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Ipsy May 2021 Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kinship, and More!

Naomi Pandolfi
ByNaomi PandolfiMay 24, 2021 | 16 comments

The envelope packaging from the Ipsy Glam Bag May 2021.

3.9 overall rating
1891 Ratings | 378 Reviews

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

This is one of our 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 2021 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!)

The open envelope for the Ipsy Glam Bag May 2021.

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

The full contents from the Ipsy Glam Bag May 2021.

About Ipsy Glam Bag

The Subscription Box: Ipsy

The Cost: $12.00 per month + free U.S. shipping. Save with an annual subscription.

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

Ships to: The U.S. for free and Canada for $2.95

Delivered via: DHL or FedEx + USPS

My Ipsy Glam Bag May 2021 Review


Included is a product card that usually lists the products in your Glam Bag and their retail value.


Each month, Ipsy subscribers get a makeup bag in addition to their items. This month's theme is "Flower Power," and the bag is a light pink with a simple flower pattern.


KINSHIP SELF REFLECT Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide Broad Spectrum SPF 32, 7.5 g - Estimated Value $3.75 (Buy a full-size 50 g for $25.00)

I learned about the vital importance of wearing sunscreen all year round much later than I care to admit. This has left me with an irrational fear of my skin looking like a worn leather couch in a hoarder's basement in my old age. So, naturally, I was super excited to receive Kinship's Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide Broad Spectrum SPF 32. This product is a triple threat; it primes, moisturizes and protects skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Super lightweight and sheer, this sunscreen absorbed quickly into my skin, without leaving behind a greasy film. Formulated with SPF, antioxidant-rich turmeric and a probiotic complex, this sunscreen nourishes your skin without clogging pores, and it doesn't contain any harmful parabens, dyes, or synthetic fragrances.


FORMULA 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator Pore Clearing Face Scrub, 30 ml - Estimated Value $2.10 (Buy a full-size 100 ml for $6.99)

I'm a sucker for a good face scrub, and this Formula 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator Pore Clearing Face Scrub has won my heart. This has to be honestly one of the best scrubs I've ever tried. The exfoliant is ultra-fine and all-natural, comprised of oat and pumice. It gently removed dead skin and impurities, leaving my face feeling wonderfully smooth and glowy. The scent is sweet and fruity, but not overpowering, and makes for a delightful cleansing experience.


BASIC BEAUTY Smooth + Blur Translucent Primer, 10 ml - Full Size! Retail Value $16.00

The Basic Beauty Smooth + Blur Translucent Primer is a clear gel that can be used on all skin tones. The primer literally blurs out rough texture, large pores, and imperfections, leaving you looking like the 'real-life Photoshop' and locking in your look for all-day wear. This cruelty-free formula is created by a Black-owned indie brand and has high-quality paraben-free ingredients. I really loved the lightweight gel texture. It didn't clog my pores or leave my face feeling greasy. In my opinion, it's the perfect summer primer for avoiding breakouts.


HANALEI COMPANY Kona Peptide Eye Cream, 4 ml - Estimated Value $12.80 (Buy a full-size 15 ml for $48.00)

I'm always looking to get rid of dark circles and thwart crows' feet, so eye cream is naturally an obsession of mine. Hanalei Company's Kona Peptide Eye Cream is a creamy balm-like formula that absorbs quickly. It helps firm, reduce the appearance of puffiness and fine lines, and moisturize the delicate skin beneath my eyes. The product felt light on my skin, it applied smoothly and had a pleasant scent. It's formulated with caffeine, hyaluronic acid, oat extract, and a unique Hawaiian super-botanicals complex.


ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Mini DIPBROW Gel in Medium Brown,  1.1 g - Estimated Value $5.00 (Buy a full-size 4.4 g for $20.00)

Everyone's all about the brow right now, which makes sense because they shape and frame your face. A bold brow can set the tone for a dramatic look. But on days when you just want to do something natural, light, and quick, colored brow gels are perfect. This Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Dipbrow Gel in Medium Brown is perfect for running errands. One quick swipe and this waterproof gel held all of my unruly little hairs in place while tinting them so I could skip penciling them in. The gel comes with a super precise cone-shaped spoolie that makes application a breeze. This cruelty-free and paraben-free waterproof formula adds volume, definition, shape, and a natural-looking tint to your brows.

Verdict: This month’s Ipsy Glam Bag gave me true summertime vibes. The bag was an adorable ode to "After April showers come May flowers." The Kinship Moisturizing Sunscreen and the Basic Beauty Translucent Gel Primer are the perfect pair for launching my summertime skincare routine. I also received the Formula 10.0.6 Face Scrub, which I absolutely love because of its super-fine, gentle exfoliant, and delicious fruity scent. I can't wait to use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Dipbrow Gel on my next quick natural makeup look. Lastly, I received the Hanalei Hawaiian Eye Cream, a new brand, and product to me that I'm excited to try. With a retail value of $39.65, I definitely got well above my $12 subscription and a great group of new summer-friendly products to try out.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, but sign up now to get the June bag!

