Ipsy, A Year In Review

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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.

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.

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!

May 2018 Ipsy Bag

Ipsy is a monthly makeup subscription that I stupidly bought an entire year of up front. I have not been enjoying it.

IT’S MY PENULTIMATE BAG. I’m almost free!
This month’s theme is Go There. I kind of like the idea of a travel bag covered in passport stamps. I might keep this one.

Not that I’ve done anything with the old bags. What would I do with them? I only leave the house so often. Someone please come take them from me.

What’s in my bag
May 2018 ipsy bag and contents. The bag is a light yellow with an orange-y red passport stamp pattern.

BRIOGEO HAIR CARE Rosarco Milk™ Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray
I’ve been wanting leave in conditioner and have held off on buying some because I knew that this was coming. Hair products from ipsy have worked decently in the past. A shocker, I know. You can only mess up so much by putting oil in frizzy hair.

Purchase or pass: Preemptively going to pass. I’m not crazy about the smell. It’s not going to last long, either. My hair is too thick for the formula.

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
I cashed in points for this, so I have no complaints about the fact that I got it. I’ve been wanting to see how my skin reacts to squalane. Any benefits are going to be attributed to that.

Purchase or pass: It’s a $40 lotion. It’s a $40 lotion that doesn’t seem particularly hydrating. I shouldn’t want to layer my CeraVe over a $40 lotion.

Swatch time? Swatch time. This one is without flash:

Swatches on my arm with no flash. You can't see the tarte cosmetics finishing powder.

This one is with:

Swatches on my arm with no flash. You CAN see the tarte cosmetics finishing powder. They insist there's no flashback, but okay.

TOUCH IN SOL Style Sepia Gel-Liner in Jardin
Image of the touch in sol style sepia eyeliner. It's a sample size, but otherwise looks normal.

I’m only a little disappointed it’s not made from cuttlefish ink. I’d love to have makeup made of cuttlefish rage.

Top view of the touch in sol eye liner. Upon further inspection, the sample appears to be a tiny cone of eye liner sitting on a big stick rather than a true pencil.

Wait a second.
This whole pencil is plastic. Do I sharpen the plastic? Did they make an entire plastic stick to just put a little cone of eyeliner at the top? I can’t get anything to twist. Are they this stingy? I think they’re this stingy.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It’s got polyethylene as an ingredient. Polyethylene was banned as a microbead, but cosmetic companies are still allowed to use it more dispersed. Our Earth Day kick is in full swing at grumpyskin. Not sorry.

OFRA COSMETICS Liquid Lipstick in ipsy Unzipped
I was pretty okay with not getting this lipstick back in February. I’m not feeling AT ALL like ipsy realized they had a case of these left over and didn’t know what to do with them, so they tossed them to some of us three months later. That was sarcasm. Offer it as a bonus instead of an actual item, jfc ipsy.

Having said that, the color is more berry than nude. I don’t hate it.
Lip swatch of the ofra lipstick in unzipped. Nothing weird here. It's a "nude berry" color.

Purchase or pass: We’ll see how it wears.

TARTE COSMETICS Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
I’m sick of getting tarte items. I think this is my third one. Their blush is nice, but their bronzer breaks me out. We’ll see how my skin reacts to this.

Swatching it wasn’t a good experience, though. I HATED how the swatch felt. I have to work up to covering my face in it. Do you know how two layers of tissue paper feel when they slip up against each other? That’s what my skin felt like.

Purchase or pass: Pass.

I’m only going to call them out for using talc here because they make a point of saying that there are no parabens so “it’s good for you”. Do you guys think tarte sources their talc from distributors that test for asbestos or nah? I emailed them to ask, but for some reason cosmetics companies don’t like answering my emails. #nevergonnabesponsored

My dream cosmetics company would tell you exactly where every ingredient comes from and post their quality and safety testing data. Let me know if they ever exist.

BEAUTE BASICS Eyeshadow in Satin Taupe
A perfectly acceptable shimmery brown eyeshadow. The eyeliner is in this image, too.
My closed eyes wearing the eye shadow and eyeliner. Both have a subtle shimmer to them.

But in the interest of dragging ipsy:
The beaute basics palette arrived shattered. Bummer.

Purchase or pass: Pass.Their website is so bad that I don’t think I’d be emotionally capable of giving them money.

What do you guys think ipsy will sent me for my last month? I’m thinking a plastic set of pastel themed makeup that are all cracked, a sheet mask that accidentally lights on fire, and a final eff you black felt eyeliner.


 

April 2018 Ipsy Bag

The situation: You give ipsy $10 a month. Ipsy sends you a “curated” bag of makeup samples. Mostly I hate it.

This month’s theme is “social butterfly”. They’re mocking me. I like going to bed early and reading books. I refuse to go to an event if there are more than three people there. Show of hands, how many times have you personally asked me to go to something and I’ve told you that I don’t want to? They even sent a little card with this bag telling me to say yes to everything this month.

No.

What’s in my bag
Picture of my April 2018 ipsy bag and contents. Baker (my cat) came over to nuzzle things because he can't stand not being the center of attention. This month's bag is white and covered in pink/purple butterflies with pink foil corners.

Baker would not let me take a fancy flat lay picture.

Swatches without flash (left) and with flash (right):

PRETTY WOMAN Nail Polish in Girl Boss
We’re going to ignore that lavender nail polish tends to look weird with my skin and go straight to the formula. I swatched this without a base or top coat to get a look at the color. This is the fastest drying nail polish that I’ve ever seen in my life. I actually watched the solvent evaporate.

The first coat was pretty weird and patchy. It looks kind of like a golf ball. There are dents everywhere from how quickly it dried.
Pretty Woman nail polish in Girl Boss on my thumb nail. It's a very light lavender color.

