Saturday, September 24, 2016

August 2016 Play! By Sephora - The Eye Openers - Unboxing & Review

Right now, there are two beauty products that are always welcome in my subscription boxes: nail polish and skincare (especially eye products). So you can imagine how excited I was to see that the theme for the August 2016 Play! By Sephora box was The Eye Openers and that it included two skincare products, one of the specifically for eyes, along with three other eye-based color cosmetics.
Hmm, I didn't even notice how monochromatic this box was until just now!

Play! By Sephora is a $10 a month makeup and beauty subscription service curated by Sephora. This box includes five deluxe to full size products (mostly deluxe) and a perfume sample; all the products featured are available from Sephora and are generally about the size of the 100-point Beauty Insider reward samples. There used to be a waitlist to get this subscription, but it sounds like they finally opened it for everyone. Yay!
There have been some changes to this subscription since I've first started it, and I'm curious to see if there will be more now that it's more widely available. Before, your products came in a box, not unlike a Glossybox or Allure Beauty Box. Now they come inside a fabric bag, which is shipped in a box. The design on the bag changes each month based on theme, but these aren't quite as reusable or gift-able as the Ipsy bags are.
The info book also changed from an actual book to more of an info poster, though it seems to have even more info about each product than before. Each month you also get a special card that you can exchange for 50 bonus Beauty Insider points with any purchase at Sephora. Based on my experience, it also works at Sephora in JCPs, though the associates don't always know what it is.
On to the samples! First up is a sample of a Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in the color I-544.
MUFE Artist Shadows don't really have names, only numbers, but Sephora does say this shadow is called 'Pink Granite'. The letter before the number indicates what type of finish the shadow has; the I indicates that this is a shimmer/glitter.
These shadows also have a very interesting formulation; it's almost like a gel, but it is very clearly a powder. It's the closest thing I've found to the Colourpop formula, but it's drier. You can apply them with a brush, but they do perform best when applied with your fingers. It applies smoothly and has excellent pigmentation if you apply it this way, even without primer. ...you may notice at this point that I don't have a picture of the shadow itself; I apparently forgot to take one...but the sample is a lot smaller than the MUFE full size shadows (which are huge), though it's not that much smaller than a standard eye shadow. I do have a swatch picture, but it also includes a swatch of the eyeliner, so I'll post it a little further down. A full size shadow is 0.07 oz for $21, making this 0.02 oz sample worth about $7.70.
Speaking of the eyeliner, let's talk about it next! This is a Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof in the color Flirting Game.
The box includes photos of the regular liner colors in the Sephora Collection range, which is quite a lot (there are 25 total). Out of all the in-house brand makeup lines I have tried, the Sephora Collection is the one that I've had the best luck with. There are some duds, but a majority of the products work great!
Sephora makes a few different liners, but these are basic, everyday type of liners; nothing too exciting, but always useful. This sample reminds me of the old Nano liners, but it looks like those have been phased out for a different style of mini eyeliner.
Flirting Game is a shimmer finish taupe, and I'm really, really glad that Sephora included a color like this instead of a black, brown/bronze, or navy. I don't have any eyeliners in this color, and I think this is an unexpected color that will work well with a lot of different looks.
Overall, I think this is a good liner, but it does take a little extra fussing; it works much better if you warm it up before using it by swiping it a few times on the back of your hand (I have a lot of liners like this, so it's not a huge flaw).
The top swatch is the MUFE I-544 shadow and the bottom is the Flirting Game pencil. I love how well these two colors go together; I think Sephora did an excellent job picking colors that were unique but still very wearable and that work well both together and on their own. You could have gotten a different color of liner, Love Affair (a plum) which still works with the shadow, but it's not quite as good of a match as Flirting Game. A full size pencil is 0.04 oz for $10, making this 0.017 oz sample worth about $4.25.
Let's wrap up the color cosmetic samples in this box with the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara. I'm pretty sure everyone who wanted to has tried this mascara already, but I really like it and I prefer to use sample size mascaras over full sizes since I never use them up before I feel like I have to throw them out.
This is admittedly a boring sample, since it's neither exciting nor new, but it's a useful product so I feel like it still adds some value to this box. I also like that Sephora basically gave us a complete eye look with a shadow, a liner, and a mascara. A full size mascara is $22 for 0.4 fl oz, so this 0.1 fl oz sample is worth about $5.50.
On to the skincare! The first skincare sample I got was the Lancome Energie De Vie Smoothing & Glowing Liquid Care Moisturizer (is it just me, or does Lancome always have really excessive product names?).
This is supposed to be a middle ground between an essence and a moisturizer and liquid lotions like it are very popular in Asian skincare routines. Liquid lotions are lighter and they absorb faster than regular moisturizers, but they're supposed to provide just as much hydration. This lotion is supposed to make your skin look healthy and visually diminish dullness. It's very thin and gel-like in texture, and it actually feels weirdly refreshing when applied. The full size is 1.69 fl oz for $55, making this 0.16 fl oz sample worth about $5.20.
The other skincare product we got is the Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm. I love getting products from Caudalie since I think they work well but are a little outside of my price range...
Caudalie as a brand revolves around using natural ingredients, specifically something called resveratrol, which is found in grapevines (it's also found in red wine and it's one of the reasons why red wine was considered 'healthy' for bit). Along with a special form of hyaluronic acid, it helps kick start your skin's natural hyaluronic acid product, which then makes your skin more hydrated and youthful looking. This product is also fragrance-free, which is important in all skincare products, but especially so for products that are used around in the eye area. This is another variation product; you could have gotten the Algenist Eye Renewal Balm, which is also a great product, but I think I prefer Caudalie in this case. A full size is 0.5 fl oz for $62, making this 0.16 fl oz sample worth about $19.84.
Last is the fragrance sample. Surprisingly, this, too, could vary and if you didn't get this one, Clean Reserve Blonde Rose, you would have gotten Clean Reserve Warm Cotton. As with the other two variant products, I'm glad I ended up with the sample I did!
I'm not a big fan of the Clean line of fragrances; if there are three scents I can't stand, they are roses, baby powder, and cotton/linen. Which are basically the main notes of almost every single Clean fragrance. I was surprised to find how little this scent smells of roses; I actually like it, at least in the bottle, and it's not immediately repugnant to me. It smells very warm, but not heady, and it's fairly unisex.

Overall, I got five deluxe sized sample products and a fragrance freebie with a total value of $42.49 (though almost $20 of that is just the Caudalie balm). While the value isn't as high as some Ipsy bags (a comparable monthly subscription service), I think the overall quality of the items are more consistent (I'm going to get use out of all the products, sans fragrance) and I know that if I want to, I can purchase all of them from one retailer, Sephora. I think this is a very solid subscription service for just $10 a month, and I recommend checking it out, especially since it's currently open to everyone!

Thanks for reading! <3

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