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The Not-So-Great Topbox

I love cosmetics and I love samples. But I live in the wrong country to fuel these addictions: cosmetics can be expensive in Canada (that or I have luxury taste, courtesy of my French upbringing—oh là là!) and brands are notoriously stingy with samples here.

So, a good year after the trend picked (apparently I am not an early adopter!) I decided to try one of the many “subscription box” services. Why not? I love receiving mail and if the envelope can contain samples rather than another letter from my bank pressing me to apply for a credit card, I’m all for it.

First, I had to find the right subscription box. Many of these services are US-based and shipping fees—when they ship to Canada at all—can be ridiculously high. Same goes with the French boxes.

Eventually, I picked Topbox, mostly because it was one of the lowest-priced services and because I could cancel the subscription anytime. And of course, because it promised me to “deliver deluxe beauty samples for you to try in the comfort of your home. Discover and shop for products you love.”

But it wasn’t that easy. Apparently, Topbox is so popular (read: some marketing genius decided to create a buzz) that you have to go on a waiting list before you can order your precious box. Still better than some services where you have to “register” (and give all your personal info… and complete a long survey) to just get pricing info!

Never mind, I can be patient. Lo and behold, a few weeks after providing my email address, I received the following email:

The Wait Is Over! Join Topbox Now


The wait is over, and you can begin your subscription for the July Topbox today! Simply click the link below to create your account and purchase your subscription.

Don’t delay — we will hold your subscription for 72 hours, but after that, we may release it to the next person in line. Like all Topbox members, you will be billed the month before you receive each Topbox.

Thank you so much for your patience, and we’re happy to have you as a member!



I clicked and created an account.

Welcome to Topbox.ca!

Thank you for creating your Topbox.ca account. This is the first step to get the most out of the amazing experience at Topbox.ca.

Remember, you can always login to Topbox using the following:

Username: XXXXX

Click here to login now.

Topbox Gals

Gosh people it’s “to log in,” not “to login.”

I wasn’t too impressed by Topbox’s website. It was… pretty empty. In the “my account” section, I had to provide my credit card info for billing ($13.56 per month, one box shipped on the 10th day every month) and I was invited to fill in my “beauty profile,” which included replying to a bunch of multiple choice questions to “help Topbox find the best products for you.” My goal? Getting cream samples and not makeup since I don’t wear any, so I answered the questions accordingly. Funny enough, the website never seemed to register my reply—each time I clicked on the “my profile section” I was invited to answer the questions again, the survey was blank.

My Topbox was delivered when I was in France. I received an invoice by email and a Canada Post tracking number. Good job on the shipping!

I opened it when I got back to Canada. The black plastic envelope was waiting for me and I must admit I was slightly excited—the rest of the mail that had piled up was mostly bills and junk mail.

Inside the envelope was a pretty carton cylinder with a white plastic lid. As soon as Mark was done chasing it on the floor, I opened it and found my four so-called “deluxe” samples wrapped into a purple sheet of paper.

It contained:

  • Belvada Cosmetics – One Moment Essential Day Cream – Pure 24k Gold flakes as well as Pearl Protein help stimulate blood flow, build up Amino Acids and a healthy glow to the skin for Summer. Full Size: $60/60 ml.
  • China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Green – These unique lacquers contain China Clay as a nail hardener, the same material that gives porcelain its shiny finish. Full Size $10-12.
  • KMS California | ADDVOLUME Volumizing Spray (30 ml) – Full Size (200 ml) $16.70  Thickening, sprayable gel provides up to 70% more volume and heat protection. Tip: Spray onto towel-dried hair and blow dry. Layer more for added volume.
  • B. Kamins BB Cream – This 8-in-1 multitasking beauty balm will provide all day hydration while brightening to instantly lift your look. Full Size $49/50 ml. Sample Size: $3.31/3.25ml

Meh. That was my reaction. I like nail polish but I really wouldn’t wear that shade of green. I don’t like hair products—I am a “wash and go” kind of girl. That leaves me with two tiny samples of cream, and their retail price is so high that I would never buy them.

I felt like a little girl who opens a “un franc” (what? Last time I bought these France used the Franc!) goodie bag to find a shitty toy inside. In fact, the best part of this box is probably the cylinder carton box—I will use it to store cosmetics.

I cancelled my subscription.

Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with the products I received but I don’t feel I will use them or buy them at retail price. The selection of products is really random and I am not going to collect stuff I won’t need. I don’t think I get much value from the Topbox.

To Topbox credit, cancelling was easy: I just had to click a link and that was it. Well, I hope that was it… I will check my credit card invoice just to make sure I am not billed for the August box!

How about you? Have you ever subscribed to one of these boxes?

TopBox Package
TopBox Package
Opening the Box
Opening the Box
The Samples
The Samples

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