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.

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Play by Sephora: May 2017

It’s been a rough week.  I’m not quite at the point where I can articulate something clear and thoughtful about the terrorism that shook Charlottesville.  All I can say is that we’ve beaten hate before and we will do it again, because despite everything, most people are good. (Although sometimes I know it doesn’t seem like it.) We just have to stand together and help each other, and most of all never, ever, ever let hate be the loudest voice in the room.

Now, I know sub boxes are especially frivolous at this time, but I refuse to let terror stop me from doing the things I want to do.  So today I’m going to review my damn May Play by Sephora subscription and keep on keeping on.

If you want to see my box reveals as soon as I get them, follow me on Instagram for real time spoilers.
May’s theme was “The Rising Stars” – “This month we’re taking you on a tour of cult favorites, hard-to-find formulas, and one-of-a-kind brands that are making their mark.”
This month we got a super cute plastic pouch.  Great for tucking in some toiletries when you go to the beach, pool or waterpark.

NUDESTIX Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Greystone
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “A three-in-one matte lip stain, lip color, and lip liner that has a long-wearing, intensely pigmented formula in a bold, dep shade.”
Verdict: Like for Fall/Winter
I didn’t swatch this one because the color seems way more suited to Fall/Winter so I’m going to save it for then.  It’s described as “griege” shade and seems like a throwback to the 90s.  Even if it doesn’t work well with my pale complexion, I’ll have some fun playing around with it.

trèStiQue – Highlight & Perfect Multipurpose Stick  Maldives Luminescent
(Full Size: $34.00)
Description: “This silk-smooth gel highlighter stick Paris a barely-there, lightweight texture with a luminous champagne pink shimmer.
Verdict: Like
Champagne pinks usually work well with my complexion.  I have so much makeup open that I wanted to save this one, so I didn’t swatch it. Unlike the matte lipstick, this felt appropriate for summer.

SUNDAY RILEY – Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser
(Full Size: $45.00)
Description: “Luxurious clay cleanser uses potent ingredients to minimize the appearance of pores and brighten for clear, balanced skin.”
Verdict: Like
Sunday Riley is one of those brands that bloggers adore and has quite a cult following.  It’s also pretty pricey, so I’m always glad to get some samples to try out.

Grande Cosmetics – GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper in Clear
(Full Size: $27.00)
Description: “Clear gloss uses a patented hyaluronic acid-infused formula to visibly plump lips while also softening over time.”
Verdict: On the fence
I’m not usually a fan of “plumping” lip products, but I’m willing to give it a try.  I do like that it’s clear so you can pair it with your favorite lipstick or gloss.

Christophe Robin – Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
(Full Size: $53.00)
Description:”Cleanse, purify, and rebalance a sensitive or oily scalp with this soothing sea salt scrub that leaves hair soft and refreshed.”
Verdict: Love!
My scalp is one of my problem areas so getting a hair product to target that area is awesome.  I hope I don’t like this one too much since a full size is pretty pricey at $53.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
MAISON MARGIELA – ’REPLICA’ Beach Walk (3.4 oz $126.00)
Description: “Transport yourself to sandy seaside memories with this radiant scent of bergamot, coconut milk, and lemon.”
Verdict: Finally!
The rare perfume that I can wear!  I love citrus scents so this was a nice surprise.

OVERALL

Verdict: Love!
This box was such a huge improvement over April’s.  I’ll use every product and there are lots of brands here that I haven’t tried before.   I also thought it had an excellent balance of products, although if I want to be nit-picky, I’d say they should have opted for a different makeup item rather than 2 lip products, and that the shade of the nudestix should have been more seasonally appropriate.  Still, this was a great box for $10, and Sephora still stands as my favorite budget beauty sub.

What type of lip colors do you wear and do you change them by season?

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