Sephora Play! July 2016 Unboxing


It’s that time again! It’s July, and I have a new Sephora Play box to play with! This is one of those boxes that I started out with high expectations for, then found myself underwhelmed as I saw all the reviews, then as I actually started experiencing it found myself loving. This has quickly become my favorite subscription not just because of the value but because of the curation and because of the interaction Sephora has worked into its subscription. Each box so far has had at least one one item that was added to my repurchase list, and as soon as I run out of product, I do plan to purchase a full size of those.

This month’s theme is “Effortless Summer” though I honestly don’t see much of a link between this month’s theme and the products included. It was the first month where a more customized box was sent to subscribers based on skin type. I got the box for oily/combination. Others got a slightly different box for normal/dry skin.

The insert you see above comes with lots of information and tips for the products included in your box, and supposedly you can scan it while using the Sephora app for even more information, but I’ve yet to be able to get this to work with my phone. The card on top can be taken into any Sephora store (including the ones inside JC Penny) and redeemed for a tutorial on any of the products in the box and an extra 50 reward points with any purchase.

Quick note: I know there’s been some confusion over how these passes can be used. Let me be clear… You do NOT have to purchase a full size item of anything you received in your box to get the extra 50 points. I’ve used this at both mall and SiJCP locations, and both times I’ve made purchases of things not included in my box and gotten my 50 points. So if you get this subscription and have problems redeeming your card while making a purchase, contact customer service to let them know.

Something else fairly new, each month your goodies will come in a cute little drawstring bag. Sephora has added some variety to them, but personally I could take or leave them. Getting a bag every month is more of an Ipsy thing for me.

Subscribers can also enjoy “play date” events in certain stores where they meet up, try out items, and receive class-style tutorials for all items in the box. Unfortunately, the closest store to me currently participating is two hours away in Atlanta, so unless this expands I won’t be enjoying this particular perk anytime soon.

Lately there has been talk of some changes coming to this subscription, and it’s for the better. Sephora recently asked its subscribers for feedback on their box, and ideas for changes included bringing a sample that perhaps you don’t want into the store and swapping it out for another you do or perhaps getting a sister sample for something you like. Sephora really, really, REALLY wants you in their stores if you’re a subscriber.

For $10/month, you get all the above plus five deluxe samples and one bonus fragrance sample. Over the last three months, that’s been two or three makeup/tool samples, one or two skincare item, one hair item, and one fragrance. If Sephora keeps up with this formula, it’s a nice way for them to cover the full range of products they offer. Oh, and your $10/month subscription also counts toward your VIB/Rouge status, if you’re a Beauty Insider. You can see why I love this box.

Now, on to this month’s samples!

Too Faced
Soleil Matte Bronzer Link

Folks getting the normal/dry box got a sample of Benefit’s Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer instead. I’m a tad jealous.

Before I go any further, let me say… I’m already a big fan of this bronzer. It’s one of my favorites right next to my NARS bronzer for contouring. For one thing, it smells like chocolate! For another, it’s great for contouring because it contains no shimmer, and it goes great with my skin tone. Problem is, I already own four of these deluxe samples. I got my first one as a 100 point sample in store (and the clerk never docked the points from my account). Since then I’ve been mailed this twice, and now I’m getting a sample in my Play box. So this is definitely going in stockings for my sisters-in-law for Christmas, as chocolate-scented bronzer is definitely a fun thing to gift, and then any other samples will contribute to cocoa contouring for the ladies over at the local women’s shelter. Since I didn’t open this one, I’ve included a picture of what it looks like in the pan…

…as well as a swatch. I’ve got just a plain ol’ smear with my finger up top. Below it, I blended it out with a brush. I had to add just a little extra on top of that which wasn’t blended out quite so much just so that you could see it and realize that it’s not in fact a shadow you’re looking at.

blotterazzi™ by beautyblender® Link

As much as I enjoy my beautyblenter, I’m just not sure what to think about this product. It works like a reusable blotting tissue and lasts for about a month with gentle cleansing. Now, if you purchase this it comes with two full size sponges. (I got one.) And it comes with a mirrored compact. That for me would be more of a selling point, I think. With just one sponge and nothing but the cardboard cover to really put it in, I don’t see this lasting very long in my purse as is, but we’ll see how it goes. I think I might have also preferred this as a white sponge instead of pink, since my pink beautyblender bleeds color when I wash it. I’ve heard that it can alternatively be used to apply powder, and I do use my regular beautyblender for that, so worst case scenario, that’s the job this can do for me.

