Boxycharm vs Ipsy: Which Beauty Subscription is Best for You?


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Boxycharm vs Ipsy

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 ($21 a month) and Ipsy ($10 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

Full Size Items

Boxycharm always sends 5-6 full-size items in every box. With Ipsy, it’s likely you’ll get at least 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 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.

Price Per Box

Price

Boxycharm costs $21 a month for 5-6 full-size beauty products. Ipsy costs $10 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.)

Value

Value

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, and sometimes be upwards of $50.

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 you paid.
  • With Ipsy, the value is 5.39 times the amount you 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.)

Variation

Variation

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.)

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.)

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 complete surprise, go with Ipsy.

Types of Products

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 monthy 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.

(Check out our Boxycharm reviews and our Ipsy reviews to get a better look at the products you can expect from each.)

If you want palettes, go with Boxycharm. If you want nail polish, the best bet is Ipsy.

Discounts for Longer Subscriptions

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 $19.25 a box.
  • With Ipsy, a 12-month subscription brings the cost down to $9.17 a box.

Neither subscription typically offers promotional discounts.

Ease of Cancellation

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:

  1. Log into your ipsy account and go to Account → Edit account settings → Membership (or click here after logging in).
  2. Click “Cancel Subscription” and follow the steps to cancel. We will email you a link that you must click to confirm your cancellation.
  3. Make sure you’re logged into your ipsy account, then click on the link in the email we sent you to finalize your cancellation.
  4. 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

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.

Waitlist

Waitlist

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

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 250 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 1000 Charms you earn for a $10 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 750 Charms for every friend you refer
  • Product Reviews: Earn 100 Charms for each product review.
  • Loyalty: Earn 250 Charms every month just by staying a subscriber – no action needed!

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 expect to earn at least 700 charms through reviews + 250 for staying a subscriber = 950 a month. That equals 11,400 Charms a year, or $114 to spend in the Charm shop!

Boxycharm definitely has the better reward/referral program!


Conclusion

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 will get you a lot of bonus free product, too. Sign up for Boxycharm here!

Ipsy: The $10 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! 🙂

Boxycharm vs Ipsy: Subscription Box Showdown

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?

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.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Comparisons| Tags: boxycharm | ipsy | 30 comments

30 Comments

  1. Just a note – I’ve just signed up for Boxycharm, and I feel that they’re a little more accommodating towards their Canadian subscribers. Their giveaways are open to Canadians, and Boxyluxe is as well (Ipsy doesn’t offer their super glam bag to Canadians, and we can’t use their shop.)

    I might find that Boxycharm is less accommodating than I think, but it’s nice to not be teased with stuff you can’t actually access.

  2. When I am reviewing products in boxycharm it is telling me that you receive 50 charms per product reviewed not 100. Am I missing something?

  3. Some things not mentioned in here:

    – Ipsy’s rewards program is extremely easy to use and, as far as I can tell, glitch-free.
    – Boxycharm’s rewards program is hard to use on the website & often doesn’t work. People get charged for things they were supposed to get for free (look at the comments section of any Boxycharm reviews to see the complaints about this), and it’s a big song & dance to get it sorted out.

    – Ipsy has great customer service. They respond to every email and, in my experience, make an actual effort to meet customers’ needs.
    – Boxycharm ignores emails. I’ve never once received a response to any of my emails to them.

    – Ipsy customizes – if you fill out their questionnaires and review products regularly, you can often see a change in your bags for the better. (And if you don’t, you can email them and at least get a response, unlike with Boxycharm.) Ipsy recently even improved on this and started posting information in accounts about what in your profile is the reason why you received certain products. This is helpful and reduces frustration.
    – Boxycharm doesn’t customize at all. What is the use of full sized products if they’re things you can’t use?

    – Because of Ipsy’s customization, they are multi-age friendly. I’ve gotten many bags that were both fun and useful, and I’ve rarely felt that they were only interested in younger customers.
    – Boxycharm is definitely skewed towards younger people (false eyelashes, lots of highlighters, lots of eye liners, lots of glittery makeup) or possibly people in showbiz. I wish they would just say so – I wasted a lot of money on them.

    When you look at Boxycharm’s spoilers and reviews, keep in mind that there’s a good chance that you will receive the variations you DON’T want, so is it still a good deal for you? You should be happy with all variations or it’s a waste of money because they WON’T be customizing for you.

    I cancelled Boxycharm after the last hugely disappointing bag a few months ago and haven’t once regretted it. I’m happy to stay with Ipsy.

  4. Great reviews for both boxes! I have been subscribed to both boxes since 2016. I LOVE Boxycharm and I like Ipsy. I feel Boxycharm is the better value. However, my Ipsy bag had all full-size items this month which doesn’t happen that often. Your Ipsy points will expire if you don’t use them and Ipsy offers are amazing!

