Tuesday, April 12, 2016

March 2016 Play! by Sephora - The Perfection Collection - Unboxing & Review!

It's no secret, I love subscriptions boxes. As do a whole bunch of other people; so much so, that there are entire blogs, Youtube channels, and Instagram pages (to name but a few social media platforms) dedicated to them. It's also no secret that I love makeup, and because of my love of makeup, I am quite fond of Sephora. So! When I heard that Sephora was coming out with their own subscription service, I was understandably quite excited. Unfortunately, Sephora has been slowly rolling out their service, offering it to only a select few regions at a time (though I think they also offer it to popular bloggers/Youtubers, regardless of their region). I signed up for the wait list as soon as I was able to, and was finally able to fully subscribe starting in March.
I'm super pumped to share with you guys my very first Play! by Sephora beauty box: the March 2016 Perfection Collection box (which, according to my booklet, is the seventh month this service has been active, which goes to show how long I've been on the waiting list...).
Quick Run-Down: a monthly beauty subscription box curated by Sephora (and, because of this, all the products sampled are sold there); $10 a month, shipping included; five deluxe, possibly full, size beauty samples, plus a monthly perfume sample (that's what I'm assuming based on the wording of the info booklet); no online rewards, but you get a Play! Pass that you can bring into any Sephora and use to get 50 extra Beauty Insider points with a purchase (I've heard that some places will let you use it with any purchase, while others say it has to be an item that was sampled in that month's box; Sephora has been slowly training their employees and not everyone knows how to redeem these cards yet).
The packaging for this box is quite interesting; the design on the cover is eye-catching and interesting, and the iconic black and white stripes are a common theme, even down to the tissue paper (you can't see it in my overview picture, but there is an outer layer of tissue that is striped, followed by an under layer plain black). There is obviously a lot of thought and care taken with the design of this service, which is especially interesting considering it only costs $10 a month. One thing I also noticed is that the box itself is larger than the ones for my other $10-$15 a month subscriptions. I think a lot of companies try to keep things tightly packed to save on shipping and packaging costs, so it makes the Sephora service seem more lux. Unfortunately, it also has the effect of making your sample selection seem a lot smaller than it actually is (getting these same products in a box the size of a Birchbox would make them appear a lot larger).
The information booklet is also large; it's about the same size as the box and has a two page spread for every product. There are application tips and some usage and ingredient information, but overall, it's not very informative, especially for how big it is. It's a very pretty booklet, and it does add a lot to this box as a whole, but I wish it had more information, like the Allure Beauty Box mini mag. The theme for March is "perfection", so products that help fine tune your complexion and makeup application.
The first sample is the Murad Invisiblue Perfecting Shield. I'm no stranger to this product, I've even gone through a full size once before, but I really like, so I'm happy to get another sample of it!
I'm only including one page of the info booklet per item, and I'm going to try to include the most informative one. Sephora likes to title each of these pages with a pun, which is pretty amusing. This product fits in with the theme for this month, well, perfectly! This is a primer, sunscreen, and skin treatment all in one. It has a finish very similar to a silicone-based primer (like the original Smashbox Photo Finish) and the high, broad spectrum SPF is a great bonus. This is an excellent product if you don't like to go through a lot of steps when you're getting ready in the morning. The full size is 1oz for $65 (...the only downside to this product is that it's pricey), so this 0.17oz sample is worth about $11.05.
Next up is the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. Again, not a new product for me, but one I don't mind having again. I do really like this cleanser, but I can't use a full size since the cucumber scent gets to me after a while. I know it sounds weird, but I really hate the smell of cucumber. Along the cucumber, this cleanser also has rosewater, so it's basically engineered to irritate my nose.
Scent aside, this is a good cleanser; it leaves me feeling clean, but not stripped. I also like that you can use on your face and eyes; I find it annoying to have to use a separate cleanser. The full size is 5.1oz for $38, so this 0.6oz size sample is worth about $4.47.
I'm generally reluctant to try makeup sponges that aren't the Beauty Blender; there are a lot more comparable ones on the market now, but I would rather purchase the one that I know works well than waste money on a lot of sponges that may or may not perform as well (I also don't change my Beauty Blender out as often as they recommend, but I do clean it after every use and make sure it dries in a timely manner). I'm interested in trying this sponge out, but I will admit that I wasn't excited to see this as a sample.
It functions the same way as any other makeup sponge; get it damp and use it to stipple on your makeup. I find the shape of it to be interesting; I like how it's pointed on both ends, and that one is smaller than the other, making it easier to get into tight spaces. I don't normally have an issues doing so with my Beauty Blender, but it does get a little fiddly sometimes. Another great product to include with a "perfection" themed box, and a full sized one at that! This sponge retails for $12.
