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Birchbox OR Ipsy – November 2014

The image shows an open cardboard box with the word "BIRCHBOX" printed on the inside of the lid. Inside the box, there is a blue card with the text "OPEN FOR Holiday BIRCHBOX" written on it. The box is lined with red tissue paper. The background is a textured, dark-colored surface.
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It’s time for the November battle of the beauty sample subscriptions. Each month, Birchbox goes head to head with Ipsy to see which delivered more value and wow.

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 that month.  So Birchbox or Ipsy?  Which will it be?


The November theme was Giving. I didn’t really get the connection between the theme and the products themselves but it was seasonally appropriate and perhaps got me thinking about the holidays!

Birchbox November

Birchbox November


My box contained:

  • Jouer Matte Moisture Tint
  • Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
  • amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
  • Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara
  • Not Soap, Radio Body Wash (Awash in a Field of Four Leaf Clover)
  • Chuao Chocolatier ChocoPod (bonus item)

I also had the opportunity to opt in for a special box – The Happy Holiday Hacks Box. That box included two of the same items as the Giving box but I did not make my selection before the box was out of stock.


The November theme was Girl Meets Glitter.  The handpicked selections for me arrived in silver glitter bag with a hot pink zipper.

Ipsy November

My bag contained the following:


  • Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base
  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye
  • J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint
  • Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray
  • TEMPTU S/B Highlighter


My Product Thoughts?

Favorite product of the month?  The Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray from my Ipsy bag was fantastic. I threw it in my travel bag for the cruise and it helped me with strong hold several nights while not drying out my tresses.

Tried it before and glad to get it again?  I loved the amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo in my Birchbox. I’ve been super impressed with the other amika hair products I’ve tried before. They seem to work really well with my baby fine damaged hair. I don’t always like dry shampoo spray but this one did well!

Thanks but no thanks?  Two of these this month – the Not Soap, Radio Body Wash smelled like hospital-grade disinfectant and did not impress me with suds or general texture. Ick. And the J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint seemed like a great idea but I looked like Ozzy Osborne on stage after eating a bat. Bloody and gross. No thank you! (I even tried it again with the tiniest most delicate application and I looked like a post-feast vampire.

Didn’t think I’d like it but?  The Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base was lovely. It was moist enough to go on smooth but matte enough to wear all day. It went well with my normal Naked palette shadows.

Great staple for my bag?  The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint was lovely. I’ve been on the hunt ever since Kiehls discontinued my very favorite tinted moisturizer. This one might be the replacement I’ve been looking for!

Stashing it for?  Dr. Jart products always get tossed in my travel bag. They are great and I somehow manage to use my stash on random movie nights in while staying in hotels.

Getting all dolled up?  The IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye and TEMPTU S/B Highlighter both were great for a wonderful glamour eye look. I also loved the Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara (the secret is the “tubes” of mascara it creates around lashes) but it didn’t quite live up to the 24 hour mark – it was gone the next morning despite sleeping in it.

Other comments?  I liked the bonus Chuao Chocolatier ChocoPod. I’ve seen this brand and wanted to try it – the bacon chocolate I got was a great snack fix (I ate it shortly after opening my box!) and I will likely order more.


The Verdict

This was a REALLY tough month for me. I couldn’t decide between the two at first but ultimately I added up the points and declared this one a TIE!!!

Both shipments had something I loved and something I hated. And at the end of the day, this might have been my best month yet for a whole range of beauty samples I really loved.

For those keeping track of the last six months, that’s 2.5 wins for Birchbox and 3.5 wins for Ipsy – and at the end of the day, I like that I have both subscriptions – on a typical month, I get to try ten different products and have plenty of samples to take on the road when I travel.


Want to try them?

A Birchbox or an Ipsy subscription would make a GREAT gift for the gal in your life who travels (or who just likes to try new things). At $10 a month, it’s a great way to sample five new things each month.

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.

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!

See October’s Birchbox OR Ipsy review here

See September’s Birchbox OR Ipsy review here

See August’s Birchbox OR Ipsy review here

See July’s Birchbox OR Ipsy review here

See June’s Birchbox OR Ipsy review here


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