Birchbox vs. Ipsy (My Glam Bag) November 2012!

I've been a faithful Birchbox subscriber since May 2011. For those of you who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service. For $10 (+free shipping), you'll receive 4-5 deluxe sized beauty samples sent to you in a cute little box every month. The service is a monthly subscription and you can cancel at any time.

I believe Birchbox was one of the first beauty box services of it's kind, or at least it was the first one I heard of. But recently I've been hearing of another one, Ipsy (formerly known as My GlamBag), that is gaining popularity. I decided this past month to finally subscribe to see what the excitement was all about, and now I can finally say I understand why!

Ipsy, formerly known as My Glam Bag, is also $10 a month (+free shipping) and guarantees a similar promise of deluxe size beauty samples, but theirs are sent in a little makeup bag rather than a box.
The following is a comparison of the two beauty subscription services, comparing what they sent out for the month of November.

(Get ready, this is a relatively picture-heavy post!)

I'll start with my old favorite, Birchbox. Each box has a theme, and this month's theme was giving.. anyone wanna guess why? Anybody? Anybody?

The first thing I noticed was the little purple box on the top of my box. There were two samples inside, but the box was unusual for Birchbox.. they usually wrap half the samples in tissue paper and ribbon. But after a closer look, I realized the box can be re-used to hold a gift for someone else! I'm not sure I'll end up using it, but it was super cute!

Inside the box were the following samples:

Value: $1.14 (7-pack is $7.95), $3.80 for 1.6ml (whereas a 40ml bottle is $95)

The little white & yellow box held one of those mini spray perfume samples. The perfume was MCMC Fragrance Phoenix Eau de Parfum. I'm really terrible at describing scents, but I'll just say that at first it smelled like a really strong floral scent, but later faded to a sweet, vanilla-y smell, which I enjoyed. Like many other Birchbox-ers have said, I'm not a huge fan of getting perfume samples just because I know I can get them for free basically anywhere, but it definitely has made me aware of some great perfumes I would've never known about otherwise, and isn't that the point of Birchbox? :) And it's nice to have little samples to travel with and wear a new scent on a trip!

I know a lot of people don't like getting food samples in their Birchboxes, but I love it! Especially when it's CHOCOLATE! The chocolate was Chuao Chocolatier in the flavor Firecracker. This chocolate scared me a little bit. It apparently contained sea salt, chipotle (?!?!!) and popping candy. It sounded like an interesting-in-a-bad-way combination but it was actually pretty good! I'm not a fan of popping candy, and I wasn't a fan of it in this candy, but the hint of chipotle was so interesting! It's almost undetectable at first, especially in bitter dark chocolate, but then your throat starts to tingle and burn a little bit, and you know it's the chipotle! Not sure I'd purchase this myself ever, but I definitely enjoyed it!

The next item in my box was a bath bomb by Feeling Smitten in the scent Ribbon Candy.

Value: $10.50 (full-sized)

It seemed to leave a fine dusting of powder over my box, which was kind of irritating, but definitely cool as far as samples go. I've been kind of interested in the bath bombs from Lush, but can't get over the price of them, and I don't have a tub big enough to relax in, haha. From what I can tell, it's a full-sized bath bomb. The cost of this item alone is $10.50, which is more than the cost of the box itself.

Next up we have the Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray.

Value: $6.25 (1oz can, full size is 4oz and is $25)

I've yet to use this particular spray, but I have used Oscar Blandi's dry shampoo before and didn't mind it. This spray is supposed to give "dry hair a voluminous, sexy, tousled look". And I never say no to voluminous, sexy and tousled! :) This is a great sized sample as well.

Then lastly, the item I was most excited about receiving:

Value: $24 (full-sized)

This is the ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lengthening Mascara, and as I said, a full sized product! I've yet to try this as well (my Birchbox literally did not come in until today due to all the weather issues in New York earlier this month), but I'm just running out of all my current open mascaras, so I'm excited to try out this one!

So that was my Birchbox! Onto my Ipsy bag. This was my first month as an Ipsy subscriber, and I was super excited to try it out. Upon opening the pink metallic bag, this is what I found:

Holy full sized samples, batman! I couldn't wait to crack into those little packages. One thing I'd kind of observed about Ipsy that I wasn't crazy about is that they often send samples of make-up products from companies you've never heard of before. Which makes sense: of course it'd be easiest to obtain samples from up-and-coming cosmetics companies rather than well-established ones. But this bag shocked me, with three well-known high-end cosmetic company's products staring me in the face!

The first thing I was drawn to was definitely the eye shadow.

Value: $3.83 (For one full-sized shadow; the full-sized Meet Matt(e) palette is $34.50)

Three things I love: 
1) Eye shadow
2) Matte eye shadows
3) the Balm eye shadows

This is the shadow Matt Batali. My excitement could not be contained. I swatched this immediately (last picture at the bottom) and realized it was just as velvety smooth as all the Balm eye shadows. The shade may come off as dark brown in these photos, but it actually has a bit of a purple hue to it as well. Basically, it's gorgeous, and Ipsy has me wrapped around their finger if this is the type of sample they're going to send.

