The 8 Best Gift Subscription Boxes of 2020

From byrdie

We get it—finding the perfect gift can feel like a lot of pressure. But the beauty of giving a subscription box is that it inherently does all of the work for you: It offers a crowd-pleasing array of items sure to impress even the pickiest of recipients, and it keeps on giving, month after month. (Plus, you won’t have to worry about figuring out what to get your loved one at the last minute.)

But with tons of options on the market (ranging from makeup to grooming to wine of the month), it can be tricky to sift through it all to find the perfect option—so allow a service to do so on your behalf. We reviewed some of the very best subscription gift boxes for just about every mood, personality, and occasion. And don’t say we didn’t warn you—chances are you’ll want to sign up for a few of these yourself.

Best Overall: Birchbox Three-Month Gift Card

The beauty subscription box that launched a hundred copycats, Birchbox remains a perennial editor favorite for its caliber of products, honest reviews, and an a la carte online store.

But what really gives it the gift-worthy edge is the ability to customize for your recipient. With every subscription gift card, your lucky giftee receives the starter box of your choice: A selection of the site’s bestsellers (a can’t-miss) or grooming essentials for one of your favorite guys. If you spring for an annual subscription, you can even pass along two free blowouts—or twist outs—and a makeup application from Glamsquad. Not too shabby.

Once your recipient redeems their subscription, they’ll get the full Birchbox experience and can set their monthly delivery to their personal preferences. And as always, they’ll have access to Birchbox’s amazing online store.

For a taste of the goods, try the Beauty Protector’s Protect & Detangle Spray for about $24, which smells incredible and boasts solid reviews. Or, you might opt for Eyeko’s Skinny Liquid Eyeliner for around $22, which consistently draws a flawless cat-eye.

Best for the Healthy Chef: Brightland Duo Subscription

This isn’t your average olive oil—in fact, that’s kind of the whole idea behind Brightland.

While many oils are made with rancid olives or contain other contaminants, Brightland, however, sets a new standard with sustainably crafted oils that are clean and delicious enough for drizzling and dipping. Plus, they’re pretty enough to display on your kitchen counter.

In other words, it’s the perfect gift for the amateur chef who prefers working only with high-quality, consciously-sourced ingredients. For around $65 a month, The Duo subscription offers a monthly delivery of Brightland’s Awake (which has an herbaceous flavor) and Alive (smooth and nutty) oils.

Want to spice things up? While they’re not available as a subscription option, it’s worth gifting a single bottle of Ardor, a chili infusion, or Lucid, a lemon blend, for a zestier option.

Best for Noncommittal Beauty Lovers: Play! By Sephora

For those who live to mix up their beauty routine, it’s hard to beat this monthly surprise assortment from Sephora. Each delivery includes six makeup, skincare, and haircare samples, a tutorial book, and a recyclable makeup bag, which will become your go-to travel pouch.

Curious about what you’d find in a typical Sephora Play! Box? An example of one includes one of Laura Mercier’s bestselling Caviar Stick Eyeshadows (around $29), a GLAMGLOW moisturizer (about $49), and Nars’ Powermatte Lip Pigment (approximately $26), among other gems by Amika and Drunk Elephant.

It’s the closest thing to having a Sephora store at your fingertips at all times, and the best way to test-drive products without fully committing. So, it’s the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Best for Skincare: Dermstore BeautyFIX

Mark our words: Dermstore’s monthly array of skincare products will impress just about anyone (even the friend who can rattle off the difference between AHAs and BHAs at the drop of a hat). Your friend that never misses any part of her 12-step routine will even be in awe.

Featuring editor-beloved brands like Bioderma, Sunday Riley, Skyn Iceland, and Tula, each BeautyFIX box clocks in at around a $100 value.

Some standout favorites from past boxes? Sunday Riley’s ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream (for about $65) is definitely up there, as is Sol de Janeiro’s Bod Buff (for around $25), and REN’s Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser (for approximately $32).

The bottom line is that you or your recipient will get access to some of the most covetable products on the market, at a fraction of the price. Snag some makeup and haircare, like Juice Beauty’s Phyto-Pigments Ultra Natural Mascara (for around $24), Rahua’s (excellent) Hydration Shampoo (for about $34), and Jane Iredale’s Just Kissed Cheek and Lip Stain (for approximately $28), too.

