Monday, August 24, 2015

What is all the hype about the Ipsy Glam Bag, Beauty Box 5, Birchbox and BoxyCharm Monthly Boxes | Review

If you spend any time on YouTube you know that the monthly beauty boxes are all the rage, especially those by Birchbox, Ipsy and Boxy Charm (to name a few).  These boxes are billed and shipped on a monthly basis.  I thought I would show what I got in my August boxes so that you can make your own comparison on the value of each box and the items that come in them.


The Ipsy bag is one of the more popular monthly beauty bags/boxes.  Michelle Phan, creator of Ipsy,  has inspired thousands of people through her YouTube Videos, books and through the Ipsy bags.  Each month I receive a combination of deluxe sized samples and some full sized products (on occasion) all in a cute makeup pouch.  The Ipsy bag does not come with a product card nor the retail costs of each product.  You have to go the website to get more information on each product in your bag.  The cost of each bag is around $10 a month (which includes shipping).  The selection of product varies each month and I look forward to each bag.

One of the reasons that I really like Ipsy is that I can affect what types of products I get in the bag by doing product reviews on their website and by taking the beauty quiz.  For example, when I first joined they kept sending me perfume samples.  Well I don't wear perfume because my job doesn't allow it and my kids are sensitive to it.  So I re-took the quiz and made it clear in my product reviews that I did not want perfume samples in my bag.  Thus, I no longer get perfume samples which is great.

The August 2015 Ipsy bag got top points from me this month.  It came packed with products that I love to use and a great hair care product sample.

My Ipsy August 2015 Bag (Theme is Prep School) had 5 products plus the cute black and white bag:

  • Marsk -  Synthetic Hair - Shadow Brush.  I love how well this brush picks up eyeshadow.
  • Pencil Me In - Natural Eyeliner Pencil with Sharpener (in cap) in the color Boysenberry.  The color was great but I did have to seal the pencil with to keep it from smudging.
  • Skone Cosmetics -  Luxe Doubler Eye and Lip Pencil in Wine.  The pigment on this pencil is excellent. It also glides on very smoothly.  It wore well and did not smudge.  
  • Hikari Cosmetics - Lip Gloss in Salsa - While I loved the color, I just could not stand the smell of the product. I did find it is not as sticky as the Stila lip glosses but I just could not get past the smell. 
  • Mark Anthony - Argon Oil (.7 oz) - I love this product.  The texture of this product is similar to other argon oils. The scent is fantastic.  My hair soaked it right up and it look so shiny.  I cannot say enough about how great the product is.


Birchbox is another very popular monthly beauty box.  It costs $10 (which includes shipping).  You can control some of what gets included in your box by answering their surveys and responding very quickly to their emails.  I still get perfume samples but I do get them less often than before (still it would be nice to eliminate them altogether).  Birch box does include a card with each box that gives a little bit of information on each item in the box.

The best way to control your Birchbox shipments is to get into their "ACE's" category by earning 500 points in one year.  You can easily achieve that by reviewing every item you get in each box.  I think they currently reward you 10 points per review, so it is pretty easy to achieve that goal without additional purchases.  The ACE's program allows members to have first choice on a featured sample which dictates which box they will get.  You just have to remember to constantly check your emails because they do sell out of certain samples pretty quick.

My August Birchbox had the following samples in it:

  • DevaCurl "SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler  (1.5 oz) - Full Size (5.1 oz) retails for $28.  First I have to say that the Coconut Scent on this product is really strong. If you don't like coconut then stay away from it.  I love the smell, so it did not bother me. However, I cannot use it in my hair during the week because the scent is strong enough to bother my co-workers.  I also liked that is was Sulfate and Silicone Free, too many of my hair products have those ingredients in them and it is refreshing to find one that does not and that it still does what it claims to do.
  • Balance Me "Congested Skin Serum" (.2 oz or 7 ml)) - Full Size (15 ml) retails for $30.  I gave it to my daughter to help clear up her skin and it seemed to help. However, at $20 for 15 ml this product is a bit expensive. 
  • LAQA & CO.  Cheeky Lip in Cray-cray (full size) - Retails for $20 for a set of three.  I love how easy this color glides on and how sheer it is. The color is build able but I like sheer colors for summer.  
  • Shea Terra Organics "Rose Hips Black Soap Deep Pore Facial Cleanser" (.5 oz) - Retails for $16 (4 oz). This product really deep cleans the skin and works great with my "Foreo Luna".  It got my skin so clean that I immediately ordered the 4 oz size.  It doesn't have much of a scent (it smells like ivory soap to me) and it does clean the skin really well.  It can strip the skin of oils, so I recommend using your toner and/or serums right after cleansing to keep your skin from drying out too much.
  • Juicy Couture "I am Juicy Couture" perfume sample - Unfortunately this sample is wasted on me since I cannot use fragrance.  I did give it to my next door neighbor's teenager who loved it.  The sample is .05 oz.  - Retails for $94 for 3.5 oz.  

