December Ethical Subscription Roundup - Who Did Christmas Best?

If you have been a long time subscriber to any beauty or lifestyle boxes, then you know December is the month where everything is kicked up a notch -- the Christmas box is usually the best of the year, with exceptional quality and value, gorgeous presentation, and just that little bit extra something special.  So this year I decided I would splurge a little and get not one, but FIVE ethical subscriptions.  And since I received so many boxes, I thought it would be great to do a review rounding up all the natural, cruelty free, and vegan goodies I got and share my thoughts with all you eco-lovelies about which box I think did Christmas best!


I usually review each individual edit I unbox, but since I got five all in one month and took an impromptu digital detox, I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit and do a comparison of all the options I chose and let you know what the pros and cons were for each.  But don't worry -- I will be selecting some of my favourite products I got from each subscription box and doing a more in depth look at them over on my Instagram over the next few weeks, so be sure to head over and follow me if you want to see more!

So which boxes arrived on my doorstep in December?

Love Lula
The Cruelty Free Beauty Box
The Natural Beauty Box
Stars & Sage
Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box

I opted for some tried and true favourites that I have been getting all year round, plus one I have not ever actually subscribed to previously -- and while some boxes wowed me and made me really feel the Christmas spirit, I have to admit others really disappointed me and left me feeling more than a little underwhelmed.  So lets get down to it and see what was inside each of these five ethical beauty boxes:


Love Lula

Number of Items: 5 full size
Overall Value: £60 (box cost £14.95)
Christmas Vibes?: A little
My thoughts: I adore the Love Lula Beauty Box, and have been getting it for nearly two years now.  I am always impressed by the value they manage to pack into their collections and the variety they can showcase in such an inexpensive service.  The only thing I have noticed over the course of my subscription is that they don't usually 'theme' the boxes around any particular season, holiday, or beauty concern.  The products are what they are.  So when I saw that LL had chosen two Christmas specific shades of nail polish, I was really pleased because the effort really is noticeable.  While the box as a whole is not very 'Christmasy' this little decision made me very happy.

UK subscribers who got December's Love Lula Beauty Box got two bottles of Glossworks Nail Polish (in shades Ruby On Nails and Silver Bullet), a Refresh Hand & Nail Cream from Seascape Island Apothecary, a bottle of Hair Perfume from Hairy Jane, a newcomer to Love Lula, and a bottle of the new Sensual Rose Bubble Bath & Shower Gel from Kathleen Natural.  Honestly everything was a welcome addition to my beauty cupboard, and I was happy to see some new and innovative products appearing like the hair perfume (something I have never before tried!).  This collection really grew on me over the weeks, and I have to say it has to be my favourite LL edit for a while!

If you missed the December box, be sure to keep an eye out over on Love Lula as they often have fantastic free gift with purchase offers that include prior collections -- this is one that is worth picking up if you can!  Or if you are interested in subscribing, they do a great offer where you can save up to 15% off by pre-paying for your boxes (plus, you can get cash back from TopCashBack!).  Who said ethical beauty had to be expensive??


The Cruelty Free Beauty Box

Number of Items: 6 (4 full size, 2 deluxe samples)
Overall Value: £49.14 (box cost £14.95)
Christmas Vibes?: Mostly
My thoughts: The Cruelty Free Beauty Box is another subscription I have been with long term (since their launch actually!) and while I did take a long pause from my subscription it was not because I didn't love it -- I just have so much to make my way through I was trying to be responsible with any new additions.  TCFBB doesn't always have a theme for their collections, but come Christmas time there is always a festive touch to the box, including a classic candy cane to snack on over the holiday period!  I was really pleased to see that December's edit was full of natural goodies, and while not all give those holiday vibes, each one will be getting used in our house -- no regiftings here!

The box included four full sizes: a Peppermint Lip Scrub from Fairypants (a lovely vegan brand that is super affordable and really effective!), a single use Sheet Face Mask from Natura (there were five varieties, and I got the rose infused one which is perfect), a bottle of Balance Hydrating + Calming Serum from Lue by Jean Seo, and a Mineral Blush from Bellapierre in shade Autumn Glow.  We also received two deluxe samples, one from Le Mont Botanique (their Detox Hair Mask) and one from Bain & Savon (bath melt pieces for a single bath).  This variety is really nice, as it offers skincare, makeup, and even some hair products which is fab for this time of year.  A solid selection!

And remember, if you missed this collection and want to try any of the goodies, or if you loved them so much you want more, you can find them all in The Cruelty Free Beauty Box Shop!  This is one of my favourite aspects of this subscription, as I don't have to go hunting down my favourites -- they are all in one place and my order can even be shipped with my next box to save on cost and packaging.  How great is that??  If you are looking to buy from TCFBB Beauty Shop, you can even grab 15% off your first order -- just use my link!


