ipsy glam bag

Beauty Review: My August Ipsy Glam Bag Plus

Beauty Review: My August Ipsy Glam Bag Plus | Writing Between Pauses


This is my third Ipsy Glam Bag Plus and will probably be my last.

Last month, I was in a very weird place in my life (my Glam Bag Plus review actually cracks me up; I won’t be editing it, let it stand as a testament to not review amidst personal crisis), but this month, I’m feel a little more stable in my work life and my emotional life. So I’m ready to review with the mindset of whether or not $25 for these products is fair.

Obviously, $25 for 5 full size items is always going to be a good deal. However, is it worth it in terms of… am I getting things I like using? Do I feel like the customization works?

With that in mind, if you’d like to sign up for the Glam Bag Plus, click here to use my referral link. And as always, you can read my past reviews here.

Let’s talk products.

Ipsy Glam Bag Plus value

1. Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara, $24

I hate getting mascaras in my subscription boxes!!! I swear, I do set everything to NOT receive mascaras and yet, here I am, second month in a row with a full size mascara. The It Cosmetics mascara is still one of my least favorites ever (it is so clumpy and gross looking), but this one might be a close second: it makes my eyes itch intensely. I have worn in 3 times and I legitimately worry each time whether I will go blind. And it doesn’t even make my eyelashes look that good.

Props for being an ethically focused company, but oof.

2. F.A.R.A.H. Brushes 5-Piece Eye Perfection Set

I’m always a little suspicious about anything I can’t find on the brand’s website. This is no different: I cannot find anything similar to this brush set on their website. If I had to estimate it based on similarly priced sets, I would say anywhere from $25-30, maybe up to $40. I always lean more towards the lower estimate; in combined brush sets (like a set of 4 face brushes and then these same 5 eyeshadow brushes), the cost is $50. If it’s an even 50-50 split. $25 makes the most sense to me.

Anyway, I have received FARAH brushes in the past and I do like them. These do stain really easily; I used and washed them once and they are permanently pink, purple, and brown… respectively. They are perfectly fine brushes and since I use eyeshadow brushes a lot, I appreciate a variety.

Ipsy Glam Bag Plus full size eyeshadow palette
Tarte Dream Big Eyeshadow Palette

3. Tarte Dream Big Eyeshadow Palette, $30

I have suspicions that this palette is just a leftover holiday or New Years season palette launch from Tarte.

I’ve never heard great things about Tarte palettes. They are never really on my radar. I do like this one; it’s relatively small (about the size of my hand) and I like the color story. At first, I was utterly unconvinced, but I do like the shade All In, the mauve-pink metallic in the top middle row. The rest of the palette is pretty generic, but it does have some additions I don’t have in other palettes, so I’m willing to forgive it.

Swatched shades from left to right: Hustle, All In, Happening, You Can, and This is It.

All the shades swatch really well (I would say Happening, the purple shade, is one of the weakest). The black metallic, Hustle, did stain my arm really badly. So there is that at well.

At $30 for the entire palette, it has 8 colors. That evens out to $3.75 per eyeshadow, which is a little high to me.

4. Purlisse Blue Lotus Essential Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30, $45

I really like the brand Purlisse and so this moisturizer is probably one of the things I’ve been most excited to receive. It has SPF 30 (YES) and on my skin, does not leave a white cast. However, I saw “on my skin” because it is impossible for me to determine if it would on darker skin tones. If you have any input, I’d love to hear it; I know finding SPF moisturizers that don’t leave a white cast is much harder for POC.

I do really like the moisturizer. It does have a faint SPF smell, but I don’t mind that whatsoever. I haven’t noticed it making my skin worse in anyway. It’s been all positives.

Murad AHA BHA Cleanser

5. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, $40

I have wanted to try a Murad product for years, but baby, they are expensive. So getting this exfoliating cleanser was like a gift from the skincare gods. I was so excited for this product and I was not disappointed. Does it smell a little funky? Sure. Does it make my skin feel bomb though? Absolutely.

It’s $40 for the full size bottle and it is big baby. I cannot imagine using this entire thing in a year. You’re only supposed to use it 2-3 times per week, as it is an exfoliant; no skin damage here, baby. I feel like, knowing how good it is now and how big the bottle is… $40 seems pretty fair. And you guys know I don’t say that a lot.

Final Thoughts

I estimate the value (thanks to the brush set) of this box to be $164. That’s… pretty good, for $25.