Value: $9 for 2.25ml(Full-sized is 4.5ml & $18)

The next item I gravitated toward was another product I recognized, which was the Bare Minerals mini Moxie lip gloss in Dare Devil. It's a gorgeous shimmery, dark berry shade for fall & winter. The size is half the size of a normal lip gloss from Bare Minerals, which is more lip gloss than I ever end up finishing anyway, so I'm sure this sample will last me longer than I need it to! This is also swatched in the photo at the bottom of this post.

The last item that I recognized the brand of was the Benefit they're Real! Mascara. 

Value: $7.67 for .1oz (full-sized is $23 for .3oz)

I have been able to try out this mascara, and I really do like it a lot. It makes my lashes a lot longer and fuller, but I have to watch out for clumping, because it clumps pretty easily. I was still super excited to get it because I love Benefit mascaras and came super close to purchasing this mascara myself. Glad I didn't! Deluxe-sized sample mascaras like this really last just about as long as a full size mascara, about 2 months or so, because even though full-sized mascaras have more product, they usually start drying up before you can even use them all. So I'm happy with this!

Next we have an eyeliner from Starlet Cosmetics in the shade "all I want is peace, love & chocolate".

Value: I believe it's $11, because this exact eyeliner is not sold on their site, but similar ones are sold for $11

I'm not a big fan of brown eyeliners, but I am a fan of full-sized products. This is also swatched in the photo at the bottom of this post.

Last but certainly not least is a lovely little sparkly nail polish by Nailtini in the shade Millionaire, from their Speakeasy Lacquer Collection.

Value: $13 (full-sized)

I am a self-professed nail polish addict and I am not ashamed. Within minutes of opening my Ipsy bag, this polish was on my nails.

It's a gold glitter polish with little blue flecks of glitter (and minuscule pink/purple glitter bits) in a clear base. This was one coat of it over three coats of Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro in Pink Bliss. I thought the glitter polish was very fun, and it literally kept my nail polish from chipping for nearly a week. Not bad for a polish I've never heard of before!

Swatches of BM Moxie in Dare Devil, the Balm eye shadow in Matt Batali, Starlet Cosmetics eyeliner in "all I want is peace, love & chocolate


Total Value of My Birchbox for November 2012:
Chuao ChocoPod --------------------------- $1.14
MCMC Frangrance ------------------------- $3.80
Feeling Smitten Bath Bomb --------------$10.50
Oscar Blandi Spray --------------------------$6.25
ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Mascara -----$24.00

Total Value: ----------------------------------$45.69

Total Value of My Ipsy Bag for November 2012:
the Balm eye shadow ------------------------$3.83
BM Moxie lip gloss --------------------------$9.00
Benefit they're Real! Mascara---------------$7.67
Starlet eyeliner -------------------------------$11.00
Nailtini nail polish ---------------------------$13.00

Total Value: ----------------------------------$44.50

In regards to value, obviously the bags/boxes are nearly neck & neck. However, I still generally believe that Birchbox generally offers samples from more higher-end, generally well-known and desirable companies, whereas Ipsy once in a while manages to sneak in a well-known sample (or three, like this month, us lucky dogs!), but more often sends brands like Nailtini and Starlet, which I've never heard of. 

Birchbox also seems a little more broad in products than Ipsy. I've gotten edible items, make up products, face cleansers, hair products, etc. Ipsy seems to be more purely make up products, or at least from what I can tell.

Birchbox also has a point system, where you earn points with every box you get as long as you review your products on their website. After two boxes, you've basically earned about $10 in points toward the Birchbox store, which contains all of the products they send out & more. Like I said, I've been a subscriber for 19 months, and in that time I've earned about $130 in points, which almost completely pays for my Birchboxes. Not to mention the many (probably upwards of a dozen) full-sized products I've received, worth anywhere between $10-$40. Birchbox is a true winner in my book! 

Ipsy offers discounts on the products that they send you for you to use on that product's website, but they do not currently offer any kind of point or loyalty system like Birchbox does.

If you're truely interested in trying name brand cosmetics and receiving hair products, skin products and the occasional food product as well as cosmetics, I'd recommend Birchbox. If you're really just in it for the make-up and would prefer to get more full-sized products (even if they're not well known high-end products), I'd recommend Ipsy. Or if you're a greedy little make up fiend who wants to get your grubby little hands on everything like myself, I'd recommend signing up for both! :) $10 for each box that are clearly well worth it is a great deal in my opinion!


  1. I do Ipsy currently, and was wondering about Birch Box. I think I'll take your suggestion and try both!

  2. I do Ipsy currently, and was wondering about Birch Box. I think I'll take your suggestion and try both!