ipsy bag review

Beauty Review: My May 2019 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My May 2019 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

She’s back, baby!

By “she’s back,” I mean, I caved and started getting Ipsy bags again because I like paying $10 for 5 products every month because it’s just… easy. And I get to try lots of things. And also they have the Glam Bag Plus now, which is $25 for 5 full-size products and I’m very intrigued. Listen, that’s a lot of excuses, but let’s just go with… she’s back, baby!

Giving myself a break from Ipsy (and trying out Birchbox in the interim) honestly felt like a really great choice. When I restarted my Ipsy, I felt refreshed and ready to get some new products. And as a bonus, I happened to restart just in time to snag a few of the deluxe samples they usually sell for $3-6. Last time that I happened, I tried the super popular Sand + Sky clay mask. I’ll share what I got in that sale at the end of the box, but otherwise, let’s jump in to this Ipsy bag review!

As aways, you can read all my Ipsy bag reviews here. You can also sign up for Ipsy using my link here.

Is an Ipsy glam bag worth it?

1. BAD Gal Bang! Mascara from Benefit - $13

This mascara is the reason I don’t trust beauty gurus (especially the huge ones on YouTube). This mascara sucks. All Benefit mascaras suck! Can we stop pretending they are good? They are all gloopy, flaky, and nasty. I’m tired of the propaganda! Benefit does not make good products and I’m tired of talking about them and their shtick. Anyway, I knew I wasn’t going to like this and surprise, it turns my lashes into absolute spiders legs, so let’s just chalk this up to they had to include this sample due to a contract. This travel size (deluxe) sample costs $13 (seriously, $13 for mascara that is worse than something you’d buy in a drug store). (Someday, I’ll write an entire post about how much I dislike Benefit, but alas, today is not that day.)

2. Translucent HD Finishing Powder from BellaPierre Cosmetics - $35

I love a powder and so I was very excited to try this one from BellaPierre, a brand I’d seen in a few YouTube videos, but nowhere else really. This powder appears to be a full size; it weighs 6.5g and the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores comes in at about 6.8g, so that seems right to me for full size. Comparatively, the It Cosmetics Powder costs $29 for 6.8g and this powder costs $35 for 6.5g, making it quite spendy. It is a decent powder: not as mattfying as It Cosmetics (my ride or die), not as pretty on the skin as the Hourglass Veil powder (but still more effective). It’s a good in-between powder for when I’m having a day with very dry skin or the weather is quite dry already.

3. Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herbs from RE:P - $4.92

I love a clay mask and I love that this one is soothing! During my cycle, I have a few days where my skin gets very flushed, sensitive, and red. I am so excited to use this mask then to help calm down my skin a bit. It smells really herby, for lack of a better word, with a lot of chamomile. I have worn it once and quite liked how it made my skin feel, but I’ll need to test it a few more times throughout the month to see. A full size tube is 130 g for $32—this sample tube is 20g, which is fairly sizable and I will get quite a few uses out of it.

What comes in an Ipsy Bag?

4. Prep + Prime Natural Radiance in Radiant Yellow from MAC - $4.93

I’m not a huge fan of MAC products, but I have heard good things about their primers. I was a bit flummoxed by this primer as they sent me the color “Radiant Yellow”. Now, on the skin, I don’t notice any color, but on the Sephora website, it says specifically that Radiant Yellow is intended for deeper skin tones. They have a pink shade that they recommend for Fair to Medium skin tones. This isn’t MAC’s issue, but just one of those times where I find myself saying, “WTF Ipsy!?” I haven’t noticed that this makes a huge amount of difference to my foundation; I am not a primer user, I don’t find it effective for my skin type (and I think many skin types would benefit from not using primers), but I wanted to give it a fair shot. On the upside, it hasn’t completely wrecked my skin or made my foundation slide off. A full size tube is 1.7 oz and costs $42; this sample tube is 0.2oz, which is fairly large considering the amount you use.

5. Lip Icing in Drip from Estate Cosmetics - $10

I could not find this exact color on the Estate Cosmetics website, but all of the other Lip Icings are $10 per tube. Which is fairly affordable for a really nice lip gloss. I don’t love lip glosses, but I’ve been getting a ton of them in subscription boxes (and recommended to me) lately, so clearly the tides are turning against me and my matte lipsticks!! I’m not prepared for that to happen, but whatever. I do like this gloss; it’s a pink shade, like most glosses, and looks like… lipgloss when you put it on. I’m so biased against lip glosses, I survived the lip gloss trend of the early 2000s, and I don’t want to repeat it because they all look the same. It doesn’t matter what color the lip gloss is, it’s going to look like shiny lips once you put it on and it’ll be gone in 20 minutes!

6. Pore Clearing Clay Mask from Innesfree - $6

This was a bonus item which I bought for $6. I’m so glad I bought this because it’s just like the Aztec clay mask that everyone gets from Amazon, but doesn’t wreck my skin nearly as much. It dries down so tight and sucks everything out of your pores. If you have a break out, you need a mask like this to help those suckers dry out. I’ve already worn this twice and I’ve gotten compliments on my skin within 24 hours each time—which never happens. I have bad skin, guys, but this really takes the care in terms of clay masks. Will absolutely be buying a second one.

7. Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner from Eyeko - $6

I’ve been looking for a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner replacement for actual years. KvD is a mess and if you don’t know the story, hop onto your friendly neighborhood Google and take it for a spin. She’s been a mess for a long time, but it’s been aggravated in the last few years and especially the last year. I don’t want to tell anyone what they should spend their money on, but I vote with my wallet and it’s a “no” from me. That PSA aside, I’d heard good things about the Eyeko Liquid Eyeliner, so when I saw a sample for $6, I went for it. And honestly, it might be better than Kat Von D! It’s black, matte, and a brush tip, which means it’s 100 times better than a felt tip (I said what I said). I’ve worn it every day for a week and the only downside is that, unlike Tattoo Liner, it is water soluble, which means it wipes and comes off much easier.

Final Thoughts

In total, this Ipsy bag, without my special items, comes to a total of $67.85 in value, which is highly inflated by the powder sample and the Benefit Mascara. I really don’t think that mascara sample is worth $13—I’d say about $5, tops, and that’s being very generous—and while I like the powder, it feels like such a small amount. $35 does seem a bit… outrageous, and I frequently pay $29 for powder! Am I hypocrite? Anyway, that’s a fairly standard value for a bag, but I feel like they added the powder purely to bring it up. I like a lot from this bag: the gloss is middle-of-the-road, I like it, but I resent it; the primer is ok; I love any mask that comes my way; the powder is good; and the mascara is going straight into the bin.

All-in-all, a fairly OK bag. I’m hoping next month, things pick up thanks to my reviews. As with any Ipsy bag, I always find myself thinking, well, I didn’t like these things, but at least it only cost $10 for me to try it. It’s not like I bought a full size Benefit mascara only to find out it sucks; it’s also not like I paid $35 for a tiny amount of powder! That’s the beauty of Ipsy, really.

Beauty Review: My December 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My December 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

I’m so glad I stuck it out for Ipsy because in December, everyone got 6 items instead of 5. I’m always here for a little bonus! Funny enough, last December, I wrote something like “the December Ipsy should have an extra little gift!” Now, I’m not crediting myself with this 6-item Ipsy, but I do think it’s funny that they decided this year was the year to do it.

The last few months of Ipsy have been a little ho-hum for me. So I’m really excited that I’m finally excited about a bag again! This month’s bag was really, really good minus one item—and considering it is a 6 item bag, that’s pretty good.

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

December 2018 Ipsy Bag Value

1. Ciate London Glitter Flip Lipstick in Infamous, $9.50

This is a half-size lipstick (a deluxe sample). It’s 1.5 ml, as opposed to the full size 3 ml. Therefore, i priced it as half the usual price. I’ve been receiving a lot of Ciate London stuff, which is fine because I love their packaging! And I love this lip; it’s a fairly standard berry-toned red lipstick, that when you rub your lips together goes glittery. It’s an interesting lipstick and the glitter isn’t chunky or anything (shout out to the glitter balms I wore in middle school that had literal craft glitter in them). It will be gorgeous for a holiday party!

2. F.A.R.A.H 35E Tapered Blending Brush, $10

You can really never go wrong with a brush! I feel like I’m always reaching for a new blending brush, so adding another one to my collection is absolutely no problem. This one is especially pretty. The standard 35E brush with a non-decorative handle is priced at $10, so I kept this one at that value. It is a lovely brush though—very soft—and I’ve had good luck with the F.A.R.A.H brushes I’ve received in the past.

3. Dr. Lipp Moisturizing Colour Tint in Sweet Potato, $8.80

When I first saw I was getting a tinted lip balm, I was a little annoyed. But I ate that annoyance because this balm is, well, bomb. It’s tinted using sweet potato dye, which means it’s all natural. I also found that the brand Dr. Lipp makes a lanolin nipple balm, so to the nursing or pregnant women out there—might be worth a gander! Their prices are really affordable (once I ran them through conversion from pounds to dollars). And this tint is lovely; my lips feel moisturized and the tint isn’t too much. Just a nice natural color.

Is Ipsy Worth It December 2018 Bag

4. Steve Laurant Loose Powder Pigment in Antique Olive, $18.00

I love Steve Laurant products—I’m on record saying the blush I have from them is my favorite blush of all time. It’s so gorgeous. I was excited to receive a loose powder pigment, which isn’t something I use a lot, but I was so disappointed when my bag arrived and I saw I got… antique olive. What a shade! It’s like a shimmery khaki green. I will probably never wear it, but at least the packaging is pretty.

5. Tinct Nail Polish in Aarhus, $10.50

I can’t find this color on their website. As well, they seem to have completely different packaging. And the mL to oz measurements on the packaging I received from Ipsy do not 1) match the same size nail polishes on their website or 2) make sense. This nail polish is sketch. Also their website’s heading is “Mysite 1.” My SEO brain itches.

Either way, I don’t wear nail polish and I have NO idea why I received this. The color is pretty ugly too.

6. Kiss & Smink The Everything in Tulum, $20

This product is a great idea in thought, but in execution, it’s… questionable. It is a lovely product and I will use it, but the color I received is just a little too shimmery for me. This is an all-purpose stick: blush, eyeshadow, lips. It’s the color Tulum, which is a shimmery, light pink. It does look lovely as a blush, but it’s so shimmery. It looks almost like a highlight-blush combination on the skin, which is fine—except I stopped wearing highlighter, so…

What's In an Ipsy Bag?

