Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 2014: Birchbox vs. Ipsy

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, as always, so I'll start with that.

Birchbox started advertising a couple of months ago that they'd be doing a partnership with US Weekly this month. So, theoretically we would be getting extra-awesome boxes, and some much talked about new products. I peeked at the previews of all the possible boxes (which you can do by going to and changing the number at the end) and was hoping for this box:
 I love Dr. Brandt, so I'm always excited to try any of their products, I've been wanting to try fake-up for ages, and Benefit's new Big Easy sounds perfect for me (it's basically a BB cream, except that it's mattifying, which I need). I got significantly less excited when I saw the sample size of the Big Easy that people received. It's a peel-away sample. Really Birchbox? I didn't get this box, and I ended up being okay with that (even though I would've loved the Pores No More and fakeup).

Here's what I did get:

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil - $3.24?
I don't know the volume of this, I'm guessing around .5oz Of all the things in my box, this is one of the things I'm most excited to try. I loved the Beauty Protector spray that I got a couple of Birchboxes back, and this smells just as good as that does (though it smells like vanilla, so it's a different smell).

 Harney & Sons Tea bags - $0.96
Most people are bummed to get tea in their boxes, but I don't really mind. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have beauty products, but I love tea and I'm always on the lookout for a good tea that I can get points for buying.

 OPI Sheer Tints Color, Tinted Top Coat Mini - $2.25
I don't really use polish, so this wasn't an item I was excited about from the beginning, but the color is interesting, so maybe I'll give it a try. I have a couple of blues that might be pretty with a purple top coat. I was a little disappointed by the size though. As much as they talked about the OPI polishes in all of the previews, I was thinking it would be full-size (or at least half size).

Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum - $12.50
I'm excited to try this, (I always love skincare). It's a tiny sample (5mL), but given that the full size product is only 30mL and costs $75, that's to be expected. I'm hoping given the cost that a little goes a long way. I'll have reviews of this soon!

Harvey Prince Hello - $2?
I'm guessing this is a normal sample size (a little under 2mL), in which case the value is about $2. I'm never excited about perfume samples (DKNY Be Delicious is the only perfume that I've found that I like that doesn't give me a headache). As you can probably see from the picture, this arrived broken and empty. I sent an email to Birchbox, and got the following email from them the next day:

Their customer service is AMAZING! I'm excited to see what will be in my replacement box. Also, I originally thought my tea would be ruined because it was really wet, but the package is plasticy instead of normal tea bag packaging, so it's fine. 

The total value of my Birchbox this month was $20.25. Lower than usual, but still a good deal for a box I pay less than $10 for (really it's less than $5 if you take into account the $5 point credit you get every month). I did notice that if it weren't for the truffle serum, my box wouldn't even have been worth $10. I was a little disappointed that there were only three items in my bag that I was excited to try (and one of them was tea). This is one of my last exciting boxes so far, hopefully whoever they partner with next year will be more exciting. 

Here's what I got in my Ipsy bag this month:

Pop Beauty Plump Pout Mini in Fuchsia Freesia - $7.53 
This is one of the items I was really excited for! I always like Pop Beauty products, and this is the color I was hoping for. The one thing I don't like about it is the packaging. The black part is made of that rubbery material that marks up and looks gross really easily. I can't imagine how it'll look after a few days in my makeup bag. 

Zoya Polish in Odette - $9
Again, not a polish person, but at least this one is full-size. It's a pretty color, so I'll probably gift/swap it. 

J.Cat Lashes EL 747XS - $3.99
I've never used fake lashes, and don't intend to start. These will definitely be swapped.

Skyn Iceland Fresh Start Mask with Iceage Mud - $13
When I saw the photo, I wasn't thrilled to be getting foil packets in Ipsy, but there's actually a decent amount of product (8 grams) in each packet. I'm pretty excited to use these masks!

City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon - $2.99
There were four possible colors of this blush, and this was the one I wanted. I haven't tried it yet, but the color is great, sort of a medium pinky color. This wasn't my first choice item, but I'm still excited to try it since I got the color I wanted. It's less peach than it looks in the pictures on the website, but a really pretty color.

This is what the inside of the bag looks like, it's pink leopard print.

The total value of my bag this month was $36.51. With the exception of the lashes, I'm happy with everything I got in my bag. The gloss and blush were both in the colors I was hoping for (I didn't care what nail polish color I got), and I'm always excited to try face masks. Either I got lucky this month, or IpsyMatch is starting to do its job. 

The pairings:

Matchup #1: Nail Polish
Zoya vs. OPI

As mentioned, I don't get all that excited about nail polish. That said, one is a full-size in a beautiful color, and the other is itty bitty in an interesting color. This one goes to Ipsy.

Ipsy = 1
Birchbox = 0

Matchup #2: Skincare
skyn ICELAND mask vs. Skin & Co. Truffle Therapy Serum
I'm really excited to try both of these. The Skyn Iceland mask is actually a larger size (despite being a foil packet) and I LOVE face masks, so this one goes, again to Ipsy. 

Ipsy = 2
Birchbox = 0

There's no good way to pair up the next three, so I'm basing it on my level of excitement at trying each item.

Matchup #3:
Pop Beauty Plump Pout Mini vs. Beauty Protector- Protect & Oil
This one is hard, and really could go either way. I'm excited to try the Beauty Protector, and it smells AMAZING, but I love Pop Beauty and this color is the exact color I wanted. Since I'm equally excited about these two products, I'll go with product size. The Beauty Protector is enough for a couple of uses, whereas the Pop Beauty will last me a while. This one goes to Ipsy.

Ipsy = 3
Birchbox = 0

Matchup #4:
City Color Be Matte Blush vs. Harney & Sons Wrapped Tea Sachets
A full-size blush in a color I like, vs. tea. It's not hard to guess what wins: the blush. That said, in any of the other three colors available, the tea would've won.

Ipsy = 4
Birchbox = 0

Matchup #5:
J. Cat Beauty Eyelashes vs. Harvey Prince Hello
I hate getting perfume samples, and I don't wear false lashes. Then again, I just got lashes from Ipsy two months ago, and am annoyed that I got them again (despite there being SEVERAL other possible items, and my giving lashes the lowest possible rating). Birchbox on the other hand has only sent me two perfume samples out of the 7 months I've subscribed.

Ipsy = 4
Birchbox = 1

This one went to Ipsy by a landslide, though if I'd gotten different colors for the blush and lip gloss, it would've gone the other way. All in all, I wasn't that excited about what I got in either subscription this month. I've got two more Birchboxes coming my way though (I signed up for a second one for February and March because I could get 100 extra points, so after I review February and March's boxes, I will have paid $20 for them and will have $20 in points, so they'll pretty much be free). I already know what I'm getting in the second one I'm paying for, but I'm hoping I'll be happier with the free one they're sending me. I'll post reviews of both of those when they arrive.

If this review didn't scare you off (all subscriptions have off months, this was one of them), and you choose to sign up for Ipsy or Birchbox please use my links! I get points for anyone who uses my links to sign up.

If you already get Ipsy or Birchbox, what did you get this month? I'm extra curious to hear from anyone who got the Big Easy. How was it? I'm really wanting to try!