is ipsy worth it

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 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 July 2018 Ipsy Bag

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

After last month's dramatic opening to my ipsy review, it's nice to be able to say there was no drama with them this month. This month's theme was all about summer and the poolside: the bag is the perfect mesh bag to take to the pool (stuff this baby full of SPF and you're set, honestly). While I don't have access to a pool throughout the summer, it's a nice thought. I live in an area where in ground pools are relatively rare, but a girl can dream, right? 

As always, you can read all my past Ipsy reviews here. If you're interested in trying Ipsy yourself, you can sign up using my referral code here

July Ipsy 1

1. Callyssee Caffeine Rush Nourishing Sheet Mask, $19 for 2 masks

You guys know I like masks and ipsy really knows the way to my heart: sending me lots of sheet masks. And these ones are absolutely lovely. Here's what they promise: 

This mask is infused with caffeine and nutrients to wake up your inner beauty and turn on your outer glow. A cocktail of skin loving ingredients includes nature’s nearly perfect skin softener, Argan Kernal Oil and Soybean Seed Extract, which feel like a rich skin treat. Our hero ingredient, Organic Coffea Arabica Seed Extract, is known to help with encouraging cell renewal and soothing the skin, while Panax Ginseng Root Extract, feels great on your skin and can add a delicate flush to your face.

Yeah, so that bit about adding a flush to your face... it's true! My face felt so warm after I used this mask, not unpleasant, but until I read that description, it kind of scared me! My face has been very dehydrated since I went to Idaho and despite my best efforts, all my efforts to rehydrate were failing. This mask totally helped though, so if you're in a dry climate, or just need a bit of a pick-me-up, these masks are great. They also smell like coffee, which is really lovely. 

July Ipsy 2
July Ipsy 3

2. Smashbox Cosmetics Always On Liquid Lipstick in Stepping Out, $24

Liquid lipstick is another easy thing for me to love. I wear liquid lipstick everyday. (As a note, you can see a swatch of this lipstick below, as well as a photo of it at the end of this post!) I was very impressed by the Smashbox lipstick I received in December, so I was really excited to try this liquid lip. And I have to say, even though $24 is pretty steep for a liquid lipstick for me, it was so comfortable to wear. This liquid lip comes with a hefty promise: "An 8-hour, liquid matte lipstick that’s specifically formulated to be comfortable and not dry out your lips." And honestly, that's not a lie. I wore this lipstick for an entire day at home and forgot I was wearing it a few times. It's that good! 

3. Elizabeth Mott Tapered Blending Brush, $16

I love collecting brushes, but I hate spending money on them. Ipsy has been great because it has rapidly expanded my collection of brushes, especially by sending me really high quality ones I wouldn't have ever bought myself. I've been needing a new fluffy blending brush for eyeshadow; my tried-and-true Urban Decay brush has started shedding, so it's time to send it to the great beyond, and this brush stepped perfectly into its spot. Absolutely love it. 

July Ipsy 4 Swatches

4. Ella Eden Eyeshadow in Harmony, $14

This was the one product that, when I saw it on my sneak peek, I was very disappointed in. A pink eyeshadow? Really? Haven't I said I'm tired of receiving eyeshadows!? However, this is such a pretty color (it's the first swatch above) and it really does look great. I like that it is a more cool-toned peach-pink, instead of being very warm and orangey, so it's a little more suited to my color. Here's what the eyeshadow promises: 

Ella EDEN’s mineral pressed/compact eye shadow gives you a versatile base of color you can easily add to, or wear alone. The creamy consistency is easy to blend, and the deep hues create the perfect look for conservative daytime wear, or bolder statements to highlight your nightlife.

While that's true, I did personally feel that this eyeshadow struggled to be applied with a brush. I ended up using my finger and it was quite flaky, but I made it work. It's pretty enough that it works! I also used it as a highlighter over my blush and it looks great that way too! 

July Ipsy 5
July Ipsy 6 Pacifica Coconut Blush

5. Pacifica Coconut Blush in Beaming & Tenderheart, $20

I love a blush! You can see these blushes swatched above (the two middle shades). The shade Beaming is the bronzer and the shade Tenderheart is the blush. The bronzer looked great on me, but the blush itself is quite dark; I had to be really careful not to apply too heavily and make myself look like a clown! With a little effort, it looks great though. There is quite a lot of fall out with both shades. One odd note: I couldn't find these blushes on Pacifica's website, which suggests they were discontinued. However, based on the price of single blushes from Pacifica ($14 a pop) and other blush sets ($24 for 3), I settled on $20 as a price for these two.

