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.

November Blog Hop: 5 Products I’m Thankful for

So it’s time again for my monthly Blog Hop with the fabulous bloggers from my Facebook Beauty and Fashion Bloggers group. For November our topic is “5 Products I’m Thankful For”. I decided to focus on items that really make a difference in my life – be that saving me time or effort or helping me feel better when I’m down. Some of these you’ve seen in other posts and a couple are brand new.

Oil
#1 Julep’s Bare Face Cleansing Oil
(Photo from julep.com)
(Retail: $28.00)
Description: “A lightweight, antioxidant-rich cleanser for all skin types”
The only thing that takes longer than applying the perfect winged liner is getting it off. Oil cleansers break down tough makeup better than any other type and Julep’s is hands down my favorite. It’s light and not sticky and has a perfect citrus scent. No matter how heavy I go with mascara or liner, this stuff gets it off easily and with no tugging. It’s by far my favorite Julep product.

Tea
#2 Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset Black Tea
(Photo from Target.com)
(Retail: $5.99)
Description: “This is one of our oldest flavored tea blends. John Harney developed it in the beginning of the 1980s. Over the decades its popularity has only grown, and now it is our most popular tea. People love its combination of strong spices and sweetness. And since there are no sugars (we tested it), it is safe for everyone to enjoy.”
Because my work is a giant petri dish, and I travel every weekday via at least 5 different types of public transportation, I am constantly fighting off a cold. This tea is amazing. It’s like a cinnamon red hot candy mixed with oranges and you can taste it even when your nose is completely stuffed up. It feels like Autumn in a cup and I’ve now gotten everyone at my work addicted to it. Harney and Sons teas are also available on Birchbox if you want to use points for it (but it’s a little pricier than if you purchase from Target).

 

Fakeup
#3 Benefit’s Fakeup
(Photo from birchbox.com)
(Retail: $24.00)
Description: “The creamy formula provides heavy-duty coverage and instantly brightens tired-looking eyes with light-reflecting pigments. Moisturizing vitamin E and apple seed extract give the concealer its silky-smooth texture and soften fine lines.”
Lots of eye makeup tends to flake on me and dry out the sensitive skin under my eyes. This product is great at keeping that area hydrated while also covering any dark areas. I also feel like the extra moisture helps keep wrinkles at bay. This is a staple in my makeup case.

 

Remover
#4 Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover
(Photo from sephora.com)
(Retail: $9.50)
Description: “For even the most hard-to-remove nail polish, this nail polish remover effortlessly takes off lacquers. Inside the bottle, pre-moistened pleated foam eliminates the need for cotton balls. Perfect for travel. Its convenient size is perfect for travel and can be used without cotton pads.”
I love polish and I particularly love jelly finishes full of glitter. These are not quite so fun to remove. That’s where Sephora’s instant polish remover comes in. You just dip your finger in the jar, leave it for a couple seconds and voila even the toughest glitter comes right off. I reserve this for my polishes with a tougher finish  since it contains acetone.

Redhead Shampoo
#5 Everything for Redheads Red Shampoo and Conditioner Bundle
(Photo from everythingforredheads.com)
(Retail: $31.44 US)
Description: “This luxurious every-day red shampoo and conditioner for Red Hair contains a colourant to enhance natural and dyed red hair by depositing colour gradually for a natural looking enhanced colour. Ideal for natural and dyed red hair that needs to be revived with an extra boost of red colour..”
I’m a natural redhead and I can tell you that the US beauty industry likes to forget we exist. There are tons of specialty products for blondes and brunettes, but the redhead offerings are slim. And what is actually available is typically for dyed redheads and not natural ones. I was super excited to discover this line from the UK that is designed specifically for red hair and works on both natural and dyed hair.   In the long ago, I used to have a fiery red shade, but since I’ve been banished to work every day in a windowless basement with no sunshine to lighten it, my hair has lost much of its flame. So I picked up this bundle along with another shade (Chili pepper) to experiment. As a shampoo and conditioner these work well and smell amazing (like cherries!) and I do notice that they give my hair more richness. It’s not super dramatic, but it’s definitely a nice color boost. These are totally worth paying the international shipping costs.

So those are my 5, what are yours?

If you enjoyed my post, please check out these other fabulous blogs posting their own list of products they are thankful for.

   Sammi from College Beauty Buff

   Chelsea from Chelsea Go Brightly

   Julie from Collective Beauty

   Kristina from The Feminine Files

   Megan from Polished Portland

   Vivienne from Jolie Pagaille

   Cheryl from Skinny On Beauty

   Bethany from Twenty Something Plus

   Angela from Your Beauty Whisperer