Final Thoughts

The total value of this bag is $76.80. I’d say this is the best bag I’ve received int he last few months—I love just about everything in it minus the nail polish and the loose powder (which I don’t hate, I just don’t like the color at all). I feel like Ipsy is pulling out all the stops because they know I’m getting ready to cancel! That’s still my plan, but if this bag isn’t making me have my doubts… I do think it will be good to take a break though. This bag was definitely worth the $10 and I’m so excited to play with everything I got!

Beauty Review: My November 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My November 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

It feels like ages since I reviewed my last Ipsy bag! How was November so long and so short at the same time? Thanksgiving fell early this year, plus my Ipsy bag took a particularly long time to get here (thanks to an additional order I made).

I’ve officially decided that after I get my December bag, I’ll be discontinuing ipsy for a while. I think it will help me refresh and get back into loving it. As I wrote in my one year of ipsy review, I’ve lost my appreciation for ipsy, simply because getting 5 new things a month is… a lot at first, then gradually becomes normalized.

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

Ipsy Bag 1

1. Helios Beauty Eyeshadow in Pinky’s Up, $12

I didn’t want to like this eyeshadow, but gosh darnit, I did. I got the shade Pinky’s Up, which is a champagne pink shade. It is a cream-to-powder blend that can be used as a primer as well. However, I wore it plain on Monday and really loved how it looked. It applied really well and did not crease.

2. Marc Anthony True Professional Bye Bye Frizz Leave In Conditioner, $2

One thing I really resent from Ipsy is when they send something that is super cheap from the drug store. Case in point: this leave in conditioner is from a brand I can find in Wal-greens, Target, and Walmart, as well as Ulta. It’s only $8.99 for a full size. So the sample size they sent is less than $2 if I bought it somewhere. So not only do I not have the hair texture for a leave in conditioner, this isn’t something I need sent to me as a sample. They might as well send me a tube of deodorant!

Ciate London Translucent Powder Review

3. Ciate London Translucent Powder, $3

I’m a sucker for translucent powders. It was in my ipsy bag that I first used my favorite of all time, It Cosmetics Bye Bye pores, so getting a new powder is very exciting. This teeny tiny baby sample is from Ciate London. It’s really cute, but taking photos of this reflective tub was a huge pain. Cut to me spending hours photoshopping my own reflection out of the main image for this blog post!

Ok, but does it work well? Yes. It does. I happened to use it my first day back from Idaho when my skin was dry as a bone, so I did get some irritation around my nose but I think that was my own fault. I’m moisturizing like crazy and will report back if it improves once I’m not experiencing massive dry patches. This sample is about 1.5g; the full size is $22, which isn’t bad for a full size product, so I estimated the sample to be about $3 value.

4. Dermadeli Pumpkin Seed Serum, $8.75

I love a serum. This is probably my favorite thing in my bag this month! Here’s what it promises: “Pumpkin Seed Serum is considered one of the ‘super-foods’ for skin hydration. With the addition of zinc, our Pumpkin Seed Serum also helps decrease inflammation of acne and completely eliminating acne formation on surface of skin.” Sign me up!

This serum actually did a lot to help with those Idaho-induced dry patches on my face. It feels great on the skin. A full size is 1 oz for $35; this is 0.23oz, about 1/4 the size, so I estimated value at around $8.75.

November 2018 Ipsy Bag Review

5. Huda Beauty Lip Strobe in Enchanting, $18

There is no world in which I would put this lip gloss on. It’s pretty. It’s nice! It smells good! But I am 30 years old with a toddler. Lip gloss isn’t in the cards for me most days, but especially not one that is basically white with pink-blue sparkles.

Helios Beauty Eyeshadow Review 2018

Final Thoughts

The full value of this bag is… $43.75. Wah-wah. Two very low cost items combined with some middle-of-the-road cost items. As I’ve said, it’s not necessarily the value of the bag, but the novelty. I enjoy the translucent powder, the eyeshadow, and the serum. I had hoped for a darker shade of the Huda Beauty gloss (a cranberry was available, why did I have to get the unicorn snot one!?) and the leave-in conditioner is absolutely baffling. All in all, a really decent bag!

One Year of Ipsy: Is Ipsy Worth It?

One Year of Ipsy: Is Ipsy Worth It? | Writing Between Pauses

I’ve had Ipsy for over a year now. This blog post has been 13 months in the making; I signed up for Ipsy with the intention of writing a blog post like this one. I know, I know, that sounds absolutely weird, right? But sometimes content ideas are what they are and this felt like an important one. There are lots of individual Ipsy blog posts out there that base value on one or two bags. But I’ve never seen a blog post that goes through the average value per bag and more. That’s what I set out to do with this blog post!

Ipsy has been a wild ride. There have been some excellent months and some not-so-great months. I’ve learned a lot along the way. I don’t want to take up too much space with this introduction—I mean, what more is there for me to say about Ipsy? Let’s jump into the important bits: is Ipsy worth it?

Ipsy Bag November 2017

What is the Value of Ipsy?

If you’ve read my Ipsy reviews for a while, you know that I have a standard way of calculating the value of each item. This was something I started doing after 2 or 3 bags—so unfortunately, my first few blog posts didn’t include this information. I had to go back and accurately calculate values, so some valuations have changed! (If you want to read all my past Ipsy reviews, click here.)

A big part of this blog post is going to be focused on the actual value of the bags over a year—or 14 months, in this case.

The bag with the lowest value was my October 2018 bag at $44.75. In that blog post, I actually said I was pretty sure it was the absolute lowest value of a bag and my somewhat educated guess was right. Now, a $44.75 bag for $10 is still pretty good. However…

My bag with the highest value was my July 2018 bag at $93. Now, that’s a good value for $10! I will be honest though, I barely even remember my July 2018 bag, but I was pretty sure I loved everything in it.

Let’s talk averages.

I received 14 bags from the time I first signed up for Ipsy and in total, all 14 of those bags contained items that have a value of $911.65. I calculated this number 3 different times, then had Danny calculate it twice. Yes, over $900. That’s insane. I pay $10 a month for an Ipsy bag, so for $140, I have received over $911.65 worth of make up, skincare, and brushes. That’s… impressive. That really is wild.

The average value per bag is roughly $65.12, when you calculate it out. That’s pretty decent for, again, a $10-per-month subscription service.

In total, 14 bags with 5 items each (sometimes, I received 2 masks, but I still consider that 1 item) equals 70 items total. That feels like a lot! If you calculate the average value per item, it comes to $13.02. That’s pretty decent.

If you’re like me, you like trying new things all the time and that’s really the beauty of Ipsy. So, in terms of monetary value, yeah, it’s a great deal. If you’re looking for the cheapest bag with the highest reward, I think you can’t do much worse than Ipsy.

Ipsy Bag April 2018
Is Ipsy Worth It

Can You Pick Favorites?

Remembering 14 bags, with 5 items each time, can leave me struggling to remember when I received what. For example, I received two very similar highlights in a row (February and March, I think), but I get them mixed up all the time. However, I was able to identify a few favorite and least favorite bags and items.

My favorite bag so far has been April 2018: this bag is actually my favorite actual make up bag, plus contains some of my favorite items ever. When identifying my favorite item, I picked the Steve Laurant blush I received in this bag. I wear this blush at least 3 times a week. It is just a perfect blush. This bag also had a spectacular mask, a good lip color, and a decent body scrub. The eyeshadow from this bag makes my eyes itch, but that’s not really anyone’s fault.

In terms of least favorites, my least favorite bag has been my most recent bag, October 2018. Sorry, October 2018, you were just a bummer of a bag.

If I had to pick a least favorite item, I actually wouldn’t be able to; I would say, the multitude of similar eyeshadows and highlighters I’ve received have been my least favorite items overall. I don’t wear highlighter anymore (your girl has texture, ok!) and most of the eyeshadows are formulas that fall incredibly flat… or they send me a taupe which I already own 20 times or a purple which has no pigment. It’s always a toss up.

This is one of the downsides of Ipsy. We’ll tackle it next.

Ipsy Yearly Value
Ipsy Value After a Year

What Are the Downsides of Ipsy?

Things start to duplicate. It’s a real bummer to get the same color of eyeshadow four times. Or a highlighter that you don’t wear. Or masks that you can’t use. Lots of people complain about this aspect of Ipsy. But, it is plain impossible for any subscription service to stock eyeshadows in unique colors that everyone will like. Think about it: it’s not cost effective to haver 4-5 different eyeshadow colors for each Ipsy subscriber, so they settle on extremely common shades, like purple or taupe. It’s just the way of the world.

But it does get exhausting! To me, that has been a major downside and I end up regifting eyeshadows and highlighters to people who can genuinely use them.

Another downside really is the bags. In concept, a make up bag is a useful item. But most of these make up bags aren’t big enough to hold more than the 5 items that come in it! In fact, some of the masks I’ve received haven’t even fit in the bag itself. I can use them in my purse for a few items, or for traveling on day trips, but otherwise, they aren’t useless. I’ve gathered up most of these bags from over the past year and I’m donating them to my local women’s shelter to provide for women there.

Do Bloggers Recommend Ipsy

So, Is Ipsy Worth It?

Like I said, monetarily, if you’re someone who likes trying lots of new products, absolutely Ipsy is worth it. $10 a month will get you a decent variety of things to try. And it’s important to remember that you can always tell them not to include things! I’ve officially removed highlighters and eyeshadows from my Ipsy preferences, so I won’t be receiving them anymore.

Some people suspect that Ipsy bags get worse over time, but I think this is actually a bias. Ipsy is really fun and exciting at first, but as humans, I think we naturally get jaded and the excitement gets old. “Oh, another highlighter? Yawn!” It’s not as fresh. That’s why I think it’s important to take a break if you find yourself getting bored. I’ll be receiving my November and December Ipsy bags, then pausing for a while, at least 6 months, before restarting. This will give me time to use up some things I’ve been hanging on to, clean out anything expired from my collection, and restart fresh.

I feel like I’ve received a decent variety of items—I’ve been able to try brands I would never buy on my own, like Huda Beauty, as well as gotten some items I really genuinely love.

If you’re looking to try Ipsy, know that it takes a little tweaking to get your preferences just right. But it can be really fun! If you want to sign up, use my link here.

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Me last month: Next month’s Ipsy will be better.

Me this month: How is this bag somehow more underwhelming?

It’s not that this month’s bag is bad. It just hits somewhere between “so good I can’t shut up about it” and “so bad I have to laugh about it.” It’s just underwhelming, but hits right in the neutral zone of “I’m neither happy nor mad.” I don’t know if that’s worse than going either direction!

I’m keeping Ipsy until at least December—that’s when I take it off my editorial calendar and I’ll decide then if I want to keep going. It’s funny because I’ve been very happy with Ipsy until perhaps 2-3 months ago; my first almost year of bags were great! I wonder if the novelty of receiving items has just worn off, or what. Either way, though, I have thoughts about everything I received!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.


