August 2014 Face Off: Birchbox Vs. Ipsy

Good morning friends!

Let’s start this week off with a head to head contest to really get our blood flowing on this Monday morning.

Today we’re pitting the $10 Beauty subscription services against each other, Birchbox Vs. Ipsy, in a all out brawl and fight to the death.

Whoa. Sorry about that last bit, I was really getting into my metaphor. Too much caffeine. (I had to wake up at 5:30 this morning for the first time in months, and it hurt. It hurt.)

So without any further mentions of violence, I give you the August Beauty Box Face-Off!

No. Not that Face Off. I give up. The caffeine has gone straight to my head.

No. Not that Face Off. I give up. The caffeine has gone straight to my head.

Oh, and there are so many pictures in this post. You’ve been warned.

Birchbox, $10

Birchbox August 2014

First up we have Birchbox, the original $10 beauty subscription. A little bit of history on Birchbox and Rebs though, in full disclosure:

I subscribed to Birchbox from November 2011 to May 2013. I canceled at that time because I was tired of 3 things:

1. Getting too many perfume samples*
2. Getting too many samples that did not match my hair and skin profile
3. General decline in samples (ex: “Lotion? Again?”)

**See Below (In all fairness, they now let you select to get no more than 6 samples a year. So I appreciate that Birchbox addressed this issue.)

Some of my perfume samples from 2011-2013. Yes, I keep them in a glasses case. Also maybe I should throw these out? Does perfume go bad?

Some of my perfume samples from 2011-2013. Yes, I keep them in a glasses case. Also maybe I should throw these out? Does perfume go bad?

However, lately some of my good friends and fellow bloggers have convinced me to give Birchbox a try again. And really, when I have I ever said no to forking over $10 for beauty supplies?

So here I am with my first Birchbox in over a year! Let’s see how it went down.


Birchbox mailed on the 10th, I got it on the 13th. Nice! +1pt


I loved the little touch of adding a descriptor to my name. Of course, I love the actual Birchbox, because I love hoarding things in small containers, OK. And the rest of the packaging was pretty cute. I liked the theme of “Lighten Up”. +1pt 

The even hand wrote my birth name in!

The even hand wrote my birth name in!


Birchbox August 2014

Neil George Shampoo and Conditioner, Nuug Revitalizing Face Mask, Laura Gellar Cool Lids Eyeshadow in Silver Sands and Key West Aloe Mango Lotion

Neil George Shampoo and Conditioner

Birchbox August 2014

Full Size, $9 each. So this set is shampoo and conditioner. That’s about it. I have fine hair that gets oily easily, and this did nothing for it. It may have made it a bit softer? Maybe? The smell was nice, but I felt it was about on par with the samples you get in a nice hotel. +0pts

Nugg Beauty Revitalizing Mask

Key West Aloe Mango Moisturizing Lotion and Nugg Beauty Revitalizing Mask

Key West Aloe Mango Moisturizing Lotion and Nugg Beauty Revitalizing Mask

Key West Lotion: Full size, $12. This smells nice and it seems like its really moisturizing, but it’s essentially just lotion. My skin type is medically classified as “Ridiculously oily”, so this isn’t really a need for me. +0.5pts, (Yes, my rating system has decimals )for smelling nice and fruity.

Nugg Beauty Mask: Pack of 5, $14.99. I took a nice bath and tried this mask. It smelled like peppermint and tingled, but I didn’t see any immediate results.(Maybe because there was only 1 sample?) +0.5pts, for making my bath time smell nice.

Laura Geller Beauty, Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow in Silver Sands

Laura Geller Beauty, Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow in Silver Sands

Laura Geller, Cream Eyeshadow: Full size, $19. I was most excited about this product because I like Laura Geller, and the color is very pretty. (I love shimmery neutrals.)

However, I’m not the biggest fan of cream eyeshadow. (It makes me really nervous that it’s going to set before I’m ready and I start smearing it on everything and then it’s just a mess.)  While this is not a bad product, I also think the Maybelline Color Tattoos are pretty comparable, but about half the price. +1pt, not a bad product, just not for me.

Point System

Birchbox is always going to get a bonus point here, because their reward program is the bee’s knees. I really did miss this part of their subscription when I quit. I already have 150 points, which is basically 15.00 in their store. Delightful! +1pt

So Birchbox’s total rating on my arbitrary scale: 5pts

Unfortunately, I was kinda disappointed about this box. It was my first one back with Birchbox and I guess I just had my hopes up that it would be amaaazzzing and I would be crying, “Birchbox, why did I ever leave you?” But that didn’t really happen.

I won’t give up yet, but I’m hoping September’s box is better. This could be our awkward makeup stage after all. Maybe Birchbox and I just need to work through this.

Let’s see how Ipsy does!

My camera hates the shine on that bag. HATES IT.

My camera hates the shine on that bag. HATES IT.


Ipsy emailed me on the 11th, and the bag arrived on the 15th. The tracker showed it was actually shipped on August 8th. They use DHL which means my bag sat in a post office for about 5 days. Just chillin. +0pts, Birchbox wins this one!


I do love the pink bag Ipsy comes in. I can’t help that I’m a magpie to shiny things, specifically pink shiny things. I also like the bag this month, although mine showed up a big squished. I’m thinking I’m going to use it to hoard more random things in. One can never have too many bags of lipstick. +1pt for this month’s bag.

Snacks. I can fill it with snacks. YES.

