An honest review of the FabFitFun subscription box you've seen all over Instagram
Because you deserve to treat yo’self
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Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m obsessed with “The Bachelor.” Every Monday night you’ll find me sipping a glass of wine and watching 30 grown women vie for the heart of one man until he doles out his final rose. And when “The Bachelor” isn’t on, I’m watching “The Bachelorette” or “Bachelor in Paradise.”
Naturally, I follow a ton of the cast members on Instagram. They all gain a ton of followers seemingly overnight and (if they’re lucky) become full-time influencers and get paid to advertise products to people like myself. I don’t usually fall for such obvious ad schemes, but there was one product that caught my eye: the FabFitFun box.
What is FabFitFun?
Even if you don’t keep up with Bachelor Nation like I do, you may have seen FabFitFun pop up in your Instagram feed. It’s a seasonal subscription box filled with products focused around ‘fabulousness’ (which the company defines as beauty, fashion, accessories, and makeup), fitness, and fun. The products deemed ‘fun’ can be home decor, games, activities, and more.
The retail price is $49.99 per quarterly box, but there are promo codes everywhere on the internet, including from all of the influencers that I follow on social media. I got my first box for $39.99 (thank you, Bachelor Nation!). You can also pay for the entire year—four boxes total—upfront for $179.99. In every box you receive eight to 10 items—many being full-sized beauty products—that the company claims are collectively worth well over $200.
How does FabFitFun work?
When you sign up for FabFitFun, you take a pretty hefty lifestyle quiz. Honestly, it’s kind of fun, though I have no doubt it’s a marketing ploy to sell you more stuff later. You answer questions about what kinds of fragrances and jewelry you prefer, your clothing size, your workout routine, what problems you have with your skin or hair, and more. This helps FabFitFun to tailor a box to your liking. Once you’re done answering those questions, you leave the rest to chance and wait for your seasonal box to arrive. Okay, you don’t leave it completely to chance. Shortly after subscribing, you receive an email prompting you to customize three of your products in the box. They’ll give you four or five options to choose from—anything from a hair straightener to decorative bowls—for those three products and you get to pick what you want. Why can you customize these particular products? I have yet to find out the answer to that—they are seemingly random. The other five or so products, however, remain a surprise until the box arrives. The idea is that once a season, you receive a box full of new and exciting stuff that you’ll love. It’s a major #TreatYoself moment.
Which FabFitFun membership option is right for you?
When you sign up for FabFitFun, you become a “seasonal member” by default. You’ll get a new box every season until you cancel. The promo codes can knock off $10 or so, but are only good on your first box. For every box thereafter, you'll be charged the full price of $49.99. If you only want one box, you must opt out of the default renewal feature or cancel your subscription outright or you will be charged for another box every three months.
Another membership option is the "select" annual membership. You pay one charge of $179.99 upfront for an entire year of boxes—four of them, to be exact—at a net savings of $20 over the seasonal membership. The select membership also gives you access to earlier shipping, exclusive deals, and more customization options—if you hate surprises and want to customize all of the products, the select membership allows you to do that.
With both membership options, your subscription will auto-renew, either seasonally or annually, until you cancel. You can also add more products to your boxes on top of the automatic eight to 10 products that you receive.
There are frequent sales, particularly for add-on products. The sales are available to all members, but select members have earlier access to them, a perk because products can sell out. All members also have access to an exclusive sale called the "Edit," which contains products for up to 70% off. If you didn’t get a certain product in your box that you want, this is an opportunity to do so at a discounted price. There’s also a page on the FabFitFun website for “Exclusive Offers” available to members. It contains offers on products from current and past box brands that you can get year-round, not just during an add-on sale. If you really enjoy a product, for example, you can see if it’s available on the “Exclusive Offers” page and potentially won’t have to pay the full price for it elsewhere. FabFitFun sends emails about all of the sales, so you won’t have to stalk the website every day (unless you want to).
What comes in a FabFitFun box—and is it any good?
I’ve ordered FabFitFun for three consecutive seasons, but I’m going to tell you about the Fall Box that I just received, which contained eight items, including three that I selected in advance. I opened up the box to a FabFitFun magazine and a discount card for HelloFresh, the meal kit delivery service ($20 off your first four deliveries, which I will be using). These were just bonus items, hiding the actual products. The FabFitFun magazine is a quick read, with a piece on fashion trends, a celebrity interview (I read all about Meghan Trainor), some healthy eating tips, and more. It turned out to be very helpful, too: a section called the “Beautypedia” helps guide lost sheep like me when it comes to makeup, exfoliants, lotions, and so on. I’m not terribly well-versed with that kind of stuff—I’ve had the same basic makeup and cleansing routine for years. It helped me to understand what some of the products were and how to use them.
The products in my box were as follows:
Harper+Ari Juice Cleanse Exfoliating Sugar Cubes: I was incredibly confused about these cubes that, indeed, resemble ones you might put in your coffee, apart from their greenish color. Am I supposed to eat them? Once I read more about them in the Beautypedia, I learned they were meant to be rubbed over your skin in the shower to exfoliate and cleanse. I used them and they smelled so good and made my skin feel really smooth. I probably wouldn’t buy them again as they cost $16 at retail price, but they were a nice treat.
Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair: Unlike the sugar cubes, this product I understood how to use without reading about it. It’s a heat protectant and hair repair cream that smells really good and made my hair feel amazing. I repeat, amazing. I would buy this product again, even though it’s more than $30 at retail price.