Like I said, $25 for 5 full size products is always going to be a good deal. But is this providing value to my life?

Of the 5 products I received, I hate 1 (that mascara), I love 3 (the cleanser, the moisturizer, and the brush set), and I’m meh on the 5th (the eyeshadow palette: like it, but don’t love it). To me, that evens out pretty good; I now have 3 full size products that I can use for a fair amount of time, all for $25. Even if I bought just those items, I’d still be spending $110.

More importantly, is getting my Ipsy Glam Bag Plus fun? Yes. Of course it is! It’s fun to get new things!

I do think this will be my last box, however. Even though these products are valuable, for me right now, $25 per month is a little steep just budget wise right now. (I did get laid off a month ago!) I will be switching back to the $10 a month bag. I’m glad I tried it! I’m glad I went for it and got to experience it, but for the price, it’s just not my thing.

That being said, if you’re someone who wants to start using skincare and make up, but have no idea where to start, the $25 a month price is really good and gives you a variety of products to try for a long time. Not just samples.

Beauty Review: Ipsy Glam Bag Plus, July 2019

Beauty Review: Ipsy Glam Bag Plus, July 2019

Ipsy, Ipsy, Ipsy… what am I going to do with Ipsy?

I was so excited for the Glam Bag Plus—in fact, I was so excited, I kind of threw myself into it without really thinking about it. I mainly just wanted that sparkly glamour of 5 new products every month without fretting about the sizes.

But it’s not really all it’s cracked up to be, is it? Sure, I get the thrill of trying new things without spending an arm and a leg. But at what cost? To my sanity that is.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I wasn’t sure how else to start this blog post. I swear, I will write a life update soon. Just not now. I have a lot to look forward to in the next month: I’m heading on a vacation (somehow the worst AND the best timing at once) next week, then I’ll be hopefully working on some fun, exciting projects and not sitting at home watching Queer Eye and wishing Jonathan Van Ness would come and just hold me and tell me I’m pretty and it’ll be ok.

The products I got this month from Ipsy feel like a hodgepodge—and not necessarily based on anything I’ve shared with Ipsy. (More on that…) Sometimes, I get this feeling there isn’t a lot of personalization here, but more grabbing and shoving and sending. But that’s just a suspicion, I have nothing to back that up, please don’t send me an email Ipsy. (Did I mention a brand sent me an email refuting a review of mine? Yeah. That happened.)

If you’d like to try Ipsy Glam Bag, you can sign up here. Without further ado, let’s talk this month’s picks.

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette in Pink Sands

1. Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette in Pink Sands, $45

When I finally got my Ipsy product sneak peek (it took until the day before the thing shipped), I was on the edge of my seat. Would I get one of the Huda Beauty eyeshadow palettes I’ve been lusting after? I was so hopeful I would. After all, I’ve said repeatedly for Ipsy not to send me highlighters, I have it marked on my quiz and everything.

Imagine the punch to the gut it was to see that I got the highlighter palette.

Yeah. Ipsy did that. I swear they do it on purpose.

It’s a perfectly fine highlighter palette. It’s pretty! I won’t use it, except for maybe Ibiza. I don’t wear highlight. I’m not interested in it. I’m so tired. I feels so lame to say it, but I was so genuinely crushed by this being in my Ipsy box, I almost canceled the entire thing. I’m giving them one more month and then I’m done.

2. IT Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara, $24

A few years ago, Ulta did a birthday give for the July-September birthdays (since the gifts change quarterly) that was an entire eyeshadow palette. They got an ENTIRE EYESHADOW PALETTE. When I went to get my gift in October, I thought, “Gosh, I bet we’ll get a different palette.” No! It was a mini tube of mascara. Even the associate looked embarrassed as she handed it to me; she knew they’d just been handing out 12-shadow eyeshadow palettes and here she was tossing me a tube of old mascara.

That mascara was IT Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara. I hated it then too.

Purlisse Watermelon Balm Review Pixi Glow Mist Review

3. Purlisse Watermelon Energizing Aqua Balm, $24

I’m not a total cynic. I love this product! I love a good moisturizer and this balm smells like watermelon, so I immediately love it. It is a great moisturizer for summer when you need a little moisture, but also don’t want anything heavy on your skin. Forrest keeps trying to steal it off my bathroom counter, saying, “It’s watermelon flavor!” Not really.

