Birchbox vs. GLOSSYBOX vs. ipsy | Beauty Box Comparison Review

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Subscription boxes have been around for quite some time, and I am just a little bit late (okay, way late) to the party. There are currently subscription boxes on the market for absolutely everything and everyone: beauty, women's fashion and accessories, men's grooming, food, moms, babies, and even dogs! Over the last couple of years, I have fiercely debated subscribing to a few of the beauty boxes available to see what the hype was all about. I have read countless reviews and watched hours of unboxing videos. I finally took the plunge and subscribed to Birchbox and GLOSSYBOX in mid-April and ispy at the end of May. 

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the links and subscribe, I’ll receive reward points from Birchbox and ipsy

Now, let's move on to the battle of the boxes! I am comparing these three beauty boxes based on several different aspects: promptness, packaging, products, and price. I chose to review three different months, because everyone has a bad month. Am I right?! The boxes will be scored from 1 to 5, where 1 is absolutely awful and 5 is AH-MAZING. 

Birchbox (May 2015)

Promptness: 5 - I signed up for Birchbox in mid-April, and I received the May box in mid-May, as promised. Birchbox's customer service is very good, and the email notifications are delivered on time. 

Packaging: 4 - The May Birchbox was curated by Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere. I thought the yellow gingham box was cute, but the box itself is kind of flimsy. The products are concealed by a thin sheet of tissue paper and a sticker. It's not the most thrilling unboxing experience ever, but I do give Birchbox props for changing the box theme, pattern, and color every month. Bonus: Birchbox comes with a product card with product descriptions and instructions. 

Products: 3 - I will be very frank...I was shocked by how small the products were in this box. But, overall, I was pleased with the products that Emily chose for this box. 

The products that I received include:

Benefit Cosmetics | It's Potent! - This is a morning/night cream that hydrates and brightens dark circles. I used this in the morning while away for a weekend in West Palm Beach, and I definitely noticed an improvement. The cream is cool, soothing, and ultra-moisturizing. While the sample was very small, I still have about 10 uses remaining. In this case, a little bit goes a long way. 

Coastal Scents | Revealed 3 Eyeshadow Quad - The eyeshadow quad was the product that I was the most displeased with. Birchbox describes the shadows as "satiny-smooth in wear-with-anything hues." I agree with the description, but the quad itself was SO tiny (maybe about the size a 1.5 quarters). The colors were kind of dull: muted yellows and deep purples. It really just didn't hit the mark for me. 

Harvey Prince | Hello - This fragrance had me at hello. Pun intended! It's a bright and cheery scent that mingles citrus and floral notes. It's definitely a spring or summer fragrance. I considered purchasing the full-size version of this, but I am not a huge fan of limited edition products. I used the sample up in just one weekend. 

Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel - I am a bit of a skincare junkie as of late, and I fell head-over-heels in love with this product! It's a super lightweight hydrator that brightens skin and goes on cucumber-cool. I apply in the morning before my foundation, and it makes my skin feel SO good that I don't want to apply any makeup. (And, sometimes I don't!) I will definitely be purchasing this miracle gel when I've used up my sample. 

PARLOR by Jeff Chastain | Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray - Okay, it's summer, and every girl needs a good sea salt spray in her hair arsenal. We don't all get to the beach as often as we hope to, but it's totally acceptable to fake it! I have tried quite a few sea salt sprays. One of my favorites is Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, but it has been replaced by this. This spray gives you soft, beachy waves and smells intoxicating. I will also be purchasing this beachy must-have when it runs out.

Price: 4 - The monthly Birchbox subscription costs $10, and the value of the products in this box was about $35. I not only got my money's worth, but I found two new products that I love. Win, win! 

GLOSSYBOX (April 2015)

Promptness: 1 - I signed up GLOSSYBOX in mid-April, and I didn't receive my box until late May. If I could award them a 0 for promptness I would. It's really a shame that GLOSSYBOX has such terrible customer service and logistics, because their box offered the most full-size products. 

Packaging: 4 - GLOSSYBOX arrives monthly in a sturdy, pale pink box with matching tissue paper. I think that the black satin bow is a nice touch. GLOSSYBOX, like Birchbox, comes with a product description card. Bonus: each product comes with a "tidbit" or fun fact. I'll share my favorite tidbit from this box -- "Nail polish originated in China as early as 3000 BC. The lower class often wore nude and light colors, while high society painted their nails red." And now, you've learned something from me today! 

Products: 4 - Three out of five products were full-size in my GLOSSYBOX, which I really appreciated. The product mix was spot-on and hit all of the requests of my Beauty Profile. 

The products that I received include:

So Susan Cosmetics | Concealer Quad - Now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I swear by concealer. Hide the wrinkles, hide the pimples (am I really still getting you!?), hide everything!!! This concealer is thick, easily blends, and gets the job done. 

Unwash | Bio-Cleansing Conditioner - I was skeptical about trying a no-poo hair conditioner, but I was pleasantly surprised. After washing and drying, my hair felt clean, smooth, and conditioned. Bonus: this conditioner smells divine. However, I think I'm going to stick to my regular shampoo and conditioner. 

Julep | Color Treat - I've heard rave reviews about Julep nail polish, and now, I totally get it! My GLOSSYBOX came with the color "Lee." It's a bright, poppy red, which I tend to gravitate toward. The polish dries fast and lasts long; I didn't even have to use a top coat. Julep has their own subscription box, Julep Maven, that I'm currently considering. 

