Play by Sephora: June 2017

Okay folks, I know it’s been awhile, but so much has been going on this year and so much to catch you up on.  I got a new day job!  One that is more money, has better benefits, windows, less stress and an opportunity for advancement! Unfortunately, I’m still finishing out my old one with hardcore deadlines and crazy business that all happens at the end of September/beginning of October.  Soon, I’ll be free and that will give me more time to get you all caught up on cool stuff like a Kbeauty haul, a mystery game sub box, house renovations, and so much more.  I do post lots of sneak peeks on my Instagram, so you can see what’s in my sub boxes in real time.

I’ve also been promoting my debut novel, The Ice Maiden’s Tale.  I’ve gotten some really fabulous blog reviews and just had an awesome interview with Julie Whitley on her blog.  If you’ve read the book or just love fairy tale stories, I’d love to chat with you.

So now I’m just going to dive into the enormous backlog of boxes and go with my June Play by Sephora subscription.
June’s theme was “Summer Starters” (which is totally appropriate since it’s like 80 degrees today in NYC) – “Whether you’re sweating in the city or cooling by the pool, kick off your season of sunshine with these warm weather must-haves.”

Benefit CosmeticsThe POREfessional Face Prime
(Full Size: $31.00)
Description: “Silky, lightweight face primer minimizes pores and smooth s skin for a flawless soft-focus finish.”
Verdict: Anti-climactic
I lost count long ago of how many times I’ve gotten this as a sample.  It’s a nice product, but I’ve tried it a ton of times already.

First Aid BeautyHello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer
(1.7 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Ultra-hydrating priming moisturizer features electrolyte-packed coconut water plus micro-pearls for a subtle dewy glow.
Verdict: Love!
I love the First Aid beauty brand so I’m always up for trying a new product from them.

Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: “Quick-absorbing blend of nutrient-rich oils from around the world replenishes hair and skin plus adds moisture and illuminates.”
Verdict: Hit!
Ouai is a brand that I’ve gotten in boxes before and I’ve really enjoyed their products.  I’m going to use this to try to tame some of my frizz.  Hopefully it will work!

Kat Von DEverlasting Liquid Lipstick in K-Dub
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Long-lasting, high-pigment liquid lipstick with a creamy formula glides on smoothly like gloss but leaves a matte finish.”
Verdict: Like
If this had been another shade it would have been a love.  I adore Kat Von D’s eyeliner and I own and use some of her eyeshadows.  I’m not sure if I can pull off this bright fuchsia shade, but I’m happy to get a chance to test out the formula.

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel
(5 oz: $29.00)
Description:”Lightweight coconut oil—infused hair styling gel softens and hydrates hair for effortless undone looks.”
Verdict: Hope you’re not allergic to coconut
This is the second coconut product in this bag and I’m thinking maybe having two products with similar ingredients in the same month might not be the best idea. In any case, I like getting new hair products because I have no idea how to style my hair and can use all the help I can get.  We’ll see if this helps me look less like I just rolled out of bed and stuck my finger in an electrical socket.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium
(1.6 oz $91.00)
Description: “A modern and intoxicating scent with rich notes of coffee, sweet vanilla, and delicate white flowers.”
(Sorry I’m missing a pic, but for some reason the ones I took were all blurry.)
Verdict: Perfect if I want to knock out myself and take an elevator full of people with me.
I appreciate it when a perfume gives itself a name that makes it obvious it will simply kill people who are sensitive to scents (remember Dior’s “Poison”?).  You hear the words “Black Opium” and you know what you’re getting.  It smells like a migraine, the kind where you lock yourself in a dark room for days, put ice on your head, and hope not to puke on your sheets. Sniff at your own risk.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
Despite the boring POREfessional primer and the death by perfume, I really enjoyed this box.  It had a lot of great brands that and gave me a chance to try out some new offerings.  The only real fault I found was it having two coconut products, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most folks.

If you’re looking to try out some high end beauty but don’t want to commit to the high price tags, consider the Sephora sub. For only $10 a month, you get a good amount of product and a nice variety.

