My cautiously increasing interest in makeup, combined with the fun of the tasting boxes I’ve been doing, led me to start exploring beauty boxes. Birchbox is the big name that most people know, but from what I’ve seen they tend to mostly do skincare, and some friends who’ve tried it agreed. That doesn’t particularly interest me.
Then I noticed a couple of friends posting on Twitter about their Ipsy Glam Bags. I recognized a lot of the brand names they work with – including some I use – so I subscribed. After signing up I also heard about Beauty Army, which lets you pick what you get each month, and Julep, which is focused on nail polish. I’ll probably try both of these at some point in the future. Particularly Julep, I like doing pedicures.
As with the Hatchery tasting box, the Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly subscription service you can turn off at any time. For $10, a small cosmetics bag with five samples comes your way. Each month has a theme – April 2014’s theme was Beauty Rocks. The contents of the bag vary a bit from person to person – there were 16 different items featured in April. They try to customize the bags, so to that end you fill out a survey when you sign up. They also prompt you to review items and incorporate that data as well. One of the review questions asks if you like “this type of item” or not, and you can say “nope.” This probably doesn’t mean I’ll never get another eyeliner, for example, but hopefully it will push down the odds.
The communication is great – I got an email the week they were packing the bags, and then another one when it shipped. I’ve already had to reach out to customer service, as my subscription was duplicated in their system and I was charged twice. They very quickly and efficiently canceled the second subscription and refunded my money. But as that month’s bags were already in process, I got two for April (unfortunately both exactly the same). I’m not sure what to do with the second one.
People post photos and videos of looks they’ve made with the different products, and the site is set up in such a way that it’s very easy to see the exact products each person used and click through to learn more about them. There are also comment threads attached to each item, so you can see what other people thought, and which some people use to try and trade samples of things they don’t even want to try. There’s a points system to earn rewards, so if you decide you want to try this out, please sign up with my referral link.
The samples, at least so far, are a combination of full and travel size products for the most part. I appreciated that they are overall a decent size to work with and let you really get a feel for the product. Here’s what I got in my April bag:
Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil (travel size): I don’t do eyeliner so all I did was look at this. I’ll stick it in my purse sometime when I’m going out and bestow it upon a lady friend who has read this post and bats her eyelashes at me prettily. (Bonus points if you flirt with me outrageously while both of our SO’s are present.)
dr. brandt microdermabrasion (.26 ounce): This is meant to be an at-home microdermabrasion treatment, and has chemical and physical exfoliants. The physical exfoliant particles are very fine, and the product itself is basically a paste you squeeze out of the tube. I did start with a patch test, which I almost never do, as I wanted to be certain it wasn’t going to immediately turn my face bright red or something. It did not so I used this a couple of days later. It’s a pretty intense exfoliant, at least compared to what I’m used to. It did leave my skin feeling soft, in a different way than other exfoliating treatments I’ve tried. According to their website this is supposed to help with acne marking and skin discoloration, so I’m going to use the rest of the tube just on some red marks I’d like to get rid of. It’s expensive enough that I’m not sure I’ll seek it out, unless it turns out to be some kind of miracle eraser for acne scarring.
Elizabeth Mott pop! goes the shadow in Champagne (normal size): I was excited about this because I recently threw away a pot of cream eyeshadow in a similar color because it had dried out too much. This is a powder shadow that went on easily, though I do wish the color was a bit darker — it really disappears on my lids. Great for work, though, as it gives a nice shimmer without being sparkly. I do like it but I can’t say I would seek out this particular brand, though if I saw it in a store I’d probably consider it.
Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse (travel size): This is the kind of thing I never know what to do with. But I had a haircut a few days after the bag came and the stylist, who is not my usual person, styled my hair slightly differently. I’ve been planning to use this to mimic what she did – a more tousled, less polished look – but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Starlooks Luscious Longwear Lip Pencil in Naked (normal size): I don’t really get the whole nude lipcolor thing – maybe it’s that I’m so pale already. But I thought maybe it might help another lipcolor I have look a little better. So I put it on, and layered a coral colored Revlon Matte Balm over it. By itself the matte balm sinks into my lip creases. So does this, and using them both didn’t really help that. Then I tried it under a plain lip balm and had pretty much the same experience. I also found that it came off on the glass I was drinking from. So this wasn’t really for me, though the formula was super smooth and moisturizing and it was comfortable on my lips. I’m kind of disappointed. This does come in a bunch of other colors, though, so if you are interested in this but also not into the whole nude lip thing, you might check this product out.