Sephora Play! September 2016 Unboxing


Seems like yesterday I was posting my August unboxing, and here we are with September. Of course, that’s mostly because I was late posting August’s box, but we’ll overlook that for now.

Sephora Play is just $10/month for five deluxe samples and one bonus perfume sample. As you might guess, the box includes items sold at Sephora stores. The samples can be tiny, but if you’re a Sephora shopper, they’ll include brands you might actually be inclined to buy. If you’re interested in signing up, you can click here to do so. Yes, there’s a waitlist, but you do see them open this up quite frequently these days. Just keep an eye out and keep trying, and you should eventually find a window.

This month’s theme was “The Unbasic Basics.” Supposedly, this month’s theme is supposed to encourage us to get back to basics, so to speak, and relearn those fundamental techniques. Of course, each box feels a little like that to me with a few exceptions, but honestly… I really don’t feel like I need a theme here.

Each box comes with a drawstring canvas bag that fits that month’s theme as well as an insert detailing each item included and the Sephora Play Pass. Supposedly, you can use the Sephora app to scan the insert and get even more information, but I can’t get it to work with my phone. Maybe someone else has had better luck. In any case, you’ll find lots of great tips on how to use everything included, and more tips are to be found on the Sephora Play website. The Play Pass is particularly of interest to Sephora shoppers, as you can take it with you into a brick and mortar store, get help with the products included in your subscription, and an extra 50 points to your Beauty Insider account with any purchase! All of these things turn this into just a bit more of an experience than your typical beauty subscription box, which I personally love.

Rouge Shine Lipstick in #14 Love Spell Link

There are usually 2-3 makeup items in every box, and this is the first for this month. Sephora has been including more and more of their own collection in these boxes. The last box included one of their eye pencils. Sephora’s own collection, for me, is a little touch and go, but sometimes I run into some amazing products. (Their Bright Future Gel Serum concealer is among my holy grail products.) I loved the eye pencil last month, and this lipstick was… not bad. I wouldn’t say it falls into the holy grail category, but I found it to be nicely moisturizing and easily wearable due to its shade and sheer-to-buildable coverage. The above swatch is just one swipe. I’ve gotten some pretty hard to work with lip colors in the past from various boxes, including Sephora, so this was a nice change.

My only gripe is one that I’ve had with a few of the samples I’ve received in Sephora Play– it was already being given out in stores as a free sample with purchase of any Sephora Collection item. I’d gone into the store to grab my favorite concealer and use my Play Pass, and I ended up getting this one early. So now I have two. This has happened to me once before with Sephora Play, where they sent me a Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer right after I’d gotten it as a 100 point perk. It’s not a HUGE deal for me, but it’s something to keep in mind before grabbing that deluxe sample. I now tend to bank my points for larger perks.


Anastasia Beverly Hills
Clear Brow Gel Link

ABH is kind of the authority on brows, so anytime I end up getting an ABH brow product, it’s a good day. I have pretty thick brows already (that are currently badly in need of a waxing), so I don’t need to do much if any filling in. This simply holds my brows in place, and I don’t have to worry about them getting all messy over the course of the day. It’s not gloppy at all, and I don’t have a “wet” look like I’ve had with other clear gels, so I really like this particular formula. I might just repurchase this, though I think I’d prefer the tinted version since I’m starting to see, um, lighter hairs in my brows.


Kat Von D
Tattoo Liner in Trooper Link

This was makeup item #3 for September, and you guys know… I hate getting eyeliner– particularly black liquid liners and pens. Why? Because my eyes are not great for drawing cat eyes, and I hate doing cat eyes. But this is a cult favorite, and I heard so many people tell me that THIS was the liner to use if you suck at cat eyes because THIS liner makes it so easy. So I tried it…

Those people were right.

Yes, I forgot to take a picture, and I need to work on making sure I’ve got both wings at the same length and angle– a little tricky since my eyes are just a bit crooked. But this stuff really did work out great and make that kitten flick super easy. It glided right on and was ultra precise. There was no skipping. I was done in seconds, not minutes. SECONDS!!!

This will be repurchased.


Ole Henriksen
Sheer Transformation® Link

We meet again, my old nemesis…

Sheer Transformation was this month’s skincare item. It was a variation item, too. Other subscribers received the Dr. Jart+ Water Drop moisturizer instead, which I would have much rather received. Since I’ve tried this and it breaks me out into big red welts, I was not a happy camper to get this instead. It’s going to be traded, gifted, or used as an arm cream while I stare longingly at the pictures of the large sample of Dr. Jart+ moisturizer.

Other people have tried this and call it their holy grail, and if you’re sticking to a Little Wonders skincare routine it probably works fine. But if you’re using any sort of chemical exfoliants or have sensitive skin, this stuff can be irritating.


Living Proof
Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector Link

Yes, I pretty much hate getting hair care products. Yes, Living Proof is an exception to that. I already got one product in my Ipsy bag, so I was overjoyed to receive a second Living Proof item in the same month!


Atelier Cologne
Collection Azur – Sud Magnolia Link

This is the second sample of Atelier that Sephora Play has sent me. Until Sephora Play, I wasn’t much into getting fragrance samples. Now, I keep looking forward to the fragrance of the month. This was the other variation this month. Others received a Tory Burch perfume.

I like how Atelier sends a pretty little postcard with their samples. The last one smelled a lot more like oranges, which I loved. This one has a bit of that orange scent to it, too, but it’s not as strong. There are definitely floral notes to it. It doesn’t seem to want to stick around for long, but it’s heavenly while it lasts.

This month’s box was valued at just over $31 retail. This was the first box from Sephora Play that was a little bit ho hum for me. I’d already tried two of the samples by the time I got the box, and one of them is a sample I know I can’t use on my face. On the other hand, I’ve found two eye makeup products that I love. I’m willing to let one okay-ish box for me slide, since I don’t think any subscription box will ever hit it out of the part 100% of the time, and for me I feel like I definitely got my $10 worth.