Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is Ipsy Worth It?: An Analytical Approach

A question I see pop up fairly often on forums is, "Is ipsy worth it?" Is ten bucks a month warranted for the subscription service? Obviously, this is a very subjective question. What's "worth it" to one person may not be "worth it" to another; one man's trash, and all that. Instead of trying to answer the question outright, I thought it might be helpful to go through the bags I've received since joining, and decide how many things I loved, liked, wasn't thrilled with, or thought just plain sucked. So, if you're interested in rummaging through my ipsy stash with me, grab your labcoat and goggles, and prepare to get scientific...ish...

Before we go any further, here's how ipsy describes the service:
ipsy is a beauty community in which ipsters can learn new beauty tricks and participate along with their favorite beauty Stylists in monthly looks. By subscribing to Glam Bags, you will receive 4 to 5 sample or full-sized beauty (makeup, skincare, haircare, and nailcare) goodies each month that are curated just for you.
The site also mentions community participation and social media communication as benefits, if you're into that sort of thing. As for how the bags are "curated":
We customize all Glam Bag products using a personalization tool called ipsyMatch! This sophisticated system pulls the results from your personal profile, your Beauty Quiz, and your activity on We use this data to consistently create a Glam Bag filled with the best beauty picks just for you month after month!

Using ipsyMatch technology to get the products you want in your upcoming Glam Bag is easy! We start with having you take the Beauty Quiz when you sign up as a member on You can re-take the Quiz at any time by heading here, or by visiting your Glam Room. Make sure you have marked the Skin Tone, Hair Color, and Eye Color that best suits you! These are always very important inputs for personalization.

Additionally, we love to use your product feedback to customize your Glam Bags! By clicking into your "Glam Room" you will see the option to review products for each of the goodies we send you. These reviews earn ipsyPoints (10 points apiece) and they also give us a better idea of the types of products and brands you would like to see in your Glam Bags!
This validity of the above statement is highly debatable. Personally, I don't buy it 100%. I feel like some of the quiz answers may be considered some of the time, but don't count on being able to customize your bag. Just because you mark that you don't like, say, mascara, don't expect to never receive a tube. If there's a brand you detest, you can hope for the best, but plan on getting something from it at some point. Skin tone doesn't really matter, either. You can be porcelain and still receive a gorgeous mahogany concealer (and vice-versa). You can either work with it, trade it on a forum, throw it away, or complain about it. The thing is, there are some items that everyone will receive, regardless. There are other items that are variable, and the quiz may (or may not) affect what goes into your bag. It's a mystery bag, so it's a gamble.

From my experience, I can vouch for the part about "4-5 sample or full-sized beauty...goodies". I've never received fewer than four items, and have actually received five products most months, with November bringing in six. I'd also have to say that most of the items have been full-sized, and the deluxe sizes have been very generous. The question is: have they all been useful? Also, the point of a sample sub is to try out new and different brands. Did I get to do that? Let's find out!

All of my ipsy bag reviews from April through October are posted, and you can find them here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. November never went up because, well...I accidentally deleted all of the photos. Yeah, I'm a genius. For the record, I received an em cosmetics lipstick in Nude, a Be a Bombshell lip crayon in Hot Damn, Nailtini nail polish in Champagne, Pixi bronzer in Subtly Sunkissed, a Starlooks Gem eye pencil in Topaz, BH Cosmetics baked shadow single in Aprodite, and a cheapie little gold wristlet (I'm not in this for the bags).

Now, for the rankings!
*D means Deluxe, F means Full-Sized

Use Regularly: 22, $218.70 
D MicaBeauty mineral eyeshadow ($14.95)
F Sation nail polish ($5)
F Be a Bombshell blush ($16)
D Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Nourishing Styling Treatment ($4.39)
D Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss ($9)
F Cailyn gel liner ($21)
F Chella highlighting pencil ($18)
F NYX blush ($5)
D Sexy Hair Weather Proof humidity spray ($8.45)
F Demeter perfume ($10)
D Michael Todd charcoal scrub ($5.29)
F Noya lip balm ($3.99)
F NYX eyeshadow ($4.50)
D Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm ($16.63)
F Zoya Nail Polish in Giovanna ($8)
D Be Delectable hand cream ($5)
D Buxom Lip Polish ($9)
D Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel ($6)
F em cosmetics lipstick ($16.50)
F Nailtini Nail Lacquer ($13)
D Pixi Bronzer ($5)
F Starlooks Gem eye pencil ($14)

Like, But Use Less Often (Probably Wouldn't Repurchase): 11, $86.07
D St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow body lotion ($6.08)
F Yaby concealer ($4.85)
F Zoya nail polish in Blu ($8)
F Mirabella Colour Sheer lipstick ($22)
D BH Cosmetics eyeshadow palette ($1)
D Coola moisturizer ($5.15)
F City Color cheek stain ($2.99)
F Starlooks Kohl eye pencil ($12)
D Elizabeth Mott It's So Big mascara ($8)
D Be a Bombshell lip crayon ($14)
D BH Cosmetics Galaxy baked eyeshadow ($2)

Didn't Care For, But Not a Bad Product (Just Not For Me): 4, $21.48
F Starlooks lipliner ($12)
F POP Beauty lip crayon ($4.16)
F Freeman Beauty masks ($1.99)
D La Fresh Oil-Free face wipes ($3.33)

Failure of Epic Proportions: 3, $17.07
F J. Cat Sparkling Cream Palette ($4.49)
D Pacifica BB Cream ($5.44)
D Pixi Lash Booster mascara ($7.14)

40: products
21: Full-Sized
19: Deluxe Samples
33: liked or loved
7: couldn't use or didn't like
30: brands received

9: months
90: dollars spent
10: dollars spent per bag
2.25: dollars per item
74.25: dollars spent on liked items
15.75: dollars spent on disliked items

343.32: approx. retail value
38.15: approx. average retail value per bag (in dollars)
304.77: approx. retail value of liked items (in dollars)
38.55: approx. retail value of disliked items (in dollars

4.44: approx. average number of items per bag
7.43: approx. equivalent of liked "bags" (based on average)
1.58: approx. equivalent of disliked "bags" (based on average)

Based on this data (and everyone receives different bags of differing values, so this is purely a personal account), I believe that ipsy is worth the money for me. It might not be for you, but were I trying to decide whether to keep or cancel my subscription, this would have tipped the scale over to "keep". For me. Everybody's situation is unique, so don't let me tell you what to do. I'm just putting the information out there, in case anyone was curious. I hope this can be of use to some of y'all.

Now, bring on the December bag!


  1. Thanks for this.
    It's easy to get paranoid with ALL of the reviews out there, because it is SO easy to create fake reviews.
    THIS does not seem fake. I get that it's YOUR own personal experience with this subscription, but you give me more than: 'I like this more than such and such.... because they have better products'. I like specifics! :) So thanks!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad that this was helpful. I'm more into specific reviews, too. If someone says something is good or bad, that's fine, but tell me WHY! :) Thanks for commenting!


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