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Birchbox vs. Ipsy Glam Bag: Which Beauty Subscription Box Is Better?

See our comparisons of these Beauty Subscription Boxes!

Birchbox & Ipsy Glam Bag Comparison

Beauty subscription boxes are an incredible way to discover and test out beauty products on the market. For a discounted price, you can get cosmetics, skincare samples, hair care products, and the like sent right to your doorstep. But which is the best one for you?

By now you’ve likely heard of Birchbox. Founded in 2010, Birchbox has since redefined the way people shop for beauty and grooming through personalized products based on their profiles and preferences. Birchbox has a unique product mix of beauty samples that are not usually found in subscription boxes. From their makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, and fragrance items, Birchbox always focuses on sending the right products just for you.

Ipsy, on the other hand, was founded in 2011 out of the YouTube beauty movement. Since then, they have brought inspiration towards their subscribers around the world to express each of their unique beauty. They provide skincare items, perfumes, nail and skin products, and makeup based on your preferences. Ipsy Glam Bag subscribers can upgrade to Ipsy Glam Bag Plus or Ipsy Glam Bag X to receive full-size items.


Birchbox

Image from our review.

Birchbox is a subscription service, which delivers 4-6 beauty samples per month. This includes a personalized and expert-approved selection of deluxe samples across makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, and fragrance categories.

Visit Birchbox and follow the subscribe flow for a luxe freebie with your subscription – just visit Birchbox and use the code at checkout!

Ipsy Glam Bag

Image from our review.

Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly beauty subscription box. Each box comes with 5 deluxe samples tailored to your specific needs. This features items such as hair care products, skincare products, nail products, and makeup products.


Now, what do these beauty subscription boxes have in common? These services both offer beauty samples based on your tastes and preferences. However, there are some certain aspects where Birchbox and  Ipsy Glam Bag differentiate themselves from each other, which will help you make your choice. Here are all the details that will help you decide which beauty subscription matches your needs.


PRICING AND PLANS

Birchbox Pricing and Plans

Although both give out savings to subscribers who sign up for longer-term subscriptions, Birchbox is slightly more expensive than Ipsy Glam Bag. Despite having no guaranteed value per box, Birchbox delivers high-quality items and brands. Birchbox’s monthly subscription plan costs $15 per box. Birchbox offers free shipping throughout the United States, and they don’t ship internationally.

Ipsy Glam Bag Pricing and Plans

If you consider affordability when choosing the right beauty box for you, Ipsy Glam Bag is the more budget-friendly option. Ipsy Glam Bag promises a value of at least $50-plus per box. Even though both boxes offer lower monthly costs to subscribers who sign up for longer plans, Ipsy Glam Bag subscription boxes are still cheaper than Birchbox. Ipsy Glam Bag’s monthly subscription plan costs $12 per box. Ipsy Glam Bag has free shipping throughout the United States, and Canada will be charged an extra $2.95 per month in shipping.

In each of these beauty subscription boxes, subscribers get to save more money by acquiring multiple month subscription plans. Birchbox and Ipsy Glam Bag both offer free shipping in the United States and provide discounts for longer commitments. Value-wise, both boxes give you more than what you pay for, but Ipsy Glam Bag’s subscription plans are still lower-cost.


CUSTOMIZATION AND SIGN UP PROCESS

When it comes to choosing the right beauty subscription box for you, there are a lot of things to be taken into account. Birchbox lets you set up your Beauty Profile and state your skin condition, hair concerns, and personal style for them to assign the best products for you, while Ipsy Glam Bag includes a Beauty Quiz that’ll help them tailor a box specific to your needs. Both subscriptions have a sign up process that is user-friendly and their steps are easy to follow.

Birchbox Customization and Sign Up Process

To join Birchbox, you’ll only have to accomplish a few quick, simple steps. Mainly, they’ll ask you to pick a subscription plan.

Once you have successfully subscribed to Birchbox, you’ll begin to have access to your Beauty Profile where you’ll fill out a survey, which will help them personalize your box contents and determine your top priorities for the samples you’d like to receive. They’ll ask you to provide information like your skin type, hair type, personal style, beauty routine, and level of beauty knowledge.

Ipsy Glam Bag Customization and Sign Up Process

When you sign up for Ipsy Glam Bag, you’ll start by answering questions that will help them personalize a box just for you. They’ll ask you to provide information like your skin tone, your eye or hair color, and the beauty brands you love.

Then, you’ll be asked to choose which type of subscription you want to acquire. Also, you can opt in to receive emails from Ipsy to get updates about their special offers, sneak peeks, and more delivered directly to your inbox. This newsletter will serve as your daily preview of the must-see events from Ipsy.


