Beauty box first impressions: Birchbox and Ipsy Glam Bag

Three words every beauty product addict loves: beauty box subscriptions. Yes, I finally signed up for the Netflix of the beauty world with Birchbox and the Ipsy Glam Bag and the experience has been equal parts interesting, frustrating and fun. 
I signed up for both subscriptions in March and decided to wait to write a review until I received the second group of products because Birchbox took so long to arrive. When I called their customer service, I was informed the company was in the process of moving locations so it was only a one-time occurance and was compensated with 100 beauty points. 100 beauty points are worth $10.00 in Birchbox’s online store, good towards any product, which may come in handy but this isn’t the only annoying experience I’ve had with Birchbox in our two short months together (details below). My Ipsy Glam Bag for April arrived a week and a half before my Birchbox for the same month, so obvs not just a one-time thing. As there are four packages to review, this is a long post, but it’s detailed, so get ready!
March Birchbox: Top right – Agave Healing Oil Treatment for hair, bottom right – Benefit Benetint cheek and lip stain, the Balm How ‘Bout Them Apples? Cheek and Lip Creme in Apple Pie. Center to left – Keims Cleanshine Energizing Shampoo in Peppermint and Macadamia, Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream for all light skin tones, HAVVN Night Cream
I LOVE this product. I was quite scared of it though because I had heard horror stories of people breaking out and having awkward dots on their cheeks from waiting too long to blend it out but because I trust the Benefit brand, I decided to give it a go. The main reason I love it is because the red color is so natural and goes well with the berry and red lips I’ve been gravitating towards lately. Also, it looks so dewy and just natural – natural is the perfect word for this product. I use my fingers and a stippling brush to apply and it is very buildable and easy to maneuver if you work quickly. I used it on my lips once, but I didn’t apply too much of it because I’m only interested in it as a cheek stain. Seriously. It hasn’t broken me out or irritated my skin AT ALL and I am really prone to breakouts on my cheeks, but we are still in the early stages so I’m not fully convinced it won’t betray me. Seriously considering buying a full size, but still waiting to finish this one to see how it goes. 
This is another fabulous product. I seriously can’t get enough of it so much so that I have had to restrain myself from slathering it all over my hair everyday. The scent is strong, which I hate because my hair carries that scent all day, but the effects are beautiful. My hair is always SO SOFT and it just looks so shiny and lush. And I don’t need a lot to get great results. Oh, and it isn’t heavy/greasy because I have quite thin hair so trust that it is amazing. I’m building up points to buy the $40.00 full size of this because I honestly don’t think I can live without it but I also don’t want to spend $40.00 on my hair when I don’t even brush it everyday. Oops.
This is another product I’ve kept strictly to my cheeks because that’s where I need it most. I love this cream almost as much as the Benetint because it also gives me that glowy natural finish and I apply it in the same way with my fingers or the stippling brush. The only real difference is the color is more potent the first time around, so it can easily get a bit too red for me. Also, it doesn’t look as natural as the Benetint and by that I just mean it doesn’t sit as well. The Benetint gives you that “I just went for a run” flush that I’ve always longed for in a blusher, while this one gives you the “you can tell this is makeup but doesn’t it look so natural?” appearance. I won’t be repurchasing, but I do like it and also use it sparingly.
I was pretty disappointed to find a shampoo sample in my first Birchbox because I knew I was going to have to force myself to use it. It would have been cool had I been travelling, but I wasn’t so that was kind of pointless to me. I put it in my shower and still have it. I use it about two or three times a week as a clearifying shampoo before my volumizing shampoo. It does a great job of cleansing and the smell is minty without being overwhelming. This is an okay product, but I’m sure I can get the same effects with cheaper alternatives.
So many complaints that outweigh the good here: 1. The pump stopped working after the second use 2. the pump never gave enough product to begin with 3. the sample looks like it’s full and you can get two, maybe three weeks’ worth of product, but you can’t 4. It lasted a week and that was with me scraping the inside. The cream itself had a nice smell and didn’t irritate my skin. It was pretty moisturizing, but again, nothing special and I can buy a better drugstore alternative. The worst thing was definitely the deceit in receiving so little product.
I’m a huge fan of the regular Jergens Body Lotion but I’m also not a huge fan of BB creams, so I thought this would be an interesting trial. I have to say this BB cream is nothing special. It has some shimmer in it, which I assume is to make your skin look luminous, but I really hate shimmery body lotion as it reminds me of elementary school. I wasn’t impressed with this product, but to be fair I did only use it as hand lotion at work (not very moisturizing) so I didn’t get to witness any firming or lightening effects.
Right top to bottom – Beauty Protecter Protect and Detangle for hair, KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar, Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Jamun (Deep Purple). Left top to bottom – Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection in Aquamarine Azulino and Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream in Light/Medium
As mentioned earlier, I am not a huge BB cream fan so I wasn’t interested in CC creams but as this was included in my box and I’ve been having some good skin days, I decided to try it. The coverage is definitely light to medium and it is really good for evening out my skintone. I am excited to continue using it on hotter days where my skin is behaving and I LOVE the SPF 35.
Here is another problem I experienced with Birchbox – I was sent an email asking me which shade of this eyeliner I wanted in my box and I chose a smokey grey as my mother has one and it looks quite good on her. Instead, I was sent this plum colour that is more black than purple, so now I just have it sitting with all my other pencil eyeliners. I was given another 100 beauty points, which was unexpected yet welcomed. I used it twice and it went on smoothly and had good staying power, but it isn’t anything too impressive.
