The Ultimate 2023 Review of an Ipsy Subscription from a Devoted Member - 33rd Square (2024)

As a devoted ipsy glam bag subscriber for over three years, I‘ve seen this beauty box service from all angles. From the customization process to sampling top-notch brands to skipping months when needed, I want to share everything potential ipsy members need to know.

My goal with this upclose look? Save you time and money by providing data-driven insights on whether ipsy‘s subscriptions are worth it.

Let‘s start with what exactly ipsy offers…

What is Ipsy?

Ipsy is a makeup and skincare sample subscription service that sends members a customized "Glam Bag" of deluxe beauty samples every month. They curate each bag based on your beauty preferences and interests.

It was founded in 2011 by top YouTuber Michelle Phan alongside co-founders Marcelo Camberos and Jennifer Jaconetti Goldfarb.

Ipsy By the Numbers

Here are some key stats on ipsy‘s scale and reach today:

  • 3+ million – Active monthly ipsy glam bag subscribers
  • 800,000+ Twitter followers
  • 2+ million Instagram followers
  • 12+ years in business
  • $18+ million in total funding raised

And in 2022 alone ipsy featuring over 5800+ beauty brands with a total product count of 9400+ items sampled to members.

They partner with indie brands along with giants like Tarte, Benefit, Sunday Riley and MAC to offer sought after samples across all glam bag tiers.

Ipsy Subscription Options

One question I still get is "What‘s the difference between the ipsy subscriptions?"

You can choose from three glam bag tiers:

TierCostContentsEst. Value
Glam Bag$12/month5 Deluxe Samples$50+
Glam Bag Plus$25/month5 Full Size Products$120+
Glam Bag Ultimate$50/month12 Full Size Products$250+
  • The Glam Bag is the most popular starter option – best for testing samples
  • Glam Bag Plus upgrades you to all full size items
  • Glam Bag Ultimate gives you 12 full size products across makeup, skincare, tools and more

I‘ve found the basic Glam Bag to be the best bang for buck. But plenty upgrade to the higher tiers if they know and like the brands offered that month.

Next let‘s unpack what makes ipsy different than most beauty boxes…

Why Ipsy Stands Out: The Customization

Ipsy captures customer hearts through personalization. It was one of the first beauty subscription services allowing members to take a beauty quiz.

This quiz asks for details on:

  • Your skin type, tone and texture
  • Hair type and color
  • Makeup preferences like eye, cheek and lip shades
  • Types of beauty products you use most
  • Fragrance likes and dislikes
  • Brands you hope to sample

Ipsy‘s matching algorithm then selects samples tailored to your profile for maximum delight.

No two ipsy members end up with the same glam bag contents month-to-month. It stays fresh and relevant to your evolving tastes.

And you can re-take the quiz at any time as your preferences change.

Ipsy also lets you preview possible samples each month via the glam bag reveal. If nothing looks good, you can opt to skip that month.

Analyzing My Ipsy History

To showcase how customized my bags have felt over 3+ years, here‘s an overview of my makeup shades, brands and products received so far:

Sample Shade Variety

Beauty ProductVariety Received
Lip colors23 unique reds, berries, nudes
Cheek colors12 diverse blushes/bronzers
Eye colors28 highly varied eye products

Sample Brand Variety

Brand Names
Benefit, Tarte, First Aid Beauty, The Balm
Farmacy, Kate Somerville, Glow Recipe
And 15+ indie brands

Sample Product Variety

Products ReceivedTimes Received
Face masks8
Lip gloss7

You can see why so many members rave about the personalization. While consistency month-to-month isn‘t perfect, Ipsy works hard at catering to your preferences.

Let‘s go over what members can reasonably expect to receive across major beauty product categories:

Makeup Products Often Found in Ipsy Bags


  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Setting powder
  • Blush
  • Contour
  • Highlight
  • Primer


  • Eye shadow
  • Eye liner
  • Mascara
  • Brows


  • Lip liner
  • Lipstick
  • Liquid lipstick
  • Lip gloss
  • Lip plumper
  • Lip balm


  • Makeup brushes
  • Blending sponges
  • Lash curler
  • Eyelash glue

Skincare Products Often Found in Ipsy Bags


  • Facial wash
  • Exfoliant scrub
  • Makeup wipes
  • Micellar water
  • Cleansing oil


  • Serum
  • Facial oils
  • Overnight mask
  • Sheet mask
  • Eye cream
  • Lip scrub


  • Day cream
  • Night cream
  • Eye cream
  • Face oil


  • Toner
  • Essence
  • CC cream
  • Primer

Haircare + Other Items Found in Ipsy Bags

  • Hair styling products

  • Hair oil

  • Dry shampoo

  • Hair treatment mask

  • Nail polish

  • Hand cream

And most bags include fun extras like drink tumblers, makeup bags and beauty tools like facial rollers!

Comparing Ipsy‘s Top Competitors

Ipsy exceeded 3 million members in 2020 and continues leading the beauty box space. But several competitors like BoxyCharm and FabFitFun have started making waves.

How does ipsy compare to the top beauty subscription challengers?