Aqua Spa | Relax Body Creme - I love lathering up with a moisturizing and fragrant lotion as soon as I get out of the shower, especially before bed. This creme's scent is a lovely blend of lavender and chamomile. I don't know about the relaxing part, but I definitely TRY to do so. 

Jelly Pong Pong | Fairy Lashes Curl Mascara - Mascara is my weakness. Almost every time that I go to the drugstore, Ulta, or Sephora, I come home with mascara. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? Of course. I was so excited to try a new brand's mascara. This was the most disappointing product in my GLOSSYBOX. It was dry and didn't provide a good curl. DO NOT waste your money trying this one, ladies!

Price: 4 - The monthly GLOSSYBOX subscription costs $21, and the value of the products in this box was about $85. While this box's products are mostly full-size, no amount of money is worth the trouble that I had receiving the box. Until GLOSSYBOX is able to treat their customers well, provide prompt answers, and sort out their logistics, I will not subscribe again. 

ipsy (June 2015)

: 5 - I signed up for ipsy at the end of May, and I received my first Glam Bag in mid-June. Just like Birchbox, ipsy's customer service is very good, and the email notifications are delivered on time. 

Packaging: 5 - I absolutely adored ipsy's packaging. Who doesn't want a hot pink, bubble envelope sitting at their front door every month? But, it gets even better...ipsy packages the products in a cosmetic bag (a different style and print monthly)! The only downside is that ipsy doesn't include a product description card. 

Products: 4 - Three out of five of my products were full-size, which surprised me at the $10 price point.

The products that I received include:

tre'StiQue | Shadow Crayon - Call me old fashioned, but I like a pressed powder eyeshadow. I wasn't a huge fan of the "Kona Coffee" color either. So, this wasn't a winner for me. 

Formula X | Power Source Nail Color - This hot coral nail polish is pretty with a fine hint of shimmer. I haven't gotten around to trying it, but the Sephora community rates it 4/5. So, it must be good! 

LAVANILA | The Healthy Body Butter in Pure Vanilla - I la-la-love LAVANILA! If you're a fan of vanilla scents, you HAVE to try this one. It's not too overpowering, but it's addictive. I own the perfume; so, I was ecstatic to try out the body butter. I will be purchasing for sure! 

Smashbox Cosmetics | Photo Finish Foundation Primer - You can never go wrong with Smashbox Cosmetics. Their Camera Ready BB Cream has been a favorite of mine for years. I was glad to try the primer. It was lightweight and non-greasy. But, I'm not really a primer kind of gal. I'll be passing on purchasing this product. 

OFRA Cosmetics | Turquoise Eyeliner - What better to complement a summer glow than a pop of turquoise eyeliner? I usually stick to neutral eyeliners, but I was glad to receive this to break me out of my comfort zone. It glides on easy and looks fantastic. 

Price: 5 - The monthly ipsy subscription costs $10, and the value of the products in the Glam Bag was about $45. Overall, ipsy is my favorite beauty subscription so far!

Total Scores:
Birchbox | 16
ipsy | 19

What's my overall conclusion on beauty subscription boxes? Well, I LOVE them! It has been a great way to try new products that I normally wouldn't splurge on. And, it's a great way to get out of your beauty comfort zone. 

So, what monthly subscriptions do you currently have? Are you considering subscribing to Birchbox, GLOSSYBOX, or ipsy? Comment below! 

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  1. I've been debating which one to subscribe to. I didn't want to purchase all three as I'm on a low budget. This really helped me narrow it down, sor thank you for this !

    1. I'm so glad that this helped. Thanks for reading! :)

  2. So IPSY is my favorite out of it and birchbox. Birch box does not really pin point the things I love the only plus side is earning points for reviews and getting free product! But I am an IPSY fan by far!

    1. Thanks for sharing! I too felt the ipsy bags hit the mark in terms of products I wanted. :)

  3. Ipsy period... I've subscribed to Glossy box in the past but as soon as I found Ipsy I quickly unsibscribed. The quality of the products are amazing! The little cosmetic bags are so cute and even the bubble wrap packagin is wonderful. You can't beat this quality for the price of only $10! It's mind boggling that they are able to give us so much for so little!!! :)))

    1. I too LOVED the fuschia bubble wrap. Thanks for reading! :)

  4. if I want to mainly try makeup and nail products should I get glossybox or ipsy? my sister said glossybox but my bestfriend said ipsy! please help me! (sorry if this came up 3 times my phone is acting weird :))

    1. Sorry for the delayed response...I would stick with ipsy for nail polish. However, there are boxes dedicated to just nail polish if that's all you're interested in :)

  5. Ive just signed up to glossy box and read this after! Wish id have seen this before! I suppose I will give it a try before changing to ipsy!

    1. Hi Bobbie! I hope that you're having better luck with GLOSSYBOX than me. Did you end up switching to ipsy?

  6. I'm sorry you had such poor luck with Glossybox's service! I just signed up at the end of August and got the August box within a week of signing up, and I love it. This post has made me want to try Ipsy, though.

  7. Great information! I personally love GLOSSYBOX, but I'm giving ipsy a try based on your review. Thanks!