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.

Birchbox: October 2014

Since October is my birthday month, there’s a lot of pressure on my sub boxes to deliver fantastic surprises. It’s time to dive into the October Birchbox and see if it delivered.
Box
The cute pink box opens up to reveal:
Box 2
The even cuter brown box that will surely hold someone’s Christmas gift later this year.

Along with our info card, we got a cute little one to broadcast our favorite TV show. My current fave is hands down Once Upon A Time. There are no stories better than fairy tales. Not a one.
Cards

So now we move the tissue paper to dive into the pretties.
Open Box Open Box 2

Beauty Blender
beautyblender® + deluxe solid cleanser

(Retail: $28.95)
Description: Pro-favorite sponge for smooth, natural-finish foundation (plus cleanser to keep it clean)”
Verdict: HOT DAMN!
We had heard this item would be featured in boxes and of course, everyone wanted one. And as luck would have it, I am one of the chosen. I have heard so many amazing things about beautyblenders but have yet to try one. I can’t wait to give this a shot with my favorite CC cream. This item alone is well over the value of the box, and everything after this is just icing on the cake.


Hand
Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey Glycerine Hand Therapy
(6 oz Retail: $13.95)
Description: Sweet-smelling cream that restores and protects hands with glycerin and healing botanicals.”
Verdict: Hit!
Do you see that adorable little flower attached to the top of the itty bitty jar? This thing could be empty and I’d love it. This is a nice little size to keep in your work bag and I’m adding this to my mini nail kit that I’m taking for my birthday weekend trip.

Pore
brandt® pores no more® vacuum cleaner™
(1 oz Retail: $45.00)
Description: “Award-winning gel that degunks pores for fewer blackheads and smoother skin.”
Verdict: Hit!
Blackheads are my skincare nemesis so anything that will “degunk” or remove them is a winner for me. This is pretty pricey on its own so I’m psyched to have a chance to try it out before committing to a full size.

Modelco
ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Kitty

(Lipstick Trio Retail: $24.00)
Description: “”Hydrating, semi-matte formula in a soft pink shade that lasts as long as the party does.”
Verdict: Hit!
This was the sample I chose from the options we were given. It’s a nice neutral pink and I like the packaging with the clear top. I didn’t swatch this just because I have a ton of lipsticks currently in rotation. I’ve been wanting to try a smoky eye look for evening and I think it will pair perfectly with this lipstick. (Plus the small size of this will work great in a tiny clutch bag).

Perfume
Sage and Fasten Onward

(Full size Rollerball Collection: $29.00)
Description: Grapefruit, green apple, and lemon mingle in this energizing citrus scent.”
Verdict: Hit!
Typically I don’t care for perfumes, but I love fruity scents – particularly citrus, so this is right up my alley. I also love rollerball perfume applicators so this is a great choice for me. This is another item I’ll be taking along with me on my trip.

 

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
I love it so much that I want to marry it and have its sub box babies

They could have thrown the beautyblender in with just a bunch of packing peanuts and this box would have been worth it. Not only is everything in this box something I will use, but they are all items I would have grabbed for myself if I’d seen them on a shelf. Birchbox really outdid themselves this month and this was just the perfect birthday box for me.

As for the value, I paid $10.70 and received $5.00 in Birchbox points after reviewing each item, so a great deal becomes even better.

I have plans to head out soon to the Birchbox store in Soho, so if you want to get a peek at the Brick and Mortar Birchbox, be sure to stop back.

Were you one of the lucky folks to grab a beautyblender? What was in your October Birchbox?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year.

Your options: Women’s Box or Men’s Box

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends. If your review all the items you receive in your box each month, you’ll receive 50 Birchbox rewards points!
If you purchase a full size of one of the sample items they sent you in that same month, you receive free shipping on them and often extra points.