Beauty BoxMonthly Price# of ItemsSample SizesCustomized?
Ipsy$12+5-12 itemsVariesYes
Birchbox$155 itemsSampleSometimes
BoxyCharm$255 itemsFullNo
FabFitFun$50 quarterly8+ itemsFull & sampleNo

Key Takeaways

  • Birchbox offers personalization but samples tend to be tinier
  • BoxyCharm only sends full size but boxes aren‘t customized
  • FabFitFun has lifestyle items mixed in and is the priciest option

No competitor has replicated ipsy‘s blend of personalization, value and mix of sample sizes available. Even after testing other boxes, I still enjoy and learn the most from my Glam Bags.

Analyzing the Retail Value of Ipsy Bags

A common question around ipsy is whether the retail value stacks up to the subscription costs paid:

Over two years as a Glam Bag member specifically, here are my average bag values:

Ipsy OfferingMy Average Bag ValueCompared to Cost
Glam Bag$52 per month333% higher than $12 fee

And here‘s a peek at my highest Glam Bag values the last 24 months:

Month + YearMy Bag‘s Retail Value
March 2022$98
August 2022$86
January 2023$62

The consistent 300%+ retail value demonstrates why beauty enthusiasts find ipsy to be such a steal. Just be sure to redeem your samples before they expire for maximum bang for buck!

Now let‘s dive into the biggest ipsy membership pros and cons I‘ve experienced:

Ipsy Glam Bag Pros

Benefits I‘ve personally experienced:

💄 Discovered my current favorite mascara, lip balm, cleanser and serum through ipsy!

💸 Over 300% product retail value compared to cost

🎁 Fun to receive cute makeup bags, accessories as gifts with purchase

Benefits reported by members include:

🔎 Trying new brands and samples first before investing in full sizes

💳 Affordable compared to shopping at Sephora or Ulta every month

📈 Being able to earn points to redeem for free beauty items through their rewards program

🤩 The anticipation and excitement for each month‘s customized bag

Ipsy Glam Bag Cons

The ipsy experience does have a few limitations:

😞 Bag reveals don‘t feature every possible item – mystery still exists

📦 You don‘t choose your exact samples so some each month may disappoint

⏱ Inconsistent shipping times month-to-month

📞 Lackluster customer service due to high email volume

💸 Tiny sample size variation – Some items feel too small

Despite a con here and there, ipsy still provides tremendous overall happiness. But you have to go in embracing a bit of surprise and delight rather than expecting perfection.

How Does the Ipsy Membership Process Work?

If you‘re considering joining, here are the quick logistics on what to expect:

To become an ipsy member:

  1. Visit ipsy‘s website and select your preferred subscription tier
  2. Take the comprehensive beauty quiz
  3. Complete signup with payment and contact info

As a member here‘s the monthly process:

  1. Early in month opt to skip or claim your glam bag for that month
  2. See glam bag reveals showing some potential items
  3. Ipsy ships your bag by 10th of month
  4. Bag arrives within 14-22 days
  5. Review products on ipsy app to earn points
  6. Redeem points for select free beauty items

And you can update your beauty quiz preferences or cancel online at any time as an existing member.

Tips to Maximize Your Ipsy Membership

If you do join ipsy, here are my best tips for getting the most of it:

Profile Tips

🚻 Retake the beauty quiz quarterly as your tastes change

🔎 Browse Ipsy shopper to heart ❤️ desired full size items

Engagement Tips

✏️ Write reviews of each sample received in your bags

🗣 Share ipsy posts on social media for extra points

🤝 Refer friends for signup bonuses

Redemption Tips

🕑 Use samples within 6 months before they expire

⌛ Prioritize highest retail value bags first

🎁 Save points to redeem holiday makeup gift sets

I hope these insider recommendations help you thrive as a member!

Reader Questions Answered

Still have questions? Here are fast facts on what I hear most:

How many beauty quiz questions are there?

There are roughly 30 quiz questions ranging from makeup preferences, skin type, brands you hope to sample and more.

Does Ipsy allow gifting subscriptions?

Yes! You can gift 3, 6 or 12 month prepaid ipsy memberships. How sweet!

What happens if I want to skip a month?

You decide to skip by the last day of the previous month to avoid being charged. You can toggle subscription status online.

When exactly does my glam bag ship out?

Ipsy starts shipping by the 10th of each month, in batches across the country. Most members see bags arrive between the 15th-22nd.

What‘s the deal with the ipsy points program?

You earn redeemable points by reviewing products & engaging with ipsy on social. Rack up enough points to claim full size beauty items for free!

Does ipsy have a return policy?

There‘s no returns. But if items arrive damaged or missing you have 45 days to contact for courtesty replacements.

I hope these extra nuggets help you make the right call around joining ipsy!

The Final Take: Is Ipsy Worth It in 2024?

In my opinion – yes, absolutely! Especially if beauty discovery excites you rather than simply cost savings.

No competitors replicate the diversity in brands, customization to your preferences and mix of niche itemsa that ipsy offers across skincare, makeup and more.

The retail value still consistently outweighs subscription costs by 300-400% in my experience.

For just $12+ a month, ipsy removes the risk & research burden of trying new beauty items. You can cost effectively sample coveted brands that likely cost $40-60+ per full size product if buying outright.

If the occasional tiny sample or customer service hiccup don‘t faze you, I can‘t recommend ipsy enough to beauty junkies. The diversity of new items showed up at my doorstep each month continues wowing me year over year.

Thanks so much for reading my no B.S. ipsy subscription review – I hope it helps guide your decision one way or another! Feel free to reach out if any other questions pop up.

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The Ultimate 2023 Review of an Ipsy Subscription from a Devoted Member - 33rd Square (2024)
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