Friday, July 18, 2014

$10 Beauty Boxes: Birchbox vs Ipsy

For only $10/month with the promise to receive 4-5 deluxe beauty samples, the offer is enticing.  Add to that all the rave reviews from the online beauty community and beauty guru endorsements, it's a winning formula!

Even though I live all the way here on the other side of the world, in Malaysia, I managed to get a hold of these subscription boxes (bag?) for quite awhile and have only recently decided not to renew my subscriptions.

Would you believe Birchbox started out as a university project? That little tidbit aside, it is quite possibly one of the most popular beauty box subscription service in the US. They've expanded their online store and offer Birchbox exclusive brands as well as a men's version of the uber popular box.

Every now and again I'll get some awesome items in my monthly box. That being said, I wasn't too excited to receive perfume samples, foil packets and samples that were way too small to be considered deluxe samples.  I didn't enjoy receiving skincare samples either mainly because I don't steer too far away from my existing skincare regime since it already works well for me.

From the monthly sneak peek videos to the website offerings, you'd expect to get products that you're actually excited to try but somehow I never seem to receive any of those cool products they seem to feature regardless of what I answer in my profile.  Some of the items that I've been wanting to try I end up receiving in a different subscription service altogether.

I do love the packaging though.  I use my boxes to organize my make up drawers and for storage.  I have a few more empty ones stashed in my room for future use.  They make great gift boxes too!  I half wanted to continue my subscriptions solely for the box itself.  It's also nice when they include little lifestyle extras like chocolates (didn't really enjoy the mints) and hair ties.  Love those.  And it's fun receiving those cute little nail polishes from Color Club and Ruffian.

There were a few new finds that I enjoyed through my time with Birchbox like the No. 4 Clarifying Shampoo (love the scent and it was the perfect size for travel), twisties hair ties and the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle spray.  I also loved the mini samples of Benefit's Porefessional (perfect to pop in my travel makeup bag!) and the full size Stila products I occasionally receive.

ipsy or formerly known as MyGlam is the brainchild of the beauty queen of YouTube herself, Michelle Phan. Instead of boxes, ipsy delivers cute little bags/pouches filled with beauty products (and tools).  They started off with a fixed set of products and since June 2013 started offering some variety in their bag contents base on your beauty profile.

Generally as far as sample sizes go, ipsy wins hands down against Birchbox. It is very rare that you'll receive foil packets, useless perfume samples or samples so tiny you don't know what to do with them.  However, the quality and selection of products is debatable.  Sometimes it just seems a little meh.

I like the fact that you receive little bags as it was different from all the other beauty sampling services in the market. Most of the bags are quite nicely made and very functional.  I've used the September 2012 bag as a wristlet/clutch to dinners and such, and pretty much most of the others to organize my handbag/purse, keep my padlocks, keys, medicine, make up and so much more.  I know I could probably just as easily sew some up myself but it's nice to receive them in the mail with some additional goodies inside.

The subscription has introduced me to Dermstore which is at least a website I can shop from.  Wasn't too excited for the Juice Beauty and eclos samples (which were quite a decent size mind you) as I'm not too fond of herbal scented products.  As good as natural is for us, I've got to like the scent of it to be want to use the product. I finally got to try zoya nail polishes too.

There were a few brands I could do without in my bag but seems to make a frequent appearance through out my subscription: Mirenesse, Marbella, Starlooks, Be A Bombshell, Mica Beauty, Coastal Scents and Pacifica to list a few.

I was on the other hand excited to receive products from Sexy Hair, emcosmetics, La Fresh, Coola and Chella.  The Chella Ivory Lace highlighting pencil is my current favourite brow highlight the brow gel is a travel essential for me as well.  I loved receiving Urban Decay and NYX too.

I can still check my Glam Room on the website to see products that I could've been receiving had I continued to subscribe and honestly, some months are good and some months aren't so much. There definitely are one or two products that I would've like receiving and some that I would prefer some of the other options.

For more comparisons, eleventhgorgeous does monthly Birchbox vs ipsy unboxings on YouTube.

eleventhgorgeous YouTube channel

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