Birchbox Vs. Ipsy – August 2014

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It’s time for another Birchbox vs. Ipsy square off.  Each month, I review the box vs. the bag and the overall haul to see which one wins for value and quality.

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.  Both arrive mid-month for subscribers.



This month’s box theme was “Lighten Up” and was about keeping cool and laughing the way into fall.

August 2014 Birchbox

August 2014 Birchbox


My products included:

  • Harvey Prince Ageless fragrance sample
  • Noir Cosmetics Long-Wear Eyeliner full-size
  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
  • Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream with Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40
  • Hello Breathspray in Pink Grapefruit Mint



This month’s Ipsy glam bag arrived in a white polyurethane bag with orange polka dots. Ipsy had a back-to-school “Beauty Schooled” theme.  But I think it should have been a beach theme because this cute bag smells just like a beach ball and I can’t get past that!

August 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag

August 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag

I received the following samples:

  • Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
  • J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow
  • Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk


My Product Thoughts?

Favorite product of the month?  Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – wow!  I actually got to sample this mascara a month ago as the company sent me a sample as an “influencer” to try.  I have been wearing it nonstop since – it makes my lashes look full but natural and yet it doesn’t leave the spider clumps that a lot of these ultra-mascaras can these days.   I already ran out three weeks ago to buy a full-size – that’s how much I love this.  Super happy to have another sample as it means I can toss it in my gym locker!

Surprised I got it?  Hello Breathspray.  Birchbox at least did us a favor and marked this as a “lifestyle” extra (something they do throw in to get you to five products when they have already provided the guaranteed $10 value in the first four items.  I figured “okay’ and tried it.  YUCKY!  There is nothing refreshing about grapefruit and mint sprayed in my mouth.  It reminded me of my mother making me return to the breakfast table as a kid to drink my orange juice after I had brushed my teeth.  Horrid.

Thanks but no thanks?  Enough with the Harvey Prince.  This is three months in a row… enough already.  I am growing weary just seeing their brand at this point and it’s hurting my image of them more than it’s helping.  The fragrance doesn’t smell bad, but I am tired of seeing Harvey Prince.

Didn’t think I’d like it but? I figured the Jersey Shore lip conditioner was just a fancily named lip balm but it smelled lovely and made my lips feel buttery soft.  Loved it!

Old favorites reintroduced?  I love dry shampoo but have typically stuck with the powder versions as they tend to work better on my thick but baby fine hair.  This one had some serious power though and worked just as well as my favorite powder brand.  I’m willing to give spray another shot now!

Great staple for my bag?  I loved the Noir Cosmetics eyeliner.  I am super picky about black eyeliner as I like a fine line with a cat eye which requires serious precision.  This one got it done for me – a good jet black with an even application.

Best packaging?  The J Cat Beauty eye shadow comes in its own little pot.  But what makes this cute is that the bottom flips open to reveal an applicator and tiny mirror.  Love it!

Other comments?  The Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner will get tossed in my sample bin for grab-and-go packing.  It didn’t work any better (or worse) than any of the other brands I’ve sampled in the last year.  The Supergoop! hand lotion was nice but seems pricey when I looked at the full-size pricing.  I doubt I’d spend the money.  The Shiseido concentrate was the same for me… lovely feel, but I’m not certain I’d invest in trying this product in full-size – it felt a bit too oily for my liking.


The Verdict

This month, Ipsy wins again – third month in a row!  While the last two months were a close race between the two and came down to being more about my personal preferences, this month, Ipsy had it on value alone.  Birchbox just didn’t wow me at all which is a shame coming off several month of good boxes prior to this summer’s streak.


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!


See July’s Birchbox vs. Ipsy review here.

See June’s Birchbox vs. Ipsy review here.


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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