Play by Sephora: February 2017

I’ve been hella busy with the house, the upcoming release of “The Ice Maiden’s Tale” and the blog redesign, so as expected I’m a wee bit behind on my boxes.  Today we’re heading back to February for my Play by Sephora review.  This is one of the best budget beauty boxes at the $10 price point, so if you don’t have a ton of cash, but want to try out a beauty sub, check this one out.

If you want to see my box reveals as soon as I get them, follow me on Instagram for real time spoilers.

February’s theme was “The Soft Side” – Make a Radiant Understatement “Muted, mellow shade shades and skin-perfecting formulas are a never-fail way to show off your natural beauty.  From a romantic lip color to a radiance-boosting eye cream, add definition and just a hint of dram with this month’s subtle-yet-stunning lineup of makeup and skincare.”

CLINIQUE Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer

(Full Size: $29.50)
Description: “A lightweight, oil-free moisturizer-meets-primer instantly blurs imperfections while providing all-day hydration for a silky, soft-focus finish.”
Verdict: Like
I love trying out different primers and one that is light and moisturizing sounds particularly appealing.

Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in Milkshake
(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “Sheer tinted gloss uses a botanical-infused formula to visibly plump lips instantly while also hydrating and softening over time.
Verdict: Like
I’ve been looking for some nude lip products and I like that this one is hydrating.  This would look great paired with a smoky eye.

Rainforest of the Sea™ Quench Lip Rescue in Nude

(Full Size: $19.00)
Description: “Sheer ultra-moisturizing lip balm delivers vitamin-rich hydration and nurtures dry lips while providing a soft natural tint.”
Verdict: On the fence
This product is definitely moisturizing, but the color is very light and it doesn’t have much staying power.  It also got very soft, pretty quickly and it didn’t go anywhere with a lot of heat.  I’m thinking this product isn’t something to leave in your summer bag.

SEPHORA COLLECTION LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara
(Full Size: $12.00)
Description: “A jet-black volumizing mascara with an innovative flat paddle-shaped wand to lengthen and lift lashes.”
Verdict: Okay
I’m always on the lookout for awesome mascara, but this one is pretty ordinary.  Not bad, not amazing, but perfectly adequate.

Origins GinZing™ Refreshing Eye Cream

(Full Size: $30.00)
Description: “A luminous eye cream infuse with coffee beans, ginseng, and magnolia extract ot visibly brighten and depuff the undereye area.”
Verdict: Love!
Eye creams are one of my fave items to get in sub boxes.   I use them regularly and they typically cost quite a bit so sampling them in advance is super helpful.  This one was really light and suitable to wear even in the morning.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:

Prada Candy (1.7 oz $90.00)
Description: “A confident, daring, and seductive fragrance, this feminine scent features caramel, benzoin, and notes of white musk.”
Verdict: Confident = way too strong
As usual this doesn’t work for me.  I’m just going to pass it on to someone else who might enjoy it.


A bit uneven
This box had a lot of practical items that fit the “low key” “basics” vibe, but the curation felt a bit off.  There were two moisturizers and two nude lip products included.  I would have liked to see a hair product and maybe a nude shadow or a natural blush.  Overall, the box was still a great value since I paid $10.70 and I’ll use nearly all of the items.  The Too Faced gloss was a great size and easily covered a chunk of the box cost.

I’ve got so many more box reviews coming up including some really unique subscriptions, so be sure to check back.

What types of products do you want to see in beauty boxes?

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: 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.


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.

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: July 2016 Review & New LE Box

So today is the end of an era, where I’m reviewing my very last Birchbox.  Now, I may decide to one day give it another try, but for now I just found that the value wasn’t there for me.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try out their Limited Edition boxes, so don’t be surprised if you see Birchbox pop back up here again.  Speaking of which, Birchbox introduced a new Limited Edition box:
Limited Edition: Cheers to You!
Cost: $50.00
Description: “Birthday? Engagement? Got the job, aced that exam, or conquered a 5K? Whatever the “woohoo!” moment, this box is filled with products and keepsakes to help you—or someone special—celebrate. Think: a gem-inspired palette, a soothing gel mask, a gold-accented tray, and much more. Planning on gifting the box to a rockstar in your life? There’s a matching, festive card (ready to be filled in by you).”
This box looks like it’s got some great items (I’m loving the little tray) but for me it’s a bit pricey.  (I expect a higher end brand than Pixi for a $50 box).  I’m opting out of this one, but hoping that we see some other great Fall inspired LE box.

Now let’ see what my last Birchbox included:
box open-box
I think I’ll miss the cute boxes most of all!

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
(Full Size $34.00)
Description: “Suitable for all skin types, the clay-based formula cleanses, exfoliates, and brightens skin.
Verdict: Like
I enjoy trying out different types of masks and this is a new brand for me.

Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: Formula with all-day wear for lashes so long and thick, you may be accused of fakery.”
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose from the mascaras that were up for grabs.  This is one of my favorite mascaras (right after It Cosmetic’s “Hello Lashes”), so I figured I’d just stock up.

Cartier Baiser Volé Lys Rose Eau de Toilette Spray
(1.7 oz: $90.00)
Description: ”This sweet, subtle scent comes from a captivating cocktail of crystallized pink lily petals and hints of raspberry.”
Verdict: Who wants to pay $90 for a headache?  Any takers?
So we get to one of the most compelling reasons I canceled this box.  The damn perfume samples.  I cannot use 99% of perfume samples and yet I can’t opt out of them. They are also free everywhere – magazines, makeup counters. They should not be included as one of the main items in the box.  An extra item? Sure, why not.  But as one of 5 samples.  Nope.  This year, I chose the curated box twice.  That leaves 5 remaining boxes with unknown samples, out of which 3 included fragrance.  I chose the option for the “least” amount of perfumes in my box and I still got them over half the time.  Unless Birchbox changes the perfume situation, I doubt I will re-subscribe.

Clinique City Block™ Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel
(5 oz: $20.00)
Description: ”A detoxifying cleansing gel with charcoal to zap pores of dirt, oil and makeup.
Verdict: Hit!
I’m not particularly into Clinique skincare but I’m intrigued by a Charcoal Cleansing gel so this one will be fun to try out.

loc loc-close loc-swatch
LOC Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil
in Punch Line
(Full Size: $12.00)
Description: “From the Birchbox brand: A hydrating, lasting, and glossy lip pencial in a sheer watermelon pink that flatters everyone.”
Verdict:  Like
First, after getting some super small samples in past boxes, I’m really liking this full size.  This felt nice going on and the color is a nice cheerful hue. I like the sheer consistency which makes it a lot more wearable than more opaque lip products.

This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  If it weren’t for the perfume sample, I would have given this one a “hit”.  I will use all the items in the box, and the size of the samples was definitely an improvement over previous boxes.  I’m interested to see if Birchbox works on improving their sample curation now that they’ve lost a significant number of subscribers.

How do you feel about perfume samples in your beauty box?
Do you love them?  Hate them?
Think they should only be bonus items?

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

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