Ipsy, A Year In Review

20180630_122040-01

Look at all these bags! Yes, I know there are 11. I gave one away with some products that I didn’t want. I can’t remember what month’s bag it was or what it looked like. That’s how useless these are.

I considered selling them on Ebay for a minute, but after shipping and post office time costs it’s definitely not worth it. If you like one and are an IRL friend, please lay claim to it. Otherwise they’re being offered up for Allston Christmas. I’m probably keeping the Gudetama (egg) one. It’s hilarious.

The Final Verdict

Is ipsy worth it? You know that I hated it. I still feel like I should give an official statement. I read SO MANY reviews before I paid for a year of this subscription. Technically, I got my money’s worth. I used at least $110 of product. Monetarily, it was worth it. Would I have had more fun if I had just spent $110 on products I had selected myself? Absolutely. The things that I used were not all necessarily things that I enjoyed. Sometimes they were things that burned my face. Sometimes they broke me out. Because it was a subscription box, I couldn’t ask for my money back for those items.

Did I discover any new brands to try? Not nearly at the rate that I expected to. I think there’s one item I’m planning on repurchasing. It was that food-smelling hand cream. Not exactly a discovery that was worth $110.

We all had fun with it, but guys, don’t do ipsy. They mostly send you trash. Things arrive broken. They are clearly mailing out colors that don’t sell well for the brands. Like, yes, I got to try Colourpop. Except it was yellow eye shadow, so no I didn’t. I got lipstick that was the color of my concealer. My skin is a universally unflattering lip shade.

I’m happy to be done with them and 100% do not recommend.

Memory Lane

If you have some time and want to look back on the lols, here are all of my ipsy posts. I’ve gone through and added links to products that I wrote full reviews for. There are a few more in the queue. I love the queue. The ipsy fun is still going for at least two months in the queue.

July 2017 I had no idea what I was getting into.

August 2017 Ohh, this was the bag that I got rid of. That makes sense. I ended up giving the concealer away, but use the Crown brush almost daily. This post marks my first use of “infuriated” in regards to an ipsy product. TWO MONTHS IN I WAS INFURIATED.

September 2017 I do wear the blush as a highlight and have come around on the primer. It makes me look less shiny now that I’ve gotten my skincare under control.

October 2017 I haven’t worn the pencil eyeliner once. I should go see if I’ve thrown it away yet. I never reviewed the sheet masks. I think I remember them being fine.

November 2017 I still haven’t thrown out the yellow eye shadow or the glitter lipstick. Someone tell me to. I need to.

December 2017 All I wanted from ipsy was red lipstick. They sent me exactly one. I threw it away.

January 2018 My first concealer colored lipstick, aww. This is the month that they sent me that weird pumice mask, which is why I ended up buying a domain name. There was a brief period in time when my review of that product was more highly ranked than the Amazon page for it. I bet the company was thrilled.

February 2018 Probably my favorite bad ipsy bag + review. I know that I took pictures for the eye masks, but don’t think I wrote anything up. I’ll try to find them and do a post. If not: They slid all over the place and were unusable. Spoiler alert.

March 2018 This bag wasn’t terrible. Weird.

April 2018 I sorted out the lipstick application for the NYX stuff that you all raved about. I think mine had just settled weird. Other than the nail polish, I think this was the most usable bag that ipsy ever sent me.

May 2018 The leave in conditioner had three uses in it, so we’ll never know how good it is long term. I’ve already forgotten about the lipstick. I’ll have to go see if I still have it.

June 2018 And my final month.

Again: fun but not worth it.
I’ve got another subscription lined up for July. We’ll see if it’s any better.

9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life

I’m going to tell you the secret to being organized. The whole secret. Are you ready?
It is a learned, developed skill. You have to practice it. You do not emerge from the womb completely organized. It is something you become. You have to figure out what works for you to keep you on track. It’s a process.

I use apps for a lot of organization/productivity. I also have two notebooks and obsessively put things into my Google calendar. What needs an app and what needs to be down on paper are different things for different people. This list of apps can help you get started, though.

And finally, all of these apps are free! I’m also only linking to the android store. Sorry, iphone users. You can handle searching.

