Birchbox Vs. Ipsy – June 2014

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The beauty box versus bag squares off again in this battle of Birchbox vs. Ipsy.  Both services offer a monthly $10 membership where subscribers receive a selection of beauty product samples that is somewhat customized based on personal preferences.  Birchbox comes in its namesake box while Ipsy’s Glam Bag is a limited edition cosmetic bag each month.


This month’s box had a travel theme for summer and to promote the launch of jetBlue’s new Mint business class.  (Birchbox is providing the amenity kits for those passengers.)

BIrchbox June 2014

BIrchbox June 2014

My products included:

  • Harvey Prince Hello fragrance sample
  • Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
  • Egyptian Magic Skin Cream
  • LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil
  • Coastal Scents Revealed Eyeshadow

I also received a cute “where should you travel next” quiz from jetBlue that offered opportunities to share my results on social media for a chance to win a roundtrip domestic flight.


The Ipsy Glam Bag this month had a Pretty in Paradise theme an included a tropical bag designed by Rebecca Minkoff.

Ipsy June 2014

Ipsy June 2014

I received the following samples:

  • Lash Out Mascara by Be A Bombshell
  • Dream Waves Beach Spray by Marc Anthony
  • Shimmer Eyeliner by Nicka K New York
  • Butter Gloss by NYX
  • Sea Salt Solutions Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant by clariSEA


My Product Thoughts?

Favorite product of the month?  Birchbox with the Egyptian Magic Skin Cream which made my sandpaper-rough elbows feel like butter with one application.

Surprised I got it?  That would be Ipsy with the electric blue liquid eyeliner from Nicka K New York.  I haven’t wore electric blue makeup since the 8th grade (remember colored mascara?  heaven help us!) but I tried it anyway.  It goes on in a very fine line and was great used with my normal black or brown eyeliner to add a tiny bit of highlight to the corners of my eyes – opened them right up!

Thanks but no thanks?  The Birchbox LAQA lip pencil was waxy and odd feeling and came in a coral color that looked awkward on.  And I have trouble taking a makeup product called Lip Lube seriously.  But Ipsy gave me a similar coral shade in the NYX Butter Gloss and it was fabulous and not too orange, unlike the Lip Lube.

Didn’t think I’d like it but? The Harvey Prince fragrance in the Birchbox was a lovely summerish citrus scent.  Totally unlike anything I’d normally wear but it was pleasant on.

Similar products, different outcomes?  The Vasanti cleanser from Birchbox  has a complicated name but it was surprisingly refreshing.  It has a tiny bit of grit to it for a scrub but it didn’t leave my skin feeling roughed up but rather very clean.  The Clarisea charcoal exfoliant from Ipsy confused me at first as it had two ways to use it (plain salts with water added or mixed into cleanser).  I didn’t like it at all by itself – it was rough and awkward to apply, but mixed into my everyday facial cleanser it amplified it but turning it into an exfoliating scrub.  Both products left me feeling like my skin was clean and smooth but the Clarisea had the more noticeable effect.  That said, I’d be more likely to travel with the Vasanti since it’s a single tube whereas I’d still need to carry my preferred cleanser with the Clarisea.

Other comments?  The Coastal Scents eyeshadow that Birchbox included was nice but a bit difficult to blend compared to my normal brand.  That said, the full palette available in the Birchbox store has great shades and might be good for travel.  The Lash Out mascara in the Ipsy bag has an odd chemical smell that was offputting but made my lashes look fuller with minimal clumping.  The Dream Waves Beach Spray in the Ipsy box worked similarly to other sea salt sprays as a texturizer to make my hair drier, thicker, and slightly “crunchy”.  It needs to be used sparingly and is best for getting hair thickened for an updo or to help hold hair accessories in near the roots.


The Verdict

This month, Ipsy wins – I’d spend my own money on all five products included (although I’d pick different colors in the lip gloss and eyeliner!) and the Rebecca Minkoff bag was totally cute.  Birchbox was not far behind though and included my favorite product plus the jetBlue marketing piece was a cute idea and a great way to introduce their new partnership.


Want to try them?

If you are interested in trying out Birchbox, I have a referral link you can use.

If you are interested in trying out Ipsy, I also have a referral link you can use.

Both sites are known to have waiting lists to join but past experience has shown that following their instructions to “share your excitement” on social media may bump you from waiting to confirmed quicker!


Disclaimer:  I *do* receive referral points if you subscribe to either Birchbox or Ipsy using my referral link.  Those points allow me to exchange them for free product.  I only provide referral links for services that I have personally tried and/or would spend my own money on!

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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