4. Pixi by Petra Glow Mist, $20

I love a good mist and I love Pixi products, so this was the perfect thing I needed in this box to keep me from throwing in the towel. It is essentially an oil mist with a lot of nourishing ingredients. It recommends using to set makeup, but I’m oily enough, thank you. I use it before bed to cool down and for an extra amount of moisture.

Feel Balanced Moisture Balancing Cream Review

5. Feel Balanced Moisture Balancing Cream, $28

I was initially so annoyed by the highlighter palette, that I was ready to say, “a BODY lotion!? They sent me a body lotion!” I have so much body lotion, I didn’t need another… but this one is so, so nice. I gave myself a blister on my elbow a few weeks ago doing embroidery (stitched too hard, I guess) and so I’ve had a big dry patch on my elbow ever since. This fixed it up in just one use, so honestly, that’s pretty great. It’s also been helping my raggedy cuticles from washing my hands too much and too hot. All-in-all, a 10/10.

Final Thoughts

This box has a $141 total value. Whew! That’s pretty good. It’d be nice if I didn’t get two absolute dud products that I will never use in my life. On the plus side, I know I will use all of the Glow Mist, Watermelon Balm, and Balancing Cream, so that’s a plus.

Beauty Review: I Tried Ipsy Glam Bag Plus So You Don't Have To

Beauty Review: I Tried Ipsy Glam Bag Plus So You Don't Have To | Writing Between Pauses

I waited patiently—anxiously, even—for this: I finally got off the waiting list for the Glam Bag Plus.

I’ve been an Ipsy Glam Bag subscriber for over a year now—probably 18 months total, minus a few months where I skipped or put my membership on hold. I have reviewed nearly every single Ipsy bag I received; I quite liked a lot of them, but started to find them boring in the last few months. (You can read all my Ipsy reviews here.)

When they announced the Glam Bag Plus, I immediately signed up for the waiting list; I knew I wanted to try it, even if $25 was a bit steep (compared to $10 a month that is!) Mostly, I just wanted to see what they would actually send.

The Glam Bag Plus is, like Boxy Charm, 5 full-size products every single month. The regular Glam Bag promises a mix of sample size, deluxe sample size, and full-size products. The full size products in the Glam Bag are usually masks or single eyeshadows. The Glam Bag Plus is $25; comparatively, Boxy Charm is $21 per month and seems to be primarily name brand products.

How does the Glam Bag Plus compare? Let’s see what I got in my first box.

(As a note, I did receive 2 bonus items that I received through trading in my points on Ipsy. I will include small reviews for them!)

If you’d like to try the Glam Bag Plus, you can sign up here.

Ipsy Glam Bag Plus

1. Tula Major Glow Cooling & Brightening Sheet Masks, $26.25

Here’s an interesting note: these Tula masks usually come in a pack of 4. I received 3 (and the package says “pack of 3 masks”). Now, to me, if the standard pack includes 4 masks and this pack includes 3…. that’s not full size. I don’t know what size it is, but it’s not full size, that’s for sure. Already, that makes me highly suspicious about the “full size” aspect of this box! But I digress; a pack of 4 masks costs $35, making each one worth $8.75. That makes 3 worth $26.25.

The plus side of all this: I really like these masks! I love masks that are two pieces, because they tend to fit better. I also really like the hydrogel feel of these masks. It’s been pretty hot already this summer, so I like to pop them in the fridge and wear one in the evening while I watch TV.

2. Suva Beauty Hydra Liner in Grease & Six Twenty Brush Set, $26

This is interesting because this “item” is actually two items: a Six Twenty Brush (for eyeliner) and the Hydra Liner in the shade Grease (black). The brush is $12; the liner is $14. They might be sold as a set, but I can’t find that option on this brand’s website. So, I guess that’s pretty nice; it’s technically two full size items. Personally, a $12 brush is a bit much for me, especially as it is a teeny tiny liner brush.

This eyeliner is activated by a wet brush. It seems nice, but I haven’t gotten a chance to experiment with it a lot yet. I love winged eyeliner, but I personally prefer an all-in-one tool; it’s just easier for me, especially as I won’t have time to wash a brush every single day.

Is Ipsy Glam Bag Worth It

3. Tetrix x Ipsy Game On Eyeshadow Palette, $15

This is an interesting one: an eyeshadow palette specifically by Ipsy. Not any other brand, but… Ipsy.

