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Birchbox vs Ipsy December 2013 – Vote!

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Birchbox vs Ipsy Review- December 2013

I decided to try a Birchbox vs Ipsy post every month because one question I get a lot is, “If you could just pick one, what do you recommend, Ipsy or Birchbox?” Given that these are the two most popular beauty subscription boxes, and they each cost $10 a month, I thought I’d do a monthly recap. In addition to my verdict, I’d love to hear what you think – make sure to vote!

FYI – I pay for both of these subscriptions, and as a regular customer I get one of many variations available each month. So while one month alone might not be enough info to make a decision, looking at the results over several months should give you a good picture of what to expect with each box.

Birchbox vs Ipsy December 2013

Birchbox December 2013 (Check out the full Birchbox review)

Number of items: 5

Full size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 2

Brands featured: Klorane, Kusmi Tea, Secret Agent Beauty, Eslor, Camille Beckman

Categories featured: Haircare (1), Skincare (1), Body Products (1), Tea (1) Makeup (1)

Total Value: $33

Ipsy vs Birchbox December 2013

Ipsy December 2013 (Check out the full Ipsy review)

Number of items: 5

Full size items: 5

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Nicka K, POP Beauty, NYX, Be A Bombshell Cosmetics, Mirabella

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Nail Polish (1) Makeup Tools (1)

Total Value: $58


Verdict: Based on my two boxes I would say Ipsy wins this month because of the size of items, and the value. One thing I think Birchbox has going for it this month though is that their brands are more high-end. If you’re looking for mostly makeup items, Ipsy is definitely the way to go.

Which subscription was your favorite this month?

[yop_poll id=”9″]

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I have to say, if I were getting Birchbox only for the products I review in my box each month, I’d pick ipsy. But Birchbox runs promos all the time with extra points for yearly subscriptions (I think I got 110 extra with mine, so $11 worth), plus you get 10 points for every item you review (x5 items in your box per month), so basically you get $5 back in points each month. So for $2.33/box with the points bonuses, I’d say it’s a really worthwhile subscription for me. Birchbox sells so many beauty products I use and they run extra points promos and free with purchase promos (like the pick two mystery pack) that I think it’s a great value overall.

    However I do also love ipsy and that they send more full-sized items, plus so many items I’d never think to buy myself. I think the two subscriptions together make a great pair and I’d say they’re two of my favorite beauty subs overall.

  2. My birchbox was a little bit different that yours & my ipsy was the same but I absolutely loved my birchbox this month. Way better than ipsy in my opinion. I cancelled my ipsy this month cuz the last 2-3months nothing impressed me & I kept my birchbox although the samples could be bigger.

  3. I love Ipsy way better than Birchbox! I feel as if Ipsy has more things that I like! And thank you for making this website, it is so helpful and I love seeing all the different things you receive!

    • Thanks so much – I’m so glad you find it helpful! 🙂

  4. I am just about ready to cancel my Birchbox sub, and I just restarted Ipsy. I haven’t been impressed with the last few months of BB, I think I’m looking for a box that does more makeup and less face serums, moisturizers, etc. I have to say, like you, I was expecting something way more festive in the December box. I got the chocolate fortune cookie, Joie perfume (not a fan), Miracle Skin Transformer, Number 4 hairspray, and Phenome moisturizer. The cookie was the only thing that made me smile. I expected glitter and color and fun this month! So I was sorely disappointed.

  5. I’m also 30 and love having both ipsy and glossybox. Birchbox just doesn’t seem that great of a value and I dislike foil packets because I run out before I have an idea of how good the product is. I’m only on my second month of ipsy but have been extremely pleased with both bags and happy with what I get for less than $10. I bought a year and will probably be well stocked by the end of it!

  6. If we’re comparing YOUR boxes, I’d probably go with Ipsy because the colors you got were the ones that I wanted (but didn’t get)! But I liked the items in my Birchbox a LOT better than my Ipsy this month. My BB has Borghese Superiore State-of-the-Art Mascara (woo!), betty&ko™ The Betty Polish, Hair Rules Wavy Mousse, Pura Botanica Botanic Bath Infusions, and that twistband hair band that everyone (but you!) got.

