6 Things I Like About Ipsy and 2 Things I Don’t
You would think that with all of the boxes and limited edition sets I review for MSA, my subscription addiction would be satiated, right? Guess again! In addition to the boxes I review for MSA, I have a couple of personal subscriptions that I pay for myself, among them FabFitFun, Allure Beauty Box, and Ipsy. Ipsy was one of my very first subscription boxes back when I was in undergrad and a bag was only $10, and I have been a continuous subscriber to the Glam Bag Plus since it was launched while I was in law school. I have a lot of love for my Ipsy subscription, but no subscription is perfect- so let’s talk about why I love Ipsy and how I think they could improve.
6 Things I Like About Ipsy
1. Multiple Subscription Levels at Various Price Points
One of the first things I love about Ipsy is how there are multiple subscription options available at various price points. The OG Ipsy bag retails for $13, Ipsy Glam Bag Plus is $25, and once a quarter Ipsy Glam Bag X is available for $55 (quarterly, this box is available in February, May, August, and November). The $13 bag features five sample or travel-sized products (not foil samples!), and IGBP features five full-size products. Glam Bag X comes with eight full-size products, so there really is a subscription level for everyone, no matter your budget.
2. Customization at Every Level
Another thing I love about Ipsy is the customization- and you don’t have to be subscribed to one of the more expensive options to get that feature. Subscribers to the $13 bag can select one item while Ipsy will choose the other four items, and customization opens on the 20th before every month (so for my November bag, I was able to select my pick on October 20th). IGBP allows you to select three items of the five items you receive, and that customization window opens on the 2nd of every month (I now have the habit where the first thing I do when I wake up on the 2nd of every month is logging into my Ipsy account to see what the spoilers are and make my selections). Like the Glam Bag Plus, Glam Bag X also allows you to choose three items for your box, and Ipsy will choose the rest- which leads me to my next favorite thing about Ipsy.
3. Ability to Skip and Give Feedback
I have been subscribing to the Glam Bag Plus since I was in law school, and I truly noticed a difference in what I was getting in my bag when I gave feedback every month. When you sign up Ipsy will give you a personalization quiz to find out what your likes and dislikes are, but each month as you review the individual items the Ipsy algorithm will continue to adjust to be personalized to you and your preferences. The feedback system is easy- for each product you’ll be asked a few questions and answer based on a five-star rating system, and then you are given the option to leave a detailed review if you want (but that is never forced, which I really appreciate). After a few months, your Ipsy bag should hopefully be nailing your preferences- and that is in addition to the items you’re able to select for yourself. Similarly, I love how easy it is to skip my bag if I need to do it. I don’t have to chat with a customer service representative or send an email and wait for a response- I am able to control it myself in my account dashboard. I think I’ve only skipped one time in the past two years, but I love that it is an option- especially because I remember what it was like to subscribe when I was much more strapped for cash, so it was not a guarantee I would be able to afford each month. Being able to easily skip means you don’t have to cancel and resubscribe every time you need to skip a bag, and that means you can also continue to give feedback for the most tailored subscription possible.
4. The Points System
Speaking of reviews- Ipsy actually incentivizes leaving reviews by giving you 15 points per review (so each month you can get 90 points if you review all five products and then the bag overall). That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up, and eventually, you can cash in those points for free products. Rewards typically range from 600-1800 points in cost and can be anything from a sample of eyeliner or sheet masks to full-size palettes and other products. Earlier this month I spent 1200 points on a Glow Recipe Lip Balm that retails for $22, and that will ship for free with my November bag. Leaving reviews isn’t the only way to earn points. Ipsy will also give you free (literally) glam bags to send to your friends, and if they choose to try out a free month of Ipsy you’ll get points. Typically it is 600 points per friend you refer, but sometimes they offer a ton of extra points to incentivize sharing the Ipsy love- back in September I got 1800 points for sending a free glam bag invite to a friend who signed up. Points expire 12 months after you earn them, but in my years of subscribing, I haven’t had any issue with points expiring before I was able to use them up.
