“What’s in the box?!” Ipsy Glam Bag, June 2014

whats-in-the-boxSubtitled “Why I’ll Never Be a Bombshell.”

June’s photo hints from Ipsy all featured cute beach themes and a broad array of products. When my Glam Room contents were revealed, I was pleased — unlike the previous two months’ bags, this one included a few items I might actually use, including a full-size mascara and a lip gloss (although that would depend on the color and consistency).

The announcement concerning the bag itself was A Big Deal, because it was designed specifically for Ipsy by Rebecca Minkoff. I had no idea who this person was, but I checked out her website when the announcement was made, saw a maxi dress in the teased print for $368, and quietly closed that tab in my browser. Ahem.



Cute bag — the Internet tells me that pineapples are way trendy right now, and I do enjoy vivid Hawaiian prints. They always make me think of my dad, who loved to wear what he called “Magnum shirts” (in honor of Magnum P.I.) in the summer months. (But he would have been gobsmacked at paying $368 for one, regardless of the designer. My mom sewed most of his.) As for the contents?

photo 2


2014-07-02This eyebrow pencil was touted as being a universally flattering, one-shade-fits-all brown. A couple of things about me: (1) my skin is deathly pale; (2) my eyebrows are decidedly not. I’m pretty sure that enhancing them with anything would make me look like Joan Crawford . . . wait, what am I saying, that would be AWESOME. Anyone want to give me some brow pencil tips so I can achieve that level of glamour? If not, this goes on the Swap Board.

photo 2-2Tousled beach waves? Clearly Ipsy is unaware of my Unfortunate Perm Phase (grades 5 through 8), during which I desperately (and futilely) tried to achieve any sort of body and wave in my hair. If dangerous chemicals applied by trained professionals couldn’t make it happen, this spray won’t. Swaaaaaap!

photo 1-2I’d never heard of this brand and kind of gave it the side-eye when I saw how many items on its website involve camouflage — I’m not in the Duck Dynasty demographic. But this scent was actually pleasant! Light, not overly floral. It won’t replace my Earl Grey spray, but it’s nice enough.

2014-07-021I never buy lip gloss, because (being the cutting-edge fashionista that I am) I yearn to keep wearing the brick-red matte lip colors most commonly associated with the mid- to late 1990s (aka “the salad years”). I would still be wearing my favorite shade of Almay Amazing Lasting Lipcolor if it hadn’t been discontinued in the last century. But fellow Ipsy subscribers were raving about this item, so I gave it a shot. It’s nice enough, but the shade isn’t for me. Even though it looks very bright in the picture, on my lips it’s more of a pale wormy shade that washes me out even more than normal. I need contrast, people! Sad trombone.

And finally, the Be a Bombshell mascara saga. Sigh. Grab a snack and settle in. Ipsy mails the glam bags in waves, so before mine had arrived, I had already started seeing complaints online from people re: this item (which was included in EVERYONE’S bag this month). The most common assertion was that it smelled awful — like burned rubber — and that people were afraid to use it. The company responded that the complaints were baseless, first saying that its choice to not include a fragrance in the mascara was just throwing people off and then later claiming that independent testing had confirmed that the mascara was free of any harmful bacteria or other spoilers and therefore it was totes safe to use. When mine came, I opened it and noted that it didn’t smell like anything, so I tried it on late one night before I was about to wash my face anyway. Almost immediately, the white area of my eye started to turn red, although I did not experience any burning or itching, but I wasted no time in washing it off to be safe. But the damage was done — as I showed on Facebook and Instagram the next day, my eyeball went into full-on Nancy Kerrigan-style “WHHHHYYYYYY???” revolt. The day before my 20-year high school reunion. HAWT. (And this photo was just the beginning — over the next 36 hours or so, the redness grew more concentrated and brilliant, completely obscuring any white area of my eye. Sam kept helpfully pointing out that I looked as though someone had punched me, which is just what I desire day to day, so yay!)

It should be noted that I am not the type to have customer service departments on speed dial — I’m more the type to eat the wrong entree a waiter brings out because I don’t want to cause trouble by returning it. But in this case, I was irritated (physically and mentally) and thought it was worth mentioning to someone that even a tube of mascara that seemed perfectly fine (i.e., no alarming stench emanating from it) obviously was not. So I emailed the good people of Be a Bombshell and included my picture. Within a few hours, I received the CSR version of “we’re sorry if you were offended by the horribly racist/sexist/inhumane comments we made publicly and now we’re trying to smooth it all over because our PR flunkie says to.” In other words, it was a retread of previous assertions that the mascara was totally fine, buuuuuut just to make the whiny poopypants complainers feel better about life, BaB and Ipsy had already agreed that Ipsy would handle any issues. And hey, thanks for writing! Try our other products!

It’s become clear that a number of companies are using the Ipsy subscriptions to launch new products, which is fine, but they should be prepared for the honest feedback they receive. In no way was I seeking compensation or anything, but I thought my reaction was severe enough to bring to someone’s attention, especially because my tube didn’t have the tell-tale chemical smell others had complained about. I don’t have sensitive skin or eyes and have never had a reaction to anything before, so this was waaaay past normal. And given the massive number of people who also experienced problems, you’d THINK BaB would eventually get a clue and cop to the fact that something was off in this batch of products. But, like those people in college who always complain about having a bad roommate without ever realizing that THEY are the bad roommates, BaB more or less tried to blow off concerns and were kind of snippy about it. Bad PR move.

Ipsy, on the other hand, sent me TWO replacement products, which I just received today (hence this late post) — a full-size vivid lip gloss from BaB (which I doubt I’ll try, not wanting my lips to fall off) and a very nice deluxe sample of this volumizing mascara (which I’ll be happy to try). And so I remain pro-Ipsy, because even if I hadn’t received any replacement items (which I had not requested), the cost of the remaining items in the bag surpassed the $10 subscription fee, and I gained expert knowledge on all the different eye drops out there (that is, knowledge that they are USELESS — my eye healed up on its own but took a full week to do so). So, win-win?knowingishalfthebattle