Curated subscription review: Kara's Way


As I mentioned last month, one of the biggest areas in which the curated subscription service model is exploding is "green beauty." There are now, by my count, at least five natural beauty boxes available. One of them, Kara's Way, debuted just this month, and I'm thrilled to have a review of their first box for you!

Kara's Way runs in the typical subscription box model--for $15/month, you get 5-10 natural product samples. The boxes are mailed from the West Coast by the 15th of each month. For my review box, I received a shipping notification on the 15th and the box showed up on the 17th, so shipping was very quick.

The box was a small, plain cardboard package. Inside, it looked like this:


Some of the products inside the tissue paper were individually wrapped as well, giving the box a nice gift-like feel:


Once I got everything unwrapped, this is what I had:


From left to right:
-2 oz Thayer's Cucumber Witch Hazel (estimated value $2)
-1 oz Beyond Coastal SPF 15 Daily Active Sunscreen (estimated value $4)
-Keeki Lip Shimmer in Sassy (full-sized, estimated value $5.49)
-.27 oz Naturelle d'Argan Argan Oil (estimated value $7.78)
-.5 oz Watercolors Nail Polish in Valentine (full-sized, estimated value $9.99)
-single L.A. Fresh Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover towelette (estimated value $.50)
-single L.A. Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser towelette (estimated value $.50)
-small sample (no size indicated, estimating .5 oz) Native Touch Blue Corn Sugar Scrub (estimated value $.75)
-small sample (no size indicated, estimating .25 oz) Native Touch Rooting Bear Rub (estimated value $1.25)
-really tiny Native Touch soap sample

Total estimated value: $32.26

Overall, I thought Kara's Way did a great job with their first box. Some of the products, like the Keeki lip shimmer and the L.A. Fresh towelettes, were things I'd seen in other boxes already, and the Thayer's was already a favorite of mine, but the sunscreen, argan oil, and nail polish were all totally new to me. I was happy to see that the box contained two full-sized items (the lip shimmer and the nail polish) and three good-sized sample items (the witch hazel, the sunscreen, and the argan oil). The Native Touch samples were, to my mind, too small to be of much use (the thumbnail-sized soap sample would have been best left out, I thought), but given the total number of products included, I was OK with that. I was also impressed by the breadth of the products sampled, with representatives for body, face, hair, nails, and makeup all included. I also liked that the box included both well-known green beauty brands like Thayer's and L.A. Fresh and indie lines like Native Touch.

With the exception of the argan oil, none of what was included in Kara's Way's first box was what I would consider a "luxury" product. Mostly, the samples are of fairly widely available, economical, green beauty products. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, though, so long as the samples are larger sized and the value remains reasonable, which, with this first offering, it definitely did. I will be very curious to see how Kara's Way continues to compete in what is rapidly becoming a very crowded green beauty subscription box market.

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April 2013

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