Sunday, August 21, 2016

July 2016 Play! By Sephora - Effortless Summer - Unboxing & Review!

Just like fashion, makeup can be quite seasonal. You can always wear whatever you want whenever you want, but makeup trends do seem to change throughout the year: from soft, fresh looks in the spring, to bronze and bold colors in the summer, to deeper, autumn-color inspired looks in the fall, and finally to bright, crisp looks in the winter (especially around the holidays!). Along with trends, the needs of our skin changes throughout the year, which in turn changes the types of products we need/want to use.
Which leads us to the July 2016 Play! By Sephora box, which is themed 'Effortless Summer'. ...okay, most boxes right now have similar themes and, more often than not, you can argue that many different products fit this theme because it's pretty vague, but I do think that Sephora did a good job curating this box and included products that are very appropriate for the summer season.

Play! By Sephora is a $10 a month subscription service curated by Sephora; it includes about five deluxe-sized/full sized products and one fragrance sample vial. This is a newer subscription service and it seems like Sephora is still trying to figure things out; it used to come in a box (now it comes in a bag) and it looks like Sephora is starting to make different versions (where before everyone got the same thing). It can be kind of hard to get this subscription since it's not offered everywhere right now and you have to join a waitlist and wait for an invite to sign up.
While I'm not a fan of the bag (I preferred the box), I do like that Sephora changes the design on it every month; it adds a 'collection' value to it.
Before, Sephora included a booklet with information about the products, but after the switch from boxes to bags, they also changed the books to posters. It's still effective, and I think the posters actually include more information; before I didn't like the change, but it's grown on me. You also get a special card each month that you can take to Sephora and get an extra 50 Beauty Insider Points with any purchase. I've heard that some people have had issues with these cards, but in my experience, they really do work with any purchase of any value, including those made at the Sephora in JCPs.
One thing I particularly like about this subscription is that you get a fragrance sample each month, but it's not considered one of your five product samples(I suppose you could argue that you get six samples each month, one of which is always a fragrance, but it's the same idea). I like sampling fragrances, but there's no real value in these mini vials since you can get them for free. The scent for July is Citrine by Nest Fragrances.
This is a very bright fragrance, but it's not too sharp. The florals are light and are well tempered by the citrus and warm wood base notes. There's nothing really unique or innovative here, but it's a very well balanced perfume and pleasant to wear. I didn't calculate the value of this product since I consider these vials to be essentially free (but I did calculate the values of all my other samples!).
Next is the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay. This was one of the samples that variations: instead of this cleanser, you could have gotten the regular First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser. I believe Sephora is basing their choices for these variable samples on what you have entered in your beauty profile. I said that I have combo skin with acne concerns, which is probably why I got the cleanser better suited to acne/problem skin.
This isn't a new product for me (I even have another sample of it in my drawer right now), but I thought this product worked alright when I used it previously, and I like the First Aid Beauty line as a whole, so I don't mind getting another one. The full size is 4.7 oz for $24, so this 1 oz sample is worth about $5.11.
Hair samples can be hit or miss for me since my hair has...unique needs, but I still love to try everything I can (who knows, maybe the next product will be my Holy Grail). This is Wave Spray from a newer to Sephora brand, Ouai.
Apparently, 'Ouai' comes from the French word 'ouais', which is like saying 'yeah' in English. I was hoping this would be a styling aid for already wavy/textured hair, but it's more of a fancy sea salt spray, with promises of beachy texture and volume. Which isn't a bad thing, sea salt sprays can work well with my natural texture, but I was hoping for something a little more innovative. It has a floral, almost perfumey scent; Sephora says that it's called 'Ouai No. 2 Fragrance, containing notes of Italian lemon, amber, and white musk'. The full size is 5 fl oz for $26, so this 1.7 fl oz sample is worth $8.84.
Well. At least it's not the Photo Finish Primer? This was another variable sample; you could have gotten this or the original Photo Finish Primer.
Again, I think Sephora picked this product for me because of my combo/problematic skin, but I would only suggest this primer for people with super oily skin. It's super drying, even in my oilier areas, and it pills up on my skin. Curiously, the full 1 oz size retails for $39, but the 0.5 oz travel size is only $16, which makes it cheaper to buy the travel size (this is because the different varieties of this primer have different prices but the travel sizes are all $16). This 0.25 oz sample size is worth about $8.
This was the sample I was most excited for this month: the beautyblender blotterazzi. This is basically a flat beautyblender that you can use dry to blot oil throughout the day. Since it's washable,you can reuse it, unlike traditional blotting paper.
In this sample, we get one blotterazzi and a foil packet sample of the liquid beautyblender cleanser. I'm still working through a full size of this cleanser; it works well with the beautyblender, but you have to dilute it to use it effectively with your brushes.
The 'full size' blotterazzi comes with two sponges and a solid carrying case. When I first saw the spoilers, I was hoping that we were getting a full size, since my biggest concern with traveling with this product is how to keep it safe/clean in my bag. Without a case, I feel like this sponge is useless for on-the-go touch ups. I suppose the whole point of this sample is to convince us to purchase the full size, but it's still frustrating that I won't be able to fully test out this product first. The full size (two sponges, one carrying case) retails for $20, so I'm estimating the value of this sample to be $6-8.
Lastly, I got a sample of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer. This is another variable sample: instead of this bronzer, you could have gotten the Benefit Dew The Hoola liquid bronzer (very happy I got the Too Faced one).
I get this product as a sample quite often, and I've been giving them away since I own the full size, but I think I'm going to keep this one and throw out what's left of my full size because it's getting old. This is a great bronzer, though it's on the warmer side. I don't like to use it as a contour color because it is so warm, but it's completely matte so if you have a warmer/deeper skin tone, you totally can. This bronzer used to come in only one shade, Chocolate, but now there's a lighter version (Milk Chocolate) and a darker version (Dark Chocolate). The full size is 10g for $30, making this 2.5g sample worth about $7.50.

Overall, I got five deluxe samples, plus one fragrance sample vial, with a total value of about $35.45. Not the highest value, but it's still over 3x what I paid for the box, and all the brands sample are well known and/or respected. I also like that all the products/brands are purchasable from Sephora. While there have been changes to the service itself (some of them even steps backwards, in my opinion), the quality of the products and samples has stayed consistent, which really is the most important part.

Thanks for reading! <3

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