Overview: Ipsy vs. Birchbox | Which Is Better, Birchbox or Ipsy?


Subscription beauty boxes are a growing trend among consumers who aren’t ready to commit to expensive, full-sized products.

Companies like Birchbox or Ipsy are rising to the challenge, aiming to have the most popular and successful subscription service on the market.

When you look at the two, how do you know which is better – Birchbox or Ipsy? When it comes down to meeting your needs, is Ipsy or Birchbox what’s better for you personally?

At first glance, the services offered by Ipsy or Birchbox appear to be very similar, but there are definitely differences between the two companies.

If you’re trying to decide whether to go with Ipsy or Birchbox, our overview of Birchbox vs. Ipsy and their comparisons will help you make the final decision. 



What Do Sites Like Ipsy or Birchbox Offer?

Companies like Birchbox or Ipsy are known for bringing a degree of personalization to online health and beauty shopping.

For consumers who aren’t sure if they want to pay the sometimes exorbitant price tag attached to high-end beauty, wellness, or lifestyle products, these sampler boxes can help them decide.

Some boxes will include complete full-size items, while others will have only small or deluxe size samples to give you an idea of whether you like the products.

How do sites like Ipsy or Birchbox know what sorts of samples you would want?

When comparing Ipsy vs. Birchbox, both programs start off with a short personal quiz or questionnaire to determine the types of products you need or are interested in.

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Image from The Small Things Blog

If you’re trying to decide Ipsy vs. Birchbox, the degree of customization won’t be the deciding factor; both services offer similar ways to personalize the products you receive.

You will input your skin color and type, eye color, hair color and type, as well as particular styles or trends that appeal to you.

It is still difficult to find a perfect match for products based off this collection of information, but it does help their stylists to figure out which products might be more interesting to you.  

The best part of deciding between Ipsy or Birchbox is that price won’t factor in to your decision.

While some companies like Ipsy charge more (think of competitors like Julep Maven, Allure, or GlossyBox), deciding between Birchbox vs. Ipsy will be difficult, as Birchbox or Ipsy will each cost just $10 per month or $110 per year.

With the purchase of an annual subscription to either Ipsy or Birchbox, you will receive one month for free.

Which is better? Birchbox or Ipsy? How can you determine which beauty subscription box to choose from between Ipsy vs. Birchbox?

Now that you know the basics of companies like Ipsy or Birchbox, we will take a closer look at Ipsy vs. Birchbox to help you decide which one is better for you.



Ipsy vs. Birchbox: What’s the Basic Difference?

If the overall services offered from Ipsy or Birchbox are so similar and the price is the same either way, how do you decide which subscription suits your needs better?

The most obvious answer frequently lies in the products that Ipsy vs. Birchbox will send to subscribers.

What sort of products are you most interested in testing? The answer will tell you which is better, Birchbox or Ipsy, for you personally.

While Birchbox does sell cosmetics and makeup, it tends to include more skincare, haircare, and lifestyle items than Ipsy does. The major difference between Birchbox vs. Ipsy is Ipsy’s emphasis on makeup.

Ipsy is more likely to send you samples of eye makeup, lip gloss, eyeliners, or mascaras, while Birchbox will send more skin care related items such as lotions or hair masks.

Birchbox and Ipsy both cater to beauty items, but their emphasis is what sets them apart.

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Image from Millennial Gal

Similarly, Birchbox vs. Ipsy will also vary in terms of the size of the items within the boxes or bags. Full-size samples do occasionally wind up finding their way into Ipsy’s glam bags, but Birchbox seems fairly content to stick with its deluxe size samples.

Birchbox allows you to sample higher-end products that would ordinarily be more expensive. Ipsy, on the other hand, will occasionally give you a drug store brand.

It may very will offer you a full-size version of that name brand, but if you were interested in sampling pricier items, the Birchbox vs. Ipsy debate may be quickly settled for you.



Birchbox vs. Ipsy Value | Which is Better, Birchbox or Ipsy?

The price of Ipsy or Birchbox might be exactly the same, but do you receive the same value from each type of box?

Both claim to provide boxes with values above and beyond what you pay in your $10 per month fee, but what does the value come out to be for Birchbox vs. Ipsy? Is there really a difference in what you receive from Ipsy or Birchbox?

Beauty blogger Liz Cadman, founder of My Subscription Addiction, maintains an ongoing series of blogs comparing Ipsy vs. Birchbox. Each blog is dedicated to comparing monthly boxes of Birchbox vs. Ipsy’s monthly boxes.

In November of 2016, after taking into account the decreased price for sample sizes, she found that the November Birchbox was worth approximately $42.30 to Ipsy’s $46.

As you can see, there isn’t much of a difference between the Ipsy vs. Birchbox value.

While Ipsy provided two full-size items, Birchbox provided one deluxe size item–though the difference in price value may come from the brands selected, rather than the sizes of the samples themselves.



Millennial Gal had a similar finding. Her Birchbox subscription was worth approximately $35 after reviewing all the products, but the Ipsy glam bag had a $45 retail value.

It seems that the full-size items and cosmetics included in the Ipsy bags do frequently create a higher value.

However, many people find that there aren’t as many products they use out of the Ipsy subscriptions because makeup can be such a personal decision.

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Image from Millennial Gal

If you prefer to get the most bang for your buck, it seems pretty conclusive that Ipsy does offer bags with a greater worth than the Birchbox counterparts.

However, it will mainly depend on what sort of products you were expecting to receive. You might not be happy with Birchbox or Ipsy if you don’t receive the types of products you were most interested in sampling.



Point Systems: Birchbox vs. Ipsy | Which is Better, Birchbox or Ipsy?

