Ipsy November 2016 Review

Do my eyes deceive me? Did I receive an ipsy bag that is startlingly badass? Although it seems frivolous to complain about a service that costs $10 a month, I feel an obligation to let you know when things are shitty. The nice converse, though, is that I get to let you know when things are awesome, as well. This ipsy bag was pretty awesome.

The bag itself, a gold, metallic snakeskin, is tacky in a sort of lovable way. I adore my faux fur jacket and my pleather circle skirt in the exact same way.Em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Lengthening Mascara in Black (full size at 0.236 fluid oz), retail value $20

Although I was quite pleased with my bag, I am starting this review off on a sour note: I would like to propose a new rule of thumb. When you consider purchasing a new mascara, check whether it has been sampled on ipsy. If it has, DO NOT BUY IT. It is almost amazing how terrible ipsy mascara samples are.

I’ve written previously about my issues with Michelle Phan’s recently launched makeup line, Em Cosmetics. Supposedly, though, ipsy subscribers flooded the subscription service with requests to try the new line. Each bag included a full-size product from Em. There was a lip balm, a lipstick, an eyeliner, and, what I received: one of the most dreadful mascaras I have ever used.
I was expecting to find that the Em Cosmetics mascara was generic and unexciting. Sadly, that would be a big step up. Although it does add length, I swear that it looks like it subtracts volume. It looks like I have tiny little skinny lashes. What’s more, it made my eyelashes crispier than a bag of Fritos… and then it was impossible to remove. Wearing this mascara basically commits you to having awful-looking lashes for two days in a row, since removal is 48-hour-process.

This strongly discourages me from trying any other products in this line, even though I recognize that the mascara is probably a point of particular weakness. It’s unfortunate that the product teams did not realize that this was an unwise choice for a sample. Since mascara isn’t something one can sanitize and find a new home for, I am going to have to just throw this in the trash.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Amethyst (full size at 0.08oz), retail value $14

The Starlooks Gem Eye Pencils are metallic-finished pencils that can be used as eyeliners and, if you’re careful not to stab yourself, as eyeshadow. They’re smooth and creamy… and, best of all, beautiful! Amethyst is a frosty, metallic lilac. I was so mesmerized by its prettiness when I received it that I spent half an hour watching it, removing it, and then deciding I needed to see it one more time.
I don’t love this as an eyeliner, but it’s perfect on the inner corners of the eye or smudged into some light eyeshadow. It might also look nice on the lower waterline.

Be A Bombshell Lip Crayon in Hot Damn (full size at 0.09oz), retail value $14
This pencil is very waxy, but it’s quite pigmented and it lasts a long time, which may compensate for the Crayola-reminiscent texture.
Hot Damn is a warm, orangey, maraschino-cherry red. It has the slightest hint of shimmer when you look at the tube, but it looks matte when applied. The color reads a little bit on the young side, to me.

Pixi Beauty Bronzer in Subtly Suntouched (0.11oz), approximate retail value $5.50
I am not a bronzer person. I’ve embraced the pale. What’s more, most bronzers are either too dark on my skin, or they need to be applied with a super light hand to be wearable. Bronzers also tend to lean very warm, which can look orange and muddy on cooler tones. Happily, this bronzer is not like that.
If you have cool-toned, fair skin and are interested in a bronzer, I would definitely pick this up. It’s not cool-toned, per se, but it’s definitely pretty neutral. The color looks really believable on light skin tones. The hint of shimmer adds a radiant glow.
If you are not fair-skinned, definitely don’t buy this color, since it won’t show up on your face.

GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (travel size at 0.5 fluid oz), retail value $19
I’ve actually received a slightly smaller (0.24 fluid oz) sample of this product from Sephora in the past. I find that GlamGlow products are really overpriced given their ingredients. The main ingredients are montmorillonite, a major component of bentonite clay, and magnesium aluminum silicate, or kaolin clay. You could probably buy bentonite clay and kaolin clay, add some water and neutralize the pH as needed with raw apple cider vinegar, and make something similar for WAY less money (just make sure to test the pH before putting it on your face!). For those of you who don’t trust your DIY skills, there are plenty of products that use these ingredients that are in a more reasonable price range– just look for bentonite and/or kaolin on the label. With that said, I love mud masks and I am happy to take GlamGlow’s samples!

