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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.

Ipsy Review – December 2015

Liz Cadman
ByLiz CadmanDec 18, 2015 | 44 comments


4 overall rating
1863 Ratings | 350 Reviews

Ipsy is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription box. Each month you get full size or deluxe-sized products, plus a cute makeup bag. I think it’s one of the best value beauty subscriptions and a great way to build out your makeup collection on the cheap!


(FYI – Just like Birchbox, Ipsy sends out many different variations of their bag each month – so my review is just one of the bag variations you might receive!)

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).


The Subscription Box: Ipsy

The Cost: $10 a month (free shipping)

The Products: Full size and samples of makeup and beauty products. (Plus a makeup bag!)

Ships to: US and Canada

Delivered via: USPS

Check out all of my Ipsy reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!

Visit the Ipsy Swap Page to swap for any of the items you see in this review!


Pacifica Power of Love Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red – FULL SIZE! Value $10

I saw that a few readers had mentioned that their lipstick had an odd smell. For me, the scent isn’t appealing, but it isn’t bothersome either. Here it is swatched:


I like the color, and the pigment is good too. And of course, I love that Pacifica products are free of parabens, phthalates, gluten, etc).


Klorane Floral Water Makeup Remover – 25 ml Value $1.50

I’ve sampled this before. It is gentle, smells good and gets the job done. Not a huge sized sample, but not a wasted sample either!

Formula X Nail Color in Revved Up – 4 ml Value $3.65

I think this is a fun and festive nail polish mini! (Also – it makes me want to buy this Bottle Service Set from Sephora!)


Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask – 1 oz Value $7.40

I love the Acure brand. This mask has a minty/natural scent, is gentle, and takes about 10-15 minutes to work. It isn’t one of those tightening masks, so it would probably work well for sensitive skin.

CrownBrush Brow Duo Brush – Value $3.28

Ipsy sends out makeup brushes frequently, and that’s great for me. Decent quality inexpensive brushes are always useful!

Verdict: This box has a value of about $25. Surprisingly, that’s pretty low for Ipsy. I’ll use everything, so that value is fine with me. Also I think the bag is so cute this month! What do you think of the December Ipsy Glam Bag? Which products are you getting this month?

IPSY Glam Bag ($12 per month) is one of the most popular and affordable subscriptions around, and our readers have selected it as one of the top beauty boxes for the last 5 years running! IPSY Glam Bag connects members with five makeup, skincare, hair care, and other beauty samples each month, plus ... read more.
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!

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!
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I loved my December Ipsy bag, and the best thing was the Peter Lamas lotion. I can’t believe only one person mentioned it. I thought I would see all kinds of rave reviews about that lotion. It smells so wonderful. I hate most scented lotions but this is incredible. It smells like tangerines and you can’t believe just how good that can smell. They are pricey but I had gift cards for Amazon and I bought a tube for me and a good friend. She’s in love with it too. I know Ipsy (and all the other boxes, really) can be hit or miss, but you kind of have to take that with a grain of salt. You are always in charge. If you don’t like what you are getting, cancel the subscription. And if you want to give a bad review keep it on point so it really helps. I found all the Pacifica comments interesting. Mine seems like a good one. But as someone else said, these are natural and paraben free products. Paraben is a preservative, and by nature some of the other natural ingredients used to preserve are not always going to smell very good. I received a lip balm as a gift that was ‘lavendar and olive oil’ it was awful.


Okay so I love the makeup bags and I absolutely LOVE the pink bubble mailer it comes in which I reuse all the time. I hate the makeup for the most part. I cancelled for January which made me happy because it was my least favorite bag but resubscribed for Feb since I miss the goodies and all this for $10.

Is that so wrong? 😉


I tried to sub Ipsy, and even tho making a twitter account just for this purpose, they still want me to add post to FB, which I don’t use, Wondering if i’ll ever get off the waiting list? Love your site, btw 🙂


I don’t have twitter, I just bypassed that section and got off of the waitlist within 48 hours.


ipsy- hit and miss. but I LOVE this subscription! $10 for a bag & 5 goodies! totally worth it!


I just resubscribed and my bag was not at all what I would have picked out:( I love,love,love nail polish and I did not get any. I stated NO eyeshadow and I got eyeshadow and eyeshadow primer. I will probably cancel if January is a similar experience. Why bother filling out the questions?