How do you feel about the “coconut oil” beauty trend?
Is it a great natural inclusion or has it become an over-used beauty buzzword?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Save

Play by Sephora: January 2017

I was looking down my handy dandy spreadsheet of “to do” reviews and realized I am woefully behind on my Play by Sephora subscription.  So for Throwback Thursday we’ve got my January 2017 review.  At only $10 a month, this box is a great bargain and sends a fun assortment of beauty items under a monthly theme.

January’s theme was “Beauty, Set, Go” – Stellar Products are only the Beginning.  Sephora described this as “It’s time for a fresh start: this January, detox and refuel your beauty routine with a section of super-effective, ultra-hydrating skincare, makeup, and hair care.  We’re beginning 2017 with an innovative on-the-go cleanser stick, game-changing moisturizers, and more essentials that will keep you motivated all year long.”


Tarte – FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser

(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “Exfoliating gel cleanser in a unique twist-up stick format transforms from a solid gel to a cleansing lather that gently sloughs away impurities.
Verdict: Does this come in wrapped in plain brown paper?
This is such a unique product and I don’t think I’ve ever tried a stick cleanser that is exfoliating and lathers.  I’m intrigued and excited to try it out.  However, I do have a PSA – Dear Beauty Companies – stop it with the goddamn stupid names!  We just want to be able to easily google products and recommend them to our friends.  Something called “FRXXXTION Stick” does not strike up images of cleansers, nor is it something you want to recommend to the lady on the bus after she compliments your glowing skin.


Youth To The People – Age Prevention Superfood Cream
(Full Size: $48.00)
Description: “Whipped, lightweight cream restores and rejuvenates skin and deliver antioxidants with potent plant extracts.
Verdict: Like they took every hipster word they could find and put in lotion form
I love vegan and natural beauty products, but you know, enough with the goddamn Kale already.  They call this “a green smoothie for your face”.  I am firmly in the vegetables-don’t-belong-in-cold-beverages camp so this is not a selling point for me. I’m sure I’ll try this out, but I’m going to be a bit grumpy about it.


Ouai – Treatment Masque

(8 – .3 oz treatments: $32.00)
Description: “Restorative mask helps to care for damaged hair and leaves strands feeling smooth and touchably soft.”
Verdict: Hit!
My hair is getting to be ridiculously long (like Sister Wife long) and I’m putting off a haircut as long as possible to save money for my house.  This means hair masks are my savior right now.  I really need to break down and cut my hair already, but the masks help me delay the inevitable for just a tad longer.


Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

(Full Size: $17.00)
Description: “Sheer lip color with a glossy finish in the bestselling, cult-classic Black Honey shade.”
Verdict: Hit!
This is a cult-classic and if you’re into beauty at all you’ve probably heard of it.  I didn’t swatch this because I want to save it for after I’ve used up a few more of my products. This is a great shade for days when you want a natural look.  While the product looks dark, it goes on sheer and is very wearable.


AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

(Full Size: $60.00)
Description: “Cushion format CC cream hydrates, protects skin, and delivers buildable weightless coverage in two blendable shades.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love that this CC cream has a pink/cool undertone option. It’s amazing how many BB/CC creams and foundations don’t.  I’m always looking for the perfect CC cream with SPF, so this is exactly the type of product I like to try out for myself. $60 is steep so I’d be leery to buy it without a sample first.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:

Tory Burch Love Relentlessy (1.7 oz $86.00)
Description: “Unabashedly feminine and tender, this delicate scent feature notes of pink pepper, orris, and patchouli.”
Verdict: Friends don’t let friends wear patchouli
You know me and perfumes don’t typically work out and Patchoui is a death knell.  If you love it and can pull it off, kudos to you, but most people end up smelling like a dirty hippie.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
I thought this box hit the January detox/new year theme very well.  It featured a lot of very practical items and the black honey lipstick was a great size that could easily be worth a couple dollars on its own. With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I’ll use nearly everything. If you want to try out pricier makeup and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend trying out a Sephora Play subscription.  For $10, you’ll get a chance to try out some expensive brands and products and be able to decide if they are worth the splurge.

I’ve got so many more box reviews coming up including a fun, snarky women’s box and a free goodie box so be sure to come back.