Beauty Box 5

Each month for around $12,  Beauty Box 5 sends me 5 deluxe and/or full sized product mix of samples from various categories (makeup, beauty accessories, hair, skin care, fragrance, and other body products).  The best deal is to prepay for the year at a cost of $90 which works out to $7.50 per box.  One of the things that I like about this box is that each month the selection is really varied.  I have not had a single repeat of any item over the last year.  I also appreciate that they include a product card with each shipment that describes the products in the box and lists the retail price of a full size product for each item.

The August Beauty Box 5 had the following samples in it:

  • A "Donna Max" printed full sized nail file with a handy plastic case.  I love this feature because it keeps the nail file more hygienic than just throwing it into my purse or tote.  This is a really nice file that retails at about $4.99
  • A Luxe Longwearing Eyeliner Pen in Plum from "Starlooks".  I love eyeliner pens so I was pretty excited to have this full sized product in the box.  I tried it out and loved the brown plum color.  It is very pigmented and works great with a natural look.   I did notice that I had to let it sit and dry on my eyelid for about 45 seconds to avoid smearing it.  Once it dries it stays on pretty well.  This retails at $19.99
  • A "Pur-lisse Deluxe Sample of their "Moist Hydra-Balance Moisturizer".  This was a .5 oz sized sample of the moisturizer which is perfect for my travel bag.  I have used this product before and really like how it works with my complexion.  The full size (1.7 oz) of this moisturizer sells for $55.00.  Thus you can understand how happy I was to get the deluxe sample in the box.
  • A Hask Beauty "Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment" with Argon Oil.  This was a full size (1.75 oz) and retails for $2.99.  The product is the thickness of yogurt and smells really good.  I applied it to my hair and it left it really soft and manageable.  Hopefully, I will be able to find the product in my local beauty supply or drug store.
  • From Jerome Alexander the box included this full sized wild pink compact called the "Hot Stuff Go Pop Compact" which has 3 bright colored eyeshadows and three complimentary colored lip glosses.  The colors are not colors that I would use but my daughter thought they were cool, so she got to keep  the compact.  The compact retails for $10.99

The August 2015 Beauty Box 5 was a great deal, I got a 4 full sized products (that I liked) which is a really good value for my investment of $7.50 (including shipping).


My favorite monthly box is BoxyCharm.  Now BoxyCharm is a more expensive box at $21 per month (includes shipping).  I get 4 to 5 full sized beauty items in each box.  They also have specials product deals on their website.  This box does not currently have a way to personalize the product selection included each month but so far I have not received anything that I did not like.

BoxyCharm also includes a product card that describes what each product is, how to use it and the retail value of the product.  If you really like an item, they do sell it on their website.  You can also earn points by doing product reviews and exchange them for discounts off future orders.

The August 2015 BoxyCharm had the following full sized products in it:

  • Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Palette - Full size.  I had previously purchased the Reveald 2 Palette because the colors were so similar to my Naked 3 pallet.  The colors in the Revealed 3 Palette are very pigmented and are very easy to work with to create a lot of different looks.  I love both the Revealed I and II palettes and was happy to find the Revealed 3 in my box.  The Reaveled Palettes retail for around $39 but you can get them on sale for $15 to $20 (even less on Black Friday).
  • Mica Beauty Gel Eyeliner - Full Size.  This eyeliner is amazing.  It glides on very easily and is very pigmented.  Once it dries it does not smudge or fade out.  This gel liner retails for $35.
  • Seta Eyeliner Brush - Full Size.  This works great with the gel liner above.  The synthetic bristles pick up the correct amount of gel to easily glide it along the lash line.  This eyeliner brush retails for $16.
  • Nios Shield Leave-in Conditioner - Full Size. I had heard about this product and wanted to try it. It retails at $26 for 4 oz bottle, so I was very happy to get this product in my box.  It has been super hot out here in California and this product held up well. It has a spf of 15 in it which helps protect the hair and scalp from the sun.
  • The last product is So Susan Statement Skin highlighting crayon.  The crayon shape makes it easy to use.  It is not heavily pigmented so you can either use it as a very light highlight or layer it to make the highlight more intense.  I have fairly pale skin, so it did not show up on my skin without layering it a bit.  It did show up well on my daughter's skin (who had a nice tan).   I like the ingredients in this product it is made with Chia seeds, silk peptides and is cruelty free.  

I definitely feel that the BoxyCharm box is a great investment.  I look forward to getting that box each month.  So what do you think about the beauty boxes?  Leave a comment below and share your favorite or least favorite beauty box.

Note: All boxes in this review are paid for by myself.  My reviews are just my personal experience and thoughts on the products.  You may have differing views.

1 comment:

  1. Great review!! I've always wondered about these offers, but I think it works better when you have daughters at home!!