Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mail order surprise pretties

Have you ever considered a beauty subscription box? If you're the kind of person who can't even pick up cough drops without spending an hour and way too much money on random stuff in the beauty aisle (guilty) it may be just the thing for you.

Subscription boxes are a FANTASTIC way to try brands, colours, and formulations you may not have heard of much less bought full size or price. Makeup gets expensive FAST so it can be hard to invest in things you are not so sure about.

I get two beauty subscriptions every month, Birchbox and Ipsy Glam Bag. Both average about five samples per shipment and are a little more than $10 per month with shipping. I can usually expect to find one thing I really like and one thing of no use whatsoever per shipment, beyond that it varies month to month. Offerings are chosen based on a survey you fill out at joining (which can be updated any time) and as you review the things you get your orders get a bit more personalized.

FULL DISCLOSURE: both links above are my referral links and it would earn points for me if you signed up through those links. This is a feature of ALL memberships to both sites. I have no affiliation with either company and am not being compensated for this post.

On left, my January 15 Birchbox. On right my April 14 Glambag
I received my Birchbox subscription Friday and should be expecting my Glambag subscription within the next week or so, so I figured I'd talk about them generally here and then post with my shipment specifics.

I had gotten several months subscription to Birchbox as a gift a few years ago and liked it but was not impressed enough to renew on my own. Later I joined GlamBag and realised that as my interest in beauty products grew some of those previously untouched Birchbox items in the back of my makeup stash had now become my favorite products. I've had a number of moments where I just needed *one particular thing* to finish off a look and it ended up being some item I had totally dismissed when I first received it. I decided to poke around at their site again and was so impressed with the recent offerings I restarted the subscription.

Ipsy seems to lean more toward makeup products and Birchbox seems to lean more skin/haircare, but that may be the way I have my own preferences set.

One of the neat things about the Ipsy Glambag is that it comes with a unique makeup bag every month. At first this was kind of annoying as they seemed to be everywhere, but as my collection grows these bags have become essential for sorting my makeup. Off the top of my head I have separate lipstick bags for pinks, purples, reds, and copper/golds, and separate bags for eyeliners, moisturizer samples, my go-to five minute face products.

I particularly like getting lotions, masques, scrubs, nail polishes, lip products, and makeup products outside of the usual "five minute face" products (for example highlighters, shading powders, setting sprays).

I'm not interested in perfumes, pencils for the eye area (I prefer liquid liners, and powder products for both brow and shadow), and rarely get useful colours in the concealers, foundations, and eye shadows.

A friend of mine gets GlossyBox (not a referral link) and has been very happy with that subscription, but it is about twice the price of the ones I already receive so I have not yet taken the plunge. The items do however seem to be VERY nice quality and come in surprisingly large sizes so it seems like she always gets her money's worth.

I have thought about a few of the nail art boxes out there, but what I would really kill for is a hair product specific service! I had very long hair for decades which I completely babied and now have very short hair which I beat the crap out of and as a result I have bought more expensive and completely useless hair styling products than I like to think on!

How I feel every time I consider buying a new hair product
I'm tired of collecting $30 tubs of product I end up using maybe twice, so I make do with the same things over and over. I'm sure there are a lot of products I would buy in full size if I just got to try them first!

Anyone else get a beauty based subscription service? Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about them? Do you have a good swap community you can recommend for off-base products?

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