Wantable January 2017 Review

I’m so fucking annoyed at this truly horrendous box that I have been procrastinating on dealing with it at all. At $36 a month, Wantable needs to be consistently stellar in order to be worth anyone’s time. That means that a mediocre box is a “yeah, you probably don’t want to subscribe to Wantable” indicator. But a crap box… Jesus Fuck. A crap box is rage-inducing.

And this box is worse than a crap box.Here’s what I got this month:

Sorme Get a Brow Gel in Fawn (full size at 0.4oz), retail value $10.10

I feel the need to quickly address Wantable’s totally bullshit “retail prices”. Wantable claims that the list price for this product is $16; that’s just not true. The list price is $12 and it isn’t difficult to find this product for less (for example, it’s sold here for $10.10.) Given that this is being sold pretty much exclusively at discount online retailers, I can only assume that this is a discontinued product.

With that said, this is probably the best product in the (AWFUL) box. The color is darker than what I usually use, but it’s definitely wearable.
I don’t think that the “brow gel” format is very effective in terms
of coloring your brows in general because it’s imprecise (especially on thinner brows) and ends up
being really messy, but the product looks perfectly nice when applied
with a brush.

Michael Marcus Foundation Brush (travel size), retail value $20(?)

Wantable is claiming that this product has a $20 value, but that’s iffy as fuck given that I can’t find the travel size version of this brush for sale anywhere.

Although I normally don’t pass up foundation brushes, this is a really, really bad foundation brush. The bristles are so floppy that it’s difficult to use. This makes it feel really cheap.

La Bella Donna Lip Pencil in Scarlet (full size at 0.04oz), retail value $14.95
Again, Wantable’s supposed retail price is misleading at best. These lip pencils may have original retailed for $22 (the value that Wantable claims), but they are currently available for much less, coming in closer to $14.95.
Although it’s labeled as a lip pencil, it is definitely a lip liner and it’s fundamentally indistinguishable from any of the other numerous lip liners that Wantable has thrown in my direction over the past few months. It’s sort of a light, strawberry-colored red.
Okay, so, so far, three very unimpressive products, but nothing to throw a fit about. The fourth product is where my anger about this box is clearly justified:

Michael Marcus Lip Gloss Wheel in Scrumptious (full size at 0.35 oz), retail value $0.00 (Wantable lists the retail value as $39.50)
Okay, so, getting a lipgloss wheel is, in and of itself, pretty annoying, because I have lipgloss listed as a “dislike” on my Wantable profile, and, in theory, we are never sent product that we say that we “dislike”.

But that’s not why I’m so mad.

Look at this picture. Look at this product.

It is completely covered in mold.
This is not a factory defect. Look at that poop-brown color. There are indents and then mold coming out over the indents. This is mold. This is lots of mold.

I decided to look into what the fuck happened here. First, I looked up this product. It’s not only not available for sale, but the only traces of it that I can find also are on discount beauty retailers (because these are ugly colors and no one wanted to buy it). I can’t find a price, but it clearly hasn’t retailed for Wantable’s stated retail value ($39.50) in years. In other words, it is clearly expired.

Next, I wanted to see why Wantable sent me a lipgloss in the first place, so I started digging through my Wantable preferences. It became immediately clear that Wantable had kindly decided to re-set my preferences. The things that I said I “loved” were still listed as “loved”, but the things I said I “disliked” were all listed as “liked”.

God fucking damnit.

Total Box Value: $45.05

So, to summarize, Wantable sent me one product that is fine, that I would probably use if I owned it (but I don’t really care about it), two products that I would not use, and one product that was awful to the point of being ridiculous. To add insult to injury, they didn’t even bother sending me any samples this month.

I haven’t contacted Wantable’s customer service yet, but I have had good luck with them in the past. I will keep you updated about how they decide to resolve the problem.

If for some reason, this review convinced you to join Wantable because you love moldy products or something (?), I suppose you can use my referral link by clicking here. If this review increased your desire to join Wantable, though, we clearly have very different priorities.


1. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

2. Should have had a “Content Warning: Gross” on there, haha.

3. That is really really gross…. I would have unsubscribed immediately!


4. The only reason I haven’t is because I am waiting to see what customer service does.

5. Christ on a cracker, your lipgloss wheel is literally a petri dish. Fuck! I have tried MASCARAS that these people sent me from Michael Marcus! I’ve never come across that brand elsewhere, and I haven’t particularly liked anything of theirs that I received from Wantable. I’m going right now to throw out everything I have from Wantable. I feel sick, and sick for you. Also – thank GOD you realized it was mold. I could see someone less educated thinking that was just a weird texture on the lip gloss! (I’m having an escalating freak out over here…)

6. Yeah, I looked up photos and there are definitely other people that got moldy ones and didn’t realize…

7. What?! Ew. Let us know what happens when you get in touch with CS? That’s disgusting.

8. I will let you know!

9. ICK.
One of the Wantable CS people hangs out over on /r/beautyboxes, and I know you can return the box for a full refund. Hopefully they’ll give you a hell of a lot more because WHO WOULDN’T NOTICE THAT WHEN PACKING IT JESUS CHRIST

10. It was in a box, so I bet they didn’t look at it.

Still inexcusable.

11. I look forward to hearing what CS has to say about this. Do you plan to cancel your subscription? What they are sending seems like the death rattle of a subscription box service… cheap/expired/unwanted/disliked/discounted stuff in an expensive box.

12. “What they are sending seems like the death rattle of a subscription box service”.

That’s a great way to put it.

13. We had a similar situation with a beauty box available here in Canada. First they upped their price, then the one month, we got discontinued products (5-7 years old by some of the batch numbers). Within 5 months, they were out of business.

Any time I start seeing doubles of brand names within a single box (unless it’s exclusively billed as a “____ [brand] Box”), red flags go up. They clearly can’t get enough brands to partner with, and are taking anything they can get, which means you’re obviously not getting the best quality stuff (as the nasty mold situation and discontinued products indicates pretty well).

14. Yeah. I think the “full sized product” model is just less effective for the brands and the subscription service itself, because most people don’t buy a full size of something that they already have a full size version of. It requires the brands to donate a larger hunk of potential profits for less payoff, and there are just not many brands willing to do that… so you end up with something like this.

15. I just contacted the mods over at /r/beauty boxes asking permission to link this post there. Blog reviews are normally not allowed (too many people were exploiting the community for blog traffic), but if Wantable is changing subscriber profiles and sending expired items that might be toxic people there should know about it.

17. I mean, it’s probably not toxic. It’s just nasty/unusable. But go for it!

18. know, it did seem in my wantable accessories box preferences that some of my ‘dislikes’ were switching to ‘likes’ mysteriously.. hmm.

19. Holy shit. That is really inexcusable. It would be bad enough for a $10 subscription to send discontinued crap, but when you’re paying $36? Isn’t the point to partner with brand who want to introduce their product to a new audience? How is that going to be accomplished by sending things that are not available?

I wonder how they can possibly account for/make amends for this. Not only sending garbage but dangerous garbage.

20. It’s because that is all they can get, I assume…

21. Thank you for posting honest reviews. Those are increasingly hard to find as bloggers whore themselves out for free mail.

22. Co-signed. I am fed up with reading bloggers who say everything is amazing, even when you yourself know the product/s they’re raving about is/are junk.

23. Agreed. I was reading glossybox reviews earlier and one blogger ended every! sentence! with! an! exclamation! point! FFS, people, you just said you don’t wear lipstick, why are you excited that it’s a full-size lipstick?!

24. Sadly, it means no one ever sends me free stuff, haha.

25. Maybe because you don’t have a ‘support me’ button or a PO box address available?

26. when I subscribed to Birchbox, they sent expired sunscreen one month. they apologized profusely and credited everyone 100 points (essentially the price of one box) that got the defective item. I was pretty satisfied, hopefully Wantable makes this right for you.

