I might have what some would call a mild obsession with beauty box subscriptions. At the end of 2015 I jumped on the subscription box bandwagon and signed up for Birchbox, Ipsy and FabFitFun. I later went on to order the occasional target beauty box when I liked the product offering, and I also signed up for the Sephora Play! beauty box and the seasonal Walmart beauty box.
Today I’m going to focus on comparing the Ipsy and Birchbox deliveries I received during 2016 and ultimately which one I decided to cancel come 2017. Birchbox and Ipsy are both great ways to try new products for only $10 a month. However, since they’re similar in how they work, many don’t want to subscribe to both. When people realize that I subscribe to both, they always ask which one I prefer. There are pros and cons to each subscription, but ultimately, I do have a preference. Let’s see if you can guess which one I prefer by reading my notes below… [for those of you that want to cheat, I’ll tell you which is the winner at the end!]
Ipsy: I liked 3 of 5 products; Hanalei lip scrub, pixi by Petra eyeshadow duo, Skone cosmetics makeup brush, and the bag was just okay
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Eyeko liquid eyeliner, Harvey Prince body cream, Real Chemistry 3 minute peel
January Winner: Ipsy
Ipsy: I liked 2 of 5 products; Model Co lipgloss in Morocco, IT Cosmetics under eye concealer. Although I didn’t love the Ciate nail polish, I was happy to try it! I LOVED the cosmetic bag!
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Color Club nail polish in That’s My Jam, Arrow Boost lip balm, Obliphica hair serum
February Winner: Ipsy (Although I liked more Birchbox samples, I was IN LOVE with Ipsy’s cosmetic bag!)
Ipsy: I liked: 4 of 5 products; Global Beauty Care collagen sheet masks, First Aid Beauty serum, Nudestix lip pencil in Mystic, Makeup For Ever Step 1 primer; liked the cosmetic bag
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Wilma Schumann collagen eye pads, Amika dry shampoo, Coola spf 50 mango lotion
March Winner: Ipsy
Ipsy: I liked 3 of 5 products; Crown blush brush (I use it for highlighter), Trust Fund Beauty That Glo highlighter stick, Tarte cosmetics lip creme in Wonder; I didn’t care for the cosmetic bag
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm, Briogeo hair mask, Naobay mattifying cream; I was disappointed that a small fragrance sample counted as one of my 5 samples.
April Winner: Ipsy
Ipsy: I liked 4 of 5 products; GlamGlow supermud mask, Glamour Dolls makeup brush (how cute is the little whales print?!), Crazy Rumors hibiskiss lip balm in coral, Eau Thermale Avene micellar cleanser; liked the cosmetic bag print, but didn’t like that it didn’t have a zip closure.
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Coola spf 30 makeup setting spray (great concept but kind of burns your eyes, even when you leave your eyes closed during and after for a minute), Model Co lipgloss, Benefit cosmetics Hoola bronzer (loved this one!); again felt a little disappointed that one of my samples was a tiny fragrance and thought it was strange to get a deluxe sized shampoo but single use conditioner.
May Winner: Ipsy (but kudos to Birchbox for the fab Hoola bronzer)
Ipsy: I liked 4 of 5 products; Elizabeth Mott blush in Peach Pink, ColourPop Cosmetics gel eyeliner in Get Paid or Swerve, Delectable by Cake Beauty everything lip balm, Royal & Langnickel makeup brush (in my favorite color, turquoise!); I liked the cosmetic bag
Birchbox: I liked 4 of 5 products; Oribe dry shampoo, Benefit gimmie brow in 3 medium, Coola spf 30 face lotion, Jane Iredale face primer & brightener (I wouldn’t suggest using on entire face, just as a bronzer)
June Winner: Ipsy (but kudos to Birchbox for the fab Benefit Gimmie Brow!)
Ipsy: I liked 3 of 5 products; ModelCo powerlash black mascara, Too Faced hangover face primer (so yummy, smells like coconut!), Mellow Cosmetics eye shadow in Plum; liked the cosmetic bag
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Milk makeup sunshine oil, Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big volumizing mascara, dr. Brandt pore dermabrasion
July Winner: Ipsy
Ipsy: I liked all 5 products; Symphony Beauty makeup cleansing wipes, Sally’s box sheet masks, Trust Fund Beauty liquid lipstick, Beauty for Real gel eyeliner in Black Magic, NYX liquid illuminator in Gleam; I was also obsessed with this cosmetic bag!! This was by far one of my favorite deliveries!
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; HUM Nutrition Raw Beauty green superfood powder in mint chocolate chip, Beauty Protector protect & detangle hair spray (use before blow drying hair), Stila matte liquid lipstick (not shown in photo, I was so excited to use I forgot to add it to the photo)
August Winner: Ipsy!!
