Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Beauty TestTube March/April 2015 Review and Unboxing (and 30% off your First Tube!)

New Beauty TestTube and I have had a up-and-down relationship. I've been subscribing to this service on and off for almost 5 years now, and I'm never entirely sure where they're going with the service. There are some months that blow me away in terms of overall value, and sheer number of products. There have also been months where I'm incredibly letdown by the lack of curation and value. I was contacted by them to do a review of this months tube, so I decided to give them another shot to see if they had improved, as well as to see where I think the service may be going in the future. 

New Beauty TestTube costs $29.95 plus $8.95 S+H for a total of $38.95 per box. The reason why this review is labeled "March/April" is because New Beauty TestTube comes out once every other month, so you would be receiving 6 tubes per year rather than 12. Each box includes the Test Tube, which is filled with beauty samples and full-size products as well as a detailed informational booklet on the products. You also automatically receive a subscription to New Beauty magazine when you subscribe to the Test Tube. The magazine is delivered separately from the Test Tubes, 4 times a year.
First look inside the box when you open it up!
 Of course for some people that is quite a lot of money for a box of beauty samples. The good news is it only comes every other month, so it's a price equivalent of having a $20 per month subscription. On top of that, they usually include higher-end items and full size products that other subscriptions do not.
I think the test tube is perfect for beauty junkies, but especially for women who don't have time to shop for beauty product or read pages and pages of reviews on a product. Getting the tube sent right to their door removes the hassle when shopping/discovering new beauty products!
I will say that while New Beauty does provide makeup in their tubes (many times it's full size!) they are a skincare-heavy subscription. If you're looking for solely cosmetics, this might not be a good choice for you. 
  Another great thing about New Beauty TestTube is that they provide a large booklet filled with tons of details about each product included that month. Not only do you get information about the brand, but you can get detailed info on the product as well as tips and tricks to using it properly! It's a really helpful little handbook that I wish more subscriptions took the time to do!
Now let's get on with this month's tube!
 First peek into the March/April tube. Looks pretty full!

John Frieda: Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Frizz Immunity Shampoo and Conditioner ($1.60 ea)
Since this subscription is on the pricey-side, I can't help but feel a little disappointed to see drugstore products in this box. Even worse- they're not even full size. These seem like the kinds of products I would see in the $5 Walmart Beauty Box. Having said that, as long as they make up for it later on with higher value products, I'm fine with a few drugstore items being thrown in. This shampoo and conditioner uses coconut oil to manage frizzy hair. I don't really have frizzy hair, so I'll be passing these on to my roommate.

Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Frizz Immunity Primer ($2)
Another John Frieda product from the same line, we have the Beyond Smooth Frizz-Immunity Primer. Why does everything have to be a primer, lately? Is that a new buzz word or something? Regardless, this is used after shampooing and conditioner as sort of a finishing treatment on wet hair. It works from the inside out to improve hair's texture and decrease frizzing. While I normally don't have frizzy hair, I do sometimes get it in the summer when it's really humid, so I might put this away for those kinds of days!

Key West Aloe: Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser ($2.75)
I received this product in a Birchbox not too long ago and I was pleasantly surprised with it's low ph (5.5) as well as it's gentle ingredients and great citrus scent. It revives dull skin by using aloe, which stimulates blood flow and circulation. I love a gentle, low ph cleanser, so this one I'm going to keep.

John Frieda: Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment ($2.25)
Uhm...OK. More John Frieda? What the heck is this?
I've also yet to see a single full size product in this box, and you'd think some of the drugstore items that are less expensive would be coming in full sizes, or at least larger than these little trial size bottles. Looking at this product objectively though, I'm actually interested to try it out. I'm always looking for inexpensive thickening or volumizing products for my thin hair and this looks like it could be good! This is used after shampooing and conditioning. You simply squeeze out the excess water from your hair and apply a small amount until the hair is full saturated. Leave on for 3-5 minutes and then rinse out. I like that it can be used while I'm in the shower, because I hate hair products that aren't fast and easy to use!

Lumene: Bright Now Vitamin C Day Cream ($6)
 Lumene is a pretty common brand for New Beauty TestTube. I believe the very first tube I got almost 5 years ago had a Lumene product in it. This is also a pretty small sample sized jar, and it's essentially a moisturizer that is used for daytime. It contains antioxidants and arctic cloudberries, which help protect skin from early signs of aging. It also have SPF 15, which is nice, although I already use a pretty high SPF on my skin prior to makeup application. This sounds like a perfectly fine moisturizer, but it's not impressive enough for me to want to keep it since I have so many Korean skin creams currently.

YBF/Your Best Friend: Mechanical Eye Pencil in "Charming Champagne" ($14)
This is the last product in the info booklet, and the only full size product in the official tube this month. There were other items included, which you will see below, however they were not in the information booklet, and they varied from person-to-person. Not everyone got the same items, and some of them are repeats from past boxes. Regardless, this product from YBF is a twist-up eye pencil in a champagne shade. I honestly don't think this is anything special, and I gave it a quick try on my oily lids to see if it would hold up. It creased, and pretty badly, so I'm going to attempt to use this as a inner corner and brow bone highlight to see if it works better that way. 

Mally Beauty: High Shine Liquid Lipstick in "Mally's Look" ($20)
 Here is the first of 3 extras in the tube this month. I want to repeat that this product and the ones that follow it are not part of the actual tube, so if you ordered this month's tube you may or may not receive the same items as I did. I have received this exact lip product in a past Test Tube, and while I really do enjoy Mally Products, I'm not a fan of the liquid lipsticks. I find them to be a bit too goopy/sticky for my liking. This is a full size product though, so at least that bumps up the value of this tube a bit.

