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 Company
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:

  • Negative Stars

    • By Kammieleon,
    • OR,
    • Oct 7, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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


  • What the?

    • By Lisa,
    • Ohio,
    • Dec 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have done many, many monthly subscriptions and this one is hands down the worse.

    I subscribed for a 3-month subscription and after paying, my page suddenly said I was on a waitlist BUT I can skip it if I share their site on social media. Uh, no! THAT wasn't part of signing up. I just paid and nowhere did it say there was a waitlist prior to paying, nor that they would hold my membership hijacked unless I shared.

    I emailed them and said there was nothing stating the waitlist and they reassured me my box will be sent sometime next month (of course no date is given). I said I'm not waiting over a month for something to be sent out when I just paid in full, and I'm not sharing their site until I get the boxes to see if I like it or not. If I'm on a waitlist, I wanted to cancel, and then suddenly I get an email stating there isn't a waitlist for 24 hours starting on December 18th.

    I contacted customer service again saying if I can do that then keep my subscription. No response. I emailed back after another day and said I'm very confused as to what is going on with my account. The employee told me that the offer ended on the 14th. I sent him a snapshot of the email, and now I'm done.

    Way too confusing, unprofessional, bad communication, no phone number to call. Definitely, buyer beware.

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


  • My goodness

    • By Mary Hype,
    • Dallas, TX,
    • Jan 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Before you order, you kind of fill out a questionnaire about what you are looking forward to and what best fits you. My goodness, I was moped with brown eyeshadow and pink lip products. I am a very dark skin tone as I stated to Ipsy. As we all know dark skin and bright pink lip products does not look good on us! Very disappointed. What was the point of the questionnaire if no one was going to read it?

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


  • Mortified

    • By Kim Amelio,
    • New York,
    • Feb 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I posted this on Ipsy's Facebook five days ago and received no response. I posted this last Thursday:

    Yesterday my whole personal email contact list got over 300 emails each from you saying that I was referring them. I had no way to contact anyone. I emailed three times with no reply. People were getting these on their work computer, as I did too. I don't know what happened, but I wonder why no one will get back to me?

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


  • This company is a scam

    • By Becky B.,
    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Forking over your money to Ipsy is a GAMBLE. You may or may not receive what you ordered. If you do run into any issues, "IpsyCare" will refuse to do anything for you. They acknowledge the orders have not shipped, but they will not refund you. They will not make sure you get your order. I am missing an order from nearly two months ago and my most recent ones still haven't shipped either (orders placed about two weeks ago). I thought the missing order was a one-off, but it WAS NOT. Please do not believe the good reviews online. Ipsy gives their customers points for leaving positive reviews. They are NOT reliable.

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


  • Don't buy into this "beauty bag"

    • By Debbie G.,
    • California,
    • Jan 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It's all lies. First, you fill out a beauty survey, next, you get nothing that is on your survey. You end up with 10,000 eyeshadow brushes and 9,000 ugly lipsticks/glosses. Eyeshadow you don't request because you don't wear eyeshadow. Broken items and no help from "customer service."

    Bottom Line: No, I would not 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


  • Do not sign for this!

    I signed up for the Glam Bag with Ipsy in April, and it is now June. My account has been charged various times, and I have yet to receive a Glam Bag. Do not make the same mistake I did. DO NOT sign up for this!

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


  • They plainly suck

    • By Rachel Wolf,
    • Delaware,
    • Dec 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    The only good thing that comes from Ipsy is the cute pouches. Not one single time have they sent me something of the "wow" factor, everything has been boring, and to me, it looks like they are not even trying. I have enough brown eyeshadow from them, no variety or anything, but they promote what you could get in the pouches, but it's never what you were hoping for. They use all these big named makeup companies to hook you, but what you get is definitely not what you get.

    Are they scam? Yes and no. Do I have plans to renew my subscription to them after 2017? Probably not, just extremely disappointed.

    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


  • Don’t give them your money.

    • By Sam Matczak,
    • Bowling Green, KY,
    • Mar 31, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    For two months straight they have taken my money but haven’t delivered their bag. I have emailed their customer support everyday trying to figure out why I still haven’t received anything and they keep telling me they will send me a replacement immediately.

    I still haven’t received anything from them and they refuse to refund my money even though they know that the Shipping website/tracking number they gave me says it was never sent/invalid.

    This is the most ridiculous company. I have since canceled my subscription. Thought it was just me until several people I know that have subscriptions said they’ve gone through this never-ending loop with them as well. I wouldn’t advise anyone to subscribe to this.

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


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