The bottom line is that you’re essentially getting monthly access to some of the very best products on the market. And, should you get hooked on a certain item (which is a near-inevitability, by the way), you can go ahead and subscribe for the full-size version.

Best for Relaxation: Heima Hygge Box

Now more than ever, it feels important to embrace the little habits that help us relax, even just a little bit. And, Heima Hygge Box can certainly lend a helping hand.

Inspired by the Danish tradition of hygge, which translates to creating the coziest, most aesthetically-pleasing environment possible, this subscription box is focused on stress relief. So, what does that look like in a membership form?

When it comes to Heima Hygge Box, think of sea salt scrubs, velvety lotions, and a variety of other spa-worthy, grooming and beauty products sourced from brands around the world.

Is the person you’re gifting to all set when it comes to luxe toiletries? Then you might opt for the Heima Box for about $59 a month, which contains a selection of the boutique’s best products for the kitchen and home, like beautiful ceramic mugs, scented candles, and terrazzo coasters.

You can even select a style profile, ranging from Scandinavian Boho to Nordic Farmhouse to Eclectic Nostalgia. We’d also be remiss not to mention the Born Box for approximately $59, which makes for the perfect baby shower gift.

Best for Green Beauty: Petit Vour Beauty Box

Diving into a fully sustainable beauty routine can be incredibly overwhelming to do all at once—which is where a high-quality, sample box really pays off.

Petit Vour only features the best that non-toxic, plant-based, cruelty-free beauty has to offer. They seriously take the time to vet brands and products to ensure they meet their rigorous four-step standard of performance, ingredient integrity, ethical manufacturing, and aesthetic. In other words, these products tick all the boxes inside and out.

Some highlights from recent Petit Vour boxes include Osea’s Atmosphere Protection Cream (for about $48), French Girl’s Rose Lip Polish (for around $18), Formulary 55’s Rosehip & Clay Facial Mask (for approximately $5), and Odacite’s Black Mint Cleanser (for about $39)—all Byrdie editor favorites.

A cool bonus? You or your recipient can earn points by reviewing the products received in each box—which ultimately add up to virtual “cash” that can be used towards more products on the site. That’s what we call a clean beauty win-win!

Best for Wellness Junkies: Thrive Market One-Year Membership

It’s not technically a subscription box, per se, but gifting Thrive Market’s one-year membership does mean your giftee gets access to one of the widest selection of healthy snacks, eco-friendly household items, and planet-conscious personal care products on the market.

Plus, chances are they’ll take full advantage of Thrive’s auto-ship feature, which all but guarantees that you’ll never run out of your favorite household essentials.

Need some recommendations on must-have products? The clean wine bundle (for about $60) is a can’t-miss, and the market’s line of non-toxic household cleaners is top-notch. The beauty selection is also top-notch and includes editor-loved brands like Acure, Burt’s Bees, Alba Botanica, RMS Beauty, and W3LL People.

And of course, every product Thrive sells meets the brand’s rigorous set of standards: organic, non-GMO, sustainable, non-toxic. Plus, there’s a wide selection that suits different diets, allergy needs, and more.

Best for the Candle-Obsessed: Vellabox Ignis Box

A surprise artisan candle delivered to your doorstep every month? That’s the ultimate crowd-pleasing gift.

Each Ignis box includes an 8oz candle (about 50 hours of burn time), along with a surprise gift. Want to step it up? You might upgrade to the Vivere Box for around $30 a month, which includes two candles—8oz and 4oz. Not a bad deal.

It’s also worth noting that every order supports small businesses: Vellabox works with niche, boutique brands that use sustainable, non-toxic materials. You’ll recognize some names like—P.F. Candle Co—but more importantly, you’ll introduce yourself (or your giftee) to under-the-radar favorites, including Charleston-based 42 Pressed or sweet beauty brand Harper + Ari.

Vellabox also produces the occasional can’t-miss collab, like this vino-inspired collection with Empathy Wines.

Next up, 15 Websites Every Beauty Lover Should Have Bookmarked

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated

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