ipsy is a beauty sample subscription box, similar in concept to Birchbox. Instead of having the full sized products available in their own store, ipsy works out discounts with the brands for the month that they’re featured. The samples ship out starting on the 10th (in a rolling release, so it’s not as dependable a date as Birchbox), and each themed month comes in a little makeup bag. Sometimes the samples are actually full sized, sometimes not, but they never seem to be the little foil packets that Birchbox is so fond of and that make me feel so ripped off.
This is my second month with ipsy, and I’m still on the fence. You can’t choose which five of the eight possible products you’ll get, and while you take a style quiz, I don’t think anyone at ipsy actually uses it to design the product selection. Everyone usually gets two featured products, then the others are an either/or between two types of the same product. You can see what you’re getting a few days in advance by clicking on your “glam room,” although it won’t tell you what shades you’ll get if there are multiple color options.
BAG ITSELF (ipsy costs $10/month)
This month was obviously beach themed, and the products came in a clear pink plastic bag. People are saying it’s cheap (which I won’t argue with), but I find it perfectly suited to hold my phone, earbuds, chapstick, and a sample of sunscreen in my huge beach bag without getting sand all over those items. When summer’s over, I can use it for the same purpose in my gym bag. Getting a new makeup bag each month sounded ridiculous to me at first, but I found a great use for them all: makeup storage! I have a bajillion samples from years of shopping at DHC, Sephora, and about six months of Birchbox, not to mention a ton of full size products in seasonal colors. I sorted out all my fall/winter colors in one bag, and categorized all my other samples (face, eyes, mascaras, cleanser, etc) for storage in a drawer. Now when I’m out of a product, I can grab a replacement sample quickly, pack samples for travelling (in yet another cute bag), and reduce the clutter on my bathroom counter.
BH COSMETICS EYE SHADOW PALETTE: CALIFORNIA COLLECTION (full size: $9.95 for each of three palettes)
This was the “everyone gets” product, and I’m sorry to be so disappointed in it. Hollywood is a blue-purple, San Fransisco is a sandy brown with a touch of shimmer, and Malibu is a shimmery gold. I have hazel eyes, light skin, and medium brown hair, so these colors work perfectly for me, although I wouldn’t call it a summery look. Unfortunately, the pigmentation on Hollywood and San Fransisco is terrible: even with good primer and lots of layers, these colors went on sheer and sweat right off after about an hour. Malibu had good color payout and loads of shimmer, but I definitely wouldn’t buy an entire palette from bh Cosmetics. They’re very inexpensive, but I’d rather pay more money for a better product. Even NYX, a similarly inexpensive brand, has a better pigmentation in my experience.
POP BEAUTY POUTY POP LIP CRAYON: CORAL CRUSH (full size: $25 for a set of six)
This was another “everyone gets” product, where the unknown factor was color. I’ve been using Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable lip stains, and this product is a bit waxier, but similar. The Coral Crush color was pinker than I expected, and brighter. I was a bit startled by the neon look at first, but I decided I like it. It’s a fun, flirty summer shade. Application was smooth, but definitely needs a lip scrub, because it highlights every bit of dry lip skin. It lasted through several hours of my being outside in 90+ degree heat, although it doesn’t stain like the Revlons. I’d recommend this product, but it looks like you can’t buy the crayons individually, only the whole set, which I’m not interested in. This sample was full sized, though, so I’m glad I got it.
COOLA MINERAL FACE SPF 20 MOISTURIZER: UNSCENTED (full size: $36 for 1.7oz)
People who got the COOLA product got either this or a rose-scented tinted moisturizer. I know Birchbox has been pushing this brand lately, and I wanted to like it, but ugh. It went on white, as mineral sunscreens do, and didn’t fade in, even under makeup, making me look like a ghost. I spent three hours in the sun with it on and got mildly burned, so it didn’t even function well for me. I would be willing to try other COOLA products, but I can’t really recommend this one.
SEXY HAIR: WEATHER-PROOF HUMIDITY RESISTENCE SPRAY (full size: $18.95)
Everyone got a hair product, either this or a beach spray. I like the Sexy Hair line and I’ve used their hairspray in the past. This is apparently a sort of shellac that goes on after styling to create a barrier against humidity. It would be useful in this saturated weather we’ve been having in New England lately, but I’m on a ban against products with alcohol as the primary ingredient in an effort to keep my curls from frizzing out, so I didn’t use it.
NAILTINI STRAIGHT UP COLOR NAIL LACQUER: MAI TAI (retail: $13)
I’ll be honest, I signed up for ipsy because in March they included polishes from the Zoya Lovely Collection. I’ve never heard of this brand, however, and I just wasn’t interested in this color, an orange-shaded coral. I have other corals that I like better, including China Glaze’s Mimosas Before Manis, which is a similar color with a hint of pretty shimmer that the Nailtini lacks. I’m hoping to trade this for another product. This sample was full-sized.
Overall, I think the product value of this bag was worth the $10, but I’ll only use one of the products I got this month.
DISCOUNT CODES (includes products I didn’t get in my bag):
POP Beauty: POPLUVSIPSY for 20% off any purchase
bh Cosmetics: IPSY for 10% off the California Collection
COOLA: IPSY for 30% off any purchase
BIG SEXY HAIR: 108723 for $5 off any $25 or more purchase at ULTA
NAILTINI: hot4ipsy for 30% off any purchase
BENETINT: GLAMBAG for a free Hello Gorgeous Trio with any $35 or more purchase
DEMETER FRAGRANCE: IPSYDFL20 for 20% off any purchase
DERMA E: IPSY0713 for 20% any purchase