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Birchbox Vs Ipsy Vs Play by Sephora – February 2018

$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 February 2018 (Check out the full Birchbox review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 2

Brands featured: Sunday Riley, The Beauty Crop, Doucce, Love Beauty & Planet

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

Total Value: $41

Favorite item in the box: Love, Beauty, and Planet Argan Oil & Lavender Set

This is a new brand I’ve been wanting to try, and it did not disappoint!

Ipsy February 2018 (Check out the full Ipsy review)

Number of items: 5

Full-size items: 3

Deluxe size items: 2

Brands featured: Trust Fund Beauty, Pacifica, Bubble T, Clinique, English Laundry

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Perfume (1) Nail Polish (1)

Total Value: $65.39

Favorite item in the box: Clinique POP Lip Color + Primer in Love Pop

No standout favorite, this month, but this lipstick is great. The formula is super moisturizing, creamy, and comfortable to wear. It has a satin finish with a micro-shimmer – this is the perfect lipstick for someone who wants to try a shimmery look on their lips but doesn’t want light-reflecting sparkles!

Play! by Sephora February 2018 (Check out the full Play! by Sephora review)

Number of items: 6

Full-size items: 0

Deluxe size items: 2

Brands featured: Belif, NARS, Farmacy, Sephora, Laura Geller, Chloe

Categories featured: Makeup (3) Skincare (2) Fragrance (1)

Total Value: $59.48

Favorite item in the box: Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm 

This balm melts into your skin, removes ALL makeup, feels fantastic, and the formula is ingredient-conscious, too. Plus, when you remove it, your skin is moisturized and softer! (I like this so much I will probably buy it in full size. It’s the best makeup remover balm I’ve ever sampled!)

Verdict: Play by Sephora is the winner for me thanks to the fabulous skincare samples and the generous sizes of the makeup. Ipsy and Birchbox were solid contenders this month, too!

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 February? And what was your favorite product?


How do subscribers rate Birchbox?

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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 Birchbox vs Ipsy, Birchbox vs Ipsy vs Play! by Sephora| Tags: birchbox | ipsy | play by sephora | 33 comments

Comments (33)

  1. I have a quick question. I’m on the verge of signing up with Ipsy based on reviews. My question is this..does anyone find that the people blogging and such are receiving higher end or full size products than those that aren’t social media butterflies?

  2. I have had Ipsy for two months and so far has been good. My April bag was decent, i loved the pouch, and the blending brush. The eye-shadow wasn’t very pigmented (same issue this month). The lotion smelled good, the eyeliner was amazing. This month i received a lip crayon (that was way too light for my complexion however it was very smooth and applied nicely), the face masks i received were great as well as the face wash. Im excited to see what i get next month. I want to try Sephora because of the brands but after reading these comments i hope it is as good as i think it will be.

  3. This isn’t a review of these. But if you shop Walgreens online and join their rewards program. For every50$ you spend you get 5,000 points and a whole bag of samples and coupons. Nice touch

  4. I am going on 3 years with Ipsy and I can honestly say one months glam bag was the worst for me, which so happened to be a lot of others worse bags too (January 2018 bag). I love the fact that I receive brushes, eyeliners, mascaras, face masks, eyeshadows, sometimes perfume samples although that has only been twice and I wish they would include those more, but overall I love the diversity it brings. Yes, it would be nice to get full size items on certain things but to be completely honest half of the time I don’t even use the travel size items before they expire. If I have too many of something I give it away to someone I know will enjoy it! $10 a month and you get makeup brushes is what kept me satisfied! My brush collection was very minimal as I only used a beauty blender and one eyeshadow brush for years. My brush collection is almost complete, especially with eyeshadow brushes and so what if I get the same brush again, that just means I have a clean brush for a spare :). Ipsy has allowed me to explore other brands I would never consider because of high pricing or have never heard of. I was a Sephora Playbox member for 4 months and I unsubscribed because I felt like Ipsy and Boxycharm would be enough for me. I get that the playbox was a way for you to try items out to see if you like them enough to buy the full size and that’s great and all but I paid the same amount as Ipsy and would get bigger/better items. Boxycharm has yet to fail me nor has Ipsy and if I get a product I do not like or does not suit me I go ahead and give it to someone who will! I can’t really complain about getting full size items for $21 a month or sometimes getting full size for $10 a month and having some of them not work for me because there are always going to be birthdays, holidays, and special occasions for me to regift these items.

  5. I have been disappointed with lunchbox and ipsy. Both sent me horrible colors (for me). With Birchbox, I could understand because at time I subscribed I wasn’t able to make a profile. However, with ipsy I have had same problem. When 3 in a row came with bad colors and scents that were inconsistent with my profile I complained. They responded that I needed to update my profile. Nope! My profile was accurate. I decided to cancel ipsy and try Sephora play box for a while.

  6. I’ve had Birchbox for over 6 months & although I’ve used the facial creams, there’s not much else I’ve used. Muy friend gets Ipsy & she loves it! So I just cancelled my Birchbox subscription & I’m signing up with Ipsy.

  7. I used to get all 3 boxes but now I just get ipsy and Macys. Ipsy has the cute bags and you get points for reviewing products. Birch has cute boxes but what do you do with them? I have a stack. Sephora has a box you can never reuse .
    Macy’s comes with a higher end bag and a $5 Or $10 coupon for a Macy’s cosmetic purchase. I’ve bought MAC with my coupon!

  8. I have had ipsy for like 2 years. I have change my questions more than once in the last few months. i used to get amazing things. I am now getting so much lip gloss, mascara, brushes and some random stuff that i will not be able to use it all in the next few years, it will go bad before i can use it all. I get eyeliner but i am still on one from 4 months ago. i have 3 more along with lip gloss and mascara that drys out before i can use it. the eye shadow is the only real i look forward to any more. end up with all the same color palet. I love the color, i only need so much of the same color. also, i have gotten some blush, it to is always the same color, which is fine, just didnt want to leave it out. there is almost no full sized items. I like the brushes but have gotten more than one of some. i want to stick with it but i dont even really look forward to it anymore. it sucks. altho last month i got a new color. that was nice but they are so few different that its almost not worth it. it makes me sad.

    • If feel exactly the same way…after 2 – 3 years, too many brushes, mascara, same colors, etc. Time to switch to another brand of box or take a break! Great subscription to have for about 6 months to a year though

  9. I’ve subscribed to all three and it looks like the vote is unanimous Ipsy is clearly a crowd pleaser I have to agree Was not pleased with Sephora and that bums me out because I wanted to love it as I am a fan of their store but they just throw in products without actually taking the personal information given to make their bags feel more personal. Birchbox isn’t that bad I’d say they win for customer service and but like others have mentioned it’s all samples usually I get dry shampoos and creams of all sorts it was fun at first as I was just getting back into the interest of cosmetics and daily skin regimens. But now the only thing I truly enjoy is the cute box they come in. I’ve chose to cancel Birchbox and Sephora Play and just started a new subscription with Boxycharm and I’m keeping my Ipsy.

    • Wise choice

  10. Ipsy all the way! Great products and they listen to what I want. Highly recommended!

  11. I have cotton 3 tipsy boxes so far and Love everything they 1 put in. I am obsessed now with the caviar hair cream. I get billed same day each month around the 10th then within a week get my box. I love the theme s each month and the pretty bag/ pouch. I will stay with I pay very very pleased

  12. Not sure why Sephora disappoints so many people. I think they do a pretty good job every month. But heck everyone needs to complain about something.

    • Some of us get the same items every other month, the box is always late, and those prime selections that MSA gets is not what everyone else gets.

      But whatever. We’re only paying for it.

      • Agree 100% with you RAR. And I’m going to add in my opinion the point of this review page is to give personal opinion don’t feel it’s complaining but giving others an idea of what our experiences have been with certain Subscriptions

      • Yea, the whole point of this is for people to post their opinion. I literally read this, and the comments, because I wanted to know which box would be best for me.. so these comments are actually pretty helpful. I will be sticking with my ipsy subscription.. LOVE them!

      • Who is Msa? It doesn’t come late or make any one wait…….
        You receive it the third week of the month??

      • MSA=My Subscription Addiction

    • 1 – They send the same items to us over and over. (Black eyeliner, nude liquid lipstick.)
      2 – Most of us have never received a prime brand.
      3 – We get billed on the first of the month and the box doesn’t show up until the last week of the month.

    • I love my Sephora!! People are crazy….it’s ten bucks!!!! They do complain to complain!!!

      • The whole point is for people to find out what people did and didn’t like about each box. It’s not really complaining if that’s the whole purpose of this article. I actually want to hear which box people liked or didn’t like.. it helps when you’re deciding which box would be best for you. That’s why people read reviews before they purchase things.

      • I’m new to this beauty box thing sooo I liked reading the comments regarding the diff ones. I signed up with ipsy I might do boxy charm to the the future…

    • Saying which of 3 things one prefers is not complaining. People are giving valid reasons why they like or do not like a particular kind of box. That is valuable information when one is trying to decide which of the three to chose.

  13. Unfortunately… I’ve been a subscriber(since last year) of all 3 boxes as well. FEB 2018 Play box did not send me the Laura Mercer eye item and not the Nars lip item. They sent 2 Sephora brand lip products and its frustrating to see that there are reviews based on biased or tier boxes. It makes those with cheaper brand boxes feel like their is a system in place with to whom gets what kind of box. Not cool. 🙁

    • I’ve never gotten a prime brand from Sephora. I have received the same couple of lippies every other month. I put them all in one of their bags as a giveaway. Even my cousin, who works at Sephora, was confused.

    • Same here but I did get a smashbox eye shadow duo that was nice but lipsticks were Sephora and almost the same color I understand it was share a lipstick theme but the same color if I don’t like it I’m sure my friends won’t either lol

  14. I’ve gotten all three of these subs and think ipsy is the best.

  15. FYI, Birchbox is pretty much just “a whole box of samples.” I can’t remember the last full size item I got from them. And they often count one of those little perfume vials as one of your five samples. Not a bonus. One of the five. At least when ipsy sends perfume, it’s more of a travel size.

    • Sorry, I was trying to reply to Susan. I am SURE I clicked reply. LOL.

  16. I switched from Ipsy to Sephora. I have had two months of Sephora now and I have to say I think Ipsy is better. I am not a fan of a whole box of samples. I am allergic to most perfumes (although I did like the Feb. choice) so the extra perfume sample isn’t important to me. I also like a variety of items from different price points. Not all high end. Think I will switch back to Ipsy or try Birchbox.

    • Yep, I switched back to Ipsy.

    • Birch in my opinion is very similar to Sephora little samples and usually face creams washes or hair products like dry shampoo and creams. Good luck with your search for your perfect Subscription love my Ipsy and I started boxycharm fingers crossed it’s better than all three lol

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