With so many subscription boxes available, it’s no surprise that you can find several makeup box subscriptions. Makeup is a highly successful industry with countless brands and products on the market. Because of this, it can sometimes be challenging to decide what you should buy for yourself. When there are dozens of similar products in front of you, how do you know which is best? Beauty subscription services like Ipsy can help introduce you to products at an affordable price and keep you from spending too much on a product that you ultimately might not like.

About Subscription Boxes

There are some that may follow a different formula, but with most subscription boxes, you pay a monthly fee and are sent a package of various items each month. While some boxes are the same for everyone each month, others allow you to set preferences and will customize your order to provide you with items that are more appealing to you on a personal level.

About Ipsy

Ipsy was founded by Michelle Phan, Jennifer Goldfarb and Marcelo Camberos in 2011. Their goal was to make the world of beauty more inclusive by providing their customers with products that they may otherwise not be able to get their hands on at an affordable price.

Every month, Ipsy sends its subscribers a bag, called the Glam Bag, with five skincare or makeup products, each one picked for them according to their profile. These products can be samples, deluxe samples or full-sized items.


Ipsy Features

About Ipsy

Personalization

One of the most appealing aspects of a beauty subscription may be the ability to have your items customized to fit your tastes. Because everyone applies makeup differently, it just doesn’t make sense to have a one-size-fits-all approach in this area.

When you sign up for Ipsy, one of the first things you’ll do is take a short beauty quiz. You will answer questions about your skin type and color, your favorite beauty items, your favorite beauty brands, how comfortable you are with using makeup (whether you’re a beginner or a pro), as well as a few others. Ipsy will use this information to send you products tailored to your needs and preferences.

On some occasions, you may feel that Ipsy got it totally wrong and sent you a product that you would never use. Because the quiz you take when you sign up can’t account for everything, there are ways for you to customize your beauty profile further. Each month, after you’ve received and tried the products in your Glam Bag, you have the option to rate each product. You can rate each product as a whole, as well as individual aspects such as brand, color and item type. This will help Ipsy to send you products closer to what you want in the future. If you would like to opt out of certain products entirely, you can do so for up to two products by contacting Ipsy customer support.


Monthly Makeup Bag

As well as sending a personalized selection of items, Ipsy includes a makeup bag that matches the theme of the month. This means that, if you keep your Ipsy subscription for a long time, you may never need to buy a makeup bag again. The makeup bags provide a cute and convenient way to store and organize your makeup. Past bags have included a clear bag with a popsicle pattern in May, a red lace-print bag with a bat-shaped zipper in October, and an icy, metallic blue bag in December.


Ipsy Shop

Ipsy Makeup items

If you’ve received an item in your Glam Bag that you’ve fallen in love with and you want to purchase it again or in a larger size, Ipsy makes it easy and rewarding to do so. On its website, you can find a wide variety of items in the Ipsy Shop, including products from brands featured in current and past Ipsy Glam Bags. If you’ve received an item in your Glam Bag, you will more than likely be able to purchase it from the shop. Of course, you could always buy products directly from the brand's website but doing so through Ipsy will save you a bit of money. When you purchase a product through the Ipsy Shop, you will receive up to 25% cash back on every product that you buy.


Ipsy Offers

Ipsy Shop

Ipsy releases a new Ipsy Offer at 9 a.m. Pacific Time every day of the week. These are small flash sales that are available for seven days or until the product has sold out. Ipsy Offers will often include a selection of items from a single brand or items of the same type from various brands. Ipsy Offers are a great way for subscribers to save money, as the offer prices will often be more than 50% off of the retail value.

Unfortunately, these offers are currently only available to customers in the continental U.S.

Ipsy Pricing

Each month that you maintain your subscription to Ipsy will cost $10, which is a decent price for a monthly subscription. The value of the products you receive in your bag will usually be much more than that, making Ipsy a great deal. If you sign up for an annual plan, you will only pay $110, which gives you one free month. Shipping is free for customers in the U.S. and $4.95 for those in Canada.

Ipsy Deals And Rewards

When you first sign up, as well as during your membership, there are some deals of which you can take advantage.

Free Glam Bag

Occasionally, Ipsy will allow its members to send free Glam Bags to friends as an introduction to the subscription. If you know someone with a current subscription, you may be able to take advantage of this offer. After you’ve received your free bag, you can either cancel your membership or choose to pay the monthly fee and keep receiving deliveries.

Ipsy Reward Points

When you rate the products in your Glam Bag, you help Ipsy send you products that suit you better, and you receive points for each product that you rate. You can also earn reward points by referring people that you know to Ipsy. For every person who signs up with your referral link, you will receive 250 points.  Once you’ve earned enough points, you can spend them on extra beauty and skincare products that will ship with your next monthly delivery. The items available change frequently so you’ll be sure to find something that you like eventually.

