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Ipsy Review – May 2016


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!

This is one of my top recommendations if you are looking for a beauty box – the value and sample sizes are amazing. (Check out my list of the Top Beauty Boxes for 2016 and our reviews of Cheap Subscription Boxes for more recommendations!)


(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!


Each month, ipsy subscribers get a makeup bag in addition to their 5 items. I really like the snap closure on this one – and the design is cute, too!

Now onto the items!


Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow Trio in Skinny Dip, Crush + Lovely – .07 oz Value $8.40

The full-size version is .1 oz, so this is essentially full-size to me. I love that Pacifica makeup products are all natural, but their pigments aren’t always great. I think this palette is good for a subtle natural look. Here are each of the shades swatched (multiple times to get the color to show):


Beautiful, and wearable shades for me – but definitely use a primer with these!


SOO AE Collagen Essence Masks – Value $9 total

I appreciate that Ipsy included a variety of masks from this brand as “one item!” Masks included:

  • Brightening Collagen Essence Mask
  • Collagen Essence Mask
  • Propolis Collagen Essence Mask

I decided to try the Collagen Essence Mask first because… pink jelly beans! This is your typical 15-20 minute sheet mask. It was hydrating, but the remaining product on my skin dried a little tacky instead of absorbing. I felt this mask was on par with other sheet masks I’ve sampled, but since it is made with parabens and fragrance, I likely won’t buy it in the future.


Smashbox X-Rated Mascara – .14 oz Value $10.30

This mascara gets mixed reviews on Sephora, so I wasn’t expecting much from the formula, but it actually worked well for me! It gave me good volume and length – and no clumping issues until I tried MANY layers. The only issue I had is that the formula made my eyes water a little when applying, so I’m thinking this may be a little more irritating than some other formulas.

INSPR 282 Eye Fluff Brush – Value $12

I somehow almost always get makeup tools in my Ipsy bag! I love it because I haven’t bought eyeshadow brushes in years! This one is great for overall blending.


Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream – .5 oz?  Value $34

(This isn’t marked with a size, so I’m estimating half an ounce.) I’ve sampled Clark’s Botanicals before, and I like most of their products. Some have irritated my skin, but I’m having no issues with this cream! It’s lightweight, scented, and absorbs quickly!


Verdict: This box has a value of about $74. That’s amazing for a $10 subscription box (And that’s not counting the value of the makeup bag!) I like just about everything in this box, so I’m happy with the samples, too.

What do you think of the May Ipsy Glam Bag? Which products did you get this month?


How do subscribers rate Ipsy?

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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!

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Cheap Subscription Boxes, Ipsy Reviews, Makeup Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: ipsy | 47 comments

Comments (47)

  1. I really liked my bag this month. Contents listed below:

    -Pink bag (I really, really wanted the purple one, though! *sniff*)
    -Hikari Shimmer Bronzer (I’m extremely pale so I don’t typically use bronzer, but I tried the colors out as eyeshadow and they really made my green eyes pop).
    -Formula 10.0.6 Pures Be Pure Skin Clarifying Mud Mask
    -Glamour Dolls Blending Brush with the really cute whale design
    -Smashbox X-Rated Mascara
    -The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm (Probably my fave, as I am addicted to lip balm, and this is really good stuff).

    I’m truly serious about wanting the purple bag. If anyone is willing to part with theirs, please contact me at misharae at gmail dot com

    • Shoot, that should be *pores be pure mud mask

  2. My bag was totally different 🙁 I got a Jersey Shore lip balm (snore) an oil hair treatmen . Aurora nail polish in a bright orange shade. mellow lipstick in nude and the smashbox mascara… Boo

  3. My bag was ok this month. I got the pink bag and love it! I love the Hanalei lip treatment. Anyone interested in swapping, I got the hikari bronzer and I’d love to trade for the jelly pong pong blush/bronzer duo. I’m on the swap site.

    • What’s the swap site called,id love to be able to swap items ?

  4. I got this same bag. So excited to get the purple version – I love it! And I’m always happy to try new masks, and it was nice to get three that count as one item.

    However, my Smashbox mascara was all dried out and the lid on the Marine Cream was open. Also, I have no need for brushes, and this was my third eyeshadow brush in a row. So I had been looking forward to this box, and it ended up being a disappointment.

  5. Hmm not too bad! I just signed up for them again, don’t remember why I stopped, must have been getting stuff I couldn’t wear so I went in and totally changed my profile. My 1st bag is June, so we shall see!
    Also got my Lip Monthly bag today and love everything. I like lip stuff though, obviously , and havent gotten a dud yet in the last two months since joining. And hopefully I didn’t just totally jinx myself here, LOL!

  6. I adore these bags! They are the cutest I’ve seen Ipsy make since I started subscribing. Anyone want to sell a purple one, let me know. I have to have them all! I use them for other stuff. In my bag I’m using this one for paper and pencils. SO cute.