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

Value Breakdown: At $12 for this box, I calculated a value of $39.65. Here's how that breaks down per item:

  • Sunscreen: $1.13
  • Face Scrub: $0.65
  • Primer: $4.84
  • Eye Cream: $3.87
  • Brow Gel: $1.51

Alternatively, each of the 5 items has an average cost of $2.40.

Check out all of our Ipsy reviews and the best beauty subscription boxes of 2021, as recommended by our readers!

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

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

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IPSY Glam Bag is one of the most popular and affordable subscriptions around, and our readers have selected it as one of the top beauty boxes for the last 5 years running! IPSY Glam Bag connects members with five makeup, skincare, hair care, and other beauty samples each month, plus a cute makeup... read more.

Naomi Pandolfi
Naomi Pandolfi

Naomi Pandolfi is a skincare obsessed subscription box junkie who is always on the hunt for the best curl defining cream. She is a producer and contributing writer at several online publications, including MSA, The Knockturnal, and Hey Beauti Magazine. Naomi is also the Head of Development at Starfury Productions and is dedicated to helping Black, minority, and underrepresented creators develop and sell projects.

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Boxy Fox

I tried to say the same thing about the Athena palette in a different box being white label, but no one listened.

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The Athena palette thing is crazy to me bc multiple people have found mold in their other DiTO palettes from Ipsy. (photographic evidence on the r/Ipsy subreddit)

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It would be awesome if my bag would actually ship from May. I made my selection, but am not pleased I won’t be able to review these items now.

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Basic Beauty is owned by DLS.

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First of all I’m Not the same Michelle as the other Ipsy thread!
As someone new to Ipsy I really appreciate eveyone taking the time to explain this controversy. I’m super disappointed that 3 of my 5 June items are from companies mentioned in this thread. I’m reconsidering my subscription…

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Technically, it’s not. There is evidence that it is owned (or was at least founded) by the same person, Emanuela DeFalco, who owns DLS. IIRC, DeFalco is the person who is on the official trademark registration for the brand, as well as the official owner of the brand website. Ipsy claims that the founder of Basic Beauty is Nicole Danielle, who has ties to DLS going years back, including a photo of her wearing & promoting DLS items posted to DLS’ own Facebook page.

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Whoops, I meant, Marion, you are incredibly knowledgable!

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WOW Nancy! That is crazy! You are incredibly knowledgable. As a contributing writer at MSA I have never deep dived into the production of products. My main job as I understand it is to receive the products in the mail and write my personal impressions. You are certainly doing an important service making people aware of where the products come from. Please always feel free to point out any nefarious products in my reviews.

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@Also Beth – I also research companies when I’m unfamiliar with a brand and honestly, it’s put me off most boxes. You think you’re getting great deals but you’re really not.

Sephora Play, Macy’s and BeautyFix get so much hate for their small items but these boxes actually carry real brands, not the fake junk. I’m pretty much down to Boxwalla and Beauty Heroes.

I feel like my addiction to beauty boxes is coming close to an end. I was in Nordstrom’s for the first time in forever and going through the beauty department made me miss shopping there and buying exactly what I want.

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Also Beth

@Nancy, sure thing!
So people are frustrated (or angry) because, over the last year or so, it’s come out that certain products in sub boxes are private-label, made-for-sub-box items. This came to light pretty dramatically when an allegedly $100 moisturizer being sent out by Boxycharm was found selling for ~$2 on AliExpress. Since then, it’s come to light that several beauty brands that heavily make the beauty box rounds (and have virtually no presence/popularity elsewhere) are owned by or heavily linked to the same woman, Emanuela DeFalco. These include: Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics (a.k.a. DLS), Bang Beauty, Luna by Luna, Saint Luxe, Basic Beauty, Steve Laurant, Faccia Skin, Glow on 5th, Give them Lala, and KAB beauty. Ipsy allegedly claimed that they would cease sending out products linked to DeFalco, but the controversy now is that items are appearing in boxes from companies linked to DeFalco, but ipsy is denying those links (Marion breaks down the Basic Beauty->Emanuela connection really well above!).
Different people break down their own reasons for having concerns about this, but I think a key concern here is the dishonesty involved. Many of us subscribe to beauty boxes to discover new brands or to receive new brands and products, whether those products are from luxury, indie, or drugstore brands, and, well, if we wanted to try an AliExpress product every month, that’s what we’d be doing and cutting out the middle man!
I don’t know about others, but since this came to light I’ve definitely lost a little bit of trust and started researching every company before selecting any Choice products, buying from unknown brands in sales, etc. And that’s a huge bummer, since ipsy (and other sub boxes) have so much potential to help boost legitimate small brands!

