Birchbox vs IPSY — Which Is The Best Beauty Subscription Box?

Keeping up with the latest beauty products is essential if you want to look your best. But reading up on everything can be time-consuming. Fortunately, beauty subscription boxes make this process much more manageable.

In this Birchbox vs IPSY article, we’ll review two of the biggest names in the beauty subscription world and help you decide which one is the best for you.

Birchbox vs IPSY — What Are They?

Birchbox and IPSY are monthly subscription services for beauty products. Each month, they send you a box filled with incredible beauty products to try out.

Who Owns Them?

birchboxKatia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna founded Birchbox on September 10, 2010. They started in the US with a headquarters in New York. Today, you can also find the service in the UK, France, Spain, and Belgium.

Michelle Phan, a famous beauty YouTuber, founded IPSY on November 21, 2011. She left the company in 2017, which is now owned by Beauty For All Industries. It all started in the US with a headquarters in San Mateo, California.

What Do They Offer?

Before we compare IPSY and Birchbox, note that they’re very similar as both offer beauty subscription boxes. They fill them with products for skincare, haircare, makeup, fragrances, and more.

How Do They Work?

Both subscriptions start with a signup process and creating your Beauty Profile. Then, you simply wait for your box delivery.

What Is the Sign Up Process?

To start with Birchbox, you first need to visit the official site. Then, click on the “Subscribe” button. After this, you choose your plan and proceed to checkout. You also need to create your “Beauty Profile,” where you enter information about the products you like. This way, the service can tailor the box to your preferences.

Whether you’re signing up to IPSY vs Birchbox, you first have to fill out a “Beauty Quiz” to create your profile. After that, you can order a box.

What Does Each Box Contain?

Every Birchbox comes with 4–6 deluxe samples from various categories, including:

  • Skincare
  • Makeup
  • Body Care
  • Fragrance
  • Hair Care

An IPSY box contains 5 deluxe or sample-sized beauty products, such as makeup, skincare, haircare, and nail care.

What Brands Do They Offer?

Both IPSY and Birchbox work with well-known brands.

Birchbox works with:

  • Acure
  • Foreo
  • Benefit Cosmetics
  • Nexxus
  • Sunday Riley
  • Purlisse
  • Glow Recipe
  • Amika
  • BareMinerals

Ipsy offers brands like:

  • Huda Beauty
  • Verso
  • Purlisse
  • Farsali
  • QMS
  • 111Skin
  • First Aid Beauty

But these are just a few examples, and you’ll find many more brands with both subscriptions.

Can You Customize Your Box?

Birchbox offers the “Sample Choice” option, where you can pick one item that goes in your box. A team of experts selects the rest. The option to choose opens on the 26th or 27th of each month.

Ipsy BoxWhen we look at IPSY compared to Birchbox, the former also allows you to choose one item out of ten, leaving the rest to a team of experts. The option to pick opens around the 20th to 25th of each month and a notification will arrive in your “Upcoming Events.”

IPSY also offers a bit more customization. With its Glam Bag Plus plan and Glam Bag X, you can choose three products you like on the 2nd or 3rd of each month.

What Are the Subscription Plans and Prices?

So, what is the difference between IPSY and Birchbox in terms of plans?

Birchbox offers different types of payment, so you only get to choose how many months you want to subscribe. The box stays the same for every plan, and you can pick a Prepaid Plan or a Monthly Plan.

With the Prepaid Plan, you pay the full price on the day of subscribing and don’t have to bother paying for the next months. You have three options:

  • 3-month plan — $45 ($15 a box)
  • 6-month plan — $84 ($14 a box)
  • 12-month plan — $156 ($13 a box)

The Monthly Plan means that you pay every month and includes four options:

  • 1 month — $15 billed monthly
  • 3 months — $15 billed monthly
  • 6 months — $14 billed monthly
  • 12 months — $13 billed monthly

So, which is better: IPSY or Birchbox? Let’s also explore the IPSY plans before deciding:

  • Glam Bag — A monthly subscription with 5 deluxe-size beauty samples, of which you can choose one ($13)
  • Glam Bag Plus — A monthly subscription with 5 full-size beauty products, of which you can choose three ($28)
  • Glam Bag X — A quarterly, members-only upgrade with 7–8 full-size products, of which you can choose three. It comes in February, May, August, and December and replaces your usual monthly box. ($55)

Are They Worth It?

Is Birchbox or IPSY better when it comes to the product value included?

We estimate that the retail value of IPSY products in the Glam Bag comes up to $50. The Glam Bag Plus is around $120, and the Glam Bag X is roughly $350. The items are full-sized in the more expensive plans, which is a big plus.

As for the Birchbox products, the estimated value is around $30 per box. This is the total price for all included deluxe sample-sized products.

How Does Delivery Work?

Let’s compare IPSY service vs Birchbox service when it comes to delivery.

Birchbox ships its boxes on the 10th of each month, unless it’s your first box, which gets to you 10 business days after ordering. The delivery is free. The service ships only to the US from its main headquarters and has separate sites for the UK, France, and Spain.