MONTHLY THEMES

Birchbox Monthly Themes

Even though Birchbox doesn’t always have a stated theme each month, the products they send out vary month to month. Some of the themes Birchbox has previously used include “Wanderlust,” “Power Play,” “Finishing School,” “Step And Repeat,” “Spring Forward,” “Rainy Days,” “Positive Force,” “Feeling Fancy,” “Moodboard Your Year,” “What’s The Occasion?,” “Ladies First,” “Out Of Doors,” “Shine On!,” “Lip Love,” “Pretty Mighty,” “Magic Inside,” “Face The Day,” “Find Your Happy,” “Follow Your Heart,” and “Women Are Power.” Also, their box contents contain beauty tips and tricks related to the month’s theme, season, or holiday.

Ipsy Glam Bag Monthly Themes

One of the most unique features of Ipsy Glam Bag is subscribers get to experience different themes every month with the boxes they receive. Also, their beauty bag is always designed to each month’s theme. Some of the themes Ipsy has previously used include “Wild Side,” “Clean Slate,” “Feel The Love,” “Celebrate You,” “Full Bloom,” “Get That Glow,” “Take A Break,” “The Future Is Yours,” “Good Vibes,” “You’re Magic,” “Be Present,” and “Home For The Holidays.”


TYPES OF PRODUCTS AND BRANDS

Birchbox Types of Products and Brands

In every Birchbox, subscribers will receive 4-6 deluxe samples featuring makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, and fragrance items. If you’d like to receive a sample in its full-sized version, Birchbox has a shop with all the full-size products. Each month, you can also choose to select a curated box, pick a guaranteed sample, let Birchbox pick your box for you, swap your box for a selected full-size item, or swap your monthly box for points.

Birchbox aims to give you more control over what you get every month, hence they offer different box customization options such as the Sample Choice (1 of your samples chosen by you) and Curated Boxes (all products handpicked by their merchandising team) during Selection Time, which occurs near the end of every month. In order to stay up to date for the following month’s Sample Choice reveal, you must enable notifications to get Birchbox’s email reminders directly. Birchbox will also share the Sample Choices across their social media pages and your own account. Once you’ve selected a sample from the Sample Choice options, your next month’s box will ship out with your sample of choice along with Birchbox’s beauty picks for you. If you have chosen one of that month’s Curated Boxes, it will arrive in place of your monthly box. Birchbox notes that there are a limited number of samples for the Sample Choice and Curated Boxes, so they do encourage subscribers to act fast while supplies last.

With Birchbox, hair care products are heavily featured. The types of products you could expect from your Birchbox subscription commonly consist of hair care products, skincare products, different kinds of lipsticks or lip care products, face makeup, eye makeup, brow makeup, and every now and then you’ll receive body care products, beauty tools, perfume, or makeup brushes. Some of the well-known brands you could get in your Birchbox include Project Beauty, Laura Geller New York, Benefit Cosmetics, Nexxus, Sunday Riley, Purlisse, MAC Cosmetics, Eyeko, Davines, Floss Beauty, Luxie Beauty, Oribe, Korres, Kiehls, Glow Recipe, Amika, BareMinerals, Marcelle, Dito Cosmetics, VITAMASQUES, and more.

Ipsy Glam Bag Types of Products and Brands

Ipsy Glam Bag members get to choose 1 item they want, including 4 picks by Ipsy out of the 5 deluxe-size products in their Glam Bag every month during Choice Time, which usually happens around the 20th to the 25th of the month. This comes with 5 personalized deluxe-size beauty samples like skincare items, perfumes, nail and skin products, and makeup conveniently packed in a themed cosmetic pouch that varies month to month. In order to be updated during Choice Time, you must regularly check the “Upcoming Events” timeline in your account. Ipsy will also send you an email when it’s time to choose.

With Ipsy Glam Bag, skincare products are greatly featured. The types of products you could expect from your Ipsy Glam Bag subscription are mostly a mix of skincare products, eye makeup, face makeup, different kinds of lipsticks or lip care products, and the occasional makeup brushes, body care products, hair care products, nail polish, perfume, or brow makeup. Some of the top brands you could get in your Ipsy Glam Bag Plus include Tarte Cosmetics, Verso, Purlisse, AHAVA, Ciate London, Girlactik, Sunday Riley, Illamasqua, Dr. Brandt, Laura Geller, Violet Voss, Murad, Vitabrid, Farsali, QMS, 111Skin, Farsali, Pixi Beauty, Hero Cosmetics, Goldfaden MD, Huda, First Aid Beauty, and more.