If you want a sneak peek of the full boxes, just follow me on Instagram.

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

 

Play by Sephora: December 2016

Another day, another box review I’ve been hoarding.
Today is my budget friendly pick: Play by Sephora.  At only $10 a month, they send a fun assortment of beauty items under a monthly theme.

December’s theme was “The Partygoer” – Meet Your Night Out Necessities.  Sephora described this as “Small soirées, company festivities, all-out holiday bashes: no matter how you’re celebrating, this is the selection for the party season.  We’re wrapping up 2016 with inky-black mascara, a show-stopping red lip shade, and more must-haves for getting ready for fun—and looking fresh all night long.”
open-box open-box-2
This month’s bag is my favorite.  I’m definitely keeping this one to re-use.

lancome
Lancôme HYPNÔSE DRAMA Instant Full Body Volume Mascara
(Full Size: $27.50)
Description: “Volumizing mascara coats lashes from root to tip for full-drama, flake-free lashes in a single stroke.
Verdict: A mixed bag
Lancome is a great brand and a super dark volume mascara is a great pick for a party look, but this formula has a couple issues.  First, it smells really strong of perfume.  I have tried a lot of mascaras in my time and none smelled this strong.  I don’t quite understand it.  Why would you want something that strongly scented right by your eyes?  Second, I felt like it did get a bit clumpy and gave my lashes that spider leg look.  It wasn’t extreme, but it was enough that I wouldn’t purchase this product on my own.  On the bright side, it stays on well and is a very saturated black.

sephora-lip sephora-lip-2
SEPHORA COLLECTION – Cream Lip Stain in Always Red
(Full Size: $14.00)
Description: “Decadent yet lightweight stain moisturizes while saturating lips with a bold, nonstop shade of crimson red.
Verdict: Like
A bold red is almost a requirement for a Holiday makeup box.  I didn’t swatch this as I’m saving my new makeup for after my move, but the shade does seem to lean a touch warm.  I’ll have to wait and see if it works with my skin tone, but it’s size and bold hue make it perfect to slip into your tiny party bag.

setting-spray
Urban Decay – All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

(1 oz: $15.00)
Description: “Weightless setting spray prevents makeup from fading, smudging, and settling into fine lines for a touch-up free finish.”
Verdict: Perfect Pick!
A makeup setting spray is a perfect pick for this box, and Urban Decay’s version is the gold standard in makeup.  You spritz it on to keep your makeup in place for the long haul.  I already own this product, but didn’t mind getting another.  This is the perfect size to throw into a travel kit.

   mufe
MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer
(Full Size: $37.00)
Description: “This silky primer helps makeup las longer while the targeted formula balances skin’s texture, resulting in a smoother more even look.”
Verdict: Love!
I love MUFE primers and haven’t yet had a chance to try the “smoothing” one, so I was super excited to find this in my box.  Primer’s can really make a huge difference in how your makeup goes on and how long it lasts.  I’m interested to see how this one differs from the other MUFE ones I’ve tried.

bay-breeze
Drybar Bay Breeze Hydrating Shots
(Set of 4: $38.00)
Description: “Salon-quality, single-dose treatments quench dry hair and scalp, then wash away for shiny, silky-soft hair.”
Verdict: Like
I have a dry scalp so a hydrating treatment sounds promising.  $38 for 4 shots is more spendy than my budget allows, so it’s nice to be able to try out something I wouldn’t otherwise.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
perfume
Elizabeth and James – Nirvana Bourbon (1.7 oz $85.00)
Description: “An intoxicating bend of vanilla bourbon and spice wood with a delicate floral note.”
Verdict: As usual, No.
For me the description “intoxicating” on a perfume means “go take an aspirin immediately”.  As usual, this is too strong for me.  I’ll pass it on to a friend.

OVERALL
sephora-play-december-2016
Verdict:
Hit!
I thought this box hit the Holiday party theme perfectly and featured a lot of great brands.  With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I’ll use nearly everything in it. If you want to try out pricier makeup and don’t really know where to start, I highly recommend trying out a Sephora Play subscription.  For $10, you’ll get a chance to try out some expensive brands and products and be able to decide if they are worth your hard-earned Benjamins.

