Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ipsy AND Birchbox Review! March 2013

Well, you know what happens when I get two boxes on the same day!  I throw 'em in the ring for a BEAUTY BOX BEATDOWN!!!  I really hope you read that using the same voice you hear in commercials for wrestling or monster truck rallies.  I used the same general logic used to select wrestling match partners to divide the 5 items received from each subscription into arbitrary categories, and pitted the individual items against each other.  Heck, even I don't know who wins yet.  I didn't actually plan this out in advance.  Here are the contenders:

So much pink!
And yes, I'm working on not putting my own shadow in the pic. Sorry.

The reason Ipsy and Birchbox are so easy to compare is that they are the same price each month ($10), and they both send beauty items.  Not just makeup, but skincare, lotions, makeup storage, you name it.  Ipsy sends mostly the same thing to all of their subscribers, with some variations like different colors of nail polish, eye shadow, etc.  Birchbox sends "curated" boxes based on your answers to a beauty quiz.  If you've read my previous Birchbox reviews, you know that I lie shamelessly about my age and income on the beauty quiz to get better boxes.  But we're not here to discuss my scheming ways!  On with the competition!

Category #1) Things You Spray On Your Head:

Serge Normant Dry Shampoo
Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist

Like I said, arbitrary categories.  The products are (from Ipsy) Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist, 1.0 oz, ($3.26) versus (from Birchbox) Serge Normant Volumizing Dry Shampoo, 2.0 oz, ($15).  Obviously, the Serge Normant blows the Juice Beauty out of the water on value, but let's look at some other factors.  The Hydrating Mist smells very herbal, with top scents of rose and woodsy undertones.  It's not my favorite scent, but it does smell very clean!  The Serge Normant, on the other hand, smells musky and perfume-y.  I actually love it!  Also, I've never used a dry shampoo before.  Therefore, Birchbox wins for originality!

Category #2) Department of Waste Management

Whish Shave Cream
La Fresh Makeup Remover Wipes

Ladies, as part of our beauty routine, we remove things that we deliberately applied just hours ago (like makeup).  Also, we remove things that creep up on us when we're not looking (like leg hair!).  Either way, waste management is an important part of any beauty routine.  Birchbox sent me a blueberry-scented shaving cream by Whish, 0.75 oz, ($3).  It smells SO GOOD. Like blueberry candy!  It's a non-foaming, conditioning shave cream, and I can't wait to see if it helps my dry winter skin!  Ipsy sent a travel-size (8) pack of makeup-remover wipes by La Fresh, ($1.99).  These items are a lot more equal in value, but for convenience, Ipsy definitely gets the win this time!  I'm going to be traveling for a week in late March, so this is great timing!

Category #3) Tools of the Trade

Madewell Nail File
Glam Rx Magnetic Palette
This one's pretty much not even a contest.  Birchbox says this nail file by Madewell is worth $5.  Seriously?  I can buy these things by the pack AT A DOLLAR STORE.  It does not take that much innovation or creativity to glue sandpaper to cardboard.  Sorry guys.  Especially because this magnetic Glam Rx Palette from Ipsy is valued at approximately the same amount.  It's not actually sold on their website, the $5 value is based on another palette sold on their website that has another layer and a mini makeup set.  It's not a large palette, about the size of a credit card, but it will hold several small pans of eyeshadow, and it'll be great for travel! Ipsy for the win!

Category #4) Color Me Crazy

Incoco Nail Polish Strips
Yaby Eyeshadows

There's nothing I like more than a beautiful burst of color in my subscription boxes.  And both Ipsy and Birchbox are doing a great job of sending me items in Emerald, *the* color of 2013!  Not to mention my favorite color!  Birchbox sent me Incoco Nail Polish Strips in Spring Vines ($9), they're a beautiful green with a lighter pattern over top.  I can't wait to try these, and see if they last longer than my regular chip-in-one-day manicures!  Ipsy sent two shadows from Yaby, and I got the colors So Vein and Sand Dune ($3.15 each).  They're beautiful colors, but they are very sheer.  Instead of a pop of color, I got a faint wash on my hand when I swatched them.  In fact, Sand Dune blended right in with my skin.  I'm going to play around with these, but I'll definitely be disappointed if these shadows fade easily!  Birchbox wins the color category.  

All right, Birchbox and Ipsy are running neck and neck!  It's time for the tie-breaker, the final round, the moment you've all been waiting for...

Category #5) Seaside Vacation

Ipsy Anchor Bag
Caldrea Lotion

Whenever I go to the beach, I always end up needing two things.  A sand-free place to put things, and some lotion to keep the salt from roughening my skin!  Ipsy and Birchbox stepped up nicely this month and sent me items that take care of both of these needs!  First, the anchor bag.  There is no specific value for it, but I would totally pay $5 for this awesome bag.  Now, from the sneak peeks, I thought this would be a sturdy canvas bag, but it's actually made from a soft, satiny material.  This will be perfect for the beach!  Nautical prints are always *in* there!  Now, the Caldrea lotion.  Great brand, amazing scents, but Birchbox made an error that was their ultimate downfall for this competition.  You see, there are supposed to be THREE foil packets ($1.65 value for all 3 packets).  Sending me foil packets in a beauty sub is bad enough.  If I'm going to buy anything (let alone a $22 lotion), sending me a one-use sample is not the way to sell it.  Sending 3?  Ok, fine.  Forgetting one?  Grrrr.  I have emailed their customer service team, and I'll let you all know what they say.  I really hope they can send me the missing scent (Coconut Fig, by the way.  The ones I actually received are Tea Olive Lime and Aloe Water Apricot).   Ergo, Ipsy wins this category, and therefore, the contest.

Or does it?  Birchbox was certainly the winner as far as the monetary value of the box.  It was worth $33.65, versus the Ipsy value of $21.55 (including the value I assigned for the bag).  This is pretty unusual. In the past, my Ipsy shipments have averaged about $40 in retail value.  However, I count the usefulness of the items as a higher value than retail prices.  So for now, Ipsy triumphs.  But I do love the dry shampoo and the nail strips.  So let's see what Birchbox's Customer Service team can do.  If they reach out to me and go above and beyond, they just might pull ahead.

EDIT 3/11/12 - Birchbox emailed me back!  They "don't have the inventory" to send me the additional Caudalie lotion sample, so... they gave me $10 in store credit!  Wowza!  Essentially, they refunded the total cost of my box.  And I got 50 points ($5) in store credit for reviewing the items I received.  So, for $10 this month, I received over $30 in products and $15 in store credit.  Birchbox, I dub thee the winner!  Huzzah!

Love, Leigh

Disclaimer:  I pay for my Ipsy and Birchbox subscriptions.  These companies do not request that I review their products, nor am I compensated for the review.  All links in this post go to product pages, and there are no affiliate links.


  1. Those nail stickers are so cute. I just posted the review of my March Birchbox on my blog too. It is the best Birchbox I've ever received!

    - KW

    1. Oh, you got the Make stuff!!! So jealous ;) Thanks for stopping by!


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