Ipsy v. Birchbox: Round Three! May 2013

Happy Sunday! It is round three of Ipsy v. Birchbox here at Adventures in Polishland. Even though Birchbox won the first two rounds (see Round One HERE and Round Two HERE), I felt that I needed at least three months of each subscription service to really test the waters for good. At $10 each, I am getting some great new products for an affordable price. I’ve already used up quite a few of the samples! This month I got some really nice products as well. Let me show you what was inside!

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First up is my Ipsy Glam Bag! This month’s theme is Spring Fling, and I am just adoring the cosmetic bag we got this month. I love the bright chevron pattern, and it is a waterproof material that will be perfect for the summer months. I’m quite impressed with the quality of the bag as well — it feels nice and sturdy! Let me describe the products I got from left to right!

  • Juice Beauty Reflecting Lip Gloss in Champagne – $7.50 – Juice Beauty is a very popular brand in these subscriptions! This month I got a really pretty lip gloss in a nude color. I tried this out a few times, and I do like it. It is very sheer, and although it looks very glittery in the tube it doesn’t make my lips look like a disco ball. Instead, it has a nice shine. What I don’t like is the smell! It smells strange, but I think it is because it’s organic and has natural fragrances only. Also, though this is packaged like a full size lip gloss, it is exactly one half of the full size that Juice Beauty sells online. Nonetheless, this is a great sample with a great value!
  • Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment – $13.50 – I have been wanting to try some of the hair cair products from Macadamia, so I am beyond excited for this product! It smells divine, and I already see a big difference in my hair since I started using it. I apply the tiniest amount from my ears down after I get out of the shower, and my hair is much softer and less frizzy than usual. This sample size retails for $13.50, and will last me a while since a little bit goes a long way. I am so happy with this sample!
  • Zoya in Julie – $8 – This month each Ipsy subscriber got a full size nail polish from the Zoya Lovely collection. I got Julie, but unfortunately I already own the entire Lovely collection. While I do think it is great to get a full size polish in these subscription services, the Lovely collection came out back in December, and many nail polish aficionados already own the colors they want. Similarly, my bottle came a bit damaged, and I noticed that many other subscribers received damaged bottles as well. Part of my thinks Zoya sent Ipsy all of the bottles they didn’t want to sell themselves! I love the idea behind this polish, but I wish we got something from a newer collection that wasn’t damaged.
  • St. Tropez Instant Glow Body Lotion – $6.27 – Next up is a self-tanner body lotion. I’ve tried the one from Jergens before, and loved the results yet hated the smell. This one is just the opposite! There is no smell, yet the color is way too dark for my pale skin, and I wasn’t able to achieve a natural look. I think this is a great sample size, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I’m going to try it again once I have more of a natural tan.
  • Yaby Concealer Refill in Buff – $4.85 – I am also very excited for this concealer from Yaby, another brand that Ipsy seems to like a lot as well! I’ve been needing a new concealer, and I’m glad Ipsy sent me one that seems like the perfect shade for me! I know some subscribers received incorrect colors in their glam bag, but make sure you go to the Ipsy website to edit your profile. I can’t wait to use this concealer, and it will fit in the Glam RX palette I got back in March.


OVERALL OPINION: I’m very happy with my Ipsy glam bag this month! The value is great, and I got three products I will definitely use. Unfortunately I already had the nail polish, and the St. Tropez lotion isn’t really my thing. Other than that, I will get a lot of use out of the other products. I am most excited about the Macadamia hair treatment!



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Now onto my May Birchbox! This month there wasn’t really a theme, but each box came with a fun Mad Libs type activity. Fill in the Beauty Diaries phrase and tweet it to Birchbox, and you could win a full size product of everything in your box! See my Tweet HERE! Now I will tell you more about the products I got this month.