I’ve got so many more box reviews coming so be sure to come back.  And if you want a sneak peek of the full boxes, just follow me on Instagram.

What beauty product is your must have for a glamorous night out?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: October 2016

For TGIFriday, I’ve got a great budget pick: Play by Sephora.  At only $10 a month, they send a fun assortment of beauty items under a monthly theme.
open-box-1
October’s theme was “The Cool Cut” – The Next Big Things.  Sephora described this as “These are the ones to watch: uncover breakthrough formulas, indie fins, and products that truly stand out from the corwod.  Before they hit the mainstream, try out routine-changing skincare and hair innovations, a coveted liquid lipstick , and other of-the-moment must haves.”
open-box-2

smashbox smashbox-applicator smashbox-swatch
Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver’s Seat
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Matte liquid lipstick keeps going for eight hours with a water-resistant, non-feathering formula.
Verdict: Hit!
This shade is a touch warm for my taste, but not so much that it’s unwearable.  It did have staying power and wasn’t as drying as most matte lip products I’ve tried. It’s also a generous size for a $10 box.  We’re off to a great start!

bamboo-creme
Erborian Bamboo Crème Frappée Skin Reviving Fresh Gel
(Full Size: $43.00)
Description: “Deeply moisturizing gel-cream with a unique frosty, whipped texture sinks effortlessly into skin to revive and refresh.
Verdict: Hit!
I’m not sure it’s possible for Erborian to add any more buzz words to the name of this product, but the description makes it sound super intriguing.  A gel with a frosty whipped texture?  A combination of Korean skincare and “luxurious French scents”?  Sign me up.

robin-mask
Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil

(Full Size: $71.00)
Description: “Sumptuous and full of antioxidants, this conditioning hair mask strengthens strands while enhancing color and shine.”
Verdict: Love!
This is one hell of an expensive hair mask.  I mean, I thought my giant tub of $29 hair mask that lasted 2 years was a huge splurge, but $71 on my nonprofit salary just ain’t happening.  Getting a pretty generous sample in a $10 box is wonderful.  I’m going to save this for when my hair needs a pick me up.

glossgloss-applicatorgloss-swatch
The Estée Edit Flash Photo Gloss

(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Innovative, high-shine gloss with cool blue undertones that makes teeth appear brighter—t’s the ultimate must-have for selfies!”
Verdict: Like
You can wear this alone or layered over another lipstick.  I really like that this came with a matte liquid lipstick so that you could pair them together to change the effect.  The reason this is only a “like” is that I think the gloss is stickier than I prefer.  However, I’m intrigued with the “blue undertone” aspect and I’m going to experiment and see if it can help make some of my warmer lip shades a bit better for my skin tone.

skin-dew
Farmacy Skin Dew Hydrating Essence Mist & Setting Spray

(Full Size: $44.00)
Description: “Invigorating facial mist is just the thing to freshen or set makeup, add moisture, and soothe skin.”
Verdict: Like
Farmacy is one of those brands that has been popping up a lot in sub boxes.  This isn’t a product I would seek out on my own, but it will be fun to try out.  I’m particularly interested in how it will function as a makeup setting spray.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
mon-paris
Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris (1.6 oz $92.00)
Description: “Inspired by a love for the sophistication and allure of Paris, this scent layers fruity and floral notes over a musky base.”
Verdict: Sometimes Paris isn’t a good idea
Too strong for me. I’m going to have to pass this along to a friend.

OVERALL
sephora-play-10-2016
Verdict:
Love!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I feel like the hair mask and Smashbox lipstick would have been worth that much on their own.   What I really liked about this month was that there were so many brands and products that I’ve never tried before.  If you’ve been wanting to try a beauty sub and are on a budget, consider Sephora Play.  The samples are generous, they feature a nice variety of categories and you get a card for extra points when you purchase something from the Sephora store.

