When the new month starts, I toss everything I finished the previous month. I give a mini review of each item. Items I love are usually repurchased, so some of them appear in the Empties Series a lot. If I like or am indifferent to an item, I will not rush out to repurchase, but I would be willing to use or try it again. Items that are not for me may not always be empty. Generally, I finish them but do not use them again in the future. If they’re really awful and new samples find their way to me, I give them to someone else unopened. For items I really love, I do a separate product spotlight to discuss them in more detail.
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Ever since I fell in love with Birchbox, I’ve tried to talk my husband into subscribing. Men’s subscriptions are $20 a month and not the $10 a month women pay. This is due to the added lifestyle item, which is more often than not over $20 by itself. Having a subscription that is twice as expensive also makes it twice as hard to get the value back. Thus, it is more risky. In a month where the lifestyle item does not connect with him, he will not get the value back on the box. He is one of the few people I know who does not like to try samples he has not done a ton of research on, so he had me convinced he would not try most of the product samples either.
He even joked that subscription boxes are clever at getting one to pay for junk they do not really want or need. A few months ago, I completely gave up on the idea that he should subscribe. I did this despite the fact that he keeps buying full-sized items he’s researched and “knows” he will love them only to find he does not love them once he tries them. Like me, he never returns anything either. That means he uses all these products completely before trying another one he pays the full price for in the hopes of finding one that will stick.
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.