Whether you decide to subscribe to Ipsy or Birchbox, you will want to make sure that you complete product reviews of the samples you receive each month.

Each review you complete provides a handful of benefits that you will want to take into consideration when deciding whether to go with Ipsy vs. Birchbox.

Birchbox Points

From companies like Birchbox, you have three options for how you can gain rewards points:

  • Purchases from their online store (1 point for every $1 spent)
  • Referral of friends and family to their own subscription service (50 points)
  • Giving Birchbox as a gift (1 point)

​Every 10 points you earn gives you $1 to redeem towards Birchbox items. 

​In the past, subscribers used to have the ability to earn points by leaving reviews for products. Unfortunately, Birchbox has recently discontinued that feature due to the large number of reviews being left without reviewers having actually tried the products.

New subscribers can earn points for their first 5 reviews, but that is the extent of the points that anyone can earn related to reviews.

Ipsy vs Birchbox

Photo courtesy of: Ipsy

Ipsy Points

When comparing Ipsy vs. Birchbox, Ipsy provides a wider selection of ways to earn points. Ipsy subscribers can earn points through the following options: 

  • Starting a subscription (100 points)
  • Referring friends (250 points)
  • Following on social media (20 points maximum)
  • Writing product reviews (15 points)
  • Writing a full Glam bag review (10 points)

​To see how redeeming points differs between Ipsy vs. Birchbox, see the section below.



Ipsy or Birchbox: Which Points System is Better?

The major difference between the two companies lies in how you can spend your rewards points.

Birchbox has their own online store where you can purchase the full version of your samples, whereas Ipsy does not.

Birchbox will take your points and apply them toward purchases from their online store, including for items that didn’t arrive in your box.

This makes it easy to explore and discover new high-end beauty products regardless of whether you have received them.

If you happen to find a new favorite product in your Birchbox, their online shop provides a quick and easy way to continue stocking up– and potentially get a nice discount, too. If the ability to shop online is important to you, Birchbox may win the Ipsy vs. Birchbox debate.

In contrast, Ipsy allows your points to go towards bonus items available in future boxes.

The bonus items could be deluxe samples from high-end name brands or additional full-size products. The selection of bonus items varies depending on availability and popularity.

The rewards points available from Birchbox or Ipsy can make a big difference in whether or not you can afford to purchase full-size versions of the samples you received.

Because Birchbox specializes in pricier products, their store discount might give you a little bit of flexibility on whether that new product can fit into your budget.



Birchbox or Ipsy: Pros and Cons

When it comes to reviews, what’s better: Ipsy or Birchbox? There are a few items in the Ipsy vs. Birchbox debate that may help you to make a decision on which service suits you better.

One of the biggest draws of Birchbox or Ipsy are the basic differences beyond just the product selection. So, which is better, Birchbox or Ipsy?

When it comes to signing up for Birchbox vs. Ipsy, Ipsy’s waitlist is an annoying hassle for most subscribers.

Some people find themselves waiting for their first glam bag for two months or so, but several bloggers, including Kristin Magaldi at Cambio, have said that taking advantage of social media can help to speed the process along.

If time is of the essence and you just can’t wait to start trying new products immediately, it might be easy to use shipping times as a means to decide which is better, Birchbox or Ipsy.

When considering Ipsy or Birchbox regarding shipping times, it’s worthwhile to note that Birchbox has no waiting list at all and delivers your box promptly.



When your package does finally arrive, a lot of consumers prefer the packaging that Ipsy has to offer. Comparing Birchbox vs. Ipsy, you’ll see that the packaging from Ipsy has a greater degree of versatility.

Each month’s delivery comes wrapped in a unique makeup bag, whereas the Birchbox subscription will only offer a nicely decorated cardboard box.

The bag itself is great for organizing the samples you receive, and many subscribers look forward to an additional makeup bag each month. Some subscribers note that neither option is of any long-term quality, but between the two, the bag holds slightly more value.

One thing to keep in mind is that both subscriptions do award rewards points for your purchases, but only one of them uses your reviews to modify the products you receive each month.

Ipsy will use your reviews to change some of your preferences on your account while Birchbox can only be modified by updating your profile directly. Between Birchbox vs. Ipsy, the convenience of cutting out the middle step would land Ipsy as the clear winner for easy personalization.

In a different vein, a men’s beauty box subscription is also almost unheard of, but not in the Ipsy vs. Birchbox debate. Sites like Ipsy prefer cosmetics and thus aren’t geared toward men.

Birchbox has a Birchbox for men subscription created specifically for the male counterpart (one of the few in the industry) known as Birchbox Man.

The Birchbox for men subscription comes with a slightly higher price tag than the basic Birchbox or Ipsy subscription, but it does offer a completely unique service.

Because Birchbox for men offers an entirely unique service, Birchbox may be a winner in the debate between Ipsy or Birchbox. 


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Conclusion: Birchbox vs. Ipsy | Which Is Better, Birchbox or Ipsy?

In the debate between Birchbox vs. Ipsy, who is the clear winner? Which is better, Birchbox or Ipsy? When it comes down to it, there really isn’t a clearly defined win for either Birchbox or Ipsy.

Companies like Birchbox or Ipsy both offer very similar services but with slight variations in the types of products they carry. The differences between the two might sound slight, but they cater themselves uniquely to different segments of the market.

If you’re trying to decide what’s better, Ipsy or Birchbox, consider which types of products you would rather receive.

Sites like Ipsy tend to offer more makeup items in each bag, while companies like Birchbox feature more skincare, hair care, and lifestyle products mixed together.

With the prices being equal, take a look at what you’re really interested in or try a few months of Birchbox or Ipsy (or, at just $10 a month, maybe both!) to see which one suits your needs better.



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