Friday, January 17, 2014

January 2014 - Ipsy vs. Birchbox

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. 

Birchbox came first this month (it usually does), so I'll start with that.
I was really happy with my Birchbox this month! Here's a breakdown of what I got!
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser - $6.52
Liz Earle Pure Muslin Cloth - $3.00
This was one of the sneak peak items in October, and I've been wanting it ever since. I think technically this counts as two items, but since I got the headband, which was a beauty extra, I got six items and I'm counting it as one. I've heard good things about this and I'm super excited to try it!

Klorane Shampoo with Desert Date 0.8oz - $1.78
Shampoo is one of the few things beauty-wise that I will admit I don't need. My hair is super long, so I go through a lot of conditioner, and usually when I switch conditioners I end up buying a new shampoo. I probably have at least four open bottles of shampoo in my shower, and several new bottles in our bathroom closet. Also, I'm a little disappointed by the smell. I was hoping it would smell like dates but it just smells like normal shampoo.
Coastal Scents Revealed Palette Sampler - $4.40
I really like these colors (nudes are generally my favorites) and I've wanted to try Coastal scents for a while. That said, I have a lot of shadows in similar colors, so if I'm not impressed by the quality, this will be a total waste.

Soak Handmaid Hand Cream 10mL value - $0.56
It's hard to get excited over a foil packet. This is a product that I really would've been excited to get in a larger size. That said, it's enough to try and the full-size is only $10, so if I like it I'll use my Birchbox points to buy it.

Under Armour Braided Mini Headband - $9.99
I have thick, curly hair and really big ears so I don't see myself rocking any headband any time soon, and this one has gel stuff on the back to make it stay on your head which sounds like disaster when my hair is involved. I'm glad that this counted as a lifestyle extra and that other people seem to want it so it'll be easy for me to trade.

Total Box Value = $26.19
This isn't a super high value box, but I still only paid $10 and got $26 worth of stuff. Plus, once I review all of my items I'll get $5 in Birchbox points. I honestly think that the points system is the best part of Birchbox. It makes those foil packets worth it.

Now, on to Ipsy. January is skincare month and when I saw the sneak peeks I was super excited. There were TONS of awesome items available this month! Unfortunately, I didn't get most of the items that I wanted. Here's what I did get, I'm hoping that once I start trying things out, I'll like them.

I'll start with the bag. One of the things I like about Ipsy is that they sent a makeup bag every month, along with your products. Between Ipsy, Birchbox and Testtube, storage is exactly what I need. A lot of subscribers really hated this month's bag, but I really like it. It's a perfect travel makeup bag! 

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Creamy Eye Pencil in Pearl - $6.00
I'm interested to try this. I was really hoping for Penny, which is a coppery color and looks really pretty. If I can't find someone who wants to trade with me though, I'll give this one a try. I don't really use eye shadow sticks, so it'll be interesting to see how I like it. 

Here's another photo of it so you can see the color. It's kind of a shimmery, nude shade. If nothing else it'll make a nice highlighter. 

Nourish Organic Face Lotion 0.5oz - $6.47
This is probably not something I'll use. There's not a lot that works for me face-wise, so I tend toward products that are recommended for acne-prone skin. Also, the scent has weird undertones. I thought I liked it at first, but the more I smelled it the less I liked it. 

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask 1oz - $4.95
This is the one product in my bag this month that I'm really excited to try. My ends are super damaged and definitely need some TLC.  

Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Fiesta 2.5g - $18.75
I haven't tried any of Mica Beauty's Tinted Lip Balms, but I've heard good things about them. I'm a little dubious about this color on me though, so we'll see. I don't know if it's an item that I'll use, but either way it covers the cost of the bag and then some. 

 Proactive Mark Fading Pads -$4
I'm estimating on the value, since these are only available as part of a 5-piece acne system. I'm not sure how I feel about receiving this. On the one hand, I'm always excited to get acne-specific skincare. On the other, if I end up liking this, I have to buy a $40 kit to get 5 of these along with 4 other products that I might not like. I don't love it when they send parts of sets that I can't repurchase separately.

My Ipsy bag's total value for the month = $40.17 
Pretty great for a $10 bag, especially since that's not including the bag itself. There were other products that I wish I'd gotten instead, but I'm still really hoping that some of these will surprise me.

Match-ups were way easier this month than they usually are. Here's what I came up with:

 Small Skincare Samples
Proactive+ vs. Handmaid Hand Cream

This one goes to Ipsy. I'm always excited to get skincare and Proactive has worked alright for me in the past, so I'm excited to try Proactive+. Also, sample-size wise four wipes beats two 5mL foil packets.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox = 0

Nourish Face Lotion vs. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

I didn't even have to think about this one. Liz Earle is bigger, I'm more excited about it, it comes with a muslin cloth, and it doesn't smell weird. Liz Earle, hands down.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox =1
 Eye Shadows
Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow vs Coastal Scents Revealed Sampler
If I'd gotten Penny instead of Pearl, this would've been really hard for me. I'm excited to try a pencil eye shadow, but the pencil is in a color that I'm not that excited about, while the shadow is in four shades that I like a lot. This one goes to Birchbox.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox = 2

 Hair Care
Briogeo Hair Mask vs. Klorane Shampoo
This was another easy one. I'll probably never use the shampoo and didn't love the smell that much. The hair mask I'll DEFINITELY use and it smells really good. This one goes to Ipsy.

Ipsy = 2
Birchbox = 2

Random stuff
Mica Lip Balm vs. Under Armour Headband
Honestly, I don't care for either item so I'm giving it to the one that will be easiest to trade. I've seen a LOT of people wanting the headband, while almost everyone got the lip color and very few people were interested in it. This one goes to Birchbox.

Ipsy = 2
Birchbox =3

I was a little surprised by how close the results ended up being. My Ipsy wasn't great this month, but both subs were a great value for $10 (really, $9.17, since I bought a yearly subscription to both, which gets you a month free).

Also, if you sign up for Ipsy or Birchbox after reading this, please use my links!

Who else compares their subbies? What won this month for you?