The Natural Beauty Box



Number of Items: 7 (4 full size, three deluxe samples)
Overall Value: £115+ (box cost starting at £23)
Christmas Vibes?: Yes
My thoughts: Holy moly this box was brilliant! Not only did it have the highest value of any box I have unboxed this year, but the quality of each of the individual green goodies is fantastic.  The scents all elicit thoughts and feelings of Christmas, and the formulas are all ideal for winter skin and the dark and cold days that can sometimes lead you to feel a little lower than usual.  I was so impressed by this box, and so was everyone else -- something that was proven by the box selling out even before it was officially announced!

Inside the December "Sparkle and Glow" themed edit from The Natural Beauty Box subscribers found seven products, four of which were full size.  The star of the show has to be Skin Alchemists' Sesenne Facial Elixir, a gorgeous blend of 26 nourishing and rejuvenating elements that help brighten and lift the skin.  Worth £85, this is by far the most luxe product included in any of the beauty boxes I got in December, and it made this collection really stand out.  But all the other cruelty free, natural, and vegan friendly products help make it shine all the more -- a pouch of candle wax melts from The Natural Beauty Pot, a tin of Himalayan Salt Scrub from Horseshoe Bay (I got my favourite of the three scents - Rosemary & Peppermint!), a stocking filler size jar of Warm & Relaxing Body Butter from Butter Whips, an adorable mini container of gold biodegradable glitter from Eco Glitter Fun (perfect for NYE!!), a travel friendly Orange & Grapefruit soap from Little Soap Company, and a surprise item that for me turned out to be a stunning shade of Benecos nail polish!  Talk about spoiling us all for the holidays!

Honestly I could not pick a favourite if I tried -- everything is so perfectly chosen and thoughtful, and there is not a single thing I don't love.  I was so over the moon with this collection, and I have to thank Emma again for sending one out to me -- I was so worried I missed it, and will be putting my orders in so much sooner from now on!

One thing to remember (as I hinted at above!) -- The Natural Beauty Box tends to sell out really quickly so if you are interested in signing up for the January Edit (which has a theme of Cosy Nights In) do so quickly!  And if you are new to The Natural Beauty Box, you can grab 10% off your first order by using my link.


Stars & Sage



Number of Items: 5
Overall Value: £57.37+ (box cost £33.90)
Christmas Vibes?: No - NYE vibes, but not Christmas
My thoughts: I'm not going to lie, I really was disappointed here.  I LOVED Stars & Sage when they launched.  So much so that I took out a three month subscription and reviewed the box here on The ecoLogical a couple of times.  Their collections were usually all natural, always cruelty free, and specially catered to creating an effective bathing ritual (complete with crystals to really make it a holistic experience).  I'm all about baths, so after a bit of a break to use up some of my beauty cupboard, I approached S&S as I wanted to make my reviews of the box more regular.

I took out another three month subscription, and while the crystals no longer appeared (which I was gutted about since they made this bath box extra unique and special) my November edit was fab -- full of seasonal products like a Frankincense and Myrrh candle from Wax & Wick, a wonderfully soothing balm from Ermana, and some gorgeous bath salts from Yellow Gorse, a brand I fell in love with initially thanks to Stars & Sage.  So you would guess the December box, one subscribers look forward to and plan specially for, would be EXCEPTIONAL, right??  Nope.

The December box from Stars & Sage contained five products, well, that is if you count the pouch of undisclosed bath salts that are not even listed in the booklet (I'm guessing they are also from BOD, but not 100% certain).  There is a full size jar of Gold Metalit, a 4-in-1 Radiant Face Gel, from Luci, a full size pot of Brown Sugar and Honey Glitter Body Scrub from BOD, a deluxe sample of Mermaid Shimmer Sorbet from BOD, and a full size tube of Babe Balm from BYBI.  So why was I so disappointed with all these generous sized products??  Well, not only are none of them natural other than BYBI's Babe Balm (a product I already have and LOVE thanks to Origins of Beauty -- and a full post showing my appreciation for this product is in the works!), but none of them have anything to do with bathtime!

Other than the bath salts which appear to be an afterthought to this edit, there is not a single bath or shower product included.  No added extras like the past boxes, no carefully constructed ritual, not even a special luxe brand featured to make the December box feel extra special.  I was really really really gutted about this one, as it's not exactly the most affordable subscription, nor does it generally offer super savings.  I subscribed because I loved the idea and thought it was perfect for my ethical lifestyle choices and love of baths.  I'll be watching with interest to see where Stars & Sage heads next, as the December box has me concerned and the January reveal doesn't have me super excited in terms of value or unique-ness (though I am happy to see it is much more natural and has at least a little more focus on the bath once more -- I just already have most of the selections in my cupboard, some of which have come from subscriptions in the past!).


Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box



Number of Items: 6
Overall Value: £72.74 (box cost £28)
Christmas Vibes?: Yes
My thoughts: I have purchased a Build Your Own Box from Skin Organics before, and I was really impressed by the value and quality of options available, but it wasn't until now that I actually got one of their curated subscription boxes.  I have followed prior months and always enjoy seeing the contents, so was curious to see what the December edit would be like -- and I definitely picked the right month to get a box!  I loved how perfectly themed everything was, from the white shredded paper to the Christmas style card that lists all the green goodies.  It was a lovely first experience, and I will hope to give this box another go later in the year when my beauty cupboard has thinned once more.

The Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box offered five full size items and one mini (though it functions basically like the full size!), and the variety was really great -- a Christmas Cwtch bar soap from Celtic Herbal (I have their candle in this scent and LOVE it so was super excited to also have the soap!), a bottle of Enhanced Recovery Body Oil from Clockface Beauty, a candle from Help Me Organics in the scent 'help me get into the festive spirit' (how cute is that name??), a chocolate bar from Choc Affair (Chilli Dark Chocolate, which I haven't actually been brave enough to taste yet!), a bottle of Guiltless Skin's Illume Moisture Serum which I am more than happy to have a backup of, and one of Konjac Sponge's limited edition holiday face puffs (Blitzen's Nose).  A great selection from lovely natural brands, one of which was totally new to me which is always exciting!  Definitely up there in my favourites for December.



And there you have it -- all five of my ethical subscription boxes I got in December!  Like I said at the very start, one of these really had me gutted and I did feel like I had wasted my money entirely, but I am so happy the other four more than made up for that dud.  I don't like hating on ethical businesses, but I do feel I have to be totally honest with you eco-lovelies, especially if I have recommended something in the past.  Here is to hoping the New Year brings all the best for natural, cruelty free, organic, and vegan beauty (and if there is ever an issue, I will be sure to let you know so you can steer clear and save your pennies for something that won't let you down!).

So which box did it best for Christmas this year??  I have to give it to The Natural Beauty Box, as I was just so amazed by every detail that went into this special collection.  It was even more luxurious than usual (which is incredible since every box is AMAZING), had exceptional value (savings of over £90!!), each product is high quality and memorable, and each was chosen with winter skin and holiday spirit in mind.  I highly recommend trying to get this box for Christmas next year, and all year round while you're at it!  And remember you can get 10% off using my link if you are new subscriber!


I really enjoyed Love Lula Beauty Box, The Cruelty Free Beauty Box, and Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box, and have found a few new favourite products because of these lovely edits, including Kathleen Natural Sensual Rose Bubble Bath and Shower Gel, the ultra light serum "Balance" from Lue by Jean Seo, and the fabulous essential oil blend candles from Help Me Organics.  The Cruelty Free Beauty Box and Love Lula have proven great value all year long and are always looked forward to, and it was exciting having a new box to open -- felt like a proper special treat.  All are worth getting and offered fab Christmas time edits. 

I would really like to hear what boxes, if any, you got during December, and what you thought of them.  Were you thrilled with the effort and value, or were you let down by a less than spectacular collection?  Share your thoughts so we can all remember how these subscriptions were come Christmas in 2019!

And as I said before, I will be doing some highlights on my favourite green goodies I got from my December ethical subscription boxes over on Instagram over the next few weeks.  I'm sorry I couldn't manage my usual full reviews of each, but I think it is great to compare these boxes and see a snippet from all five -- makes it easier to pick what suits you best when you decide to sign up!  What do you think of potentially doing more roundups and comparisons in the future?  Is this something you would be interested in?  Let me know in the comments below! xx

10 comments

  1. I had no idea there were so many ethical subscription boxes - a step in the right direction! I really like the last box and the products sound very interesting :)

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  2. I love that all of these are ethical - I may have to sign up to one or two myself! I think The Natural Beauty one looks like my favourite x

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  3. I had never heard of ethical subscription boxes before. They all look wonderful!

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  4. Oh I have been wanting to move towards more ethical brands and this is such a good idea to use an ethical subscription! Great round up!

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  5. All these brands sound amazing, I'm always stuck for choice when I want to buy something ethical for my friend - some of these sound like great gifts! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I love that here are so many ethical subscription boxes around - it looks like they all had a great selection of products x

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  7. I actually hasn't heard of any of these boxes so I've now got more on my radar!

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  8. The natural beauty box certainly seems like the most value for money and getting 7 items with 4 full size is what intrigued me the most. I’ve never tried any subscription boxes but I think if you do love trying new products they are a good way to do so!

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  9. never heard of this type of subscription box before but look great

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  10. I'm impressed you tried so many in December! I've never tried any of these but I like the sound of the Natural Beauty Box, I may have to treat myself!

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