Let's face it: makeup is expensive. Even if you get it from a drugstore, makeup will burn through your wallet faster than Kylie's newest Lip Kit will sell out. For someone who doesn't wear it daily but still likes to try new things, this can become a rather costly hobby, especially when you buy from some of the more pricey brands. So when I discovered a company that would send me an array of makeup items every month for ten bucks, I was pretty stoked. Personally I use Ipsy, but there are a bunch of different companies, all focused on different types of products at different price ranges. If you aren't really sure if a makeup subscription box will be worth it, let me fill you in on the pros and cons*.
1. Do I Pick What Products I Get?
The simple answer is no, you don't get to pick out exactly what you want. When you first set up an account with Ipsy, you take a quiz to help build your beauty profile. It's pretty simple; they ask what kind of products you like (mascara, eyeliner, concealer, foundation, eyeshadow, etc.) and what brands you are interested in trying (Tom Ford, Too Faced, etc.) as well as questions about your skin, hair and skill level. Based off of this quiz, Ipsy curates a glam bag based on your preferences. At first I did not like the idea of having so little control. As is true for most people, I like knowing what I am spending my money on. However, I have found some products that I never would have tried otherwise. Sometimes it's good to be pushed out of your comfort zone. On the other hand, if you know what you want and you're not looking to try something new (which is totally okay) then this aspect of the subscription probably won't jive with you.
Getting a small box of makeup every month is like having eleven extra mini birthdays. As a busy college student, it works as a great motivator and a fun little treat at the end of a hard day, or week or month. Plus, getting mail is super exciting.
3. Saving Money
Okay, hear me out on this one, because the thought process is a little convoluted, but it will make sense, I promise. Imagine going into Sephora, or Ulta Beauty, or Target, or wherever you buy makeup. How much can you get with ten dollars? At a drugstore, maybe two items. Sephora? Maybe a fifth of an eyeshadow palette. I'm going to say it again because it's true: makeup is EXPENSIVE. This makes testing out different products to find the best fit is next to impossible on a budget. There's nothing more devastating than buying eyeliner for $20, only to find out that it sucks (yes, it happened to me and yes, I am still bitter about it.) If you pay $10 for five items, that means you are paying about $2 per item. The stakes are much lower, so if you get something you don't really like, it isn't a huge loss.
4. Sample Size
Everything in the Ipsy glam bag comes in a sample size, meaning that it's smaller than the actual product you'd buy in a store. For people who don't wear a lot of makeup all the time, this is perfect. A little known fact about makeup is that it does expire. Whether or not I actually throw away my expired makeup is none of your business, but if I was the kind of person who only threw away mascara after it was completely gone, then sample size is great. However, for people who use a lot of makeup, this can be kind of a downer. But hey, at least you know you'll get your money's worth for the real thing.
5. Online Experience
In addition to the products you get each month, Ipsy also has a website. You can read about your products, see what other people got in their bags, review your bag and watch how to videos. You also get access to special offers and giveaways, if you're into that sort of thing. There certainly seems to be effort being put into online content, which is critical for any company, so I expect that the site will become more interactive, and there will be more content in the coming years.
6. The Glam Bags
At Ipsy, your glam bag is always ADORABLE. Seriously, these makeup bags are super cute, and as my makeup collection grows, the bags become more and more useful. They are small enough to fit in a purse, or even a coat pocket, but big enough to hold any emergency makeup you may need during an outing.
So, is a makeup subscription right for you? If you've got an extra ten bucks, I'd say give one month a shot and go from there. It isn't for everyone, but you can't know until you try.
*My experience is based solely on Ipsy, and I was not paid to review and/or talk about their product.