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I Tried Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate [November 2020 Review]

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Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate is a monthly subscription service that sends 12 products packaged in a fun makeup bag. There’s a unique bag design each month, and it comes with 8 full-size items and 4 sample products. Ipsy is cancelling this subscription option in December 2020, and replacing it with a quarterly option called Glam Bag X. My bag this month fell a little short of the usual standards, because the original was lost in the mail. The replacement only had 7 full-size items and 3 samples, for a total of 10 items.

In my Glam Bag Ultimate, I received an anti-acne wash with salicylic acid, an earth-toned eyeshadow palette, a blush sample, a perfume sample, an eye cream, a purifying face mask, a gel moisturizer, a pomegranate facial serum, a sheer red lipstick, and a gold highlighter.

This month, I loved the Nomad eyeshadow palette, which had a gorgeous array of gold and brown colors in both matte and metallics. I’m not usually the biggest eyeshadow fan, but the color payoff is great and they blend really well. Ipsy struggled to deliver the usual Glam Bag Ultimate experience this month, both literally and figuratively. I recommend skipping this month and waiting to try the new Glam Bag X coming in February instead.

What Happens When Ipsy Loses Your Order?

If you’ve done any online shopping over the past two months, you’ve probably spent a lot of time refreshing tracking pages from various shipping companies. This holiday season has been really rough when it comes to shipping. There are huge numbers of packages, staffing issues, and COVID-19-related restrictions for postal offices to deal with.

Because of all this, Ipsy’s customer service department has asked that customers wait 15 business days before filing a complaint about a missing bag. 15 days came and went, so I submitted a complaint asking what they can do about my missing bag. It took them about a day to respond, and they assured me they’d send out a replacement if my bag didn’t arrive by the end of the day.

Customer service also told me some of the items curated for my original bag were out of stock. I assumed product stock would be an issue, because Ipsy is a popular service and items always sell out quickly. To make up for the stock issue for 2 items, they gave me a refund of $10, with the assurance that they’d be replaced with something else. They told me they’d ship out a replacement bag within 10-15 business days.

A few days after that, I noticed one of Ipsy’s trademark bright pink mailer bags in my mailbox. I was impressed by their speedy service until I noticed the package was addressed to my boyfriend. Turns out, some eBay sellers reuse their Ipsy bubble mailers for other packages! It was filled with guitar cables instead of beauty items.

My replacement actually arrived 13 days after they agreed to send a replacement, with 10 items total. 4 of the products that were supposed to come in my original bag weren’t included, and one item was damaged and completely empty of product.

What We Like About Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate

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November’s Glam Bag Ultimate came in a colorblocked bag with a faux-suede panel, and the rest is faux-leather. This version of the bag is noticeably higher-quality than the Glam Bag Plus version, and I like that! The full-size Murad cleanser didn’t fit in the bag.

Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate is a great deal, and each bag contains $250+ worth of products for only $50. Each bag comes with 8 full-size products that will last at least a few months. There are also 4 deluxe samples in each bag.

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The contents are personalized to your beauty profile to a certain extent. I received a serum dedicated to dry skin, a light blush, and a moisturizer that all fit my profile. I’m not so sure about the acne cleanser, but I’m happy to pass it along to a friend who will appreciate the drying salicylic acid more than I do.

Glam Bag Ultimate usually lets customers select one full-size item, although I personally didn’t get one this month. In theory, I love that Ipsy lets you have some control over your beauty bag!

What We Don’t Like About Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate

I didn’t love that Ipsy lost my first bag. I had to wait an extra month and settle for replacement items instead of the original selections. I also ended up with 10 products instead of 12. Normally, this would be a major strike against a subscription service, but considering the unusual circumstances this year, I’m willing to let it slide a little.

In the rush to find equivalents to sold-out items for my replacement bag, Ipsy sent me an empty plastic bottle of perfume. I haven’t had a chance to ask them about this issue yet, but my previous brush with customer service was pleasant and they were happy to address my issues. The box is worn out, and the bottle is bone-dry, so I’m wondering if it was a returned item.

Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser by Murad

Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser Front
Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser Front Box
Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser Back Box

This acne control cleanser by Murad is meant to help clear up breakouts. It has a faint menthol scent that feels a little medicinal.

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient here, and it can help unclog pores and soothe inflammation. 2% is the highest concentration available in over-the-counter products, so this should provide a very thorough cleansing. It also exfoliates, to give your skin a fresh and smooth look.

This ingredient can be drying, so avoid overusing it if you have dry skin like me! I’m not prone to breakouts, so I probably won’t use this on a regular basis. It’s nice to have around for when I’m having a bad skin day, though.

Optim-Eyes by Laboratoires Filorga Paris

Optim-Eyes by Laboratoires Filorga Paris Front
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This eye cream is a triple threat tackling fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles.

Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient here, along with peptides and polyphenol. There’s also hydrating sweet almond oil.

The brand suggests storing it in the fridge for a “cryo-smoothing effect” and more refreshing feel. Try a lighter touch on the pump, because the product tends to come out forcefully. The sample pictured on my arm was enough to use on both of my eyes.

