Birchbox and Ipsy (formerly MyGlam) are beauty subscription boxes that send you beauty and makeup samples for just $10 a month.They are a great way to try new products without the commitment. I have purchased both and would like to give you my opinion on each.
I will be going in-depth on all aspects of the companies, but I will not be reviewing the individual products.
Price and Billing
Both Birchbox and Ipsy cost $10 a month, and shipping is free. Birchbox has the option to "upgrade" your box so that you get five samples along with two full-size products, which costs $30.
Both are subscription services, meaning that you will be billed monthly and keep receiving the boxes until you decide to cancel your subscription. Both companies bill you on the first of the month (a credit or debit card is required) and boxes usually ship sometime during the second week of the month.
Types of Products Offered
Birchbox focuses mainly on beauty and skincare products, while Ipsy focuses mainly on makeup. Usually, there is only one makeup item in a Birchbox.
In my Birchboxes, I have received lip gloss, shaving cream, lotion, face and hair masks, eyeliner, BB cream, makeup remover, perfumes, hair care products, facial cleansers, body wash, and other products.
In my Ipsy Glam Bags, I have received eyeshadow, blush, makeup brushes, eyeliner, bronzer, facial cleanser, lip gloss,hair products, perfume, and other products.
Birchbox samples more luxury or high end brands while Ipsy offers drug-store and mid-level brands.
Examples of Birchbox Brands:
It's a 10
and many more.
Examples of Ipsy Brands:
Bumble and Bumble
Not Your Mother's
Both services allow you to take a quiz to personalize the samples you receive in your package. You will be asked questions such as your skin tone, what kind of products you like, how adventurous you are with makeup, etc.
Birchbox ships in a box. Inside that box is another box, a very cute box! These sturdy cardboard boxes contain your samples, wrapped up neatly with tissue paper. The decorative boxes are reusable. Also, in your box there's a handy index card that tells you some information about your samples and the cost of the full-size products.
Ipsy ships in a hot pink bubble envelope. Inside the envelope is your "Glam Bag" which is a small makeup bag that contains your samples. You also get an index card in your bag, but it's just a pretty picture of a pretty girl telling you to tell social media how much you love Ipsy.
Getting my birchbox is like opening a thoughtful gift, while Ipsy seems to be haphazardly thrown together. In fact, many people complain about receiving damaged products in their Glam Bags!
Birchbox has a rewards system in which you can earn points to spend on their website. 100 points equals $10 to spend in the shop.
Purchasing products on the Birchbox website = 1 point per every dollar spent
Referring friends to a Birchbox subscription = 50 points per person
Reviewing product samples = 10 points per product
This system is amazing! You get 50 points a month just for reviewing your samples; in two month's you have $10. It's like a buy two, get one free kind of deal. What I like about this system is that you can use your points towards full-size products that you sampled and liked.
Ipsy also has a rewards system, but it is, in my humble opinion, a joke. Remember going to the arcade as a kid, putting coins into the games, and having tickets spew out? And then you would trade in all of your hard-earned tickets for a dinky plastic ring and a tootsie roll. That's what I think of with the ipsypoints program.
One time bonus = 100 points for joining
Referring friends to ipsy = 250 points
Reviewing product samples = up to 15 points (10 points for reviewing, 5 points for sharing your review on social media)
Glam Bag Review = 10 points for reviewing entire Glam Bag
Sneak Peak at Glam Bag = 10 points
Early Access to Glam Bag = 10 points
Answering the Question of the Month = 10 points
Choosing a Favourite Product = 10 points
And when you accumulate enough points, usually 250-1000 points, you can pick your "prize". There are usually five products you can choose from, and there's a good chance you haven't sampled them yet. What's more, the lower priced items usually sell out fast. Not only is the system confusing, it is also random and irrelevant.
Birchbox has lots of tutorials and tips about the month's sampled products on their website. You can have a sneak peek at what's inside your box before you get it. There are also usually promo codes to use for discounts on your orders in the Birchbox shop.
Although you cannot buy full-size products on the Ipsy website, they give you exclusive coupon codes to use on external sites. There is also the option to get a peek at what's inside your Glam Bag.
Although I have not personally had a problem with either of the services, Ipsy's customer service tends to get a bad rap. I mentioned earlier that Ipsy samples often break during shipping or sometimes are missing. Customers have said that Ipsy's customer service is "rude", "doesn't care about their customers", etc.
Which is Right For You?
Birchbox is targeted at a more mature audience, while Ipsy tends to attract younger audiences. Birchbox is mostly for beauty and hair and skin care samples, while Ipsy will send you more makeup.
I love makeup, but it is such a personal thing, and I think you personally have to choose what kind of makeup you buy. No quiz will be able to find the perfect shade for you. I end up not even using a lot of the samples I receive in my Glam Bags. If you go with Birchbox, you can breathe easy knowing that you will at least use up all of your samples, even if they are not your favorite.
Birchbox sends products that you will use every day -- shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cleanser, lip balm, hair spray, etc. There's a good chance you'll find a purple lipstick or super bright blush in your Ipsy bag that you'll never even open.
Why I'm Unsubscribing from Ipsy
From the start, Ipsy has annoyed me. When you first make an account, excited for your first bag to come, your dreams are quickly crushed when you are told you are on "The Wait List". So you will have to wait a month or more before you can even get your first bag. But wait! If you like Ipsy on Facebook, follow Ipsy on Twitter, follow all of their beauty gurus on Instagram, subscribe to their Youtube channels, learn how to samba, and give away your first-born child, THEN you can skip the wait list! Wow!
This so-called "Wait List" is a scam to get you to free advertise for this company, that you don't even have an opinion on yet. Ugh.
And it doesn't stop there, you are bombarded with messages to advertise for them over and over and over again. It gets very annoying.
I have received three Ipsy bags and none of them have blown me away, and I feel like it's a waste of money. I will continue subscribing to my Birchbox, because I have found a few products that I now consider my go-to's. I also love that you can buy full-size products directly on their website.
Here's a handy visual comparison of the two companies:
For me, Birchbox is the winner. If you'd like to purchase a Birchbox subscription (with parent's permission!) follow this link: