MSA is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read the full disclosure.

Birchbox Vs Ipsy Vs Play by Sephora – June 2017

$10 Beauty Subscription Box Breakdown!

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 June 2017 (Check out the full Birchbox review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Murad, Mellow, Benefit, Davroe, Davines

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

Total Value: $40

Favorite item in the box: Davroe Ends Repair

This was the only new-to-me brand in the box, and I was happy that it was a large sized sample, too. The leave-in treatment smells lovely, didn’t weigh down my hair, and is ingredient conscious. It also helped give a little moisture back to my hair and manage frizz.


Ipsy June 2017 (Check out the full Ipsy review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 3

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: NYX, Trust Fund Beauty, TheBalm, City Color, Delectable

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Nailpolish (1) Skincare (1)

Total Value: $26.50

Favorite item in the box: City Color Shimmer Shadow in Cheers to Life

Check out my swatch of this shimmer shadow in the review – it is stunning! This eyeshadow is so impressive! It is intensely pigmented and shimmery! The texture of the formula almost feels creamy, too. (I can’t believe it only costs $4!)

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

Number of items: 6

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 0

Brands featured: Tarte, Thierry Mugler, Bumble and Bumble, Briogeo, Murad

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

Total Value: $37

Favorite item in the box: Tarte Tarteguard Tinted Moisturizer in Medium


I’ve been skippingfull foundationation look on the weekends and going with this moisturizer instead!

Verdict: Even though it has the lowest value, my favorite this month is Ipsy. The eyeshadow plus the bright orange nail polish are two standout products for me. (Otherwise it would have been difficult to pick a winner this month.)

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 June? And what was your favorite product?


How do subscribers rate Birchbox?

Created with Sketch.

Never miss a post: get email alerts about Birchbox!

Enable notifications () to get the latest Birchbox spoilers, reviews, deals, and news delivered to your inbox.

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 Birchbox vs Ipsy, Birchbox vs Ipsy vs Play! by Sephora| Tags: birchbox | ipsy | play by sephora | 29 comments

Comments (29)

  1. Ipsy is not geared towards over 55 women. I’ve asked repeatedly not to send orange or gold eyeshadow, purple nail polish, and red brown lipstick for we ladies over 55. I do not think they pay any attention to what your age is, nor your skin tone, eye color, etc. and what your hair color is.
    .Not impressed lately at it as it seems to be a repeat of the same things. I received over 10 brushes in three months. As of today I’m canceling Ipsy and going with Birch. Keep you posted. Any ladies suggest another box please let me know.

  2. Blue nail polish from Ipsy for a 60 year old woman? Especially one who repeatedly requests neutrals? I am canceling my subscription. Nothing was good.

    • Same here! I have given IPSY a try for months. I too am 60. They sent me liquid gold eyeliner & gold glitter eyeshadow one month. (gave that to my 20something yr old daughter!) I left feedback reminding them I am 60, I wear earthtones. The next month they sent me liquid eyeliner for making cat eyes and a softer gold eyeshadow.

      I have gotten a few great samples for them. Products that I will actually buy.
      But they obviously don’t read the feedback. I’m trying to cancel (not as easy as it seems). I’m going to give Birchbox a try.
      The thing is being 60, we still wear makeup & want to experiment with what is out there to make our older faces pretty…. but month after month receiving products that I would have loved to have tried decades ago is getting to be annoying.

    • what box are you referring to?

  3. I want to talk about each one’s packaging.

    Shipping Packaging

    Ipsy’s is my favorite. Love the hot pink bubble envelope! Plus it’s super easy to open and easy to recycle. Since I have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, I need things to be as easy to open as possible.

    Sephora’s box is cute, and it’s easy to open, too, since it has that very easy perforated strip. It required the (minor) extra step of breaking down before I put it in recycling, though.

    Birchbox is my least favorite. Maybe because it’s my least favorite overall, I’m biased against even it’s shipping box, but it’s not as fun as the others and, significantly, not as easy to open, often requiring scissors.

    Interior Packaging

    Ipsy wins, hands down. I think enough’s been said about the awesomeness of their glam bags.

    Sephora really needs to step up their bag game; what do y’all think? Compared to Ipsy’s bags, Sephora’s cinch-bags are boring and not nearly as versatile. They’re practically disposable. They’re really only handy as packaging for gifting surplus samples to friends and neighbors, which I do a lot – since I’m subbed to Ipsy and Sephora and until recently Birchbox *and* Allure too, I’m drowning in samples! As gift bags, they are pretty cute, yes. But I love using Ipsy bags as gift bags far more, because they’re as useful or even more useful than the samples inside.

    Anyway, Sephora’s bags don’t work well for carrying in your purse, and for storage they’re just average.

    Birchbox challenges me. Their box is always gorgeous and the presentation is elegant. I feel a little awed each time I open one, making the sample reveal feel practically ceremonial as I take off the lid and remove the tissue. If it was a gift, it would be fantastic.

    The boxes are great for gifting. I don’t need to use wrapping paper if I can fit the gift inside a Birchbox box. They are also good for storage of things like cards, hair ties, costume jewelry, receipts . . . I just wish they varied more. If each month was a different size and shape but same in beautiful quality, I’d find no end to uses for them! But that particular size is limiting after awhile.

    What do y’all think?

  4. Liz, what do you mean when you say “Birchbox allows you to pick one of your samples or the curated box for each month” – ? I didn’t know there was any choosing possible with Birchbox. Can you elaborate?

    I was subscribed to Birchbox for a long time but actually cancelled just a few months back, because I was getting far too many hair products despite specifically saying no to them in the survey. I have Alopecia, so I really don’t need hair products – I literally don’t have any use for them! Among the top beauty boxes, would any of them be personalizable enough to allow me to completely eschew hair products from being among my samples?

    I’m subscribed to Ipsy and Sephora, and I’m pleased with those. Sephora tends to have better products in that they don’t include any drugstore or lower-mid tier brands, but Ipsy has consistently great quality products in deluxe sizes, and the bag is sooo much better than Sephora’s. That’s a subject for a whole separate comment, really…

    • I don’t remember exactly how far back Birchbox started to offer sample choice but it hasn’t been going of for too terribly long. They send out an email a few days before they open up the sample choice on the site but if you don’t jump on it and make your selection within a day or two it basically closes up and they send you a mystery choice out of the what the selection was.

    • This post is so confusing. How could anyone miss that…. it’s advertised extensively….in emails, on the website, on the app, in the monthly videos….”sample choice, curated box, or let us surprise you” it’s like their tag line all over.

  5. I get Birchbox and Ipsy and the Birchbox has been kind of disappointing here lately. They send these really dark shades of lipstick or stain I wouldn’t be caught dead in.. The Ipsy Delectable lotion was my favorite this month.. Great size and awesome product!! And not so expensive that I can’t afford full sized products from Cake!!

  6. I totally agree Liz!
    Also wanted to mention that I really LOVE the same price comparison posts! I’d love to see more ____ vs.____ posts! AWESOME! Have a fun day!

    • me too!

  7. My Sephora bag was a big miss except for the Coola makeup setting spray. I enjoyed that. Ipsy was good with the coconut body lotion as being my favorite.

  8. I feel like Birchbox actually won for June and I usually feel it doesn’t.

  9. My birchbox was better than what Liz described. I got 1 fragrance . 3 makeups, 1 skin care and a bonus pack of Oribe Gold Lust shampoo and conditioner. I had Manna Kadar eye candy priming Shadow Stick, FULL SIZE, Marcelle energizing, hydrating gel, Mellow Cosmetics lip paint, Beauty Crop Blush Duo and the bonus hair products. I have no idea what the samples are worth, but full size is worth over $200.00. Add to that free shipping on any full size product from the box and 1 bonus pt. For each $ spent. 100 pts. Is worth $100.00. You just cant best birchbox in my humble opinion.