The last thing I need is a nail polish in this shade after I just purchased Essie Mint Candy Apple. When I realized I would be receiving a nail polish, I was hoping for the Breakfast At… shade because it was the one I liked most. Also, I’m not a fan of shimmery or pearly nail polish finishes, so I really doubt I will ever use this. 
Another good hair product! I was in the need of a leave-in conditioner. The smell is nice at first, but it is potent and it lasts ALL day, which can get annoying. When using this after I shower and running my fingers through it, the waves come out messy and beachy but really soft. Again, this is another product that I can find a cheaper alternative for, but I am enjoying it!
WTF? I’m paying for an overpriced granola bar? I’m sorry but granola bars have zero beautifying powers. WHY????
Left to right: Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer, bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready, Chella Indigo Blue Eyeliner and NYX Love in Rio in Meet Me at the Copa eyeshadow palette
SWATCHED! Left to right: bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready, Chella Indigo Blue Eyeliner, and NYX Love in Rio in Meet Me at the Copa (shimmery taupe, champagne, shimmery slate) *Please excuse the dry hands! I washed hands between swatching and they got extremely irritated
I was excited to try this primer because I had been searching for one to try and I quite like it! The shade matches my skin tone when I blend it and I do notice my pores appear smaller and my face is generally smoother. It hasn’t irritated my skin yet, but I’m still worried it might, so I’m using it sparingly at the moment.
It’s perfect. It’s a natural rosy colour, which I’m really into at the moment. I’ve done a blog post featuring it here, so that’s all I will say about it on this post. Oh, and am deffo going to buy a full size when this one finishes. 
This was the least exciting item in my Glam Bag as I am not a fan of coloured eyeliner, especially blue. I’ve also had a bad experience with an eyeliner marker that dried up quickly. I used this once – the day I got it – and I don’t plan on using it again so it’s just hanging out until I figure out what to do with it.
I do like this palette a lot, but I don’t find it too wearable for me. I am more of a pinks/purples and nude eye shadow girl, so all this shimmer with these colour options throws me off a bit. I do know they will come in handy and I have experimented with them, so I’m pretty happy to have received this. Plus, the packaging with the bow clasp is so cute.
From left to right: Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes, Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm, Benefit Lollitint, Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-on Eye Pencil and City Color White Gold Shadow and Highlight Mousse
SWATCHED! Top to bottom: Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm, Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil and City Color White Gold Shadow and Highlight Mousse.
I haven’t ever worn falsies as I am a bit intimidated, but it’s nice to have these on hand. They don’t look too long or voluminous (read: not ridiculous), so I imagine I’ll be using these one day.
Okay so I was obvs really excited to receive a hot pink tinted lip balm, so it’s shocking I haven’t been addicted to this (not really as I’ve been on a lippy shopping spree). I have to mention the packaging is awful. The top bit comes off because it is a lip brush, but then you still have to unscrew the lid, which is the same size as the tub. It’s just too much for such a small amount of product and I know I’ll always forget to clean that brush. The balm is quite matte and very potent so that’s right up my alley, but I have three other shades similar to this and I’m not really on the bright pinks trend at the moment. This will however have its day soon, especially now that it’s nearly summer. 
As much as I love the Benetint, I can’t say the same for the Lollitint. I have only loved it twice and the other two times I have either felt I applied too much or too little. I think it has to do with the lighting in my room, so I must remember to use proper lighting when applying this shade. When I have loved it, I really loved it and the other two times, I was just annoyed by it. It’s still a good product, I just think these take some getting used to.
OBSESSED. I have the King Arthur of black eyeliner pencils in the Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal in Jet Black, but this is definitely Lancelot for me (just roll with it). The packaging it came in made it look like the perfect eyeliner for a cool girl going to a rock concert and so perfect for smudging. I had zero expectations for this and I was literally blown away by how it looks on the eye. It really is velvety and so black, and I love the blackest of blacks when it comes to my eyes. It has quite good staying power and the only drawback is how much is wasted when I use it and when I sharpen it, but I’m sure this will find a permanent spot in my collection.
This was another pleasant surprise for me. The texture threw me off, and still does honestly, but once you start blending it becomes less weird. It looks a lot more white than gold, but when it goes on, it is THE perfect shade of gold with the right amount of shimmer. I think it will go well as a base with the gold shade from the NYX Love in Rio palette on top and it looks phenom on its own.
Overall, I definitely prefer the Ipsy Glam Bags as they are the perfect combination of drugstore and high-end products and they really do cater to my tastes. For the same $10 price tag of the Birchbox, I feel as though I am getting so much more for the money, not only in size, but in usability. I also love how Ipsy lets you know what will be in your bag once it ships, whereas Birchbox sends out a video that might include one of your products and I’d rather read about what I might get than watch a video. Also, Ipsy gives you a makeup bag to use instead of boxes that I know I’m just going to recycle. Once I feel like I’ve racked up enough beauty points for the Agave Oil Treatment and a Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm, I will cancel my Birchbox subscription. I’m thinking of replacing it with the GLOSSYBOX which is twice the price, but it seems as though you get larger products and they’re all high-end, so what’s not to love?
– S