    My samples are the same except for an Epice mask. I don’t do masks.

    Also, I’m a bit sick of the makeup brushes. Unless they were bigger ones.

  7. Did anyone that got the Pacifica eyeshadow notice that smell? It’s hard to describe but it’s almost like that lip product I got from them a few months back. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a ‘natural’ product or if Ipsy keeps sending me things that are outdated.

  8. I got a blush instead of the eyeshadow, which I’m actually ok with. And I swear I got that same mascara in an Ipsy bag a few months ago. I like the length it gives my lashes but it will give me raccoon eye faster than any other product I’ve tried. It goes into the gifting pile, along with with the eyebrush and the bronzer (way too dark for me).

  9. I also got the same exact bag — and so did two of my friends!

    • I got the exact same bag contents as Liz.

  10. I received the pink bag with….
    -Hikari Bronzer
    -NoTS Acne Deep Pore Cleanser
    -ITCosmetics Eyeliner
    -Vera Mona Brush
    -Mellow Lipstick (Electro)

    I was super stoked to get the bag in Pink! And Bronzer is always a win in my book. I was a little disappointed by the brush, after seeing the cute whale one that was sent out. I was also disappointed to see the Electro lipstick. But it wasn’t as bright in person and probably still wearable for me on occasion. This is my second Ipsy bag and I am looking forward to next month!

  11. My bag was so so for me this month. I’ve never tried bronzer yet so we shall see. My 3rd bag I recieved
    SooAe masks (3) ($9)
    Hikari radiate shimmer bronzer palette ($17)
    Smashbox- X rated mascara (mine is .10oz value $7.33)
    Ziaja- natural olive micellar water ($3.15)
    Glamour dolls- whale brush #10 eyes (only a $3.99 value which is way less than the other brushes they have sent)
    Value $40.47 (seems low to some but my first bag was only $34.90… Is this the norm for most to always have such a low value or does it fluxuat a lot? Not complaining since the bag is low cost so anything over is a bonus)

  12. This was my first Ipsy bag and I’m a little disappointed. Despite indicating I have super-pale skin, they sent a bronzer (Jelly Pong Pong). Totally wrong for me. Strike one.
    The hair oil is another miss. I’ve had a guest destroy my pillowcases with hair oil and I won’t touch the stuff. Strike two.
    Lip balm: meh. I have a backlog of it. I like the Smashbox mascara, though I have a backlog of that too. The Belle Pierre lip pencil arrived oddly bent. I don’t see it as a “go-to” product… the color seems nice enough but anything that requires sharpening eventually ends up in the back of the drawer.
    So while I wasn’t thrilled I’m still looking forward to future bags. I hope they tailor it a wee bit better for my profile though.

    • Keep rearranging your profile and they will change your bag… Mine got better every time I altered it….
      Give the lip pencil a second try… I have received one before… They are pretty good! And I am picky!!!
      Jelly Pong combo is a desired item on the swap list or if you use a light hand, you might could try it for contouring… I have been very surprised in their products. Their mascara is really nice.
      Good Luck!!!!

      • HI….where is the swap board? I’d love to trade my Jelly Pong Pong for a purple bag from this month….


    • I think I got the same bag as you did and I am also super pale. I don’t know what about pasty white screams bronzer. This is my first bag and so far I’m not impressed. I’ll give it another month and see if it gets any better.

  13. This was my exact bag and my least favorite of the four I have received so far. I was excited to get an eye shadow pallette and mascara but both of these particular product formulas very disappointing for me. This was my third brush in four bags and the quality seemed not a nice as my other two plus I think I’m getting burned out on brushes already. I don’t want masks at all though I too did appreciate that it was at least a three pack. I picked the Collagen to try first as well. It didn’t absorb much but it did rub in. Made my skin very itchy however. The marine cream was my favorite and works well, however that fragrance annoyed me for hours. I do love my purple snap bag and I did still have fun trying out my products. I think this month I learned that I can still find some enjoyment in my bag even if I didn’t care that much for any of my products. I still consider Ipsy a well spent $10 a month and I can’t wait to see what is in store for June.

    • Oh and I wanted to add that I retook my quiz after my third bag because I had received a lot of lip makeup and wanted more eye makeup. Ipsy did pay attention and sent out eye products this month. I just didn’t care for the ones they picked.

  14. Liz – bag twins! Even the color, lol. Thanks for the review.

  15. You guys – what answers are you giving for your beauty profile? Or are most of you doing the ratings afterwards? Because I like pretty much every item in this bag, which so many of you seem to have gotten, but like none of the (all different except the mascara) items I received in mine. I’ve marked down that I don’t like lipstick or mascara and they keep sending me lipstick and mascara in every bag. aaaagh. I’m giving it one more month, but I’ve been disappointed.