I made a comment to ipsy about a couple of the questionable items and this is the response I got

“Hi Kiki. We’re sorry to hear about your experience with the Pacifica lipstick sample. The product was formulated with natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, without any synthetic fragrances. What you are probably noticing is the scent of rosemary which is the oil Pacifica uses to preserve the lipstick. If you’re not comfortable using the sample, please email ipsyCare directly so we can help you: We work with all of our brand partners to ensure product safety and quality, and appreciate your point of view as we work on future Glam Bags for our ipsters. To clarify your question about tarte, you can find more information in the ingredients section of their product page:…”

So I suppose I could contact ipsycare to see what they’re doing about it if they’re really doing anything at all. If I do find something out I’ll be sure to post about it here. 🙂


I am very happy with my bag! They were so sweet to send me a Michelle Phan eye shadow palette for being a subscriber for over three years. I got the lip/hand scrub, the Marc Antony hair treatment, the eye primer, the mini eye shadow palette, and the Pacifica lipstick in nudie red. I have never loved Pacifica’s lip products, but at least mine didn’t have a funky smell. Everything else works great! The hair treatment is nice and smells good. I have really long, thick hair and I’ll probably get three uses out of it. I like the bag every month because it’s just fun for $10. I don’t expect them to send a perfectly curated bag specifically made for me every month. If you’re that picky, I say don’t do supscription services?.


Lolz I don’t normally complain about anything I get in my subscriptions, and I subscribe to 5 of them. You would have had to get one of the smelly Pacifica Lipsticks to relate. I’m pretty sure about 80% of the girls complained about it. They were really cool at ipsy though they’re sending me a replacement of my choice off of the items offered in Decembers Glam Bag. I got all cool stuff too I actually loved everything in my bag even the color of the lipstick was perfect it was the nude red also I just can’t use it because of the smell but, all is well and I’m still a happy ipster..Merry Christmas! 🙂

Natalie Brown

We mostly received the same items this month – the lipstick, nail polish, and make-up remover. My lipstick doesn’t smell bad but I don’t really like the formula (super dry). The other products I got were a Be A Bombshell black eye liner (boo! it wore right off and I have gotten too many black liners from Ipsy) and a Peter Lamas hand cream (nice!). The polish is the hit for me. So pretty!


I got that Formula X polish and I love it! Perfect for the holidays.


Cancelled my memberships- there were clearly some questionable items in my bag; Tarte Amazonian clay powder is a product made in USA according to the Tarte website but my ipsy sample was made in China. The Pacifica lipstick was rancid and from China; yet Pacifica brand specifically states their products made in USA. Ipsy samples are bogus and worthless


I agree about the lipstick. It tasted rancid and felt old (it didn’t glide on at all). Someone made a big mistake with that (lipstick). Yuck!!!


Wow. I’m still waiting for my bag to arrive — it looks like it may have been lost? — but if that’s the case, I’ll be cancelling immediately. There’s no excuse for fraud. Thanks for reporting what you noticed.


Wow, did the Pacifica say “made in China”? Do you think it was a fake? I have a couple of their devocean lipsticks and they smell nice and like coconut.


The Aveeno sample was the final straw making me cancel my subscription. The bag is supposed to be inspiring and fun. A common drugstore brand that has been around for years? I’ll spend my $10 on a non-rancid lipstick in a color I choose, instead of yet another shade that doesn’t match my profile.


teehee! my bag was better than your this month Liz, AND it has a value of $58!
sorry, doesn’t happen very often so i have to brag! 🙂

Liz Cadman

Glad to hear it! 🙂


I was happy with everything in my ipsy i received pacifica in tender heart. A peachy beige ( thrilled its not some unwearable pink or orange!!) a caudalie vinosource serum a magenta julie nail polish it mascara and briogeo curl cream ( i have curls so this is great) and i loved the little nag matches my purse perfectly.


I would have been very happy with my bag if the Pacifica lipstick had not been rancid. The smell is really off-putting. That’s the trade-off in natural products, they have a much shorter shelf-life. They should have confirmed freshness on these before they sent them out. Bummed because the color was right up my alley.


I agree. I received the same lovely shade but the product sure smells stinky! I think it’s old-stock, Target Exclusive and Ipsy bought out their unsold lots, so who know how old this is. Knowing that, I feel it kind of puts a damper on the excitement one would otherwise feel when receiving their bags, that some items are past their sell-by date… and smell it, too.


