Why stay subscribed to Birchbox and Ipsy?

I was just asked why stay subscribed to Birchbox and Ipsy?

“Just curious, why order these boxes if you have such strict qualifications for products? Why don’t you order the organic specialty boxes or just handpick your products? Seems like a waste of money, and products. And being wasteful doesn’t seem very healthy for the environment either.” — Sarah

It’s an excellent question and the answer is not as simple as simple as just liking or disliking/having problems with the products in the boxes. It ended up being long enough that I thought I should write a blog post quickly instead of simply responding in the comments.

Here are my top 10 reasons that I stay subscribed to Ipsy and Birchbox:

  1. I DO like trying new products.
  2. They’re only $10 each.
  3. The natural / organic boxes still have some of the same problems – dimethicone and other cones. These ingredients aren’t toxic, they just break out my skin. I suspect other people may also have this problem and not have pinpointed it to the ingredients in their hair and skin care (even if it’s something other than dimethicone causing or increasing acne problems.)
  4. Many of the natural / organic boxes aren’t focused on makeup and beauty products. I have food allergies and sensitivities too and what I’ve seen of food in these boxes I’m not too interested in. I have almost bought Eco Emi before but Ipsy won out. I had a lot of people recommending Ipsy after I complained about Birchbox a bit on instagram. When I reviewed previous box contents, that’s what sold me. There’s at least one exclusively natural makeup subscription box but I think it’s $45 a month which is in a range where I might as well just buy a full size product. And the last time I looked at it, the number of brands in that expensive natural box was very very limited.
  5. To bring awareness to products that could be healthier if they made a few minor changes.
  6. To bring awareness to individual products in a line of otherwise not-natural products that are actually nontoxic and quite good (I don’t want to just stick to brands that market themselves as natural / organic.)
  7. I have received products that I love or have had an interest in trying that are worth WAY more than that $10 price of the subscription. Just going and hand picking products to try it would have cost me more to try them.
  8. I end up with brands I’ve never heard of and might never have found on my own..
    One example that covers a fair number of these reasons is an eyeliner I received in an Ipsy box. I wear it daily now. It’s healthy and it alone is worth $30+shipping. Would I have tried a product for $30 if I wasn’t sure I would like it? Not as likely. Plus I had never heard of the brand so it wasn’t even on my radar to try.
    Same will probably go for the highlighter pencil. Never heard of the brand or the product but I’m likely to add that to my routine and likely to re-purchase it when I run out.
    Color Club would be another example from Birchbox, and I haven’t found those polishes locally yet. And there are some products I will also compromise on IF they aren’t something I’m going to use daily (and if they don’t break me out … as I said, dimethicone is a deal breaker.) They have to be awesome though in order for me to compromise.
    Two Birchbox Specific reasons:
  9. Birchbox exclusive items. I sometimes want them and there’s no way to get them outside of Birchbox (ok maybe a swap site or ebay but there’s less risk and money to just staying subscribed.)
  10. Birchbox Points for reviews. This one is a bit lame on it’s own but I do leave my feedback to get points. This means that every two months I’ve earned back one month (so essentially my boxes end up being $5/month. Or you could say I spend that $10 a month and get even more free products.) I recently ended up with a 20% off for some reason that I can’t remember and combined with points rewards I bought an expensive shampoo I had been putting off buying (because it was normally $55 a bottle!!!)


I should do a post soon on what has made it into regular use from these boxes and what I have gone back and purchased just as a sort of summary of how much I have found and love from these boxes.

I do know that I have become a bit grumpy with Birchbox. There was a period of about 6 months where nothing was exciting or usable for me in the boxes and it made me just a bit sour on them. I’m trying to be aware of that.

I did do this sort of breakdown in my head before this post and felt like for $10 it was still worth it to stay as long as I got one ok product per month. Another 6 months stint of nothing that I can use and I will probably switch from Birchbox to another subscription. It will probably be Eco Emi or Goodebox unless they take a dive in quality or unless something better comes along before then (via recommendation or a new company.)

As for being wasteful, I don’t toss the unused products. I usually either give them to friends or run a giveaway of these products. I know that some of them I’m not using simply because I have a sensitivity and that other people won’t have a problem with them. Others might be in different places and priorities and would LOVE to have things I consider not healthy enough to use myself. Plus there are some products that I wouldn’t recommend using daily but every once in awhile it’s not going to have a significant long term affect so I’m not going to be a Debbie downer – have some fun! But here’s the educational PSA portion: look for healthier everyday options where you can. So bottom line, these samples aren’t going to waste just because I don’t want them! 🙂