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Ipsy, Birchbox, and Sephora.  At least one of those brands probably sound familiar to you, but what do they all have in common? They all sell monthly subscription boxes of makeup for $10 each, but they all slightly vary in the brands they carry and the size of their products. 

Each box comes with 5 products in them. Depending on the box you subscribe to you may be getting 5 small samples, or a few deluxe size samples, or even a few full-sized products mixed in.  

I am going to break down each box and let you know what you’re getting when you subscribe because we’re all broke college students and if you’re spending $10/month you want to get the most for your money! 



Ipsy is the box I am currently subscribed to. Their list of companies that they send out in their boxes range from Too Faced and Tarte, on the luxury brand spectrum, to Colourpop and NYX, more drugstore style brands. Ipsy has a little bit of both which is fantastic, you can try out some pricey brands and some new and upcoming brands, I find that the samples of all the brands are VERY generous. I have even received full sized products in my boxes as well as receiving brushes, and small perfume samples. In addition to the makeup you get  a very cute little makeup bag each month. Also, online on the Ipsy website they always have coupons codes for the products they send out that month so you can get them at a discounted price. If you review the products you receive you can earn points to get rewards. Most recently I used my points to get a headband to keep my hair out of my face when doing makeup. Products that I have received in my box have ranged between bronzer, mascara, primers, nail polish, brushes and so many more things. I received full sized lipsticks, lip glosses, nail polishes, and brushes. I find that every month I am very satisfied with my box and that most of the brands on the website are cruelty free, if not all, so there are never products I can’t use. 


Original photo 



My first ever monthly makeup subscription was to Birchbox. While I find that they seem to have more luxury brands I found that the sample sizes were not worth it. I think I only ever received a full-size product once and very rarely did I ever receive deluxe sized samples. The box that the product would come in was always very cute but after two months I found that I had no use for the small boxes and it felt wasteful. They also sold many of the full-sized products and brands on their website as well as box sets that they made. The one thing I did really enjoy from the brand was their gift with purchase section. Most of the time if you spent a certain amount you could get makeup samples or skin care product, one time I got a really cute phone case. In addition to selling makeup and beauty products on their website they have home items, jewelry and clothes. From what I can remember I think you could pay extra and receive small home décor and candle samples, although I couldn’t find it on their website. I did find that I would run through the samples very quickly. It seemed that I would get one “deluxe” size sample and 4 tiny samples to go with it. Sometimes I would only get one use out of what I got and would end up unsatisfied with my box for some months. 


Photo courtsey of  




Recently Sephora has set out to compete with Ipsy and Birchbox by creating their own version of a monthly subscription box. From what I have read from their website, because I myself have never tried it, it is a $10/month box with five deluxe samples in a makeup bag and in addition users get 50 bonus beauty insider points if you use the coupon slip they give you in store while making a full-size product purchase. Sephora has mostly luxury brands so you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to dip into high end products with a hopeful decent sized sample. I have not tried their boxes and I really don’t plan to because while I do believe it is a great way to try so many luxury brands that Sephora carries, not all their brands are cruelty free. Also I feel like they aren’t necessarily bringing anything new to the game that would take me away from Ipsy. Sidenote, they don’t offer your first box free so I can’t even try it without any strings attached. 


Photo courtesy of Sephora.com 


My thoughts: 

I find that after using Birchbox and now using Ipsy that I enjoy Ipsy far better. Mainly because of the size of the products sent to me. I find that in every bag I get at least one full sized product and that I am always satisfied with the box. I have been subscribed for almost a year and I do not see myself switching or stopping any time soon.  

I hope this helps you make your decision on which brand to subscribe to! 

Hi! My name is Victoria, I use she/her pronouns, I'm 18 years old and I am a first year student at Susquehanna University!
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