Play! by Sephora December 2016 Subscription Box Review

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Play! by Sephora is a monthly subscription box that brings only the best and exclusive Sephora beauty and makeup samples. The subscription costs $10 per month, and you’ll get 5 deluxe beauty products, playlists, a fragrance bonus item, plus coupons you can use when you visit in-store.

 That little card is a PLAY! Pass that will get you 50 extra Beauty Insider points with a purchase from the box – in-store only.

Your subscription also entitles you to PLAY! Date meetups if your store participates. I don’t even have a Sephora (not even a JCP one) but this box totally excites me even without those experiences – I love the high end brands every month for just $10.

 The theme is “The Party Goers” featuring night-out essentials!

This fold out poster shows a list of all the items included in this box plus beauty trivia and tips. You can access all of the information and also watch the videos right on the Sephora site or use the app to scan the sheet for more info!

The items are placed inside a bag inside the box to keep everything secure.

Everything in my box! My variation was box 832. Here’s some variant items from other boxes!

Box 816:

Box 244:

There are some additional box variations, I’ll update when we get them!

Sephora Collection Always Red Lip Stain ($3.90)

I haven’t received a straight up red in a while, so I was happy to get this creamy lip stain in the box!

I like the chance to sample the Sephora brand products in the boxes. I may not buy them on my own, but they are high quality.

Although tiny! This teeny sample is great to tuck into the teensiest of clutches for a party.

This stain goes on smooth and dries to a matte finish in under 60 seconds. And if you smudge it, clean it up immediately. My swatch is pretty thick, and the color was a bit more clear, true red on my lips. I would totally wear this on Christmas day or to a NYE party, but I also feel like it’s totally on point with my Gears of War hoodie. And unlike the Estee Edit gloss, this actually made my teeth appear whiter. To me it’s a tad drying but I would put up with it for a color that stays all day. Also, this is not a stain. It’s a liquid long lasting lipstick. I have no idea why they call it a stain.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Smoothing Skin Equalizer ($5.92) MUFE apparently has a whole library of face primers, which I would love to try, but it seems like everyone is receiving the base mattifying primer. I love the idea of color correcting at the under makeup level and I did love this formula, which was slightly tinted, silky, and mattifying. This would be Sephora’s opportunity to upsell me on a set of minis, but I don’t know if I’m interested in springing on buying 5 more to mix and match (there are 4 others PLUS skin tone targeted formulas) along with this one to perfectly customize my makeup prep. If I had a Sephora store I would be all over trying these out in person!

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo ($7.15) This is a TEENY little sample! Much smaller than I’m used to. Although it worked well and didn’t need rubbed in (the first time I’ve seen that suggested on a dry shampoo), I thought the scent was soapily overbearing and smells like drugstore men’s body wash. Not a smell I want on my hair. However I do think the formula is good and the particles are finer than most dry shampoos.

Elizabeth & James Perfume in Bourbon ($5.56) This is quite a pricey perfume sample! This scent is described as a “blend of sultry vanilla bourbon, oakwood, and a hint of tuberose for a bold, oriental-woody scent.” That’s accurate and I’m not sure all the fragrance notes really work together for me. It’s not acrid (maybe a little at first with the smoke) but not a deep rich feel like I would expect from a scent called Bourbon. The dry down is more floral than anything else on me. This is with my body chemistry though, and it smells sweet after a while. An unusual fragrance!

Bobbi Brown Smokey Mascara ($15) Good grief Bobbi Brown!  This sample is half-size, which means your mascara costs too much!  ? Actually I have and use this mascara and I love it, because it has excellent volume while maintaining lash separation and removes easily, and doesn’t flake on me. Maybe your mascara is worth it. But maybe it’s more worth it to get a bunch of subscription boxes and use whatever mascara you get! (You’ll have enough, I promise).

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($7.50) This is basically hairspray for your face, and you need it. Other brands of makeup setting spray arrive in subscription boxes with fair frequency, but I don’t think has ever been in an actual subscription before (it’s appeared in Sephora Favorites kits). So hooray, especially because it’s the BEST. You hold it about 10 inches away and mist and sweep in X and T formations. I don’t use it all the time, but if I want things to stay put, I definitely do.

It works with all makeup and Urban Decay even performed a clinical study to confirm that most users feel it helps their makeup last.

The total value of the items this month was about $45. I think that’s a little inflated but no different from the way we normally calculate values. I got 2 good sample sizes of products I know and love already (the makeup spray & mascara), 2 new items that I’m really loving (lip stain and the primer), and… 2 items that weren’t really for me. I think I still got a score for $10 and I say it every month – I love the brands in this box! I was also pleased with the way they did box variations this month, but I wish they’d provide a little more explanation about it.

Are you a Sephora Play subscriber? What did you think of the box this month?? 


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  • Amy BB

    I am using that Bobby Brown sample…not sure where I got it from and I was just thinking I might order it…it is the only mascara I’ve used in a while that actually stays put on my lashes and doesn’t end up under my eye half way through the day. I have the Lash Stash kit from Sephora to get through first…but I might go back to expensive Bobby Brown if the others don’t work!