I’m so sick of Ipsy. I’ve been waiting to cancel until I receive my bag. I redeemed my 1000 points and I just want to make sure that my reward comes in my bag before I cancel. My main problem with them is that they often off-brand items and items that directly go against my profile. I hate getting nail polish in sub boxes since I buy so much from Julep. They sent out those toxic Be A Bombshell mascaras a few months ago and I’m surprised to see that they are still working with that brand so much.


This was my third and favorite Ipsy bag so far! I didn’t really like the first two, which had (at best) one product I would use, but this bag is a great mix. I rec’d the Tarte Smooth Operator sample, which I wanted to try anyway, so that’s a win. The Aveeno sample is really small but at least it’s something I would use. The Mark Anthony Coconut Oil Shea Butter conditioning treatment is full size (1.69 oz & on sale at Ulta for $5.99) so that’s a big win. After reading how much everyone doesn’t like the Pacifica nudie red lipstick, I’ll just give that one away and skip trying it. The Model Co. Illusion lip liner is not a shade I would wear but I went on the site and saw that it’s full size and it’s supposed to blend with any shade and enhance your lips (not something I look for in a lip liner due to being teased mercilessly about them as a child when thinner lips were in style). That one might be given away. I am very pleased overall with this month’s Ipsy bag and surprised at the value.

Liz, your site is so informative and I’ve learned about so many offers from it and shared it with friends and my sister. Thanks for running this site, it’s a great public service. You’ve made me addicted to beauty boxes!


Glad I made the jump to BB a couple of months ago! I only subscribe to 1monthly box and had Ipsy for 3 months. I was tired of the poor quality and switched to BB. Bags like this make me happy I did!

Amber W

I’m so happy with Ipsy right now!! They sent me a full size EM Michelle Phan eyeshadow palette along with my regular bag this month! Apparently I’ve been with ipsy for 3 years, and they added a note about my being with them from the beginning. I was blown away. Totally unexpected!


Oh I got that too!!! It wasn’t in my order so I totally wasn’t expecting it! I’ve only had mine since October of last year.


Overall I like my bag. I got the Pacifica in Nudie Red, lip scrub, honey mask, Formula X polish and glamour doll eyes shadow. It feels like Ipsy is starting to feature a lot of boring brands or meh products from otherwise good brands- i.e. that weird sparkle stuff from Pixi?


I canceled Ipsy and don’t miss it at all! Liz always got way better bags than me anyway.


I love Pacifica products, so the smelly lipstick (full size too) really is so disappointing. But…the shiny red quilted bag is cute and I really like my other samples. Overall, I am happy.

Julie G nail polish in Pin Up Girl, a lovely purply pink
Tarte Smooth Operator finishing powder
Lather Honey Moisture Mask (smells great)
Jersey Shore Vanilla Bean Lip and Hand Polish


I like that the bag stands up on its own? I received:
Pacifica lipstick – smells like clay and feels like clay on my lips.
IT cosmetics mascara
Be a Bomshell eyeliner
Nude cosmetics perfume- very strong smelling
Marc Anthony conditioning treatment


I had to drop my ipsy. When I first subscribed a year ago it was AWESOME. I was constantly getting urban decay, too faced, tarte, so many prestigious brands .. And then the quality fell. Not little by little, just all at once. Disappointing it was my favorite.


It looks like a lot of people are unhappy with their ipsy bags especially the lipstick. I got it in the nudie red. I think the color is pretty. I haven’t smelled it and when I opened it I didn’t notice a smell. I also got the floral water makeup remover, formula x, bombshell black eyeliner, and a hand cream. The bag itself is cute for a makeup bag. Overall I’m pleased. Before I subscribed to ipsy and bb I read a ton of reviews. I went into these subs knowing it was a guarantee some months would be disappointing. So far I think I’ve been lucky with both subs though. Nothing too terrible. Bb has shorted me though.


I got the “Nudie Red” too, and there’s nothing red about it. It’s an ugly shade of brown, with a matte finish that feels like cement on my lips. Ugh. My other products were great (Liz gets different products from mine). I thought the little patent red clutch was gaudy and ugly, though, like something a six year old year would like.


This is the second month I have received the exact same products as you! I like them all, but I love the nail polish. I don’t like the bag, but it’s easy to give away.

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.