Ipsy Glam Bag vs. Birchbox Review

So I’ve been a subscriber to both Ipsy and BirchBox for a while now. Since my Stitch Fix reviews have been pretty popular so far, I thought you guys might want to know what I think about some of my other subscription services.

Birchbox and Ipsy both operate the same way: both cost $10/month (or $110 if you pay for 1 year upfront) and you receive 5 surprise products every month. They both involve a personal profile that’s supposed to help determine what you get, although I (like a lot of reviewers) am skeptical about how much that really applies to your picks each month.

Overall, here are the main differences. Some of these could be pros or cons depending on what you’re looking for, so I’ll let you decide:

Ipsy:
-More full size products, making the bag way more cost-effective.
-More focus on color cosmetics, which is fun!
-Generally less expensive brands, also a lot of newer, up-and-coming brands.
-Each shipment comes in a makeup bag, which is either handy or just more clutter depending on how you look at it. I re-use mine to organize my makeup, store hair accessories, pack for trips, etc.
-No online store to buy products in, hence no store credit program, unlike Birchbox.
-Less variety. Everyone gets essentially the same bag each month, although sometimes you might get one version/shade of a product while other bags will have a different option.
-A lot of the same brands over and over, so you aren’t exploring new things as much as you would with BB.
-Special offers and discounts for the brands you receive. For example, if your bag included a zoya nail polish, you’ll receive a code for 50% off at zoya’s website or something along those lines.

Birchbox:
-A wider variety of products- they often send edible treats, hair-ties, nail files and things like that, so it’s more than just makeup.
-They also stock more high-end brands than ipsy, allowing me to try things that I wouldn’t really be willing to fork out a lot of money for without a test drive. I’ll take a chance on a $4 lipstick, but I would really rather try a $50 face cream before committing to it.
-They usually only send sample sizes. Sometimes the sample is enough (I mean, I can never empty an entire bottle of nail polish anyway) and sometimes they’re kind of lame (do I really need another tester tube of a random perfume when Sephora sends me three with every order?).
-The product selection really varies between members. Everyone is definitely not getting the same box.
-The points program typically makes it worth it- you get $10 in birchbox store credit for every 10 reviews, so you can end up buying a lot of full size things for free if you review everything in your box each month. If you review every single product in every box, you’ll rack up $60 in free products per year!
-BB is particularly good if you want to try out skin and haircare products and not just makeup (as get older, I care more about these things than I used to).

My Birchbox subscription lapsed and I didn’t renew in time for May, so I won’t be reviewing them properly until next month. To give you an idea of what you get from them, here’s what came in my April box:

Caudalie Divine Oil ($49) – Liked it, I’m getting into these facial oils even though they sound scary. $49 is a lot, although it does make my skin feel smooth and absorbs well without feeling greasy.
Hail Merry Macaroons ($5) – Tasty, obvs.
Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($45)- This stuff was great, although the sample was tiny. I’m thinking about buying it full sized, even though it’s crazy expensive. You’ll see why I need it toward the end of the post.
Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in Quick Kiss ($26.55) So pretty it speaks for itself. See it in action here, or enjoy the swatch below.
Mirenesse Glossy Kiss lip pencil lipstick quick kiss swatch
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle ($21.95 for 8 oz) – This has been a very nice heat styling spray. I dig it. At this point I don’t buy hair sprays or serums anymore, because I get so many through these boxes. It’s actually quite helpful.

So what did I get in my May Ipsy glam bag?

ipsy glam bag may 2013 spring fling glambag review

A lot! (and how cute is that chevron bag?)

First: Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig ($15)

juice beauty organic  reflecting lip gloss fig
This gloss is really lightweight and non-sticky and I love that it’s organic. This shade is a pretty sheer bronze with gold flecks. It’s super flattering and it smells like orange juice. The scent goes away quickly, but it’s really pleasant when applied. The only downside is that it doesn’t last very long, but it’s gloss so what do you expect? Besides, this full size gloss alone is worth the $10 I spent on the bag.

Zoya Nail Polish in Julie ($8)

zoya lavender shimmer lilac julie nail polish

Another “healthy” beauty item, Zoya is a “Big five-free” polish line that doesn’t use formaldehyde and other icky and frighteningly common ingredients. I have several of their polishes and really love them. This color is very pretty, it’s a pale pastel lavender/lilac color with a glass-like glitter. It’s a little pale for me and I’m not sure if I’ll wear it much since I lean towards edgier nail polish, but it’s very nice for spring and a good change of pace.

I also got a St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion (full size, 5 oz – $18). This is not full size (only 1.69 oz), but I think it will be good for my upcoming trip to Atlanta. I’m definitely going to be breaking out some dresses to celebrate the warmer weather and I’m excited to try this on my legs. I’ll update this post if/when I do!

Nume Finishing Serum ($29 for full size – 2 oz). This promises to fight frizz and impart shine without being greasy. It was a bit thicker than I expected, so I only used a little bit, but it really did make my hair feel smooth and silky! Since I only need a tiny amount and don’t straighten my hair very often, this little 10 ml bottle should still last me a while.

Finally I got a Yaby Flawless Concealer ($5.06). The concealer covered well, but it really settled into fine lines and pores, making my under eye are look super wrinkly. They can’t all be winners, I guess. I hesitate to show you guys a picture since no one likes showing off their wrinkles, but I’ll do it in the interest in science.

yaby concealer

That’s how much I love you guys.

Parting thoughts:

Generally, I think that ipsy is focused more on a younger, trendy girl, while Birchbox is for someone a little older with a little more money to spend. If I had to cut back to just one service, I would keep ipsy, but as I get closer to my 30’s I might lean more toward BB. As of right now, I get enough out of each of them that I plan to keep them both.

Oh, and if you’re a dog lover like I am, BarkBox is probably the best value out of any of my boxes. Tons of great dog stuff for $16-$20 per month. Way easier than dragging myself to PetSmart, and there are few things sweeter than my happy huskies!

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One thought on “Ipsy Glam Bag vs. Birchbox Review

  1. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I
    know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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