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Nancy (it won’t let me reply directly to you). The issue with DLS and all the myriad of brands associated with it stems from what the company sells and how it gets those products. They buy them in bulk from Alibaba for next to nothing (some for pennies) and have them private labeled. They then turn around an claim ridiculously high retail price. The breaking point came last year in Boxycharm when the Faccia moisturizer had a claimed value of $100 and was found for sale on Alibaba for $2 (approximately) apiece. It was seen as a way to inflate the value of the subscriptions.

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Nancy, it’s tough because some of us have been explaining it over & over & over ad nauseum for over a year. I can only type up an explanation so many times. MSA refuses to address it in posts, so it’s left to commenters to explain it, & obviously most people don’t read comments on the internet.

Dirty Little Secrets (aka DLS Cosmetics) is a white label brand founded by Emanuela DeFalco. “White label” means a company looks at what a factory already has available (cosmetics formulas as well as packaging/components), places an order for those products, and has the factory print the brand’s logo on it. This is typically extremely low cost to produce (for example, one white label company, Appeal Cosmetics, sells their lipsticks wholesale to sub box companies at $1 per unit, while on their website, the value is listed as $21). Quality of these products is often extremely low, as $$$ is the bottom line, and the brands that buy them to resell generally have no input into the ingredients or formulation of the product itself. Often, you can go on sites like AliExpress & Alibaba and find the exact same products for a dollar or under yourself.

To keep up the illusion of brand diversity (I’m assuming), DeFalco also launched multiple other companies under the umbrella of DLS. Bang Beauty, Luna by Luna Cosmetics, Steve Laurent — to name a few. Then, they decided to launch Faccia skincare through BoxyCharm. Their product was a “gold foil” jelly moisturizer that they claim is worth $100 & allegedly contained real gold. DeFalco wrote a flowery Instagram post about how she & her sister worked long & hard to perfect the formula of this moisturizer. Then someone found the exact same product on Alibaba (same ingredients + same packaging, minus the Faccia logo), selling for I believe $1.70. Someone else checked public import records — this Alibaba company had indeed shipped product to DLS.

Instead of admitting everything, DeFalco doubled down on her lies — she claimed the factory stole Faccia’s proprietary formula and had no permission to sell it, etc etc. Meanwhile, because she’s acting sketchy, people check her personal Instagram account to see what’s up. There are posts with fatphobic, racist, & misogynist content. When these were brought to light, DeFalco locked all her social media, claiming (I believe via Facebook) that people were sending death threats to her kids. (fwiw, while I do find it possible that this happened, I never saw anyone anywhere publicly mention her kids at all. I was not aware of the existence of any kids until DeFalco made these claims.)

Emanuela DeFalco’s behavior IMO is outrageous & untrustworthy, and if the CEO of a brand is willing to lie about how their products are made, I absolutely cannot trust that the products are safe to use on my body. Many people agree with me on this, & we wrote emails & social media comments to multiple beauty boxes about the issue, & several of them promised not to work with DLS again.

In the meantime, DeFalco got wise to how savvy researchers were using import records to research makeup companies, & started doing business as Worldwide Import Services instead of DLS. I believe they are involved with KAB Cosmetics & Give Them Lala, as well as others.

The saga doesn’t end there, of course. Ipsy has 2 brands (Basic Beauty & Saint Luxe) they’ve been promoting as black-owned beauty, run by Nicole Danielle. However, the trademark for Basic Beauty was filed by Emanuela DeFalco (this is public information). The Basic Beauty website is registered to DeFalco. Nicole Danielle has old ties to DLS, including posts of her wearing & promoting DLS products in photos posted to the DLS social media accounts. There is clearly a link between DeFalco & these other companies, which makes the whole “black owned” promotion look really gross, since it’s likely DeFalco is making the profit off these companies.

(You can see why I can’t take the time to post this in comments every. single. time.)

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One person can own multiple companies. It makes a big difference, legally speaking, if Basic Beauty is owned under the parent company of DLS, or if they’re independent of that company, or are under another parent company altogether.

I only mention it bc Ive seen a lot of misinformation floating around about the issue, and the situation around white label brands is confusing enough as it is.

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Can someone please explain to me the whole uproar over DLS and its owner/founder? I tried Googling and I’m not finding anything about it, but I see so many comments about certain brands being owned by DLS in such a negative way. Perhaps I am not searching for the information correctly. Some clarification would be great. I don’t want to support businesses if they don’t have good practices.

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I don’t understand how you say it’s technically not when you agree the trademark registration and website registration is DeFalco. In addition I have screenshots of her import records showing DLS imports BB products. Nicole is literally just the face of the brand, nothing more, possibly on the payroll. People have sussed out her game so she had to think of another way to sell her products. So she used her friend as the face of these brands and used the BLM to her advantage.

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Choice was okay for june. Got an ABH lipstick in crush. Some flash sale after choosing, had some pretty cute little 5 dollar duos

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