    • I kept getting brushes, lip liner & eye liner even though I said they weren’t for me but I read a post from someone who said she rated the products as a one star if she didn’t like them so I started doing that and it seems to be working so far.

      • I almost never do a review and it took me rearranging my profile multiple times but I am loving my Ipsy now!!!
        I do like to get brushes, because they usually send out nice ones and I would rather replace than wash!
        I used to get mascara each month, now I only get it when it’s Smashbox or Benefit. No more black eyeliners! I guess I hit the right combo!!?????
        Good Luck!!!!

  16. Really not happy with mt Ipsy this month. I will probably just stick around for June and use up the points.
    I Got the Mascara, the tiny sample of Hair oil treatment, lip treatment, eye brush, and the Jelly pong pong bronzer. I think receiving the sample mascara was a big turnoff for me. I have like 8 unopened mascara samples from other companies waiting in the wings, and did not need another. It would take me 3 years to finish what I already have Also, another turnoff was the duo bronzer. The 2 colors are so tiny and hard to get a brush in. I felt this bag was pretty much a bunch of samples and while the bronzer is considered a full size bronzer, I was not impressed. I did not like anything in my bag this month. I guess I have a major case of bag envy seeing others getting a full size lip color, and nail polish. What I received looked cheap in my opinion.
    The problem with Ipsy is they have too many products they have promote and it is quite disappointing, when there is something that has caught your eye and was really hoping for, and did not receive. I think I prefer companies that just send the same type of bag out to all customers. I really wanted Sephora play just for that fact alone and finally got off the waitlist. Waiting for my May box to finally come. Wanted Allure as well, but that did not go to well with the May box fiasco.

    • I wouldn’t let the Allure May box fiasco stop you from trying their box. I have subscribed to Allure BB since last August/September and I think every month except one I have really liked my box. When they send out small samples at least they are typically really expensive serums that I would never get to try otherwise so I don’t really mind the small size. They do tend to focus on skin/hair products where as Ipsy has more makeup items.

      As for the Allure Customer Service they have always been good to me. One month my box got lost in the mail. It was “out for delivery” and just disappeared. I contacted Allure and they sent me a whole new box. Then the original “lost” box showed up too. Two months ago I didn’t receive the mini-magazine in my box. I contacted them and they sent a new one out 2 day shipping on UPS. They just were spread too thin in May due to high demand. I’m sure they will get their act together. I can’t imagine cancelling Allure but Ipsy is definitely on the chopping block.

  17. I’m redeeming my points for June and that will be my last bag. I get my first Sephora this month. I’m not excited about 2 lip products though..
    or the two that were in my ipsy bag. I wish there was a beauty sub where you could say DO NOT send me lip products!

  18. My sister loved the bag so I gave it to her. It is nice with the snap.

    Also received the Pacifica which I know will not show on my skin so hoping to swap it for something else.

    Been getting brushes and tools almost every month and I love it since they do help me from spending. This month got a nice small brush that is great for smudging or lightly packing shadow.

    Not excited about the mascara, was hoping for glam glow.

    Got a Bellapierre lip liner, it was too nude for me but worked for my sister so that was nice.

    Vasanti cleanser and exfoliator that I will not bother with since I have so many others to get through.

    It was a neutral month for me, it could of been better but it wasn’t the worst.

  19. I was so hoping to get my bag today but no go. Expected delivery date of 5/16 but the tracking number doesn’t show any activity. You all are making me jealous….I want my stuff!! lol! ?

  20. i received the blue bag
    eva-nye hungry hair oil treatment
    pacifica eyeshadow trio
    the organic pharmacy antioxidant lip balm
    hikari shimmer bronzer
    smashbox mascara
    i love everything… i love ipsy and am happy with my bag every month!!!! i don’t have a huge stash like a lot of people do though so it doesn’t take much to make me happy lol!!!

  21. I got virtually the same bag, except the whale brush instead of the other brush. it will be my last ipsy bag – I just don’t wear makeup often (or well) enough to justify continuing this subscription.

    • Have u tried birchbox? They are always like 1 makeup and all hair and skincare.

  22. I love my Ipsy bag
    Pink bag-so adorable
    Hungry hair oil- love It
    Mellow lipstick in Electro- definitely a statement lipstick
    SMASHBOX X-Rated mascara- cat eye mascara
    HANALEI Lip Treatment- so smooth and delicious
    Bronzer pallette

  23. I got:
    – Épicé International Hydrating Mask
    – Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow Trio
    – INSPR Beauty Eye Fluff Brush
    – SOO AE 3 Collagen Essence Sheet Mask Set
    – Smashbox X-Rated Mascara

    I have yet to figure out how to stop getting tools and masks 🙂 I signed my teen daughter up this month because I could see a fight looming over the cute bag and I was glad I did. We traded stuff and now we are both happy. She took all my masks, I got the Hibiskiss and the Jelly Pong Pong bronzer. Since I like hers better, I can tell you that she signed up and put “adventurous” as her makeup style and well, received cooler stuff than her mom. She got the sperm whale brush too. We also traded bag colors. I can’t afford to get her a bag every month but that was fun to swap and be happy with everything.