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: September 2016

For Friday, I’ve got one of my favorite budget boxes: Play by Sephora.  At only $10 a month, they send a fun assortment of beauty items under a monthly theme.
open-box bag
September’s theme was “The Unbasic Basics” – An Anything But Ordinary Assortment.  Sephora described this as “Sharpen your eyeliner and swipe on some lipstick: go back to beauty school this September with a selection of hair, makeup and skincare must-haves that always make the grade.  Be a straight-A student with an above-average eyeliner, reimagined moisturizer, and other next-level necessities to become the building blocks for your beauty routine.”

lipsticklipstick-swatch
Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell
(Full Size: $12.50)
Description: “Deep glossy shine meets a go-to shade of pink in this creamy, moisturizing lipstick.
Verdict: Hit!
I’m always on the hunt for the perfect everyday pink lipstick so I was happy to try out a new shade.  This lipstick felt quite nice going on and has excellent shine.

tattoo-liner eyeliner-tip eyeliner-swatch
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Waterpoof brush-tip liquid liner glides on to reveal precise, bold strokes of highly pigmented color.
Verdict: A favorite
This is one of my holy grail products.  I keep trying out other liquid liners and none are as easy to apply as Kat Von D’s.  It also has awesome staying power—definitely worth the splurge and since mine is getting a bit low, I was psyched to get a new one.

anastasia
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel
(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “Lightweight, flexible hold gel sets, defines and keeps brows in place for a polished look that stays all day.”
Verdict: Love!
Anastasia Beverly Hills is one of the go to brands of eyebrow products.  Julep got me hooked on using clear eyebrow gel to set my brows and I’m excited to try out another brand and see how they compare.

transformation
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
(.5 oz: $14.00)
Description: “Light, silky and oil-free, this moisturizer melts into skin to help soften, brighten and even skin tone.”
Verdict: Like/Gift
This product sounds lovely, and this is an excellent brand but I have so much skincare stockpiled I’m not sure if I’ll use this myself or tuck it into someone else’s gift.

hair-mask
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector

(Full Size: $28.00)
Description: “Get a full week of softness and sine with this long-lasting, weightless perfecting solution that keeps your hair looking its best.”
Verdict: Gift
I love trying out new hair masks and treatments but I still have a full size of this from a long ago Nina Garcia Quaterly box.  I’m going to gift this to a friend I think will enjoy it.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
perfume-envelope atelier
Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia (1 oz $85.00)
Description: “A refreshing floral blend that balances delicate notes of magnolia with layers of wood and citrus.”
Verdict: A little too strong
Atelier is one of the few perfume brands that I can typically wear but this one didn’t work.  For me, the musk and floral overpowered the citrus notes, but I do think it would appeal to a lot of other subscribers.

OVERALL
sephora-play-september-2016
Verdict:
Hit!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I feel like with just the liner, lipstick and gel I got my money’s worth.  I will use all of those products regularly.  The remaining items will make nice little stocking stuffers for friends.

What brand is your favorite “Unbasic” basic?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.
Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: July 2016

Okay, so I haven’t been dead or on some awesome vacation or anything.  My day job has been insanely busy and as glamorous as filling out government forms and doing word problems in a windowless basement is, I’d much rather be chatting with all of you.  So I’m glad to be back with some overdue reviews plus fun new boxes.  I now post sneak peeks of all my boxes on Instagram so you can follow suscriptiontherapy to see box spoilers in advance.

So it’s time to discuss one of my newest monthly subs: Play by Sephora.  This box is Birchbox’s direct competition in the $10 beauty box slot.
Let’s check out what showed up in July.
open-box bag
July’s theme was “Effortless” – Some Like it Haute.  Sephora described this as “Calling all warm-weather essentials and sunny standouts: this month we’re taking on the long days and haute nights with a sultry selection that will keep you chic all summer long.  Soak up the best of the season with an innovative blotting sponge, a shine-boosting hair treatment, and more beach-worthy finds.”
wave-spray
OUAI Wave Spray (5 oz: $12.00)
Description: “Weightless texture mist gives hair an effortless, undone look while adding volume and shine.
Verdict: Hello Old Friend!
This product may look familiar because it popped up in my Summer 2016 Rachel Zoe Box of Style.  My go to style is to air dry my hair and let it be wavy so I really love this product.  Even though I got this in another box, I’m still quite happy to have another.
blender
Beautyblender Blotterazzi
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Washable and reusable, this revolutionary cushion blotter is designed to fit into facial controls to remove shine and absorb oil without disturbing makeup.
Verdict: Confusing
I don’t really get this product.  It sounds like it replaces facial blotting sheets except you carry it around and reuse it and wash it.  Is that right?  I don’t really see how this is an improvement over the regular old oil blotting sheets that don’t require much effort.  I just can’t see myself using this.