Ipsy: I liked all 5 products; DLS Cosmetics eyeshadow in teaser (this is the best base color ever!), Pixi by Petra mattelustre lipstick in Rose Naturelle, Naked Cosmetics aloe cream, IT Cosmetics superhero mascara in Super Black, Whish renewing mud mask; I liked the cosmetic bag
Birchbox: I liked 2 of 5 products; Supergoop spf 50 lip, dr. Brandt pores no more cleanser; I love getting mascara but Milk’s was odd and disappointing and the Klorane dry shampoo might be better used by blondes than brunettes, as it was hard to brush into my hair without seeing the white powder.
September Winner: Ipsy!
Ipsy: I liked 3 of 5 products; Pur-lisse daily lip nourisher with mango and shea butters, Tre’StiQue lip pencil in Belize Bordeaux, Essence Cosmetics liquid eyeliner; I LOVED this cosmetic bag!
Birchbox: I liked 3 of 5 products; Oribe dry shampoo, Avene hydrating cream, Make silk cream lipstick
October Winner: Ipsy (that fab cosmetic bag scored major points!)
Ipsy: I liked all 5 products; Formula X nail polish in Huntress, Tarte marajuca oil, Elizabeth Mott lip lacquer in Color is Bae, theBalm cosmetics mad lash mascara, Pur-lisse blue lotus balancing moisturizer; I LOVED this cosmetic bag!
Birchbox: I liked 2 of 5 products; dr. Brandt microdermabrasion skin exfoliant, Jane Iredale just kissed lip stain; again I was disappointed that one of my 5 products was a small fragrance sample and the seat salt spray bottle was actually larger than the box, so it awkwardly wouldn’t close. By this point, I decided that I’m not thrilled with my annual subscription and I began considering cancelling for 2017.
November Winner: Ipsy!
Ipsy: I liked 4 of 5 products; Symphony Beauty snow cream moisturizer, Hikari cosmetics liquid eyeliner, Tarte cosmetics glossy lip paint in wcw, Benefit cosmetics the Porefessional primer; I liked the festive cosmetic bag.
Birchbox: I didn’t really liked any of the products this time, except for the small mirror
December Winner: Ipsy
Battle of the Beauty Boxes… We Have a Winner!
In case you couldn’t tell from my notes on each month’s delivery, the winner for me hands down was Ipsy. They consistently sent me 2-5 samples a month that I liked, and even the months where I didn’t like a product I was generally happy that I had had the opportunity to try it. Birchbox consistently disappointed, especially in the area of fragrance as a main sample, however, they did have a few months where they delivered well. My profile clearly states that I don’t like fragrance samples (as they tend to give me a major headache), so I don’t even open the samples to try them. (Don’t worry, I give them to family or friends so that they can try the samples and not create waste.)
Don’t get me wrong about Birchbox, I still think it’s a great beauty box subscription option, it just didn’t meet my personal expectations. I think overall, Birchbox has a tendency to offer higher-priced samples, but I found often times I didn’t like the sample offering. I also felt as though many months I missed out on fabulous samples that other subscribers had received that I didn’t. Ipsy has proven to consistently offer good samples and I rarely felt envy over samples received by others that I didn’t get and was almost always very happy with my sample selection.
If you’re interested in signing up for a beauty box subscription, I highly recommend you sign up for Ipsy. It’s a great program for only $10 a month, with no additional shipping charges. Make sure you fill out the profile to match what you like and dislike and consistently review your products so that they can fine tune your sample selections. They also offer daily Ipsy Offers on weekdays where you can get great cosmetics for a reasonable price (and free shipping!). If you’re interested in signing up, please use my referral link: Click Here to check out the Ipsy Beauty Box Subscription! They have a great referral program and I will get rewards points if you sign up, which in turn gives me more products, which I review here on the blog for your benefit. See how it’s a win-win situation?
I’d love to know what beauty boxes you subscribe to. Which is your favorite?
I hope you enjoyed my beauty post. Check back soon for more!
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This is so interesting! I’ve been tempted to try one or both of these but always hesitate because I don’t know what to expect, or which one is better, or anything. It’s nice to see a sampling of the products they send to compare! Great idea!
Arielle Joy says
Thanks Jen! I’m happy to hear my post was able to help you! 🙂
Justine Y @ Little Dove says
So many cute cosmetic bags! What do you do with all of them?? And $10 a month seems really reasonable!
Arielle Joy says
Aren’t they just so fun! I change out the cosmetic bag I carry in my handbag each month when I get my new one. The others I keep under my bathroom counter for when I travel or when I need a cosmetic bag for something 🙂
I’ve always thought about signing up for a subscription box. Thanks for the rundown of what I can expect of each to make an informed decision!
I will be honest, I never looked into either of these because I assumed they were a lot more than $10 a month. Thanks for the detailed comparison I might check it out now.
Alica Snow says
I tried Ipsy before and loved it! I think subscription boxes are so much fun. My problem is I tend to forget to use my samples and they just collect dust under my sink. I need to be better about that.