Saturday, October 8, 2016

September 2016 Play! By Sephora - The Unbasic Basics - Unboxing & Review!

Time for the September 2016 Play! By Sephora box! Well, technically, the time for it should have been a month ago, but I need to stop making these 'lol I'm late' jokes...even though I just did.
A very interesting collection of products this month; some I am very excited for, others not so much. There was some variation again this month and, unfortunately, I ended up with the variation that I did not want. I'm interested in figuring out how Sephora decides who to give what to; is it random? Is it based on what you have in your beauty profile? I know Sephora is still tweaking this service (though maybe not any more since they opened it up to pretty much everyone), so perhaps they'll introduce customization/sample choice similar to what Birchbox does. One can only hope!

The Play! By Sephora subscription service is a $10 a month beauty/makeup box curated by Sephora. You get five full size or deluxe sample size products (mostly deluxe size, similar to the products they have as 100-point rewards or the freebies you get with $25+ online purchases) and a different perfume sample each month. Everything is mailed in a box, but the samples themselves come in a canvas drawstring bag that changes in design month to month.
The design usually has something to do with the theme, but this bag is a little avant garde (it's a play on the 'this is not a pipe' painting). I like it!
Unlike other subscription services where you get an info card or booklet, you get an info poster; you used to get a booklet, but these posters actually have more info about the products than the booklet did. They're a little awkward to use, but it is unique. You also get a card each month that you can take to a physical Sephora store and exchange for 50 extra Beauty Insider points with any purchase (I really wish that these worked online, too). The theme for September is 'The Unbasic Basics' which is pretty similar to some of the past themes that Sephora has done. While there have been some pretty intriguing products, most of the products sampled in this box are on the safer side; not a bad thing, especially for a makeup box with little to no personalization or customization, but something to consider.
Let's get the perfume sample out of the way. One of my favorite things about this box is that you get a fragrance to try every month, but it's not considered one of the main five samples (it's technically a legit sample since it's on the info poster, but I never feel like I'm losing out on any value in my Sephora box due to these perfume samples). This month the fragrance sample was a variant and you could have gotten this one, Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia, or Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Vert.
As I touched on before, I'm kind of disappointed with the variations I got in my box this month since the Tory Burch perfume has more notes that I find appealing and I don't think I've really sampled any Tory Burch perfumes (I'm pretty sure I have tried almost all of the Atelier ones at this point). This isn't a bad fragrance, but I'm left wondering if I would have liked the other option better...
I'm going to get all the disappointment out of the way early and talk about the other variant product this month. In the spoiler image posted on My Subscription Addiciton, it showed the Tory Burch perfume and a Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer (along with the other, non-variable products). There was a note that said that there would be variant and that you might get a slightly different set of products, but I was hoping I would get the Dr. Jart+ moisturizer since it's one of my favorite brands and it's a product that I have yet to try from them. After I saw that the other product you could get was the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation cream, I really hoped that I would get the Dr. Jart+ sample. Alas.
I've gotten a sample of this product a few times now, and I just really don't like it. If you don't like heavy facial moisturizers, to the point where you almost avoid them completely, then maybe you'll like this, but there are so many other options out there now that I don't think I can even recommend this product based on that. This moisturizer has a very weird texture; it's light, but it has that papery-dry feeling that some hand creams have. It doesn't do anything for my skin and this is not a product I ever find myself reaching for (I get a lot of samples of it for some reason, but I always pass them on). There are way too many other moisturizer options out there to settle for this one. A full size is 1.7 fl oz for $38, making this 0.25 fl oz sample worth about $5.60.
I'll round out the disappointing/not for me products with the Living Proof Perfect hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector. Many, many people love the Living Proof haircare line, and they're not wrong; the products themselves perform well and I do think they live up to what they promise. I absolutely hate how Living Proof products smell and, because of that, I can't use them. The smell is really strong and it lingers all day long; it even sticks around until the next time I wash my hair.
This is basically an overnight mask for you hair...which means it will make your pillows and sheets smell like Living Proof products. You apply it before bed and then you can either wash it out in the morning or you can skip showering and just leave it in (the directions say they results will be the same, so I guess it depends on how much you use and what you plan on doing with your hair that day). Again, this is probably an amazing product, and there aren't too many mainstream overnight hair treatments, but it's just not for me. The full size is 4 fl oz for $28, making this 1 fl oz sample worth about $7.
On to the not disappointing samples! This is a sample of the Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in the color Love Spell. I wouldn't say I was excited about this sample, but it's definitely something I can use, and it's not something I probably would have purchased on my own, so I do find value in it.
Out of all the in-house makeup brands out there, the Sephora Collection is one of the best in my opinion; there are some dud products, but overall, you get good quality products for a reasonable price (plus, they're from Sephora, which adds some prestige).
Love Spell is a sheer, neutral rose. The info page on the Sephora website doesn't really say it, but these lipsticks are quite sheer; opacity might vary between shades, but I think these are similar to MAC Luster finish lipsticks--sheer and glossy.
Pigmented lipsticks are great, especially for darker shades, but sometimes it's nice to have a sheer wash of color, especially if you're going for a more natural look or if you want something easy to apply on the go. I have a lot of bright, strong colors, and sometimes, even an opaque neutral color can be too harsh for a softer look, so I will definitely get some use out of this lipstick.
It smells fruity, like gummy candy and it applies fairly well; since it's sheer, you don't have to worry about being precise, but it does feel surprisingly dry for such a sheer, glossy color. It's not uncomfortable, but it's not what I was expecting. Hopefully, since it doesn't have as much slip, it will last longer than a regular gloss. A full size lipstick is 0.13 oz for $12.50, making this 0.035 oz sample worth about $3.37.
Suddenly, I have three or four of these mini Kat Von D Tattoo Liners in Trooper, but I am more than happy about it since this liner is magic.
I don't know if it's the formula or the brush nib or a combination of the two, but this is the only liquid liner that I can draw a wing with and that will last on my eyes all day long without any flaking or feathering. If you've had nothing but bad experiences with liquid liners and you've pretty much giving up on ever being able to use them, give this one a try! I wish it came in more colors, but it does come in a pigmented satin-finish black (Trooper) and an equally pigmented satin-finish chocolate brown (Mad Max Brown). A full size liner is 0.02 fl oz and retails for $20, making this 0.007 fl oz sample worth about $7.
It's probably weird that the most exciting spoiler for me for this box was the brow gel, but it's a dang good brow gel! This is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel and it's almost as magical as the Trooper liner (almost). I've used a couple different brow gels and, while most of them performed well (if you don't want to splurge on the ABH gel, the NYX Control Freak gel is very comparable), they just aren't as good as this one.
Brow gel is one of those products that you don't know you need until you use it; it's a subtle difference, but having well-groomed brows can make you look really pulled together and polished. I especially love to use this product alone when I don't have time to actually do my brows; one or two swipes of the clear gel is all you need to greatly improve the look of your brows. Granted, this only works for people who already have fairly full brows (if you fill in spots because your missing hair or don't like how thin they are, then this won't do much for you on its own), but ABH also makes tinted gels that can help add color and depth if you need that as well. A full size product is $22 for 0.28 fl oz, making this 0.085 fl oz sample worth about $6.68.

Overall, I got five deluxe size samples and one perfume sample in my September 2016 Play! By Sephora box with a total value of about $29.65. The value is a little on the lower end for this box, but it's still almost three times what I paid, plus I have a coupon for 50 extra Beauty Insider points if I make an in-store purchase. I believe this box is still available for anyone to sign up and, if you love shopping at Sephora, I would recommend checking this subscription service out!

Thanks for reading! <3

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