Ah, the anticipation associated with the release of a new Ipsy Glam Bag! Ipsy is a subscription service that offers a variety of beauty items — usually four or five deluxe-size samples (and sometimes full-size items) — plus a themed makeup bag each month, for a mere $10 (including shipping). When you enroll, you take a quiz that’s supposed to help the magical elves at Ipsy (the Ipsters?) personalize the contents of your monthly bag. Feedback you provide on each bag’s contents after trying everything then helps them better match your interests over time . . . allegedly.
The games begin on the first of the month, when Ipsy starts releasing teaser photos with items that could be included in your bag that month. If it’s a photo of one item, that means everyone will get it (as was the case with an Urban Decay eyeliner in the April bag); if the photo shows more than one item, you can only wonder which your bag will contain. Over the next few days, more photos go up, each of which causes a frenzy of speculation/excitement/rending of garments/bitching all over the Internet. People give these images Zapruder-film levels of analysis and scrutiny, working to identify brand logos that are partially obscured, investigate possible color options for teased lip glosses or polishes, etc. Invariably, some people complain, complain, complain about the possibilities, to which I say, “Jesus, sack up and unsubscribe! Makeup should not cause so much Sturm und Drang!” (But that’s just how I roll.) Finally, around the 10th or so of the month, you receive an e-mail notice announcing that your personalized “Glam Room” is ready for viewing, which means that you can log in to the website to see what your specific bag contains that month. And then people start celebrating or moaning all over again, because that’s what the Internet was invented for, right? (That and cat pictures. Never forget the cat pictures.)
I’m a relatively new subscriber, so the bag I received in May was only my second. Therefore, I’m not jaded yet about what I get or don’t get (that is, I’m not all, “OH MY GAWD, I WILL CHOKE THE MAIL CARRIER IF I GET ANOTHER SET OF FALSE EYELASHES” the way some people are — subscription boxes seem to bring out a really weird sense of entitlement in a lot of ladies online). But it also means that I’m still tweaking the system to get Ipsy to understand my likes and dislikes, and I have a ways to go on that front, as you shall see. The possibilities were pretty broad this month, with people getting everything from some sort of fancy facial water spray to (yes) eyelashes to nail polishes. And then there’s my assortment.
There’s no mistaking the Ipsy package for anything else when it arrives — the hot pink bubble mailer is a constant:
And inside the mailer:
The makeup bag design changes monthly, and it would be difficult for Ipsy to top this little canvas number for me, given that I wear this watch and this Fitbit, carry this phone, and work at this desk every day. So cute! I haven’t yet decided how best to put it to use, but the bag is a winner, no question. As for the contents . . .
Let’s break this down.
I hate nature. I hate being outside. This is going up on the Swap Board. Next!
A lot of subscribers were excited about these eye shadow duos. I rarely wear eye shadow, and when I do, I have several neutrals to choose from already. But bonus points for being a full-size product! Still, this is also going up on the Swap Board.
Isn’t this pretty?? But it didn’t come in my bag. Much like the kid who trades her organic, gluten-free, wholesome bento box lunch for some Cheetos and a Swiss Roll, I traded my microdermabrasion scrub for someone else’s glittery polish (Clio, by Julep). (I had already gotten a different scrub in my first bag, and I’m perfectly happy to keep using this one a few times a week, so this was a good trade on both sides.)
I actually tried these two products (at the same time, even, because I’m efficient that way). According to the instructions on the Hey Honey website, I was to apply moisturizer before smearing the exfoliating mask on my face. So I reached for the Pur-lisse sample. The good? It didn’t smell like an old lady’s handbag. The bad? A pea-size globule made my face feel as though I’d gone bobbing for apples in a washtub o’ mayonnaise. I rubbed it in as best I could, but ugh. Won’t be using that one again. Then I moved on to the exfoliating mask. It was clear and smelled a lot like wildflowers, but it definitely felt like honey going on. (I wish it had been white or tinted to look like honey, too, so it would have been easier to tell where I had already applied it.) Per the instructions, I let it dry for about 30 minutes, and then I peeled it off. If you’re one of those people who fondly remembers picking dried Elmer’s Glue off your hands after finishing a school project, this mask is for you, because that’s exactly what it looks and feels like as you remove it. On the downside, I don’t see how it was in any way exfoliating, plus my face still felt gunky from that damned Pur-lisse moisturizer that I’d applied beforehand (and the HH website said to add MORE moisturizer after removing the mask — NOPE). So I’ll not be using either product again.
Now, I’m sure this all complaining makes it sound as though I hated my assortment this month, but I would still recommend the Ipsy subscription to anyone on the fence about signing up. For $10, you get to have the fun of chasing that perfect-bag dragon, and sometimes you might end up with something new and unexpected that you really like (for instance, the aforementioned Urban Decay eyeliner I received in my first bag — who da thunk it?). The products included are always worth more than the cost of the subscription, and just because the items I received aren’t the ones I would have selected doesn’t mean they were BAD — they just weren’t to my tastes/needs this time around. And if need be, you can make friends with fellow subscribers through dedicated Facebook groups or other online forums and do some horse trading, so really, it’s a win-win. I reviewed my bag’s contents on the Ipsy site (basically assigning everything a DO NOT WANT THIS AGAIN, IPSTERS rating), so maybe the next one will be more “me.” Tune in next month to find out!
Cost: $10/month (includes shipping)
Contents: 4-5 samples, travel-size items, or full-size products curated to fit your health and beauty profile
Link to sign up: http://www.ipsy.com/r/8o26 (full disclosure — I earn points or something for referrals, so this is my personal link)