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Ipsy Review – December 2019

Ipsy December 2019 makeup and beauty subscription box review

Ipsy is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription box. Each month you get full-size or deluxe-sized products, plus a cute makeup bag.

This is one of Liz’s top recommendations if you are looking for a subscription box – the value and sample sizes are amazing. (Check out our list of the best beauty boxes for 2019 and our reviews of Cheap Subscription Boxes for more recommendations!)

(FYI – Just like Birchbox, Ipsy sends out many different variations of their bag each month – so my review is just one of the bag variations you might receive!)

pink mailer with failed bag inside

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

bag and all items group shot

About Ipsy Glam Bag

The Subscription Box: Ipsy

The Cost: $12 a month + free US shipping. Save with an annual subscription.

COUPON: New subscribers: Get a FREE IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara Mini and 600 Ipsy store points (Added to your account on 11/30)! No coupon needed - just use this link.

The Products: Full-sizes and samples of makeup and beauty products. (Plus a makeup bag!)

Ships to: The US for free and Canada for $2.95

Delivered via: DHL or FedEx + USPS

Visit the Ipsy Swap Page to swap for any of the items you see in this review!

My Ipsy Glam Bag December 2019 Review

red and white front of info card open info card with products and info

Included is a card detailing each of the items.


Each month, Ipsy subscribers get a makeup bag in addition to their items. This month featured a festive silver crinkle with a handsome interior and zipper of hunter green.


TPSY Lip Crush Lip Oil, 1 fl oz – Estimated Value $3.50 (Buy the full-size 4 fl oz for $14.00)

I had to take a second look at the brand of this lip oil, because it is so close to IPSY. They don’t seem at all related (this oil is made in Korea). I generally like both lip oils and pH-based custom color-changing products, so I was excited to see this. Basically the pH-balance of your skin causes this formula to morph into a custom pink shade perfect for your skin tone. Mine is always a lighter cool pink, which suits a natural look just fine. This wasn’t particularly oily (the formula reminded me very much of the Model Co lip oil that isn’t oily either!) but absorbed into my lips easily and gave a bit of color and some extra hydration.

Here it is after sitting for a minute on my wrist.


HANHOO Watermelon Illuminator Daytime Facial Oil, 15 ml – Estimated Value $8.00 (Buy a full-size 30 ml for $16.00

My hope for this product was that it might be a less expensive alternative to Glow Recipe’s watermelon line, but I noticed immediately that the watermelon scent felt a lot more artificial, which is a bummer. I was also more than a little confused that the packaging refers to this as an oil, when it is a creamy gel. The texture is (ironically) quite similar to Glow Recipe’s Pink Juice, which is actually an oil-free product. Aside from these random tidbits, I didn’t dislike this formula. It actually has a lot of good stuff inside (think loads of fruit extracts) and was reasonably hydrating, but I recommend the Glow Recipe formulas if your heart is longing for a watermelon fruit extract in your routine.


Raeka Illuminating Turmeric Polish, 15 ml – Estimated Value $4.80 (Buy a full-size 100 ml for $32.00)

I have gotten this product multiple times and I always feel pretty so-so on it. I think this is because I am not a huge fan of scrubs with bigger abrasive particles, though Will tends to love them. He was using St. Ives Apricot Scrub for years before I banished it from the shower for multiple reasons. This formula feels really similar, but with less of those scrubbies, and the addition of turmeric, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory both inside and out for your body.


tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in ‘Kisses’, 1 g – Estimated Value $5.18 (Buy a full-size 5.6 g for $29.00)

This is my third month getting blush, but I love blush and I don’t care. I am a blush (and highlighter) hoarder and I feel great about it. I also love this cute mini plastic compact! It is so cute, even if it is missing a mirror. The blush inside is a coral pink with a soft gold shimmer. Like all tarte blushes, it has amazing staying power and blends beautifully. One soft dusting is a sheer wash of pink, or you can build it up for more pigment.

Me? Excited about another blush? Am I becoming predictable?


Complex Culture All Over Highlight / Powder – Retail Value $20.00

Finally, our last item is one of the prettiest brushes I have ever seen. Something about that matte grey really does it for me. The gold neck is also a softer gold, and the bi-colored grey and white bristles are so pretty! Along with being gorgeous, the synthetic bristles are fluffy and soft, but dense enough to grab up product with ease. I used this with a few different highlighters and the effect was soft and diffused, exactly what I want from a highlighter brush. The only feature I wasn’t keen on was the instructive text on the handle which stated what the brush was for, but I am sure that has to fade off eventually, right?

