Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ipsy vs. Birchbox December 2013

For anyone who doesn't know Ipsy and Birchbox are both subscription services where you pay $10 a month and get 5 different products to try.  Ipsy is more make-up based and sends full sized products or deluxe samples of pretty good brands. They have a lot of brand repetition, but since everything is deluxe or full-size things that you don't like are generally giftable. Birchbox has more variety and higher end brands, but they tend to have smaller samples (I don't think I've gotten any full-sized items from Birchbox, whereas most of my Ipsy items are full-sized). They have less repetition though and your survey answers actually seem to impact what you get. The best ting about Birchbox is their point system. Every time you review one of the items you receive in your box, you get 10 points, and every 100 points is $10 to spend in the store. If you review all of the items in your boxes, you get $10 worth of points to spend in the shop every other month! I think that both subscriptions are great (especially for only $10 a month or $110 a year), and it just depends on what you're looking for.

Both of my subs were kind of disappointing this month. That said, I'm still glad that I get them. They each had one or two item that i'm excited to try (even if they had some dud items too) and the items I wanted to try paid for the subscriptions on their own. I also think that last month would've been hard to top, so this month was extra disappointing coming after that.
This month's Ipsy came first, so I'll start with that.
Honestly, for the most part, this month was a miss for me. Out of five products there are only one or two that I'm going to use and none that I'm suuuper excited about. When I looked online my favorite part this month was actually the bag everything came in. It's pretty thick and it's one I'll definitely use! Unfortunately one of my perfume samples leaked all over it, and I might have to throw it away (most perfume gives me a headache and this one is no exception). I'm hoping Ipsy will send me a replacement.

Be a Bombshell One Stick in Girl Crush - $16
 The first item I got is the Be a Bombshell One Stick (which can theoretically be used as lip color, cheek color, and eye shadow) in Girl Crush. I like the color but I'm not sure it'll work on me, so we'll see. The reviews of this are generally really good, so we'll see. Plus, this item alone paid for my bag!

Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in Naturally Bare - $7.20
This trio isn't actually available retail, but the 10 shadow palette is $24, so that's the approximate value. I like the brand Pop Beauty, and browns are what I use the most often so I'm glad I got this. I already have a lot of browns, but I like these three together so this'll be a perfect purse set!

Ardell Natural Lashes in Black 120 - $3.99
I never use fake lashes (and don't plan to start) so this'll be something that I swap or gift. 

J Cat Beauty Big Lip Pencil in Caramel Mocha - $3.99
This is a brown color that I will never use (I don't have the skin tone to pull off brown lip color), The one thing I don't like about Ipsy is that I don't think they really take your surveys into consideration that much. 

English Laundry Signature Collection - $3
The value is mostly a guess, I don't know the original volume of the perfumes and one of them wasn't all the way full because it leaked all over my bag, which makes it even more difficult to guess the volume.

Total value - approximately $34.18
This wasn't a great bag for me, but even if you just include the products that I'll use, it pays for itself twice (three times if you include the things I won't use)! My only issue with this bag is that the perfume sample leaked, so it'll be a while before I use anything. I'm airing the products out in the garage (even after washing the outsides, they still smell like perfume) and I think I'm going to have to throw away the bag. I emailed IpsyCare though, and I'm hoping they'll send me a new bag (this one is so cute, I wish it had been a different one that was ruined. Then I wouldn't care. )

Birchbox came the next day. I was way more excited about Birchbox, but there were still a couple of misses in this box. Still, I feel like it evens out. The great boxes more than make up for the mediocre ones.

