My Subscription Boxes: Birchbox, GlossyBox, and Ipsy

I’d like to give those of you mulling over subscribing to Birchbox, Glossybox, or Ipsy a little information and my oh-so-humble opinion on the services. Let’s start!

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Birchbox– $10/month, 4-5 samples

Started in 2010, Birchbox has taken the world and the subscription service market by storm. With 400,000 subscribers and 5 million boxes shipped, Birchbox is easily one of the most subscribed to services available. One element unique to Birchbox is the Birchbox shop. Find something you love in your box? You can buy the full-sized version of the product right on Birchbox.com, with free shipping on any order containing a brand featured in your box that month. Birchbox co-founder (and Harvard grad!), Katia Beauchamp explains,

“We take discovery and break it down into a simple three-step process, which is try something, learn about it, and then buy it. When you’re ready for full-size versions, you can buy directly from the Birchbox Shop; earning points to future shopping.”

Birchbox is a one-stop shop. Try the product, learn about it from product cards and the Birchbox Magazine, and then if you love it, buy the full-sized version in the Birchbox Shop! Birchbox even has a points rewards program, so every dollar spent in the store earns one point. Points can be cashed in for free products in the shop! (I have justified more than one purchase from the Birchbox Shop by convincing myself that it was an investment in future products. 🙂 )

I could go on. And on. (And on.) I will, however, refrain from gushing long enough to offer my two thumbs up for the service. For me, the only (and I mean ONLY) teeniest, tiniest drawback to Birchbox is that the samples they include are usually pretty small. A “deluxe sized sample” from Birchbox may actually be a tiny foil packet sample. The products are so good though, I can’t and will not complain.

Brands featured in my past boxes: Juicy Couture, OPI, Ayers, Fekkai, Nail Rock, Benefit, Color Club,  Camille, POP beauty, Evologie, Dr. Lipp, Vasanti, Bliss, Number 4, Paula’s Choice

If you’d like, use my referral link!

 

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Glossybox– $21/month, 5 samples (deluxe and full sized)

Glossybox is another highly subscribed to beauty box. Since Dec. 2012, GlossyBox has shipped more than two million boxes to 200,000 subscribers, in 16 different countries. 16! Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden,United Kingdom, USA, to be exact.

I believe GlossyBox uses this international presence for the benefit of all of its subscribers. With markets in 16 countries, GlossyBox has access to many more brands than Birchbox, for example, may. The company, therefore, is able to introduce it’s customers to niche products from other countries their customers probably wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. For example, I received a great Figs and Rouge lip balm from England in my February 2014 GlossyBox. It’s awesome because it’s English. This month the English GlossyBox included Maybelline ColorSensational lipstick and Maybelline Falsies Big Eyes Mascara. Those would not be exciting options for me because they are so widely available here in the States. In England, though, those products may be an exciting novelty.

GlossyBox does more than offer subscribers international products. Boxes feature generous deluxe and full sized samples of products and tools from great brands. Among them are Zoya, Philip B., Dr. Brandt,  La Prairie, Ole Henriksen, Nuxe, Essy, Tigi, Tarte, and Nioxin, just to name a few. (You can check out their full brand list here).

Like Birchbox and Ipsy, GlossyBox offers a points system called GlossyDots to reward subscribers for writing product surveys and referring friends. Earning 1,000 GlossyDots gets you a free box. (For reference, completing a product review is worth Dots.) Subscribers can purchase a re-ocurring month-to-month subscription or can pay ahead of time for 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions.

GlossyBox is more expensive than many beauty subscription services, but I think the box is a great value. Deluxe samples are all generously sized, and many of the products are full sized. Four out of five products in my February box were full sized, as well as two of five from the month before.  GlossyBox offers high quality luxury products, and great niche brands that are hard to find. I also really love the great packaging. That’s weird, right? The box is so sturdy and smooth though, and I love untying the pale pink ribbon. (I am aware that it is weird to be so psyched about a sturdy box.)

Despite my ever glowing love for GlossyBox, I must admit the service has some flaws. My box always arrives late, well into the next month, even though I am billed as early as the 5th of the month. It is odd to see spoilers for the next month’s GlossyBox before you have received the current box. Overall, though, GlossyBox is totally worth the wait.

Brands featured in my past boxes: Beauty Blender, Vichy, Toni and Guy, Bellapiere, BCBGMaxAzria, Lauren B.Beauty, Sumita, Figs and Rouge, Pureology, Emite.

 

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Ipsy– $10/month, 4-5 samples (deluxe and full sized)

In a unique approach to the subscription service model, Ipsy set forth to create a community of users who use the website resources to express their own beauty. In fact, the name Ipsy was inspired by “ipse”, the Latin root for self. Ipsters are encouraged to share their own beauty perspectives with the community, and to connect with fellow users. Michelle Phan, incredible Youtube beauty guru and co-founder of Ipsy, introduces the service far more eloquently than I can here. (She is the real Wonder Woman, I know it.) Users can get inspired by tutorial videos, the Ipsy blog, and content posted by your fellow Ipsters.

Ipsy’s monthly box is actually a bag, a Glam Bag to be precise. The design of these cute, collectable makeup bags changes every month to suit the month’s theme. Upon enrollment, Ipsters complete a beauty profile that includes questions about physical description, and beauty and style preferences. Ipsy sends subscribers products they think will work the best for them based on this profile information. Products featured in glam bags vary from mainstream to obscure, and high-end to budget friendly. Past bags have featured brand names including City Color, Mally Beauty, Malin + Goetz, Nourish Organic, Be a Bomshell, NYX, EM (Michelle Phan’s own cosmetics brand), Starlooks, Pixi, Nailtini, Buxom, Sexy Hair, Butter London, Cailyn Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Smashbox, Michael Todd, Pop Beauty, Coola, MicaBeauty, La Fresh, Yaby, Chella, Coastal Scents and Pacifica, to name a few. (I was looking for a link to their brands for you guys, but apparently that information can only be accessed by members by scrolling through the Glam Room.)

Like Birchbox and Glossybox, Ipsy offers subscribers a points system called IpsyPoints to reward users for  subscribing to the GlamBag, referring friends, reviewing products and the GlamBag, sharing your GlamBag on Facebook, and answering the question of the month (and sharing it on Facebook). Ipsters can redeem points for bonus products of their choice. Right now users can redeem points for their choice of Benefit High Beam (FULL SIZE! Wha?), a Kiss nail art starter kit, or a NYX Smokey Look Kit palette.

My take? The Ipsy service is as much an experience as it is a product. Every month, I learn from videos and content posted by Youtube gurus and Ipsters. My first bag is on the way, so I will update with my evaluation at a later point!

You can check out my referral link here.

Do you receive Birchbox, Glossybox, or Ipsy? If so, what do you think of the service(s)? Let me know in the comments below!

Your blushing belle,

Caitlin

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