Boxycharm vs Ipsy: Which Beauty Subscription is Best for You?
Updated March 6, 2020
We do regular comparison posts for beauty boxes at the same price point (see our IPSY vs Birchbox vs Play! by Sephora series, and our BoxyCharm vs GlossyBox vs Look Fantastic series), but we’ve also had reader requests to compare subscriptions regardless of price. So, to kick it off, we’re comparing two of the most popular beauty subscription boxes: BoxyCharm ($25.00 a month) and IPSY Glam Bag ($12.00 a month).
We’ll take you through everything from the price differences, types of products included, customization options, and even loyalty programs– so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Here are the differences between BoxyCharm and IPSY:
Full Size Items
BoxyCharm always sends 5 full-size items in every box. With IPSY Glam Bag, you might get 1 or 2 full-size items in your monthly glam bag, but it isn’t a guarantee. And with IPSY it will vary month to month. I’ve had glam bags that had almost all full-size items, and I’ve ones that were all sample sizes. (If you find you aren’t getting as many full-size items as you’d like, IPSY Glam Bag subscribers can upgrade to IPSYGlam Bag Plus—5 full-size items for $25 per month—or IPSY Glam Bag Ultimate—8 full-size items and 4 samples for $50 per month.)
If you want to sample lots of items and then buy the ones you love, go with IPSY. If you want full-size items only, BoxyCharm is the right choice.
BoxyCharm costs $25.00 a month for 5 full-size beauty products. IPSY Glam Bag costs $12.00 a month for 5 beauty products (sizes will vary) + a makeup bag.
ipsy is definitely the cheaper monthly box and a great way to test out if beauty subscription boxes are right for you.
But, it’s also important to compare the cost to the value. (More on this next.)
BoxyCharm promises a value of at least $100 per box. IPSY doesn’t promise a specific value per bag, but I would expect your bag’s value to never be less than $30.00, and sometimes be upwards of $50.00.
I compared the past six months of each subscription, and my BoxyCharm subscription averaged a value of $140.13 a box. My IPSY subscription averaged a value of $53.92 a box. Box items/values will vary somewhat, but using these numbers to compare the cost to the value:
- With BoxyCharm, the value is 6.67 times the amount paid.
- With IPSY, the value is 5.39 times the amount paid.
So, value-wise, BoxyCharm gives you more for your money. (If you place a monetary value on the makeup bags IPSY sends, though, this might be different for you.)
If you aren’t familiar with this term in the subscription box world, it basically boils down to this question: Will all subscribers get the same things? Or will there be variations in what your box includes vs your friends?
The bottom line: For both BoxyCharm and IPSY, there is variation, but there is WAY more variation with IPSY.
BoxyCharm typically includes a few items that all subscribers will receive and some variants. (We always indicate which items will be in all boxes and which ones may be variants in our BoxyCharm spoiler posts.) You get to choose one of your BoxyCharm products each month.
IPSY samples 40+ beauty products every month! That means that your IPSY Glam Bag might be completely different than the samples we review each month. (We get IPSY spoilers, too, but you won’t know which ones you’re guaranteed to get until you already are charged for the box.) Note that you’ll get to pick one of your IPSY Glam Bag items each month.
If you want some guarantees on what will be in your box before you subscribe, BoxyCharm is the right choice. If you are OK with a few surprises, go with IPSY.
Types of Products
What types of products can you expect from each subscription? Makeup? Skincare? Beauty tools? Perfume? Nail polish? The answer can vary month to month, and things may shift in the future, but here’s a general rule of thumb I’ve gathered from subscribing to each of these boxes for 5 years+
With BoxyCharm, makeup is heavily featured. There is almost always a palette in every monthly box. Highlighters are common. They also typically include a skincare item and makeup brushes.
With IPSY, everything is on the table. You’ll typically get a mix of skincare and makeup, and the occasional perfume, nail polish, or makeup brush.
If you want palettes, go with BoxyCharm. If you want nail polish, the best bet is IPSY.
Discounts for Longer Subscriptions
Both offer discounts for subscribing to more months up front:
- With BoxyCharm, a 12-month subscription brings the cost down to $22.92 a box.
- With IPSY, a 12-month subscription brings the cost down to $11 a box.
