So although I was very happy with the product itself, my negative experience with ordering and receiving the box has left me lukewarm and hesitant to order again at present. I need less not more things to think about and do. The stress and inconvenience meant that it defeated the purpose of purchasing the box in the first place.
My overall verdict? = Give it a go. The box represents good value and the products are quality and I want to encourage others to support Australian ethical businesses and products. In terms of customer service you might have better luck (or be less bothered by it) than me.
Do or would you subscribe to this or a similar subscription box? Share your experience with us.
Want to know more. Click the link to the Native Box website https://nativebox.com.au