Sara McNamara: Miracle Skin Transformer ($4)
The next extra is a teeny, tiny tube of Miracle Skin Transformer. I have tried this product a handful of times in the past and I think it's relatively nice. This is essentially a high coverage tinted moisturizer. It works well, but I find that my BB creams cover just as evenly as this does. This costs $48 for 1.5oz which I think is highway robbery, but it seems to get pretty decent reviews from a lot of people, so it might be worth a try if you need some skin tone evening. 

Tan Towels ($13.50)
I got these Tan Towels in the last Test Tube I got sometime early last year, so imagine my disappointment when I saw them sitting there at the bottom of the tube. I am in the camp of preferring my skin to be pale, even-toned and clear. I don't like being tan, I don't like self-tanners, and I have no use for these whatsoever. The good news is, my mom is a golden goddess, so I'm sure she'll love to have these on hand for the Summer!
Overall Thoughts
New Beauty TestTube costs $29.99 per month and has a shipping charge of $8.95, making it about $39 per tube. The total value of the March/April tube was a disappointing $68.
Looking at everything together in the photo above, it really doesn't seem like a flat out failure of a tube for someone who is new to beauty subscriptions, or even new to New Beauty TestTube. Considering you get 5 samples in a Glossybox for $20 a month, spending $39 for this seems about right. I might even say that this is a pretty nice selection of products to a newbie in the sampling world. Having said that, New Beauty TestTube's have had values of over $200 in the past. They used to include high end brands like Tarte and Moroccan Oil. They have marketed themselves as a way to try new and exciting mid-to-high end products, and only recently have I noticed them throwing in countless repeats from past boxes as well as a plethora of drugstore products. It would be a lot less disappointing if there were more full sized products, or even just a better retail value overall, but I have to say: even after a year or so of not getting a Test Tube, it feels like I haven't missed out on anything. The subscription just seems stale to me. Considering they are the "first" beauty subscription, I'm really sad to see them pretty much give up on providing the customer with a worthwhile and exciting experience. Instead, they put in tiny drugstore samples and countless repeat products that they had leftovers of. Certainly not worth the $39 each month, in my opinion.

If you're interested in trying your luck with New Beauty TestTube, you can do so here, and save 30% off your first tube!

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.


  1. That's an awful lot of John Frieda stuff for one box. I don't mind getting a mixture of drugstore and high-end samples in my beauty boxes, but I would be pretty bummed if I paid $39 and half of it was a brand I felt sort of "meh" about to begin with.

    1. I totally agree- I'm fine with drugstore brands as long as there are a nice mixture of prestige brands in there as well...otherwise it feels like a glorified walmart beauty box. :(

  2. I wouldn't have been happy with all of the John Frieda products which really aren't great quality. The Mally, Lumene & Aloe cleanser make up most of the value & I would have been most disappointed in this after having seen several previous boxes with GREAT stuff in them.

    1. Totally agree. I will say the John Frieda 7 Day Volume product has proven to be pretty awesome, but everything else is a no-thanks for me. The Mally is great, although it's been featured multiple times in past boxes. LIke you said, they have had some really fantastic tubes in the past, but it's been a very long time since I've seen one that really blew me away. I'm not sure how long they're going to hang on sending out tubes filled with drugstore products and repeats from past tubes.

  3. There really isn't one single thing in that box that I would want. :(

    1. Yep, that's exactly it. Is the tube terrible? Not really, but there is NOTHING in this tube that makes anyone think, "omgosh I have to have that, I hope it's still for sale!" Past tubes that included Tarte Blushes and $50 serums and It Cosmetics makeup brushes...THOSE are the kinds of things that make people want to subscribe. This really felt like a tube full of leftover stuff. Even though I got this tube complimentary there is no way I could recommend buying this based on what I received.

    2. Yeah, it's just that, basically, before I started subscribing to beauty boxes, I'd already bought most of that stuff. My personal opinion is I want to try new brands or lines or hard-to-find products. The few in here like that didn't sound terribly appealing. Not due to your review in any way. Just in terms of how interested I am. This is like, a beginner's collection.

    3. I'm a spoiled kbeauty brat though. Don't mind me! :)

    4. haha I totally feel you on being a spoiled kbeauty brat!! :)

  4. I am so glad I stopped my Test Tube 2 tubes ago! I was so tired of seeing a lot of the same product/brands in the tube time after time and most of them drug store brands of which I already had tons of from previous TT. You are an awesome reviewer Rachel!! Love your honest take on the products!!!💞💞💞

    1. Thank you Nancy! And you are VERY lucky you stopped your subscription when you did- they really need to step up their game. When they asked me to review a tube I was actually hopeful that they had changed things around and were trying to market a newer and better tube...but I couldn't have been more wrong!

  5. I quit subscribing to Test Tube about a year ago as well, right when they decided to go to 6 tubes a year vs. 4. They've never really seemed to regain their footing, which is a shame. I remember getting some really nice items, like a YonKa moisturizer that I adored.

    1. I agree that is probably around the time they started to take a turn. There were a few great tubes since then, but they never got back to being what they once were. I wonder if that has something to do with their lack of quality over the past year or so. It concerns me that it doesn't seem like they've gotten a single new brand partner in a long time...
      You're right though- I remember years ago I was always incredibly impressed by the tubes, even if there was a repeat item here or there, they were always filled with great products. Such a shame.

  6. The miracle skin transformer sample they sent me was expired since Nov. 2013 ew

    1. Ugh Shayla...that is gross. I wish i would have checked mine as well- I tossed it directly into my 'give away" bin and sent it to my moms house because she gives things away to all her girl friends... I bet mine was old as dirt too. They've been sending that sample for a LONG time now- it's obvious it's the same lot that they've had for a while...really sad that they can't take the time to get a few new product samples and instead are sending old, expired junk to their paying subscribers.