My Experience with Ipsy's March Glam Bag

As a fan of both make up and receiving gifts in the post, it was inevitable that I would find myself signing up to a beauty subscription service at some point. 

I'd previously been put off by the seemingly endless number of choices, all of which promise to send you gorgeous products for a reasonable price. Birchbox, Sephora, Boxycharm, Cratejoy - the options were almost too overwhelming. But one day, fancying a pick-me-up, I trawled through numerous reviews and comparison posts, and settled on a subscription to Ipsy's Glam Bag. 

For just $10, I would receive five products (either full-size or deluxe samples), presented in a cute little bag. As a student, the price was one of the biggest factors in my decision, as, even if the products weren't brilliant, the cost was the same as a couple of coffees (which perhaps emphasises the depressing price of caffeine nowadays more than the affordability of Ipsy). 

I signed up soon after the February bags had been sent out, and so, by the time early March rolled around, I had pretty much forgotten about it, making it a lovely surprise gift - albeit one from myself. I received an email a few days into the month reminding me that it was on its way, and offering me a 'sneak peek' at the products inside. However, ever a lover of surprise gifts, I chose to wait it out. 

The products arrived in a cute make up bag, with some pens to colour in the black and white design. I wasn't blown away by the quality of the bag, and will probably only use it for travelling or storing jewellery, but it was a nice addition.

Admittedly, the only brand I had heard of was Tarte, but I was actually pleased I hadn't been sent products by familiar brands, as I love trying new products. I was also happy with the variety of products I was sent. I had been hoping for a new lipstick, but apart form that, they were all things that I had been 'in the market' for. They also got the colours right for me, which I was especially pleased with because I had a fear of receiving nice but unwearable products. It shows that they actually listen to the questionnaire they ask you to fill out upon subscribing. 

I was initially unsure about the highlighter, as I usually go for more pearly highlighters than the one I received. I've also got to be very careful with applying pink to my face - it can often overwhelm my skin tone, or simply make me look very red and flushed. 

Looking at the colour selection on Ipsy's website, I think one of the other shades may have suited me better, but nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this highlighter looks when applied. It doesn't look too pink, it doesn't go on too thick, and it leaves a nice glow. I've added this into my everyday make up routine, because it's actually more subtle than the highlighter I was using before. 

I used the SLMISSGLAM brush to apply the highlighter, and I'm very pleased with it too. I was automatically won over by its appearance - pink, glittery and bedazzled; Ipsy make the right choice with this product for me. Its light and fluffy touch does a good job at applying highlighter, as it helps to achieve the natural finish. Again, I've continued to use this most days, especially because it works well with the highlighter.

The eyeliner was a hit too, especially as 'buy pencil eyeliner' has been stuck on my shopping list for a couple of weeks, and Tarte is no doubt a better brand than the drug store pencil I would have bought myself. It has a fine tip, making it easy to apply a subtle line, yet it also blends well. Thanks to the delicacy of the product, I haven't accidentally recreated the make up of my 'wannabe emo' 15 year old self (thank god...). I also love that it is a twist pencil, so it doesn't need sharpening. Although it wasn't a full sized product, I think it will last me a long time, as I don't wear eyeliner very often, so while I'm pleased with this, pencil liner lovers may be a bit disappointed.

Ipsy certainly got my shade right with the Doucce Freematic eyeshadow I was sent too. The shade, Ariana, is one that is usually incorporated in my go-to make up look anyway, making the Doucce sample a welcome new addition to my collection. As for the product itself, it's well pigmented and blends well, but it's nothing revolutionary. Retailing at around $10, I would probably choose one of the many cheaper alternatives I can easily get at the drug store, especially given the rather humble size of the product.

I took the final product, BRTC's Foaming Cleanser, with me on holiday, as the sample size was perfect for my carry-on requirements, and it definitely did a good job for the week. Its name isn't an understatement - this cleanser makes a mighty foam, but personally I think that's a good think, as it means that very little product is needed for a good lather. 

Usually, I'm not a massive fan of foaming products, as they often take too long to wash off than I can be bothered to deal with at the end of a long day, however this one washed off well. It also had a lovely smell, and most importantly, kept my face fresh and didn't cause me to break out. However, the full-sized product is difficult to find online - strangely, even Ipsy doesn't stock it at the moment - and my skin currently needs something a bit heavier duty.

So, all in all, what dic I think about my first forage into the world of beauty subscriptions? I was impressed by the quality of the products: they all work well, the brands are beyond your average drug store make up, and I've enjoyed using them too. I also think that Ipsy did well at providing products that matched my tastes and tones, which was my initial fear.

The price, which was the main factor that led me to try Ipsy over the other subscription companies, is affordable and makes it a nice feel-good, self-care treat. For $10, I think I got quite a lot for my money! It certainly wasn't a perfect experience: the bag isn't particularly impressive and many of the products I was sent are difficult to get hold of beyond the samples, putting me off from fully incorporating them into my regular stash of cosmetics. However, I've kept my subscription, and I'm looking forward to seeing what April's bag has in store for me. 

Ipsy currently doesn't ship to the UK, so with only two months left of my year abroad in America, here's hoping that they expand across the Atlantic soon. 

Words Sophie Clark

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