Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sephora Play! September, 2016 Subscription Box Review!

Sephora Play! is a subscription box sent monthly around the 20th of the month, costs $10, and includes 5 deluxe skin care, makeup, and hair care samples plus a bonus fragrance sample. Some of the products included are selected for you based on your Play! profile. Also included each month is a collectible fabric bag with ribbon drawstring closure, guidebook introducing you to the products that includes application or usage tips, and Play! pass which entitles you to a free in-store tutorial and 50 bonus Beauty Insider points with any purchase.

The collectible bag this month features a cute drawn pink lipstick and the motto "This is not (just) a lipstick."

The first product included this month is a sample size Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in "Love Spell." Sephora indicates that this lipstick is "creamy," "moisturizing," and "glossy." Not sure if it's just this particular shade or the line, but it applied very sheer on my lips - a sheer nude ballerina pink. I needed to swipe multiple times to get it to show up on the lips. After that, it was slightly glossy. My lip lines showed up quite a bit through it, probably because of the sheerness. This probably could be corrected by using a lip primer. It has a waxy feel and taste (more waxy than "creamy") and no noticeable scent. It lasted for a few hours through drinking and snacking but this is not a long-wearing lipstick in comparison to several others on the market. The packaging is an attractive frosty silver tube with the brand name in black. Having tested this product I would not purchase the full size. Compared to other lipsticks currently available, most notably the new Urban Decay Vice line, MAC line, Bite Beauty line, and others, this just didn't have the longevity or opacity I have come to expect in a lipstick. Even sheer lipsticks, such as those in the Vice line, are available that show up far more on the lips. But it performed "o.k." if you are looking for something very sheer and natural and don't mind touch-ups throughout the day. Other shades may appear more opaque than "Love Spell."

The second product is a deluxe Kat Von D Tatoo Liner liquid eyeliner in "Trooper." I need to give a disclaimer at the outset: I may be slightly biased by the fact that I am more of a "pencil person," and that each person is different and results may vary... That said, while I love the Kat Von D brand in general, I am very disappointed with this product. I found it to be hard to apply neatly and evenly, and, worse, runny - so much so that it bled into my eye far too easily - even with no pressure applied with the pen. This is a deal-breaker for me. My eye was very irritated for the rest of the day, and it was not cute. Unfortunately I didn't have any eye drops handy. It is a nice true, black, and the black packaging with silver logo and floral design are beautiful. But application in my experience was a nightmare, and I cannot recommend this product. Given my experience, I will be disposing of it rather than giving it away.

The third product included was a deluxe Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel. I was thrilled to get a travel size of this product to take on trips, because I already purchase the full-size regularly. I enjoy the clear color, because I prefer to impart color with a powder and pencil, and it does a good job of keeping brow hairs neat and tidy. It can make them feel a bit crusty to the touch, but that doesn't show. The packaging is a nice bright silver tube with the Anastasia logo. Anastasia Beverly Hills has a great brow line, and this product is no exception.

The fourth product is the Ole Henriksen "Sheer Transformation" oil-free moisturizer. According to Sephora, it can also be used as a primer. It contains licorice root, a brightening agent, chamomile, a calming agent, and vitamin C to promote collagen production. This is another product that I already owned the full-size version of, and I enjoy it. The formula feels silky smooth to the touch, and has a barely detectable glue-like scent. Many products use licorice and chamomile - because they work (not miracles, mind you, but they make a difference.) I don't notice any drastic improvements when I use the product, but it feels refreshing and comfortable on my face and imparts a slightly more awake, healthy appearance to my skin. It also makes my skin feel baby-soft to the touch. In my opinion, the texture is not thick enough to make for a good primer, but your needs may differ from mine, as I prefer a very high coverage primer like the Make-Up For Ever "Smoothing Primer." If you don't need as much coverage this may work as a primer for you. As a moisturizer, however, this has my recommendation.

The fifth product is the Living Proof "Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector." Sephora describes the formula as "weightless," and indicates that it provides "softness and shine." It can be used on either damp or dry hair, and is supposed to last through one week and up to 5 shampoos. I actually did find this product "weightless" on my hair, maintaining the fullness and body it had before applying the product, and it did make my hair feel softer to the touch as well as giving it some shine. It is otherwise undetectable on your hair, in contrast to many leave-in-conditioners and other products that make the hair look and feel more greasy or weighted down. I believe it is also benefiting the health of my hair, because as I tested it on one section of hair and compared against an untested section, the "Perfect Hair Day" section felt less dry and more healthy. I would purchase this.

Finally, the bonus fragrance included in this box was the Atelier Cologne "Sud Magnolia." Notes in this fragrance are bitter orange, pomelo, blackcurrant, magnolia, Bulgarian rose, saffron, cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk. The musk and wood elements are barely detectable, rendering this more of a fresh, citrus and floral scent with a slight, peppery kick. The citrus element is the most noticeable. I don't feel as though these different notes blend into a fully harmonious whole - they are so different that I still detect the contrast. It is not an unpleasant scent, and I believe citrus-floral fans may enjoy it. I will use the rest of the sample, but it is not one I would purchase when the sample runs out, and I feel that this is more of a Summer fragrance than one suitable for Fall. This would have been a better addition to one of the Summer month boxes.

VERDICT. This box contains three great products (the Living Proof, Ole Henriksen, and Anastasia Beverly Hills products), two "o.k." products (Sephora and Atelier), and one that, despite the fact that the brand puts out many other excellent products that I use on a regular basis, was a complete dud for me (Kat Von D.) All in all, this box was a good value at $10, Perhaps the best argument in favor of the value of these boxes isn't just the ability to discover new favorites and use them, but also the discovery of disliked products - because you have a chance to test things out and find out what you should avoid purchasing. While it's true that beauty products can often be returned, I would not want to give something as a gift that I would have had a bad experience with had I been able to test it out for myself ahead of time, and besides that returns take time that could be better spent another way. I enjoy having these deluxe sizes for travel as well - occasionally travel sizes are available for products like this, but often only full-sizes are available for retail sale. And I have never gone on a trip and wished I packed heavier! So all in all, even though I did not enjoy every product in the box, it still felt like a good value.

Thanks for reading, and have a glamorous day!

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