cleanser
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
(2 oz $10.00)
Description: “Rich in botanicals and antioxidants, this gentle cleanser transforms from a light, whipped texture to a lush, creamy lather.”
Verdict: Like/Gift
First Aid Beauty is a wonderful brand and I am a huge fan of their moisturizer.  Their products are great for folks with sensitive skin and are fragrance free.  I have a friend who adores their stuff and since I’ve got a cabinet full of cleansers, I’m going to past this along to her.

primer
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
(1 oz: $36.00)
Description: “Silky and lightweight, this iconic primer for normal to dry skin keeps makeup in place while helping to create a flawless finish..”
Verdict: Have we met before?
I swear over the years I’ve gotten like 50 samples of this.  It just pops up everywhere.  It’s a solid brand and a popular item, but I would have liked to see a new brand or product take this slot instead.

hoola
Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Lightweight and shimmer-free, this soft-matte liquid bronzer creates a warm, radiant look that is sheer and seamless..”
Verdict: Enough with the bronzers
Look, I’m pale–like ghostly, blood drinking, powder pale.  And I’m totally cool with that.  All these bronzers in boxes are so warm and orange they don’t make me look “radiant” or “seamless”.  They make me look like a reject from the Willy Wonka set.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
citrine
Nest Fragrances Citrine (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Layers of fresh lotus flower and freesia mingle with birth citrus and a base of previous woods.”
Verdict: Disappointing
Even though perfume is my beauty box nemesis, I had high hopes for this product because it highlighted citrus and I’ve had some luck with Nest perfumes in the past.  Sadly this was too strong for me, and the citrus wasn’t really as prominent as I would have expected.  I’ll have to pass it along to a friend.

OVERALL
sephora-play-july-2016

Verdict: Not for me
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while I think it had good products they weren’t quite the right fit for me.  The only item I will really use out of this grouping is the wave spray, so this box was a bit of a miss.  Hopefully the next will have more items that appeal to pale redheads with aversions to strong perfume.

What did you think of the July box?
Would you have liked these products or found them to be disappointing like I did?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: June 2016

Since I reviewed Birchbox’s June box yesterday, I thought it would be apropos to review the June Play by Sephora today.  This box is Julep’s direct competition in the $10 beauty subscription slot.
My first Sephora box was a great hit, so I was excited to see what subsequent months would bring.
Open Box
June’s theme was “The Minimalists” – Effortless is More.  Sephora described this as “Next-level nude and no-maintenance naturals: this month, we’re paring it down for understated style that prove sometimes less really is more.  Get a low-key look for summer with a  game-changing hair cream, refreshingly lightweight sunscreen and more must-haves for creating an easy-going appeal.”
Play Bag

Bumble
Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It
(5 oz: $31.00)
Description: “Innovative crème adds body and enhances fine-to-medium hair textures for a laid-back, air dried style.
Verdict: Love!
As someone who only blow dries her hair for special occasions, air dry products in subs make me so so happy.  I’d probably not risk buying this on my own since it’s spendy, so I’m super excited to get a chance to try it out before committing.

Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Bestselling mascara lengthens, volumizes, coats even the smallest lashes, and features a specially designed brush.
Verdict: Like
Benefit mascara is one of my go to mascara options so I’m very familiar with it.  It’s made the rounds in tons of beauty boxes, but it’s a fabulous product, so I’m happy to have another one for my stash.

Tarte
Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
(1.7 oz $32.00)
Description: “Antioxidant-infused, non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizes and protects without leaving a stick feel.”
Verdict: Miss
SPF 30 is not nearly enough for a vampire like me.  I had to give this one to a friend.

