I did not grow up as a makeup junkie. I have five older brothers and my mom didn’t wear much makeup (she has gorgeous olive skin with dark lashes and dark hair!) so it just wasn’t something I was really exposed to until I was in my 20s. (The joys of not growing up with social media!) But even into my late 20s, I only wore mascara and lipgloss. However, I’ve learned a LOT about makeup in my 30s (partially because I just wanted a more finished, grown-up look and partially because I learned so much through Beautycounter.) And now, I really have fallen in love with makeup and try new brands and products quite often. (You can see my current makeup routine here.)
A few months ago, I ordered my first Swan Beauty Box. The founder, Lindsey Regan Thorne, is a North Carolina-based influencer and makeup artist I’ve been following since I lived in Charlotte. She has the world’s best style (seriously, go see her home highlight on Instagram), and she’s SO talented at makeup. When she first launched Swan Beauty, I knew I wanted to order one, and now that I have (and I quickly ordered a second after I got my first one), I’m reviewing it for you today.
This video shows how it works and the post below has even more details!
So, what is a Swan Beauty Box? Swan Beauty Boxes are similar to Nordstrom’s Trunk Club. You take a quiz and Swan Beauty sends you makeup or skincare to try and buy based on what you submit. When your box arrives, you’ll get both sample sizes and full sizes — of the same products. You try the samples, and if you love them, you keep the full size products. If you don’t love something, you just send it back.
The boxes are completely personalized based on the results of your quiz, so everything is matched to your skin tone and skin type. So in today’s post, I’m sharing a roundup of items that came with my Swan Beauty Box, what I think about their service and choice of products, and what you need to know before subscribing to the Swan Beauty Box yourself.
Now it’s time for a full, honest review. Let’s go!
The first box I got was a home run. In my quiz, I told them about what products I was interested in trying (both makeup and skincare), my skin tone (I uploaded a photo for an even better match), I told them about the products I was currently using, and what look I like to achieve when doing my makeup (natural but long-lasting).
1. Fill out a questionnaire so they know what you’re looking for (skincare, makeup, both) and any specific concerns, like dryness, aging, makeup smudging, not lasting throughout the day, etc. (it’s quite extensive so plan for at least 10 minutes. They’ll send you a curated box for $25.
2. Open your box but do NOT open the full-size products. You’ll use the SAMPLES first to see if you like the products.
3. Try your products! They include a few tip cards, with thorough explanations of how to use products! They even include little brushes and sponges in case you don’t have those. (This post has my favorites makeup brushes.)
4. Once you decide what to keep, checkout online and mail back what you’re not keeping, using the included return label. Your $25 box fee goes towards anything you keep.
5. Open the full-size ones and have fun! (But I’m honestly still using my samples since many were very generous!).
Here’s what I got and what I think about each product!
This eye cream by Tata Harper was a HUGE hit for me. I’ve only ever liked the Beautycounter Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream, so I was interested in how this would work for me, but I LOVE it. It includes vitamin C to help brighten dark spots. The one downfall is that this eye cream is $105, which is on the high end for an eye cream. Thankfully, since you only use a tiny amount, it lasts forever. I mailed this back since I had just purchased a new Beautycounter Eye Cream, but if I see this on sale, I may snag it some time to alternate with the Renewal Eye Cream.
This Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation was the product I was most impressed with. I wasn’t sure how well they’d be able to match my foundation just by a quiz and a photo, but they were spot on with the shade Vanilla. I LOVE how smooth this foundation is and how long it lasts. It feels super natural on my skin and gives me a really nice glow. I have LOVED the Beautycounter Skin Twin Foundation – it’s so natural looking – but I found this one more hydrating for the dry winter months. If you struggle with dry skin, I’d recommend this. But, it is pricier than most foundations!
The next product was also from Chantecaille. It’s a brow highlighter (y’all know how much I love doing my brows). You use this on your brow bone for a lifting effect, and you can also help tame stray hairs with this. It’s not dark, so you wouldn’t use it to fill in your brows, but in addition to a brow gel or pencil. This is $24.
