Sephora Play! March 2016 Unboxing + Review

Sephora Play! is currently an exclusive subscription box, which is causing a lot of hubbub. This is their seventh box, meaning it's been seven months since they first rolled out this program, and people are pretty upset that it's still not open to the public yet. I don't know how I was chosen; it was some sort of retail-analysis miracle I'm sure, but many have not been so lucky (This is my 6th Sephora Play! Box, and many of my reviews can be found on our Youtube channel.).  I've heard of VIB Rouge members in my area who have not been taken off the waitlist yet, so who knows how they decide who gets one or not. I have a feeling this is some sort of marketing scheme, but personally I've always been turned off by companies who have self-made waitlists. You know the kind. The ones who say they don't have any more spots, but if you jump through some hoop, like post a link to Facebook, somehow you magically jump off the waitlist and into a full month-to-month subscription, which moments ago they swore was exclusive, so exclusive there was a waitlist. (Cough cough, Ipsy.) I hope they do expand this soon, it has been a really fun box to get. 

The subscription is $10, on par with Ipsy and Birchbox pricing, but they promise to deliver more well-known brands. You can attempt to sign up for the waitlist here, but I haven't heard of any new subscribers getting in recently. 


Much like the the kraft boxes of the once-young Birchbox of yesteryear, all the Sephora Play! boxes have been exactly the same month to month in both design and size.

Every box includes frilly stuffing, black and white tissue paper, and a mini-magazine that tells you a little bit about each of the products. It also includes a Play! card that you can take into a Sephora store and redeem for a one-on-one session (a.k.a. a 15 minute mini-makeover that they offer to all customers for free. I can see right through your schemes Sephora.) and you'll get 50 bonus beauty insider points with any in-store purchase. Seeing as points don't get you much these days (they would probably get you more samples like the ones in this box, honestly) I have yet to redeem one. Online deals and promo codes are more my style anyhow.

This is what the box looks like when opened with no rearranging.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield 0.17 oz retail value $11.05

This is supposed to be an antiaging treatment, primer, and SPF 30 sunscreen all in one. I love that this product is not tested on animals, and that it contains SPF. I am always looking for pore minimizing sun protection. It does blur and mattify a bit, and the texture does not remind me of silicon like many of its blurring product counterparts; however my pores are still very visible. Also, I'd just like to point out that I've tried Murad products many times through Sephora's free 3 sample program.

P.S. It took me about a minute of pumping before any product came out, so if it's not working, don't give up. Persevere. This crap packaging was sent to test you. 

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser .6 oz retail value $4.47

Let's just all remind ourselves, that this exact sample is being offered as the birthday gift this year. Can you say overstock? It is a great face cleanser, and I love the brand Fresh, but I can't help but wonder if this subscription box is just a convenient way for Sephora to get rid of samples like this while attempting to make a profit... or at least portraying it as something new to us? If you're Sephora-obsessed enough to get this subscription, you may be disappointed and/or to your neck in repeats.

Not to hate on this product either, but I think it smells like grass or a health store. I much prefer the smell of the Korres Wild Rose Daily Brightening &  Refining Buff Cleanser (whew, some name. Couldn't keep it short, could you Korres?). That's the skincare rose-smell gold standard in my book. This is more cucumber and soy heavy. And it didn't have an inner seal so a bunch of it came out when I opened it to smell it. You've been warned. No need to repeat my mistakes.

Sephora The perfectionist: airbrush sponge $12

I'm assuming this is a full size sponge because they crossed out the barcode at the bottom so we wouldn't try to return it. (Smart.) Let's be real, this is a BeautyBlender knock off, and as such, it is not as soft or supple as the beloved fan-favorite. This sponge is very dense, and I would much rather use a regular disposable sponge or the real thing. Still it is an okay sponge, but when the real thing is only $8 more, and a regular makeup sponge is $0.05, there is really no reason to buy this sponge in my mind. Thanks to Birchbox's promotions, I've been able to stock up on BeautyBlenders over the years for 'free'.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil 0.13 oz retail value $5.46

I know what you're thinking. Two primers in one box?! Well, don't be discouraged, this isn't a primer at all. It doesn't make foundation stay any longer than usual. It's just a face oil. So it's a moisturizer really, and if you have oily skin at all, I wouldn't recommend buying this $42 bottle of oil. (Maybe I'm still bitter after buying a bottle of water from Smashbox for $32 just nine months ago. My wallet still aches with the weight of my poor life decisions and gullibility.)  And be careful, if you have a nut allergy, the main ingredient is almond oil.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Waterproof Liquid Liner in the shade Trooper 0.007 oz retail value $6.65

I can't quite remember where I got the other one of these that I have, but somewhere around this cluttered makeup drawer I call a room, there is another unopened eyeliner from Kat Von D. The formula was more watery than I had expected. It comes off as black when on the eye, but when I swatched it on my hand it sure looked streaky and gray. The Eyeko Fat Liner is a little darker, I think.

Replica Beach Walk Maison Martin Margiela .04 oz retail value $1.47

I think they know perfume samples aren't very popular, so this was listed last in the mini-magazine and it only got one page (for comparison, every other product got two pages.) But how much can you really say about a scent? Personally, I think this scent is too strong and sharp for me. It does smell like a beach in some sense, but honestly I don't really like smelling like the sand aspect of the beach. Maybe the coconuts? Not the sand though. I just don't jive with this fragrance. Luckily that means I won't be buying the $125 full size version. Whew, I think my wallet is finally beginning to forgive me for that horrible Smashbox purchase.

Verdict: The retail value for this box was $41.10, which is undeniably a great deal for the $10 sticker price. And we all know I'm a sucker for a good deal. I'm surprised with the huge Color Correcting push Sephora is doing right now that the box didn't have any product along those lines. Maybe next month? This box was not makeup heavy, which often is my biggest disappointment with Sephora Play! in general. There is often a lot of perfume and skincare, and I really appreciated getting a beauty tool this month, but I have already sampled many of these products before, and I really hope they branch out to other brands I associate with Sephora, like Becca Cosmetics, Nars, and YSL. Maybe some new products, too? I know that the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara that recently came out was tested by Influensters, and given as a 100 point sample, so I know they had miniature versions lying around, but instead we got old products mostly. *cries a little; cries a lot.*