Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Birchbox VS. Ipsy: A Comparison Review!

I have had a lot of people ask me, "Which beauty subscription should I choose? Birchbox or Ipsy?"

That is kind of a difficult question to answer off the bat, as it truly depends on what you are looking for in a subscription. Both only cost $10, and both have great and not-so-great aspects, so I thought I would break down each of the popular subscriptions into a bit more detail. Hopefully this guide will help you decide which one better fits your lifestyle!


Basic Information: Birchbox is a subscription service that sends beauty and lifestyle products to your door each month for $10. You will receive 4-5 deluxe-sized samples from a wide variety of brands ranging from new and buzzworthy all the way to tried-and-true high end.  There is a large variety in the boxes and what you receive each month is decided by the answers you give in your beauty profile. What you receive in your box could be quite different from someone else.

Point system: Birchbox has a points/rewards program that is lauded as the best of the best. Points work as follows:
-1 point for each $1 spent in the Birchbox Shop, and 50 points for each referral.

-10 points for each review on items you receive in your Birchbox each month.

-100 points= $10 to spend in the Birchbox Shop.

-Points expire after 1 year. You can purchase Birchbox gift cards with your points to carry them past a year.

Seeing as how most Birchboxes have 5 products in them per month, if you review each one, you will receive 50 points, or $5. Each box costs $10 and you get around $5 in Birchbox store credit every month, so that's an excellent deal!

Extras/Brand Info: Birchbox has a few programs that are bonuses to being a subscriber.
Birchbox Plus is a newer program that, when you sign up for alerts, will occasionally e-mail you so that you may add a more valuable item to your box for a higher price. For example: You might get a Birchbox Plus e-mail that invites you to add a necklace from a popular brand to your box for an extra $20. The value of the necklace will always surpass the cost, but it's always optional to do this, and only happens once in a while as it's a newer idea for Birchbox.
Limited Edition boxes are also released at random. These are boxes that are priced anywhere from around $15 to over $100, depending on the items included. They will always be themed, and are always well worth the price! These are available for purchase in the Birchbox shop, and when a new one is released, they will post an announcement on their Facebook page.
Finally, there is also Birchbox Man, which is a similar idea, only curated for Men, and costs $20 instead of $10, as the men's box include more expensive lifestyle products like wallets, t-shirts, etc. 

 (Examples of Birchboxes. Click to Enlarge!)

Overall Pros: Obviously the points system is number one. Birchbox also has a fantastic website that is easy to navigate, and their customer service is second to none. Their reps respond to customer questions promptly and with detail, and have even been known to make quick youtube videos in response to facebook questions! I also think that Birchbox has a much wider variety of brands, and many high-end and prestige brands.

Overall Cons: I think their profile questions could be a bit more straightforward, as I don't think they help much on getting customers the products they want in their boxes. So far for me, it's been all about luck. I also think that they can send things that a lot of people aren't interested in, like tea bags and foil packet samples a bit too often. They have been getting better at this though, and are always open to hearing complaints or feedback on products.

How To Sign Up: Just have to visit their website and sign up! Please consider using my referral link here: 

Great For: Beauty/self-care enthusiasts who are looking to try new products and be able to purchase items they enjoy for free, or at a large discount with points earned from each box. Also is geared toward more ages and genders. Birchbox/Birchbox Man could be gifted and enjoyed by anyone of almost any age.



Basic Information: Ipsy is a subscription service that sends beauty products to your door each month for $10. You will receive 4-5 products (usually 5) packaged in a cosmetic bag, and these products are usually cosmetics and occasionally bath/body/hair items. Ipsy is known for it's "Sneak Peek" photos each month of the items you could receive. Ipsy sends different products to each subscriber based on their IpsyMatch answers. IpsyMatch is a questionnaire about beauty preferences that helps match the subscriber with the right items for them. There is less of a variety of items each month than Birchbox. Ipsy focuses on mostly up-and-coming brands, along with a few high-end fan favorites.

Point system: Ipsy also has a points program, however it is different from Birchbox in many ways:
-Points do not have a monetary value.

-10 Points are given for reviews of each product received in monthly bags.

-Points are allotted at random for answering questions about the bag and sharing things on Facebook.

-100 Points are given when you sign up for Ipsy, 250 are given for each referral.

Currently, Ipsy's point program is, for lack of a better word, a mess. They do not have an online shop like Birchbox, however they have items that you can choose and receive as extras in your glam bag. Each item costs 1,000 points. They usually only have 3 items to choose from at a time.

Extras/Brand Info: Ipsy has a few programs that are bonuses to being a subscriber.
Ipsyme is a program that is used occasionally, where they offer a full-sized item at a discounted rate and you must comment on facebook to get it. It's a bit of a complicated program and they haven't done an event in awhile, but there is still more info on it on their website.
Giveaways are frequent and plentiful with Ipsy. Each month, they will do easy giveaways on their facebook page from each brand featured in that month's bag. Usually all that is required to enter the giveaway is to comment on the post. There are many other giveaways and challenges they do throughout the month, so there's lots of opportunity to win something!
Brand Coupon Codes are issued each month for the participating brands. You can save quite a bit of money on featured brands by using these codes, many of which will go up to 50% off, or even allow a free gift with purchase.

(Examples of Ipsy Bags. Click to Enlarge!)

Overall Pros: I definitely think that for me personally, the IpsyMatch system has worked better at choosing items for me than Birchbox. I think that Ipsy has a better way to deliver sneak peeks that really get subscribers excited. They have accessible giveaways, and I really love the makeup bag over the simple cardboard box that Birchbox sends. Ipsy also sends larger samples and more full sized products than Birchbox, and offers coupon codes for the featured brands.

Overall Cons: While Ipsy does send more substantial products, they don't have as much variety and over the course of the year, will send out multiple products from the same brands. Even though the items are usually full size/ nicely sized, they are sometimes lower quality or lesser known brands than Birchbox. Their points system is atrocious. It takes forever to earn enough points to cash in, and they only have a few mediocre "prizes" to use your points on. The website is very confusing and difficult to navigate as well.

How To Sign Up: Just have to visit their website and sign up! Please consider using my referral link here: 

Great For: Anyone looking to try out new, or lesser known brands of cosmetics and beauty. Someone that is looking to fill gaps in their makeup collection, or simply to start a collection all together! Great for teenagers and younger adults. If you or the person you are gifting to is more open-minded  to trying new things or isn't picky with their beauty products.

For me personally, I enjoy and use more products that I get from Birchbox. I also think that they have a phenomenal points system in place, and I love that when I sample something and really enjoy it, I can save up my points and get the full size for free/almost free. There was a time where I much preferred Ipsy over Birchbox, but I have found I'm getting a bit burnt out due to their recycling of the same brands time and time again. Also, while it used to be what made me prefer them, I think that I'm over-stocked on middle-of-the-road makeup. Ipsy should focus on being more well-rounded in what brands they put in their bags, and how often they recycle brands from one month to the next.

I think there is a place for both subscriptions, and I subscribe to both for a reason. Both have their pros and cons, and I think that which one you subscribe to will be based on your preferences and needs. I hope my review has helped you make a more informed decision on which one to choose!


  1. thanks for the info i'm getting my first ipsy blag soon and i just getting into blogging as well! be blessed!

    1. You're welcome! Hope you enjoy your first Ipsy Bag, and good luck on your blog! :) It's a blast!