Play! By Sephora : May 2016

IMG_1438 So of all the beauty boxes I’ve ever come across, the one that got me most amped was the Play! By Sephora box. Thaaaat’s right, a beauty box by the retailer that’s got access to darn near every major cosmetics brand. It’s $10/month, available here.

I signed up for the waitlist on this box maaaaany months ago. At the time, they were only doing the box in select markets, where their Sephora stores could accommodate a Play! party, wherein the makeup staff could demo products. Since then, they’ve opened the box up nationally, though there is still a waitlist. Now, the Play! box comes with a card that you can scan at beauty stations in Sephora locations for video demos, in-person help and extra rewards points with any IMG_1440purchase.

If I had any hangups about this box, it was definitely the size of samples. I know Sephora gives away samples all the time, and so I was worried they would be small foil packets and perfumes. Each box contains five deluxe samples plus one fragrance sample, which I’m fine with. It comes in a striped shipper box with a bag inside, filled with the products and a fold-out brochure on all the products.

This month’s theme was Forces of Nature, meaning the products generally had a natural feel. I watched one of their promotional product videos before I got the box, and the people in it gave me the same bitchy, condescending tone that Sephora’s salespeople always give me, and they weren’t helpful at all. I’ll be skipping those if I get this box in the future.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine – I usually hate perfume samples, but this one is based in citrus oil, so it was actually a big winner for me. The card informs me that this is how colognes were originally made. It came with a product card that looked like a postcard and in a rice paper envelope, which made the sample feel a little more special than a perfume sample usually does.

IMG_1442Bite Beauty Amuse Buche Lipstick in Kimchi – I was thrilled to see this was Bite–their lip products are usually made with fruit oils that are great for your lips. Unfortunately, this colour is totally ridiculous. It’s a neon pink that is unwearable for most people. THAT SAID, I wanted the Sephora box to send challenging shades, and this gave me that. Haha This was a good sample size.

Tarte Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram – I’m not sure how to feel about this sample. It’s the size of a liner, but it’s a mauve/dusty rose that’s totally not even in the same neighborhood as the lipstick. It’s a good contrast to the lipstick, but I really had to rub this around to be a lip colour on its own. Still, this had good staying power and it’s more of an everyday shade.

Origins Maskimizer and Masks – So this is a “mask primer” that you spray on before using a mask. It also included two one-use foil packets of Origins masks, namely the Clear Improvement active charcoal mask and the Drink-Up overnight moisture mask. Because my skin is hormonal, I tried the charcoal mask first. I’m not sure if it’s just a stellar mask or if the Maskimizer really made that much of a difference, but my skin still feels soft and lovely, two days later. I want to call BS, but I dunno!

Korres Wild Rose Night Facial – Oh, how I wish I liked this. Its scent is fairly strong. I can’t stand smelling stuff at night. I find it hard to get to sleep, then I have weird dreams. I also can’t stand to wear a heavily scented mask for several hours because I get IMG_1445sneezy. I’ll probably pass this off to someone else, but it’s a pretty posh sample to try.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! – I love hair masks, and this one feels nice. This sample was a full ounce, which is nice.


The Overall – I liked this box, but the size of the samples felt a little underwhelming. These products are certainly more upscale that a lot of what Ipsy sends, but I guess the Glam Bag just spoiled me when it comes to the size of the goods. Sephora is much more motivated to send only samples–if you buy the full-size products, you’re more apt to be buying from them, after all–but I was hoping for a little more heft.

I saw the full spoilers for the June box here and promptly cancelled. I know those products might hold value for other people, but I only have passing interest in one of the samples. Yeesh. I know I’m a picky customer, though, and my beauty routine isn’t as robust as a typical Sephora devotee.

2 responses to “Play! By Sephora : May 2016”

  1. Ohhh mannnn if there was ever a subscription to test my resolve…
    So you cancelled because you don’t like the (small) sizes or because June was unappealing.. or both?
    I’m ok with sample sizes as long as it’s not in a packet. Basically if it can qualify as a “travel” size then I’m ok with it. I don’t like the one-application foil packets.

    1. It was a little bit of both for me. June was a “no thanks” for me in terms of the items, and July’s theme wasn’t much more interesting:

      I did feel like the overall size of the products was a little underwhelming, but I think the quality is definitely high. This is a total packaging/psychology thing for me, but I just know I would be 100% happy with this if there were just one sample each month that was bigger… not even full size, just bigger.

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