Ipsy Review: What You Should Know

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Feb 4, 2020

Experimenting with different makeup brands gets expensive if you’re forever paying for full-sized products you might only use once.

Ipsy is a beauty box subscription company that sends you deluxe-sized sample products that are tailored to your preferences.

Each month, subscribers receive an Ipsy glam bag in the mail filled with five beauty products worth at least $50. If you like what you receive, it’s possible to purchase full-sized versions from the Ipsy website.

Those that don’t want to limit themselves can sign up for bigger Ipsy subscriptions and receive only full-sized products or up to twelve products (eight full-size and four sample-size) per box.

Is Ipsy worth considering for those interested in expanding their makeup collection without spending too much money? Learn from our analysis whether the brand makes sense for you.

Pros: Cons:
  • Guaranteed $50+ in value for each $12 subscription box
  • Customers can choose one item per month
  • Possible to purchase full-sized products from Ipsy
  • An affordable way to experiment with new brands
  • Ipsy might not take your preferences into account
  • Some customers found sample sizes too small to test thoroughly
  • Customization items tend to sell out quickly

How Does Ipsy Work?

To get started with Ipsy, you need to create an account and fill out an online beauty profile.

This profile lets you share your product preferences and priorities, and it includes questions about your skin tone, eye and hair color, your comfort level with makeup, how often you want to receive specific products (mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick, makeup brushes, etc.), and your preferred shades for eye, lip, and nail products.

Ipsy personalizes your product selection through a process called Ipsy Match, which takes input from your beauty profile and your past product reviews, to choose items that will interest you. Even so, there’s no guarantee that your selection will always match your beauty profile answers.

Every month, you’ll be able to hand-pick one of the products in your subscription. Quantities of these choice items are often limited, so the sooner you make your selection, the more likely you will receive it. We recommend logging onto your account shortly after you get a confirmation email from Ipsy about that month’s selection.

What Comes in an Ipsy Subscription?

Ipsy promises to send you a combination of high-end and affordable brands from both well-known and up-and-coming cosmetic companies.

Here’s an example of the products that were available at all membership tiers in December 2019:

Glam Bags ($12/mo)

Each Ipsy Glam Bag order will contain five deluxe-sized products and is guaranteed to have a value of at least $50. We have included the pricing for the full-sized versions of each product.

Your order will include a five-product assortment from these items.

December 2019:

  • Pure Brazilian Leave-in Conditioner ($26)
  • Belief Moisturizing Bomb ($38)
  • Benefit Cosmetics Face Primer ($13)
  • Juliette Has a Gun Perfume Sample ($4)
  • Thrive Causemetics Lash Extensions Mascara ($24)
  • H20+ Oasis Hydrating Treatment ($38)
  • Hey Honey Retinol Eye Mask ($58)
  • Space Case Cosmetics Blush ($9)
  • Jlii Cosmetics Luxe Crème Matte ($18)
  • Benefit Cosmetics Eyebrow Gel ($24)
  • Colored Raine Glowlighter ($14)
  • Luxie Beauty Blending Brush ($15)
  • Fluide Nail Polish ($15)
  • Phase Zero Shimmer Eyeshadow ($5)
  • Skin Regimen Night Detox ($95)
  • Naturelab Tokyo Hair Oil ($16)
  • Raeka Turmeric Skin Polish ($32)
  • Cake Beauty Body Milk ($9)
  • Avon Glimmersticks Eye Liner ($9)
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer ($30)
  • Small silver zip bag

Glam Bags Plus ($25/mo)

Each Glam Bag Plus order includes five full-sized products collectively worth at least $120.

December 2019:

  • 111Skin Cyro Activating Hydra Gel ($200)
  • Evolue Skincare Super Oil ($68)
  • Evolue Skincare Hydrating Serum ($68)
  • Verso Skincare Eye Cream ($65)
  • Illamasqua Liquid Eyeliner ($22)
  • Morphe Meta Matte Lipstick ($9)
  • Feel Brillant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheets ($35)
  • Noyah Organic Lip Balm, vanilla and peppermint ($8)
  • Complex Culture Bronzer Brush ($35)
  • Noyah Organic Lip Balm Set ($13)
  • Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Spray Set ($25)
  • Ittse Magnetic Eyeshadow Quad ($36
  • Silver and navy cosmetics bag

Glam Bag Ultimate ($50/mo)

Receive eight full-sized products and four deluxe-size samples with a total value of over $250.