Neither subscription typically offers promotional discounts.
Ease of Cancellation
One of the pet peeves of many subscribers is having to call customer care to cancel a subscription. Good news: Neither BoxyCharm nor IPSY will make you call them to cancel!
You can cancel BoxyCharm in your online account without having to contact customer care.
IPSY also lets you cancel online, but makes things a bit more difficult:
- Log into your ipsy account and go to Account → Edit account settings → Membership (or click here after logging in).
- Click “Cancel Subscription” and follow the steps to cancel. We will email you a link that you must click to confirm your cancellation.
- Make sure you’re logged into your ipsy account, then click on the link in the email we sent you to finalize your cancellation.
- If you do not click on the link in the email, or are not logged in to ipsy.com when you click it, your cancellation request will not be processed.
IPSY has also recently allowed subscribers to pause their subscription, if you don’t want to cancel but just want to skip a month.
Shipping & Tracking
Both subscriptions will send you an email when your box ships complete with a clickable tracking number. BoxyCharm ships through FedEx Smart Post, and IPSY ships through DHL SM Parcel Ground. (Both of those services are delivered by your local post office.)
BoxyCharm ships to the contiguous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and all the US Territories, plus all of the Territories/Provinces in Canada.
IPSY ships to the U.S. and its territories, APO, DPO, and FPO boxes, and Canada.
Both BoxyCharm + IPSY usually have waitlists for new subscribers. Here’s what you need to know:
After you sign up with IPSY, they will offer you to skip the waitlist by sharing IPSY on social media. You can do this, or, you can just contact customer care at [email protected] and ask to be removed from the waitlist.
BoxyCharm doesn’t have a way to bypass their waitlist currently, so we recommend signing up ASAP if you want this box. However, sometimes they remove the waitlist entirely. When they do, you’ll see “The Waitlist is Gone” messaging on their homepage!
Loyalty & Reward Programs
Both BoxyCharm and IPSY offer reward programs, but they are different:
IPSY offers you reward points for referring friends, and for rating your products and glam bag each month. You can redeem these points for free products that will ship with your next glam bag. (Free products typically start at 350 points. Check out past examples in our IPSY rewards posts.)
Here’s a breakdown of the IPSY point structure:
- Referrals: Earn 600 Points for each friend who signs up within 24 hours through your unique referral link.
- Product Reviews: Earn 15 Points for each product you review in your online Glam Bag.
- Full Glam Bag Review: Earn 10 Points for reviewing your entire Glam Bag experience each month.
As you can see, they heavily reward referrals, but even without referring anyone, you can still earn 85 points a month by rating your products + glam bag. That equals 1020 points a year, which should get you two products for free.
BoxyCharm’s point system is “Charms” and you can cash in every 100 Charms you earn for a $1 coupon to spend in their Charm shop. (Check out past examples of what’s in the Charm Shop.)
Here’s a breakdown of the BoxyCharm point structure:
- Referrals: Earn 500 Charms for every friend you refer
- Product Reviews: Earn 50 Charms for each product review. You can also earn 50 Charms for an overall box review.
This set up is more balanced than IPSY of referrals vs reviewing products. And technically you can review all the products they sample that month, not just the ones you received, so on a typical month through reviewing only you could earn up to 900 charms through reviews! That equals 10,800 Charms a year, or $108 to spend in the Charm shop!
BoxyCharm definitely has the better reward/referral program!
If you couldn’t tell already, I love both of these subscriptions! I recommend both of them to friends and family, and I hope this breakdown of the boxes has helped you decide which box is best for you.
BoxyCharm: This is probably the best bang-for-your-buck beauty subscription, period. If you love palettes, skincare, makeup brushes, etc., go for it! And their reward system can get you a lot of bonus free product, too. Sign up for BoxyCharm here!
IPSY: The $12 price point makes this one so easy to try. Plus the makeup bags are a cute addition, too. If you’re not sure about beauty/makeup subscriptions, this is a great way to start. Sign up for IPSY here!
And if you’re a subscription addict like me (or one in the making), subscribe to both! 🙂
What did you think of this breakdown? Was it helpful? Would you like to see it for other boxes? Any additional points I should add?