  5. Ipsy was my first subscription; my gateway drug. I get 2 Ipsy bags now, Boxycharm, and a host of other subs because it’s a fun treat for me. And it’s probably better than living under a bridge shooting heroin or something. And I assume I look and smell better too. 🙃

    • Yes!!!

  6. I rarely get a full size anything in Ipsy. Maybe eyeliner? Am I missing something?

    • I got a full size eyeliner this month, a full size lip balm, and a full size brush (since the brush is a brush, it only comes in one size). My sample sizes were a leave in conditioner (but a pretty good size one!) and a MAC Lip Glass (also a good size!!!). I get brushes and full size nail polishes a lot, plus single pan eyeshadows that are also full size pretty much every month.

    • This month in my IPSY i got a full size lip balm and a full size eyeliner. I also got a brush which is by nature one size and thus is full size. I got a really good size sample of a leave in conditioner and a good size of a MAC Lip Glass. I often get full size liners, nail polishes, and brushes in IPSY and get a full size eyeshadow pan at least every other month. I do feel like IPSY sends a ton of full size! I’ve gotten Allure, Macy’s, and started Sephora Play! From its very first month (kept it for a year) and full sizes were infrequent in those. They are very, very frequent in IPSY!

  7. Is there a new sub called Boxy Luxe? How much is it? Deets Liz, PLEASE… I may have to drop Ipsy and Allure …PS … I know you haven’t said anything yet because my coworker just ran over and said “keep checking MSA for deets and text me” because she has an afternoon meeting. Lol

    • I heard it is supposed to be coming in the fall. It is from boxycharm and will be more expensive, however, it is to be packed full of items, all full size with a bigger price point. Look on social media, their having a contest to name it!! I for one can’t wait! 😍😍😍

  8. Great reviewew! I think there are reasons why these two subscription are so popular but after a 2 years I decided to cancel my ipsy bag. Too many times I would rather of had a different bag and I would review all my items also. Anywho super excited about Boxycharm upgrade boxes coming this fall! Can’t wait to find out more!!

    • With Ipsy you can go in under the membership tab and select items you want to receive out of the next three months options And you can update your beauty preferences to pretty much guarantee you get what you want when you see the spoilers you just have to figure out how the algorithm works. I honestly keep Boxee charm usually for one item I don’t think I’ve ever kept a single pallet that I’ve gotten because they’re not for 40-year-old women

  9. I just wanted to thank you for this awesome article! I subscribe to both (basically for the reasons you provided) but it’s helpful for friends I want to refer the subscriptions to.

    To be honest, I’m more of a lurker on this site but I’ve been reading basically since the beginning and want to thank you for a fun site that is enjoyable to read even if you aren’t subscribed to any of the boxes! Extra props for making a community where us subscription box addicts can congregate with no judgment!

    Happy Friday!

    • Wow! Thank you so much!!! 🙂

      • 🙂

  10. Wonderful and thorough review, Liz! Thank you for taking the time. Just wanted to add that Boxy does add sales tax where I live but Ipsy doesn’t. Neither one of them add shipping. Another thing to consider…

  11. This was so helpful, useful, and detailed! Thanks so much, Liz!

    • Woo! That’s so great to hear! Thank you! 🙂

  12. You should do a Boxycharm vs BeautyFix comparison. I read comments from people complaining about all the make up in Boxycharm and I always thing You’re subscribed to the wrong box! Two different experiences, yet it could help people make a more fitting choice.

    • Great suggestion, thank you!

    • I discovered beauty fix through this website and it’s the one box I absolutely can’t do without

  13. I totally agree with this review, Liz! I love them both too for the reasons you stated. I like the quality, price and variation of ipsy but I also love the value, makeup focus and predictability of BC. These are two of the best boxes out there!

    • Thanks, Michele! Really, you can’t go wrong with either box 🙂

    • Yes, this would be helpful.

      I wish there was a box that focused on body care. It takes me forever to use makeup and facial products but I cycle through body wash, scrubs, and lotions/oils so quickly.

      Any suggestions out there?

  14. Both good! Very different! I like ipsy customization and generous sample size for it’s price range but you get a lot of random unknown brands. I keep ipsy for access to ipsy offers, some of the offers are amazing. With Boxycharm it’s great to recieve such high end products for $21, no customization but you just can not beat this box. I wish there was a box that was competition there just isn’t, Boxycharm 100%!

    • Stephanie, FYI you don’t have to be an ipsy subscriber to get the offers, they are open to everyone.

      Agree with everything Liz says but would add that the small quantity of skincare in Boxycharm is generally not geared towards aging skin. I think their target market is young, but if you are looking to build a make-up collection it can’t be beat.

      • Those are good points, and I’ll use them when making my sub decisions in the near future. Thanks for posting!

      • I’m not sure if this is true anymore, now that the offers are incorporated into the Ipsy shopper, since Ipsy shopper is only available while subscribed.

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