Gifts that keep on giving: A short look into the subscription service world

If you follow me on social media, you know that I’m a bit of a subscription box junkie.  I subscribe to Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxycharm, and Nadine West, currently.  There are several other subscription services out there, tailored to just about anyone.  It just occurred to me, hopefully not too late, that a subscription would make an excellent gift. So that’s my focus today.  Let’s talk about gifts that keep on giving!

I’ll start with the ones to which I currently subscribe, and we’ll talk about a few that are on my wish list!



Beginning in the order of my subscribing, we’ll start with Ipsy.  Ipsy sends monthly Glam Bags.  The cool thing about that is that you will receive a cosmetic bag filled with goodies every month.  These bags are great for a multitude of purposes.  At any given time, there’s usually half a dozen or so in my bag.  Two or 3 in my car, they’re lying all over my house.  They house everything from cosmetics to medications to hair ties to, well, who knows.  Like I said, they’re handy.  And they’re cute.  And I’m getting off topic.  Inside these bags, you’ll find, generally, 5 sample sized beauty related items: cosmetics, skin care, scents, and hair care.  They run the gamut in brands, as well: Marc Anthony, Tarte Cosmetics, Elizabeth Mott, and Pacifica, are the brands in my Glam Bag this month (Yes, I peeked, for the blog).  An Ipsy subscription will set you back $10 a month, billed the 1st of every month.  Ipsy doesn’t currently have a gifting program, but you can purchase a subscription for someone else.  When you sign up, you answer a series of questions, to create your style profile.  Your samples are selected for you based upon your profile.  If you’re unhappy with the samples that you’ve been receiving, you may change those answers as often as you’d like, to change the types of samples you find in your bags each month.  I’ve been a subscriber for coming on 2 full years, now, and I have yet to be completely disappointed by a Glam Bag.  That’s not to say that I have been absolutely in love with every one, either.  There’s hits and misses, but that’s to be expected with anything, right?  Once you have had your products and tried them out, you have the opportunity to review them on Ipsy’s site and earn points! You may use these points to get even more products!  Each review gets you 5 points, sharing your Glam Bag on social media earns 10, you get the point.  The points add up and then you can spend them on the site.  It’s free stuff!

My next subscription, which followed Ipsy by just a couple of months, is Birchbox.  Birchbox comes to you in just that – a box.  For the first year that I was subscribed, they were brown boxes.  Cute, handy for storage of small items.  Brown boxes.  In 2015, they changed to pretty designed boxes, and, you guessed it!  They’re all over my house.  They are actually very useful for storing makeup, hair ties, pens and pencils, candy bars underneath the bed… Wait, what?  Forget I said that… Birchbox is very similar to Ipsy – 5 deluxe sample sized products: skin care, hair care, beauty, cosmetics.  The brands are generally different than the ones you’ll find from Ipsy.  There are some cross-overs, but I don’t generally find many.  Birchbox is also $10/month.  This is where it gets better.  I love Birchbox for the Birchbox Store.  Yes, that sets it above Ipsy just a notch. Birchbox has a points system that works like Ipsy’s.  You earn points by reviewing products and sharing your box.  The difference is, you earn more points with Birchbox, and you can spend them like money in the store, which is stocked with a plethora of products, and not just beauty related products.  Birchbox also caters to men!  The men’s monthly subscription is $15/month, but I think they have more products, or a full sized life-style product added to their monthly box.

So, if you’re keeping score:  I really love Ipsy and Birchbox, but Birchbox’s point system and store are far superior to Ipsy’s.  However, I seem to get more cosmetics from Ipsy and more skin care from Birchbox.

Next up is Boxycharm.  It’s not really fair to compare Boxycharm to either Ipsy or Birchbox.  It is a monthly beauty subscription, but Boxycharms have 4 to 5 full sized beauty related products in them every month, with maybe one deluxe sample sized product.  And since the products are full sized, the price tag is a little higher, coming in at $21/month.  As with the previous 2 subs, though, I have not yet been completely disappointed.  Every box has been worth WELL over the $21 price tag, usually at least $100 over.  Yes, you read that right.  I’ve gotten full sized eye shadow palettes, perfumes, brushes, hair care products, hair styling products, lipsticks, nail polishes, you name it.  It’s fantastic.  Boxycharm is a newer sub service than Ipsy and Birchbox, so they’re continually growing.  I think they’re really working on a point system and store now, too.

I almost forgot!  Walmart also has a subscription service.  It’s a quarterly service, so they’ll forgive me for not remembering right away.  It’s $5 a quarter, and the products we’ve gotten so far have been useful.  I’m still on the fence about it, but for $20 a year, I doubt I’ll cancel.  I’ll link it below, too… The Walmart Beauty Box.


Now, let’s move on to fashion!  Like I have said before, I am a jeans and T-shirt kind of gal.  I didn’t accessorize unless I was forced to.  Until Nadine West.  Nadine West is a clothing subscription.  Like Ipsy and Birchbox, you fill out a style profile.  They send you clothing and accessories based upon your answers.  I’ve gotten shirts with necklaces and earrings in every package so far, and I’ve loved them all.  Only once did I receive a blouse that didn’t fit, so I gifted it.  The beautiful thing about a Nadine West subscription is that it’s totally commitment free!  If you don’t like what they send, if it doesn’t fit, or just doesn’t work, you send it back!  They provide you with the shipping label.  Absolutely hassle free.  If you love it, which you will, they’ll notify you by e-mail the day before they charge your account for your merchandise.  You can keep what you like and send back what you don’t. You’re only charged for what you keep!  It’s fantastic.

And, this was far wordier than I expected it to be, so my wishlist of subscriptions services will be a separate post.  I’m leaving links at the bottom of this post for each of these services.  These links will be my personal referral links, so if you use them to sign up, I will earn points.  I won’t, however, earn any money or any other type of compensation.  Except for the Nadine West link- I do earn a commission if you sign up.

 My Ipsy referral link

My Birchbox referral link

My Boxycharm referral link

Walmart Beauty Box – NOT a referral or affiliate link

Nadine West – affiliate link


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Girly By Forty

It's never too late! All my life, I've been a tomboy. I put on makeup and dress clothes (something nicer than a Tshirt with my jeans) for special occasions only, so I never actually learned how to use makeup. Everyone take a moment to cringe, now. You good? Good. This blog is about my journey to becoming girly. On a deadline. The way I see it, I have approximately 26 years to catch up on, and I have 2 years to accomplish it. I'll be sharing every step of my journey with you, and reviewing products along the way. So grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and enjoy! I hope you learn things. Or comment and teach me things!

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