Popsugar Must Have: A Year In Review

Popsugar Must Have Box is a monthly lifestyle subscription box marketed to women. It’s $39.95/month (plus tax in my state but possibly not all states). If you prepay for six months, it’s $35.78/box. After a long break, I purchased the July box based on spoilers. To remind myself why I don’t subscribe, I’ve rounded up the last twelve PSMH boxes. I’ve noted each box’s estimated total retail value (as reported by Popsugar) and all the items included. The first price after each item is the retail value. The second price is how much the item actually costs the subscriber, assuming the subscriber paid $39.95/box. I also include a brief summary of my opinion of each box, and of the subscription at the very end. Your preferences are surely different from mine, so feel free to draw your own conclusions! All photos are from Popsugar Must Have’s blog.

July 2014 – $110 retail value. Michael Stars beach hat ($48, $17.43), Acme Party Box Company pastel paper straws ($7, $2.54), Sun Bum SPF30 sunscreen and Cool Down aloe lotion ($20, $7.26), French Bull salad servers ($12, $4.36), TKO jump rope ($13, $4.72), Revlon Bold Lacquer mascara ($7, $2.54), and Dang Foods coconut chips ($3, $1.09).

This box is so boring. It looks exactly like a $40 TJ Maxx impulse buy, and I’d so much rather do my own impulse shopping. The hat makes or breaks this one: a lot of reviewers said it was ginormous, and many others said it was painfully tight. I’d gamble up to $10 to find out if the hat fit. Everything else I’d probably use if I received but I’d never purchase any of them on purpose.

August 2014 – $128 retail value. thinkThin protein bar ($2, $0.62), Goodbyn food storage container ($8, $2.50), Lollia shower gel ($22, $6.87), Paddywax mini jar candle ($10, $3.12), Kendra Scott earrings ($52, $16.23), Bite Beauty lip gloss ($22, $6.87), and Mason Cookie Jar Company bag of cookie mix ($12, $3.75).

I want everything except the food container! I consider $35 an appropriate price for earrings, lip gloss, shower gel, a candle, and some snacks. It’s not such a good deal that I regret not buying it, but it does make me think that PSMH can curate good boxes full of things I like, so maybe I should subscribe.

September 2014 – $222 retail value. Tilo scarf ($125, $22.49), Letter C Design pencils ($5, $0.90), Rifle Paper Co fashion cards($18, $3.24), Oribe travel size hair spray ($22, $3.96), Ghirardelli chocolates ($6, $1.08), $20 Nike gift code (no minimum purchase, free shipping)($20, $3.60), Nicole Miller earbuds ($20, $3.60), and Urban Remedy raw “brownie” treat ($6, $1.08).

I purchased this box with a $10 discount code after seeing the scarf spoiler and it’s one of my favorite scarves that I’ve ever owned. I considered buying a second box in case anything ever happened to it. The chocolates were good, the brownie was awful, the cards are useless/weird, I never use pencils or hairspray, and the earbuds are $4 earbuds that I needed anyway (no seriously, they showed up at Ross Dress For Less a couple months later for a few bucks). I planned to buy some pink clearance shorts with the Nike credit but accidentally let the credit expire. Because of how much use and happiness I get from the scarf, this was a great box even if many of its components are collecting dust.

October 2014 – $153.75 retail value. Mine Design chalkboard jar candle ($24, $6.24), $40 credit for a Blue Jean Box clothing/style subscription ($40, $10.39), Isaac Jacobs International photo frame ($36, $9.35), one pair of Happy Socks socks ($12, $3.12), Butter London grey eyeliner ($18, $4.68), Nailed Kit Halloween nail decals ($8, $2.08), Dean & DeLuca pumpkin spice maltballs ($5.75, $1.50), K-Hall Design bar soap ($10, $2.60).

This is another “$40 of random stuff from TJ Maxx” box. Actually this feels more like $20 of random impulse purchases, not $40. It’s all forgettable nondescript smaller items. From what I saw online, this month was a clusterfuck of website crashes, seriously delayed shipping, no customer service responses, plus the bulk of the box’s value is a coupon for a new/unknown service that did not have their shit together either. The box itself wasn’t a nightmare, but all the issues really made me glad to not be a subscriber that month.

November 2014 – $134.69 retail value. G.H. Cretors popcorn ($3.69, $1.09), Sorial vegan leather wallet ($49, $14.53), Wine Glass Writer markers ($10, $2.97), The Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel ($35, $10.38), K. Hall hand lotion ($22, $6.53), and Tiny Prints note cards ($15, $4.45).

I’d pass on this entirely. I don’t want the wallet, cookbook, or markers. The other three items might be good but at that point I’m better off just picking out my own lotion, notecards, and snacks that are exactly what I want.

December 2014 – $176 retail value. Williams-Sonoma cupcake and frosting mix ($15, $3.40), Sparklepop necklace ($42, $9.53), Smashbox lip lacquer ($24, $5.45), Subtle Luxury scarf ($62, $14.07), Canvas Home bowl ($29, $6.58), Knot & Box gift tags ($0.91).