Image of ClearFocus timer.
ClearFocus
Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It’s pretty simple. You time how long you work and then take a short break, and repeat in cycles. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it really helped me plan my study time when I was in college. I like this app because it lets you name what task you’re working on, and then go back and see how much time you’re spending on each one. I don’t use it as much now that I’m out of school, but I can see it being useful if you have a job where you’re juggling multiple projects.

Image of the Sleep Debt Tracker dashboard.
Sleep Debt Tracker
This isn’t going to give you fitbit levels of sleep tracking, but it does help me make sure that I’m laying in bed without staring at a screen for a minimum amount of time. I find the bedtime reminders particularly helpful. I tend to ignore them if I set them myself.
I need my phone to be an authority figure. #millennial

Image of the Hydro Coach dashboard.
Hydro Coach
Hi, I’m April and I’m admitting to the internet that I am too dumb to remember to drink enough water. This app was EXTRA useful when I was working a job that didn’t let me keep water at my desk. Those exist. It’s rough for the chronically dehydrated.

Image of the Loop Habit Tracker dashboard.
Loop Habit Tracker
This app is so simple, but so useful. I’ve tried some of the fancier habit trackers and they just don’t do it for me. It’s just a checklist. You can set how often you want to do things, and are able to look at a plot of how you’re performing. I use this to keep track of what parts of my rotating skin routine I’ve done most recently.

OurHome
OurHome is definitely made for parents to schedule chores. I don’t have kids. I’m busy and have a busy partner. We set each chore to be worth an amount of points equal to the number of minutes it takes. So ten points of dishes is ten minutes of dishes. It eliminates wondering if you’re doing more housework, and also helps us keep track of when we last cleaned the bathroom.
Though, if you have to ask..clean it again.

Memo
Yeah, the regular memo app in your phone. I use it to keep track of how things fit when I’m shopping and to type up book quotes that I want to use later. I used to keep longer term lists in there, but it turns out I just ignore them.

Mint
I’ve been using Mint for something like seven years at this point. Keep track of your money.

I get daily texts to help me live intentionally & feel like a boss. -Shinetext app
Shine
The only referral link of the bunch. I think I get a sticker if a few people sign up? I love stickers.
Anyway, shine is a little text bot that sends you motivational messages at a set time every week day. I set them to send while I’m on the train for my morning commute. It’s helped me to be a little more reflective and ready to attack my day.

Sample texts from BGSDlist.
BGSDlist
Have you ever wanted Kelly Sue DeConnick to send you sporadic motivational texts? She has lowkey changed my life. I love her.

What are your favorite productivity apps?

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask

Ipsy sent me this sheet mask in March. I used to think that you couldn’t mess up a sheet mask, but they’ve proven me wrong in the past. Let’s take a look at the claims and packaging first.

Meg Cosmetics PM Mask, front packaging.

There is 27 mL of serum in this mask. I’m not sure if that’s comparatively a lot because that’s not a number I’ve paid attention to in the past, but this mask is JUICY. Like be careful opening it, juicy. I nearly shot some in my eye.

Meg Cosmetics PM mask, back packaging. I listed the interesting ingredients below.

The ingredients

  • Eco-friendly lyocell sheet certified by OEKO-TEX
    I did some googling, and as best as I can tell, this certification just means that there weren’t crazy chemicals used in the production process. I was hoping for the sheet to be extra biodegradable or to use less water in the production process, but nah. It’s just a regular woodpulp fabric. I assumed that they’re Standard 100 certified instead of Made In Green. The Made In Green certification is supposed to give me a tracking code with my product that lets me look into the production process. There isn’t one. I’d be into that.
  • Camellia sinesis leaf water
    It’s tea. It’s just tea. Can you imagine being this pretentious?

The other ingredients are pretty normal: some botanical extracts, some typical skin stuff. I did learn that people use arginine for erectile dysfunction. So that’s now in my brain forever.

  • Glucose
    This is normal for skincare, I’m just mad there’s not more of it in the mask because I got some in my mouth. It tastes AWFUL.

How did I get it in my mouth, you ask? This is the worst fitting mask I have ever used.

Just LOOK at how tiny the mouth hole is. It’s really hard to not accidentally eat some of the serum.
Image of the mouth hole for the Meg Cosmetics PM mask. It overlaps with my top lip, which means I eat some of this mask.

As far as the serum formulation, it was a pretty okay mask. I would have preferred that it didn’t smell like lavender, but my skin felt hydrated after I used it. The packaging and actual sheet are just awful, though.

I’m also really cranky that they want to tout an eco-friendly process when there’s an entire extra plastic sheet in there.
A whole extra plastic sheet! With eyes/nose/mouth cutouts.

I’ll just throw that directly into the ocean.

We can do better than this.

Stuff I liked: June 2018

I almost have some exciting real life news, but I’m going to wait until next month to tell you all. I don’t want to jinx it.

I can tell you that my birthday fundraiser for the ACLU went really well! I raised $200 with an additional $10-30 in late donations. I need to hunt those down. That translates to A LOT of painted postcards. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s two that I’ve mailed out already:

Watercolor painting of Killmonger from Marvel's Black Panther movie. It says "IS THIS YOUR POSTCARD?"
Watercolor painting of a Siamese cat on a blue background.

Only, uh, 20 more to go.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review
The Ordinary Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion Review
Birthday Fundraiser for the ACLU! (The fundraiser is over, obviously, but there’s some more art here!)
What Subscription Box Should I Try Next?
June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!
Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid

Podcasts

Reveal I’ve been going through Reveal’s back catalogue. They’re a treasure. They have a really good series on immigration, if you’re not quite sure what’s going on.
ZigZag Radiotopia got new summer shows! This one has women explaining blockchain. I’m two episodes in and it seems like a great podcast.
Ear Hustle Episode 17 – The Row Ear Hustle is on their summer break, so now is a great time to get caught up with them. They interview inmates on death row in this one. An important listen.

I clearly don’t know what fiction podcasts are any more. If you listen to a good one, let me know about it in the comments.

Books

Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and Fonografiks
Saga is so consistently good. If you’re looking for trans characters and discussions of abortion in your sci-fi/fantasy, this is the volume for you. And yes, I look for those things. I can only read about so many stoic middle aged men in spaceships, okay?

Video Games

That summer Steam sale got me. I bought something like 6 games, hated three of them, returned them, and bought two more. Steam has a nice return policy. “It wasn’t fun” is a valid return reason.

Right now I’m playing Fallout 4 and I love it. It got some bad reviews, so I had stayed away from it. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’m having a great time with it.

What are you guys doing this summer?

Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid

It’s time for another sheet mask from my friend in South Korea! And in her defense, she warned me about this one. She told me it was too much and doesn’t absorb well for her, so it might not for me. Did I listen? Nope. I don’t have anywhere to go tonight. I can be a slug.

Eco Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid, front of package

I couldn’t find this sheet mask anywhere. I think it might be marketed differently depending on where it is sold. Beauty Box Korea has it minus the word “eco”, but they left the typo in “friendly”.

I particularly love that the mask is made to fit skin and is skin friendly. Bare minimum requirements, there.

Eco Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid, back of package. It's all in Korean.

The instructions tell you to remove a liner that doesn’t exist, and also point out that this mask is made by LG. You know, like the phones.

What you’re really here for are the unflattering pictures of me wearing it, though. I know.

 

The mask itself is thin and super saturated. Both of those things are pluses for me. It’s large, but the thin fabric easily wrinkles to form to your face. It didn’t slide around for me. It did smell heavily perfumed, which wasn’t the most fun, but I got used to it.

And now that sweet, sweet k-glow.
My face after the sheet mask. Do I have a little glow? Or just a sticky layer of serum on my face? Both.
I mean, almost. Mostly I’m sticky. I’m sticky an hour later with my moisturizer on over it. I’ll still be a little tacky in the morning.

It was fun, but not something that I’m going to buy.

June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!

This is my last ipsy bag EVER! I’m kind of upset that I’ve so clearly loathed them this year. I don’t get to act like I’m rage-quitting because they got a little TERFy this month.

Ipsy just finds another way every month to make me more disappointed. You would think that I’d be numb to them by now. But no, they post a video where one of their ~collaborators~ refers to cisgender women as ‘authentic women’ and then delete a bunch of people’s Facebook comments telling them that isn’t cool. It’s PRIDE MONTH. They are also working with transgender people. Multiple people had to okay this video. No one thought that might be a terrible phrase? Come on, ipsy.