This was my box this month:

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle - 1oz Sample $2.75
This is something that I'm really excited to try! It's a good sized sample, plenty in there to figure out whether or not I like it. I've heard great things about Beauty Protector, which makes me more excited to try it
Honest Co. Honest Healing Balm .75oz - $3.24
I'm really excited to try this. As a preschool teacher, I wash my hands a lot and winter is especially hard on them. I wish the sample size was larger but I'm hoping that a little goes a long way!
 LAQA & Co Fat Lip Pencil in Ring of Fire 0.07oz (around half size) - $9.69
I got a red lip crayon in my Ipsy last month, so I'm not sure I'll use this. That said, this red looks like it might be a little more flattering and I've heard good things about LAQA & Co.
 Silver Twistband - $2
These never really work for me. They're too loose to wear around my hair once and too tight to go around twice. That said, I'll throw it into someone's gift as a little extra because I know a few people that like them.
 LA FRESH Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes (2, individually wrapped) - $1.66
This isn't something that I was excited to receive, but it's something that I can throw into my purse, and it'll come in handy at some point.

Total value of my Birchbox $19.34
This wasn't a great box for me, but it still paid for itself.

 The first pairing is easy. I got two different lip crayons this month.
J Cat Beauty Big Lip Pencil in Caramel Mocha vs. LAQA and co. Fat Lip Pencil in Ring of Fire

Size-wise, the J Cat is an obvious winner, but I've heard better things about LAQA, plus I wouldn't buy an $18 lip crayon without trying it whereas I wouldn't have a problem spending $3.99 without trying, so the LAQA is something I wouldn't have tried on my own, while the J Cat is something I might've. The point of subscription boxes (to me at least) is trying things that I wouldn't try otherwise. Plus, color-wise I'll never use the Caramel Mocha, whereas the Ring of Fire is a nice red. One for Birchbox.

The rest of the pairings I'll pair based on my level of excitement to receive them.
Each bag had two main products that I was excited about.

Be a Bombshell One-Stick in Girl Crush vs. Beauty Protect - Protect and Detangle
I'm excited to try both of these items. I'm actually more excited to try the Beauty Protector. I was hoping for the One-Stick in a different color, but I'm still excited to try it and it's full-size so that's a plus. This one goes to Ipsy.
Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trip in Naturally Bare vs. Honest Healing Balm
Neutrals are my favorite, these are great colors and this palette will be perfect to throw in my purse, but I really need a new winter healing balm, whereas I already have a lot of brown shadows. This one goes to Birchbox.
 Ardell Natural Lash Demi 120 vs. LA FRESH Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes (2)
I'll use the wipes but not the lashes. That said, fake lashes are giftable/swappable and two individually wrapped makeup wipes probably aren't. This one could go either way, I'm not excited about either but I'll give this one to Ipsy.
English Laundry Signature Collection vs. Twistband 
I never like perfume samples (most of them give me really bad headaches), and I like this one less than normal because it leaked all over everything, so I'm going to have to wait to use everything and probably going to have to throw the bag away. I'm not excited about the twistband, but I'm even less excited about the perfume sample. This one goes to Birchbox.

End results:
Birchbox = 3
Ipsy = 2
Neither of my bags were great this month, but both of them paid for themselves and both had at least a couple of items that I'm excited to try. I'll post reviews soon to let you know what I think of everything!

So far, Ipsy has won twice (September and November) and Birchbox has won twice (October and December).

Random note: even though I wasn't super excited about my Ipsy bag this month, their customer service is amazing! I emailed them because I was bummed about having to throw the bag away, and they sent me a new one! I'm glad because I think this is the cutest bag so far!

Do you get Ipsy or Birchbox? How did yours compare!

Random contests etc:
You can win 5 Joy to the Girls Palettes from Too Faced here

Enter to win a three month supply of Nocciolata and a $100 Whole Foods gift card here.

Enter to win an 8 piece mini set from Perlier USA (a $280 value) here

Enter to win a year of free samples here

If you're still shopping for the holidays join Ebates. You can make purchases from Amazon, Wal Mart,  Sephora and hundreds of other retailers through their site and get cash back for your purchases. So far, doing my Christmas Shopping I'm getting $20 back.