BronzerBronzer Swatch
BAREMINERALS bareSkin Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Blendable, lightweight liquid bronzer may be worn alone or over foundation to give skin a sheer, natural-looking touch of sun.”
Verdict: A little too Michael Kors for me
Sadly, unless I am an Oompa Loompa or Michael Kors this is just not going to be “natural” for me.  With my pale, cool undertoned skin it’s just way more orange than it should be, so I’ve passed it along to a friend.  If you’ve got skin tone like mine and are looking for a natural bronzer, I highly recommend Laura Mercier’s Bonne Mine palette.  It’s easy to apply (it even includes direction cards), lasts forever and actually looks natural.  When I wore it someone actually said to me, “Oh you’re one of those rare redheads who can get sun.” No, I can’t, but I what I can do is shop.

Primer
BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
(1 oz: $38.00)
Description: “Shimmering makeup primer acts as a soft-focus filter to blur imperfection sand give skin an effortless, luminous look.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve only really started experimenting with primers in the past year, but they can really make a huge difference in your skin.  I haven’t tried a “shimmer” version, so I’m psyched to see how this one works with my skin.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Tocca
Tocca Beauty Florence (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Timeless and romantic, this fragrance conjures long-ogo Paris with a sophisticated blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood.”
Verdict: Not as terrible as I thought it would be
I thought this might be incredibly overpowering, but it wasn’t too bad, although stil to strong for me.  Unlike Birchbox, Sephora offers the perfume sample every month, but it is an extra.  You get five items PLUS the perfume.

OVERALL
Sephora Play June 2016
Verdict:
Like
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while not everything worked for me, I thought the theme, variety of products and size of the samples was great.  Sephora also includes a bonus card for extra points on your next purchase, which is another nice perk. I really liked 3 of the items, and I think that most women (who aren’t as pale as me) would probably like even more of them.   I also don’t find an issue with the fragrance inclusion since it’s an extra.  I find the box definitely worth the $10.70 pricetag.

How do you think Play by Sephora compares to Birchbox?
Which sub would you rather receive?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.

Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.

Play by Sephora: May 2016

It’s been pretty insane over here at Subscription Therapy, as I’ve been going through the hell, er, the process of trying to buy a new home, so of course I’m behind on reviews.  But I’ve got tons of boxes and pictures and fun things for you, so stick with me and I promise you’ll find something fun.

Today, in particular, I’ve got something extra special.  A bargain beauty sub to upset Birchbox as the standard: Play by Sephora.  That’s right, Sephora has a sub box!  Sephora rolled this out in stages, so a lot of us had to languish endlessly on the waiting list until we could finally try it out.  But in May, FINALLY, I was able to snag one for myself, so prepare yourself for a new box in the rotation.

Sephora sends 5 deluxe samples, plus a fragrance bonus, and packages it all in a little collectible bag for just $10 a month (plus tax).  They also include a bonus card that you can bring to any Sephora location.  The expiration is the end of month and it will give you 50 bonus points on any purchase you make.  If you’re a regular Sephora shopper, you know that this is part of their VIB beauty program, where you accumulate points from your purchases and can trade those in for featured deluxe samples. The only trick with this box is to get yourself on the waitlist and keep trying if you don’t immediately get signed up.  Sephora will periodically send you an email if you’re on the waiting list – but sometimes they won’t, so just keep checking back to their site to see if any spots open up.
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Now let’s see what my very first Play by Sephora Box!

A cute well packed box with Sephora’s signature striped packaging:
Box Open Box
Bag Booklet
May’s theme was “The Forces of Nature” – Earth to Beauty.  Sephora described it as follows: “This month, discover products that are high performing and good for you, too.  Take your beauty back to its roots with hardworking formulas like a brightening facial treatment for petal-soft skin, an antioxidant-rich lipstick made with organic ingredients, and more products that prove that looking beautiful is only natural.”