Pomegranate Facial Serum by The Cottage Greenhouse

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This pomegranate serum has adorable illustrated packaging! It’s designed to hydrate deeply, and it’s best for dry and mature skin.

The scent is pretty mild, and you get hints of orange, pomegranate, and lavender.

I’m usually a fan of facial oil serums on my dry skin, but I felt I needed more of this oil than I would normally use. Even though this is meant for mature and dry skin, it didn’t feel as moisturizing as other facial oils i’ve tried. I’ll probably use this along with a moisturizer, as suggested on the box.

Nomad x Toscana Eyeshadow Palette

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This earth-toned palette is inspired by Italy, and you can see the inspiration in the deep, rich colors. There’s a great color payoff here, and they blend together well. I can see these tans and browns looking great on a lot of different skin tones. There are 5 mattes here, 3 satin eyeshadows, and one gorgeous metallic.

Here are the color names, and they’re swatched on my arm in the same order:

Top row: Flor Di Latte, Aperitivo, Vino Nobile

Middle row: Rinascimento, La Bella vita, Passeggiata

Bottom row: Cantucci, Vin Santo, Tartufo

Colors of Nanette by Nanette Lepore

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This perfume sample came in a cute, colorful (and smashed) package with a matching design on the perfume tube inside.

I struggled to get this bottle to spray for a little while before I realized it’s completely empty. The box and bottle have a faint perfume smell, which threw me off. When I opened the bottle to see if the spray nozzle function was clogged or broken, I found zero perfume inside! There wasn’t even a drop. I wonder what happened here.

According to Nannette Lepore, it’s supposed to be a fruity fragrance with florals. It should have notes of peach, melon, apple, rose, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Super Silver Haze Purifying Face Mask by Makeupdrop

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This purifying mask has a French green clay base that brightens skin and smooths out fine lines.

Another major ingredient is colloidal silver, which is often used in treating wounds and skin infections. It’s also known as an antimicrobial and an ingredient that can treat acne, rosacea and eczema. Long-chain hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate skin and plump it, reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

It was really hard to squeeze this mask out, and I ended up with a much smaller tube once I squeezed all the air out. I found that the best way to approach this is to roll it up like a tube of toothpaste.

This mask smells great! I was honestly dreading a chemical smell. Instead, this reminds me of a rose-scented Play-Doh I had as a kid. Anyone else remember scented Play-Doh? That might not sound like a flattering comparison, but it’s a pleasant rose smell without the weird saltiness of normal Play-Doh. It’s a strong scent and it lingers for a while, so watch out if you’re sensitive to smells or hate rose!

I felt like this mask left my skin really smooth and hydrated, which was nice. I can see myself using this occasionally as a treat, but not every week.

Hydration Oasis Refreshing Gel Moisturizer by H20+

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This gel moisturizer is meant to restore radiance and hydration to your skin. The brand says it works on every skin type, from dry to oily. That made me nervous that it wouldn’t be hydrating enough for dry skin.

The formula is very lightweight and absorbs easily. It’s great if you hate sticky, creamy moisturizers. I like the novelty of a blue gel, and it feels kind of futuristic! I tried applying this at night, and my skin was still hydrated the next morning.

It contains apple stem cells, which is supposed to protect cells from stress and reduce wrinkles. It also has mini hyaluronic acid, which has a lower weight than other hyaluronic acids but still provides deep hydration.

Soft Glow Highlighter in Heavenly by Kokie

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This highlighter is called Heavenly, and it’s a nice warm gold color. It’s very shimmery, but the shimmer is fine enough to use as a highlighter.

As you can see in the swatch above, even a thick layer of this highlighter creates a sort of subtle effect. It blends in nicely with my skin tone, and it would look even nicer blended out. The creamy texture makes this easy to work with.

Cremesheen Lipstick in Sweet Sakura by MAC

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This cremesheen lipstick from MAC is meant to provide a light, sheer coat of red. It comes in that signature sleek black tube.

The color in the tube looks like an intense, deep red, but in fact it goes on fairly sheer, almost as a pink. If you continue to layer the color, it gets a little darker, as you can see in the second swatch on my arm.

Blush in Stamina by Will Powder

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This is a medium pink blush, and it’s easy to blend. I think you could apply it with your fingers, in a pinch.

This product brands itself as clean beauty with green packaging. You can recycle the container when you finish the product, which is great! The package has a matchbox-like outer layer. Slide the blush out to use it.

A lightweight medium-pink blush. I found it easy to apply and blend in. perfect for on the go. This is a sample, and normally it comes in a palette, but I actually like this packaging more for its portability.

Final Thoughts

There were some significant issues with my bag this month, but I liked almost everything I received despite that. The most attention-grabbing item here is the Nomad eyeshadow palette, which is inspired by Tuscany, Italy, and features rich browns and tans. I’m also enjoying the highlighter, blush, pomegranate serum, and clay face mask.

This month’s bag arrived about a month late, minus several products. Instead of getting 12 items total, I received 10. My fragrance sample came in a smashed box and the tube was completely empty, so I really got 9 products from this box.

Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate won’t be around anymore for 2021, but you can try Glam Bag X for a similar experience starting in February!

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