My Thoughts: May Birchbox vs Ipsy vs Sample Society

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I've decided to do an all-in-one type of post to talk about my May 2013 Birchbox, Ipsy and Sample Society boxes.

For those of you unfamiliar with one or all three companies a little background first. BeautyBar's Sample Society is in conjunction with Allure Magazine. It's the most expensive of the three I'll be talking about in this post entry at $15 + applicable tax. For me it's a total of $16.25 per month. Ipsy and Birchbox are both $10 per month but Ipsy does have applicable tax for those in California, New York and North Carolina.

Sample Society May 2013
  1. Alterna Bamboo Shine Luminous Shine Mist, 0.85 oz - value $5.10
  2. Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream, 0.1 oz - value $1.28
  3. Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream SPF, 0.25 oz - value $9.75
  4. Jane Iredale Forever Pink Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain (unknown weight)
  5. Kate Somerville 360 Tanning Towelette, 0.5 oz - value $6
Approximate box value: $22.13 minimum (excluding the value of the Jane Iredale at this time).

My thoughts:

This box was a disappointment for me due to the type of products that came. If you've read some of my past posts you'll know I don't use tanning products at all so that was a bust for me.

The Yu-Be I did use and thought it was okay. Not my favorite moisturizing cream and the smell... well it was off putting.

The Dr. Brandt BB cream I've tried before from a different sampling company and it was the wrong color for me and I recall it was too oily for my skin but I'll give it a try again since I could be remembering it wrong and I may have actually liked it (though I really don't think I did).

The Jane Iredale stain is tiny and cute but the color looks pale on me. I'm going to give it another try but I won't be purchasing a full size.

The Alterna Bamboo mist I'll probably end up using but right now I have so many hair products that I don't know when or if I'll have time to use it. Who knows I may end up finding it to be the most amazing hair product or may find it to be a dud.

Overall, there's always next month. It's not a bad box of samples but it's wasn't for me. Oh well, there's always June which is coming up soon!

Birchbox May 2013
  1. Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle, unknown size - possibly 0.5 oz value $1.37 if 0.5 oz or $2.74 if 1 oz.
  2. COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face, 0.23 oz - value $4.33
  3. Folle de Joie eau de parfum, 0.04 oz - value $1.15
  4. Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner, 0.024 oz - value $4.40
  5. Yes To™ Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub & Serum foil - unknown size, unknown value - maybe $1.25.

Approximate box value: $11.25/$12.62 excluding Yes To which probably adds on maybe another $1 or $2.

My thoughts:

At first I was disappointed about this box due to the size of the products. I do like the Sumita eyeliner which I already have as a full size in that particular color so I'll probably swap this out on MakeupTalk for a color I don't have or trade it with one of my daughters.

I've used the Yes To products already, it worked fine but if I end up buying these products it'll be through ULTA where I can use a $3.50 off $10 or $5 off $10 coupon. I actually did like it just hated that it essentially was a one-time use sample. I can't test the serum for a week which is typically the amount of time I need to find out if I'm going to have a long term reaction to a product or not. At $19.99 for 1 oz it's going to be a pass for me due to that reason, sure ULTA has a great return policy but it's a hassle which is the point of a sample subscription to test before you buy.

The Folle de Joie perfume smells nice but it's VERY strong and one spray of it triggered a sneeze attack for me that lasted a couple of minutes and triggered a headache. It's a pass for me despite the fact that once it wore off to the point it wasn't so strong it smells nice. At $98 a bottle it's a big time pass, if I'm going to spend that much money it'll be on a perfume I like and doesn't trigger a headache.

I found the COOLA to be very runny, smells nice like cucumbers but I thought it was odd because it's a sunscreen yet the Birchbox site said it was a moisturizer. I like that it's a sunscreen for the face but didn't care for the consistency since it was so runny.

I wish there was more information on the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle. I actually like this product, I've used it up and at first didn't think I'd buy it but now I'm considering buying it because I like the smell which lasts a very long time. A few nights ago I sprayed it into my hair after a shower before bed, used a wide tooth comb and let my hair air dry. The next morning my hair was still smelling of the Beauty Protector product and it lasted all day. It was a bit distracting because I found myself playing with my hair just to get a whiff of it. lol

The only real issue I have with this is that I can't find who makes it. The Birchbox site does say it's exclusive to them but they don't offer a list of ingredients or product origin. From what I've been able to gather from an internet search this maybe a Birchbox brand kind of like how Ipsy has their Circus by Andrea's Choice polishes and their own branded lip glosses. If anyone knows let me know because I'm absolutely curious to know more info about this particular product especially the ingredients. Oh, and I almost forgot, I did find it difficult at first to use because it wouldn't spray. I had to shake the bottle and press the pump multiple, multiple, multiple times before it would spray. I joked on my Facebook wall that I sprained my finger doing so.

Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about it. At first I was disappointed by the box much like I was with Sample Society but I ended up like the Beauty Protector spray because of the smell and I liked (yet was disappointed by the amount) of the Yes To scrub and serum (though I don't know how either will work for my skin in the long run) and I like the Sumita eyeliner.

My year subscription came to an end and so I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with Birchbox or not. I've been a subscriber for two years as of May 24 and I've paid $230 out of pocket for my box but I have received my money's worth in products with the review system and the product value. Still at the rate Birchbox is going with sample sizes I'm not sure if I want to continue to pay $10 a month since I won't be doing another yearly subscription. I'm going to give them one more shot with June and that'll probably make up my mind. I just haven't been excited for Birchbox in the last five or six months.

Ipsy May 2013 Glam Bag
  1. Yaby concealer in Buff, 3.50 Grams - retail $4.85
  2. Zoya Nail Polish, 0.5 oz - retail $8
  3. Anastasia Mini Clear Brow Gel, 0.085 oz - value $6.67
  4. Mirabella Colour Sheers Lipstick, 0.11 oz - retail $22
  5. Pacifica Roll On Perfume, 0.33 oz - retail $12
  6. Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy - retail $20
Total value: $73.52

(Note the photo shown is my bag contents and my eldest daughter's bag contents however for this blog post I'll be discussing my own bag contents.)

I LOVE my Ipsy bag and almost everything in it but there are a few things I'm not like super in love with.

The Yaby concealer in Buff... not my favorite concealer but it works well as a base for a nude shadow. It's not like my Obsessive Compulsive Concealer which is my favorite concealer because it works well for my skin coloring. The Yaby, not so much but due to the tips on MakeupTalk I'm using it as a shadow base and it's working out well.

The Zoya polish, I got mine in pink and my youngest and eldest both got it in blue so I traded with my youngest since she can't wear blue polish right now. I like the colors of both actually and have no complaints about the colors.

The Anastasia brow gel, it's fine and actually I'm using it on my youngest daughter since she likes to use a black mascara on her brows... when her hair is medium brown. So instead of using a black mascara I'm having her use the clear brow gel which is much better.

I like the Pacifica perfume and it reminds me of sugar cookie dough which actually isn't a good thing since I'm now wanting cookie dough. lol My eldest and youngest daughters love theirs but my middle daughter is left out since she didn't get a perfume so I'll probably give her mine in exchange for her Mirabella lipstick (can't recall what color she received Bellarina).

The Mirabella lipstick is pretty. It's not what I expected - I received Daydreamer - but it's really pretty and I can see myself using it but it's not my holy grail lip stick in terms of color. I'll admit, I haven't tried it yet other than a swatch but how often that remains to be seen.

Lastly I received an Urban Decay Moondust shadow for referring people. Mine is in Space Cowboy and boy oh boy is it glittery. It's gorgeous but not a shadow for every day use unless you use it as a liner.

I'm really happy with Ipsy and I definitely got my money's worth. Now, the kicker is that as much as I like the things I received I doubt I'd repurchase these exact items. I would purchase other items from Pacifica and Urban Decay (still kicking myself for not ordering on Mother's Day weekend). Mirabella is a wee bit out of my price range so probably not and so far the Yaby products I haven't cared for. I love Anastasia's products and use the Line Erasing Serum so I'd definitely buy other Anastasia products though I won't buy the brow gel since there are so many others on the market for far less money.

Overall, Ipsy won out for me this month in terms of products sent out BUT out of everything I received the only item I'm seriously considering purchasing is actually from Birchbox and that's the Beauty Protector spray. So does that make Birchbox the winner then if I end up purchasing that spray and nothing from any other companies? Could be but right now I haven't made any purchases so I have to say Ipsy was my favorite subscription service this month.

Disclaimer: Referral links.


  1. The beauty protector ingredients ARE listed on the birchbox site. If you bring the product up, read down and it will say ingredients as a paragraph header. If you click on it, it will expand and you can see the list.

    I never sampled this through birchbox but I did use points to buy a full size based on the reviews and I just love everything about it. If they ever take it away I might go crazy!

    1. Thanks Amy! When I first looked I didn't see the ingredients. I've now used it completely up because I really like the smell.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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