December 2019:

  • Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Face Grommage ($28)
  • Girlactik 3-in-1 Lip Sparkle Balm ($34)
  • Space Case Cosmetics Highlighter ($9)
  • Merci Handy Hand Cleansing Gel ($4)
  • Pixi By Petra Mesmerizing Mineral Duo ($10)
  • Color Club Nail Polish ($8.50)
  • Delectable by Cake Beauty Hand Cream ($6)
  • Brooklyn & Bailey Nash Next Door Mascara ($18)
  • Fluide Liquid Lipstick ($16)
  • 111Skin Cryo Activating Hydra Gel ($200)
  • GlamGlow Daily Exfoliating Cleanser ($34)
  • Banila Co Cleansing Balm ($19)
  • Illamasqua Liquid Eyeliner ($22)
  • Complex Culture Blush Brush ($35)
  • Gigi Gorgeous Get Lit Highlighter ($20)
  • Morphe Sculpt and Shimmer Highlighter ($25)
  • Pacifics Beauty Cherry Lip Balm ($3.50)
  • Too Faced Cosmetics Kissable Body Shimmer ($32)
  • Feel Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask ($35)
  • Silver zip cosmetics bag*

Note: The included cosmetic bags increase in size and quality based on your membership level

What Is Ipsy Shopper?

Beyond its subscription glam bags, Ipsy offers daily promotions designed to help shoppers discover news brands. These offers are currently only available in the U.S., and you must be an active subscriber to take advantage of them.

You can purchase these deals and other products through the Ipsy Shopper marketplace, which is a platform that allows you to buy full-sized versions of many of the sample products you received. In many cases, these products will qualify for a 10% discount and free shipping.

Ipsy Points and Add-Ons

Ipsy Points is the company’s reward currency, which customers earn by referring new subscribers to Ipsy, reviewing their subscription experience and the products they receive, and following the company’s founders on social media.

These points can be redeemed for free products, and they expire twelve months after you earn them. Any products that you redeem will arrive in your next month’s Glam Bag order.

If you want more samples in your order, you can purchase Add-Ons. These are a special selection of products from the monthly assortment that you can add to your subscription for $3 each for deluxe samples and between $12–$18 for full-sized products.

Not all products qualify as Add-Ons, and these products are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Cancellation and Refunds

When you purchase an Ipsy Glam Bag of any size, you are automatically signing up for a monthly subscription. You can cancel at any time by logging into your Ipsy account and confirming the cancellation. All cancellations must occur by 12pm PT on the last day of the month to prevent the next scheduled delivery.

If you cancel your account early as an annual member, you will still receive the rest of your Glam Bags for the remainder of the subscription.

It’s also possible to pause your membership for up to three months in a row if you merely need a break from the deliveries.

Ipsy promises to replace any missing products as well as those that arrive defective or damaged. This policy is good for up to 45 days after the shipment date, and you can contact Ipsy Care to initiate the process.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Forty Ipsy customers have left reviews on HighYa, and they average two stars out of five. Comparatively, the brand has more than 140 reviews on ConsumerAffairs, for an average of 2.3 stars.

Below are some of the key takeaways from their comments:

High-Quality Samples and Service

Many reviewers shared that they loved Ipsy Glam Bags because the company nailed almost every product it sent them. They wrote that they enjoyed trying out brands and products they otherwise wouldn’t purchase and found that the value of each order was often close to $100.

Though many noted that there was usually at least one item that wasn’t their preference, they always found a friend who appreciated it.

Products Didn’t Match Customer Preferences

Not all Ipsy customers loved their product selection. Some wrote that they consistently received makeup colors that went against their beauty profile requests and that they received too many similar products so that after a few months, they were overrun with mascara and makeup brushes.

Low-Value Samples

One common complaint against Ipsy concerned poor sample quality. Many subscribers shared that they received only low-quality drugstore brands and that the sample sizes were too small to get a good sense of the products and that they didn’t think they were worth the subscription fee.

Difficult to Cancel Memberships

Some Ipsy users struggled to cancel their membership and shared that the company billed them for an annual membership even after they received an email confirmation for the cancellation. Though customer service refunded their money, Ipsy members didn’t appreciate the inconvenience.

Key Takeaways

Ipsy subscriptions are hit or miss for many people. You’re more likely to enjoy your order if you are open to receiving products you have never tried before and are comfortable occasionally getting items that you will want to regift.

The Bottom Line: Is Ipsy Worth It?

Ipsy subscription boxes offer an appealing way to build up your makeup collection. For just $12 a month, you can try five new products a month and receive a reusable makeup bag in the process.

You’re guaranteed to receive products worth several times what you paid for them, but that doesn’t do you much good if they aren’t items you actually want to use.

That’s where Ipsy loses some points from us. Many subscribers shared that they often received items that weren’t even close to their preferences in their beauty profile, and they resented receiving too many similar products each month.

For this reason, we think it’s best to commit to Ipsy for a few months as a test run before you sign up for an annual subscription. That will give you a chance to see whether you like the selection and use most of the items you receive.

If you’re trying to decide between Ipsy and other beauty box subscription services, then check out our guide to the best beauty box subscription services. There, you’ll learn how Ipsy compares to other popular brands like Boxycharm, Allure, Birchbox, and Glossybox.

