Which is the Best Beauty Subscription Box? {Birchbox, Ispy or Sephora Play?}

Tired of the same old makeup products that you’ve had in your drawer since you were 15?

Yeah,  me too.

What is the best beauty subscription box? Birchbox, Ipsy, or Sephora Play?

And although perusing a makeup store can be fun, it can also be completely overwhelming at the same time. I’d heard of several makeup subscription boxes, including Birchbox, Sephora Play, and Ipsy, so I decided to try them out. They each cost $10 and deliver you a box of 5-6 products each month. I tried them out, so you wouldn’t have to!


Ipsy Review | East 91 Blog

Ipsy was the first subscription I tried. It came in a cute makeup bag (you get a different bag each month!) and had some great products.

  1. drybar Triple Sec Dry Shampoo (full size – $26)
  2. NOMAD Brow Powder Duo (full size – $15)
  3. OUAI Hair Oil (full size – $28)
  4. Colourpop Ultra Glossy Lip (full size – $6)
  5. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush (full size – $28)

Full size value: $103

Number of full-sized products in the bag: 1

Favorite product: The Tarte Amazonian clay blush is AMAZING. One I run out of it, I’m definitely going to pick up the full-size version (the color is “Fiesty”). I’ve never been much of one for blushes, but the color of this is so natural without being too “pink.” It has great pigment and lasts all day.

Least favorite product: Definitely the NOMAD brow powder. The color ended up being way too light and I really haven’t used it at all.

Sephora Play

A friend actually recommended Sephora Play to me (and also, who doesn’t LOVE Sephora?!) so I decided to try it out. The items in the box are all Sephora brands, and they tended to be more high-end and recognizable brands as well. The packaging was “okay” – the items just came in a drawstring bag, which was fine – but could have been a bit more exciting perhaps.

  1. Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Shadow Duo (full size – $29)
  2. Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen (full size – $21)
  3. Makeup Forever HD Arist Rouge Mat Lipstick (full size – $22)
  4. Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Perfume (full size – $195)
  5. Doucce Freematic Eyeshadow Palette (full size – $35)

Full size value: $302

Number of full-sized products in the bag: 1

Favorite product: The Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen is the BEST! I have been looking for forever for a precise eyeliner just like this. It is smooth, easy to use and I tried my first-EVER successful wing-tip with it.

Least favorite product: I usually love Makeup Forever products, but this lipstick was wayyy too red for my tastes. Perhaps if it had been in a different color, I would haved loved it.


Birchbox Beauty Subscription Review - East 91 Blog

The final beauty subscription I tested out was Birchbox. I don’t know why I got seven products (it’s supposed to only have 5), but it made me happy! I think the eyelash curler might have just been a bonus freebie for signing up for the first time. The box was so cute, and they give you a card describing each product and how to use it.

  1. Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow (full size – $10)
  2. Marcelle Ultimate Volume Nano Mascara (full size – $13)
  3. Marula Pure Facial Oil (full size – $78)
  4. Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Treatment (full size – $17)
  5. Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask (full size – $49)
  6. Birchbox Eyelash Curler (full size – $13)
  7. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (full size $22)

Full size value: $202

Number of full-sized products in the bag: 0

Favorite product: The Marula Pure Facial Oil is amazing. I put it on before bed one night and my face felt so moisturized and supple the next morning. Love it!

Least favorite product: Marcelle Ultimate Volume Nano Mascara. I guess it’s not that expensive of a mascara, but I expected better results than my $6.50 drugstore one. It didn’t give much volume and left my eyelashes looking separated, not full and luscious.

The Final Verdict

Wow, this is so hard to choose, because I would say that there is an item I both loved and hated out of each box. I think beauty subscription boxes are awesome and challenge you to try new products and brands that you might never have just picked-up in the store.

As far as value goes, I think Sephora Play definitely has the best value out of any of the boxes. Because all of the items come from Sephora, I felt like I got higher-end brands that I was familiar with or had heard of. However, some of my all-time favorites came from the Ipsy box. However, I felt like Birchbox had a better range of items. Ah, how to choose?!

If you are looking for more recognizable brands, I would definitely recommend going for the Sephora Play subscription. Ipsy was the lowest value, but also had the best presentation and I loved that it came with the little bag. Birchbox gave me a better variety, rather than just more makeup items. I think each has their benefits and downsides.

I hope this provides a little bit of insight into which beauty subscription box you should try. Which one am I going to go to next? Ah, I’m undecided, so maybe I’ll just do all three again! Haha!

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