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Before we dig in—without using any of the products, based simply on my first impression of each October beauty box, I would rank Boxycharm at the top, with Birchbox and Ipsy falling below. Boxycharm has so many full-size products and a wide variety of products; Birchbox has a good variety, but no full-sizes; Ipsy has a full-size eyeliner, but two lip products.
At first glance, all the products look useful and of good quality. But here’s a breakdown of the actual cost of the beauty boxes vs. overall value.
This month’s box is pretty makeup-heavy with only one haircare product thrown in there. However, the makeup products themselves are pretty diverse—there are products for eyes, brushes, lips, and bronzer. The Luxie brushes are soft and blend well, and there are three of them! The IBY Beauty Three’s Company Eye Shadow Trio is universal, with two shimmery shades and one matte shade.
The Starlooks Ultra Matte Lip Paint is matte and perfect for fall rolling in. TEMPTU is one of those bronzers where a little goes a long way, so it will last forever. And lastly, theBriogeo Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme is lightweight and makes your hair soft and shiny even after a blow dry or straightening.
Birchbox seems to focus a lot on hair and creams, and this month’s box proved true. This month’s Birchbox was mainly made up of creams, masks, and hair products, and one makeup item (that wasn’t full-size).
Overall, this box was quite a letdown. The TOCCA Creme de Mano hand cream was okay, and the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask was the only really enjoyable product I received. The Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Mascara was alright, but a little bit clumpy. Most disappointingly, the R+Xo DEATH VALLEY Dry Shampoo was more of a texture spray and made my hair smell awful (isn’t the point of dry shampoo to not have to wash your hair?).
The Air Repair Super-Hydrating Eye Cream was a decent quality product, but after a week, I didn’t feel like it was repairing anything. So, Birchbox, please select your items more carefully. Sincerely, a disappointed customer.
Ipsy is typically good about sending a variety of makeup, hair care, and skincare. However, they can get a little repetitive month to month. So, last month, I received a face lotion of the same brand, but a different scent.
This is my second month as an Ipsy subscriber, and this month’s box was worlds better than last month’s. The Ciate London Fierce Flicks Eyeliner is smudge proof, bold, and—the best part—full-sized. The theBalm Cosmetics Hot Mama Blush is a cute peachy color with some shimmer that acts like a highlighter.
I received the noyah Natural Lipstick in the Currant News color, and I’m in love with it. It’s super smooth and stays on for a few hours, but isn’t hard to get the shade off your lips. The INDI Beauty Buttercream Antioxidant Lip Scrub is my favorite product in the bag, especially because the weather’s getting colder. I’m prone to cracked, dry lips, and this scrub exfoliates and softens without ripping your lips apart. But I have to note that I don’t like to see two lip products in one bag.
Lastly, the Promise Organic Nourishing Coconut Milk Face Lotion with Hibiscus was an absolute nightmare. It literally smells like milk (which I hate) and broke my face out within a few hours of applying it. I wish Ipsy would pay attention to my profile and stop sending me facial care/acne products.
Boxycharm: $21 per month, $128 value
Birchbox: $10 per month, $40 value
Ipsy: $10 per month, $60 value
Even though Boxycharm is twice the monthly price as Birchbox and Ipsy, it doubles Ipsy’s value and triples Birchbox’s. Hopefully, Birchbox can take a little hint to use the money they’re not using to include a full-size product or two.
The Verdict: Which Beauty Box is Right for You?
Overall, I’d totally choose the Boxycharm subscription box if it weren’t twice the monthly price of Ipsy and Birchbox. Boxycharm knocked the other two out of the park with its $128 dollar value and full-size products. Between Birchbox and Ipsy, they both had only a decent variety of products, with some repeating products. Ipsy only gave one full-size product, while Birchbox gave none.
Altogether, it seems like Boxycharm dominates the game, and Birchbox and Ipsy need to focus on listening to the profiles of their customers and not repeating product categories in the same box. If you have $21 to spend each month on beauty products, Boxycharm is the beauty box for you.