Play by Sephora: April 2017

I finally got a moment to catch a breath from the endless home renovation projects and the book release madness for my debut novel, The Ice Maiden’s Tale, to take stock of my box reviews. Unsurprisingly I’m hella behind, so today I’ve got my April Play by Sephora box.  There was a billing snafu in March, so I ended up missing that box, but I’m picking right back up with my April one.  This is one of the best budget beauty boxes at only $10 per month, so if you want to try a sub, but don’t have a lot of spare dinero, consider Sephora.

If you want to see my box reveals as soon as I get them, follow me on Instagram for real time spoilers.
April’s theme was “Step It  Up” – “Upgrade your everyday routine with best in class products to set yourself up for beauty success. Try an eyeliner beloved by makeup artists, skincare selected for your specific for your specific concerns, and more must-haves to step up your beauty game.”

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
(Full Size: $52.00)
Description: “Lightweight moisturizer with airy formula delivers a burst of hydration with three different types of hyaluronic acid.”
Verdict: Like
“Hyaluronic Cloud Cream” sounds like a lab experiment meets an RPG game.  It sounds interesting and I’m always up to try a new night time moisturizer so I’ll happy to test it out.

philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “A gentle, award-winning one-step face wash that cleans, removes makeup, tones and lightly hydrates for a fresh complexion.
Verdict: Miss
I know some people adore and swear by Philosophy products but they just never work for me.  Their “hope in a jar” cream was more like “fish on my face” and this cleanser just feels way too stripping.  It gives you that “squeaky” clean that makes your skin feel so dry.  It just didn’t work for me.

Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer
(Full Size: $36.00)
Description: “This iconic primer creates the perfect canvas for make-up application while leaving skin soft and silk-smooth”
Verdict: Repeat Offender
Is there a beauty sub box or freebie bag in existence that hasn’t had a Smashbox primer in it?  I swear I think I’ve got a hundred of these over the years.  If you’re into beauty you’ve probably gotten this sample before.  I’d rather see more new and interesting products.

Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
(Full Size: $11.00)
Description: “A gentle, go-to waterproof makeup remover perfect for sensitive eyes and enriched with lash-strengthening vitamins and extracts.”
Verdict: Not for me
I don’t care for these type of eye removers and prefer the oil based cleansers which work better for my skin.  This one was much gentler than most eye makeup removers, but still completely great for my sensitive skin.

Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner

(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: Beloved by makeup professionals, this creamy, budge-proof eyeliner glides an easily and leaves an intense, jet-black color.”
Verdict: Love!
Makeup Forever is one of my favorite brands so even though a black eyeliner is a bit boring I’m still happy to have this.  It’s a great size for travel or to keep in your purse’s makeup bag.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue (1.7 oz $90.00)
Description: “This fresh, floral fragrance consists of lily of the valley and notes of honeysuckle to evoke the beginning of springtime.”
Verdict: Too floral
As usual this perfume doesn’t work for me.  The floral is too strong – I think it’s the lily that is off-putting.

: Not my favorite
I found this box pretty boring.  Except for the eyeliner I didn’t really love anything.  The choices fit the “beauty routine” but there needed to be a more interesting element here.  Maybe a lip balm from a new brand instead of the tired Smashbox primer?  I paid $10.70, which is a little much since I only liked two items, but hopefully future boxes will be more interesting.

Do you like more practical items in your beauty boxes or more unique and trendy things?

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.”
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This month’s bag is my favorite.  I’m definitely keeping this one to re-use.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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:
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.

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?

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: August 2016

I was so, so close to finishing up my August reviews, and then..bam….I caught like the plague or something and I finally find a house I both love and can afford.  So in between the stacks of paperwork and endless phone calls, I’ve been trying not to hack up a lung, all the while missing my retail therapy and fun chats with all of you.    But today I’m hopped up on DayQuil and back to talk about one of my favorite budget subs: Play by Sephora.  This box is Birchbox’s direct competition in the $10 beauty box slot.
August’s theme was “The Eye Openers” – If Looks Could Thrill.  Sephora described this as “There’s more than meets the eye with this month’s selection of skincare and makeup.  After a long summer, refresh and recharge your beauty routine with the mascara for standout lashes, an energizing moisturizer, and striking looks that will put all eyes on you.”

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-544
(Full Size: $21.00)
Description: “Highly saturated, iridescent pink granite eyeshadow made with a unique gel-powder formula and ultrafine pigments for smooth color.
Verdict: Love!
Make Up Forever (MUFE) is one of my go to brands. Their eyeshadows are amazing and go on so smoothly.  I love this color.  It’s such a pretty neutral and gives this kind of candlelit look.  I own it already in a MUFE palette I purchased back in Spring.  I use this shade a ton already and I can’t recommend this brand enough.  Click here for my review of their Artist Palette Volume 3 which includes this pink granite shade.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: “Lengthening and volumizing mascara coats eyelashes with triple-black pigment and a buildable, creamy formula.
Verdict: Like!
Mascara isn’t exciting, but it’s the product I probably use up the fastest.  Urban Decay is a great brand and I’m pretty sure I’ve used this before.  I think I liked it, but didn’t quite love it so I’m happy to try it again and see how it works.

Lancome Energie De Vie Smoothing & Glowing Liquid Care Moisturizer
(1.69 oz: $55.00)
Description: “Concentrated energizing liquid lotion visually relieves dullness, diminishes signs of fatigue, and promotes a healthy-looking glow.”
Verdict: Like
There are a lot of words in the name of this product.  They all sound good and it never hurts to throw some French in there for good measure.  This product appears to be similar to the Korean equivalent of an “essence” which I find intriguing.  This should be fun to experiment with.

Caudalie Resveratrol Eye lifting Balm
(.5 oz: $62.00)
Description: “Innovative eye cream visibly lifts and smooths the eye area with a breakthrough patented formula while reducing the look of dark circles and puffiness.”
Verdict: Love!
You probably know by now that I am always a sucker for eye creams in box.  Eye creams tend to be super spendy, and to me they are an integral part of a beauty regimen.  If you do nothing else but get yourself a good anti-aging eye cream and apply it religiously you will do wonders for your skin.  This cream feels lovely going on and moisturizes without being heavy.  I’m really enjoying trying this out.

eyeliner liner-swatch
Sephora Colelction Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear
Waterproof in Flirting Game
(Full Size: $10.00)
Description: “Creamy-easy-to-apply pencil with long-lasting, 12 hour waterproof formula in a shimmery taupe shade that was handpicked for you.”
Verdict: Like
This pencil definitely had staying power.  This shade pairs really nicely with the shadow they included and I feel like this gives a nice subtle shimmer.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Clean Reserve Blonde Rose (3.4 oz $90.00)
Description: “Classic yet edgy bouquet of rose, jasmine, and peony above a sandalwood base evokes feminine sophistication and allure.”
Verdict: Evokes headaches
As usual, this scent doesn’t work for me, but I really don’t expect most perfumes to.  This is an extra item so it doesn’t really impact my appreciation of the box.

With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and except for the perfume extra I will use everything in it.  Eye products tend to be where I use a wide variety of brands and items so I really love that I got to try a few new things.  I do think the products and colors in here would work for a wide variety of women so kudos to Sephora on an excellent curation.

Do you use a lot of eye products?
Which ones do you consider your holy grail items?

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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