Featured Post

So Fresh and so Clean: DIY Daily Brush Cleaner!

Let's talk makeup brushes: they are a necessity for an expertly applied face, but they can be a PITA to keep clean! Cleaning your brushe...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Battle of the Boxes: April 2015 - Ipsy, Birchbox and Sample Society

Hello there lovelies!

I received three subscription boxes for the month of April: Birchbox, Ipsy, and Sample Society. In my experience, subscriptions can be very hit or miss; most of the time I'm fairly content with the items I receive for $10/mo, but I do have to admit there are times I've been disappointed with the contents of the bag, and  even an occasion or two that I've felt that there wasn't a single item I could use. I often debate about cancelling one of my subs, but then they go and send me an awesome box, and I am once again sucked into subscription box bliss. I do still plan to cancel one of my subs (some day...), so I like to compare month to month and get an idea of which box I am happiest with most often, and which has the most bang for the buck. I like to compare products received and overall value vs. cost of the subscription. Which brings me to Battle of the Boxes -  a comparison of my Ipsy,  Birchbox and Sample Society subscriptions! To make cost-comparisons a little easier, I'm going to round the estimated value to the nearest quarter dollar. Read on to see which box reigns supreme for the month of April!

First up, Birchbox

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that costs $10/mo and provides you with 4-6 samples hand-picked for you and delivered right to your mailbox! When you subscribe to the service, you fill out a questionnaire that helps them pick items suited to your needs and style. This is one of the original subscription boxes, and it has one of the best points systems: for every 100 points earned, you get $10 to spend in their shop. It's easy to earn points through reviewing the products received, shopping in their store and referring friends! Also, another fun perk that Birchbox introduced a few months back is the option to pick one of your samples each month, or even a fully curated box. I like this option, because you can be sure that you will like at least one of the items you receive each month (provided they offer a sample choice you like).
I chose to go with one of the curated boxes they offered this month, the Mad Men NY box, so I knew ahead of time what would be in my April Birchbox.  Let's check it out:

Liz Earle Eye Bright - $8.25 value

I'm already a big fan of Liz Earle products, and even mentioned Eyebright in a recent post , so I was very happy to receive a small bottle that will be perfect for travel!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil - estimated value $3.00

I love the way the Beauty Protector products smell - almost like a rich, creamy chocolate. While I'm not the biggest fan of hair oils, this will be great for quenching my locks after a day in the sun this summer. 

Whish Blueberry Shave Cream - $3.00

I don't use shaving cream on the regular; I'm very happy using a lathered up moisturizing body wash to shave with. While it is nice to use this product when I have a sample,  it doesn't do anything amazing, and  considering a full sized bottle of Whish Shave Cream costs $20, this is certainly not something I will invest my money in.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel - $6.75
This is is an amazing product that I am just now discovering. I don't have particularly unruly brows, so I never thought of brow gel as something I needed...until now. This holds every brow hair in place, yet does not feel stiff or sticky. It has completely changed my brow routine, and I will be purchasing a full sized tube once this runs out.
Cargo Swimmables Blush in Los Cabos - $7.75
This blush is a super pretty peach color, perfect for spring, and it lasts all day. It is a generous sized sample, and I'm very happy to have it!

Total estimated value of Birchbox: $28.75

Next up, we have Ipsy:

Ipsy is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription that contains full or deluxe sized products, all packed into a cute makeup bag that suits the theme for that month. Like Birchbox, it costs $10/month, and the items vary from bag to bag based on your beauty profile. You can earn points by reviewing the products you receive and making referrals, and those points can be redeemed for select items when you reach 500 or 1000 points. The theme for the month of April was "Beautifully Bohemian".

Mally Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner in Shimmering Black - Full sized! $15.00 value
 I have received so many black eyeliners in my subscription boxes, I've taken to giving them away. I will never use them all in a lifetime. However, I've heard amazing things about the Mally liner, so I will be trying it out for myself.

The Balm Cosmetics Nude Dude Shadow in Fit - $3 estimated value
I do love The Balm , so this little eyeshadow single makes me smile. It will be a great addition to my travel kit!

Julie G. Nail Polish in Damsel - Full sized product, $4.00 value
I am not a nail polish junkie -  receiving one does not make me jump for joy. However, it is a very fun, summery shade, and my toes do need some serious help, so I'll count it as a win this month.