  • Amika Nourishing Mask – $1.60 – First up is a foil packet of a deep conditioner for hair. This mask is supposed to repair damaged hair with its special sea buckthorn berry ingredient. I will probably get 2-3 uses out of this packet, although it will be difficult to use in the shower. I would have liked different packaging to make this sample more user friendly. I also appreciate being able to try a high end hair product, but this packet just doesn’t excite me!
  • Runa Tea Bag Sample Box – $1.75 – My favorite product this month is a sampler box of four teas from Runa. I got four tea bags in these flavors: traditional, ginger-citrus, mint, and cinnamon-lemongrass. The tea bags smell amazing, and are supposed to have twice the antioxidants as green tea! It’s nice to get a little snack item in a beauty box. Even though the retail value isn’t high, I know I will be able to afford a box of the tea if I decide I like it and want more!
  • Sumita Color Contrast Eye Pencil in Suman – $5.25 – Each Birchbox subscriber got a mini Sumita eyeliner this month, and I luckily got it in a black color! I rarely wear eyeliner, but this one seems very nice. It is a very creamy consistency, and glides on easily. It is definitely smudge-proof as well. Even though I won’t use it often, this is a nice product to get in a box like this!
  • Coola Classic Sunscreen for Face – $4.32 – This tiny sunscreen sample from Coola was mostly empty when I got it, and exploded a bit when I opened it. Unfortunately there is not much for me to try! I admit it smells great, but I’m very disappointed with this sample. I cannot fathom spending $32 on the full size product. I understand that it is organic and high end, but that is quite a lot for sunscreen. I hope to get at least once use out of this tube.
  • Marvis Classic Mint Toothpaste – $1.40 – I’m not sure how I feel about getting a “luxury” toothpaste in my Birchbox. I will definitely use it up, of course, but I typically spend $1.40 or less on my regular toothpaste when it is on sale! I do love that this is an Italian import, since I am part Italian, but this is another product that I won’t be buying the full size of. The tube is great for travel, though, and it smells minty fresh!


OVERALL OPINION: I am so disappointed this month! This is the first time Birchbox provided me with samples that can really only be used 1-2 times each with the exception of the eyeliner, and perhaps the toothpaste. My box was considerably lighter this month, and the retail value of these items really stinks. It’s always nice to try high end products that I can’t afford to buy regularly, but I wish I could get more out of them. These products won’t even last until next month’s Birchbox.


There you have it! My winner for the month of May is Ipsy by a landslide! After being beat out by Birchbox for two months, Ipsy finally provided me with some great products. At this point I am going to give each subscription another go. I sure hope that this was just a fluke with Birchbox, since my last two months were amazing. I am still an undecided girl when it comes to which program is better! Which one do you like more?! If you have yet to join, you can sign up for Ipsy HERE and Birchbox HERE.


Some of the above links are affiliate links. Subscription boxes purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 


  1. nyltiak says:

    I signed up for Ipsy this month and I loved it. I didn’t get any of the Lovely polishes since I was broke when they came out, and Blu was my top pick AND they one I got in my Ipsy bag, so I was pretty jazzed (and it wasn’t damaged, weird that yours was). It’s a shame that birchbox was so mediocre. 🙁

  2. lacquerladies says:

    I signed up for BB 4 months ago & all 4 boxes were kinda like yours was this month. I signed up for Ipsy & May was my 1st box. I was so happy with it, I canceled my BB subscription. I even did the profile on both but BB was so disappointing all 4 months!! Your comparison posts are what led me to Ipsy, so thank you!!

  3. Diane Leach says:

    I am so happy you are doing this. I have considered venturing into one of these companies but have yet to decide. I am new to your blog but look forward to reading more.

  4. Rachel says:

    I just signed up for Ipsy and LOVED this month’s bag. I am debating on Birch Box still but I tend to like makeup and beauty products more over hair products, skincare, etc. I would have NOT been happy with sunscreen and toothpaste either! I mean, I use sunscreen on a regular basis, but doesn’t the $10 a bottle stuff work just as well? And yes, toothpaste sample that costs as much as how much I spend on normal toothpaste?! What the heck?!

    Now I’m curious about the St. Tropez tanner, I use the Jergens and just deal with the smell of it. Anyway, thank you for doing these reviews. For now I will stick with Ipsy and maybe sign up for Birch Box in the future!

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