IPSY ships around the middle of each month, so expect to get your box on the 3rd or 4th week. The service delivers to the US, Canada, and Mexico. The shipping is free for the US and Mexico, and it costs $2.95 for Canada.

Is Skipping And Canceling Easy?

Let’s compare Birchbox and IPSY according to their cancellation process.

Birchbox Reviews - Unboxing 2018You can cancel your Birchbox subscription in your “Account Settings” under the “Subscriptions” heading. If you’ve already been billed, your subscription will be canceled next month. 

For the 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions, you’ll get a notice 30 days before the subscription auto-renews. Note that you cannot cancel the subscription mid-term, and you cannot skip a month with Birchbox.

So, is it easier to cancel your IPSY box vs Birchbox

To cancel your IPSY subscription, you have to go to “Account”, then “View Membership.” After that, click on “Manage Membership” and on “Help me stop my membership.” That’s when you’ll be asked if you want to “Skip a month.” If you don’t, you can go forward and choose the reason for your canceling. After this, you need to confirm your cancelation via email while you’re logged into your IPSY account. You must do this by 12 PM PT on the last day of the month.

Are There Any Reward Programs?

When it comes to reward programs, which one is better: IPSY or Birchbox?

Birchbox has a program for “Loyalty Points” — 1 point for each $1 you spend. You can collect these points and use them at checkout when purchasing any full-sized items from the shop, but you can’t buy a subscription with them. Also, the points expire six months after you get them. 

There’s also the Birchbox Aces Program for VIP customers. You can become a Birchbox Ace by buying more than $300 worth of products on the site in a calendar year. With this program, you earn 1.3 points for each $1 dollar spent. Also, it includes a concierge service, ace-exclusive offers, and surprises.

Ipsy ProductsSo, is IPSY or Birchbox better for rewards programs? To judge that, we must also look at IPSY’s points program.

You can earn:

  • 600 points for referrals
  • 10 points for following IPSY creators on social media
  • 15 points for each product you review
  • 10 points for each Glam Bag you review

The points expire 12 months after you earn them. You can use them to redeem free IPSY products. To see these products, go to the “Points” page in the “Redeem” section. Here, you can choose which products you like and redeem your points. 

What Do Customers Think?

Let’s ask the customers — which is better, IPSY or Birchbox? We looked at numerous reviews to find out what subscribers truly think.

We noticed a few complaints about delivery. Some customers report problems of not yet receiving a box, but this might be an issue with the delivery companies.

Others claim that their box was missing some items or had too many repeating ones. But you can easily resolve this as IPSY and Birchbox say you should contact them to get a replacement.

Customers also report that the customer service at both companies is slow, and sometimes it needs days to respond.

In contrast, many customers say that they enjoy their boxes and love getting new sample products every month.

How Good Are They Against Competitors?

There are many other subscription boxes on the market that send great curated products. Let’s look at some companies that are similar to Birchbox and IPSY to see how they measure up.

IPSY vs Birchbox vs BoxyCharm

IPSY acquired BoxyCharm in 2020. It’s also a beauty subscription that offers three subscription plans:

  • The Base box delivers 5 full-size beauty products out of which you can pick one. The products are valued at $175, but you only pay $27.99.
  • The Luxe box is a quarterly upgrade to the BoxyCharm subscription. It delivers 8 full-size products, of which you can pick two. The products are valued at $395, and the price you pay is $59.99.
  • The Premium box delivers 6 full-size products, of which you can pick two. The products are valued at $215, and you pay $39.99.

BoxyCharm ships for free within the contiguous US. The shipping fee is $5 for Canada and outside US territories.

IPSY vs Birchbox vs Allure

allure beauty boxAllure magazine owns the Allure Beauty Box, which was launched in 2012. This beauty subscription offers the same box in three payment plans:

  • Monthly Plan — $23 per box
  • Quarterly Plan — $20 per box
  • Yearly Plan — $19 per box

The box contains 6 products, 3 of which are full-sized. They’re valued at at least $100, but you can’t customize your box or choose any item. The service’s beauty experts curate everything.

You might also get a free gift in some of the boxes, and the first box comes at a discount. Shipping is free for the US.

Birchbox Pros and Cons



Free shipping

You can’t skip a month.

Nice customization

Only ships to the US

Good VIP rewards program


IPSY Pros and Cons



More subscription plans

Canceling can be complicated.

More customization with the more expensive plans

Some customer service problems

More value for the products


Birchbox vs IPSY — Which One Is For You?

These two beauty boxes are among the biggest names in the subscription industry. They deliver curated sample products right at your door.

Birchbox offers one subscription plan with a few payment options. Its boxes contain 4–6 deluxe samples. If you want to know what’s inside, you can learn more about Birchbox on our site.

IPSY offers three subscription plans, each getting better and more expensive. The most basic Glam Box plan contains 5 deluxe samples. The Glam Box Plus and Glam Box X plans offer even more products that are also full-sized. If you want to know more, you can read our comprehensive IPSY review.

We hope that this Bichbox vs IPSY review helped you choose which subscription box fits you best.

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