    I like that Ipsy is more about makeup, but the stuff they send tends to be lesser quality.

  7. I have to give it to Birchbox, their points system is worth it for me. If I was a teenager or in my early 20’s I think I would like Ipsy more but I’m a stay at home mom in my 30’s and Birchbox seems to offer more products that fit me. If Ipsy had a better points system I think they would give Birchbox a run for their money in my opinion. I do enjoy Ipsy and their cute little makeup bags but sometimes their shades are way off for me and it’s such a waste 🙁 With that said, I’m still addicted to both and don’t plan on giving either one of them up any time soon!

    By the way Liz, I love your site! I’m new to the “Subscription addiction” world (about 4 months in) Your site is by far my favorite to check for updates on boxes and I love reading all of your reviews, thanks so much for taking the time to do that for all of us!

    • Thank you so much!! That means a lot to me:)

      • You’re welcome! 🙂

  8. How about adding Beauty Box 5 into the comparison posts? I think I’m on the fence between Ipsy and BB5…

  9. I’d have to choose Birchbox over Ipsy most months. I am a little older, and like the higher end skin care and makeup products from Birchbox. My main concern is paraben free items. Ipsy has had some nice mineral eyeshadows making the bags a good value for me. Anything I am not interested in trying or using goes into a donation box for a local womens shelter. This includes most of Ipsys makeup bags, perfumes, and nail polishes.

    I have been with Birchbox for about 2 years and Ipsy for a little over one year. Birchbox points, discounts and their Limited edition and holiday boxes make it a winner.

  10. These are my two favorite subscription boxes. I get so excited when either come in the mail. I have more hits with Ipsy and more misses with Birchbox and if I could only afford one, I’d go with Ipsy because of the bag, the focus on make-up, the full-size items and the value!

  11. I subscribe to both, but I would definitely stick with Ipsy if I was forced to choose…they are almost ALWAYS all full size and I prefer makeup over skincare so this box is always a win for me! Birchbox is so hit and miss, especially lately! I think they would do better if they let you have a more customized profile, especially with how many different variations of the boxes they send out! It also wouldn’t hurt, since most of their items are sample size only, if they would let you pick and choose like Beauty Army does. Birchbox products are so expensive through the site, if I find something I really like I always check on Amazon to get it cheaper!

  12. I have had IPSY for 6 months now and have loved every month. I’m also 22 so maybe thats why

  13. Birchbox hands down. I always get excited when that box is delivered but with Ipsy, not so much. Sometimes I don’t even rush to open it. The brands that Ipsy uses are totally not doing it for me. If I was in my early twenties, I would love Ipsy because all the products are more affordable. I’m in my thirties though and have more disposable cash so I don’t mind spending more on beauty products and BB has the best in my opinion. Their reward program is awesome too.

  14. I’ve never been interested in Ipsy. I like the idea of bags better than the stack of boxes. However, I do not love makeup and it sounds like the brands/products tend to be similar just maybe different colors? As others have said, if I was a teenage girl, and I wanted to try lots of colors and experiment with my look all the time, I think I’d like Ipsy. I’m 34, married with a one year old. Makeup isn’t my priority! 🙂

    I have been eyeing the One Radiant and Saffron Rouge reviews you’ve posted lately…..

  15. I haven’t gotten either of my boxes yet so I don’t know 🙁 West coast problems…

  16. I actually chose Ipsy over Birchbox because of the less expensive brands they work with. I think one of the reasons BB sends out so many small samples if because the brands they work with are too expensive to send out full or deluxe size.s Which is great if you’re looking for a subscription that lets you try out higher end products before buying!
    I just knew that personally, I wouldn’t be able to afford the full sized products in most cases. And it would probably upset me more to try a product, like it, and then not be able to buy it. 🙂
    So that’s why I went with Ipsy. More full size products and coupon codes to buy more if I like them. Also, the products make nice sized gifts if I don’t.
    Of course, BB’s points system mops the floor with Ipsy’s point system.

  17. I have to go with Ipsy. My birchbox had a value of about $22 and no full size items. I will only use 3 of the items. However, according to my Glam room (my bag should get here tomorrow I believe), this month’s Ipsy should value pretty close to yours and include all full sized items.

