Cosmetic Chaos

There’s a new beauty rage sweeping the nation for all the beauty-savvy and obsessed – like me.

Monthly “boxes” arrive at your door, filled with cosmetic surprises. There are all different kinds now, Cult Cosmetics, Julep (which specialize in nail polish), Beauty Bar, Glossybox and Beauty Army, just to name a few.

Even dogs can get in on the action with Barkbox and there’s also a Conscious Box, which features healthy foods and supplements.

I’ve subscribed to two of them, just to check them out: Ipsy and Birchbox.

About two years ago, I found the magic of Birchbox. It was one of those little advertisements on the side of my Facebook page and it enticed me, “Try it!” This was my first experience with the subscriptions and I was hooked

Okay, Birchbox didn’t necessarily twist my arm. I was excited to receive high end beauty samples once a month, and it really wasn’t that expensive; $10 a month was a good price for me to try out beauty products that I might not get the chance to find in this area, or even think about trying.

I liked the variety they sent me; one month I would receive some awesome skin scrubs and tattoo eyeliner, the next month I’d receive a Stila full-size lipgloss and flowery nail decals. Some of my favorite products I received were travel size dry shampoos, Essie nailpolish and Lancome mascara.

I had invited several of my friends to try it who were disappointed with the service. They didn’t care for the random products and strange brands. I was just eager to try different things and I didn’t have many expectations … until I found Ipsy.

Ipsy is based on the same structure. You get a box every month, except with Ipsy, you also receive a make-up bag. The styles of the bags always are cute and I always find some use for them, whether it’s giving them away to my friends or organizing my hordes of lipgloss in my purse. I’ve gotten John Freida shampoos, NYC eyeshadow and beach waves hairspray.

Ipsy also gives you coupons for each product you receive in the box. Many of the products have been full size and I found myself using them more.

While I ultimately kept the Ipsy box and canceled Birchbox, both companies have qualities that I really enjoy.

They are no commitment sign-ups. You can skip a month or cancel at any time, as long as it’s before the billing cycle. Their customer service is great and each month you receive tracking information via email so you know when your package will arrive.

For most of these subscription services, you take a quiz so they can better accommodate your beauty preferences. I usually choose the most outlandish answers so I can get cutting edge, funky cosmetics, but if you’re into the natural look, they can suit you just the same.

For more information on Ipsy, visit and for more information on Birchbox, visit

Have any of you tried the beauty subscription boxes? Drop me an email and let me know what you thought of them!

Wiegand is a reporter for the Sun-Gazette. Her column is published on the last Friday of each month. She may be contacted at