Alternatively, if you are in need of full-size beauty products, you can opt for the Ipsy Glam Bag Plus subscription (monthly at $25 per box, yearly at $275 or $22.92 per box, and valued at up to $120) that comes with 5 full-size items (3 of which may be chosen by you during Choice Time). Also, if you’re an Ipsy Glam Bag member with a monthly subscription plan, you are eligible to acquire the Ipsy Glam Bag X ($55 every 3 months and valued at up to $350) as a quarterly upgrade that contains 7-8 full-size products (3 of which may be chosen by you during Choice Time) from the trendiest brands, exclusive launches, and celeb-curated picks—considering you haven’t skipped your Ipsy Glam Bag in the same month or prior to Ipsy Glam Bag X’s upgrade month. Ipsy notes that Glam Bag X quantities are limited, but you can reserve your spot while supplies last.


EXTRAS

Birchbox Extras

Each Birchbox makes it easy for subscribers to find beauty and grooming stuff that they love. Aside from having the option to acquire the full-size items, Sample Choice, and Curated Boxes, Birchbox also offers Clean beauty box, limited-edition boxes, Birchbox discovery kits, ARROW products and kits, and beauty best-sellers. Moreover, Birchbox allows subscribers to add amazing products with their monthly box. Their monthly add-ons’ categories include makeup, skincare, hair care, lifestyle items, and kits, which will be shipped for free right along with your Birchbox. Birchbox notes that add-ons are only available for rebillable subscribers. Birchbox subscribers will also have access to sneak peeks, members-only discounts, promo codes, exclusive offers, beauty tips, and beauty tricks.

Some months Birchbox replaces the box with a premium gift – like this acrylic box!

Ipsy Glam Bag Extras

What really sets Ipsy Glam Bag apart from other beauty boxes is their subscribers get to have a free reusable makeup bag with each monthly shipment. Your Glam Bag will also be shipped in new eco-friendly and 100% recyclable bubble mailers, which help minimize the waste and keep your package secure. Besides having the option to acquire the Ipsy Glam Bag Plus and limited-edition quarterly upgrade to Ipsy Glam Bag X, Ipsy also allows Glam Bag subscribers to handpick extra items every month and have up to 10 add-ons from a selection of special products available for $3, $12, $18, and $25. Ipsy Glam Bag subscribers can shop add-ons for 24 hours through the Ipsy website on the 2nd of every month until supplies last, score flash sales during Ipsy Flash, or shop for beauty products at up to 70% off through the Ipsy Shopper, and these will be shipped for free along with their Ipsy Glam Bag. Alternatively, Ipsy Glam Bag subscribers can purchase a Mystery Bag, which has 5 deluxe-size surprise items from the previous month’s product selection.


LOYALTY AND REWARD PROGRAMS

Birchbox Loyalty and Reward Programs

Birchbox subscribers are offered reward points by shopping on their website and gifting subscriptions. Here are ways to earn points from Birchbox:

  • Make purchases in Birchbox: Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend.
  • Purchase gift subscriptions in Birchbox: Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend.

In addition, Birchbox subscribers who have spent $300 (excludes sales taxes) in one calendar year will automatically gain the Ace status, which gives them access to exclusive added benefits. Here are ways to earn points from Birchbox for Ace members:

  • Make purchases in Birchbox: Earn 1.3 points for every $1 you spend.
  • Purchase gift subscriptions in Birchbox: Earn 1.3 points for every $1 you spend.

You can redeem these points as a payment towards any full-size product in their shop. Birchbox notes that your accumulated loyalty points will only be valid for six months.

Ipsy Glam Bag Loyalty and Reward Programs

Ipsy Glam Bag subscribers are offered reward points for referring friends, writing a product review, following Ipsy creators, and reviewing their Ipsy Glam Bag. Here are ways to earn points from Ipsy:

  • Refer your friends: Earn 600 Points for every friend who signs up for Ipsy within 24 hours using your unique referral link.
  • Write a product review: Earn 15 points to your account for each product you review in your online Glam Bag.
  • Follow Ipsy creators: Earn 10 points for every social platform you follow.
  • Review your Glam Bag: Earn 10 points each time you review your entire bag experience per month.

You can claim free products in exchange for these points, which will be shipped with your next box.


SKIPPING AND CANCELLING

Skipping and Cancelling for Birchbox

Birchbox’s month-to-month subscriptions (without term commitment) can be canceled at any time through your account, but if you’ve already been billed for this month’s box, your cancellation will take effect in the next billing cycle. Unfortunately, Birchbox doesn’t allow its subscribers to skip their subscription.