The Better Skin Co. Lava Magik Cleanser, Scrub and Mask: If you’re someone who uses face masks regularly, this is one to get excited about. (I’m not, so I was meh.) This citrus-scented grainy cream, which retails for $32, is supposed to buff away dead skin cells and is a cleanser, face scrub, and mask all in one. I don’t love using such coarse creams on my face, so I wasn’t a big fan. That being said, it smelled good and made my skin feel softer, after the initial raw feeling and redness calmed down. This was one of the items I chose myself, but I only picked it because the other items I could choose were earrings that I could never wear (I’m sensitive to nickel) and some vitamin C "mixing crystals" (yeah, no idea what those are).
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Roller Ball: This quirky inclusion, which retails for $29, is one I ended up really liking. You roll the oil onto your pulse points and it smells like a spa in a bottle. It’s supposed to make you feel zen and even help you fall asleep easier. I didn’t use it for sleep, but I felt more relaxed when I put it on. I was glad it came in this box, because there’s no way I’d spend nearly $30 on it by itself.
Human + Kind Body Souffle: I thought that this body cream ($20 at retail) seemed cool because it contains natural ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free. Otherwise, it's just a simple moisturizer. It didn’t do anything special and I’m not a huge fan of the apricot scent.
Skinvolve Body Boost Gel: This body gel, which retails for $24.95, has a menthol and green tea scent and is supposed to tone, firm, and smooth your skin. I preferred the fragrance of this to that of the Human+Kind Body Souffle, but it didn’t do a whole lot for me otherwise.
Amika Strand Perfect Styler: I was shocked that this hair straightener, which retails for $80, was available as one of my customizable products. I chose it over a yoga mat and a plaid scarf (both of which I already own). This one item costs double what I paid for the entire box of stuff. It’s a heavy, durable straightener in a really cute peach color. It has ceramic plates and claims to generate safe, even heat for shiny, smooth hair. Though we haven’t formally tested it, I tried it and can attest it works well. I’ve been using the same hair straightener model since middle school and I’m excited to have a new one isn’t as damaging to my hair (I hope).
Kate Spade New York Lunch Tote: This adorable little cooler bag, which retails for $30, has a fashionable “Kate” print and an insulated interior. I haven’t gotten around to using it yet, but I like that it has a slick coating that's easy to clean. I chose this product as my last customization over a wallet, some detox wipes, and a cheeseboard. This was the hardest choice to make because the cheese board looked really cute, too. If you’re someone who hates making decisions, there’s an option of “choose for me!” that'll pick the product for you.
What else comes with a FabFitFun membership?
In addition to the curated box, members have access to FabFitFun TV. It streams on-demand videos containing cooking instruction, comedy bits, product demos, and a library of workouts from “elite fitness gurus” designed for people at every fitness level. Members also have access to a community forum on the website, where folks can ask for advice and share their tips on travel, cooking, DIY projects, and more.
I did not take advantage of either of these features, truth be told, because I just wanted my box of stuff. I’m not interested in discussing my meal-prep hacks or watching funny “mom” content (I mean, I don’t have kids...). But I can see why it could be appealing for others. FabFitFun TV sounds particularly useful for the product demos, especially for someone who doesn’t understand what all of the products are and wants to see them in action.
If you’re not sure if FabFitFun is right for you, there’s a trial membership option available, which only gives you access to the digital features of FabFitFun, as well as the ability to purchase the products a la carte at a discount. The trial membership is active for 14 days upon signup and then you’re auto-enrolled into the seasonal membership and your card is charged $49.99 unless you cancel. You can also activate your subscription before the 14-day trial has ended if you decide to take the plunge and choose between the seasonal or annual membership.
Is FabFitFun easy to cancel?
As far as subscription boxes go, yes. You can cancel it online or contact FabFitFun support via phone. If you know you don't want to continue, you’ll want to do it right after you order or receive a box, though. They’ll still deliver the box you ordered, but you won’t get charged for the next renewal. Alternatively, you can “pause” your seasonal membership by canceling your next box, then reactivating by the renewal feature in your member profile when you're ready. You can also skip a box by contacting customer service directly. Annual subscribers cannot skip a box, unfortunately. I ended up canceling my membership after three boxes with no trouble.
Is FabFitFun worth it?
Based on the products' retail prices, this FabFitFun box is worth more than $261. In that sense, it exceeds its value and meets its 'over $200' claim. On the other hand, I survived 24 years without any of these products—and there are probably other good ways I could've spent my FabFitFun membership money.
As I mentioned, I’ve purchased this subscription box three times. Each time, I liked about half of the products I received—meaning that half of the products were a total bust. Some will sit on my cosmetics shelf and in my closet, nearly unused. The other half, however, I enjoy and will continue to use, at least until they run out. Of the items I got in the fall box, the only one that I could see myself buying again is the Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair, which will cost me over $30 now that my FabFitFun membership is inactive. In that sense, it was a steal through FabFitFun, especially when you add in the $80 hair straightener and the $30 lunch bag that I also will use.
A while back, our beauty editor took a look at beauty subscription boxes, and she was less than impressed with FabFitFun for, complaining that its beauty items were “disappointing, chosen at random, and rather low quality.” I didn’t find this to be the case. In my mind, they weren't low quality, though of course I preferred some products over others. It is a gamble, but that’s part of the fun of this experience. You’re leaving most of the product selections up to chance so, naturally, they won’t hit a bullseye every time. Regardless, I had a very positive experience overall.
I also think the different membership options and the infrequency of receiving the boxes makes the whole subscription process appealing, too. With every changing season, you get a new box of goodies perfect for that time of year. For anyone who likes trying new beauty products especially (as that's what most of the items are), I think it’s worth a go. My sister gave a FabFitFun box to one of her roommates, who ended up loving it, too. It makes for an exciting and different kind of gift for others—or for yourself.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.