Created by Youtube makeup tutorial maven Michelle Phan, ipsy is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription mailer service that delivers trending beauty products directly to your door, at up to 70% savings.
For several years, Michelle’s makeup tutorials have gone viral, as she clearly and simply explains how to duplicate her near-magic cosmetic transformations with a few products and some precise application techniques.
Now for $10 a month, Michelle’s fans and beauty product aficionados alike can become ipsy members and receive a mix of “deluxe” sample sizes and full-size products from popular manufacturers such as Urban Decay, NYX, and Smashbox, all packaged in a kitsch travel size makeup bag.
What ipsy Offers
To complement its subscription service, ipsy has created an online community where users can chat about products with each other, ask questions about techniques for application, and offer advice.
More tips n’ tricks are available by viewing ipsy’s beauty tutorials, which cover everything from contouring basics and how to use the products included in each month’s bag, to creating specific looks after your favorite celebs.
But you may be thinking: “Beauty product purchases are a pretty personal endeavor, so how does ipsy know what to send me?”
With a quiz, of course!
Ipsy’s service differentiates itself by offering a level of customization not seen with other monthly beauty subscription services. Upon signing up, users are directed through the “ipsy Beauty Quiz” which ipsy promises will help their team of stylists and curators best understand your personal style, and then tailor product boxes to your tastes.
The quiz walks users through questions such as, “Which describes your personal style best,” “Which ipsy stylist do you relate most to,” and “Rate your overall comfort with applying cosmetics.”
Designed to appeal to beginner makeup lovers looking to recreate Angelina’s famous cateye liner, as well as to those with RuPaul-level contouring ability, ipsy welcomes members of all experience levels to dig in and learn how to feel a little prettier.
Want To Feel Glam?
Ipsy’s monthly delivery of Glam Bags is available for $10 per month. Shipping and handling is free for US orders, while it costs $4.95 to ship to Canada. The service isn’t yet available for international orders.
Annual subscriptions are also available for $110, giving members who commit to a year-long subscription one month for free.
Subscribers won’t ever know what’s coming in next month’s bag, but hints are available by viewing ipsy’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
If you’re not happy with what’s arrived, unfortunately refunds for the contents of your Glam Bag aren’t available. However, if products have arrived damaged or missing, subscribers are directed to contact ipsy’s customer care at ipsyCare.
Ipsy also allows members to earn ipsyPoints to spend on special products released on their site. New members earn 100 points for signing up and active members can earn 250 points for referring a friend! There are lots of ways to earn ipsyPoints, and the complete list can be found here.
Ipsy’s subscription service currently has a wait list, but for eager members who can’t bear a few months of suspense, ipsy offers a program called “Skip the Wait” to “reward their biggest fans.” Members who gain referrals through likes and shares on Facebook, message invites to Facebook friends, as well as who subscribe to their Instagram and YouTube channels, will be moved from the Waitlist and set to receive their first Glam Bag the following month.
Although the term “subscription” is used to describe their service, those interested in signing up for ipsy should understand that this means your credit card will be charged monthly, and cancelling your subscription requires a call to customer service.
What ipsy Reviewers Are Saying
As with many beauty products or services, it can be difficult to tell which positive reviews are sponsored and which are possibly biased.
While a quick Google search for ipsy reviews yields a range of beauty bloggers who wax poetically about their monthly bags, with posts accompanied by professional-looking photos, member review sites reveal some less-than-positive experiences along with positive ones:
“I never received my ipsy bags for December or this month. I jumped through all the loops (free advertising and following) to get off the waiting list. I have been charged for two months, yet to no avail. I never got my bags, and when I told them, they refused a refund because it's "policy". So there's a policy covering them for STEALING my money? Not good. No thanks.” (Source)
“I loved my ipsy subscription in the beginning, (yeah u read it right LOVED).. I ended up cancelling it though because it seems that they just dont care.. I paid for my subscription every month and enjoyed getting my goodies.. it was like christmas every month BUT it got really old when they would start sending me the previous months bags because they "RAN OUT". They did this to me 2 times which was 2 times too much! I was upset and contacted them and they basically brushed me off! I think that since they made us wait for an invitation for about a month until there was availability then this shouldnt be happening! I sent over referrals after I joined and they got added AFTER ME and were receiving their correct bags. I thought if the problem would be corrected, maybe I would have stayed but after the initial response I received after I first contacted them, I WILL NEVER GIVE THEM MY MONEY AGAIN!” (Source)
Many reviewers who were disappointed with their ipsy shipments state similar complaints:
- A lack of variety in the products and brands
- Multi-month-long line when placed on the wait list
- Missing shipments
- Unresponsive customer service when attempting to cancel
Ipsy holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating with 73 closed complaints (as of 3/16/15). Similar to reviews elsewhere online, some of the most common complaints also revolve around long wait list times, difficulty processing returns/cancelling subscriptions, and missing shipments.
Final Thoughts On ipsy
For cosmetics lovers with a real eye for trends and a desire to be on the cutting edge, ipsy appears to offer a wide variety of new products and a supportive community that helps members learn how to best create the looks they desire.
However, makeup is such a personal thing, and it’s really important to buy flattering shades and products that work for your skin tone and type, making it much more of a challenge for ipsy to send out products that will work for everyone on their subscription list. Because of this, while you might find many of ipsy’s products work with your skin type and personal style, there will likely be a few you’re dissatisfied with.
14 out 15 people found this review helpful
You sign up and WHAM! Placed on a waitlist that forces you to spam people to get off of. This is AFTER you've given Ipsy your credit card/payment info.
There is NO customer service line, nor refunds. Emails are automated & do not address your issue. Facebook page comments are answered by 2 women, who I suspect are employees, in an incredibly rude manner. Tweets are ignored. If you try to email them again, after being ignored, you get bumped to the end of the line - regardless of how long you've been waiting for a response.
Ipsy is quick to take your money on the 1st, but slow to ship. Shipping is done in three batches. You may not get your bag for the month in THAT month, or at all. Shipping estimates & actual shipping dates change constantly, getting further out each time. Any inquiries are met by the same bot response about the shipping being done in 3 batches, regardless of your actual question or how late your bag is.
You DO get to "peek" into your bag & see what you're getting (that is IF you get it), only to find that your beauty preferences are completely ignored by the company.
My one & only bag, which never arrived, didn't even have makeup in it, just mascara & a highlighter stick. The rest appears to be the type of samples you get in the mail.
When you go to cancel your service, the buttons you must click are purposely misleading, but even worse - your purchase history & shipping info for any bag you've yet to receive are completely wiped clean. Be sure to screenshot & copy down all this information prior to cancelling your subscription.
Ipsy is terrible & I would recommend it only to someone I hated.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend