Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And the winner is...

Long time no see on this blog. For a number of reasons, I ended up not posting as much last year. It should be better this year though I can't predict the frequency just yet. ;)

To re-start things off, I thought that I'd talk about which of the makeup subscriptions that won me enough that I resubscribed.

At one point, I had 3 makeup subscriptions going (click on the name to see my past reviews of those): Birchbox, Ipsy, and Starlooks. In an effort to keep my budget better under check, I ended up stopping all subscriptions. And, honestly, I was swamped with a ton of samples that I had yet to try. They just were coming too fast and in too much quantity for me to keep up. So I thought that a break would be beneficial for both the budget and the pile of samples.

If you want to access the company's website, click on the name of the company below.

The Losers

So here are the two that didn't make the cut for me to restart the subscription.


Pros: What I enjoyed about Starlooks is that it was always full size products and so, for 15$, you got a whole lot for your value. The best example was the December box, which was their palette that they normally sell for 99$, though I wouldn't exactly pay that much for it. But 15$ was a damn good price (and I use that palette frequently for restaurant belly dancing makeups). They also provide a little card with pictures of looks created with items in the box, which can be useful in knowing how to use the products (though they don't explain exactly how they did the look).

Cons: The fact that it was only their brand was what made me not re-subscribe for it. The brand isn't bad... it's actually makeup that has a pretty good payload. But I could never see myself purchasing from their brand, honestly. What I like about subscriptions is not knowing which brand I'm going to receive and discovering new brands. It also appears that the price of the box has gone up to 25$.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: If you'd like to get the most bang for your bucks and don't care about discovering new products, then this is the subscription for you.


Pros: Birchbox was the first subscription that I signed up for, based on a recommendation. And, at first, it was pretty darn good. The samples were interesting, you'd always get a good number of bigger sized samples (generally called "deluxe samples"), and they seemed to pay attention to what you had said you were interested in. They usually provide a good number of samples and they tend to be for higher end products.

Cons: After a while, it seemed that the samples weren't as interesting and that they were sending whatever they had on hand. I originally chalked it off to growing pains but then there was a good 3-4-month period where I was disappointed in my box and didn't really want to use any of it. So it didn't feel like I was really getting my 10$ worth out of it. It seemed like they weren't paying attention to what you had said you were interested in but were just picking out at random which box you'd get. It also seemed like the samples were getting increasingly smaller in size so it felt like you were getting, yes, more samples but fewer bigger sized ones.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: If you like receiving uber random things (including like chocolate, tea, gourmet fortune cookie, hair tie, etc.) and prefer receiving higher end products, this may be the subscription for you. Also, Birchbox tends to have more beauty and hair products and just a bit of makeup so if you're more interested in those kinds of products, this is the subscription for you. I'm tempted to resubscribe to Birchbox for that very reason.

The Winner

There was one that made me itch to restart a subscription. Enough that only 3 months elapsed between when I stopped the subscription and when I restarted it.


When I originally started subscribing, they were having some growing pains but they've been more consistent for a good while now.
Pros: The consistency has been largely achieved by sticking with the theme or concept that they were going for each month and everyone receives about the same items (colors may differ). So whereas Birchbox made you feel like some people got luckier than you, Ipsy makes you feel like everyone is pretty much equal. They do have some variations based on your answers to a beauty profile where they not only ask you things like your physical characteristics but your personal style as well. The majority of the products are actually full size nowadays with like 1 or 2 that are deluxe samples (generally those will be liquid liners or mascara). The majority of the products are makeup products. They always have rebates that month for the brands that are included in the bag. And we call it a "bag" because it does come in a cute bag. Here's what it was for December (not my actual bag but I got the same products except for the lip pencil).

Cons: A number of the products that I've received over the months are from brands that you can find at the pharmacy. I'm a bit of a makeup snob when it comes to brands but I've generally been pleasantly surprised by the pharmacy brands products (a good number of product reviews are coming up). For those brands that you can't find at the pharmacy, they are generally little known brands that can only be found through their own website. Not that it's a big problem per se but they won't necessarily have offers like free shipping (I hate paying for shipping); but that's when the rebates that you get that month are useful. They also tend to cycle through some of the same brands (well, they are at the mercy of who wants to give their products to them after all). It seems that there's a nail polish in like every bag or at least every 2 out of 3 bags and they are often in funky colors. And, well, you receive a bag every month so they do stack up. But they've been a blessing in keeping my jewelry organized and when traveling to keep things separate. But they do accumulate. For all that they personalize the color selections, sometimes you'll receive something that you'll wonder if you'll ever use because the shade isn't one that you'd normally wear... and sometimes it's a nice discovery that it's a shade that looks good on you... but sometimes it's not.

Who I'd recommend this subscription to: Well, pretty much everyone, though I probably need to add that you need an interest in makeup. Honestly, you get a good amount of interesting products for your 10$.

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