I like how they say, “We navigate the world of beauty to bring you the latest trends, personalized just for you.” They’re not bringing you the latest of anything.

27. Ha! That’s a good observation.

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29. I’m a bit confused, is the dark raised part in the brown lip gloss mold or is it the balled up stuff on top of all the glosses?

30. It’s the balled up stuff on top of all the glosses. YUCK. hellocampcomfort.com, I’m appalled. Whatever they do to make it up to you, it had better be so great that you feel like you need a cigarette after.

31. Yes, the balled up stuff. The weird indentations are just further evidence that this is mold and not some other error.

32. OH MY LORD. That is fucking DISGUSTING.

33. Yup… 🙁

34. I gave up on wantable after I got sent a moldy lipstick. They never did anything.
Love your blog, I’ve been following you since you started it. And I’ve learned a lot and I appreciate the honest reviews. Your tutorial on how you cover your acne scarring is simply awesome.

35. They didn’t respond to your complaint at all? That is ridiculous!

36. No and they sent me a damaged blush, a broken lip pencil and a really crappy $5 lip brush that fell apart the first time

37. I used it and when I emailed them threatening to to cancel they sent me a replacement that wasn’t much better. Mostly the Michael Marcus crap and some cheap nail polish. I won’t recommend them

38. I tried Wantable (it’s $44 in Canada so double the “this can’t be mediocre”) and it was mediocre. I quit, but goddammit all that circlejerk over on r/beautyboxes sucked me back in. I got discontinued items as well, a broken michael marcus brush, then the same brush in the next box. I’m so glad I found someone else who doesn’t like Wantable.

PS the mold on your gloss wheel – I’ve had similar experiences with cream products (Too Faced natural face palette) and Sephora insisted it was condensation. I still returned it, but, is it… really actually mold?

39. /r/beautyboxes has always dug Wantable a lot more than I have dug Wantable… I do appreciate Wantable introducing me to Besame, though!

40. Not everyone over in /r/beautyboxes circlejerks about Wantable. Some people got tired of the Wantable rep, /u/stumcmullin, exploiting the community to push his product and messaged the mods about it. It’s my understanding that they are taking steps to rein in the blatant Wantable marketing.

41. Yes, now that I’ve finally gotten a Besame lipstick in my box, so that I can confirm it’s the greatest (it smells like pound cake!), I think I’ve gotten all I need out of my box, and will be cancelling. Now I feel like such an idiot for having joined in on that damn /r/beautyboxes circlejerk.

42. A lot of creamy products (lipsticks, for example) DO get condensation on them. A product “sweating” a bit happens every now and then, I think due to temperature changes between manufacture and retail. In that case, the droplets look like water, not cloudy and irregular and…gross like the mold on this gloss palette. Here are some sweaty MAC lipsticks for comparison:
(I chose MAC lipsticks because most of their limited edition releases don’t stick around for long, so unless you bought a long-discontinued lipstick from a CCO, you can be sure that the lipstick is quite new and not moldy.)

43. So, can you do a post on how to tell if makeup is bad? Because I saw the lipgloss picture and thought “Oh look, grainy lipgloss!”. The word mold did not cross mind.

44. In general, with stuff you’ve been using, any change is an indication to throw it out. If it looks different or smells different, toss it! It’s also worth keeping a closer eye on cream products than powder products, and toss mascara after 3 months.

I have too much makeup, so I have had products mold before, and that is why I recognized this as mold.

45. I’ve seen lipstick “sweat” before, and it looks more like clear droplets, whereas if I’m seeing this correctly, it looks more like white fuzzy spots. Would you say that’s right?

46. There must be something wrong with me, but after my empathetic rage passed I instantly started hoping that part of your follow-up will be telling us what kind of mold it is. With pictures of petri dishes.

47. Mold can be very hard and unreliable to identify by sight!

48. Wow. I’d be considering Wantable… But after reading this post, and the comments, it’s out of the question. I don’t care if customer service is good. If they’re going to send out mouldy, expired products, those could actually be dangerous! Not ok.