1. Take Home the Bronze in Oliver, $6

I said this in my Instagram story, but i don’t wear bronzer. I just don’t have a face that contours well or wears bronzer well. No matter how carefully I apply, I just end up looking muddy or dirty. It doesn’t suit my face shape or anything. This is a lovely, cool-toned bronzer, perfect for fair and cool-toned people, but it’s just not something I would wear. I might test it as an eyeshadow, but otherwise, I’m looking at regifting this. The full-size of this product costs $17.50 and this sample is about 1/3 the original size. Therefore, I estimated the cost at $6 for this little pan, which is about the size of an eyeshadow.

2. Oryza Beauty Lipstick in Opus, $21

This item doesn’t have a link because this is apparently an exclusive color. It is really gorgeous—a dark wine color. Despite being a traditional lipstick, the wear is amazing. It is very creamy going on, but it does dry down quite a bit and wears for a very long time. I wore it at work, including eating breakfast, and it was still on (if a little fainter) when I left around noon. Pretty amazing, I must say! The Oryza lipsticks are $21 a piece, based on my Google conversion (it’s a British website). The Opus color on the website is not this one; it is a light pink color, which is why I haven’t linked it! Not sure why they would give Ipsy an exclusive color with the same name as an existing lipstick, but what do I know?

The Balm's Take Home the Bronze

3. SOO AE Donkey Milk Sleep Mask, $2 for 2

I hate that I love these masks so much because… these masks are from Wal-Mart, guys. I was so excited to try these because I thought they were ~fancy, but then the next day, I was in Wal-Mart and saw them there for $1 a piece. Ipsy sent me a $1 filler mask. That is fine, but it’s not what I pay $10 a month for, to be quite honest. These masks made my skin feel ok; they clogged my pores quite badly on my chin, but around my eyes was lovely. I don’t know why it annoys me so much that I got sent a 2 $1 masks, but there we go.

4. Taste Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $13.50

I have a tube of Shape Tape that I bought perhaps… 6 months ago? I like it ok, but I’m almost out and wasn’t planning to repurchase (which meant I would have to try to find a concealer that did work). I was almost a little grateful to receive this tiny tube of Shape Tape to get me through! It’s quite small, but I actually like the smaller applicator; the large Shape Tape applicator is FAR too big and gives you too much product. This is perfect sized! It’s about half the size of a full tube, so I priced this at a value of $13.50.

Nebula Blue Highlighter

5. City Color Cosmetics Glow Pro Stellar Highlighter in Nebula, $2.25

This is my biggest “excuse me, but what the hell” item of my bag. Last month, I said, please, please, STOP sending me highlighters. So what do they do? Send me a BLUE highlighter. I will literally never put this on my body. It’s… so much. I am over highlight, to be quite honest; I think it looks really bad on me and in general, i’m tired of the same 3 colors of highlighter getting released and having to act excited. It’s sparkly white, it’s sparkly bronze, it’s sparkly champagne. How exciting. I don’t need more and I definitely don’t need a BLUE version!! The worst part, to me, is that this highlighter is valued at maybe $2.25. $2.25. I found it on City Color Cosmetics as part of a palette that costs $9!! Another $2 item, great.

Ipsy Bag Swatches

Final Thoughts

The total value of this bag is… $44.75. And that was estimating quite high on some items (I’m still a bit dubious that the tube of Shape Tape is even half of a full tube, but I didn’t feel like weighing them). I think this is the lowest value on a bag for a while. And while I don’t like to determine my enjoyment of a bag based on the value, but there is something a bit more satisfying of a bag worth $70-80 when I pay $10! Paying $10 to receive 2 $1 masks, a $2 highlight, a full size lipstick, and then two products that I will never, ever wear is not a good value to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so neutral on this bag; I like the lipstick, I’m happy with the Shape Tape, and the masks are ok, but it’s the value. I don’t pay $10 to get sent things that I can go buy at Wal-Mart and already have access to! I want to try new things or samples of things that are far out of my price range!

I always feel a bit whiny when I don’t like a bag. I am a natural critic, so I’m a bit critical of everything in my life (especially myself), so it’s something I really try to not indulge in when it comes to reviewing products. But good gracious, the more I write about this bag, the more annoyed I get!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy yourself, you can sign up using my code here.

Do you get Ipsy? How have your bags been lately?

Beauty Review: My September Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My September Ipsy Bag 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

I look forward to September all year and then, I swear, it flies by so fast, I can barely catch my breath! I can’t believe I’m writing this post exactly one week before Forrest’s birthday. And funny enough, I’m awake at 6:25 am on a Sunday… and Forrest isn’t. As if a switch flipped this past week, Forrest has finally started sleeping past 5am—and let me tell you, I really missed my early mornings of writing blog posts and drinking coffee in a completely quiet house!

Ok, so, let’s talk Ipsy: I gave a walk-through of this bag on my Instagram story last week (you can rewatch it in my beauty highlight) and… I was very underwhelmed. I’ll cover that more completely at the end, but I just want to know everyone’s thoughts: is there a point where subscriptions start getting boring?

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

1. Luna by Luna Cosmetics Translucent Powder, $18 

Hello? 911? This isn’t a translucent powder.

