Subscription Showdown: Should You Join Ipsy or Birchbox?

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Beauty subscriptions are the greatest invention of the modern age - not iPhones, not social media, but beauty subscriptions. All other technology is nice, but it can't send me a customized present each month, with goodies tailored to my beauty needs (OK maybe it can...). That being said, we box-and bag-inistas (two words I officially just made up) need to talk about some of the key differences in our favorite subscriptions.

Ipsy vs. Birchbox: They're often compared to one another because they're so similar. Both arrive around the middle of the month, and run you $10 each time your subscription arrives. But yet, the two are very very different in a few key ways that have many choosing sides. It hasn't gotten as heated as the Team Jacob vs. Team Edward battles of old, but we may soon be getting there.
To help you decide which subscription is best for you (because you totally should get one - you won't know true happiness until your shipment finally arrives), here are the differences and similarities between Ipsy and Birchbox.

Let's Start With the Similarities
Birchbox September 2015When you join either Ipsy or Birchbox, you are asked by each to fill out a style profile that will detail your hair type, skin type, skin tones, specific problems you want your products to address and your makeup and perfume preferences. Both profiles can be changed whenever you want to help sway the types of products you will be receiving.

Once you've filled out your style guide, it's time to get your shipment! Like I said, both shipments come at about the same time each month and cost $10. When you get your box (Birchbox) or Glam Bag (Ipsy), you will receive between four and five products ranging from makeup, to tools, to hair and skin products. Either might throw in a fragrance every once and a while. Your products will always come with a small card of details on what they are and how to use them. (Birchbox sometimes adds tutorials on its site).

Then comes the fun part. On your account, you are asked to review each of your products every month to get points. What happens with these points we'll discuss later in differences, but it is always a good idea to review everything you get. Also, it's fun to read the reviews and see what other box-and bag-inistas had to say.

Now for the Differences
I want to frame my Ipsy glam bag for this month.Signing Up

From my personal experience, signing up for Birchbox was a bit easier than Ipsy. Birchbox allowed me to become a member right away and delivered my box 15 days after I registered. Ipsy, however, had a wait list that was put on before I could actually get my products. A bit annoying, but it just goes to show how popular they are. The wait list also didn't take long, and when I tweeted at them that I was dying for my products, they were very accommodating.
The Types of Products You Get

Here's the major point of divergence for these two subscriptions. What I've noticed -and many other subscribers have said the same - is that Birchbox will deliver you more skin and hair products, while Ipsy is more forthcoming with makeup. I do like skin products every now and again, but I love getting new makeup from my subscriptions, which is why you will never see me getting rid of Ipsy. Ever.

Birchbox will also give you luxury products that are on the pricier side, while Ipsy is known to throw in a drugstore brand every now and again. But, I've always found that whatever drugstore brand it suggests for me, I wind up liking a lot.

Ipsy will occasionally give you full-size products, while Birchbox sticks to its samples. During one particularly good month with Ipsy, I got a full-sized nail polish I'm obsessed with, a full-sized lip gloss in a deep berry shade and a liquid eyeliner pen better than the ones I already had. Holy grail? I think so.

What You Do With Your Points
Birchbox Celebrates The Opening Of The Birchbox Flagship Store In NYCThis is also a major distinguishing point. When you review a sample from Birchbox, the points you gain go toward buying larger versions of your samples (or anything you want) in their online store. Ipsy, on the other hand, allows you to use your points toward bonus products that will come in your next box.

Ipsy doesn't actually have an online store like Birchbox does, making it difficult to get products you liked. Birchbox is also expanding its brand; it recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in New York City's Soho neighborhood that has its products, along with makeup artists that can show you how to use them. You can even create your own box!

When it comes to deciding who is the better subscription, the jury is still out. Both are amazing in their own right, helping you discover awesome new products to add to your arsenal. Our suggestion? Get them both, because let's be honest, you totally want more products.


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