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Birchbox Vs Ipsy Vs Play by Sephora – March 2017

Liz Cadman
ByLiz CadmanMar 27, 2017 | 12 comments

$10 Beauty Subscription Box Breakdown!

3.7 overall rating
677 Ratings | 208 Reviews

The Birchbox vs Ipsy vs Sephora post series compares my Birchbox and Ipsy subscription every month to give you a good idea what you can expect from the three most popular beauty subscription boxes. (And since all 3 boxes are $10 a month, it seems fair to stack them up against each other).

If you are interested in finding other great beauty boxes, check out our Top 31 Beauty Subscription Boxes for 2017!

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: 7

Full-size items: 1

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Arrow, Davines, R+Co, Benefit, Clarins

Categories featured: Skincare (1) Makeup (2) Haircare (4)

Total Value: $42

Favorite item in the box: Arrow Boost Color Enhancing Lip Balm – $14

I’ve sampled this lip balm before and it is great. (It’s from Birchbox’s own ARROW line – multi-tasking products that are vegan, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.)

The formula goes on clear, but it gives you a pink tint color once it is on. The formula is moisturizing and gives your lips a healthy looking shine, too!


Ipsy February (Check out the full Ipsy review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 2

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Tarte, Vasanti, Dr. Brandt, Ouai, MPrincess

Categories featured: Makeup (2) Tools (1) Skincare (1) Haircare (1)

Total Value: $59

Favorite item in the box: The bag!!

I think this is my favorite ipsy glam bag of all time - it's so pretty! I just love the blush color with rose gold zipper hardware!


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

Number of items: 6

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 2

Brands featured: Benefit, Make Up For Ever, Glamglow, Living Proof, Algenist, Atelier

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Haircare (1) Skincare (1) Fragrance (1)

Total Value: $52

Favorite item in the box: Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544

It's tough to pick a favorite this month, but I just can't get over how gorgeous this eyeshadow shade is. And it's a really wearable shimmer for me, too. (Swatched in the review.)

Verdict: My favorite this month is Play! by Sephora. I love the box #477 I received. So many of my favorite brands and the sample sizes were excellent, too. Really, every single item was a hit!

Of course, my favorite box varies every month, so 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 March? And what was your favorite product?

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Birchbox ($15 per month) was one of the very first beauty subscription boxes—we’ve been reviewing it since 2012! Each month, subscribers get a new mix of 5 beauty samples, such as makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrance items. Birchbox lets you choose whether you’d like a box of items picked ju... 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!

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I had Birchbox first and kept it for a year but ultimately canceled after I kept receiving the same types of items, 3 different red lipsticks and hair products that I hated since I have very short hair and don’t require much there. I had ipsy for 5 or 6 months but I’m just not that into drugstore makeup so those items never got me excited but I did love that I got a full sized product. Play! is starting to go way downhill for me. I also got this box and it was just such a bummer. I got that eyeshadow in a previous box last year, I think around August maybe?, and I already had the exact same sample of the Benefit product from a free gift with purchase that was in use. The moisturizer just does not cut it for my super dry skin and the hair product didn’t really give me any volume and just made my hair super crunchy and dry. The only product I kind of liked was the Algenist drops but even that wasn’t a big hit for me. I’m still waiting on this month’s Allure Beauty box but ever since I got that it’s been my favorite over the Play! (the only other sub box I get atm) and has got me thinking about canceling my Play! if I don’t start getting products I’m more excited about.

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I love Play because the brands will and have been generally good. Nice themes.

I cancelled Ipsy after a year. Reason was they frequently sent me things I hate. No matter how I changed my profile, no matter that I rated everything I received I still always got the same stuff.
I have 10 brown eye shadows all the same shade just different brands and 9 pale pink nail polish. What a waste of money. Meanwhile Sephora is restoring my faith in the boxes!

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I got all three, I cancelled Birchbox, Play wasn’t for me this month I just didn’t get excited about it, so for me IPsy was the winner even though my Tarte was rust colored (gross). I also get Boxycharm, and that was just ok. So my final thought…..not so much on all of them.

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I cancelled Birchbox after month 2, I tried to go for 3 months just to say I gave them a fair chance but they kept sending me small samples of nothing I could use. March was my first Sephora Play box and it was #477. I loved how everything fit into the theme and how all the products did just that. I loved the March Ipsy bag but my samples were okay. My overall pick had to be sephora play!!

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Canceled Birchbox, tried a month of another sub that won’t work for me (lots of loose pigment eyeshadow, and it just doesn’t do it for me) and finally got off Boxy’s waitlist (looking forward to March’s box since I got off in time – I’ve had box envy all month!)

Traded to get three of the items Liz got from Ipsy this month – my original bag was a stinker but with a little trading it’s working out.

My Play box was as shown, and pretty awesome.

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I got all 3 although slightly different variations and cancelled Birchbox immediately. Just does nothing for me anymore. Loved the other 2

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I want Sephora brands/products in an Ipsy bag (+ Ipsy full & deluxe sizes with higher value and one of the brushes they often send) with a Birchbox type store and point system (especially the old points for reviewing samples every month!) Is that too much to ask? 🙂

I’ve canceled all 3 and currently focusing on skincare – I love Pearlesque! I may go back to one (or more) of them at some point…

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I get all three of these boxes and I gotta say, Birch box for me blew the other two out of the water. Fantastic march box. I ordered the box shown, and I did become a Beta member. My choices for April are awesome.

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I got the same box as Liz and I was thrilled. I love every product in there. I hadn’t gotten the eyeshadow the last time, so I was really happy with that too.

I have had months that I haven’t cared for as much, so I get the disappointment for those who got a bag they didn’t love. I kept Sephora out of these and no longer subscribe to Ipsy or Birchbox.

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I wish Sephora would go back to having fewer variations. I was really disappointed with my items, but I would have loved to have received the variation you received.

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I feel the exact same.

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Play this month was great for me. All the sample sizes were good. I cancelled ipsy. I looked back over the last year and only liked two or three items total. Birchbox was too hair heavy for me and samples were really small.

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