I was so beyond excited to get a translucent, apparently setting, powder in my ipsy bag. I use powder more than any other product, easily, and so trying new ones is really fun for me. I don’t really know what this is supposed to be, but it’s not a setting powder or even a translucent powder. It is identified as the color White Sand and I can only assume that it is a repackaged highlighter. Because that’s what it looks like when you put it on! Let’s check at what they promise, shall we?

Our pressed formula offers multiple ways to utilize it while creating a flawless finish. It delivers both a natural and matte finish, blends eye shadow and is perfect for creating a flawless no makeup makeup look.

This formula promises no flashback and no color residue, meaning it is intended to be totally translucent and mattify your makeup. It doesn’t do that. There is something pearlescent about how it looks on the skin and that look stays throughout the day. It’s as if I covered my face in highlighter! The formula is more creamy like a highlighter would be as well and it doesn’t really set anything. In fact, it made my undereyes look so white and stark, I actually scared myself in the mirror.

I’ve received a few products from Luna by Luna and they have all been disappointing, from lip crayons to eyeshadows. This was a big disappointment in this bag.

Morphe Highlighter in Spark
BRTC Vitamin Mask Duo

2. Morphe High Impact Highlighter in Spark, $14

I’m very, very over highlighters at the moment, so this is a second bust for me as I most likely won’t use it. This highlighter promises to “create [an] explosive, prismatic effect so you can glow all out.” That sounds nice! It is a pretty highlighter, but it is also just a champagne-y, bronze-y highlighter. Just like the other 10 I own! (Also, I could not believe a single highlighter from Morphe is $14! Aren’t their eyeshadow palettes $20 total? Excuse me?)

3. Luxie Beauty Harley Quinn Detail Flat Definer 110, $20 

I love a good brush and this is a good brush,. It’s really cute and designed in a Harley Quinn style that I really appreciate. Here’s what the website says about it:

Liquid and cream concealers blend like crazy with the LUXIE 110’s densely packed bristles and versatile capabilities. Whether you want to mask those pesky dark circles or achieve a full coverage base, the LUXIE 110 is no joke when disguising spots or blemishes. You’ll find the charm of the LUXIE 110 irresistible as is also doubles as the perfect brush to smudge product around the water line and corners of your eyes.

For whatever reason, Ipsy had identified this as an eyeshadow brush and in the photo, I thought it was a flat, short brush for blending your undereye eyeshadow. However, in person, I realized it is a small stipling brush—another brush missing from my collection! Ipsy, if nothing else, has been great for giving me makeup brushes that I need. This one is lovely and blends eyeshadow like a dream!

4. BRTC Velvet Mask Duo, $4.50 each ($9 total) 

Face masks, as you well know, are something I love. These are from a Korean brand, BRTC, so I could only find purchase links through a (reputable) third-party website which has them listed at $4.50 each, which isn’t a bad price. I received the Vitamin F Velvet Mask and the Vitamin C Velvet Mask. Vitamin C and my skin do not get along (it makes me break out like absolutely crazy), so I don’t plan to use that mask. I did use the Vitamin F mask and gosh, it left my skin silky soft and super hydrated. Here’s what the masks promise:

* The Vitamin C mask revitalizes dull and tired skin, leaving it dewy, glowy, and gorgeous.
* The antioxidant-loaded Vitamin F mask regenerates and protects skin while preventing fine lines.

I’m never disappointed by a face mask, really, so these were lovely in a bag of “meh”.

Winky Lux Eyeshadow in Ursula
Ipsy Bag September 2018

5. Winky Lux Eyeshadow in Ursula, $10  

This single shadow is actually from the Mermaid Kitten palette from Winky Lux, which you can view here. There is something a bit repulsive and infantilizing about the “kitten mermaid” concept to me, but that’s neither here nor there except to say it was a big turn off the moment I saw this eyeshadow. As well, I’ve written before that purple eyeshadows are the hardest to create in a pressed form; purple pigments just… don’t like the eyeshadow process. And like every other eyeshadow I’ve received in the shade purple from ipsy, this one is no different. Once I start trying to blend it, it’s a dark gray-brown. It’s not ugly, but it sure isn’t purple! It’s also odd that Winky Lux, a brand known for their lip products almost entirely, took the risk of sending out purple eyeshadows in Ipsy bags. It’s not a great first impression!

Bonus Item: Cotz Flawless Complexion Tinted Sunscreen

I received a bonus item again in this ipsy because I’m trying to use my points. I picked this tinted sunscreen and I thought it would be a reasonable size. Well, as I shared on my Instagram story, it is not a reasonable size. It’s tiny! Teeny tiny! I can’t believe I cashed in 300 points for it. That being said, it’s a lovely tinted sunscreen and I’ve been wearing it every day as lightly as I can to make it last.

Ipsy Bag in September 2018 Review

Final Thoughts

This was just a bit of a bummer of a bag, wasn’t it? It’s funny because this is the first one that came with a makeup bag that I really, really like and will probably use for a long time… but the products are, to say the least, really disappointing!

In total, the value of this bag is $71. To me, that feels highly inflated: the “translucent powder” absolutely is not worth $18 and the eyeshadow isn’t worth $10. I’m still stunned by the price of individual Morphe highlighters (almost as much as one of their eyeshadow palettes), especially as you can get the same highlighter for $4.99 from Wet’n’Wild. $71 feels suspect to me, but I don’t know if my reasoning is clouded by my disappointment with my recent bags!

Am I jaded with Ipsy now? Has anyone else felt like this? I really loved Ipsy until the last 2 months, but I don’t know if it’s really disappointing bags or if I’m just over it as a concept. Anyone felt this way before? Let me know in the comments!

