Ipsy Glam Bag + Julep Maven (JUNE 2015 UPDATE!!)

UPDATE: (June 21, 2015) I have felt the need to update my IPSY review since I no longer am subscribed to them for declining quality. Please check out more details near the end of the IPSY portion of the review! Although I am not subscribed to Julep Maven anymore as well, I did not unsubscribe from them due to quality of their products, but just for my own personal finances.

I recently jumped on the monthly box bandwagon with what seems like the rest of the world, and I am never looking back! There seems to be monthly subscription boxes for EVERYTHING—boxes for dog treats and toys, healthy snacks, geeky hobbyists, beauty lovers etc. They are so useful if you know exactly what you want more of, without spending an arm and a leg. For me, it’s make-up and nail polish. I don’t mind having large varieties of either because I love being a guinea pig for new products and like having a huge collection of wacky nail colours.

For that reason, I am currently subscribed to two services! Ipsy Glam Bag and Julep Maven! The former has a really extensive quiz you can take to make sure you get exactly the kind of products you would want to use, and Julep has a shorter quiz to determine what kind of style you are more into. I’ve been subscribed to both for three and four months respectively, so I thought it was time to do a review!

My Ipsy Glam Bag is probably my favourite out of the two. For $10, you get varying make-up products and almost all of them are full-sized! Each month comes with a special make-up bag, which is an extra treat with each month.

The reason why I really enjoy this subscription is because there are a large variety of products that you are able to get each month, but the quiz you take is fantastic at narrowing it down to just what you want. I haven’t been disappointed yet!

I had specified that I don’t want too many face moisturisers because I have very sensitive skin, and I like to try primers, BB creams, and sunblock. I also said I am not interested in a lot of hair products unless they are hair masks and other conditioning treatments, and specified that I love loud lip colours and eye make-up. Each month fit all of those descriptions perfectly, especially April’s Glam Bag!

I have two friends who are also signed up for Ipsy and they never seem to get the same bag as me. They are different skintones (the quiz also asks for that), so they usually get different colours of the same brand of eye shadow, or get a product that they would be interested in. Every month, we exchange photos of what we got, it’s a great way to bond!

My March and April Ipsy bags were actually perfect for the cosplays I was doing both those months, which was pretty eerie. @3@

Ipsy also does this great thing where you can check what has been sorted into your bag before it's even sent out! I don't like to check because I like to be surprised, plus it's a huge tease because you can't change what's in your bag once they've released what is going to be inside yours. Their website is also a really cute social-networking tool as well where you can post your make-up looks and receive comments from other users.

I rank this service a bit lower when it comes to shipping time because I tend to get my glam bag in the middle of the month. This is what they aim for, but sometimes I get it early in the month or pretty late too… They don’t seem to have a set time they like to send everything out. They also use DHL, which almost never updates their tracking numbers, so it almost feels like an empty gesture when I get the e-mail with my tracking number every month. I basically have no idea where it is until it’s already in my mailbox. It really is no fault of theirs, but it is frustrating.

UPDATE: (JUNE 21, 2015) I have unsubscribed from IPSY months ago and realised I never updated this review with reasons as to why. I felt like it would only be appropriate to update it here. I would highly recommend Glossybox as an alternative these days, they are pricier, but a much better service.

I would highly advise against signing up for IPSY. Although I reviewed the first three months here, about two months later, my IPSY bags started to become much more disappointing. I received about 11 bags from them before I gave up.

My last bag had a small, glittery, grape-scented lip balm that had about the same quality as something you'd find in those fake Barbie make-up kits, an incredibly short stick of eyeliner, and a tiny plastic case filled with blush. The palette was so small my blush brush totally overtook it, and I use a comparatively small contouring brush for my blush. I would say it was barely larger than a sample eyeshadow palette.

I would have taken photos of this, but needless to say, I tossed all of it out. The bags for each month started to look cheaper and frankly--pretty ugly too. The last three months, I did not receive a single travel-sized or full-sized product, they were all very small tester products or products that simply did not work.

I suspect that IPSY honestly just dumps old and expired make-up in their bags, because any liquids that they provide are usually dried up or the wrong consistency, and the colours they provide are incredibly unpopular and not trendy whatsoever. It's a real shame, because for the price, I had really enjoyed it at first! That's why I stuck around for so long--I felt like at least one product in each blag made it worth it, but I can't say that's the case anymore.

The friends I had who stuck around for a bit longer than me ended up also cancelling citing similar problems with their bags. I have since moved on to Glossybox. They promise that they will only sell travel-sized products or larger. They actually sent me a tester product once, but included multiple of it to make up for the small quantity in each container, which really pleased me. The packaging is much more luxurious, the products you receive a lot nicer (although tend to split pretty evenly with hair and make-up products, whereas IPSY could be customised to include only make-up etc.). I've been subscribed for almost a year now and have been pleased with every box! I may do a review soon.

Here are the updated review results:

Price: ★★★
Shipping: ★★★ (This stayed the same throughout my experience with them).

Overall: ★★
Price: ★★★★★
Shipping: ★★★
Quality: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

Maven is probably one of the more expensive monthly boxes I have seen—it costs $20 and depending on your quiz, you can be sorted into 5 different categories with a set product list. I am an It Girl, so I get 3 full-sized nail polishes in wackier colours. Some of the other categories also come with full-sized beauty products like lotion and lip stuff, but It Girl always gets nail polish. The best part about Maven is that you have time to change your box from one category to another if you don’t like that month, free of charge!

I like how interactive their social media team is too--they actually re-grammed the photo I took above onto their account! Pretty sweet. =)

I specifically signed up for Maven because I wanted nail colours, so I’m incredibly happy with being sorted into It Girl. The colours I received are high quality, dry quickly, and are fantastic colours I would have loved to snatch up in a heartbeat, but this time, for a huge discount! I am essentially getting one colour free each month.

Maven also recently released this awesome nail tool called the Plié Wand. It allows you to easily paint your nails with both your left and your right hands, and even comes with different attachments, like a striping and dotting tool! I can’t wait to get the attachments in next month, but I got my Plié Wand recently and I feel like I can paint my nails so quickly now!

Julep colours are really vibrant and true to photos, but sometimes the formula is too watery or too thick depending on the colour, which is the only big downside. Other than that, this is a very cut-and-dry monthly box, and it isn’t as random as Ipsy is. You more or less know what you are going to get, and if that is something you would prefer, I definitely recommend Julep Maven!

Maven boxes are always this really pretty purple colour and are really cutely packaged! There are curls of paper on the inside so everything is safe during the commute, and it’s super easy to open while still being secure. They provide USPS tracking with all their boxes, so it’s pretty standard fare in that regard.

Price: ★★★☆☆
Shipping: ★★★★★
Quality: ★★★★☆

Overall: ★★★★☆

P.S. If either of these services tickle your fancy, let me know! I have nifty referral links you can use. Here is my Julep Maven referral link!


  1. The Ipsy bag sounds like a great deal! I am tempted to subscribe to it myself. I spend way too much on make up as is.

    1. I've actually been meaning to update this review--I ended up getting really disappointed with it as the months rolled on. =\ I wouldn't recommend it so much anymore.


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