Friday, March 20, 2015

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Glam Bag, March 2015, Battle of the $10 Beauty Boxes, Pt. 2

This is Part 2 of my Birchbox vs. Ipsy smackdown for March!  Click here to catch up on Part 1 which focused on Ipsy's Glam Bag.  In this post, we'll see what arrived from Birchbox.  Both of these subscriptions cost $10 per month but that can effectively be reduced by participating in their respective points programs.  Both companies are very good at sourcing mid to high end beauty brands so the quality and value of the samples they send is usually quite good.

In the past few months, Birchbox has added an interesting new option.  They send subscribers an e-mail prior to shipping that month's box.  You can customize your box by choosing one of three samples offered in the e-mail. The rest of the box is still unknown but will probably reflect the results of the beauty profile you completed when signing up.  In addition, they have added another option to choose a "featured box" for the month.  This is a guest curated or themed box where all five products are revealed.  I'm sure this option was added to retain customers who were getting too many samples they didn't like or couldn't use.

For March, I chose the featured box with a "Beauty Solutions" theme.  I chose it largely because of two of the products, a blush (my weakness) and an eye cream. One nice thing about the featured boxes is they are usually more aesthetically pleasing to look at than the standard raw cardboard Birchbox.  (If you are a long time subscriber with dozens of those stashed somewhere, I know you get it!)  This one has a mint green top and a black and white patterned bottom.

Inside are the five products promised in the selection e-mail along with an information card.

The Laura Geller "Blush-n-Brighten" baked blush in "Pink Grapefruit" is the reason I ordered this box. This is a multi-toned pinkish mauve blush with highlighter and the most subtle gold shimmer; just gorgeous! This is a generously sized sample with a mirror in the lid. (Note to beauty sub boxes....if you want me to buy your box, just add a decent blush!)  

Whish products have arrived in a lot of sub boxes.  Their logo has a very retro look so these always look somewhat dated to me.  But their products are nice.  This "Three Whishes Body Butter" is in the "Almond" scent.  It is very light antioxidant-rich cream with a faint clean scent to it.  

Because of my continual quest for THE perfect eye cream, this Supergoop Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream was the other product that initially caught my attention.  I have received lots of Supergoop products in previous boxes but this is the first eye cream.  It contains SPF 37 sunscreen and is full of peptides to brighten and protect the undereye area.   

The one thing my hair does not need is volume!  So this volumizing hair tonic from Dear Clark is a miss for me.  It is intended for thin or flat hair and adds bounce and shine when spritzed into the roots.  My hair would fight back so I'll be gifting this to someone whose hair has better manners.

This little pot contains Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Creme by "derma e".  This anti-oxidant rich cream contains SPF 15 and addresses a dull complexion and/or uneven skin tone.  This is a nice sized sample that I bet would benefit anyone over the age of 30.

Birchbox probably has the most generous points program of any beauty box. You get one point for every dollar you spend in their on-line store, 50 points for every person you refer and 10 points for every review.  Just reviewing the five samples in your box each month earns 50 points, which is worth $5 in the Birchbox shop...making your box essentially $5.  Those points add up fast and really are part of the value of this subscription.

Who won for March...Birchbox or Ipsy?  For me, the Birchbox winners were the blush and the eye cream.  Ipsy's stars were the highlighter and concealer.  In terms of perceived value, these two are pretty much dead even this month.  But the inclusion of the Laura Geller blush tips my decision towards Birchbox, so I am officially declaring them the winner!

With a judge and jury of ONE, this may not have been the most democratic contest ever but since I typically favor Ipsy, the results surprised even me.  That just goes to show how hard these two are competing for the $10 beauty bag subscriber.

So congratulations Birchbox!  Keep up the great work and we'll see who comes out ahead next month.


P.S.  Birchbox has just added the option of upgrading your subscription for $20 a month.  For this, you get two full size makeup or luxury nail products added to your box each month. You don't get to choose the products but I'm guessing they will be worth considerably more than the $20.

Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.     

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