Beauty Review: My August Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My August Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

I felt like I'd hit a major stride with Ipsy lately: I've been loving everything, I've been super happy. Then, this month happened. 

It's not a bad bag. I don't know how to describe it, except perhaps the magic has worn off. I'll let my reviews speak for themselves, but for whatever reason, this month's bag just didn't grab me or my imagination! Is it the orange, linen bag? Is it the fact that I'm just ready for Fall? Who knows? Let's jump in!

(As always, you can read my past ipsy reviews here. And you can sign up for ipsy using my code here.) 

Ipsy Bag 1

1. Seraphine Botanicals Lychee + Gold Blush, $14

This blush promises "a multi-dimensional, versatile blush with micro gold frosting to create a subtle, shimmering flush," that is designed to "flatter all skin tones with just the right balance." It's pink. It's not a particularly special blush and it's quite pale, so the idea of it flattering all skin tones is a bit of a joke to me; I imagine it would translate to quite chalky on anyone with a darker or deeper skin tone. I love blush, so I like it, but it doesn't blow me away; I expected a more gold-toned blush than a pastel pink. 

2. Hey Honey Take Away the Drama Youth Boosting Honey & Copper Peel Off Mask, $9.80

I love masks! This mask promises the following: 

Know how some peel-off masks can leave your skin feeling uncomfy and tight? Not this one. After we removed it we felt soft, smooth, and so clean. The main ingredient, propolis, is a resinous mixture honeybees make that helps fight acne, encourage cell growth, decongest pores, and heal damage. It was also one of Queen Cleopatra’s fave skin care ingredients.

This is a beautiful mask. I mean it, it's a gorgeous bronze color. However, it does dry down really tight and was very difficult to peel off. I didn't feel like it did anything either: it didn't exfoliate or unclog my pores. I wasn't super impressed. I'll probably use it up, but it's kind of a nothing mask. (I estimated the value of this item based on it costing $49 for 60ml tube.) 

Lychee + Gold Blush review
August 2018 Ipsy

3. Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence, $13 

This is the one item in this bag that I am quite impressed with. This essence (a toner, basically) promises to improve skin tone and reduce texture. In the few uses I got out of the 5ml I received, I did notice a huge improvement in my skin. However, it costs $78 for 30ml. That's an ounce! I'm currently on the hunt for a dupe. 

4. SLMISSGLAM Rose Gold Blusher Brush, ~$15

Sometimes, I receive things from Ipsy that I cannot find anywhere else; it is moments like this that make me think Ipsy just takes unsold leftovers from companies. SLMISSGLAM has a very sketchy website as it is; I've received a beauty sponge from them before, that I quite liked despite it costing $17 for something half the size of a Beauty Blender, but it tore apart after about 2 months. I could not find this brush anywhere on the SLMISSGLAM website: not in a set, not as an individual item. I estimated the value at around $15. 

In terms of blushes, the bristles are quite rough and they are neither super fluffy nor very smooth. Does that make sense? It reminds me of the cheap blushes that came in little blush compacts. It's too small for blush, but I've been using it for highlight and contour and I quite like it. It's just concerning that I can't find it anywhere on the internet! 

August 2018 Huda Beauty in Flirt

5. Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in Flirt, $20 

I've been wanting to try Huda Beauty liquid lips forever. They're everywhere on Instagram, aren't they? I was very excited to see what color I would receive and... honestly, this was the biggest disappointment of this bag. Brown. I received a brown liquid lip. It's pretty. I'm just not sure it's pretty for me. It's very 90s, which is still trendy, but it's just not something I would ever pick out--especially with the other colors available. However, it does go on very nicely (even though I ruined this make up bag opening it for the first time--it spits if you open the tube too fast) and dries down very matte; the staying power is amazing. Danny liked the color on me and I did wear it out, but I'm just not sure it's the magical color I wanted from it. 

Bonus Item: VENeffect Pore Minimizing Cleanser, $6 

I know I keep saying, "This is a thing that disappointed me about this bag." Well, this is another one: I traded in 500 of my ipsy points for this. I thought it was a full size cleanser, which would have been awesome. Instead, it's a travel size and quite small. I do like this cleanser; it smells amazing and it has helped my pore size a lot. But I can't believe I traded in 500 points for it. 

Huda Beauty Flirt swatch

Final Thoughts

Ugh, I know this review was a bit of a slog! It's hard to write a fun review when you're just a bit... disappointed. There is nothing truly bad in this bag, but there is nothing really exciting and lovely either. It feels like filler! I'm hoping for a good bag next month and hopefully in October (Halloween fingers crossed!) 

The value for this month's bag, without my bonus item, is $71.80. I did that math twice because it seems very high for what I received; however, the Brightening Essence and Mask are both expensive items, even when down at sample size! The Huda Beauty lipstick is $20 on its own. My estimate for the brush might be entirely off, as well, but it's not from a "cheap" brand. I don't feel like this value really reflects the quality of this bag, though; I think it's definitely one of my least favorite bags throughout my entire experience with ipsy, because I don't feel strongly about it one way or another. 

What did you think of your Ipsy bag this month? (As always, you can sign up for ipsy using my code here.)

Beauty Review: My June 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My June 2018 Ipsy Bag

The theme of this month's Ipsy was, of course, Pride. As someone who doesn't identify on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum (aside from being an ally), this made me excited, as I was hopeful to see those who are infrequently featured in major beauty campaigns highlighted. 

