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Ipsy vs Birchbox: Which Beauty Subscription Box Is Best for You?

Anna Reilly
ByAnna ReillyAug 7, 2019 | 0 comments

birchbox vs. ipsy beauty subscription box comparison 2019

Updated September 10, 2019

These top beauty subscription boxes seem so much alike. So which one should YOU choose? We’re breaking down everything you need to know before signing up.

Jump to:


Which is the best beauty box for you: Birchbox or ipsy?

We put together this side-by-side chart to help you compare these popular beauty boxes. Let’s break down the basics…

Birchbox ipsy
Cost $15/month $12/month
What’s the Gist? Monthly set of 5-6 beauty samples. Pick a “Curated” box of Birchbox-recommended products or a “Sample Choice” box of items chosen based on your preferences. Monthly set of 5 beauty products chosen based on your preferences + a makeup bag. You pick one of your products each month.
Types of Products Makeup, haircare, skincare, body products, fragrances. Makeup, skincare, nail polish, beauty tools, occasional fragrances, a makeup bag with a new design each month.
Recently Featured Brands MAC, Oribe, Smashbox, Dr. Jart, Davines, Benefit, Beauty Counter GLAMGLOW, Ciate, Pacifica, theBalm, Sunday Riley, Pixi
Estimated Retail Value Averages around $30 of value inside each $15 box. Typically $30-$50 of value inside each $12 box.
Current Coupon Find the latest Birchbox deals here! None right now.
Try It Now Try Birchbox >> Try ipsy >>

Is ipsy Glam Bag for you? Here’s what to consider:

We’ve been reviewing ipsy Glam Bag since 2013, and we can attest to it being a reliably fun beauty subscription box. (See past reviews and more here.) ipsy sends members a monthly assortment of beauty samples from a range of brands (from drugstore favorites to higher-end names). Everything you get is picked based on preferences you set in your Style Profile, a short quiz you take when signing up. You get to pick one of the items you receive each month and up to 5 add-ons (starting 10/2019). Plus, every box comes with a makeup bag in a unique new design.

We recommend ipsy Glam Bag if…

  • You like discovering new products at a range of price-points. ipsy features big name brands as well as ones you might see at your local pharmacy.
  • You prefer a personal touch. Everything you get will be tailored to the preferences you set in your Style Profile.
  • Value is a top priority. The products inside each ipsy Glam Bag are usually worth three or more times the cost of the box.

Keep in mind:

  • ipsy also offers ipsy Glam Bag Plus ($25/mo.) for 5 full-size items and ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate ($50/mo.) for 8 full-size products and 4 samples. (You get to pick one product/month for each of these plans, too.) Once you’re a subscriber, you’ll have the option to upgrade.
  • ipsy’s loyalty program lets you earn points towards new products. Earn points with reviews, referrals, and social follows.
  • ipsy ships to the US and US territories, APO, DPO, FPO boxes, and Canada. Boxes ship by mid-month via DHL or FedEx/USPS.
  • Pause or cancel your ipsy subscription at any time via your online account. We recommend doing so before your next billing date to avoid unwanted charges. (Read our instructions for how to cancel your ipsy subscription.)

Learn More

Check out our monthly reviews of ipsy Glam Bag here. You can also check out our monthly ipsy spoilers to see what kinds of products you might get.

How to Sign Up for ipsy

ipsy often has a waitlist for new subscribers, but we’ve got an exclusive link to help you skip the waitlist! Just go here to get started.


Is Birchbox for you? Here’s what to consider:

Birchbox was one of the first subscriptions we ever covered here on MSA, starting way back in 2012. Birchbox has you fill out a beauty profile, which captures your preferences. (It can be updated at any time via your account.) From there, you can choose whether you’d like to receive a “Curated” box or a “Sample Choice” box each month. The Curated box includes items recommended by Birchbox, while the Sample Choice box includes items picked specifically for your preferences. There are several versions of Curated boxes offered each month—you can see everything in each box up front and pick the version you’d like to receive. Sample Choice boxes let you pick one of the samples you receive that month and be surprised by the rest.

We recommend Birchbox if…

  • You like options. Birchbox’s two boxes let you opt for personalized picks or a selection of trending items to try.
  • You’re interested in slightly higher-end brands. Birchbox focuses on names you might see at Sephora or other beauty specialty stores.
  • You like to try before you buy. Birchbox’s online shop features full-size versions of the products from their boxes. If you find a sample you love, it’s easy to find/stock up on more of that product. (Buying from Birchbox also earns you rewards points, which lead to savings on future purchases.)

Keep in mind:

  • Birchbox offers lots of coupons and special offers. See the latest deals on our Birchbox coupon page.
  • Birchbox’s loyalty program helps you save on future purchases and more. Earn points with reviews, purchases, and referrals.
  • Interested in grooming/mens products? Check out Birchbox Grooming. Great for shaving, hair, and other grooming products.
  • Birchbox ships to the US, UK, France, and Spain. New subscribers’ first boxes will ship via USPS within 10 business days of their order.
  • Pause or cancel your Birchbox subscription at any time via your online account. We recommend doing so before your next billing date to avoid unwanted charges. (Read our instructions for how to cancel your Birchbox subscription.)

Learn More

Check out our monthly reviews of Birchbox here. You can also check out our monthly Birchbox spoilers to see what kinds of products you might get.

How to Sign Up for Birchbox

Stop by our Birchbox coupon page for new member deals and special offers before you sign up. When you’re ready, just follow this link to get started.


Still unsure? Give these boxes a try instead!

Birchbox and ipsy are just two of the many beauty subscription boxes out there, including niche boxes for vegan shoppers, bold makeup lovers, Korean beauty fans, and beyond. Here are just a few helpful lists that might pique your interests:


Have you tried a beauty subscription box before? Share your experience in the comments!

Anna Reilly
Anna Reilly
Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she's swooning for all things kawaii!

Anna Reilly
Anna Reilly
Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she's swooning for all things kawaii!
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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.