Receive A Better Monthly Gift: Beauty Box Subscriptions For Black Women

February 19, 2013  |  
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For black women, finding hair and beauty products that actually do what the label says they do is often, well—challenging. “African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, which is 80 percent more than the general market,” according to, but the reality is most of those products go unused. With the birth of BirchBox in 2010, a monthly beauty subscription in which you pay $10 a month to try deluxe samples of makeup, hair and face products, a new way of testing beauty products for women was born.  In 2012, we reported on CurlBox, a company looking to make finding hair care products easier for black women, and since then, more black owned subscription services have launched looking to help fill that gap. Here are a few you should check out.


Curlkit is a monthly subscription geared toward women of color with natural hair, or who are simply looking for organic hair care products. Having been natural for more than a decade, founder Heather Cummings, wanted to create a service where women like her can find products that are healthy for their hair.  Products are often chosen based on consumer surveys and then tested.

“If I would not use it in my hair, I will not put it in our Kits,” says Heather.

The details:  The cost is $20 a month, and you receive deluxe size products along with full size items. If sample packets are included in that month’s kit, you will receive 2 to 3. There is no waiting list and consumers receive a monthly magazine called CurlLife. See what YouTubers are saying about the service.

My BrownBox

After a week of brainstorming about names for her company, owner Brittney Marshall says My BrownBox stood out to her the most.  Officially launching in January 2013, the majority of its partner brands are minority owned businesses that specialize in natural products. Despite companies often losing interest in wanting to work with them because its target buyers are women of color, Brittney wants to continue to push forward, hoping to add Kiehls, 21 Drops, and Miss Jessie’s to their brand list soon.

“At the end of the day, we want our members to find products that truly enrich their life today, tomorrow, and forever because My BrownBox is more than a box, it’s a lifestyle!” says Brittney.

The details: A box is $20 a month and it comes with 5 to 6 deluxe to full-size sample products. It is on a first come, first serve basis. Check out some of the reviews on YouTube.

My Shade of Brown

As a frequent buyer of beauty products, My Shade of Brown founder Meki Adefris was often dissatisfied with choices after trying them.

“ I’d be all excited to get something only to be disappointed that the foundation was way off, or the lip color didn’t work for me, or the ‘flattering for everyone’ highlighter made me look like an ashy mess!” says Meki.

Officially launching in April 2012, Meki created the service for women to try products before they buy. Many of the brands they partner with are women-owned companies, skewed toward natural products.

The details: For $10 a month, consumers receive a mixture of product sizes, from deluxe, full size, and true size samples.  The subscription has no waiting list.  Brands they partner with are Carol’s Daughter and Dead Sea Secrets. See what one YouTube subscriber had to say about the beauty box.

We Are Onyx

For founders Myriam Bocobza and Delali Kpodzo, the launch of We Are Onyx in January 2013 were many long, but exciting months in the making. With a site loaded with advice from industry experts like Felicia Leatherwood, video tutorials, and licensed dermatologists, it is their hope that it will become an integrated one-stop shop for customers.

“We want to make sure we know what we’re talking about,” says Myriam. “We want to teach women how to take care of themselves, but [in a way] so that it won’t be harmful to them.”

The details: We Are Onyx is a $20 a month subscription. For that fee you receive four travel size products of your choosing (yep, that’s right you get to pick) and one surprise item in the mail. As of now, there are a limited number of spots available for packages per month. Some of the brands they currently partner with are Dr. Miracles, Kinky-Curly and Shea Radiance, with new signees to be announced.

Have you tired any of these services? Let us know what you think.

Jasmine Berry is a senior majoring in journalism at St. John’s University. Follow her on twitter @signedjas.

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