Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#Review // Birchbox vs Etsy

While Memoirs of a Pilgrim is far from calling itself a beauty blog, I do dabble in the world of low-maintenance looks. I like to think I don't need a whole lot but, I will admit, a few minutes of strategically placed makeup in the morning helps with not having to convince people that I've been legally able to drive for 8 years now.

There are many things I enjoy going shopping for, photography equipment, shinny leggings, hiking gear, ect. Makeup is definitely not one of them. I hate it. so much. The aisles are overwhelming and half of it is crap and is too expensive to chance that it will work well for me. That's why these $10/month subscriptions are blessings in disguise. Not only is it like Christmas every month when i go to open it, but they do all the dirty work and match products perfectly for me. No effort and cheap enough, even for me.

Birchbox was the first I ever heard of this now hugely trending monthly subscription box. Their stunning design and high-end products made me feel like I was part of something exclusive. The luxury ended up being short-lived though as the samples ran out very quickly. 

Best For: Sampling some more expensive brands that are tailored to your profile. Most products seem to run in the $20+ aside from the occasional lip product they'll sometimes provide a full-sized version of. Plus side of the small product size, they're great for traveling with! I'm saving some for when I go on trips or nights out when the smaller sizes will come in handy! They also have nice tutorials, worth following them on Facebook for, even if you have no intention of subscribing! 

Drawbacks: The samples can be really small. A few uses and its up. Unless you have the intention of buying the expensive, full-size afterwards, it can be kind of be a tease. 

I stumbled upon Ipsy and was impressed with their past "glambag's" they proudly display on their front page. What caught my eye the most was the products and their size. They tend to be more makeup focused, though (depending on your profile) will throw in some skin, body & hair care products. 

Best For: Receiving full & generously sized products that are seasonally appropriate. All the products come inside a handy bag that I always seem to find uses for. Overall it's a great value and there is always at least one product that makes the whole bag worth the $10/month. And in case you're craving more, most brands in the bags will offer very decent discount during the month. They also have a very strong online community of "ipsters" actively participating in showing off looks, reviewing products and open for trading. 

Drawbacks: It's really a mix bag (heheh, get it) of a range of products both well and lesser known, some not as "elite" as those in Birchbox. While I never heard of half the products in the bag, I usually find they're still just as great as those I sampled in Birchbox and can be bought at half the price. The Bombshell brand has become a newly discovered favorite! 


Both are just as exciting to receive in the mail every month and have really fun themes and encouraging messages behind them. I personally can only afford one, and canceled my Birchbox in place of Ipsy. At this time in my life, $30 beauty products are far out of reach for me and the small samples in Birchbox aren't going to convince me to spend the money for them. These reviews are after spending 3 months with each.

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