49. Yeah, I am pretty frustrated.

50. Wait. Do you mean January 2017 or January 2017?

51.As Robin Williams in Jumanji might say, “What year is it?!”

I meant 2017.

52. I’m not sure if I’d be more offended about the moldy product or the preference changes! Not only did they send you a piece of crap, but they went behind your back and changed your preferences to match whatever leftover products they needed to get rid of! Total douchebags.

53. I feel like it must be a glitch because actually changing my preferences seems to brazen… I don’t know, haha.

54. I had the same problem with preferences changes as you did (loves still loves but dislikes moved to likes) when I first signed up. I took the quiz, got a confusing box, retook the quiz and was surprised by the changes. I figured that it was because I’m using the site via mobile (would NOT recommend, btw) but now I’m thinking it’s just them. Luckily, my confusing box ended up being pretty stellar, I think it was last September.

55. I subscribed to wantable last month (used your link :-)). My first box was full of discontinued products that were on clearance everywhere. The thing that tipped me over the edge was a Color Club magnetic nail polish. Nail polish is my Thing and this was a trend from early 2012. They listed the retail as $12, but Color Club is a low tier brand and at the height of the craze was only $6. I’ve seen it on clearance for $1-2. I also got a blush from a brand I never heard of in a discontinued color, an eyeshadow listed as worth $22 but easily found for $10, and a lip gloss listed as worth $24 but easily found for $12. That made the retail value of my box be, um, $36. And the whole reason you subscribe to one of these boxes is to get stuff cheaply so you can try it. If I want to pay full retail for stuff, I’ll pick my own stuff. I’ve seriously gotten better stuff in my $10 ipsy bag.

The whole experience showed me that Wantable is not a premium service as they describe themselves but is instead a clearinghouse for companies to dump the crap the can’t sell elsewhere. I got my money back and canceled the box.

56. I’m glad you stood up for yourself and I’m sorry that I didn’t steer you correctly!

57. Holy cow, that’s awful! That’s not even a little mold, that’s a LOT. I’ve noticed that your Wantable reviews have in general seemed to be a bit “meh”; considering the price, I think I’ll definitely try beauty box 5 or birchbox over wantable! I hope they deal with the problem to your satisfaction.

58. Haven’t tried Beauty Box 5, but Birchbox is very consistent and their points system is awesome.

59. Do you think you’re going to try to explore some other beauty boxes or subscription services? Sounds silly, but at this point there are no other bloggers who cover subscription services whose opinions I really trust, so I don’t want to try any if you haven’t!

60. I got the same lip wheel in my box last month. I contacted them immediately after reading this post about the mold. Here is their, which was quite quick:

“Thank you for reaching out! I am so sorry if we may have caused you an inconvenience. All of the lip wheels actually have those tiny bumps on them. It’s not the most attractive look, but I can assure you that it caused by temperature change and that it is not mold.

If you are unhappy with the product, please go here to start your return: https://www.wantable.com/dashboard#order-history

Attached is our partial return policy as well. Just in case you may want to keep other items from your box. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I will be happy to assist.”

Well. On one point, I’m glad they accommodate the refund. But when I think about it, I might not go through the hassle. Most of the box I had last month was purchased with referral points, so I’m assuming I’m only going to get referral points back. And it looks like I’m not going to be purchasing from them again. So meh. 🙁

61. Yeah, I’m not sure how returns work with referrals… I guess I’ll find out!

62. I kind of just can’t get past the fact that these subscription boxes are supposed to introduce you to new products/brands, but this one just sends you discontinued items (that may or may not be breeding new life).

I…I just…can’t… *throws hands in air*

63. Yeah, it’s very contrary to the raison d’etre of subscription services.

64. I really trust you as a reviewer and appreciate the honesty and thought you put into each review. This is horrible but more importantly it reminded my why I read your blog on a regular basis – to learn new things, and to be better educated on what I’m putting on my face. I’ll probably think I’m seeing mold everywhere for the next few days though 🙂

65. Hopefully only in your kitchen!

66. Poop-brown gloss on a Wheel O’ Mold. Mmm, mmm, …gross. Hey, btw, with all these beauty boxes out there, they gotta’ be profitable. So, what I want to know is where do they get the makeup and what are they paying for it? Do they get it free? Or do some of them raid Big Lots for discontinued Wheels O’ Mold and the like? Btw, am I supposed to know who Michael Marcus is?

67. I’m guessing Wantable gets stuff at a huge discount and that Birchbox and Ipsy get stuff for free.

68. Ohmygod. I’m so glad I skipped this month… (though, for some reason, even though I had selected “skip” on the website, the mailed my box ANYway and charged my basically empty bank account. Customer service was great about it, but seriously.)

69. That’s frustrating! No more glitches, please!

70. Hahah Wantable is too much money to have this many glitches.

71. You’re my favorite beauty blogger by far; I love you honesty and no-bullshit attitude. Can you recommend any other beauty blogs with a similar feel?

72. Everyone wants to know what beauty blogs I read, but 99.9% of the blogs I look at are shit like “Critique My Dick Pic”.

73. So, what then? We should be looking at Youporn and Redtube for makeup tutorials? 😛 Well, if that’s what hellocampcomfort.com is “reading”…

74. Super-duper ew at the moldy product. Just as a general comment (not necessarily just in defense of Wantable), I think the “retail value” listed on most beauty box cards is inflated. There have been lots of times I looked up a product and found the original retail price as $X but it was on sale all over the place. I’m not sure how I feel about discontinued products in beauty boxes… if they’re not ancient I guess it’s OK because you can still get used out of it, but something that has clearly separated or gone moldy is obviously not.

75. Yeah, I always look it up to check…

76. Oh my god, I totally would have just assumed that the lipgloss was grainy and used it any ways. Ick ick ick.
I agree that a post on how to recognise when make-up has gone bad would be good, if it’s a subject that’s possible to make a post out of.
That absolutely turned my stomach.

77. If there’s desire, I can probably do one.

78. This comment has been removed by the author.

79. You might send them a quick follow-up email and see what happens, if they haven’t sent it yet.

80. Do you still have any microscope access? Some mold photos would be SO AWESOME, in the geek way and not the makeup way, obviously.

81. Ha! I might be able to manage that. I should probably buy my own microscope anyways, just so it’s not a trek when I need to use one.

82. You probably already know this, but American Science and Surplus is an EXCELLENT place to get a quality microscope for a reasonable price.

83. My condolences on such a terrible experience!

By the way, you’ve helped cause me to try subscription boxes — I’ve now signed up for Graze, a snack box service.

Also, I know Washington state is huge, but if you are coming to Foolscap http://www.foolscapcon.org/ then maybe I’ll see you there…

84. I’m subscribed to Graze as well!

(And I won’t be at Foolscap.)

85. I wish I would have found this review BEFORE I ordered. Here is to hoping my box is correct to my liking and is not covered in mold. I am so sorry you had to deal with that.

86. I just subscribed to Wantable two days ago 🙁 keeping my fingers crossed that they’ve stepped up their game. Good luck to you!

87. Best of luck!

88. Bleh your box looks really really crap. When I got my box (for disclaimer’s purposes, it was a press sample), it seemed a whole lot better than …this. Regarding the lipgloss though, I’ve also seen something looking like that but it was actually wax bloom, not mold (it was a lipstick on Facebook owned by Pursebuzz, if I can find the picture again I’ll link to it). It’s not really much of a reassurance since it looks grody but it might be worth considering

89. That is such an awful box! Wow. I only get Ipsy, and I feel glad that I’ve opted out of any other subscription services. I hope you get to return this junk or something!

90. I also had a bad box experience this month but I’ve found their cs team to be superb and I have 3 replacement items on the way now.

Something they told me that I thought I’d share, when you get your first email of the month that says “we’re currently packing your box etc etc”, you can actually to that to make specific requests that they will try to accommodate! So say you really want eyeshadow this month, or you say someone else get a product you’d really like to try, you can ask when that email comes in.

I’m trying it out next month so we’ll see how well it works. Worth a shot though!

(my box thankfully had no mold problems lol, just two cream polishes that should have been dislikes and a missing eyeshadow that was somehow replaced by a lip gloss)

90. Okay, I got that lip wheel several months ago and actually tried one of the colors, realized it’s more like super drying lipstick than gloss, and gave it away. I went back and pulled the pic up I’d posted of my box on reddit, and sure enough, it looks the same as yours. Excuse me while I go heave now…

91. Hi hellocampcomfort.com

Just wondering how you went with Customer Service? Did they send you out a new product, or refund you, or..?

91. I read that they had a glitch in preferences, so it happened to A LOT of people, but they’re getting it fixed and some got replacements sent at no request for sending back products you didn’t want.

92. Wantable is claiming on their blog that it is not mold. Quoted: “Have you ever seen little bumps or bubbles on the surface of your makeup and wondered, “What is that?” “Why is this happening?” “Is this mold?” “Is the makeup safe to use?” “When does makeup expire?” Don’t worry, darlings, Wantable is here to ease your worried mind about these little bumps, which is polyethylene (wax) that has separated due to temperature change.
Polyethylene is found in a wide variety of beauty products including mascara and lip-gloss. You typically don’t see a separation in these products because the wand remixes the product each time the wand is used. Products like the pictured lip-pot wheel don’t have wands to mix the product before application and so bumps (polyethylene) remain visible.
Not to worry, fellow beauty babes, the separation of polyethylene does not affect the quality or use of the product. Thank goodness!
How can you differentiate between mold and polyethylene separation? Mold spores grow outward and look irregular. The bumps in the pictured lip-gloss wheel are not sporadic, but rather, evenly distributed, a common attribute if polyethylene separates.”

What do you think?

93. Polyethylene is definitely not wax (it’s plastic) and the Michael Marcus lip glosses don’t contain polyethylene… I’d need a microscope to be sure, but I’m pretty firmly in the “it you’re not sure if it’s mold, treat it as mold” camp! And I’ve had mold (that was definitely mold) look just like this…

94. I dropped wantable in december after they changed their terms about how many products and the value of the box without notifying their customers. In November, my quiz reset completely and I wouldn’t have known if I had not looked at it – they never sent an email about it. Funny, I got that same MM brush in november and it was retailed at 36.00 at that time – lol

I have no regrets dropping wantable – it got to the point where I was getting so many dislikes that it was becoming a hassle to deal with CS. Their whole business is built around a “personalized” box with none of your dislikes – and the last straw for me was when the CS responded to my complaint about getting bright lipsticks (which is a major dislike) that they would replace it as a one time courtesy. one time courtesy? They messed up and it is my fault?
Too much money for that box. I do like the fact that I found 2 nice brands from it – beseme & lise watier

95. i have trypophobia and the mold made me nauseous. i would have vomited if i had gotten that. ugh. let us know what they say.

96. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on a blog before but I was thinking about subscribing to wantable.
Now I definitely won’t.
And also, chances are what was growing on the lip gloss wheel was not mold, I don’t know if you’re ever seen growth on a Petri dish before but that is almost certainly bacterial growth, not fungal.

97. Wantable is on my crap list. I signed up for the jewelry box. 4 months into it, I got the same ring that was in the first box. The next month, I got a necklace that was the same as the first, although in a different metal finish. Canceled at once. I’m so sorry to hear about the mold.

98. Oh wow, that is pretty bad. I’m browsing online for posts on their accessories box but I think I will definitely avoid their makeup box in the future.

99. oh man, i wish i’d read your review before i ordered a one-off wantable box.

100. Ok, Ok, I ordered an intimates box and there was a deodorant smear on a sport bra I didn’t see until I put it on, but I was still looking at their other boxes and I have to tell you this in all seriousness. If anybody else had written a review about THIS box I would’ve fun, but you are so funny and witty that even though you had moldy lip gloss I laughed so much it still makes me to try it out. Dial down your awesomeness or something.