Verdict: This Ipsy Glam Bag delivered one of my favorite ever brushes! That alone was worth the value of the bag to me, but I also enjoyed the lip oil and blush very much. The watermelon face oil and turmeric scrub left me less enthused, but both were still solid additions and I will be happy to pass them on to someone else who might love them. The overall estimated value this month was $41.48, which isn’t bad for a $12 bag. 

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Possibly! As of publication, there was no Ipsy waitlist. Check here to see what month you’ll get first.

COUPON: New subscribers: Get a FREE IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara Mini and 600 Ipsy store points (Added to your account on 11/30)! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Good to Know: Ipsy sends out variations. You may get a completely different bag than me.

Value Breakdown: At $12 for this box, here is what you are paying (approximately) per item:

  • TPSY Lip Oil $1.01
  • HANHOO Watermelon Oil $2.31
  • Raeka Polish $1.39
  • tarte Blush $1.50
  • Complex Culture Brush $5.79

Alternatively, each of the 5 items (not including the makeup bag) has an average cost of $2.40.

Check out all of our Ipsy reviews and the best beauty subscription boxes of 2019, as recommended by our readers!

Visit the Ipsy Swap Page to swap for any of the items you see in this review!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think of my December Ipsy Glam Bag? What items did you get in your bag?

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Written by Megan Kirkland

Megan Kirkland

I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Cheap Subscription Boxes, Ipsy Reviews, Makeup Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: ipsy | 44 comments

Comments (44)

  1. This is a little bit off the subject. MSA, I don’t get the e-mails anymore that are the specials of all boxes. I do get the daily ones that come through around 8 am PST. Usually in here, it has a pop up that says sign up? TIA, for looking into this for me! Happy New Years, to everyone!

    • Hey, Charlotte! Have you tried checking your junk or spam folder to see if they are going there?

  2. Hey Everyone! Looking for a little help. I tried to locate the ipsycare email address on their app and site and couldn’t locate it. I think my bag is lost. Can anyone give me the email address? Thanks!!!

  3. My bag is officially lost… never actually shipped. 4 of the 5 add ons which I purchased are sold out. They are shipping a replacement out with one add on. No idea which one. Definitely not the CEO cream. Super bummed.

    • Oh, the email indicated that some of my scheduled items, including the one I selected, are out of stock as well, But they would send other “awesome items that I will love”. I think Ipsy has bit off more than they could chew with three different bags.

  4. I got my glam bag today (one of them, the other seems lost in the mail/stolen?? I got a locker key in the mail, but the locker was empty! It says ‘delivered’ but I never got it.)

    I got the TPSY oil, Watermelon face oil, Targe blush in shimmer and shake (my pick,) Juliette Has a Gun not-a-perfume, and Fluide nail polish.

    I was the least excited about the ‘not’ perfume as I’ve got it before (I think in a different sub) and didn’t like it at all, plus it gave me a headache. But the IPSY card recommended spritzing it without rubbing so I decided to give it another try and broke out my other sample. Maybe it’s due to a different time of year or maybe I did accidentally rub it the first time I tried, but I actually think it’s decent now. Generic, but decent. Sort of a clean with a dash of pepper scent on me. Apparently with this one it can help to let a sample of it sit a while, so my older sample might actually be better on me than the new one.

    My ‘love’ from the bag is the Fluide nail polish. I wasn’t sure what to expect – online it looked more like a dark denim and I worried it would be a bit too dark or goth. But this is more like a night-sky shimmer navy that even with two coats lets in enough light it doesn’t read as too dark. I like it, and the formula is better than most of the polishes I have gotten from IPSY. It’s a tad streaky with one coat but with two it looks great.

    I also ended up loving the TPSY lip oil. It’s like what I wish a lipgloss could be – hydrating and color tinted, but not sticky. Hours later it’s still hydrating and tinted. I even tried dabbing a little and blending it on as a blush, and it worked, though I think I will save this for its intended use.

    The Watermelon oil is OK. It does seem a bit hydrating and gives an immediate glow (if a little too shiny in places.) But it also feels a little off-putting going on, and hours later I’m not a particular fan of how tight my face feels in places.