Nailtini Nail Lacquer in Caviar Cocktail (full size at 0.5 fluid oz), retail value $13 
This is a gunmetal nail polish that was opaque in two coats. I have no strong feelings about it.

Total Box Value: $85.50

Overall, I was very happy with this bag. I will be able to use everything except the mascara, and I was particularly entranced by the bronzer and the Starlooks pencil, which were worth it on their own.

Here is what my November Ipsy products looked like on my face all together:
If you are interested in joining Ipsy, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

1. I got the same bag – well, with a slightly different version of the mascara. Exciting, I know. I have the same issues with bronzer but this one worked pretty well for me too. I still haven’t tried the mascara, but even if it’s horrible I would say the rest of it is still a good deal at $10!

2. Yeah, I’m quite happy with it!

3. How can a mascara be that crap, seriously? Like, who let that go out if it was that bad? I’ve had mascaras that cost £1-2 that are actually decent. Something like that would certainly put me off trying a brand if they can’t get the staples right. Aside from that, great box – the bronzer looks lovely.

4. A lot of brands seem to have an awfully tough time of it!

5. Man, you said the mascara almost made your lashes shorter, so I scrolled down for your done-up face since I did not believe. Your eyelashes barely look like you are wearing anything! Ridiculous. I just haven’t heard many good things about EM Cosmetics…


6. I feel like their lipsticks MUST be fine… right? …Right?

7. I got a blue-ish pencil and gold polish… I wish I had gotten what you have!

On a side note, I walked into CVS today and they have ALL THE WET AND WILD PALETTES. ALL OF THEM. I know you have a hard time finding them so let me know if you want something!

8. Thanks!

9. Ugh! From everything I’ve read, almost all of the Em products have turned out to be poorly made, and not to forget overpriced. I ended up with this ridiculous “cushiony” lip balm that just sat like a sticky, sweaty covering over my lips. The color was bad. The texture was bad. But the smell was by far the worst. It was as if there had been some mix-up, and instead of a classic floral or vanilla lip-balm fragrance they had mistakenly dumped into the batch the new and improved “intense factory scent 2.1.”
Hopefully, within the next few months, the line of products will be improved 🙂

10. Well, at least I know it’s not that I got the only bad Em product!

11. I received the same mascara. I wound up with stinging and itching watery eyes. It seems a shame to throw away a $20 mascara, but I had to do it. I really liked the rest of my bag though.

12. I wish I could just give it to someone, but there is no way to safety share mascara!

13. I got the same bag this month, and I’m actually in love with that mascara. Funny how different things work for different people, because I’ve worn it every day since my bag came in, and I’m planning on purchasing it once I use it up. 😛 I did the same thing with that amethyst liner, though – “Wait, I should swatch this one more time!”

14. I wish I could have given you mine!

15. I received a similar bag, but without the mascara, thankfully, and with silver instead of an amethyst pencil. I love the Amethyst pencil now that I’ve seen swatches! I have skin that’s somewhere between light and medium, and the bronzer doesn’t show up on me at all! You look beautiful in your full-face photos!

16. It’s definitely a bronzer for people who normally don’t get a chance to buy bronzers!

17. I got a variation on the same bag. My Starlooks pencil was Topaz (except that’s a lie unless topaz turned into silver when I wasn’t looking), but it’s just as pretty. Instead of mascara, I got EM eyeliner in teal. It looks like I lucked out and got the only decent thing they were offering. I haven’t tested it for longevity, but it goes on smooth and is a lovely vibrant color.

18. I got EXACTLY the same bag, and I was really pleased with it too! Best one yet, actually. I was about to quit. I haven’t tried the mascara yet, but it sounds so underwhelming. Bummer. I had no plans to try the Em line, but I was glad I got the mascara over another sample.