Monday, April 21, 2014

Birchbox vs. Ipsy, April 2014 Smackdown! You Pick the Winner!

Birchbox and Ipsy are high profile rivals in the beauty subscription box business. At just $10 a month, they are both low cost leaders. Lots of bloggers and YouTubers have done side by side monthly comparisons with one of these companies usually winning hands down.  However, I think the quality of the April boxes shows that the other company has stepped up its game.

What do you think?  Please cast your vote for this month's winner in the "Comments" box below!

First, let's see what Birchbox sent for April.  There are three full size products (in their opinion), one luxury sample and one "lifestyle extra".

The first item is a 1.69 fl. oz. bottle of "Oi All in One Milk" by Davines which retails for $28.  This is a leave-in spray for your hair that delivers volume, shine, detangling and heat production.  The packaging is not very attractive and there really isn't much product here but it definitely has hair benefits that most of us need.

Next is something kind of strange...a little card case labeled "52 Bright Ideas for a Rainy Day".  I pulled out a card with "Tip 42 of 52" which says "Unroll your yoga mat and cue up an at-home routine with one of Tara Stiles' videos" plus a website URL for those videos. This makes me wonder if the other 51 "tips" are really just advertisements?  I'll never know since I just got #42!  The card is a promotion for the new Birchbox Aces, a new VIP program for those who rack up points on their site. Birchbox does have a generous points program so this might be worth checking out.

My favorite product in this box is actually the sample, which is a .25 fl. oz bottle of nail polish in the shade "Aquamarine Azulino" by Color Club. This is a shimmery aqua blue designed exclusively for Birchbox.

Then there is a so-called "full size" tube of Daily Body Serum by BijaBody, which retails for $34.  This is meant to protect against free radicals and give you luminous skin.  No matter how good this stuff is, I can't imagine spending that much for so little product...just .17 oz....literally the size of a lip gloss. For that price, it should also rotate my tires!

A nice creamy black eyeliner by Cynthia Rowley Beauty rounds off the beauty products in April's box.  This gives a smudge-proof all-day application but again, I have a problem with the retail price of $16.  This may be considered "full size" but at just 4-1/8" in length, it's half the size of typical drug store eyeliners.  It really needs to provide superb performance to justify that price.

The unexpected item in this month's Birchbox is a KIND Healthy Grains Bar, this one in the flavor "Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt".  I like these as they are both chewy and crunchy.  Haven't tried this flavor yet.

So, there you have Birchbox for April.  Now on to Ipsy's famous hot pink metallic bubble envelope that absolutely nobody can overlook in their mailbox!  This month's shipment included three full size products and two samples.  That's my estimation; Ipsy doesn't mess around with information cards which I kind of like.

Ipsy always includes a small cosmetic bag in their monthly collections.  This month the bag is more or less square in shape.  It's navy blue with an artsy retro print of a 45 RPM record on the front.  As always, the Ipsy logo is printed on the cute zipper pull.  The social media promotion card asks subscribers to take a photo of what they received and share it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Despite Ipsy's cool reputation, this constant plea every month is getting a little old.

The first item is a black creamy eyeliner by Urban Decay in a cardboard sleeve that I thought was going to contain a perfume sample!  At 4-1/2" in length, this is almost identical to the eyeliner provided in my Birchbox this month.  It's always nice to get anything from Urban Decay though!

There is a 1.5 oz. sample size of Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse by BigSexyHair. This brand is frequently featured in beauty subscription boxes so this one may be a repeat for some customers.

Next is a jelly lip gloss by Mary Kay at Play in the shade "Teddy Bare", which is a nude pink shade.  This gloss gives intense shine with a sheer wash of color.

Then there is a quarter ounce sample of Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant. This is a facial cream with anti-aging properties that is marketed as an effective at-home alternative to professional clinical treatments.

Last is an eye shadow called "Pop! Goes the Shadow" from Elizabeth Mott, a brand I am not familiar with. This is a single shadow in a beautiful shade called "Champagne".

So, that's my Birchbox vs. Ipsy smackdown for the month of April!  I would love to know which company you think provided the better product mix and value for $10? Please comment below with your verdict.  I'll update this post with the winner at the end of the month.

Because these two subscriptions are so inexpensive, it's pretty difficult to find any promotion or coupon codes for them.  If you do run across one and don't mind sharing, please let me know and I'll include it here.

In the meantime, use this invite link to sign up for Birchbox.  Or click here if you'd like to check out Ipsy.

As always, thanks so much for reading!


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