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Birchbox OR Ipsy – September 2014

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It’s time for another Birchbox OR Ipsy square off.

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

Each month, I review “the box” versus “the bag” and the overall haul to see which one wins for value and quality.


This month’s box theme was Fresh Paint.  The box this month was a special addition box with a decorator design.  There were apparently three different box designs sent out.

Birchbox September 2014
Birchbox September 2014

My products included:

  • Acure Organics Day Cream
  • dr. brandt pores no more vacuum cleaner
  • Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray
  • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in RUFFIAN Naked (bonus acetone-free remover towelette)
  • TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer


This month’s Ipsy glam bag arrived in a pewter metallic studded bag.  The theme was Street Style.

Ipsy September 2014
Ipsy September 2014

I received the following samples:

  • Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask by Briogeo
  • Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush by Crown Brush
  • Lipstick by Hikari
  • Hot Singles Eye Shadow by NYX
  • Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil by Pacifica

My Product Thoughts?

Favorite product of the month?  Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray in my Birchbox.  I wasn’t expecting to love it as most hair oils leave my tresses feeling dirty.  This one made them glossy and sleek and I’m likely to purchase the full-size version of this.

Runner up favorite?  It’s not a product, but I LOVE the Ipsy bag this month – it’s chic and totally going to be my next makeup bag!

Thanks but no thanks?  Lipstick by Hikari – the color was a poppy red, totally wrong for me as pale as I am.  Nice product but not one I’m likely to wear unless I’m trying to look like Maleficent.

Didn’t think I’d like it but?  Acure Organics Day Cream in my Birchbox – nothing about this suggested it would be for me – it had a citrusy smell (which usually means irritated skin for me) and an oily texture.  And then I tried it.  It left my face feeling soft but not greasy.  My makeup went on smoothly.  It was an unexpected win.

Great staple for my bag?  Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush by Crown Brush in my Ipsy Glam Bag.  Great new brush… I own all three of the Naked Basics palettes and this is a great brush for doing some of the more complex color blends I see on Pinterest but am sometimes scared to try.

Great color?  RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in RUFFIAN Naked from my Birchbox.  Such a basic unexpectedly plain color, but exactly what I want for my winter pedicures, where I want my toes to look clean, but don’t want dark colors that chip inside my boots.

Stashing it for?  Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil by Pacifica out of my Ipsy Glam Bag.  I was not nuts about the pencil as I have a half dozen I like better.  And then I realized I couldn’t get it off.  I think it lasted 48 hours.  I realized this will be the perfect “take on cruises” eye liner when I want to have some eyes on for the pool but don’t want to worry about having it run.  Snorkeling eyes?  Check!

Other comments?  I liked the TEMPTU highlighter in the Birchbox – it went on much smoother than most cream highlighters and blended nicely.  The NYX shadow was fine… it just didn’t “impress” me.  Purple is a color that can look odd on me and it’s a brand I can find easily at many stores so it wasn’t really a discovery.  The conditioning hair mask in the Ipsy bag left my hair soft, but also slightly greasy.  If I used it again, I’d do it on a weekend and then wash again before going out in public.  I like ALL dr. brandt products so the pores no more was a win.


The Verdict

Birchbox for the win… finally!  The Ipsy winning streak is finally broken – while two of the last three were close, last month had me seriously questioning whether to stay with Birchbox.  A couple of things changed for me this month.

First, Birchbox seems to have stepped up their game on value finally – after a couple of months of sponsored boxes that seemed to be phoning it in, this month I finally felt that I got at least $10 in value.

Second, Birchbox offered me the regular box OR a special box – and they’ve done that again for October.  I was not quick enough to reply for September so I got the regular box and also missed out on my product choice, but for October, I’m on it and the regular box wins out again.


September's Birchbox allowed for special box choices for those who acted quickly enough!
September’s Birchbox allowed for special box choices for those who acted quickly enough!

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!  Both arrive mid-month for subscribers.

See August’s Birchbox vs. Ipsy review here. 

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!


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