    I love blushes from tarte, and this one is another nice shade, so that’s good/ I’m a little disappointed to how small the sample is in comparison to past Tarte blushes in IPSY bags. I bought Party dress as an add-on which is also a nice shade, but Shimmer n Shake is a little more natural looking while Party dress is more dramatic. They were a little harder to blend out than usual but that’s probably because I put the Watermelon oil on first.

    Overall, a decent bag, though I would have preferred a different perfume.

    Hopefully, my second bag gets found!

  5. I haven’t even received my shipping notice yet… Why is mine so late 😳

    • Mine hasn’t shipped either. It shows it’s in transit when actually only a label was created on the 12th; FedEx in NC (I’m in CA) has yet to receive it. I just hope I get all my items and add-ons and intact. Ipsy is my least reliable sub in terms of what I will actually receive and in what condition. I wish they would do better.

      • I wonder if my add ons are the hold up. I also got an email to ‘come back to Ipsy’ for a special gift worth $50 because I had canceled after a so so bag month… Maybe they are making it extra special so I stay. If not, I’ll definitely cancel for real

      • Mine said expected delivery on 12/16, now it says nothing. The FedEx site has no reported movement since it was in Olathe, KS over a week ago. I didn’t order add-ons, so I’m not sure what the deal is. Initially thought they might have passed it off to the post office to deliver, but nothing is showing up.

      • I’m sorry to hear that. I got my Glambag plus add ons & a rewards points item. I am waiting on a couple of other packages that are delayed at this point due to winter weather. I do know that Olathe,Ks got 6 inches of snow on the 15th & an additional 2-3 on the 16th. Considering the storm and it’s path, I’m guessing that’s the hold up.

      • That’s my guess on the hold up but who knows.

    • Mine hasn’t shipped either. Fedex received notification, but it is not moving yet. One of my purchased add on’s was bought as a Christmas gift. I have had a whole month of bad Fedex experiences. Barkbox was delayed 6 days, FFF was supposed to be here 12/8… still not here. I don’t remember Ipsy being shipped Fedex in the past. It was DHL and then USPS for delivery.

  6. Be careful when using the swap site. People are using it to steal. I’m out almost $60 including shipping. I have notified MSA, but, they are not liable. If you are one of those types of people, please remember, it doesn’t matter what state you live in, it’s THEFT! I spoke to an officer this morning and if active shipping is not shown within 24 hours, a report will be filed.
    Happy Holidays!

    • You too?!?!?!!! I did send MSA the swap number, etc., but I have never received an email back. I’m the second person the swapper in question has done this to. I certainly don’t expect MSA to be liable. But, they should at least acknowledge it and remove the swapper. I have not filed a police report yet, but I’m considering it…

    • Actually, I have two swappers that haven’t shipped and won’t respond.

      • This is why I buy on ebay. There are so many Sellers who get this Ipsy stuff in bulk. I have purchased 50 Verso serums. I LOVE that stuff and the full size is around $100 an ounce at retail.

      • At this point, I have contacted MSA. If someone is on here stealing, they should be removed. I have sent several emails and finally got one back asking me to copy and paste the link to the swap, but it does not work. So, I gave the user name, real name and the swap number.
        I asked my mail carrier what to do. They said the only thing you can do is start making noise and leave marks on their records. Stealing is one thing, but doing it through the mail is also fraud. So, not only did I spend my time and money shipping out to two different swappers in two different states, but now, I get to file police reports here and then contact local law enforcement where the thieves live. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Might seem like a lot, and it is. But, I’m too old to just lay down and let someone screw me without even a kiss! Seriously! Merry Christmas! I hope karma hits HARD!!!

  7. Don’t forget about Purlisse if you want a watermelon fix. I love their aqua balm and it’s less sticky than the pink juice. Their exfoliating peel is also really nice. I do prefer Glow Recipe sleeping mask over the majority of sleeping masks I have tried. And for your watermelon lip balm fix: Glow For a Cause flip flirt is 100% my favorite. Watermelon junkie over here, but not a fan of artificial at all.

  8. I am absolutely loving my December Ipsy! I received the two facial masks in peppermint and pomegranate, which i love. I received the Beauty for Real lip gloss in Starlust, love! I received the H20 Beauty hydrating treatment that 8 am excited to try because I older, dry skin. I put that I sometimes like to get nail polishes and they sent me. Nailmedic in Mauvy or Nice which will look great with my pale complexion. I did receive the Thrive mascara, although I have plenty of length but need volume. Still stoked to try it out though! I used my points to get myself Glow lip balm and I immediately used it. Great job Ipsy. Thank you.