If you frequent any beauty groups, like those on Reddit or Facebook, you probably saw that Ipsy had a pretty severe stumble with their Pride video. The first speaker in the video made a point to emphasize that she identified as an "authentic cis woman," as opposed to a trans woman. This made a lot of people mad. Ipsy finally apologized (you can read their apology here) and removed the video. This made me unsure of how to move forward as an Ipsy subscriber: I don't want to contribute to a brand that puts that kind of voice forward in a video on Pride month, but I felt their apology was heartfelt--but the apology is not one for me to say is good enough. It's not an apology to me. Those in the LGBTQIA+ community seem satisfied with Ipsy admitting they were wrong. We just have to see if things really change though. 

I didn't want to start this review without mentioning that controversy. I want you to know that I saw it, I understand the issue with it, and I stand with the LGBTQIA+ community regarding how hurtful statements like that (intentional or not) can be. I had told myself I would keep Ipsy for a year (it was a gift to myself), so if after September, I don't feel they've made steps towards improving, I will be cancelling. (I already prepaid 12 months!)

With that said, let's jump in to the products I received this month.  

(As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And you can use my Ipsy referral code to sign up here.) 

Ipsy Bag 1

1. Biobelle #UnicornGlow Perfect Radiance Facial Mask, $4.99 per mask

I received 2 of these masks (giving this item a $9.98 value). Here's what this mask promises: 

In just 15 minutes, our delicious antioxidant-rich chocolate and mulberry act together to help visibly brighten and treat uneven skin tone while honey hydrates and softens skin, giving you a perfect complexion!

The mask does smell slightly like cocoa, but that's about it. I expected a bit... more, in terms of scent from this mask, with the promise of Chocolate, Mulberry & Honey. But at least it wasn't overpowering, I suppose! I did enjoy this mask: it wasn't too goopy or wet, the mask fits well, and it had a lot of extra serum (which as you know, I save!) I previously received other Biobelle masks in my February bag. What's funny is that these masks make no promises in regards to what they do; the ingredients listed on the front are all foods, but besides cocoa butter or oil, I can't figure out what... is actually in them. 

Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic

2. Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic, $4

This is one thing in my bag that made me a little disappointed the moment I saw it. Many people swear by Glow Tonic--and I just can't get into it! I don't know if my skin is impervious, but it honestly doesn't ever feel like I've put anything on my face besides water. I used an entire $20 bottle of this stuff and it did nothing. I'm going to give it this one last shot, but... you all know I hate wasting money! I'll update you in my June empties if this worked. 

Another Taupe Eyeshadow

3. Beaute Basics Eyeshadow in Satin Taupe, $14.99

I oddly cannot find this single eyeshadow on Beaute Basics' website (they only have like 6 products listed on their website, which doesn't seem sketchy at all, you know). But the other single eyeshadows clock in at $14.99. I had to lie down as I read that. That's insanity. It is a big pan of eyeshadow, but... the quality? I've also received this color at least 3 times previously from Ipsy. I'm pretty close to saying no more eyeshadows, except a few months ago, some people got an entire eye palette in their bags! I don't wanna play myself, y'all! But I've got taupe eyeshadow coming out my eyeballs. 

4. Luxie Beauty 245 Small Shader Eye Brush, $12

You can never have too many eyeshadow brushes and I was so excited to get this one! I have a larger shader brush that I use, but sometimes I need something that lets me get a little more definition to pack on eyeshadow. Luxie brushes are some of my favorites, as well, as they're so pretty and pink! 

Doucce Liquid Lipstick
From left to right: NYX Cosmetics Powder Puff in Puppy Love, Wet'n'Wild Cushion Soft Matte Lip Cream in Melon Like It Is, and Doucce Luscious Lip Stain in Passion Peach

From left to right: NYX Cosmetics Powder Puff in Puppy Love, Wet'n'Wild Cushion Soft Matte Lip Cream in Melon Like It Is, and Doucce Luscious Lip Stain in Passion Peach

5. Doucce Luscious Lip Stain in Passion Peach, $28

I'm not entirely sure why this is called a "luscious lip stain," as it is a liquid lip. It dries down to a powdery finish similar to the NYX Cosmetics Powder Puff Lippies and the Wet'n'Wild Cushion Soft Matte Lip Creams. Actually, the color I received is very similar to the color I have in both these lipsticks; I included a swatch of just Passion Peach. It's a bright, bright coral with a mainly orange undertone. In the multi-swatch photo, from left to right is NYX Powder Puff in Puppy Love, Wet'n'Wild Cushion in Melon Like It Is, and then Passion Peach. As you can see, the NYX shade is slightly more pink, whereas the Wet'n'Wild color is almost identical to Passion Peach. It is quite a pretty shade, is very long lasting, and feels nice on the lips; it does go on quite streaky, so it takes some finessing. Is it worth $28, however? Already owning two nearly identical dupes, I can say that I prefer the Wet'n'Wild Cushion as it is really soft, lovely, and wearable... while only being $3.

Final Thoughts

The full value of this bag is $68.97. That's pretty average for my Ipsy bags. I love almost everything in this bag (even though I feel there are better dupes out there for some things), except the taupe eyeshadow and perhaps the Pixi Glow Tonic (though I'm holding out hope that something miraculous happens). If you'd like to try Ipsy, use my referral code here.