Happy Fashion Friday friends! All summer long, I’m asking friends to send me ideas (or posts) for Fashion Friday. And I’m delighted to welcome back to our corner table my lovely friend, Brandy. She’s been trying out make up subscription services and here’s her 411 for all my fashion friends.
I love the idea of a subscription service.
A cool little mystery box of fun surprises to enjoy each month. Like it’s my birthday every month.
Actually, the one I wanted to get was Graze, the monthly snack box. Oh, but trust my scale, I already snack plenty. Best not to feed that beast, literally. And don’t need more clothes, so I was in no mood to try Stitchfix.
Instead I went with beauty products. I had two good reasons!
One, I can get in a beauty rut. Been wearing my same favorite shade of lipstick since I was in law school? Yep. I’ve been stuck in a Clinique rut for two decades. I needed new colors and new looks.
Two, I travel a ton, both for work and personal. I’ve never met a vacation I didn’t want to go on, so I needed travel sized items of high quality. Not the junk from the bins at our corner pharmacy. Little items I could take to try, toss if I didn’t like, and buy full-sized if I did.
Not to mention, I hate shopping! So if I can get makeup sent to my house and avoid the terror of the perfume counter attack spray ladies, bonus!
I tried two make up subscription services: Birchbox and Ipsy.
Overall, my plan has worked great. I got what I wanted from the service. Here’s a compare and contrast to help you understand if one of these is right for you.
COST – Price is the same, so that issue won’t make your decision. They both cost about $10 a month, or you can prepay for a year for about $100-110.
CONTENT – You get five items a month from both.
Is this a good value? Heck yes. I tried to price out the items and I think the value is around $25-40 a month.
So what’s the difference?
QUALITY and SIZE – Birchbox provides higher quality items and nicer brands. You get to self select one item a month, so you have some control over what you get. This is perfect for me. I can think, oh I need a new face cleanser, let’s see if they have one to try. This is where I got turned on to things like Coola, the best sunscreen I have used. And Oribe, an amazing hair care line. And Vasanti, a great skin care line. They send super classy items that actually work.
You get more sample sizes and fewer full sized items with Birchbox than Ipsy. This is perfect for my travels. (Or to keep a touch up bag in your gym bag, or in your desk for work-to-evening events.) You get more skin care and hair care with Birchbox and less makeup. If you like an item and want a full size, there is usually a discount to buy it on the Birchbox site. The items come in a nice sturdy box, suitable to reuse for wrapping gifts.
Ipsy provides more full sized items, which generally are not as high-end. Some are simply things you could grab at the drug store. The value per box is likely higher with Ipsy due to the full-sized items, but I don’t always like the items as well.
Ipsy is much more makeup, and less skin and hair care. I hope you like black eyeliner. They send you one almost every month. You do get to fill out a profile when you order so you can say generally what you like. However, what I get each month isn’t really reflected in what I wrote. For example, I’m pretty sure I said no black eyeliner.
Ipsy items come in a small makeup bag. A positive for Ipsy is they tend to be more trendy. If you are a stuck-in-a-rut person, Ipsy will fix that by sending you cool, hip products. And, if you need it, they also send an email on how to wear them. Because of Ipsy, I now own and know how to wear an Urban Decay highlighter powder.
Some items so trendy as to be unusable for me as a professional in a management role. But if I were a college girl, I’d love it. In fact, sometimes I save the things I don’t want and pass them to my more trendy friends. (One month, they sent bronze glittery eyeliner and atomic strength mascara – nope for work, okay for date night).
No one gets my Birchbox items, I keep those!
The worst: Wow does Ipsy want in on your social media life. When you review the product, in theory so they can customize your next shipment, it winds up posted to my Twitter. I’ve tried to fix this issue repeatedly, no dice. They also email you. A LOT.
Bottom line, both are good services but I prefer Birchbox. I like the higher end products. They have a near 100% useful items hit ratio for me. Ipsy is fun, but more hit or miss. If had a more casual job and look, I might prefer it.
Both are a good value, and I truly enjoy the monthly fun. I think I will let Ipsy lapse when the year is up and keep Birchbox. Either service would make an amazing gift for someone! You could send someone a three month subscription for about $30, and they’d get at least $100 worth of beauty products and think fondly of you each month when they opened the gift. Win-Win!
Okay, I’ve kind of convinced myself I need the snack box subscription.
Liesl Roeder says
I subscribe to both Ipsy and Birchbox monthly. I love Birchbox’s variety and quality (I can’t get enough of Rene Furterer’s Lumicia haircare line!). Ipsy I keep for those small surprises that I love, like Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash (though, who knew I could ALSO buy this on Walmart.com!). I agree, Birchbox is more work-appropriate. Ipsy affords me the opportunity to keep what I want and pass along the ones I won’t use to my son’s fiancée or my close friends. Thank you, Brandy, for a great review of both!
I agree- great review! I had never considered Birchbox before (and hadn’t heard of the other one before so def. hadn’t considered it :)) but now I’m rethinking.