IPSY vs. Birchbox: May Edition

I know I have missed a few of these beauty subscription showdowns, but I am here now and am very excited to share with you what I received this month!

Since it is officially spring, IPSY’s* theme was “Fresh Picks” and I have to say that the products and bag itself fit really nicely with the theme.


1. Hang Ten Active Sport SPF50 – I’ve never heard of this particular brand, but it is made by Coola, which is an organic sun care brand.  Since this is a sports sunscreen, I expected it to be a little thicker, but it was surprisingly thin and absorbed quickly into the skin and didn’t leave a greasy feeling. I won’t necessarily use this sunscreen on a daily basis, but I will definitely keep it on hand for when I do decide to get some Vitamin D that’s not in the form of a multivitamin pill. (Sample Size: $2.17 ; Full Size: $12.99)

2. Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub – I’ve heard rave reviews about this microdermabrasion scrub and I was really excited to recieve a good size sample of it in this month’s bag.  The texture of the scrub is really fine, so it’s not as abrasive or irritating as other exfoliating scrubs.  It smells like a maragarita and it leaves your skin feeling really soft and smooth.   After I used this product, I noticed that my skin looked brighter and glowy. (Sample Size: $16.25, Full Size: $32.50)

3.  Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Elusive – This balm stain was surprisingly pigmented and hydrating.  I was expecting it to dry out my lips, but it actually moisturized them and gave them a velvety finish.  I haven’t tried any of the other matte balm stains, but this particular shade did apply patchy and it took some effort to smooth out.  I wouldn’t say that these balm stains are completely matte because there is some shine after applying it.  I would not have bought this color for myself because it is very pink and it is a little two bright for my complexion, but I do like the finish of this lip product. (Full Size: $8.99)

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4. Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo in Celestial and Opal – I was really excited to receive this product because I am a sucker for eyeshadows (even though I rarely wear them), but this duo ended up being just MEH.  The colors were really pretty in the pan.  One was a shimmery champagne-pink color and the other was a shimmery bronze color.  The lighter champagne shadow had very little pigmentation and both shadows were kind of chalky and flakey. Overall, I would pass on this product. (Full Size: $7)

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5. Therapy Session Hair Mask by Eva NYC – I always love a good hair mask and this one smells really good and it has a nice thick texture.  It also contains Argan Oil, so it tames and moisturizes my frizzy hair.  Since I do plan on dying my hair again, hair masks are essential to keep my hair from looking like a dried up fried chicken wing. (Sample Size: $12, Full Size: $40)

Total Value: $46.41

I’m very impressed with this month’s IPSY bag – I liked the theme and how all the products tied back to the theme.  The size of each product was also great, so I’m not complaining over here.

Time to move onto Birchbox*. Can they compete? Let’s find out!


1.  Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil – That’s a mouthful to say and to type.  I have mixed feeling about this product because I like to wear serums at night underneath my moisturizer, but I am not a fan of the packaging of this sample.  The directions says to use 6 drops of this product, but the sample does not come in a dropper and you have to pour the oil on your hands so it can get pretty messy. (Sample Size: $1.73, Full Size: $52)

2.  Coola Environmental Repair Plus Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion – What is up with these really long names?! This lotion is meant for the face and body after any sun exposure.  I don’t think I’m going to get a lot of use out of this product because I’m normally not thinking about moisturizing my skin after I’ve been out in the sun.   The description also says to apply frequently, which makes me think that it’s meant to be a daily moisturizer.  It’s interesting that both box subscriptions contained products by Coola. What’s even more interesting is that the Coola product in IPSY was 1 oz. while this sample was 0.5 oz.  I’m not going to lie, getting a 0.5 oz sample from Birchbox is pretty good – way better than some foil packets! (Sample Size: $2.67, Full Size: $32)

3.  Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – I was actually really excited to receive this product because I just ran out of my Tarte Clean Slate Primer and was looking for another one to try.  I find that it does help minimize the look of my pores when I pat/press it into my skin.  It has a silicone/gel like consistency and it does help prolong the wear on my makeup and prevents me from getting oily throughout the day. I haven’t tried it long enough to see if it breaks me out, but if it doesn’t I might have to purchase the full size. (Sample Size: $9, Full Size: $36)

4.  Shea Butter Lip Balm in Coral Crush by Pixi –  Every company has been coming out with tinted lip balms and they range from very sheer to very pigmented.  This lip balm is definitely on the pigmented side of the spectrum and I really like coral lip products for the summer.  I wish the texture of this balm was a little smoother because it did apply patchy and I had to blend it in with my fingers to get an even layer.  Once it was on my lips however, it was very moisturizing and it didn’t dry out my lips at all.  I love the color and will definitely be keeping this in my purse for the summer.  (Full Size: $8)

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5. SmartyPants All-in-One Fiber Gummies for Weight Management – This was the “extra” in the box and I was not to keen with the concept or the packaging.  First of all, I’m not into weight loss supplements and these gummies claim to fill you up and curb your appetite.  Second of all, it says to take six gummies and they only give you two in the sample.  Seriously?! You couldn’t even give us a full serving size of the product.  I was very disappointed by this product. (Sample Size: not even a dollar, Full Size: $29.99)

Total Value: $21.40

I thought this month’s Birchbox was okay.  I was really excited to get the Smashbox primer and Pixi lip balm.  Those are really the only two products I can see myself using until I run out of them.

I think the winner is pretty clear this month…

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IPSY not only had better products, but had better sample sizes and packaging.

What are your thoughts on this month’s IPSY vs Birchbox showdown? Let me know!

If you want to subscribe to IPSY, click here*, and if you want to subscribe to Birchbox, click here*.

Stay Chic!

* = affiliate links




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