Play! by Sephora Review, September 2016

Play! by Sephora, $10 per month (US only)

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I love how in the photo at the top of the page, it looks like my baby bun has only one leg and her front is floating!  Not sure why she wanted to bury her head in the second picture.  She's a silly little thing.

Play! by Sephora is, as you probably guessed, Sephora's own beauty box.  Subscribers get five beauty products plus a perfume sample each month.  At $10, it's quite affordable.  The value usually isn't extraordinarily high, but you get always more than your money's worth.  While you probably won't see many full size products in this subscription, you'll get a number of deluxe sample sizes and the occasional small sample.  The products are always things you can find in Sephora, of course, so the brands are pretty mainstream.  You're probably not going to discover any new brands with this subscription, but it's a good way to try out a wide range of products from well-known brands.  Previously, all subscribers received the same products, but, beginning in July, Play! started having some variation.   The two versions have three to four items in common and two to three items that vary.  The first month, they put out versions for dry skin and oily skin, but the past two months, it's been unclear as to how they decided who received which box.  Besides the boxes, Sephora also sends you a card that you can take into a Sephora store to get a tutorial on your Play! products and get 50 extra points with any purchase.  Check your receipt to make sure those points go through because the workers at my local store didn't seem to know how the card worked and the points were never applied to my account.  You also can go to the monthly Play! Date, where Play! subscribers can meet up at their local Sephora, learn more about that month's products, and get additional samples.  Sadly, they only have the Play! Date at a few stores, so I haven't been able to attend one as there isn't one near me.  I wish they had them at all Sephoras.

Sephora only opens up subscriptions every couple of months, so, if you're interested, try signing up now!  I saw a couple of days ago that subscriptions were open.  I don't know if they still are, but it's worth a try.  Sign up for the waitlist if you're interested when subscriptions have closed.  October's theme is The Cool Cut and the box is supposed to include "indie brands."  Keep in mind, these brands will still be brands you find at Sephora, so they aren't going to be too indie.

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This is what I got this month:

My September Play! box was worth $31.52.  It's not an extraordinarily high value, but it's not bad for a $10 box.  The values for Play! are more in line with Birchbox than ipsy.  There were three makeup products, a hair product, a skincare product, and a perfume, so the product mix was okay.  I would have preferred to have seen two skincare products.  The variations this month were the skincare product and perfume -- instead of Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation, some subscribers received Dr. Jart+ Water Drop, and instead of the Atelier perfume, some subscribers received Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte.  I would have rather had the other box as I love Dr. Jart+ and I've already tried Atelier's Sud Magnolia.  

Each month, Sephora includes a bag in the box.  The bag is always white, which I think is the worst possible color for a cloth makeup bag.  It'd be one thing if it were lined, but it's not -- it's just a thin piece of cotton.  There were two small, tan stains in the lower left corner of my makeup bag this month.  I'm not sure what they were from as nothing seems to have leaked during shipping.  The bag design this month is cuter than most months have been.  It's just a fabric drawstring bag that isn't very big, so they're kind of useless for makeup bags, as far as I'm concerned.  I don't think many people would be upset if Sephora just got rid of the silly bags, especially if they replaced them with another sample!  

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First up was the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel.  I've gotten this product before in another box and wasn't a fan.  This is a clear brow gel, so it will work for all hair colors.  Unfortunately, that means this product is good for shaping your brows, but not for filling them in.  If you have any spots that need to be filled in, you'll need to do that first with a pencil and then use this product to shape them.  I prefer to use a product like Benefit's Gimme Brow, which is tinted and fills in patchy spots while also shaping your brows.  I hate how this brow gel feels when it's dry.  It feels like I have glue stuck in my eyebrows.  Anastasia has a lot of great products, but this one isn't for me.  I know a lot of people love it, though.  

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Swatch of Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper 

Swatch of Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper 

I've heard a lot of great things about Kat Von D products, but, strangely enough, I had never tried anything of hers!  I never got any of her products in a beauty box before.  I was looking forward to trying the Tattoo Liner.  This liner works like a pen, but it has over three hundred teeny, tightly-packed bristles on the end.  This gave me a precise line that was perfect for tight lining and looked as good at the end of the day as it did at the beginning.  Once this is on, it's on, and it's not going to budge.  This is a true black and very dramatic, though, so you have to be careful with it.  I like to use it to tight line my top lid and then use a color that isn't so severe on my lower lid.  My only complaint about this eyeliner is that it comes in only two colors -- brown and black.  I want it in every color imaginable.  Kat Von D makes colored eyeliners, but it's a different type and it has a felt tip, so I don't know if they're as good.  Has anyone tried her Ink Liner or Lightning Liner?  If so, is it as good as Tattoo?

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I've tried other products in Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day line, but this was my first time trying the Night Cap Overnight Perfector.   You work this through your hair before bed and you're supposed to wake up with softer, shinier hair.  At first, I didn't think this had really done anything for my hair, but, once I brushed it, I couldn't believe how good my hair looked.  I had the best hair day I had had in quite some time.  It didn't give me extra volume, and it made my hair soft and shiny.  My hair behaved exactly like I wanted it to.  This is one of my favorite hair products ever.

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Swatch of Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in 14 Love Spell 

Swatch of Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in 14 Love Spell 

I've generally had good luck with Sephora brand makeup.  I love their eyeliners, but I've never tried their lipstick before.  The Rouge Shine Lipstick in 14 Love Spell was horrible.  I had to really build it up to get the swatch you see above.  It did nothing for my lip color; I couldn't tell it was on my lips.  It might have added a little shine, but, if I'm putting lipstick on, I want serious color.  I don't know if all the lipsticks in the Rouge Shine line are like this or if it's just this particular shade.  I hope their other lipsticks have better pigment. It is cute, though, that they made the lipstick on the bag match this lipstick.

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Ole Henriksen's Sheer Transformation is a lightweight moisturizer.  It's good for all skin types and it's supposed to smooth out your skin and even out your skin tone.  Sephora says you can use it as a primer, too.  I used it as a moisturizer and liked it. It's a good moisturizer for the summer when you don't want a thick moisturizer on your face.  It works, but there's nothing about it that really sets it apart from other moisturizers.  It doesn't have a fragrance, so, if you like your products fragrance-free, this might be for you.

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The last product was the Atelier Cologne Collection Azur Sud Magnolia.  I already had a sample vial of this perfume, but I like it, so I'm okay with having another.  Magnolia is one of my favorite floral fragrances and I wish there were more magnolia-based perfumes.  Besides magnolia, the perfume has notes of bitter orange, pomelo, blackcurrant, Bulgarian rose absolue, saffron flower, atlas cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk.  It's a soft, clean, floral fragrance and it lasted all day.  This is my favorite Atelier perfume.

Overall, I'd say September was a pretty good month for Play!  The Anastasia Brow Gel and the Sephora lipstick weren't for me, but I'm in love with the Kat Von D liner and the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Overnight Perfector.   I like the Ole Henriksen moisturizer and the Atelier perfume, too, but not quite as much as the liner and the hair product.  I had tried two of the six products before, but four were new to me, so no complaints there.  

What did you think of the September Play! by Sephora?  Did anyone get the box with the Tory Burch and Dr. Jart+?  How were they?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!