What’s in my bag?
Picutre of my June 2018 ipsy bag and contents.

My least favorite color is yellow so OF COURSE I get that bag.

PACIFICA Mineral 5 Eyeshadow Palette in Tomboy Vibe
Image of Pacifica's Tomboy Vibe palette.
Someone please tell me what this green is. Is it for when I cosplay as kitchen appliances from the 70s? It’s so bad. It’s so bad that on its page ipsy tells you how to do an eyeshadow look that uses every color but the green. Pacifica is fully aware of what they did and named the color “1970”. I am dead.

Ipsy says that the dark brown is matte. It’s not really. Swatches aren’t labelled because I immediately threw away the box with the color names. Boxes are a waste.
Pacifica Tomboy Vibes palette finger swatches without flash.
Pacifica Tomboy Vibes palette finger swatches with flash.
The formula of these actually seems okay. I haven’t tried them beyond the initial swatches because a friend offered to trade me some skincare stuff for it.

Purchase or pass: This palette has the unforgivable green, but Pacifica’s website doesn’t seem so bad.

M·A·C Prep + Prime Skin
Aww, Grumpy Skin’s first MAC product! I thought the foundation that I bought sucked, but it was this primer. My Hard Candy primer that I bought actual years ago works a lot better. Both primers are silicone based, so it’s not a water vs silicone issue.

Purchase or pass: It’s got microplastics in it. It doesn’t play well with my makeup. No thanks.

BIOBELLE #UnicornGlow Perfect Radiance Tencel Facial Mask
Ipsy has heard me yelling about single use items and sent me a biodegradable sheet mask! Maybe one day we’ll get biodegradable packaging so that’s not completely useless.

Purchase or pass: Despite no longer buying sheet masks, I still have an awfully big backlog of ones to try. I’ll get to these.

HEY HONEY Come Clean: Propolis & Minerals Facial Scrub
I actually like this SO MUCH. I suspect that it’s breaking me out. BUT — It smells delicious and is scrubby without feeling abrasive. It’s also got microplastics in it. And, you know, its basically just rubbing salt on your face.

Purchase or pass: I would say “womp womp”, but that’s apparently for Nazis now.

FINDING FERDINAND Mini Lip Stick in Flaming Fuchsia
Finding Ferdinand mini lipstick in Flaming Fuchsia. SO MANY F'S.

I laughed at how small this tube is. They didn’t even bother with a design! Just stuck their name on it.

Finding Ferdinand mini lipstick in Flaming Fuchsia. SO MANY F'S. They've got their logo stamped on the lipstick. A nice touch.

Full face shot of me wearing Finding Ferdinand's Flaming Fuchsia. It's very bright but not awful on my skin tone. I've got raccoon eyes from trying to wash my mascara off.
Purchase or pass: This formula seems not terrible. You can customize colors on their website. *heavy breathing*

And with that, I am freed.

 

What Subscription Box Should I Try Next?

June marks my last ipsy bag. Freedom!!

I wont be renewing the subscription, but I do really enjoy the idea of getting something in the mail every month. What do you guys think should be next for me? I’m leaning towards Birchbox. I’m going to pass on the sheet masks because of the waste. They’re in the poll because I acknowledge these boxes exist.

Descriptions of the options I’ve mapped out are below.

Birchbox – $10/month. Subscribers get a monthly box of makeup, skincare, and hair products. I’m leaning most towards this one.

Sephora Play – $10/month. Subscribers get a monthly box of makeup, skincare, and hair products. Reviews indicate that repeat items happen fairly often.

Facetory – $5.95/month + shipping for four masks or $15.95/month for seven. I think the price is a little steep for what it is, but sheet masks.

Glossybox – $17.50/month if you buy the year upfront. I don’t learn from my subscription mistakes, so I would. Subscribers get beauty products.

Mask Time – $51.85/month for 8-10 masks. A nice idea at a ridiculous price. Probably a better option for people in the UK.

Boxycharm – $19.25/month if you buy the year upfront. The draw of Boxycharm is that they do full sized beauty products. This is my current second choice.

BeautyFIX – $24.95/month. I don’t know as much about BeautyFIX. Is anyone getting them?

Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments!