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June 18, 2014

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Mega Smackdown Review (January - June)

I've been subscribed to Birchbox and Ipsy for about 6 months now so I want to do a mega review for you if you're on the fence about subscribing to either! Over the past couple of months I've had multiple Birchbox subscriptions, so I've only included the one on my main account which is the closest to my true profile.

Each are $10 a month, but the similarities start and stop there. Birchbox is more about sampling higher end products and getting points for reviewing your products each month that can be spent on a huge selection in Birchbox's store. There tend to be more skincare products than makeup most months, but you have to remember you're getting $1 back for every product you review each month. Which can be combined with many discount codes they offer to get any products you'd like for little to no money if you save up your points!

Ipsy usually contains more makeup products but most items received are drugstore brands or samples of mid range brands. You can earn some points for reviewing your products each month and referring friends, but you need 1000 points to redeem them for a product that's in the points page. There are usually only 3 there at a time, and they don't replace anything until one has sold out, and even then it can take several weeks for them to replace it. You do also get a new designed bag each month that your products come in, some are better than others.

In terms of shipping, both are delivered USPS, but Ipsy is shipped DHL Global Mail from North Carolina, and Birchbox is shipped Newgistics from Tennessee usually. Most of the time my Ipsy arrives first, but most of the time that's just because Ipsy is shipped first, usually they take about the same amount of time to arrive to California.

January Birchbox - 4/5 for me, this is to-date probably one of my favorite boxes from Birchbox, I got use out of almost everything in it, and discovered some much loved products! The Nail Rock red glitter kind of bombed, it peeled off in only a day, but it came in handy for my Valentine's mani so I was grateful for it. The Ahmad Tea was delicious, and I ended up buying a few boxes from the shop. The 100% Pure mascara is one of my favorites, I take it with me to B's and I like how it spreads out my lashes really well, build volume, and smells nice too!The Juara hand cream got passed off to my mom, but I think she liked it. The Klorane Dry Shampoo is still one of my favorite products I've tried, I bought a bottle and I've run out and I need to get another one soon.

January Ipsy - This was a 2/5 for me, I liked the Briogeo hair mask which I used up, and the Nourish Organic face lotion was a total win, I discovered how much I like that brand from this sample. The Proactiv pads were too harsh for me, I never really liked that brand in high school either. The Elizabeth Mott shadow was ok, but the sample was too small to really tell if I liked it. And the Mica Beauty was totally drying on my lips and a terrible color for my pale skin. 

February Birchbox - This may have been one of my least favorite Birchboxes, probably a 1/5. Perfume nope, Whish nope, Miracle Skin was too shimmery for me, I was excited to try the Half Up, but it didn't really stay in place well. The mints were nice, but nothing I'd order.

February Ipsy - This was a 1/5 for me, the only thing I liked was the Zoya polish. I traded the skyn mask, the 'tini Beauty didn't blend well for me, I don't wear lashes, and the pop beauty lip gloss was a terrible color for me, and many had issues with it smelling rancid.

March Birchbox - 3/5, the Jergens was swapped, the air repair was ok but I didn't like the texture. The Caudalie I still use, I really like it as a moisturizer, the Coola was used and it was nice, but I really liked the Agave, so much that I traded for a bunch more of it!

March Ipsy - It's hard to rate this one because I liked the products ok, but I don't use them. So I kept 3/4, traded the pixi Primer, and the rest I just don't use. So I guess I would call this a 0/4 unfortunately, there was nothing I really liked.

April Birchbox - 4/6 and it should have been 6/6 if I hadn't been dumb and traded that Number 4 stuff because I do like their products now. I remember being so happy I got the plum eyeliner because I didn't have a plum color yet. The Supergoop got used at an outdoor beer festival I went to, I liked the nail polish color, and I love Kind bars!

April Ipsy - This was the month I was furious over because there were so many different products I wanted, and I didn't get any of them. So it was a 1/5 month, I traded the Cailyn and Sexy Hair, I don't like the City Color, the eyeliner is nothing exciting, but I did use the whole dr. brandt microdermabrasion so that was a win.

May Birchbox - 5/5 month, I used everything in this box, with the exception of the Cotz which my mom used but she liked it. I already burned the whole candle and it smelled lovely, and the Beauty Protector shampoo and conditioner were taken over to B's and used, and the pixi lip balm is so pretty!