I purchased this box based on full spoilers, my love for September’s scarf, and a 50% off promotion. Altogether this is a lovely and well-curated box, and I did use everything. I wouldn’t pay full price for any of the items, so without the promotion it wouldn’t feel like a good purchase. But for $20, it’s a great deal. Also, it’s a perfect December box in that everything in it makes a nice gift. Often the extras belong in the donation or garage sale pile, but every individual item here is giftable.

January 2015 – $135.99 retail value. Nature Valley granola ($3.49, $1.03), Keep Cup coffee cup ($26, $7.64), Jack + Lucy hat ($32, $9.40), ToGoSpa eye gels ($12.50, 3.67), Skin Jewel temporary tattoos ($18, $5.29), Manduka microfiber towel ($16, $4.70), and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($28, $8.23).

I want the hat and I’d happily try everything else even though I don’t particularly want any of it. I wouldn’t pay more than $20 for this box

February 2015 – $139.5 retail value. Acme Party Box Co cutting board and cheese knife ($32, $9.16), Baublebar necklace ($32, $9.16), Tarte Cosmetics blush ($26, $7.45), U.S. Apothecary bubble bath ($30, $8.59), Figs & Rouge lip balm ($8, $2.29), Sally Beauty nail polish ($5.50, $1.58), and Chuao Chocolatier chocolate bar ($6, $1.72).

I like the blush, lip balm, and chocolate bar. The Baublebar necklace looks like one that would be one of their weekly $10 sale pieces, so $9.16 isn’t much of a discount. I own way too much nail polish already, and both the cutting board and bubble bath would be junk and a chore for me to rehome.

March 2015 – $133.69 retail value. Wet Brush travel size brush ($5, $1.49), Benefit deluxe size Rollerlash mascara ($8, $2.39) and Porefessional primer ($4, $1.20), Knock Knock “What to Pack” notepad ($7, $2.09), Bliss microdermabrasion treatment ($48, $14.34), Halfpops half-popped popcorn ($1.69, $0.51), Samudra zip pouch ($40, $11.95), Greenmarket Purveying Co reed diffusing kit ($20, $5.98).

I’d pay $15. I like the bag and the brush, and I want to try the mascara and reed diffuser. The notepad is cute but useless. I’m not interested in Bliss products. Snacks are snacks.

April 2015 – $101 retail value. Flip & tumble 24-7 reusable bag ($12, $4.75), Dabney Lee umbrella ($20, $7.90), Potting Shed Creations basil plant in a bag ($10, $3.95), One Love Organics Inc body serum ($39, $15.43), Produce Candles soy candle ($20, $7.91), and Mott 50 $25 off women’s clothing and accessories (no calculable value because money must be spent to redeem it).

This is a gambler’s box: There’s nothing I really want, but it’s all things that I could use so I could find a new favorite here. Or maybe it’s a bunch of garbage. This month the odds are in my favor since I can never have enough lotions, I don’t have an umbrella, and I want to grow herbs but always forget to buy a plant when I’m at the grocery store. The fact that PSMH sent everyone a bag of dirt this month is hilarious.

May 2015 – $114 retail value. Sisters of Los Angeles towel ($40, $14.02), Batiste travel size dry shampoo ($4, $1.40), Kitsch necklace ($32, $11.21), Sage & Row shave cream ($17, $5.96), Hammond’s Candies taffy ($1, $0.35), and Middle Kingdom mini vase ($20, $7.01).

When this came out, I’d been wanting a necklace just like the one in the box. Everything else is not my style and if I got this box I’d be angry about having to rehome so much junk.

June 2015 $111 retail value. Yogitoes headband/eye mask ($4, $1.44), Quay Australia sunglasses ($45, $16.20), Spongelle flower-shaped sponge infused with body wash ($16, $5.76), Pacifica eyeshadow palette ($14, $5.04), Snap Infusion vitamin gummy candies ($4, $1.44), In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume ($28, $10.08), and $30 off code for Sweet & Spark Jewelry (no calculable value since you must spend money in order to redeem).

This is another gambler’s box. Based on photos, I’m not interested in any of it. It’s all things you have to actually use to know if you like them or not. *shrug*

July 2015 – $129.97 retail value, according to spoilers here. I decided it was worth purchasing, and will share my review when I receive it. This box is still available for purchase.

The average retail value over the past year is $138.30, and every box was valued over $100. To me, most boxes are not worth the subscription fee, and I’d be wasting a lot of money compared to just buying things that I like one at a time. My tastes do not align with PSMH’s curators enough for me to comfortably gamble $39.95 on them every month. I’m content with my current strategy of waiting for spoilers and occasionally missing a great deal if a box is sold out.

If there are items in most boxes that you’d purchase at full retail, Popsugar Must Have is probably a great subscription for you. This is also a good subscription if you find yourself frequently needing last minute hosting/housewarming/acquaintance gifts, and the occasional perfect gift for yourself. If you found this roundup helpful and you’d like to sign up for a subscription, I’d appreciate if you used my referral link here. The code REFER5 or MUSTHAVE5 will take $5 off of your first box, and you can cancel at any time.

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