Saturday, July 23, 2016

June 2016 Play! By Sephora - The Minimalists - Unboxing & Review!

Whenever I hear a theme for a sampler box is going to be 'minimalism' or 'minimalist', I get a little worried. I'm all for minimal makeup --80% of the time I'm wearing only pressed powder, if anything--but I've found that I'm not always fond of what are traditionally labelled as 'minimalist products'. When I heard that the theme for the June 2016 Play! By Sephora was going to be all about 'The Minimalists', I was a little worried.
While there are a couple samples I'm not a fan of (they were the some of the products that are associated with minimalism that make me think negatively about it as a theme, so I'm not surprised), I actually like how Sephora handled this theme and thought they included some interesting products!
Quick Run-Down: $10 a month makeup/beauty subscription service offered through Sephora; standard five deluxe sample/full size products, plus an extra perfume sample (I really like how Sephora includes this as a bonus sample and not of the main five); all products and brands are available at Sephora; products come in a drawstring bag that is shipped in box with a fold-out information poster (used to be a booklet, but the service has gone through some changes as it's become more available); includes a card you can redeem for an extra 50 Beauty Insider points at a physical Sephora.
I'm not sure what the status is on the signing up process for this service; when it first launched, you added your name to a waitlist and had to wait for Sephora to e-mail you an invitation to sign up. I know they've been opening it to more and more locations, but I'm pretty sure you still have to wait for the invitation e-mail. This service has also gone through some changes, most notably that now the products come in a bag instead of in a box filled with paper worms and that the information booklet is now an information poster (which seems to be getting smaller as well).
The theme for June 2016 is 'The Minimalists' and, as I said above, I was really worried about what kind of products Sephora would include. Again, though, I think they did a really great job curating this box and included some standard minimalist products (the ones that I was concerned about getting) and some not-so-standard products (that I'm excited about trying).
One of the products I'm excited about is the Bumble and bumble Don't Blow It styling cream. This cream is specifically designed to be used for air dry hair styles, which is perfect for me since I try to avoid heat styling as much as possible.
It's a combination texture/body-enhancer and leave-in conditioner and all you do is finger-comb it through damp hair and then just let it air dry. Simple, and definitely minimal! I don't always think of hair care when it comes to minimalism (mostly because my routine is already pretty minimal), so it was pretty enlightening to see something like this in this box.
I'm actually going to go out of order here (normally, I go in the order of the products on/in the info poster/card/booklet) and talk the products I liked first, saving the two I didn't for last. Even though I have multiples of this sample now (I think this is my fourth bottle), I'm still more than happy to receive another bottle of the Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Sepctrum SPF 30.
This is one of Tarte's newest offerings and, while I'm not normally a fan of Tarte, I do really like how this is a mineral-based, broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. I also really like that it comes in almost the exact same packaging as the full size: an opaque, glass pump bottle. I'm pretty impressed that Sephora included a sunscreen in their minimalist box; opinions vary, and I highly encourage everyone to do their own research and make the best decision for themselves, but I feel like, no matter how much or how little makeup/skincare you want to use, you should always be wearing some kind of sun protection. I know I talk about this quite a bit, and I'll probably touch on it again when I post about my Sephora Sun Safety Kit, so I won't keep going on about it, but I definitely think the inclusion of this product (or any other sun-protection product) was a good call.
I knew there was going to be some kind of primer in this box (I actually knew what all these products were before I got this box due to spoilers, but even when just the theme was revealed, I figured there'd  be one), but I'm surprised and pleased with the one Sephora chose. I expected the POREfessional or a Photo Finish Primer, but we actually got a sample of the Becca Backlight Priming Filter.
I'm already a big fan of Becca products, so even that in itself was a nice suprise, but this is a very interesting primer. It's similar to a lot of Korean primers that add a 'lit from within' radience; it's not glittery or anything, but it glows.
This is another sample that is packaged like the full size, and it even includes a pump!
This is one full pump; the directions say to use a pea-sized amount for your face (a little bit of this goes a long way), so I think this is about the right amount, maybe just a little too much, for a full face application.
Here is that pump blended out all over the back of my hand (and a little down my arm); look at that glow! It's not glittery or sparkly; it's incredibly even, well-blended, and, besides the obvious radiance, undetectable (though it does have mica, which can sometimes have noticeable particles under strong, bright light--like the sun). It's very strong on it's own, but if you use it as a primer under regular foundation, I can see this imparting a natural glow.
Now we're getting closer to the products I'm not a fan of. This is a sample of the Tocca Beauty Florence perfume. I don't like this product, but I don't particularly dislike it, either.
Florence has notes of 'Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, White Musk' and it has a sweet, clean scent. I think this was a good choice for a minimalist perfume (I'm especially happy that it's not a powdery scent or D&G Light Blue), but it's just not my style.
Now we come to the products I both expected and dreaded. First is the BareMinerals bareSkin Sheer Sun bronzer. I know this is a very unpopular opinion, but I really dislike BareMineral products. They are the go-to for a lot of people, and if it works and they enjoy it, more power to them, but I don't like the application, quality, or marketing of the products.
This is a liquid bronzer formulated to complement the bareSkin foundation line; it's similar in consistency and application (it's a little thinner since it's supposed to be sheer) and it has the same dropper-type applicator.
I have a Temptu bronzer similar to this, and while I like the idea of a sheer, liquid bronzer (I assume it would be easier to blend over a liquid/cream foundation than a powder bronzer would), I never find myself reaching for them.
This product only comes in one color, and on me, it looks a little unnatural. It's not as orange as some other bronzers, but it has a lot of yellow/olive in it so if you have cool or neutral undertones, this may not work for you.
It does sheer out quite a bit, which is helpful if you're trying to bronze your whole face, but again, it looks just a bit off with my skin tone. One thing I've noticed with BareMineral products is that they are very yellow/warm toned and they don't match a lot of skin tones. I'm not sure if this is an artifact of the type of minerals they have to use or what, but it can be frustrating to find a good match (if you can find one at all), especially with these 'one color fits some' kind of products.
Lastly, we got a sample of the Benefit They're Real mascara in black (I think they sampled the colors during the initial launch, but I haven't seen them sampled since). I used to like Benefit, particularly because of their vintage/pin-up designs, and I love their Gimme Brow brow gel and Roller Lash mascara, but the more experience I have with other products and brands, the less likely I am to reach for or purchase something from Benefit. This mascara pops up in subscription/sample boxes all the time, especially when they have 'natural' or 'minimalist' themes. It's not bad, but it's not my favorite and I have a ton of it already.
I do like the brush on this mascara, especially the ball tip since it makes it easier to get my outer lashes, but the formula of They're Real falls a little flat for me (it's not water-proof or even water-resistant; this is not a mascara you want to get caught in the rain in). I much prefer the Roller Lash mascara since the brush works just was well, if not better, to get my outer lashes, and I much prefer the formula.

Overall, I got five deluxe sized samples and one sample vial of perfume. I don't normally calculate the value of my Play! boxes since all the products included are from mid/high-end brands and I know that they are worth the $10. Essentially, you're getting five 100-point products (Sephora offers a rewards program where you earn Beauty Points that you can redeem for extra free samples with your purchases), a free perfume sample, and 50 bonus points for $10, which is not a bad deal. If you're interested in a less expensive subscription service that still samples mid/high-end products, I would recommend checking out the Play! By Sephora box.

Thanks for reading! <3

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