I received my May 2013 Ipsy bag in the mail a few weeks back (when it was still May) and I did an opening video talking about the things I received in my box. Sadly, that video was unusable due to technical difficulties, so I had to film a second video which you can see here.
This is my last Ipsy bag, as I cancelled my subscription at the end of April. I spoke a bit about my reasons in the video, but I wanted to elaborate and give a more comprehensive review of the service, so I decided to do a post on it.
May 2013 Ipsy Bag
The theme of this bag is Spring Fling, as you can see. I talk more in detail about each product in the video. I can’t give the exact names of each product, because Ipsy doesn’t send you a detailed list of the products you received in your bag.
These items were quite nice and a full size product which is always great to find in a sample box/bag.
The coconut lotion smells great, but it is a ‘luminizing body butter’ with ‘shimmer and glow’, code words for glitter. So it has a fine shimmer in it, which I don’t really like using on my body.
The concealer is nice, but small and inconvenient to store without the magnetic palette that I got in a previous bag and had to toss. The shade looks good for me, which is something that many subscriptions struggle with.
The Juice Beauty lip gloss is the product I’m most excited about this month. This is a full size product, which is awesome, and the lipgloss itself smells amazing! I find it odd that the color name is “Pink” when the gloss is clearly not pink, but oh well!
Finally, the NuMe hair serum. I don’t use many hair oils or serums because I have sometimes oily roots and I want to avoid adding extra product to my roots. This serum is extremely thick and it has a dropper for a dispenser which makes me think that it will be difficult to apply evenly to all of my hair. I may try it just to see what it’s like, but I wasn’t super excited about it.
Why I cancelled Ipsy!
Now, Ipsy has a lot of good features and it has been growing and getting even better since it began a few years ago; however, I found that it just wasn’t worth the expense for me anymore. The things that bothered me about Ipsy were more annoyances and irritations that built up over time. It’s not like I had a horrible experience with them.
1. No description of products
This is one thing that really stood out to me as being a bother. Unlike every other sample subscription I’ve ever tried, Ipsy does not include a detailed description of the items they are sending you. Seems silly to me, when the point is to introduce you to new products. The tiny concealer I received this month, I wouldn’t have know what it was except for that I saw a post on a makeup forum from someone else who also got it. They have their online “GlamRoom”, but I don’t always have the time to go online and look it up. They seem to want to push their customers to the internet, which I understand, but it’s still annoying.
2. IpsyPoints program
I actually learned of this program after I had already cancelled, but it makes me glad I did. If you have Birchbox, then you know about the Birchbox points system, where you get points back for giving your opinion about the samples you received. When I saw the heading “IpsyPoints” on Ipsy’s website, I was really excited! I thought, “Oooh, Birchbox style rewards system? Maybe I should consider resubbing!” No, my friends, you receive IpsyPoints for getting referrals. Members who got a certain amount of referrals received an extra special additional sample in their May bags. Well that’s all well and good, but it gave me the impression that all Ipsy cares about is getting more subscribers. Not every member can take advantage of that sort of rewards program. I know I can’t, because I don’t have enough friends who care about beauty and want to subscribe. It seems like the IpsyPoints program is still in progress, so the way they develop it further may affect how I feel about it, but at the moment, I’m not impressed.
3. Unimpressive Samples
Obviously, the main focus of any beauty subscription should be the sample products you receive! With Ipsy, I was never super impressed by the items I received. They tended to send more ordinary products that I’ve used before, blush, eyeshadows, eyeliner, lotion, etc. They did send out far more full size products than Birchbox, but the brands were more unknown and lower end. I used to think that full size products meant better boxes, but I’ve begun to realize that sometimes a tiny sample of something you end up loving can be more worthwhile than a full size product that you end up getting rid of because you never use it! Plus, they tend to have fewer items that are bigger. This month, for example, I received the full size lipgloss and a decent sized lotion sample, but I only got four samples. Ipsy seemed to be more makeup oriented than Birchbox so if you really want to try color makeup products, Ipsy may work well for you. Also, in the beginning particularly, when it was still called MyGlam, the products were more geared to a younger crowd. NYX Loose Glitter Eyeshadow is a product I remember thinking it looked like something my 9 year old sister would want to use, not me. They aren’t that way much anymore, but occasionally a product will still give me that feeling. Birchbox does a better job, I think, of sending out newly released products from well known brands that people are eager to try. And even if I’ve never heard of a brand that Birchbox sends me, I’m more willing to feel favorably toward it because I know they’ve sent me high quality brands in the past.
4. Ipsy Bags
This is really a minor thing, but after more than a year of subscribing to Ipsy (minus a few months), I have way too many little makeup bags! Some were really cute, some were pretty ugly, some were poorly made and fell apart, some were too tiny to be functional and some I’ve used regularly since I got them! But no matter what, I still have a bunch of them and I don’t know what to do with them!
It’s not all bad…
All my complaining aside, there are some positive aspects to Ipsy. As mentioned above, they send out a decent amount of full size samples and they almost always include a makeup product in their bags, not just skin care and other things. They also offer discounts on the products that they are featuring, seen in the photo below. Overall, their shipping is decent, though I tend to either not receive my tracking email or receive it the day before I receive my bag, which is weird, and I’ve never had any contact with their customer service department so I can’t comment on that. Ipsy focuses more on really being a community of people who like beauty by turning their website into a video, blog, comment and tutorial sharing space, Birchbox just wants to send you samples and get you to buy them from their store. I think the simplicity and consistency of Birchbox since I first subscribed is what has kept me subscribed through certain rounds of boring boxes and tiny samples. Ipsy has gone through so many ups and downs, including changing the name, that I don’t have as much faith in the idea that “Oh next month will be better”. New subscribers may find that they enjoy the experience more coming in now that Ipsy has finally found a place it can do well and improve from there.