Perfume Packet 2Perfume Packet 1Perfume
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
(1 oz: $70.00)
Description: “A refreshing burst of sweet blood orange and bitter orange peel paired with notes of geranium.
Did you know: “Orange Sanguine is part of Atelier Cologne’s Collection Originale, which is made using high concentrations of essential oils to create fresh citrus scents.”
Verdict: Love!
This is one of my favorite perfumes ever and it came in such adorable packaging.  I love citrus scents and the Atelier line is wonderful and magically doesn’t trigger any of my allergies.  I’m adding this sample to my travel stash, so I can bring this along during my next trip.

BITE BITE swatch
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Kimchi
(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: “Handcrafted, high-pigment lipstick delivers intense hydration using twelve edible oils.
Did you know: “Bite Beauty creates all its lipstick suing food-grade ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and made in small batches
Verdict: Like
I’ve got some Bite Beauty lipsticks that I made in their lab, so I’m familiar with the brand.  This product feels great going on, but the pink is definitely on the bright side.  I do like it though, and it definitely gets me out of my comfort zone. It has a fun, almost 80s type vibe that I think fits summer really well, so I’ll be a bit brave and give it a shot during my next girls night out.

Origins
Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up & Clear Improvement Masks

(Maskimizer: 3.2 oz $22.00; Drink Up: 3.4 oz $26.00; Clear Improvement: 3.4 oz $26.00)
Description: “Innovative priming mist optimizes skins condition, while the charcoal mask cleanses and the overnight mask deeply moisturizes.”
Did you know: “In partnership with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf project, Origins has planted over 500,000 trees around the the globe.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love trying out masks, and Origins charcoal mask is one of my old favorites.  I’ll use this little set on my next home spa day.

Tarte 1TarteTarte Swatch
Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram
(Full Size $18.00)
Description: “Prime and line this lip crayon that nurtures with vitamin E and antioxidants.”
Did you know: “The mineral pigments in tarte’s products are made by crushing actual earth minerals into fine powders and contain no synthetic counterparts, so they’re perfect for sensitive skin.”
Verdict: Miss
This color is a bit dark for me, but the miss is mostly for the texture.  This was oddly crumbly and hard to apply.  It just didn’t feel good on my skin and I think I managed to break the entire sample just trying to swatch it.  Sorry Tarte, this one wasn’t a winner.

Wildrose
KORRES Wild Rose Sleeping Facial
(1.35 oz: $48.00)
Description: “Lightweight overnight facial treatment melts into skin to brighten and moisturize with wild rose oil.”
Did you know: “Based in Athens, Korres works with local farmers to produce botanicals and other natural ingredients that are unique to Greece’s climate.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love sleeping masks, and Korres is a great brand that offers natural products.  This cream wasn’t too heavy and absorbed into skin very easily.

Conditioning Mask
BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
(8 oz Size: $36.00)
Description: “Intensely hydrating hair treatment made with naturally drevied ingredients to restore and replenish.”
Did you know: “Briogeo’s founder was inspired to start a cosmetics company by her grandmother who harvested raw ingredients from her own farm to make hair care products..”
Verdict: Hit!
I love deep conditioners that you apply in the shower and rinse off. Once a week, I like to use a clarifying shampoo and then follow up with a deep conditioner – sort of like a mini spa day for my hair.  I’m glad to have this new one to try out.

OVERALL
Sephora Play May 2016

Verdict: Love!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I think it had a wonderful variety of products and really great sizes for samples.  The natural beauty theme was a great fit for the season, as we leave Spring and head toward summer.  I also appreciated the detail included on the card.  It included: descriptions of the products, info about the ingredients, fun facts about the brand, and helpful hints on how to use the products.  It was very thoughtfully put together and I felt like I actually learned quite a bit from reading it.  The extra bonus card for additional points is a nice tough as is the cute little bag included.  At only $10 a box, it’s a great way to get a chance to try some spendy products without spending too much.

Have you been one of the lucky folks to nab a Sephora subscription?
If so, what did you think of the box?
If not, are you considering signing up?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Play by Sephora, will send you 5 deluxe samples handpicked from their shelves (plus a fragrance bonus) – all in a collectible bag.
Cost: $10 per month (plus any applicable tax)
Bonus:  Each month you’ll get an included card that you can bring to Sephora for an extra 50 bonus points for any Purchase.  These points are part of Sephora’s VIB program and can be traded in for an assortment of samples.
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