This is a big of a rankle for me. To me, the point of this beauty subscription is to receive either indie brands or major brands… not Ipsy products. It’s like signing up for a beauty subscription and getting Target’s generic brand items in it. They’re great, but I can buy them for cheaper on my own.

As well, apparently there is a second palette that has colors I would much prefer.

I estimated this price at around $15. If I’ve being generous, that’s about $2.50 per eyeshadow (the cost of Ulta Beauty’s individual eyeshadows, for comparison). However, the full Tetris x Ipsy Collection retails for $158 total. Since this palette isn’t sold anywhere else, I have nowhere else to link to!

It is a fairly decent palette. I quite like the shade Game Day, which is foiled; Stack It Up is pretty and so are Block Party and Game Night. However, I don’t wear navy eyeshadow, so Game Over is a bit much; and orange eyeshadow makes me look ill. I’ll use a fair number of the shades so it’s not a total waste, but I am disappointed to receive essentially a generic palette. C’est la vie.

4. Tréstique Matte Color + Shiny Lip Balm Lip Crayon, $25

This one is actually pretty nice, if a bit gimmicky. In the picture on Ipsy, it looked like it was actually 3 products in one. But when it arrived, I realized the packaging is literally just shaped like a giant lip crayon with a smaller lip crayon inside and then the teeny tiniest little lip balm to ever exist. Both are quite nice; I like the color of the lip crayon and the lip balm feels nice. My only annoyance is that I have to carry around a giant lip crayon to use a little balm! The shade I received is: Belize Bordeaux & Grenache Balm. The pictures look absolutely nothing like the color it is. The website make it seems like a dusty rose pink; it’s more like… red wine. Burgundy.

5. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, $65

OK. OK. OK. Maybe… maybe it’s worth it just for this. An ENTIRE tub of Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C cream! I can’t! Miraculous! Marvelous! Extraordinary!

Am I being dramatic? Yes. But a tub of this alone costs $65. I can see why they perhaps cheaped out on the eyeshadow palettes and masks (I see you, Ipsy), because whew, $65!

This is one of those creams I’ve dreamed of trying but didn’t have the actual cash. I’m never going to drop $65 on just a moisturizer. Especially one that is all about Vitamin C.

Oh, have I mentioned? Vitamin C makes me break out. Bad. I’m still going to try this ($65!!!) But I don’t have my hopes up. In fact, my hopes are… low. I’m probably going to break out. But who knows? Maybe this will be the vitamin C cream of my dreams; I have heard excellent things about it.

What Comes In Ipsy Glam Bag Plus

A word on my points items! I received the Neogen White Truffle Oil Drops and the Billion Dollar Brows Eyebrow Brush. I love an oil on top of my moisturizer at night to help with my dehydrated skin and I am so far loving these oil drops. I’ve been meaning to get an eyebrow brush for ages, but just never got around to it; I like that this one is angled slightly and has both types of brush that I need. In total, I traded in like 1200 points for both of these and the brush alone is worth $16. Worth it.

Ipsy Glam Bag Plus Products

Final Thoughts

In total, the value of this first box is… $157.25. Ok, DANG! That’s pretty good!

Let’s compare, however. If we review my “One Year of Ipsy” blog post here, we know that in July 2018 I received a bag that had a value of $93. That’s a difference of about $64. If a $10 Ipsy bag has the potential to be worth $93 (and that was a slight outlier of a bag; my lowest was a $45 value bag in October 2018). The average value of my Ipsy bags has been $65, which is pretty good for a $10 purchase.

Looking at it logically, of course a $25 box is going to have a higher value than a $10 bag; but I actually don’t feel like it has enough comparative value. In this first Glam Bag Plus, I only received one recognizable brand (Sunday Riley) and the value of that product greatly inflated the value of the bag. Remove the $65 cream and this Glam Bag Plus is only worth, wait for it, $92. So 4 products total is worth the exact same as a 5-product Ipsy bag that cost only $10. I feel like, again, this is a box of filler products with one extreme high end product thrown in to inflate the value.

However, that being said… despite my criticisms, I do quite like every thing I received. Was it worth the $25? Sure! I’m really happy with everything, even if I’m suspicious of it all as a whole.

If you’d like to try the Glam Bag Plus, you can sign up here.

Have you received the Glam Bag Plus? What did you think? What did you receive?

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.