5. Popular Brands are Frequently Featured
So clearly, I love how the Ipsy system works. That doesn’t mean much, though, if the products in the box disappoint. Luckily, I haven’t found that to be the case. Especially over the past year or so, Ipsy has really started to feature brands I’m familiar with because I’ve already purchased them from Sephora. One of my favorite Ipsy products I’ve received was the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Clay Mask, which was newly released this summer and then appeared in my August Glam Bag X. Ipsy definitely wasn’t offering Tatcha when I first started subscribing years ago, but now boxes will feature products from brands like Glow Recipe, Murad, Tatcha, Sunday Riley Laneige, Tarte, Herbivore, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and more. Your bag won’t come with five products from those highly sought-after brands, but usually, you can expect at least one or two, paired with products from other brands that I haven’t discovered before. Just because I don’t recognize a brand doesn’t mean the quality will be lacking, though- the Complex Culture makeup brushes are some of my absolute favorite makeup brushes I own, and I discovered them through my Ipsy subscription.
6. Add On’s and Flash Sales
Speaking of those premium products- if the stars don’t align and they aren’t in your bag, Ipsy will usually still give you the chance to purchase them at a significant discount through their add-on sales and flash sales. The add-on sales will be at the beginning of every month, and usually after you make your customization picks you’re given the ability to add on additional products that will ship with your subscription box. Flash sales will offer the same great deals, only they’re throughout the month and ship separately. Sometimes the add-ons are so alluring I can’t resist. They’ll feature samples or travel-size products for $3, or full-size products for $12, $18, or $25 depending on the original retail value of the item. It isn’t uncommon for me to add on a $3 sheet mask or two if they catch my eye during the checkout process (especially because it’s usually two sheet masks). I usually have better resolve during the flash sales, but I actually just caved the other week because I was running low on a product I really love (the Popmasks warming eye masks retail for $20 for a box of five, but I got them in a bundle with some hydrating socks for $16) and a product I needed (I was out of makeup brush cleaner, and there was a bundle available for a beauty blender and a big bottle of the beauty blender liquid cleanser that normally retails for $50 but was available for $16). Honestly, I give way too much of my money to Ipsy- but I don’t see that changing anytime soon, either.
Those are six things about my Ipsy subscription that I like, but that doesn’t mean they’re flawless. Let’s talk about two things I’m not loving when it comes to this box.
…and 2 Things I Don’t.
1. Spoilers Aren’t Always Available For Your Bag
One of the most frustrating things about a subscription box is when a product is spoiled but you can’t get it. That’s how I felt about the May Glam Bag X when one of the first spoilers was the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. I was so stoked for it, but that ended up being a product not available as a customization option (meaning either Ipsy put it in your bag for you or they didn’t, and that was the only shot to get it). Yes, I was bitter. Luckily, I had a much better result with my August Glam Bag X- it actually blew my mind and felt like a true subscription box dream come true. I firmly believe that my continued use of the feedback system is why my August bag was a better fit for me, but I think all subscribers would be happier if highly sought-after products like a $100 moisturizer from Charlotte Tilbury would be available as a choice in the customization process.
2. Point Program Could Be Improved
Yes, I just talked about how I love the point program- and I do, because Ipsy doesn’t have to offer it and I appreciate the perks. But the program could use some optimizing. My biggest complaint would be how infrequently Ipsy updates what awards are available- the same items will be available for a week or more, so even if I am itching to spend my points, sometimes I have to wait a while to find a product I actually want. I would love for either the rewards to be updated more frequently or maybe even the ability to exchange points for an add-on credit. Say, instead of 600 points for a select sample, 600 points could give you a $3 add-on credit for you to use during the next add-on sale. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but I really think Ipsy could optimize their points program to give an ever better subscriber experience with just a few tweaks.
There you have it- six things I really like about my Ipsy subscription and two things that I don’t. This is honestly the number one subscription I recommend when my friends ask my opinion- the customization coupled with the top-tier brands that frequently appear make this an almost assured slam dunk. I think a big part of that is because I’ve been subscribing to Ipsy for years, but they continue to innovate and delight.
I would love to know more about what your favorite and least favorite parts of subscribing to Ipsy are- let’s talk in the comments!