Snacks. I can fill it with snacks. YES.


ipsy august 2014 bag

Dr. Prant No Pores Primer, Urban Decay Peversion Mascara, J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eyeshadow, Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner, and Klorane Dry Shampoo

Urban Decay Peversion Mascara and J. Cat Flying Solo Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Peversion Mascara and J. Cat Flying Solo Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, Full Size, $22
I know a lot of people are underwhelmed by this mascara, but I actually kind of like it. I think it applies very easily and does make my lashes look darker and thicker. Would I pay $22 bucks for it? Hell, no. But I enjoy this sample! +1pt for enjoyment

J.Cat Flying Solo Eyeshadow in Half Naked, Full Size, $2.99
I was fully prepared to hate this eye shadow. I had never heard of the brand and I expected it to be some chalky crap. It’s actually not bad, especially for $2.99. (Ipsy, why do you not list full size prices like Birchbox! -.5pts for making me look this up.)

It could be my eternal passion for neutral eye shadows that draws me to this.

It could be my eternal passion for neutral eye shadows that draws me to this.

Mirror and sponge applicator underneath the color.

Mirror and sponge applicator underneath the color.

And check out that MacGuyver action! I don’t actually use applicators like that, but I still think the mirror underneath the color is pretty genius. +1pt for gimmicky eye shadow holders!

August Ipsy Bag

Dr. Brandt, Pores No More Pore Refiner, Full Size, $45.
Okay, I realllllly liked this primer. I was about to give up my Benefit Porefessional for this. It is silky smooth, made my pores look tiny, and no breakouts so far. (My skin HATES primers.) But I can not justify $45 primer. Even with all the Ipsy codes offered. +1 for letting me experience this primer, although I am sad it does not fit in my grad school budget.

Seriously regretting that I took so many individual pictures...

Seriously regretting that I took so many individual pictures…

Jersey Shore Sun, Mongongo Lip Conditioner, Full Size, $5.50.
I appreciate that this is organic, but that’s about all I appreciate. It has a weird medicinal smell and taste. (I wasn’t eating it, things just happened, OK!) And my lips did not feel moisturized for some reason, but just sad. +0pts

Ipsy August 2014

Klorane, Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, Full Size, $19.50
This dry shampoo is “extra gentle” and apparently I need one that is “extra strict, authoritative, and controlling” because it didn’t do much for my hair. I was able to pull it back into a less greasy ponytail, but that was it. Maybe if you have less evil hair, it will work for you. +1, it doesn’t seem like a bad product, it just isn’t enough for my hair.

Point System
I’ve been using Ipsy since April and I have about 400pts. You can’t buy anything until you have 1000pts. I’m never going to make it. They do offer codes and discounts on the products in that month’s bag, but some of them aren’t that great. +.5 for the random discount codes.

So who won?

So who won?

Final Scores
Birchbox: 5pts
Ipsy: 5.5 pts
Ipsy won by a hair, because I enjoyed their products more this month. Birchbox was close because their shipping and points system are better. Also I completely made up my scoring system and I felt like Ipsy was better this month. So you know, math. 

Questions of the Day:
-Who do you think was the real winner? Birchbox or Ipsy?
-Have you ever seen the movie Face/off?
-Do you subscribe to either of these bag/boxes? How was your month?



PS: I linked up with Agape Love Designs for her Makeup Monday Link up. I’m totally new to linky parties, so I am pretty excited about this!

Makeup Monday

13 thoughts on “August 2014 Face Off: Birchbox Vs. Ipsy

  1. Lauren W. says:

    I got that dry shampoo in my Birchbox this summer. It actually worked decently well in my hair, but dry shampoo just makes me uncomfortable in general. I just like to shower too much.

    • I think I’m the same way. Also to ungrease my hair, I need enough dry shampoo that I start to look like George Washington in a powdered wig. And if I don’t use that much, you can’t see a difference.
      So, I basically I only use it in emergencies when I can’t get to a shower.

  2. azzrian says:

    We got nearly the same of both boxes. First – love your writing style! Face off is a great movie! I agree also it was a draw on the winner. Oh and yes perfume can go bad but not for a decade or more as long as air is not getting into it 🙂

    • Hey!
      Thanks! I’m glad you liked Face/off, I love any chance to reference that movie.

      The boxes were really close this month. I think my favorite product out of both of them is the Dr. Brandt’s Primer, which might be what tipped me in Ipsy’s favorite. Did you have a favorite product?

      And thanks for the perfume tip, my samples are still good!

      • azzrian says:

        The primer is wonderful to have but like you – can’t afford when gone! My daughter took a lot of my other items lol Glad your samples are still good! Trust me I have a basket full of perfume samples too but hey its nice to try something new now and then! I just gift them when I have tired them and know they are not for me. Love your blog!

      • I’m glad your samples got some good use with your daughter! You’re right, some of my perfume samples are actually really nice brands, I should try to use more of them from time to time. (At the very least, I can pretend I have good taste in perfume!)
        Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, it’s great to hear from other bloggers!

  3. Renee C. says:

    Loved your comparision – I am in Canada so I never get Birchbox (I compare Topbox & Beauty Box 5 with my Ipsy) & loved the point system!

    Renee C.

    • Hey!
      Thanks! I’ll have to check out your reviews, I’ve been on the fence about trying Beauty Box 5 for awhile.
      And I’m glad you liked my point system, it was pretty fun to use!

  4. I got the sand ipsy bag as you this month! Overall I liked the products. My BB wasn’t bad at all and I will definitely always like their point system more than ipsy’s!

  5. I got the EXACT same box/bag from Birchbox and Ipsy last month. Apparently we’re beauty profile twins :-p I had very similar feelings towards them. The shampoo/conditioner duo was really disappointing, especially considering they were good sized samples. Let’s hope September takes things up a notch.

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