I also really didn't like the bag itself. The sky blue with pictures of miscellaneous, faceless body care products looks like something that would be in a tween magazine ad or a book about your first period. The bag (not to mention the inclusion of Proactiv) kind of makes me feel like I am too old for this subscription service... and I'm not particularly old. I am of the age where I could conceivably wear body glitter and maybe even get away with it. To me, it seems a little unwise for Ipsy to make their aesthetic as young-looking at they have, since I would wager that most of their subscribers are over the age of 14.
Here is what I received:
Epice Purifying Exfoliant (1 ounce), approximate retail value $10
I don't have a lot to say about this exfoliant. It exfoliates. It does its job. Sadly, it is a polyethylene cleaner and I'm kind of trying to stay away from polyethylene cleansers for environmental reasons. It thoroughly unremarkable, really. I can't think of any reason you would feel compelled to purchase it.
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask (1 fl oz), approximate retail value $4.95
This is another totally unremarkable product. It is a conditioner. It conditions your hair. It vaguely smells like coconut, but it doesn't seem to have any coconut-y ingredients in it.
The one ounce sample was a single use for me because I have so much hair that it's silly. I'm definitely not willing to pay $5 every time I condition my hair, so this is out of my conditioner-related price range. I need to buy conditioner by the jug.
Proactiv+ Mark Fading Pads (4 pads), approximate retail value $10.93
Unlike a large number of acne-ridden former teenagers, I have not actually tried Proactiv. These products are formulated with both glycolic acid and salicylic acid in pretty high concentrations (5% and 2%, retrospectively). Those are both effective ingredients at fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, so these probably would work if you used them regularly. (Worth noting: My skin can definitely handle them, but these would be a nightmare for sensitive skin since those chemical exfoliators are so strong.) Unfortunately, my problems with this product are twofold: Firstly, I'm trying to, as best as I can, stick to an alcohol-free skincare routine. Secondly, Proactiv is kind of a shitty company. (More info from the not-the-most-reliable-but-still-easily-accessible Jezebel by clicking here.)
Even if I did adore the product, these are no longer available for sale individually (I based my approximate retail value on their previous pricing), so I would have to sign up for a whole big Proactiv kit to get them. No thank you!
Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Natural (0.09oz), approximate retail value $18.75
I really wanted to like this product, since it is actually a very pretty color. 'Natural' is a lovely "my lips but better" shade: an opaque dusty rose.
Unfortunately, I think that the atrocious texture makes the product completely unwearable. This "lip balm" is not moisturizing at all. It feels like I am applying grease paint to my lips.
It looks beautiful, but there are plenty of products that look beautiful and have less distracting, uncomfortable formulations.
Yaby Natural Finish Liquid Foundation in Buff (full size at 0.272 fl oz), retail value $13.55
It probably says more about my incredibly low standards for beauty box foundations that I looked at this and was impressed that it was in the same genre as my skin color. (The Yaby concealer I got from Ipsy in May of 2013 was so far off that it was almost comical.) It was also very wise of Ipsy to choose a sheer foundation, rather than one with more coverage, since more people can kind of pretend that it suits their skintone.Unfortunately, I can't even pretend. On me, this foundation is very orange. It simultaneously provides almost no coverage, so I just look like someone who is covered in acne and also has an orange face. It's really not a good look. It also has a very weird texture. It's a silicone-based foundation, which is a category with which I have mixed results, but this, to me, feel really greasy and strange.
|Swatch of a foundation that actually fits my skintone (Wet'n'Wild's Coverall in Fair) on top, Yaby Buff on bottom.|
There are definitely things about this product that I think are smart (for example, the tube at the end can be pulled out and flipped around, letting you squeeze in other foundations to get a better color match), but it doesn't have any of the qualities that I like in a foundation and it doesn't match my skintone. I'm sure this foundation would work for someone, but it sure as hell doesn't work for me.
What's more, this product is actually pretty ridiculously pricey: $49.81 per fluid ounce.
Total Box Value: $58.18
Although the monetary value on this bag was totally fine, I didn't like a single thing that I got. I feel like this bag kind of highlights the thing about subscription services that doesn't quite work. Even if a service did really listen to your customization preferences, there is no way for you to list every little thing you care about. There's no way for you to say, "No, when I say that I am fair, I mean that I am REALLY VERY FAIR" (and, of course, I am sure that problem is even worse on the darker skinned part of the spectrum). There's no way to list the random environmental causes you care about or that you don't want XYZ ingredient in your skincare.
I actually don't think I am particularly picky when it comes to beauty products. I don't gush with love over most products, but there aren't very many products that I reject on their face. Save for the tinted lip balm, these are all things that I could have told you were terrible choices for me without even trying them. For people who are legitimately picky, I feel like subscription boxes are just a bad choice in general. However, I generally do like getting subscription boxes, so it's just a bummer when your dislikes collide in such an conspicuous way.
May next month be better...
If you feel somehow compelled to join Ipsy despite my negative review, you are more than welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.