May Ipsy - 2/5 The Hang Ten sunscreen is in my purse as emergency sunscreen, and I loved the pur-lisse moisturizer. I'm actually sad I'm almost through the sample, I may have to trade for some soon! The eyeshadow was nothing special, low pigmentation and I have a million other colors just like it. The nailtini was ugly and I already have several colors just like it, and I didn't use the brush.

June Birchbox - 4/7 month, I am using the Davines products now and I like them, since I used up the last of my other exfoliator I'm using the Vasanti and I like it, and the rest are getting swapped. I decided not to keep the palette because I'm buying it anyways, I don't need the extra sample around.

June Ipsy - 4/5 which must be my best month yet, which is so strange I wouldn't expect this one to be my favorite Ipsy so far. I like the NYX gloss, the Ole Hendricksen wipes are being used, the eyeliner is going to be used as I don't have a liquid pen eyeliner except this one, and the Marc Anthony spray smells divine but does nothing for my hair except make it frizzy. I will still probably use it though just to make my hair smell like a pina colada! And the mascara is getting tossed after hearing all the reports about irritation, it doing nothing for people's eyelashes, and the possibility that it's a bad batch. I just can't put that near my eyes. (If you haven't heard about this I talk a little bit about it in my regular review for this month, or just take a whiff of yours. Does it smell like paint thinner or burning rubber? You probably don't want to put that near your eyes! I'm not an expert and we know nothing for sure yet, but I would be cautious if you decide to use it.)

January Winner - Birchbox with a 4/5
February Winner - Tie, both 1/5 :(
March Winner - Birchbox with a 3/5
April Winner - Birchbox with a 4/6
May Winner - Birchbox with a 5/5
June Winner - Ipsy with a 4/5

Total points/% for Birchbox - 21/33 or 64%
Total points/% for Ipsy - 10/29 or 34%

Mega Smackdown Beauty Subscription Winner - BIRCHBOX!

With Birchbox, I've loved more of my products, and having multiple boxes really helps with that. As long as you make your profiles different on multiple accounts, I tended not to get duplicates, and it gave me more chances to try the items I was really after each month. And then their points system is so great, I've bought multiple palettes, limited edition boxes, all kinds of items at next to nothing or nothing with my points. It makes you feel better about getting a dud box, because you know you'll still be able to get something out of it for reviewing your products. I mentioned before that I was only going to be reviewing the boxes from my main profile which is closest to the truth in terms of the questions they ask. But I will mention, I tend to get my worst boxes on this account, and the fact that even with my least favorite boxes, still beat Ipsy says something about how much I enjoy Birchbox. My other two accounts usually get much better boxes.

Everyone likes to compare Birchbox and Ipsy and while there are some similarities, there are more differences than things in common. Yes Ipsy sends more makeup, but to be blunt I think it's shitty makeup and there's nothing I would buy. Most of the time I've enjoyed the hair or skincare items I've received from Ipsy, but Birchbox sends higher quality makeup more rarely, and more skincare, but honestly I'm fine with that. I care more about getting items I will use and like, than what kind of product it is. Birchbox also sends lifestyle items, usually tea, but I like tea and the other things they send. I don't mind getting shampoo either, because you know what? I've never bought the same shampoo twice because I haven't found a single one I liked enough. Maybe eventually after sending me a ton of shampoo I'll find one I actually like and purchase.

I want to make a small mention of customer service for both, because if you're subscribed long enough, inevitably you'll have to contact them about a problem. I have had nothing but good customer service from both Birchbox and Ipsy. I would say I like Birchbox's service a little better just because they are very quick to give refunds and points for any problems you encounter. And most of the problems I've had with Birchbox was out of customer service's hands, but they remedied it as quickly as they could. I've contacted Ipsy about a product replacement, and they sent me one right away. I also was very angry about the fact that when they had an Ipsyme event for the Coastal Scents brush set I tried to buy them for an hour and a half and couldn't purchase one because their system was so bogged down. I emailed them, and they quickly stated that they had some extras and asked if I'd like to purchase one. I did, and felt like they tried their best to help me out.

So what do you think of the Birchbox vs. Ipsy Smackdown? Let me know in the comments!

Birchbox is only $10 a month and they send you 5-6 (usually sample size) products. If you really like the sample, they offer the full size version on their shop for you to purchase.

Ipsy Glam Bag is $10 a month. They include 4-5 beauty products each month along with a cosmetic bag to carry all your goods in! If you haven't yet you can subscribe here!

For all other Birchbox reviews click here.
For all Ipsy reviews, click here.

Disclosure: This post contains referral links!

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