Another high end skincare pick. This Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum is super hydrating but I didn’t think it was any better than the other serums that I love. So, I sent this one back.
I LOVE lip products. I don’t think you can ever have too many ;). The Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer Shine Balm is incredibly hydrating and SO gorgeous. I got the Bare Rose shade, and I feel like it would be pretty on every skin tone since it’s so natural looking. This balm is $20, which is decent! I feel like it also helps plump my lips which is a bonus.
The Swan Refresh Box is the most common box, and the one that I ordered. If you know exactly what type of products you want, you may want to try the Swan Match box, but in general, I think the Refresh box is the most fun option since you don’t know exactly what’s coming, and you can let the Swan Beauty gals be your beauty concierge. The Swan Refresh box costs $25, but that $25 is applied to whatever you decide to keep from the box. And a great perk of this box is that you get 15% off your whole box if you choose to keep everything they send you.
This is available as a seasonal subscription. If you choose to subscribe (you don’t have to!) they’ll send you three new products every three months. I love this option because it’s a great way to refresh your beauty routine each season, as the weather changes. And it’s just fun! But I also appreciate that a subscription is NOT required. You can order one box and leave it at that if you wish. You can also order boxes in between subscription shipments, which is what I did.
The Swan Match box is $15, and it’s for someone who knows what products they need (foundation, primer, etc.) but needs help sourcing the right ones (using the Swan beauty experts) to achieve their look. This is a one-time purchase only, so you can’t make it a subscription. Like the Swan Refresh box, the $15 fee does get credited back towards any skincare or beauty products you purchase.
The Gal On The Go Box is a special option at Swan Beauty. It’s a limited edition box that’s full of 5 must-have items for anyone. You see exactly what’s included in this box, and you pick the shades yourself. This box is 20% off right now, and it would make a great gift!
My first impression: I LOVED it. I was happy with the brands. Some I knew and some were new to me! Everything was very high quality and I appreciated that they sent me breastfeeding-safe options. I was extremely impressed that they matched my foundation color so well and that the eye colors really did help my eyes pop. See a video of my unboxing it here!
I’ll be curious to see how much I like a full makeup box since I’m not great with eye makeup, but their tutorials (which are a little face chart) make it seem doable. It’s fun and felt truly personalized.
I was surprised by how personalized the box was. It came with a note from the team that made it obvious they had read my profile, which I find refreshing. The note referenced that I was breast-feeding, that I had dry skin and that I wanted my makeup to stay on longer, which were all things I noted in my profile. I appreciate that they pulled products to match what I was truly interested, versus sending a random assortment, which feels like the case sometimes with Trunk Club.
I loved that I discovered new-to-me brands through my box. There are SO many products on the market that it can be overwhelming to know what to try, so I tend to stick to the brands I know and love. Getting to try high-quality products that I’ve never heard of is fun! Chantecaille was new to me, and I’ve ordered more from there now that I know I love it.
I was SO impressed with the color matching for the foundation and eye products. I sent them photos, and they sent colors that I wouldn’t have ordered myself. And I was shocked by just how well the copper eye shadow and purple eyeliner worked for me since I wouldn’t have ordered those on my own. There’s something really great about having a true professional help you pick shades.
They also offer makeup classes! I haven’t signed up for these since they seem a little too basic, but if they end up offering an eye makeup class, I would 100% show up for it.
The samples for some of the items were so tiny that it was difficult to try each product. There were a few things that I could only try one time, which makes it hard to know if the product is worth keeping. Ideally, I like to try things a few times before deciding. This wasn’t the case with every single sample, in fact some of them were large and I was able to use them for a week or so, but it’s worth noting.
I’m not a big fan of how much plastic goes waste from the box. All of the samples come in plastic containers and those come in a plastic bag. The bag is nice enough to keep for travel if you wanted, but realistically it’s probably getting thrown in the trash. Unfortunately I’m not sure there’s a better way to do this, since if you were to go buy a full sized product and return it after trying it, brands have to throw those out as well.
I put my order on a subscription, and I can’t wait to get 3 new products every 3 months. What a fun way to ring in a new season!
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