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.

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.”
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.
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.

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.

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.

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:
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.


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?

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: June 2016

Since I reviewed Birchbox’s June box yesterday, I thought it would be apropos to review the June Play by Sephora today.  This box is Julep’s direct competition in the $10 beauty subscription slot.
My first Sephora box was a great hit, so I was excited to see what subsequent months would bring.
Open Box
June’s theme was “The Minimalists” – Effortless is More.  Sephora described this as “Next-level nude and no-maintenance naturals: this month, we’re paring it down for understated style that prove sometimes less really is more.  Get a low-key look for summer with a  game-changing hair cream, refreshingly lightweight sunscreen and more must-haves for creating an easy-going appeal.”
Play Bag

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It
(5 oz: $31.00)
Description: “Innovative crème adds body and enhances fine-to-medium hair textures for a laid-back, air dried style.
Verdict: Love!
As someone who only blow dries her hair for special occasions, air dry products in subs make me so so happy.  I’d probably not risk buying this on my own since it’s spendy, so I’m super excited to get a chance to try it out before committing.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: “Bestselling mascara lengthens, volumizes, coats even the smallest lashes, and features a specially designed brush.
Verdict: Like
Benefit mascara is one of my go to mascara options so I’m very familiar with it.  It’s made the rounds in tons of beauty boxes, but it’s a fabulous product, so I’m happy to have another one for my stash.

Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
(1.7 oz $32.00)
Description: “Antioxidant-infused, non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizes and protects without leaving a stick feel.”
Verdict: Miss
SPF 30 is not nearly enough for a vampire like me.  I had to give this one to a friend.

BronzerBronzer Swatch
BAREMINERALS bareSkin Bronzer
(1 oz: $28.00)
Description: “Blendable, lightweight liquid bronzer may be worn alone or over foundation to give skin a sheer, natural-looking touch of sun.”
Verdict: A little too Michael Kors for me
Sadly, unless I am an Oompa Loompa or Michael Kors this is just not going to be “natural” for me.  With my pale, cool undertoned skin it’s just way more orange than it should be, so I’ve passed it along to a friend.  If you’ve got skin tone like mine and are looking for a natural bronzer, I highly recommend Laura Mercier’s Bonne Mine palette.  It’s easy to apply (it even includes direction cards), lasts forever and actually looks natural.  When I wore it someone actually said to me, “Oh you’re one of those rare redheads who can get sun.” No, I can’t, but I what I can do is shop.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
(1 oz: $38.00)
Description: “Shimmering makeup primer acts as a soft-focus filter to blur imperfection sand give skin an effortless, luminous look.”
Verdict: Hit!
I’ve only really started experimenting with primers in the past year, but they can really make a huge difference in your skin.  I haven’t tried a “shimmer” version, so I’m psyched to see how this one works with my skin.

This Month’s Perfume Pick:
Tocca Beauty Florence (1.7 oz Size: $68.00)
Description: “Timeless and romantic, this fragrance conjures long-ogo Paris with a sophisticated blend of bergamot, violet petals, and blonde wood.”
Verdict: Not as terrible as I thought it would be
I thought this might be incredibly overpowering, but it wasn’t too bad, although stil to strong for me.  Unlike Birchbox, Sephora offers the perfume sample every month, but it is an extra.  You get five items PLUS the perfume.

Sephora Play June 2016
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and while not everything worked for me, I thought the theme, variety of products and size of the samples was great.  Sephora also includes a bonus card for extra points on your next purchase, which is another nice perk. I really liked 3 of the items, and I think that most women (who aren’t as pale as me) would probably like even more of them.   I also don’t find an issue with the fragrance inclusion since it’s an extra.  I find the box definitely worth the $10.70 pricetag.

How do you think Play by Sephora compares to Birchbox?
Which sub would you rather receive?

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: May 2016

It’s been pretty insane over here at Subscription Therapy, as I’ve been going through the hell, er, the process of trying to buy a new home, so of course I’m behind on reviews.  But I’ve got tons of boxes and pictures and fun things for you, so stick with me and I promise you’ll find something fun.

Today, in particular, I’ve got something extra special.  A bargain beauty sub to upset Birchbox as the standard: Play by Sephora.  That’s right, Sephora has a sub box!  Sephora rolled this out in stages, so a lot of us had to languish endlessly on the waiting list until we could finally try it out.  But in May, FINALLY, I was able to snag one for myself, so prepare yourself for a new box in the rotation.

Sephora sends 5 deluxe samples, plus a fragrance bonus, and packages it all in a little collectible bag for just $10 a month (plus tax).  They also include a bonus card that you can bring to any Sephora location.  The expiration is the end of month and it will give you 50 bonus points on any purchase you make.  If you’re a regular Sephora shopper, you know that this is part of their VIB beauty program, where you accumulate points from your purchases and can trade those in for featured deluxe samples. The only trick with this box is to get yourself on the waitlist and keep trying if you don’t immediately get signed up.  Sephora will periodically send you an email if you’re on the waiting list – but sometimes they won’t, so just keep checking back to their site to see if any spots open up.

