IPSY vs. Birchbox: July Edition

Last month’s IPSY box was a huge flop and Birchbox has been on the up and up in terms of quality, variety, and size of their samples.  Let’s see if IPSY can redeem itself this month and if Birchbox can continue their winning streak.

Since IPSY was abysmal last month, let’s see what they have in store for us this month.


First off, the bag itself is adorable! It’s a pink faux leather bag with scalloped edges and it’s very unique compared to the other bags I have received.  Moving on to the products.

1. bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Shadow in Divine Wine – Now that was a mouthful.  Since BB creams are all the rage these days, why not make a BB cream eyeshadow?  These shadows are incredibly smooth and matte and they do last a long time.  I received the shade Divine Wine, which is a cool, brown-taupe color.  It’s a little darker than my skin tone, so I put it in my crease to define my eyes.  This cream shadow comes in a tube with a curved doe foot applicator.  Since this cream shadow is very pigmented, I recommend just dapping it on your eyes with your finger rather than swiping it on with the applicator.  This cream shadow doubles as a primer, so if you want a more intense look, you can definitely use this as a base. I’m really enjoying this cream shadow and am playing with the idea of trying more. (Sample Size: $6 , Full Size: $18)

2. Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 – I have tried a Befine body moisturizer and really liked it, so I had high hopes for this moisturizer.  This moisturizer really impressed me because it was extremely lightweight and absorbed into my skin very quickly.  It didn’t mattify my skin, but left it with a very natural, glowy finish.  I think this would make a great morning and night moisturizer for the summertime.  (Sample Size: $21, Full Size: $24)

3. Tints & Sass by Elizabeth Mott in Cherry – This was the product I was most excited to try because I love lip and cheek tints.  This tint is no joke.  First of all, it smells like cherries and it’s amazing.  Next, this really does stain your lips.  I swatched it on my arm and it stained my arm for a good 8 hours.  This lip and cheek tint has more of gel consistency as opposed to being a liquid.  It comes with a doe foot applicator, so it’s really easy to apply on your lips.  At first, your lips will have a little bit of a shine to them, but over time, the shine will wear off, but the stain will last for hours. I personally don’t like to put this on my cheeks because of the gel consistency.  It feels a little heavy on my cheeks, but I love this tint for my lips.  (Full Size: $22.99)

4. Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 8 – This was the product was least excited about because I’m already fairly tan and don’t have the need for a tanning oil.  I also don’t understand the concept of tanning oils. I think it’s supposed to make you tan faster, but protect your skin at the same time.  This product smelled really chemical-y, so I probably won’t be using it. (Sample Size: $3, Full Size: $11.99)

5. Big Look Waterproof Mascara by Pur Minerals – I actually really enjoyed this mascara. I’m so happy that I received a waterproof mascara because I cannot use non-waterproof mascara.  My lashes are so straight that non-waterproof mascara just weighs them down and never holds my curls.  This mascara is infused with argan oil, which is supposed to nourish your lashes.  It has a rubber wand which tapers towards the end, so it makes it easy to get the inner lashes.  The rubber bristles helps separate and lengthen. I wouldn’t say that this is the most volumizing mascara I’ve tried, but it’s definitely a good one for separation and lengthening. (Sample Size: $14, Full Size: $20)


Left to Right: bareMinerals BB cream eyeshadow in Divine Wing, Tints & Sass in Cherry

Total Value: $66.99

Overall, I’m very pleased this month’s IPSY bag.  I have used 4 out of the 5 products I received and I liked all of them.  IPSY definitely redeemed themselves this month.

Let’s see if Birchbox can outdo IPSY this month.   This month Birchbox teamed up with Women’s Health and sometimes these collaboration boxes are great, and sometimes, they aren’t so hot.  Let’s see what I got!



1. Caudalie Divine Oil – I really love body oils after I shower because it is extremely moisturizing and absorbs quickly into the skin.  This body oil was really luxurious and made my skin really soft.  I also like to use this on my cuticles and hands at night and in the morning, my hands are noticeably softer.  Love the product, but wished the sample size was bigger. (Sample Size: $1.47, $49)

2. Number 4 Super Comb Prep and Protect – I like to use this as a heat protectant and it works pretty well at keeping my hair from getting frizzy.  It also does not leave my hair greasy or heavy. The only complaint I have is that it smells a little odd.  It smells like artificial fruit punch. (Sample Size: $4.80, Full Size: $32)

3. Vasanti Detox Nutrient-Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser – This cream cleanser is extremely gentle yet purifying.  It doesn’t remove all of my makeup, so I have to use makeup remove prior to using it.  It has a light perfume scent.  I liked trying out this cleanser, but I don’t like it over my current gel cleanser. (Sample Size: $3.20, Full Size: $24)

4. St. Tropez Gradual Tan For Face – Like I said before with the tanning oil from IPSY, I’m already pretty tan, so I don’t need to self tan.  I have never put self tanner on my face before, so I’m a little dubious about putting this on since I don’t know how my skin will react to it.  It also has a really strong chemical scent, so I will pass on this product. (Sample Size: $11, Full Size: $35)

5. Beauty Eyeliner in Black by Cynthia Rowley – This is my favorite item out of this whole box.  The eyeliner itself is so creamy and smooth that it just glides onto your lash line.  It’s also pretty smudge-proof, so once it sets, it’ll stay put.  It’s also a great eyeliner to smudge out to get a more smokey effect.  I’m very pleased with this eyeliner. (Sample Size: $12, Full Size: $16)

Total Value: $32.47

My feelings towards this month’s Birchbox is kind of all over the place.  Although I liked 4 of the 5 products, I was not super amazed with any. Also, they are definitely repeating brands because I have received something by the Number 4 brand three months in a row now and I received a Vasanti exfoliator last month.  To me, the whole point of subscribing to these beauty services is to try out new brands, so it’s a little upsetting when they repeat brands so often.

I think this month’s winner is pretty clear:

Screen shot 2014-05-25 at 2.13.27 PM

IPSY just had better products and although, they do repeat some brands, I will get more use out of their samples than from Birchbox’s samples.

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


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…

Screen shot 2014-05-25 at 2.13.27 PM



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