Aromachology Roller Ball in Sophisticated & Sensual - $5.00 value
OMG, this is an amazing scent! I am truly loving it, and have worn it every day since I first sniffed it! I'm not usually one for floral perfumes, but this isn't too flowery - it has some real substance to it. Since I can't describe fragrances for the life of me, I took this from the website:
 "Our traditional and feminine Floral is filled with notes that transform into a soft, feminine and flirty scent, just like you. The delicate combination of White Lily and Tuberose with a hint of Grapefruit creates a classic and romantic fragrance."

Olive Natural Beauty Oats & honey Lip Balm - Full sized product, $6.00 value
 A nice little lip balm, perfect for dry lips. I'll keep it in my vanity and apply it before putting on my makeup.

Total estimated value for Ipsy: $33

And finally, Sample Society

Sample Society is a $15/mo beauty subscription curated by beautybar.com and Allure magazine. With this subscription, you tend to see more high-end products in both full and deluxe-sample sizes. Each month, you receive 5 products, a mini-mag explaining the samples you received, and a coupon code for $10 off a $50 purchase from beautybar.com. While there is no points system for this subscription, you can save $5 off your first box by using the code 5FORYOU, bringing the cost of your first box to $10.

Illume Tonka Noir Candle - estimated value $3
This candle has a nice fragrance, and it is in a cute tin, convenient for travel or small spaces. 

Mt. Sapola Lavender-Chamomile Body Lotion - estimated value $2
Meh. Another body lotion. Good thing I like lavender, or this would be given away. 

Benefit The Porefessional - estimated value $4.25
I've always wanted to try this primer, so I'm pretty excited to have it!

Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip Plumper in Rio - estimated value $4.00
This is a tiny lipstick in a not-so-flattering color. What turns me off is not the size - small lipsticks fit perfectly into small clutches, so I actually don't mind having several samples to choose from. That color though...let's just say it's not for me.
Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip Plumper in Rio

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil - estimated value $0.74
A tiny vial of hair oil. Nothing too exciting, in my eyes, but it will get used this summer.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Perfume Sample - estimated value $2.00

Some people don't like perfume samples, but I don't mind them because they are a great way to try out a new scent for a few days to see how you really feel about it. Sample sized perfumes are also great for travel. This sample came in a tiny spray bottle, which I prefer to a bottle with a stopper, and it smells really pretty.

Total estimated value for Sample Society: $16

And the winner is...

For the month of April, I feel like my least favorite subscription box is  obvious: Sample Society.
All items were sample sized- and not even deluxe samples. To pay $15 and not get a single full-sized item, or even a decent sized sample, is a big let down. Also, the value of the box is pretty much the price I paid for the subscription, which makes me very disappointed. To be honest, if this had been my first Sample Society box, I don't think I would continue to subscribe. Because this is only my second box, and my first box from them was so good, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and see what they offer next month. However, if things continue in this fashion, I'm going to cancel for sure.
Ok, I'm done with my rant! Let's move out of the negative into the positive, and find out which subscription came out on top for the month of April! I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty torn. Both Ipsy and Birchbox gave me several items I really love.  Ipsy brought their A-game with 3 full sized products,  while two of the products in Birchbox I will use daily and will be purchasing the full sized version of. Both boxes had a good cost to value ratio: Ipsy came in at $33, with Birchbox close behind at $28.75! In order to decide a winner, we have to go with  overall value, and considering the number of full sized products and the total price value of the subscription, this month the winner is  Ipsy!*

Interested in trying out one of these subscriptions for yourself? Follow this link for Birchbox, or this one for Ipsy. Don't forget to use the code 5FORYOU if you'd like to try out Sample Society! **

What boxes do you currently subscribe to? Which is your favorite this month? 

Thank you for checking out Battle of the Boxes... live a beautiful life! 


*The winner of Battle of the Boxes is based solely on my opinion of which subscription has the better content and overall estimated value. As always, all opinions are my own.
**This post contains referral links


  1. The Cargo Los Cabos blush is so pretty!!! I have been debating on getting it. You got some great items in your ipsy and birchbox! I can see why you were disappointed in your sample society. I would have been too!

    1. It really is pretty! I was scared it might be too orange, but it's not at all! Yeah, I can't justify paying more for less value with Sample Society, so I think I'll cancel that one.


Thank you so much - your comments are always appreciated!