Final Thoughts

Look with All Ipsy Products

The value of this bag is $93. I will have to look, but I think this is the highest value of any ipsy bag I've received so far! I also like everything in it. Initially, when I saw my sneak peek of products, I was disappointed: another liquid lip, another eyeshadow, siiiiigh. But once it arrived and I played with everything, I really ate my words. I love everything in this bag and they are all high quality products. My favorite is probably the brush (I've been needing a tapered brush like this to replace my Urban Decay blending brush, which has started loosing hairs) and the Pacifica blush--you know I love a blush! 

To the left here, you can see a look I did with everything from this ipsy bag: the liquid lip, the blush & bronzer, and the eyeshadow. I also used the tapered brush to blend and the eyeshadow as a highlight and blush on top of the Pacifica blush, just for an extra rosie glow. (I'm also wearing the Aerie Hometown sweatshirt in this photo, which is my absolute favorite.) 

Do you want to try ipsy? Sign up for ipsy using my referral 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.  

Beauty Review: My May Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My May Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

You may notice something a little different about this Ipsy bag: I have 6 items here. Well, this month, I redeemed some of my points for a bonus item: a tube of Cake Beauty's Delectable Body Lotion. I've been needing a new hand lotion to keep at my desk and this was a perfect opportunity. 

The theme of this month's bag is travel--and surprisingly, the makeup bag is much roomier than past Ipsy bags! I'm excited to cover everything I received this month, so let's jump in. 

You can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And as always, you can sign up for Ipsy using my referral link here

Mermaid Teal Elizabeth Mott Eyeshadow

1. Elizabeth Mott Shimmer Eyeshadow Single in Mermaid Teal, $13

You know what's funny? I received a half-size Elizabeth Mott eyeshadow in my very first Ipsy bag; I received the shade Toasted then and while I quite liked it, I'll be honest when I say I haven't used it since probably October. However, unlike the past eyeshadows I've received, this is not a bronze, warm brown, or copper. It's teal! I was really excited I got this color. 

I am not a blue eyeshadow person, but I know I need to challenge myself when it comes to my eye makeup! This is a really beautiful teal-blue; it's super buttery and blendable. I've been experimenting with ways to use it and I quite like it blended into a more wearable, everyday color like gray. 

2. TonyMoly Painting Therapy Pack, $6.50 for 30ml ($2.17 value)

You all know I love a mask and I love TonyMoly products. This mask "contains bamboo charcoal which helps to extract impurities and break down dead skin cells so skin is cleansed from the inside out. Perfect for controlling sebum and oil." Oh, girl! That sounds awesome! I tried this mask out the first time I got it. I saw some reviews that said this sample tube only gave them two uses. It has 10 ml (and a full size is 30 ml); I would say I could get probably 4-5 uses out of this tube! That's pretty good value. It made my skin feel quite soft, but not tight and dry like some clay masks can. 

SLMISSGLAM Beauty Sponge

3. SLMISSGLAM Sparkle Everyday Glam Beauty Sponge, $17.50

I love a sponge and I was excited to receive this one... but it's so small! It's retail price is $17.50, which actually made me gasp. I even checked, several times, that I'd searched for the right sponge. $17.50 for this little thing? But the thing I hate the most is that I absolutely love it. I love this expensive sponge! It's way better than my Real Techniques sponge! I'm spoiled now. I'm spoiled by this $17.50 sponge. 

4. Taste Cosmetics Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder, $33 for 8.5g (~$8.25 value) 

I only recently purchased the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores powder when I found out I was getting this finishing powder in my ipsy bag. I definitely grumbled--how did they know I'd just committed to a pretty big purchase!? I was excited to try a different style of powder though because you never know when you might need to buy something different. Is this powder as good as my It Cosmetics? It's a lot finer and definitely less dry, if that makes sense; it's a softer powder in general. I do find that it doesn't control my oil and set my makeup as well, but I think for those with dry skin, it's an absolutely great option. 

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cairo Swatch

5. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cairo, $6.50

You all know I love NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams... but I just received one in my Ipsy bag! What gives!? The color I received this month is Cairo, which is described as a "pure, pale nude." Pale is absolutely correct; this is very nearly my skin tone! It's not the most flattering color, but as usual I love the formula. I just wish I had gotten one of the other colors. Or better yet, one of the 10 new shades that NYX has introduced recently. This was my one big disappointment of my bag. 

BONUS: Cake Beauty Delectable Lotion, $6 value

Did I need another lotion? Not really! But enough people had signed up with my ipsy referral code that I had so many points, I just needed to redeem something! I got this lotion for 250 points if I remember right. It's vegan and cruelty free and smells super coconut-y. I don't like eating coconut, but it's one of my favorite smells ever; I love that nostalgic sunscreen smell. It dries really fast, so I keep it by my computer for quickly applying, as my hands are very often quite dry.  

