ipsy Review, July 2016

ipsy, $10 per month US, add $4.95 for Canada

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This sweetheart thought the July ipsy Glam Bag was quite comfy and cozy.  I love how she stuck her little paws up in this picture.  She's one of my favorites of the babies.  I think she has the sweetest personality.  She is Emmett's half-sister, so I shouldn't be surprised!

Ipsy is one of the most popular beauty boxes out there.  Like Birchbox, it's $10, but there are many differences between the two subscriptions.  Birchbox tends to have a slightly older demographic than ipsy and has more skincare products, more higher end products, and smaller sample sizes.  Ipsy has a younger demographic, is heavier on makeup, has bigger product sizes, and has a mix of drugstore brands and high end stuff.  You also get a cute makeup bag this month.  I love the July bag's iridescent look!  Which subscription you choose depends on what you're looking for in beauty box, but a lot of people choose both in order to get the best of both worlds.  Previously, I would have said that Birchbox's points system beat ipsy's hands down, but that is no longer the case with the changes to Birchbox's points.  While the range of products you can use your ipsy points on is limited, at least you still get points for each product review.  I've also noticed ipsy has really expanded their selections for point redemption.  At the beginning,  you would have a few products to choose from and usually none of them were all that good.  When they did get something good in, it would sell out very quickly and then you'd have the same few items that no one wanted available while everyone waited for the next good product to come along.  I remember some products sat for months because no one wanted them.  Now, they actually have good products that subscribers will want and they add new products all the time.  I was down on ipsy for quite some time, but I've seen serious improvements lately, so I'm liking the subscription more and more.

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Here's what I got in this month's Glam Bag:

My July ipsy was worth about $37.96.  This might be the lowest value ipsy I've gotten.  The eyeshadow sample is teeny and worth less than a $1!  I couldn't find the Organic Surge Daily Reviving Eye Gel for sale online, so I looked at similar products on Organic Surge's website to estimate the value of the sample.  It's an okay month for ipsy, but I've definitely had a lot better months with them recently.  Not every month is going to be perfect, though, so I can live with the occasional off month, especially when the bag in an off month is extra cute.  I love sparkly stuff, so I'm all about this bag.  I could do without the beach umbrellas on it, but at least the beach umbrellas are only on one side.  The inside of the bag is a medium peachy-pink and I'm loving that color!  

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Swatch of theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Eyeshadow in Matt Moskowitz

Swatch of theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Eyeshadow in Matt Moskowitz

Last month, all subscribers received either an Urban Decay eyeshadow or a theBalm eyeshadow.  I hoped for and received an Urban Decay eyeshadow, so I was a little sad to see that they threw theBalm eyeshadow in this month's bag.  Samples from theBalm are always microscopic and this was no exception.  I say this every time I review theBalm products, but their packaging turns me off as a consumer.  The packaging for just about every product theBalm makes is about being boy crazy.  As a lesbian, it doesn't really speak to me and makes me not want to use their product. While there are many more straight women than lesbians, some of us lesbians love makeup, too, and don't really want heteronormative packaging on our products.  It makes straight women seem pretty one-dimensional, too, so I imagine many straight women aren't crazy for theBalm's look either.  Is this the most important thing facing women or lesbians?  Obviously not, but the little things do matter.  Constant small but pervasive sexist, heteronormative, racist, classist, and ableist images shape our society subtly but surely.  While I know most of you aren't here for politics,  there's no denying that the beauty industry is rife with sexism, heterosexism, racism, and ageism.  I'm not one to shy away from looking critically at the issues surrounding beauty culture.  I'm obviously not down on the beauty industry by any means -- it brings me lots of joy and lets me have a lot of fun -- but that doesn't mean I'm not going to call out messed up imagery and products when necessary.  I don't do it often, but it will happen on occasion.

All that said, the color, Matt Moskowitz, had great pigment and low fallout.  I like that ipsy didn't go for the usual browns, tans, and champagnes that beauty boxes love to send customers.  Subscribers who got this eyeshadow in July got either this color, which is a deep plum, or Matt Kumar, which is a deep cranberry.  I was hoping for Kumar as I have a lot more plums than I do red-based eyeshadows, but I'm still happy with this color.  The plum has a bit of a brown tone to it that I don't really like, so I doubt I'll use this eyeshadow often, but it's better than many eyeshadow colors I get in subscription boxes. 

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Swatch of J. Cat Perfect Duo Brow Pencil in Dark Brown

Swatch of J. Cat Perfect Duo Brow Pencil in Dark Brown

J. Cat is one of the lower end companies that ipsy likes to work with.  If you subscribe to ipsy for any length of time, you'll eventually get a J. Cat product.  Their products aren't horrible, but they aren't great, either.  For $4 for a brow pencil, though, you can't complain too much.  It's not Benefit's Gimme Brow, but it did fill out my brows some and make them look a little better.  I'd use this in a pinch, but this wouldn't be my go-to choice.

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Swatch of Pür Correcting Foundation Primer in Illuminate and Glow

Swatch of Pür Correcting Foundation Primer in Illuminate and Glow

I love a good primer, so I was happy to see this in my ipsy!  This primer is very sheer and gives you a little bit of a glow.  It also evens out your skin color and corrects redness, so this is perfect for me right now.  I like the Becca Backlight Primer I received in my Play! by Sephora last month more, but this isn't a bad choice.  It's lightweight, not sticky, and gives your foundation a good base.  I'd recommend trying this if you're in the market for a color correcting primer.  

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I'm not sure why, but Organic Surge doesn't seem to sell the Reviving Eye Gel at this time.  I don't know if it's a brand new product, it's been discontinued, or if it's just currently out of stock.  The gel is clear and has a bit of a weird smell to it.  The scent is soft, though, so it didn't bother me that much.  It feels sticky at first, but the stickiness goes away once it's fully absorbed.  It feels very hydrating.  This is an okay eye moisturizer.  It's not the most amazing eye gel or cream I've tried, but it's a solid choice.

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Finally, there was the Luxie Beauty 215 Small Angle Brush.  Getting brushes in boxes is like getting socks for Christmas -- you need them, but they're kind of boring.  This brush is pretty useful, so I like it.  It's great for using it to apply eyeshadow as eyeliner.  

This was just an okay month for ipsy.  I think my favorite thing was the Glam Bag, although I liked the Pür primer quite a bit, too.  I don't hate any of the other four products, but none of them wow me, either.  It was just a very mediocre month.  

What did you think of your July ipsy Glam Bag?  Did you get better stuff than I did?  I hope so!  I'd love to hear all about what you got in the comments!