Skipping and Cancelling for Ipsy Glam Bag

Ipsy lets you skip your membership for the duration you requested, and they’ll be sending you an email reminder before your subscription starts again. Although your Ipsy membership renews automatically, you can cancel through your account page at any time with no hidden fees.


CUSTOMER SERVICE

Birchbox Customer Service

Birchbox prides themselves on being a small team that supports thousands of customers. They give you the option to call them, text them, or  email them at [email protected] or [email protected] Birchbox’s customer service hours are every day from 9am to 6pm EST.

Ipsy Glam Bag Customer Service

Ipsy Care tries their best to support you regarding any issues, questions, or suggestions you may have. The best and fastest way to get their response is to send an email at help.ipsy.com or tag them on Twitter at @IPSYCare for them to help you.


SUMMARY

Here’s a quick overview of each box to help you decide better:

PRICING AND PLANS

  • If you value getting the most out of your subscription, Birchbox costs as low as $15 per month and $156 for the one-year subscription. They also offer free shipping within the United States.
  • If you value getting the most out of your subscription, Ipsy Glam Bag costs as low as $12 per month and $132 for the one-year subscription (each box is worth over $50). Shipping is free throughout the United States.

CUSTOMIZATION AND SIGN UP PROCESS

  • If you want to receive personalized skincare and hair care products, Birchbox offers items tailored to your individual needs. Their sign up process is user-friendly and the steps are easy to follow.
  • If you want to receive personalized beauty items, Ipsy Glam Bag provides products specific to your tastes and preferences. Their sign up process is extremely detailed and ensures to gather all the valuable information.

MONTHLY THEMES

  • If you like to experience a box with contents that vary month to month, Birchbox includes themed products every now and then.
  • If you like to experience a box with different themes every month, Ipsy Glam Bag has themed products and beauty bag per month.

TYPES OF PRODUCTS AND BRANDS

  • If you need a box that keeps things simple, Birchbox has 4-6 deluxe samples featuring makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, and fragrance items. Birchbox has partnered with familiar brands that’ll deliver quality items right to your door.
  • If you need a box tailored to your preferences, Ipsy Glam Bag includes 5 personalized, deluxe-size beauty products like skincare items, perfumes, nail and skin products, and makeup. Ipsy features many brands that’ll help refresh, reset, and breathe life into your beauty.

EXTRAS

  • If you want to acquire add-ons to your Birchbox, you can choose from their selection of special products.
  • If you want to acquire add-ons to your Ipsy Glam Bag box, you can choose from their selection of special products.

LOYALTY AND REWARD PROGRAMS

  • If you love to earn free products, Birchbox offers reward points for subscribers that shop on their website and gift subscriptions.
  • If you love to earn free products, Ipsy offers reward points for subscribers that refer friends, write a product review, follow Ipsy creators, and review their box.

SKIPPING AND CANCELLING

  • If you wish to cancel your Birchbox month-to-month subscription (without term commitment), you can disable it through your account page. There is no option to skip their subscription plans.
  • If you wish to skip or cancel your Ipsy Glam Bag subscription, you can disable it through your account page.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

  • If you’re looking to find answers to your questions about your Birchbox, you can reach out to their customer service at [email protected] or [email protected]
  • If you’re looking to find answers to your questions about your Ipsy Glam Bag box, you can reach out to their customer service at help.ipsy.com.

Still need more info?

What’s our pick – Birchbox or Ipsy Glam Bag?

Overall, Birchbox and Ipsy Glam Bag both offer beauty samples that are geared toward your needs and preferences. What beauty subscription box you like better will ultimately come down to the quantity of products you need. For customers who want to try out unique beauty samples before making a huge commitment, Birchbox is more ideal. However, for those who are still new to the world of beauty boxes, Ipsy Glam Bag is a great starter subscription, not to mention more affordable.

Looking for more subscription box showdowns? See all our subscription box comparisons to help you find the best subscription for you!

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  • dia
    05.21.21

    Birchbox’s customer service blows Ipsy out of the water. Let me give you an example.

    A while back, I purchased something on the Birchbox website and chose one of the gift with purchase items that I had qualified for. A couple of days later, they emailed me to say that my gift was out of stock, and I should go into the website and choose another item. I didn’t see anything I wanted, so I replied to say so, and ask them to just send me my purchase. They apologize, and gave me a $5 credit.

    When I purchased a skin care set from ipsy’s pop-up shop and received my order with a missing item, I emailed them to let them know. Their reply was, “Sorry, but we hope you enjoy the rest of your purchase.” There was no offer of compensation, no offer to send a replacement. Ridiculous.