  10. My June birchbox was nothing like what was described. I got Kensie Eau de Parfum, Eye Candy priming Shadow Stick, Marcelle energizing hydrating g, Mellow Cosmetics liquid lip paint, Beauty Crop Blush duo and as a bonus. A packet of Oribe Gold Lust shampoo and conditioner. The full size of those is $49.00 each! So the whole box would be worth over $200.00 in full size. Of course i have no idea what the samples are worth. I feel it was a good box. Add to that you get free shipping on any full size product in your box and a point for each $ spent. 100 pts. = $10.00. Birchbox is the best.

    • Out of my 3 Birchbox was hands down the best although Sephora was spot on with the fragrance! I did byy the full size. Ipsy was all junk.

  11. I thought deluxe size items were samples that are in original packaging (not foil samples) but just mini sized. If I am wrong I have been calling way too many things deluxe!

    • I always call those sizes deluxe samples, too. I think many (maybe even most?) do.

    • I think Liz explained her reasoning one time… I believe she said she doesn’t consider a sample deluxe sized unless it’s almost (or maybe she said at least) half of it’s full size.

      I’m with you though… I feel that if I can get multiple uses out of a sample to get an idea of its efficacy, then it’s a deluxe sample to me. For example, I’ve received a ton of eye cream samples that are .1oz, and while the tube may seem really small, it’s still 20% the size of a full-size product, and I can easily get 2-3 weeks worth of use out it.

  12. I’m currently fighting customer service. They only sent one reward, haven’t had a response from ipsycare that wasn’t automated, and have been blown off in social media. My package was 1.1lbs when the shipping label was made and suddenly 0.4 lbs when it shipped and I only received only one of the rewards I claimed. The package also looked hastily taped back together since the original adhesive didn’t adhere.

    I emailed back on Wednesday and have given them screenshots and everything, but I don’t have any screen shots of my initial weight. Any suggestions? I know it takes some time to get a response but 4 days is a bit much now.

    • I have had serious problems with Ipsy customer service in the past myself, so I can sympathize.

    • I had some broken nail polish from them and I thought since it had broken and spilled on the contents ipsy would replace the box and they just wanted to know what had broken or if anything was missing. They replaced the polish only. I would expect good CS to just say fine we’ll just send a new box- no prob. I cancelled after that. It also took a couple days for them to respond and they didn’t respond to my facebook post. Keep checking your email, but don’t expect a lot… I have so many other subs with much better CS than ipsy or I would stay subbed to their bags.

  13. I love Ipsy! I ended up cancelling both Birchbox and Sephora Play because the value wasn’t there for me.

    • Am feeling the same. I recently cancelled my Lip Monthly and thinking the same about Ipsy. They charge your account the 1st of each month but the month is,almost over before you receive your box. New to Birch Box and being woman of color I don’t always,get products I can use so I pass them to my daughter who is lighter complexion. Down to 3 subscriptions. Had 5.

  14. Those are the 3 exact boxes i received this month except instead of polish from ipsy i got cuticle oil which is good for me because i get my nails done anyways and can always use cuticle oil.

  15. This looks like a three way tie to me! Good job sub boxes 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  16. I love the davines and davroe items from birchbox!

  17. I cancelled Sephora this month after four not-so-great months in a row. I was surprised by the Trust Fund Beauty Game Changer nail polish from Ipsy. Never in a million years would I have purchased this color on my own, but it’s my favorite makeup item this month.

    • I don’t normally wear nail polish and I am usually unhappy when I get one “wasting” a spot among the samples. But this month I just happened to be in the mood, and so was happy to see the Trust Fund Beauty. It’s a brand I’ve never heard of before. But now I’m a tad disappointed with the color I got – a minty blue-green. The pink shade pictured here looks much prettier!

      It’s not that I think the mint is unwearable or too wild. In fact it’s great for the summertime, and mint is very trendy for “music festival” fashion. (Though I’m not impressed with Tarte’s mint-colored lip paint.) It’s just that for nail polish, a shade like that really shows chips far more than nude or rosy colors. So I’d need to invest in a base and topcoat when all I really want to do is wear some nail polish for a change. Well, it is a fun, unusual, trendy color, so I shouldn’t really mind if it shows wear and tear. I should have fun with it.

      Look, I just talked myself into better appreciating my shade of nail polish! 😉

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.