  24. I got the same bag, and I think it’s fabulous. Liz is so kind to say about the eyeshadow “a subtle natural look”. I’ll translate this into Truth: “This palette has zero color payoff!!!!!!!” Typical of Pacifica’s coconut eyeshadows, unfortunately. Don’t expect the masks to absorb, because collagen masks are a ripoff: The collagen molecule is way too big to absorb into skin cells. Collagen will ALWAYS just sit on your skin. Overall, I thought this bag was great – the best I’ve had from ipsy in almost two years.

  25. I dropped ipsy when I signed up for the one yr Glossybox deal from Gilt last holiday… and so far I’ve been disappointed with nearly every box. I miss ipsy!

  26. I got the exact same bag :). I was a little bummed I didn’t get glam glow but I was happy with it!

  27. I got the bag in pink – so stinking cute, but would have preferred purple. I got:
    *Smashbox Mascara
    *Avene Micellular Solution
    *Pacifica Eye Shadow Trio in Coconut
    *Bellepierre Nude Lip Liner
    *Hanalei Lip Treatment

    Everything in my bag is usable, if slightly boring. I don’t mind getting black mascara because I wear it daily. Somehow I was expecting the lip treatment to be a scrub but it’s more of an ointment. This is my first month since January not getting a make up brush. My March and April bags were awesome and very high value so this feels like sort of a let down, but overall, its really not a bad bag.

  28. I am really happy with IPSY this month! I got the same products in my bag and the purple bag. I really love everything! I’m very impressed with the mascara, it does have a scent.. roses maybe? but it doesn’t bother me and I love how well this formula works for me. I will probably buy it in full size:) Great review Liz!

  29. I got the mascara also and I think it stinks so bad! I could smell it all night on my eyes, even over my perfume and hair products. Other than that I thought it worked well but I just can’t stand the “old makeup” smell so I will not be using it again. The rest of my bag this month was great!

  30. Great bag and review! So jealous of the masks – I’ve been wanting to try one. I got the blue bag which is the one I wanted, even though the purple one was listed on my account. I was pretty happy with my items this month:

    Jelly Pong Pong bronzer
    Eva NYC Hair Treatment
    IT Cosmetics No-Tug Eyeliner
    Vera Mona Smudger Brush
    Aurora Gel Effect Nail Polish

    My nail polish came busted and even though it didn’t spill (it was bubble wrapped), it made the bag smell really bag. Looks like this happened to a lot of people on Instagram. But I emailed them and they are sending a replacement. 🙂

  31. I dropped Ipsy last fall and have not missed it…until this month. Great variety of products and a super cute bag, too!

    • I dropped it last year too, and don’t miss it at all! Liz always got way better bags than me. They seemed to totally ignore my preferences.

  32. Other than getting the pink version of the bag, I got the exact same items! Very happy with everything in there. I love the neutral eye shadow and I’m really excited to try the masks. I’m also finding that I like Smashbox mascaras. (Gotten a couple of formulas and they all seem to work really well for me.)

    Great review Liz! 🙂

    • I would love to know how you fill out your profile. I love everything in this bag. I dislike my bag every month. I fill out the profile with natural, simple, etc. … but every month my bag is filled with red or orange lipstick, glitter and shimmer products, and 17 of my 19 bags so far have had an eye or brow pencil. These products keep coming no matter how many times I do the reviews and say that I don’t like this product or wouldn’t buy it because I don’t use it!! I don’t know how to make this subscription work for me.

      • My bags are usually pretty close to the ones reviewed here – with maybe one different item.

        I don’t exactly remember how I filled out the profile, but if I had to guess – My style is mostly classic/simple/professional, my focus is mostly on skincare, I’m moderately confident with makeup, love lipstick eyeliner and mascara. For pix of stylist or people I could identify with, I’m sure I chose anyone who looked kinda like they could have stepped out of a 1940’s or 50’s photo shoot. 🙂 Oh, and I never do ratings or reviews on their site, because I’ve always been happy with the selections and I’m sure I’ll jinx it if I start rating items. (I’ve only ever done the initial quiz when I signed up.) I hope this helps.

      • I have the same issue with the bright pink lipstick and/or lip gloss. And I do review on their website, which I do think has made a difference because I now get /mostly/ cruelty-free brands in my bags, or at least more than I used to. But yeah, the hot pink lipstick is a huge issue for me. I don’t think my teenage neighbor wants any more of it, either. Hahaha.

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