I do like that they included a bonus sample foil of their liquid cleanser. I love this stuff for cleaning my brushes and my beautyblender, even if I like solid cleansers better.

Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer Link

Folks getting the normal/dry box would have gotten a different variation of Smashbox’s popular primer. I’ve tried their regular Photo Finish primer and hated it because my makeup slides right off. I’ll have to give this one a go and see if I get better results. I definitely have some monstrous pores, so it’ll be put to the test.

First Aid Beauty
Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay Link

This was the skincare item this month, and this was the third item that varied depending on which box you got. I’ve really enjoyed products from FAB in the past, so I look forward to trying this. (According to my testing schedule, that will be sometime in March of 2017. Yes, I’m still in product overload mode. I’ll see if I can’t shuffle things around a bit.) I definitely prefer foaming cleansers (which this is supposed to be), and I like clay. This should be a good fit for me. The only thing is that I tend to not spend a lot of money on cleansers. My Julep cleansing oil is pricey, but I get it for $10 or less per bottle because I’m subscribed to Julep Maven, and that bottle lasts for several months. Similarly, my current favorite foaming cleanser is CeraVe, which is cheap cheap cheap, gentle gentle gentle, and foamy foamy foamy. (FOOOOOOAAAAAAMY!!! Sorry. I got lost for a minute, there.) Frankly, where cleansers and toners are concerned, I’m still of the mind that I want them to be simple. Clean my face without zapping it of all moisture or irritating my skin, and we’re good. I have plenty of actives and hydrators to take care of doing… stuff.

But who knows? Maybe I’ll like this so darn much that I insist on shelling out $24 for 4.7 ounces. Until then, I know I’ll at least appreciate the sample.

Wave Spray Link

This was the hair item this month, and honestly these sprays just aren’t much for me, though I’ll use them on occasion depending on my mood. They are however perfect for my daughter, whose hair is really wavy but not quite CURLY curly just yet (but probably will be in a couple of years). She’ll enjoy this, though I don’t really see myself repurchasing it. I’ve found plenty of sprays that work just fine for her but are much cheaper.

Citrine Link

I’ve never been much of a perfume girl, and I’ve always hated getting perfume samples. Sephora seems determined to get me to like perfume, and so far their cunning plan seems to be working. I’ve loved every single fragrance they’ve sent me, this one included. I’ve found myself looking forward to my monthly fragrance every month more than anything else, and this is the item going on my repurchase list this month. Granted, if I end up getting it, I’ll probably get the rollerball since I’ll probably want next month’s scent, too. Damn you, Sephora!

This is a pretty mix of citrus and floral that’s light and sweet and great for hot summer days. The freesia definitely shines through. It’s not overpowering. There’s almost a baby powder vibe to it. I’ve gotten compliments already, which is always a bonus, and this seems to have more lasting power than the previous two fragrances Sephora has sent me.

So here’s the value breakdown. You can see here what sizes I based the value on:

That’s not bad in terms of retail value, considering I paid $10 for it. And  of course there are all the other little perks and extras that come with this box like the online tutorials, in store events, and play pass. All in all, I feel like it’s very much worth my money every month, which is why Sephora made the cut when I decided to cut down on my subscriptions starting this month.

If you’d like to sign up to receive Sephora Play, you can do so by clicking here and entering your email address. Sephora does currently have a waitlist, but they do seem to be opening it up to more and more people, and I’d say it’s well worth the wait.

2 thoughts on “Sephora Play! July 2016 Unboxing

  1. You are making me want the Sephora box!!! I don’t feel like I need both the Allure and Sephora boxes though. Maybe I will give Allure another month or two and then jump ship. I dont know?!?! I like that you know you are getting a little of everything in the box. And that it is interactive with their stores. Smashbox primer is a little of a let down for me, I have the same problem with it not doing what it is supposed to do. I don’t know if I tried this specific on you got or not. Love Too Faced bronzers!!!


    1. I would simply sign up for Sephora before jumping ship from Allure. Sephora has a waitlist, so until you’re off of that, there’s no need to quit your other box. If you happen to have some overlap, we’re talking $10/month for Sephora, so it’s not like you’d be breaking the bank.


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