    Something else to consider in your match-up (it always plays a role in how I feel about the box/bag), how many of the items you will use. I gift stuff I won’t use, like you do. However, I don’t buy the boxes to give away the items I receive, that is what gift subscriptions are for. If a box has a value of $60 but I will only use one product, it’s not a good box for me.

  18. I was somewhat disappointed with both boxes this month. The lip colors ipsy sent look awful with my skin tone (which I thought they were supposed to take in consideration since that was a quiz question), but the mascara birchbox sent was TERRIBLE… and there was nothing else in bb that I liked. Except the chocolate. That was great!

    Honestly, I’ve been disappointed with almost every birchbox I’ve received and I think December will be my last.

  19. After much research I subscribed to Birchbox & I have been getting this box for a short time. My 1st box was a disappointment, but decided to give it another try. The next box was a little better. I gifted 3 subcriptions of Birchbox & truthfully I am embarrassed that I did. Even at $10.00 I don’t think it is worth it. I will cash out my points & drive to the store to get my beauty items.

  20. I think it really depends on your preference and which items one receives. Sometimes Birchbox is my favorite and sometimes Ipsy is. This month I preferred Ipsy, but had I received the Manna Shimmer Lotion or the Embroylisse Cream in my Birchbox this month, I would have preferred Birchbox or loved both equally. It helps that Ipsy actually sent a cute bag this month. Normally I don’t like the bags at all, whereas I reuse the Birchboxes all the time, but again this is my personal preference!

  21. I have to go with BB for December! My BB was COMPLETELY different than yours & I really liked my box. I got the exact same Ipsy box as you & I was so disappointed! The nail color, even though its a color I live, was almost identical to the color in my last box. I am also up to my ears in lipstick, lipgloss, etc & receiving two in one box was a bummer (plus the colors aren’t for me). Overall, not a great month for me personally.
    Most of my items went in my ‘trade’ pile, so hopefully we get a trade forum up soon!

  22. I think Birchbox has been better than IPSY! I hate all the low-end brands IPSY send out. The only thing I like this month is the brush (and the nail polish is ok). Last month’s IPSY was so much better. BB seems to work with many more brands than IPSY. I am so tired of NYX, be a bombshell, Pop and Jcats. Enough already!

    • I totally agree with you! I have been a Birchbox subscriber since almost the beginning and Ipsy for only 4-5 months. While I like that Ipsy sends out mostly full-size makeup items, the brands are lower quality and cheaper than BB brands. Yes, you get a full size, which makes the value higher. But for me, i prefer getting to try expensive new-to-me brands BB sends out even if they are smaller samples vs. cheap NYX I can get for a buck or two each with Ulta sales/coupons. I am very sick of Be a Bombshell! I also have WAY too much low-quality eyeshadow and lip glosses thanks to Ipsy. Personal taste, but I kind of prefer the skincare samples, which BB sends more of than Ipsy. I feel Ipsy sometimes targets a younger audience than BB. I also have no use for the cheap bags (although I did like this month’s bag!), I would prefer a higher quality makeup item and get no bag.
      I think I’ll be canceling Ipsy after my year is up and possibly BB too and just get Lip Factory to replace both. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far of them.

  23. To Ipsy always wins!

  24. Ipsy, hands down! BB hasn’t been good in a while. The only category where Ipsy does have an advantage is in “life style” items like the teas and foods that they give as samples.

    Why keep BB? Well, I keep it because I do like those lifestyle samples. I love that you can buy the items they curate at their site. Their BB points program is also great. I have used the points to get items almost free.

    • I totally agree about the BB points system – it makes even a “meh” box pretty good! 🙂

  25. How do you determine the value for the Birchboxes? Is that the total value of the samples or the value it would be if you got the full product?

    • It’s the total value of samples only.

  26. I love both as well. I did enjoy my Ipsy a little more than birchbox the past few times but not enough to quit altogether. I do wish Ispy had a gift option. I’m going to have to ‘trick the system’ to gift Ipsy.

  27. I loved both boxes this month, but I would have preferred to receive the brush from Ipsy than the lashes I got. For me, receiving the lashes was a downer (since I already have my own collection).

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