Customer Reviews

Start your review of Ipsy:
  • 40 Customer Reviews
  • 25% Recommend This Product
2.0 out of 5
5 star: 15% 4 star: 7% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 15% 1 star: 62%

 Our Promise to You

To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

Sort reviews by:

  • Ipsy is the best!

    Whenever there are spoilers and I'm excited about a specific product, I email them to request it! They are always really accommodating, and I think highly of their customer service. You no longer need to call to cancel your subscription, you can just do it online. I enjoy most of the products they send me, and at only $10 a month, you really don't lose much if you don't like some of the products.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Great

    • By Mary Butler,
    • Pennsylvania,
    • Aug 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Highly recommend Ipsy to all my friends and family. I always had great service when I had to email them about something. I do wish they would fix their point thing because it's just too high for some of their stuff. Other than that, it's a great site that I enjoy every month. Keep up the great work Ipsy.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Great value for price, plus makeup bag each month

    I just joined Ipsy last month and got my first bag a week ago. What first attracted me was that it was only $10 a month and came with a bag. I wasn't interested in the August bag, so waited for a little while and then signed up.

    I didn't special request any item (though you can from one of the spoiler lists,) but I hoped to get the Tarte Light, Camera, Lashes mascara and Smashbox radiance primer. I got both in my first bag!

    The September bag was classy, and I plan to eventually use the bags I get for small complete makeup kits (so I can just grab one and go for traveling.)

    In addition to the Tarte Mascara and Smashbox primer, I received some Elizabeth Mott eyeshadow in toasted, Pixie blush in a peachy duo, and two MANEFIT masks. I thought it was nice to get a mix of things I knew I would use and things to try out.

    Both the eyeshadow and blush ended up working out great. The eyeshadow, especially, was long-lasting and had a wonderful consistency and pigment to it.

    I'd estimate the value of the bag (minus the neat bag itself) to be around $35. From what I understand from other reviews I have seen online, that's actually the low end for an Ipsy bag. However, a great value for $10 and I liked the mix of things which I received.

    I'll see how I like it month to month, but for now, I would say it was a good first impression, and I definitely would recommend it to anyone looking to build up a stash or try new things without needing to pay a lot in a store.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Worth it!

    • By Anna S.,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I want to start off this review by commenting on how many bad reviews there are, with so many consumers complaining they didn’t yet everything they wanted in their bags! You’re only paying $10 a month for these products, and the whole concept of this is to try new things. These products are worth a lot more, and you get some really good quality brushes, etc. I don’t always get everything I want, but at least three or four out of the five I’m super happy with and the others are good to try out. I guess it’s super hard to please everyone.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Definitely worth it

    • By Carley S.,
    • Idaho,
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It is definitely worth the $10 if you love makeup and want to try out new products. I have gotten three months so far and have really enjoyed most of the products. It has given me makeup that I normally would not go out and spend money on, and I also found out I loved it. Every box I have gotten has a value of over $50. My last bag had a value of over $100 full retail price (I look up my products). If you aren't getting products you like, then try changing your preferences. There are many tutorials on how to get a better bag. Not all the products that you get are going to be your favorite. I have gotten at least one product for each bag that I didn't really like or use. I have tried to use all the products with an open mind and have LOVED most of them. This is a cheap subscription but be careful because once you try it you might get addicted!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Just got my 1st order!

    • By Betsy S.,
    • Ohio,
    • Aug 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Love love love my Ipsy bag! They really paid attention to the survey I submitted as to what I use and the colors I like! NAILED IT! I love every single item they sent. Can't wait to try them all out! Very impressed.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Nice makeup bags

    $10 monthly is one of the most affordable subscriptions. I estimated how much the bag and shipping would cost them, including their pay for the staff (online workers, warehouse, and office advertising staff), and dealing with the brands for the "deluxe" and full-size sample size products. I would understand that they are a business too and they have to earn too. And you wouldn't have a five out of five votes for the five products on your bag. In two years of my subscription, I am happy with the three items but not ALL five. Anyhow, it's good to be updated with beauty brands in the market, and you can try what's really worth buying.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • My experience with Ipsy

    • By Lacey L.,
    • South Carolina,
    • Aug 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I don't understand why so many are having this issue. I've been with Ipsy since May of last year. I never had to sign up and be on a waitlist.

    Within the year of having Ipsy, I've received one broken product, which I emailed their support after reading on their page what to do if you don't receive an item or receive a broken item. They were quick to email me back and sent out a new one very quickly. I've also had two bags not arrive on the time they said it would one last year and on a few months ago and emailed them again. Again they quickly emailed back and sent out a replacement bag, no questions asked. Both times I ended up receiving a replacement bag and later my original bag, so I ended up with two.

