Ipsy – The Gateway Sub

It all started innocently enough. A coworker regaled me with tales of a makeup bag full of goodies for a mere $10 a month. She bantered on about how she almost always loved everything they sent – many items were even full-size products. She bestowed upon me a token of good faith. It was an eyebrow pencil from her latest Ipsy bag. She had no use for eyebrow pencils. Her eyebrows were perfect.

Until that moment, I had had no use for eyebrow pencils either. My makeup, what there was of it, lived in a drawer, not a bag. I wore it was infrequently as possible. But…as my coworker waxed poetic about the lippies and bronzers and cute little makeup bags, I felt my steely willpower succumb to the hot lava melting power of peer pressure. Maybe that’s what they meant when they said ‘girl power’. I signed up. I jumped through a couple of hoops to get off the “waiting list”. It’s funny how a simple task of posting to social media moved my name right on past 10,000 people. I suddenly found myself at the front of the digital line. I typed in the numbers of my credit card as quickly as I could, lest they changed their mind about letting me sign up. Sorry, but you type too slowly. Back of the line! 

I hit the submit button and breathed a sigh of relief when a lengthy confirmation number displayed across my computer screen. I was in. I couldn’t wait to see what $10 would translate to in the beauty product world. That was three years ago. It was my first subscription, but it wasn’t my last. Let’s just say that Ipsy was my gateway sub. And I have to admit, it was well worth the subscription price.

Ten dollars a month is a great deal for the amount of value Ipsy manages to put in those bags every month. There is a personalization process where you can fill out a profile and list preferences. I discovered Ofra, my now-favorite eyeshadow brand. I also got some amazing makeup brushes that will last forever. That being said, I also ended up with a lot of products outside of my comfort zone. Luckily, I had a teenage daughter standing by waiting to pick up any of the items I didn’t like. Nothing went to waste. Though I no longer have the subscription, I do still recommend it. It’s a fun little beauty treat every month.

I liked Ipsy, but as I started to collect far more makeup than I could ever use, I thought I would look for some “not makeup” subscriptions. Thanks to Google, I stumbled upon the Holy Grail of all insider info on subscription boxes, MySubscriptionAddiction. There were reviews and pictures and descriptions and comparisons. I’ve lost countless hours to that site. Countless hours. I decided I wanted to try the PopSugar Must Have box next. I ordered a Limited Edition box instead of the monthly subscription. It cost $100. I did find some things in that box that I loved, but I discovered quite quickly that their idea of “must have” and my idea of “must have” were two completely different things. It was still fun to try though.

Then my journey took me to Birchbox, which was like Ipsy, but with small samples and no cute bag. The price was the same as Ipsy’s, but the samples were a disappointment when compared to the many full-size products I had received in the Ipsy bags. I had heard great things about Birchbox, but then the reviews started to talk about the downfall of the brand. For my money, Ipsy is the better deal. I cancelled the subscription after one month. I did, however, love the limited edition boxes that Birchbox curated. Their Mother’s Day box was so good that I ordered two of them. You know, one from each of my kids.

Next, I tried Wonderful Objects. There was no makeup whatsoever in this box. It was a story for the recipient. An adventure in a box. The idea of getting a story in the mail every quarter was too good to pass up, even with the $72 per quarter pricetag. Unfortunately, I received the first box in all the reviewed boxes that wasn’t like the others. No story. Just a theme. It was terribly disappointing. Ironically, the theme was luck. I felt as unlucky as I possibly could upon opening that box. I immediately cancelled.

Yuzen was another quarterly box I tried. I liked the products. They are curated nicely and the box was less than $35 a quarter. The products were high quality and spa-centric. It was also age appropriate. This is something to consider, as I found out with my Peachy Box subscription. I wanted to try it because it was brand new. I knew I wasn’t exactly the target audience, but I wanted to support a new venture. My teenaged daughter LOVED all of the products. She and my teenaged niece got to enjoy the spoils of the Peachy Box.

Of course, I’m not still subscribed to all of these. In fact, I’m no longer subscribed to any of them. My latest find is FabFitFun. It’s a lifestyle box like the Popsugar boxes, but it’s only sent out quarterly. It’s a mix of beauty, accessories, fitness, food, and such. They also have amazing customer service. One of my items was damaged. I wrote them to let them know and they sent me a new item. Just like that. And they use good grammar when they write. Bonus!

I just signed up for a box geared toward female entrepreneurs, but I will review that one separately when it arrives. I found it on a different site. My love for subscription boxes will continue, I have no doubt. And I may even resubscribe to Ipsy when I start running out of mascara. All of the other subscription boxes should send Ipsy a thank you note. It’s what got me hooked in the first place.



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