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: 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.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
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.

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.

 

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.