I'm pretty over any and all of Smashbox's primers. The only one I like is the Primer Water, and even then I don't like it as a primer. This is another sample of the new Primer Oil (I think I'm on my third one now) and it's getting a little old.
I can't try this product since it has argan oil in it (I'm allergic to argan oil. Yay.), but I don't think it really functions any differently from normal oil. The instructions say you can use it anywhere, including on your hair, and I've heard a lot of people say it doesn't really do anything as a primer. I really think Smashbox wanted to come out with something skincare-ish, but they didn't want to make a full skincare line, so they just included it in their primer line. The full size is $42 for 1oz, so this 0.13oz sample is worth about $5.46.
This sample alone made this box worth it for me; this is the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. My friend raves about this liner, and I've been trying to step up my winged liner game, so this sample came at a great time.
One of my favorite things about this liner, and why it's so amazing, is that it's a brush nib. Not a felt tip, but an actual brush, and it draws so beautifully and precisely, that it makes drawing a wing almost effortless.
The formula itself is thin enough to glide across the skin, but pigmented enough to not need another pass. It also doesn't feather, even on my horribly dry hands. It's waterproof and flake-proof and overall is probably the best liquid eye liner I've ever used.
The info booklet has a little tutorial on how you can use it to draw on temporary tattoos, using Kat Von D's real ones as an example. The full size of this product is 0.02oz for $19, but I'm not sure what this sample is worth since I don't have the volume/weight measurement (...and I'm too lazy to go get it; this sample was immediately added to my makeup bag, so it wasn't readily available when I did the value calculations). When my sample dries up, I will for sure be buying the full size.
Lastly, the perfume sample this month is the Beach Walk Replica from Maison Martin Margiela (I always thought that "Replica" was the brand name, but apparently it's just the name of the line of perfumes). Again, this is a sample I've tried before (numerous times, actually), but I like this perfume (along with the other ones in the Replica line), so I don't mind getting more.
There's something very soothing about this scent, which is especially surprising to me since I tend to dislike any "sea salt" based fragrances (it stems from my hate of D&G Light Blue; it's not a bad scent, but I had a really awful co-worker who wore it every day and now I associate it with bad memories). I think the other notes help balance it out, so it smells more warm and sunny than just salty and perfumey, if that makes sense. A full size of this perfume is 3.4oz for $125 (...), so this 0.04oz sample is worth about $1.47 (it's also a spritzer sample, so bonus points there).
There was en extra little container in my box, and at first I was worried that something had leaked. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this is one of the empty containers that Sephora uses for in-store samples, so I then assumed it was to encourage me to go into Sephora and get a sample of something that would not be easy to sample in this box.
And surprisingly, I was right! Sephora included the little container to encourage us to go to a store and get a sample of a foundation to try, presumably so we can also sample our primer and the makeup sponge. I think this is a really great idea since A. everyone has different skin tones, B. everyone has different skin types, and C. everyone has different coverage needs. You don't have to take the actual container since they already have them there, but it's nice that they included something tangible.
The last two pages of the booklet included tips for a flawless foundation application (to go with the free sample offer above) and the Play! Pass for March. I think you can use these until the end of the next month, since the Play! box ships so late in the month (the third week, to be exact). It is kind of annoying that these passes can only be redeemed in stores since I prefer to do my shopping online, but an extra 50 points is a nice bonus (since that's $50 you don't have to spend, and half of a 100-point reward).

Overall, I got five deluxe sized samples and one full size product for a total value of about $34.45 (which doesn't include the Kat Von D liner). For $10 a month, I think this box is worth it and very comparable to Ipsy and Birchbox (though I like the brands featured in this box more than Ipsy and it seems to be a little more valuable than the items in a Birchbox). Even though a lot of these products are ones that I've tried before, almost all of them are high quality products from well-respected brands, so I don't mind getting more to sample.

The sizes of these samples are comparable to the 100-point rewards/free products with $25+ purchases that Sephora offers, so if you think about it that way, you're getting quite a good deal (especially if you redeem the Play! Pass for the 50 bonus points). If you're interested in this box, or even if you're on the fence, I would recommend signing up for the waitlist for this service (I don't think people are able to immediately subscribe yet; I think you still have to wait for Sephora to offer it to you); once Sephora does offer the subscription to you, you're not obligated to take it, so if you change your mind later, at least you were on the list.

Thanks for reading! <3

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