Subscription box reviews: Ipsy Glam Bag and Julep Maven

I love the idea of the beauty box subscriptions, so while I’m in the States, I’m trying a few of them out! I signed up for Julep Maven because I found a coupon code for the first box free (FREEBOX, I think it still works, you just pay shipping), and then I chose what seemed like one of the best values from the others, the Ipsy Glam bag. I might try another one or two before I head back to Germany in August–any suggestions?

Now, I’m going to tell you about what I got. First up, the Glam Bag from Ipsy. This is a beauty subscription service, where for $10 a month, you get 4-5 full-sized products or deluxe samples every month, packaged in a cute reusable makeup bag. I received the May bag as my first bag. The bag itself is really cute, with a nice orange and blue chevron print.

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Inside, I got 5 great products. First up, a Yaby concealer refill in buff–this is meant to go in a palette, which I don’t have, so on that count the packaging is less than great, but the concealer itself is really nice. The color matches my skin perfectly, and it covers really well. Second, I got a Zoya nail polish, in a pale pink shimmery color called Gie Gie. This isn’t a color I’d pick for myself, but I do like it. I also got a Mirabella Color Sheers Lipstick in Posy–again, this isn’t a color I’d typically choose, but it’s nice, and the formula of the lipstick is really good. The fourth product I received is a Pacifica Roll-On Perfume in Tahitian Gardenia. I actually already own and love this, so it means they’re picking good products! And now I have one for my home and one for my purse. The packaging is really convenient, and the scent is lovely. Finally, I got a mini Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. I’ve never used a brow gel before, and I’m not sure I absolutely need it, but it is nice. By my calculations, these products are worth a little more than $50, plus the makeup bag–not bad at all for only paying $10! This is a great beauty subscription, and I liked everything I got, so I stayed subscribed for the June bag.

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The June makeup bag is another fun pattern, animal print and neon this time! However, the contents of the bag were a little disappointing, compared to last month’s. First, there were two items from J.Cat Beauty, a brand I’d never heard of before: false eyelashes and the Sparking Cream Palette, which is not actually eyeshadow but body glitter. Glitter and false eyelashes are fun and all, but not exactly something I’m going to incorporate into my daily routine. These are novelty items, cheap novelty items at that, and when compared to the quality and usefulness of everything in the May bag, I’m pretty disappointed with these. Perhaps I’ll have an occasion to try them out, but I definitely could have lived without them. I wish I’d gotten the highlighter pencil that I’ve seen some people got in their bags instead of the eyelashes. Next up, I received a Cailyn Line Fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron. I don’t particularly love the color, but I’ll probably wear it, and the formula is really nice–draws a great smudge-proof line, and the built-in brush is really convenient. The fourth product I received is the Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tickle Me Pink. I really like this lipliner! The color is great, and the formula is creamy and matte and very pigmented, and I think it could be worn as a lip color on its own. Finally, I received an NYX mosaic powder blush in Dare. Unfortunately, this was broken in transit so I don’t really have much to say about it, but I sent them an email and they said they’d send me a replacement product (either the same one or a comparable product). I use blush, so assuming whatever I get has a nice color, I’ll be glad to have it. Overall, this box was worth about $47, which is still a good deal, and I’ll use 3 of the 5 products. I’m not as impressed with this month’s package as last month’s, but I still want to see what ipsy has to offer in July!

Next up, the Julep Maven box. This box gives you some combination of nail polish and full-size beauty products; it depends on what “style” you sign up for (you take a quiz, but you can also choose your own). Some boxes have three nail polishes, some have two nail polishes and a beauty product, and some have two beauty products. I got the “Classic With A Twist” introductory box, which included two nail polishes (a khaki and a bright pink) and a hand scrub.

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The scrub is nice, it works well on hands, body, and even face, and does a nice job of exfoliating and smoothing skin. It smells nice, too! The nail polishes I’m less impressed with; they’re good enough, but the pink is more neon than it appears online (good for toes in the summer, though), and the khaki color is sort of weird looking on my fingernails. The khaki color is well formulated, and two coats leave it nice and opaque, but the pink was kind of streaky (I didn’t use any base or top coat, though). I’m pretty happy with this box considering I paid $4 for it, but if I’d paid $20, I’d be less thrilled. It’s still nice, though, especially if you’re really into nail polish; I’m not, particularly. I mean, I wear it, but I usually buy really cheap stuff, and I get more excited about makeup. The nail polishes retail for $14 each and the scrub for $23 (although Maven members get discounts on all Julep products), which makes this box worth $51, so it is a pretty nice deal. As a subscription service, Julep has some nice features; you can see what you’re getting ahead of time, and change the “style” of your box whenever you want, as well as upgrading or putting add-ons for an additional cost, and you can easily skip a month whenever you want as well.

Overall, I really like the subscription box concept! Getting a package in the mail full of beauty products every month can’t be a bad thing, and they do offer good value for the money, as well as the chance to try new things that you might otherwise not have discovered. What are your favorite subscription boxes?