Now let’s see what my very first Play by Sephora Box!

A cute well packed box with Sephora’s signature striped packaging:
Box Open Box
Bag Booklet
May’s theme was “The Forces of Nature” – Earth to Beauty.  Sephora described it as follows: “This month, discover products that are high performing and good for you, too.  Take your beauty back to its roots with hardworking formulas like a brightening facial treatment for petal-soft skin, an antioxidant-rich lipstick made with organic ingredients, and more products that prove that looking beautiful is only natural.”

Perfume Packet 2Perfume Packet 1Perfume
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
(1 oz: $70.00)
Description: “A refreshing burst of sweet blood orange and bitter orange peel paired with notes of geranium.
Did you know: “Orange Sanguine is part of Atelier Cologne’s Collection Originale, which is made using high concentrations of essential oils to create fresh citrus scents.”
Verdict: Love!
This is one of my favorite perfumes ever and it came in such adorable packaging.  I love citrus scents and the Atelier line is wonderful and magically doesn’t trigger any of my allergies.  I’m adding this sample to my travel stash, so I can bring this along during my next trip.

BITE BITE swatch
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Kimchi
(Full Size: $26.00)
Description: “Handcrafted, high-pigment lipstick delivers intense hydration using twelve edible oils.
Did you know: “Bite Beauty creates all its lipstick suing food-grade ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and made in small batches
Verdict: Like
I’ve got some Bite Beauty lipsticks that I made in their lab, so I’m familiar with the brand.  This product feels great going on, but the pink is definitely on the bright side.  I do like it though, and it definitely gets me out of my comfort zone. It has a fun, almost 80s type vibe that I think fits summer really well, so I’ll be a bit brave and give it a shot during my next girls night out.

Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up & Clear Improvement Masks

(Maskimizer: 3.2 oz $22.00; Drink Up: 3.4 oz $26.00; Clear Improvement: 3.4 oz $26.00)
Description: “Innovative priming mist optimizes skins condition, while the charcoal mask cleanses and the overnight mask deeply moisturizes.”
Did you know: “In partnership with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf project, Origins has planted over 500,000 trees around the the globe.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love trying out masks, and Origins charcoal mask is one of my old favorites.  I’ll use this little set on my next home spa day.

Tarte 1TarteTarte Swatch
Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram
(Full Size $18.00)
Description: “Prime and line this lip crayon that nurtures with vitamin E and antioxidants.”
Did you know: “The mineral pigments in tarte’s products are made by crushing actual earth minerals into fine powders and contain no synthetic counterparts, so they’re perfect for sensitive skin.”
Verdict: Miss
This color is a bit dark for me, but the miss is mostly for the texture.  This was oddly crumbly and hard to apply.  It just didn’t feel good on my skin and I think I managed to break the entire sample just trying to swatch it.  Sorry Tarte, this one wasn’t a winner.

KORRES Wild Rose Sleeping Facial
(1.35 oz: $48.00)
Description: “Lightweight overnight facial treatment melts into skin to brighten and moisturize with wild rose oil.”
Did you know: “Based in Athens, Korres works with local farmers to produce botanicals and other natural ingredients that are unique to Greece’s climate.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love sleeping masks, and Korres is a great brand that offers natural products.  This cream wasn’t too heavy and absorbed into skin very easily.

Conditioning Mask
BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
(8 oz Size: $36.00)
Description: “Intensely hydrating hair treatment made with naturally drevied ingredients to restore and replenish.”
Did you know: “Briogeo’s founder was inspired to start a cosmetics company by her grandmother who harvested raw ingredients from her own farm to make hair care products..”
Verdict: Hit!
I love deep conditioners that you apply in the shower and rinse off. Once a week, I like to use a clarifying shampoo and then follow up with a deep conditioner – sort of like a mini spa day for my hair.  I’m glad to have this new one to try out.

Sephora Play May 2016

Verdict: Love!
With tax, I paid $10.70 for this box and I think it had a wonderful variety of products and really great sizes for samples.  The natural beauty theme was a great fit for the season, as we leave Spring and head toward summer.  I also appreciated the detail included on the card.  It included: descriptions of the products, info about the ingredients, fun facts about the brand, and helpful hints on how to use the products.  It was very thoughtfully put together and I felt like I actually learned quite a bit from reading it.  The extra bonus card for additional points is a nice tough as is the cute little bag included.  At only $10 a box, it’s a great way to get a chance to try some spendy products without spending too much.

Have you been one of the lucky folks to nab a Sephora subscription?
If so, what did you think of the box?
If not, are you considering signing up?

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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