Posted by on in Birchbox vs Ipsy, Birchbox vs Ipsy vs Play! by Sephora | Tags: , , | 22 comments

Birchbox Vs Ipsy Vs Play by Sephora – February 2017

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$10 Beauty Subscription Box Breakdown!

The Birchbox vs Ipsy post series compares my Birchbox and Ipsy subscription every month to give you a good idea what you can expect from the two most popular beauty subscription boxes. (And since both boxes are $10 a month, it seems fair to stack them up against each other).

And now we’ve added Play! by Sephora to the mix! (Thanks, everyone, who suggested this addition!)

If you are interested in finding other great beauty boxes, check out our Top 15 Beauty Subscription Boxes for 2016!

FYI – I pay for 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 February 2017 (Check out the full Birchbox review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 1

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Clean, Vasanti, Bumble and Bumble, Acure, PBJ Smoothie Stick

Categories featured: Skincare (1) Makeup (1) Haircare (1) Fragrance (1)

Total Value: $34

Favorite item in the box: PBJ Smoothie Stick 

This is my new favorite lip crayon. It’s creamy, it adds a little moisture, and the pigment is great. 


Ipsy February (Check out the full Ipsy review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 2

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Luxie, MOR, IBY Beauty, Elizabeth Mott, IT Cosmetics

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Tools (1) Body lotion (1)

Total Value: $43

Favorite item in the box: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer

IT Cosmetics is my favorite concealer of all time, and this is their new Illumination version of the concealer. 

If you have dark circles like I do, this is the BEST concealer I’ve found for full coverage. It goes on a little tacky to the touch, but it’s still easy to blend out, and it stays put. I recommend setting it with a powder, and then you are good to go!


Play! by Sephora February 2017 (Check out the full Play! by Sephora review)

Number of items: 6

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Nars, Sephora, Origins, Clinique, Marc Jacobs, Too Faced

Categories featured: Makeup (4) Haircare (1) Fragrance (1)

Total Value: $34

Favorite item in the box: Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer 

A fragrance-free, mattifying primer that blurs my pores? Count me in! I wouldn’t recommend this if you are looking for a great moisturizer, though. I think Clinique should have named this a primer!

Verdict: This is another month for me without a clear winner. (Hopefully that changes in March!) Every box had some great items, and some items I wasn’t crazy about. The values are pretty close, too. That being said, here are my general suggestions for which box to pick:

Birchbox: Birchbox allows you to pick one of your samples or the curated box for each month, so if you want to have a little more control over your box, this is a good choice. They also have a ton of great high-end brands. If you are concerned about the value of your boxes, I recommend going for the curated box each month – the values with those boxes seem to be consistently good.

Ipsy: This will likely be the highest value out of all 3 boxes every month. It’s also the best of the 3 if you are looking for full-size items. The one thing to keep in mind is that Ipsy samples both high-end, mid-tier, and drugstore brands, so you’re going to get a mix of price point brands.

Sephora: I recommend this box for the brands – if Sephora carries the brand, it may appear in the box, which means they have a ton of inventory to pick from, and you’re going to get great brands across the board. Sample sizes may be small for some products, but you get 5 beauty samples PLUS a fragrance sample.

What was your favorite box for February? And what was your favorite product?

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. If you buy something, MSA may earn an affiliate commission. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I was disappointed with Sephora & Birchbox this month – too many lip items and not enough variety. Ipsy is for my daughter and she loved it.
    I did manage to go to the Sephora play party (There are only 6 in our “region” so I was lucky to be as local as I am.) I had a date conflict with previous months. It was fun to see & try the other bags products and the other colors available in the products offered. I wish I had gone last month as my local sephora doesn’t get all the newest items. I just recently subscribed (Oct 2016) and didn’t realize these play parties are a new perk. Hope I can go again next month!

    • I loved my Play! box. Loved the lipglosses and the trial mascara.

  2. Play by Sephora was my favorite. I subbed to Ipsy and Birch Box and canceled after receiving my 1st boxes last month. Birch Box sent a real messy box, broken and melted lipstick on everything (ugh) and Ipsy is too social media for me, at least for now.