Cake Beauty Delectable Body Lotion Coconut

Final Thoughts

The value of my bag this month was $47.42. If you add in my bonus item I received with redeemed points, it's $53.47. It's not the highest valued bag, but I only really didn't like one thing in this bag (the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream), so I don't mind. The sponge is my favorite item and being $17.50 (seriously), it makes the bag absolutely worth it! I also love the Delectable lotion, as it smells so good and makes me feel like summer time personified. As always, you can sign up for Ipsy using my link here.. 

Beauty Review: My March Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My March Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Last month's Ipsy bag was such a winner, I knew it was going to be hard to follow up. And true to form, I found myself a little disappointed (as Danny said, dis-ipsy-pointed) this month. It's not a bad bag, though! (To read my past Ipsy reviews, click here.) 

1. Doucce Freematic eyeshadow mono in Lola, $10

If you watch my Instagram story, you saw my surprise when I popped these eyeshadow out of the little pouch and... it's just a pan. These is nothing to hold it in! I personally do not like buying eyeshadow singles for this exact reason, so I'm of the opinion that if I get sent a sample of an eyeshadow... it should come in some kind of component that makes it easier for me to store! Thankfully, I've been considering de-panning my Power of Beauty palette (the TooFaced/Nikkietutorials one), so I'm buying a magnetic palette anyway. 

This eyeshadow is really smooth and the design is very cute. The color I received is a mauvey pink, kind of cool toned. I'm not really a pink eyeshadow person; it makes me look a little like I have pink eye. But this is a really pretty, shimmery shade. 

2. Royal + Langnickel Prismatic Ombre Fan Brush, estimated $6 value

I've been wanting to get a fan brush for so long, but I haven't been willing to spend money on one (the story of my life), so I was really excited to see this in my bag this month. It helps that it's a super pretty brush anyway; prismatic, metallic, and rainbow colored! I'm really happy with how it applies highlight too; I'm a little "over" highlight and I think a fan brush applies a much lighter layer than a brush that "packs it on," so to speak. 

Note on estimated value: I could only find this brush in a set that came with a small bag and 2 other brushes. It cost $20, so I estimated that a single fan brush is valued at approximately $6. 

March Ipsy 2

3. Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Baked Highlighter in Bellini, $14

This is the second baked highlighter I've received in 2 months--and funny enough, it's in the exact same component as the highlighter I received last month. Exact same component, exact same shape of highlighter, really close in color. This one is a more peachy pink tone than lavender and while it's quite pretty, I'm kind of at my limit for highlighters (I have so many at this point). However, it's really gorgeous and not like any other highlighter I own, so I can't really complain! 

4. Tarte Cosmetics Sex Kitten Eyeliner, estimated $10 value

So, I received a pencil eyeliner in my January bag and I expressed my dismay then that I find pencil liners very dated. (No offense if you love pencil eyeliner, but my gosh, 2004 called, they want their tightlining back.) I even told this to Ipsy. And yet they sent me another one. Which I won't use. I put this right in my "donate" bin, unfortunately. 

Note on estimated value: this sample eyeliner is half the size of the full size (and only has one tip). Therefore, I estimated it is worth about half the original price. 

5. Goldfaden MD Facial Detox Mask, estimated $26 value

This mask... truly, it's the best part of this bag! I love it. It felt so good when I put it on and smelled like eucalyptus and tea tree oil, which is one of my favorite smells. I was in heaven! When I rinsed it, my skin felt so soft and smooth--even the next morning, after a night of jojoba oil, my skin felt much smoother than usual. It was a nice treat. However, a full size of this mask costs $65! That's a lot of money to spend on one single thing, but you know, it might be worth it. 

Note on estimated value: the full size Facial Detox Mask costs $65 for 50 ml; the sample I received is 20 ml, so the full size is 2.5 times it's size. I used the $65 to estimated that this sample tube would be worth about $26. 

March Ipsy

Final thoughts

The total value of this bag is $66, which isn't bad. The bag itself came with markers to color, which is very fun. However, I know from experience that even permanent markers run on fabric unless you soak it in vinegar after coloring--and no way am I dunking this bag in vinegar! I colored a few bits of the bag, but not much... I don't want to risk it getting wet and ending up with pink and lime green everywhere!

This bag was a bit of a disappointment; there was one miss (the eyeliner) and just a little bit of fatigue regarding the eyeshadow and highlighter. But one of the things i love about ipsy is that it helps me build up my collection of brushes, and try products that I would never before. It's not enough of a dud to make me cancel. If you'd like to try ipsy, click here to use my affiliate code; I do receive a small points kickback for you signing up!