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Why I Canceled Ipsy and Scoff at Most Birchbox Versus Ipsy Posts

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There was a major update that changed the rewards program at Birchbox effective 07/11/16. I compared Birchbox to Sephora Play (another $10 a month box) without factoring in the monthly review points if you’d like to see a current match-up. Everything below the line was the case when the article was written, so I want to leave the original article in tact. Since the Ipsy program makes redeeming points difficult (I could never redeem any) with lower value and limited items, I still do not consider its rewards program valuable. The box comparisons are still an accurate match-up of the two. All current offers and details regarding the new rewards program are on my Birchbox Subscription page. It is no longer the best reward program EVER (as described below). I’ve remained subscribed to Birchbox under the new reward program based on the strength of the items in my boxes. As long as I keep getting great boxes, I will continue to subscribe without extra points.

My suggestion is try Birchbox, even without the old reward program, and customize your profile as much as possible to get items geared toward you. If your boxes miss the mark, play around with your profile to get better ones. Cancel if the boxes do not meet your expectations. They meet mine (for now), but we are all different. The standard box format is five deluxe items from different beauty catgeories: hair, fragrance, skincare, body, and makeup. While you can limit how many fragrance samples you get, you cannot limit the other categories. It is extremely uncommon to get more than two from any category (outside of bonus foils typically in the hair category). Look at pictures of all my recent boxes, and you will see the product mix is in every box. Those who do not want hair samples or want more makeup may not like that all boxes are a good mix of beauty products. There are other subscription programs that usually send more makeup per box, including Ipsy and Sephora Play! People looking for mainly makeup samples will likely be unsatisfied with Birchbox, so I’d suggest picking another subscription.


There was a six month period in 2014 where I subscribed to both Ipsy and Birchbox. When I started Ipsy, it impressed me. Every item in the bag was exciting. The best thing about the Ipsy subscription was the little bag that accompanied the samples. Most of them were very cute. If you have a beauty addiction, odds are you will never use any of those incredibly cute bags. Why? They’re way too small unless you are rocking a very natural look with little makeup, so my cute Ipsy bags are not used. Whenever I gift something small, I always put it inside a Birchbox now. They make great gift boxes or you can even repurpose them for something else.

Ever since Birchbox introduced box themes, I find them incredibly cute, like the Ipsy bags. When I run out of the boring brown boxes, will I be able to gift using my colorful treasures! Probably not. Although, I will probably not repurpose them another way, so I know I should.

Birchbox and Ipsy both cost $10 a month or $110 a year. Since Ipsy restructured its format, they both send a variety of beauty samples. You can expect to see hair products, perfumes, skin care, body care, makeup, nail polish, and more from both. The similarities end there. Ipsy stopped sending mostly makeup, which disappointed many, including myself. When Ipsy got into the skin care game, they did not enter it the same way Birchbox did. They started sending mostly low-end brands, whereas Birchbox sends items closer to mid range. I am not anti low-end brands. Some of them are good, but the nice ones tend to be the exception and not the rule. While I have no problem trying the low-end makeup Ipsy samples, I found I could not even bring myself to sample some of the low-end skin care.

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Birchbox is Easily One of the Best Deals Around

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One of my favorite deals is through Birchbox. For $10 a month, it sends a minimum of five beauty samples. The brand revamped over the summer of 2014. Now, it allows you to choose one of your samples from a selection of 3-4 items. You can also choose a specially curated box and know all of your items in advance if the box appeals to you. The selection is usually near the end of the month. Aces (people who earn over 500 points a year) and people who refer friends get to select their items a day earlier than everyone else. Select as early as you can, because Birchbox does run out of choices.

Birchbox will usually do a sneak peek video ahead of selections, and it is a good idea to watch the videos. There are usually 2-4 upgrade options each month. The items are offered at a slight discount. They ship with your regular box and will be charged when they ship. These items sell out quickly, so reserve them as soon as you see the sneak peek video. If you wait to upgrade your box until you do your sample selection, there will probably be no upgrade options left.

For those who love to be surprised, you can let them pick all of the items for you. If you fill out a detailed beauty profile about yourself, you have a better chance of getting items suited toward you. Of all the different boxes I’ve subscribed to, this box utilizes your beauty profile to send items most closely matched to your desires. Most months, I find at least 3 of the 5 items excite me. Thus, this is a great deal for me. Ever since the revamp, food items, lifestyle items and foils are bonuses and do not deduct a beauty item from your box. Added bonus! As you can see from my last year of boxes, they send quality items. The newer boxes keep getting better, too. My first was my least favorite.

       December 2014

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My favorite thing about this membership is the site gives you 10 points for each review. With 5-7 samples a month, you can earn up to 70 points. At 100 points, you can cash them in and spend $10 on anything you want in the Birchbox shop. Even if you have 2 months in a row with only five items, you should be earning $10 every 2 months just for reviews. You also get 1 point for every $1 you spend in the shop. They even run occasional bonus point promos, so it is very easy to earn points. New subscribers can usually find codes to get 50-100 bonus points added to their account.

Birchbox Women

If you want to subscribe, remember to look at start-up offers and all available offers. When you’re ready to spend your rewards points, remember to add your free two piece sample pack when spending $35 from the Bonus ShopTips For Getting the Best Deal lays out all the ways I know to save money at Birchbox. See other Birchbox Subscription articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

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