  3. I guess Sephora won for me in February – I bought the full sized hydoblur. My ipsy bag was awesome too! (Looks like it will be less so this month but Ipsy is always a tiny bit hit or miss…)

    Birchbox got fired this month. I gave them plenty of time after people told me I just joined at a bad time, let them get straightened out, and they’ve only gotten worse.

    • Not being able to use your Play card for online purchases with Sephora is just not cool though – they need to change that!

      • I soooooo agree. I’m VIB Rouge, but 95% of what I buy is online. Don’t make me go to a store!

  4. I got all 3 and thought they were great. That Nars liquid lipstick is a stunning color and if my lips weren’t dry by the end of the day I would have bought the full size.

  5. Ipsy now let’s you pick a sample for your next month. If you email them, they’ll give you a list of 5/6 samples and you can pick one from that list to receive next month. You can also email them to opt out of of a certain item for a few months. Tired of seeing lipsticks, you can ask not to see them for awhile. This includes all lipsticks though, you can’t be specific. Like only red lipsticks, or only glosses etc.

    • Really?since when did they start doin that?im about to cancel them.thats y im looking around.they NEVER send me mascara or eyeliner anymore.i asked about it n nothin changed.

  6. I think I’ve been in the sub game too long 🙂

    I’ve tried Ipsy on a few occasions, and I’m just not interested in drugstore makeup. I’ve been a loyal BB subscriber for over 4 years, but I’m over their antics and April will be my last month… I loved it in the early days, but I’m just not discovering much through them any more. Plus I have a HUGE surplus of unused samples haha.

    I’m sticking with Play, though 🙂

  7. I let my birchbox go about a year ago and I don’t miss it. Although it was a great discovery tool for a while and I had them since 4 months after they started, so after 4 to 5 years later I got bored abd felt that I did not use the products they sent me in my beauty routine so trying them was pointless. They do carry amazing brands so at least for $10 I felt I was getting to try amazing products.

    I’ve been eyeing Play so I subscribed the couple of weeks ago when some spots were open. I travel a lot so I appreciate the fragance samples. 2nd it feels like the beauty box that is designed for you to push you out of your makeup confort zone at least for one day a month. A challenge I am ready to welcome at the time.

    Thank Liz & the MSA team because your reviews helps me make informed buying decisions.

  8. I am inove with ipsy I get 2 a month I can’t get enough!!! I recently signed up for Boxycharm I regret it and as soon as they refund my money I am going to get birchbox! My mother works for sephora so I don’t really need that box!!! One happy box subscriber

    • I know, I am a big fan of ipsy. I just love them. they just get better and better.

  9. I think Ipsy was probably my favorite last month. I got 4 full-sized products, 3 of which I actually liked.

  10. I have all 3. I let Birchbox surprise me and I was solo underwhelmed. I picked the curated box for March. Sephora has yet to let me down. I enjoy everything I get and I’ve had this subscription the longest. Also like the 50 extra points each month. Ipsy is great and I love the bags. Granted it took a few months to get stuff I like but now I’m really enjoying each bag. If you shop at Sephora then I would go with that subscription first, then Ipsy and last Birchbox.

  11. I got all three for Feb, I loved all three and I’m keeping all three. 🙂

  12. Sephora was the winner for me this month (in this group of boxes). I LOVE the hydro-blur stuuf! I’ve been mixing a bit into my foundation every day. I’m going to cry when it’s gone.
    I also very much liked the eye cream and both lip products.
    Sephora had more items that were winners for me in February.
    … Of course none of them compared to the full sized Dr Brandt from boxy lol

  13. Birchbox was my fave of these three for feb. I ended up buying two full size items based on liking my birchbox samples. It’s the only box I find myself doing that with. I don’t mind small sample sizes if the products are good enough to try out to see if I like to purchase. Sephora just wasn’t for me. I’ll looking forward to my march ipsy, which will be my second month 🙂 my first month came w spilled nail polish so they are sending a replacement bag so I’m hoping for a better shipping experience this time around.

  14. HI Liz. I will be getting my first IPSY this month. Question on Birchbox. I can’t seem to find out how they “give” out items that are not makeup. I see so many swaps for photo frames, mirrors, bracelets etc. Can you explain?

      • Thank you. I am quite excited for the bag!

    • Following trying to figure out the swap to….

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