Skip to main content

We Tried It: The Essence Magazine Subscription BeautyBox

• Oct 16, 2015

When Essence announced that they would be joining the ranks of Michele Phan, Curlbox and many more by creating a beauty box subscription program, I quickly placed my order. I’m no stranger to the subscription box scene. I’ve tried more of these boxes than I care to admit, but I’m always open to trying one that’s promising to cater to women of color.
essence-beauty-box-review1 (copy)

Essence asserted the box would be, “a subscription service curated by our trusted beauty experts delivered directly to your door each month. In it, you’ll have an opportunity to test some of the latest and most innovative products, as well as our proven favorites.”  Although the service began taking orders in August, subscribers were told upon signing up that orders would not be shipped until October.

I didn’t mind the wait. Subscription boxes are appealing because:

a. the low price point

b. the opportunity to try deluxe samples before committing to a full-size purchase.


This month’s box is all about the details in your beauty routine – brows on fleek, perfectly moisturized hands and a fresh new scent to round it out. And let’s not forget about the hair! We’re sure that you’ll love these goodies as much as we do!


Let’s take a look at the inaugural box:





essence-beauty-box-review10  essence-beauty-box-review14

I give Essence’s first beauty box a solid B Grade. The L’occitaine hand cream as well as the Deluxe-sized Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Leave-in Conditioner were the best items in the box. The Calvin Klein Eternity perfume didn’t do anything for me. and I’ve never tried a Curls product that actually did anything other than make my hair hard and unmanageable. Perhaps the biggest loser of the box, however, was the Tarte The Brow Architect.



Tarte’s Brow Architect is described as a 3‑in‑1 brow brush, pencil and underscoring concealer that allows you to shape, line, and define your brows with one simple tool.

I tried to use the product on three separate occasions and on each try, I was left with a broken point as shown above. I’ve tried eyeliners that cost less than $1 that were smoother and more pigmented. After three failed attempts and three broken points, I was out of my Brow architect. I did, however, manage to get a swatch so you can see the pigmentation and color of the product:

Tarte Brow Architect

Tarte Brow Architect

As you can see the color is on the ashy side, and I’m not quite sure how one could effectively utilize the sponge applicator to actually put the concealer to use. The product is priced at $23 so it was nice to see a high priced item included in the box; it’s too bad it was a dud.

The monthly price for the Essence Beauty box is $15, however you can sign up for 6 months for $90 or a year for $165.

Will you be trying the new Essence Beauty Box? Share your thoughts below!

About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

Although first impressions mean a lot, they say give it three to five times before SAYING no. If they keep putting “junk” and “goop” in a bottle type of stuff in these types of boxes, I will be saying NO a lot faster.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Shopping Cart