How Ipsy Compares To Other Beauty Subscriptions

While Ipsy is a great choice for beauty and skincare lovers, it doesn’t hurt to consider other options. There are some other beauty subscriptions that may be more your style.


Birchbox

Birchbox

Like Ipsy, Birchbox was created to make shopping for beauty products easier. Ipsy and Birchbox have many similarities. With Birchbox, you also fill out a beauty profile when you begin your subscription so that it can send items tailored to you. It also has a rating system so that you can give feedback on which of your products were right on and which were a bit off. It also has an online shop where you can purchase full-size versions of your favorite products.

There are, of course, also some differences. Unlike Ipsy, Birchbox does not include a makeup bag with your monthly delivery. For some people, receiving a new bag each month might be too much, so they may welcome this difference, but for others, the monthly bag is a fun addition that they would rather not go without. Another difference between the two services is that starting with your second box, Birchbox allows its subscribers to choose one of their samples. This is completely optional and is great for when there is a product that you absolutely want to try.

Like Ipsy, Birchbox also offers a reward system, but it works a bit differently. For each dollar that you spend with Birchbox, whether through subscriptions or the shop, you earn one point. When you refer a friend, you earn 50 points. You can then use these points toward purchases in the shop.

Price: $10 per month; $110 for annual subscription

Number of Items: Five

Personalization: Beauty profile, product ratings and sample choice

Product Sizes: Deluxe samples

Reward Program: Earn points to use in shop

PLAY! by SEPHORA PLAY! SMARTS: Superfoods: Feed Your Face 6-pc set
  • - Six trial-size products—a $44 value:
  • - YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE—Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil - TARTE—Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H2O Serum - ORIGINS—Dr. Andrew...
  • - DR ROEBUCKS—No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer - FIRST AID BEAUTY—Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream - ILIA—Soft...

Play! is unique in that it is the creation of a prominent beauty company. Sephora has been around for decades but decided to branch out and launched a subscription box in 2015. In its subscription box, Sephora includes products from brands that you can find in its cosmetics stores, so you know that what you are receiving is high-quality. Each month, subscribers will receive five beauty products, a collectible bag, and what Sephora calls a “beauty bonus.”

Sephora does offer customization but not as much as Ipsy or Birchbox. While you still fill out a beauty profile that they will use to choose your monthly items, there isn’t an option for rating your products to customize your box further or selecting any of your samples. Most of your products will be based on your profile, but the beauty bonus is the same for everyone.

Because Play! is offered by a beauty brand with physical stores, it can give its customers some bonuses that other subscriptions can’t. As part of the monthly subscription, customers receive a Play! Pass, which they can then bring to a Sephora location and redeem for 50 Beauty Insider points (redeemable for various beauty items) with the purchase of any full-sized product. They can also receive a one-on-one tutorial for that month’s products from any of Sephora’s Beauty Experts.

Price: $10 per month

Number of Items: Five personalized, one beauty bonus

Personalization: Beauty profile

Product Sizes: Trial-size samples

Reward Program: Play! Pass redeemable for Beauty Insider points


BoxyCharm

BoxyCharm

BoxyCharm costs a bit more than the other beauty subscriptions mentioned here, but for a good reason. While Ipsy, Birchbox and Play! all use sample sizes, BoxyCharm sends its subscribers only full-sized products. Each month, you will receive four to five products with a minimum value of $100, making the higher cost of the subscription seem pretty reasonable.

One downside of BoxyCharm is that, unlike the other subscriptions, BoxyCharm offers no customization. There is no beauty profile to fill out, and all of its subscribers will receive the same products. Despite the lack of personalization, most customers seem to be satisfied with the high-quality products that they get.

Like the other subscriptions, BoxyCharm does offer a reward system to its subscribers, similar to the one offered by Ipsy. For each product from your box that you review, and each friend that you refer, you earn Charms that you can spend on products in the Charm Shop.

Price: $21 per month; $231 for annual subscription

Number of Items: Four to five

Personalization: None

Product Sizes: Full-sized

Reward Program: Earn points to use in shop


Ipsy

ipsy
Pros
  • Several ways to personalize items
  • Themed makeup bag every month
  • Earn points to spend on extra items
  • Items worth more than the subscription price
  • Daily flash sales

Cons

  • Can’t choose any items
  • Most items are not full-sized

The Verdict: Ipsy Is A Great Way To Try New Products

While you won’t always receive full-sized products with Ipsy, it is an affordable way to try new things. If you’re looking for some new products to add to your collection but don’t want to pay full price for something that you might end up hating, Ipsy could be a great fit for you. You can try something new each month and, with Ipsy’s customization, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something you love. The reward points and daily offers are a nice bonus as well and give you the chance to try even more products that you otherwise might not be able to.

Ipsy might not be the best choice for everyone, including those who would like the option to choose one of their samples and those who would prefer to always receive full-sized items, but it’s a great deal for the price and a fun way to find your next favorite beauty product.

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