I thought for sure the second coat would be even weirder, but it mostly evened out.

Purchase or pass: Other than the color, it’s pretty nice. I might consider another one of their colors after my next big nail polish purge.

TRIFLE COSMETICS Sugar Bunny Lip Scrub

Image of the Trifle Cosmetics Sugar Bunny lip scrub container. It's white, with a mosaic of white bunnies in black dresses.Some of the Trifle Cosmetics lip scrub on my index finger. It's light green and grainy.

Oh hey, a full sized product! That’s awesome because I’d never spend $18 on a sugar scrub. It smells exactly like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It does not taste like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I checked.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It works well, but I could dump some sugar in literally any lip balm and it would do the same thing for less than $18. However, I’m eyeing their Lip Parfait in Summer Cone. It’s the same price, but you don’t immediately wipe it off.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan
Have you ever wanted to coat your lips in silicone face primer? Because that’s the exact texture of this lip cream. Applying it was an experience. Once you get it down into a thin layer it’s okay. Getting to that thin layer is the issue. Just check out that chunk!
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've got a chunk on my cupids bow from the applicator not holding product well.
It’s so thick and clumpy on the applicator. I’m not sure if my tube has started to dry out or if the texture is just terrible. Once it mostly dries you can’t tell that you’re wearing anything.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've cleaned up the chunky bit and it looks nice.
Purchase or pass: I’m torn. I think it’s a pass based on the trauma of the application.

DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Sweet Mint
It’s a hand cream that smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I was going to fuss at it for being expensive, but it’s actually not. It’s just a solid hand cream that smells a little bit too much like dessert. Seriously, my hands are making me hungry.

Purchase or pass: I found a $15 off affiliate link (you get $15, I get $15). They’ve got a box set of half sized hand creams for $9 and I want it.

NOMAD COSMETICS Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun
Nomad Cosmetics Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun. It's a tiny little pan.

I’m cranky about how tiny this highlighter is. It came in a little carboard box that I had to rip in half because physics didn’t intend for packaging that small to be able to open.

Having said that, this highlighter packs a pretty hard punch. It’s a nice champagne color without looking yellow. I’m not a fan of the mica concentration, but I’ve started to feel that all powder highlights are too much light straight glitter for me.

Purchase or pass: Their website auto-plays music. Hard pass. (I also couldn’t find this product on their website, but mostly the auto-play is a sin.)

Wow, I think that everything in this month’s bag was usable! It must be because I finally cancelled my subscription. But never fear, I’m getting bags until June and picking a new subscription for July.

I don’t learn from my mistakes.

BLAQ Meteor Shower

meteorshower

Ooh, boy. (And hi Baker!) Remember in February when I said that this was the most distressing thing that ipsy had sent me?

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

I like outer space. A lot. I’ve cried in the DC museum twice. I can name whoever is speaking on NASA TV at pretty much any time. I’ve been caught timing my runs so that I can stop and wave at the ISS as it passes overhead.

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

I don’t like that I can be given a one time use meteorite that I am expected to wash down the drain.

I have part of a meteorite in a necklace. A lot of them land in Africa and are then sold. Ultimately they’re dirt, so I understand that this scrub is just a gimmick. Meteorites aren’t bad for your skin, I guess. We aren’t robbing them from museums. The ones being sold to be made into scrubs aren’t scientifically interesting. There’s no real reason why this is so upsetting to me other than I really value outer space, so treating it like it’s disposable hurts my soul. I wasn’t going to use it at all. I was just going to rant here.

Then I got this email:
"Hi April, We are reaching out because your February Glam Bag contains the BLAQ Meteor Shower Scrub. We've heard from a few members who already tried their sample that it may be difficult to wash off. We wanted to reach out to all ipsters who received this item and recommend you apply the body scrub on a small area of your skin first before using it in the shower. If you find the scrub difficult to remove, there are a couple of solutioins for removing excess residue the scrub may leave on your skin. 1. Rub an oil (we like coconut oil!) or any oil based cleanser in a circular motion and rinse off with warm water, or 2. Apply any soap (body wash, hand soap) to the area, rub in a circular motion, and rinse off with warm water. If you have any questions, ipsyCare will be happy to help you.

Ipsy sent out a product so bad that they had to send an email explaining how to wash it off! You bet I’m using it now.

I decided to rub down one of my legs. I figured if it was nice, awesome. I have some ingrown hairs and could use some exfoliation. If I stain my leg black..pants are an easy way to avoid questions.

Blaq meteor scrub pre-rinsing. My leg is very gray.

It wasn’t very pleasant to rub on. It has a weird earthy smell that I’m not into, and the texture is hard to spread. I like a higher oil content in my scrubs. It also felt pretty harsh. My go to scrub is some white sugar dumped in whatever oil I have in the kitchen.

Buying scrubs is kind of dumb. Yeah, it’s fun as a luxury item. You guys know you can make your own really easily, right? Okay. Good.

Anyway. I decided to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and just rinse it off.
Blaq meteor scrub post-rinsing. My leg is gray and patchy, despite evenly rinsing it off.

I was still gray and patchy. Okay, so using a loofah should scrape it off, right?
Blaq meteor scrub post scrubbing. Most the gray has come off, but a small amount remains. The instructions from the company specifically say not to scrub it off.

That mostly got it. The irritation (that probably only I can see) is from shaving a few days ago, not the scrub. I look slightly gray tinged and dirty, instead of incandescent and shimmering.

Are we surprised? I’m throwing the rest of it out.

Did anyone else try it? I heard that some people had issues with irritation and allergic reactions, so be careful if you do.