ipsy vs. BIRCHBOX

*Updated as of 19 June 2014*

I subscribe to both ipsy and BIRCHBOX, and I’m often asked which one is better. I thought I’d do a company comparison of what I think so far, before my ipsy bag and BIRCHBOX get here in a few days. Then you all can choose for yourself based on the upcoming month’s bags.

First I’ll give you the rundown.


Company: BIRCHBOX (I’m not yelling, that’s how the company likes it)
Price: $10 a month (no option to skip, but you can cancel anytime)
Description: BIRCHBOX is a subscription service that sends you premium samples of body care, hair care, makeup, and usually something extra. Occasionally (but not very often) they will throw in a full size product. The extras that I’ve received range from 2 pretty BIRCHBOX brand bobby pins, to decent headphones, to a Ghiradelli chocolate square (my favorite!).  Birchbox gives BB points for every purchase (1 point per dollar spent) as well as 10 BB points for each review you do on products from your box, as long as you do it before the next box. They also give 50 points for each person you refer that signs up through your link. For every 100 BB points you earn, you get a $10 coupon to use in their BIRCHBOX shop (no minimum purchase).  The points really do rack up fast if you stay on top of your reviews.

I joined BIRCHBOX while I was deployed based on a recommendation from a friend. It made perfect sense because it meant I got at least one package in the mail each month. And who doesn’t love samples? Seriously!


Company: ipsy (yes, they like it all lowercase)
Price: $10 a month (no option to skip, but you can cancel anytime)
Description: ipsy is also a subscription service that sends you premium samples (and usually at least one full size product) each month. They tend to lean more towards make up although they’ve started moving more into hair/body care. They send all the items in a cute little make up bag each month. Ipsy recently started up a points program, where you get 250 points for each referral as well as 10 points for each review. For each 1000 points earned, you can have 1 of 2 or 3 products added to your next bag, but they sell out of those items quickly and don’t update them very often.

I joined ipsy because I’ve never been very into make up (mostly because I know nothing about it), and I wanted to go out of my comfort zone a bit. I figured for $10 a month I could try new things (plus I was already addicted to BIRCHBOX and if you sign up, you’ll see. Subscription services are totally addicting).

The Comparison: They both have their strong suits. I LOVE the extras from BIRCHBOX and I LOVE the full size products from ipsy. Month to month it really is a toss up between which I like more. I think for July it was ipsy, but for June it was BIRCHBOX. A few times I’ve gotten a bad box or bag and thought about cancelling, and then the next month they knock me off my feet.

What BIRCHBOX does better: I’ve been surprised by some of their beauty samples. Things like CC cream that I never would’ve tried before (love the SPF 40). I got it as a sample in July and really liked it. It’s perfect for when you’re having a bad skin day but don’t want to wear anything super heavy. I already talked about the Stainiac lip stain that I love. I also permanently switched mascaras because I got a FULL SIZE ModelCo mascara that I fell in love with (a bit pricey full price, but I used BB points for it). BB points are probably the best part of BIRCHBOX. Not only does BIRCHBOX introduce me to new products, but the points make purchasing full size versions of those usually pricey products much more affordable. There’s NO WAY I would continually buy a $24 mascara, but when I use BB points, it becomes much more reasonable.


What ipsy does better: Definitely the full size products. I’ll get one maybe every third BIRCHBOX, but almost EVERY ipsy bag. You almost always get way more product than the cost of the subscription. I also LOVE their makeup bags. I don’t even have a use for that many makeup bags, but they are just so dang cute. They are constantly giving full size nail polishes away. I blame them for my current nail polish obsession.   I’ve also received a great lip crayon from them (think lipstick in the form of a crayon, not lip liner which I still haven’t figured out how to use). My new favorite eyeliner came from them, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil full size! It’s almost gone and I’m going to have to figure out how to get it cheaper than full price.


Both are GREAT for helping a makeup challenged woman like me, learn new tricks, try new products, and jump right out of my comfort zone.

If I remember correctly, both BIRCHBOX and ipsy have a waiting list to subscribe. If you sign up for the waiting list, it usually takes about a month to get off the waiting list.  They won’t charge you until they send you the invite and you accept. So really there’s no harm in adding yourself to the waitlist (I know, I’m such an enabler). If you’d like to sign up for BIRCHBOX, use this link. If you’d like to sign up for ipsy, use this one! Then let me know what you think.


2 thoughts on “ipsy vs. BIRCHBOX

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year! | Shop With Beth

  2. I like your breakdown and description of the two subscriptions, more informative than most. I’m a subscriber to ipsy, but have been thinking about Birchbox so it was nice to get some more info on it. I think I’ll do both of them for a while and see what I think.

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