    Ipsy's bag timing is a little late. I got my bags the last week of each month for the longest time and the date was not guaranteed. I moved in December and now get them on the 10th every month.

    I've not always been happy with my bags. But there have only been two times where I looked at the size and thought "what the heck." I started Ipsy last year because I had no makeup. And didn't have the funds to be buying a bunch of it. I have now a very large collection of makeup all from my Ipsy bags. Lots of full sizes as well as good sized samples. I suppose if people are huge makeup people and are using it every day then the sample sizes are probably not going to last long at all. But I don't use makeup every day. Actually, even when I do most of the time, it's just a light eyeshadow and mascara. Unless I'm taking pictures for Facebook, I don't use much at all. I've received three small mascara samples, and those have lasted me for a year and I'm still using two of them, LOL.

    I've put my bag on pause for a total of three months. They never charged me. Also completely canceled for one month. I never had any issues.

    Now they do push you to share and to invite. I've never invited anyone. I just ignore their asking.

    As for sharing, you earn points which you can redeem for full sized extra products each time you review. If you share your review to Facebook or Twitter, you get more points. Simple thing to do is put your Facebook post with the review so only you can see it. Twitter I don't use so I don't know. Or after you post it to Facebook, just go into your app and delete it. I personally do not care about sharing my reviews. I don't think my friends and family really care either.

    I really like my Ipsy bags each month. Yes, there are duds. But I have grown my makeup collection from non-existent to abundant. I've been able to experiment with products and learn what I like.

    I am 28 years old and the majority of my life I've rarely worn makeup. Usually just a lippie and a sheer eyeshadow. Never experimented either. Now I love makeup. I have a good amount to choose from.

    And the biggest thing is I don't have much money. I don't buy myself things. I suppose I have a minimalist outlook. Even when my bf tells me to take his card to buy myself something nice, my brain puts need over want so I end up buying something we need in the house, or if I don't need something I get something our furbabies need or my bf needs. I come home with what I get, and my bf's face palms every time, LOL.

    Ipsy is the only thing I get myself each month that I do not need. And I look forward to getting my pink parcel in the mail.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Worth the money

    • By Beth R.,
    • Texas,
    • Oct 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been getting my Ipsy bag for over a year now, and I love it. I feel I get more than my money's worth every single time (I haven't had to purchase mascara or eyeliner in the entire time I've been getting the bag!). I hardly recognize any of the brands, but they have all been super great quality. There's always plenty in each sample to use more than once, and many times you get a full sized product. And the bags are so cute!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Disappointed

    • By Diane,
    • Washington,
    • Jan 25, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I first joined the Ipsy craze, I was excited and couldn't wait for my first bag. Then after a number of months, my excitement faded to disappointment.

    Most of the products were great, not all, but most. The problem was that I was being sent the same type of product over and over again, every month. I even went into my account on their site and changed my preferences, hoping to get different types of products. But that didn't happen. Now, the $10 was a great price, but a girl can only use so many eyeliners and lip glosses.

    I am looking at finding a different company to try that provides the same type of thing but in a different fashion. One that sends different items every month, or every couple months, so I can see what I like or do not like before buying.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Go to Birchbox, you can't compare the quality

    • By Donna,
    • San Diego, CA,
    • Apr 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    The problem with Ipsy is that they're trying to sell to mainstream people with products they appear to think are ultra hip. Like blue nail polish. Twice this year, and it's April. The premise, as you probably know, is to receive monthly "glam bags" with samples inside. Some products may be regular size, most aren't. I'm sure that my blue nail polish(s) is a regular size but try as I might, I've offered it up to my daughter and my college age nieces (who are extremely cool) and they all passed. Not too mention that I tried the one I received yesterday and it was like putting watercolors on your nails. No matter how little I put on the brush, it went directly to my cuticles and stayed there!

    Also their go-to bag stuffer is a makeup brush. Usually, the eyeshadow size, although once I admit I did get a blush brush and it's fine. This month I received that hideous blue nail polish, a makeup brush that's too big for eye shadow and too small for anything else, a lip liner in brown, moisturizer sample and a dry shampoo sample. It IS fun to get a package every month, but I started with Birchbox and only got Ipsy because the "glam bag" aspect intrigued me.

    Birchbox is a much better product, the boxes are cool, and the contents are about twice the quality of Ipsy's. Ipsy does things that younger people like, for example, take a selfie and post it of you using the products you received! Give a little tutorial of how you wear your makeup. You earn points for doing such things, which is why I think I may be out of the age group that is the Ipsy demographic. Although, they know how old I am and should try to configure their glam bags accordingly.

    As I mentioned before, the bags are kind of cool, but they have room for about five sample sizes, so while they look nice, I recently went on a 5-day trip, and I used four bags to carry my makeup and skin care. They're small but unique.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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