  9. I have had almost two years of great luck with Ipsy matching my profile & was having fun with add-ons, but my luck has run out. My add-ons were missing in my November bag. Ipsy customer service was nice & sent them to me but there was plenty of back & forth about it. Today my December bag arrived without add-ons & off the mark of my profile. I am annoyed but I also think just over the whole beauty subscription thing for awhile. I plan on keeping my Look Fantastic subscription but I cancelled the 4 others I subscribe to. Time use the huge stockpile I have amassed.

    • It adds up fast! I’m keeping my LF, too.

  10. Nice review and I’m getting the same Tarte blush! I can’t wait to try it 🙂 All in all my products look good, except I would love to have more skincare!

  11. Haha, the TPSY was the red herring to distract from the fact that Complex Culture was the ipsy brand all along! I think it’s funny that the label on the brush is the part you hate, because in all their promo material, the staff gushes about how multi-use the brushes are, & how you shouldn’t limit yourself.

    I’m getting the TPSY oil in one of my bags, & the Hanhoo as an add-on. I’m excited for both!

  12. Its already December 13th and we have an earlier than normal “make your choice” of one item date n yet ZERO spoilers on any of the ipsy subs! Whats up with this? I LOVED my Ultimate this month as well as my add-ons n everything arrived perfectly, thankfully. But I’m not buying sight unseen for January. Period. Ill pause and/or cancel these subs 1st. I needta know something im paying for. Lol.

    • Interesting, I’m not getting the ‘make your selection’ prompt when I log in. Is it for all your bags?

      • It’s not time for selection yet. It will be on the 19th.

    • I haven’t received a choice date.

      • If you go to your glam bag page & look at the time-line, there’s a dot for Choice on the 19th.

    • I’ve seen people complaining about no early spoilers for a few months now, & I think that people are forgetting that we used to get spoilers so early because ipsycare used to offer choosing an item for your next bag as a way to make up for issues people had with their bags. But now that everyone has a choice, ipsycare doesn’t do that any more.

  13. I’m supposed to get my bag today, I actually got the brush as an add on and I’m really looking forward to it. I hear it’s an Ipsy inhouse brand. I mention that to say, that I got the eye brush from the Betty Boop collection and that thing is amazing. So looks like Ipsy may be doing something right with their brushes. Anyway, I was sort of bummed I paused the glam bag plus this month, but then I realized that that tier wasn’t offered the Sunday Riley Add on that the regular bag had(i purchased one) so Im happy with this month. I also added on the Tarte spray because that stuff is awesome. All in all,I spent more than I wanted,but I got mostly all items I wanted.

  14. Sometimes (not always), picked an item could throw the bag contents off the profile since it limit the variants we might get. Opt out also had the same effect but with less restriction.
    I also experience the same thing with my GBP, 1 item I choose & 4 items I marked as rarely.
    Lesson learned, since then, I only choose an item if I really want it.

    • Sorry, this supposed to be a reply for Jody

  15. Still loving that bangle 😍

    • Haha I was wondering who would recognize it!! I haven’t taken it off since my review.

  16. I got the larger brush in my GBP, and LOVE it. Nice brush. I actually like the label describing what it’s for. Great for people who don’t really know what the difference is with all of the brushes.

  17. really wish ipsy would ship to the UK 😩

  18. I had my worst bag come yesterday for the year. This is the first time I picked an item and everything else was from the rarely column. I think continuing I will just go with all surprises since that has been great.
    I love the lip oil that it changes with your ph. I am in love with that grey color too. I wish I could get a blush or powder one.

    • Sometimes (not always), picked an item could throw the bag contents off the profile since it limit the variants we might get. Opt out also had the same effect but with less restriction.
      I also experience the same thing with my GBP, 1 item I choose & 4 items I marked as rarely.
      Lesson learned, since then, I only choose an item if I really want it.

      • I tried this strategy of letting ipsy pick for me this month and the bag items they picked were still awful. At least with a pick, I knew I would be getting one thing I wanted. They haven’t delivered a good bag for me in at least 5 months. This is my last month with them though, I’m almost free!

      • I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you.
        Maybe you should tamper the profile a little, in the part where they asked about the brand you like & where you shop?

      • I wish in addition to rarely we got some “nevers” even if they limited it to like 2 nevers.

      • You can opt out of 2 categories if you email customer service!

    • I always select an item and my bags are spot-on. Not sure how they do it, but it works for me.

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