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Is the Play! by Sephora Subscription Worth It? | My 3 Month Experience

I'm Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I'd love to connect with you!

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My Book!

Who doesn’t love Sephora? No, really…who doesn’t? The second I learned they were putting out a subscription box, I joined the waitlist. A few months later, I felt like I won the lottery when they said I am off the waitlist. Woot! The Play! by Sephora box promises to deliver 5 deluxe samples each month for $10. They also promise to deliver “tips, tricks, how-to’s, and beauty advice to get the most out of the products!”

Below is a good idea of what you can expect to receive if you decide to subscribe to Play! by Sephora. Although it isn’t really the most ideal subscription box out there for me, I think it is perfect for new makeup users or for those who have limited product knowledge. I do personally think there are better boxes out there for the price.

I think Play! by Sephora is selling you more on the little pamphlet & tips/tricks than an actual beauty box. If you tuned into my hugely Beauty Box Dilemma project, you’d see that at $10, you could get a box with a bit more substantive contents (in my opinion). Really and truly, I would rather subscribe to Beauty Box 5 for $12 (see my unboxing/post here). That’s the best box in my opinion at this price point.

First Play! Unboxing

The packaging is cute…cuter than I expected to be honest for $10. The five deluxe samples I received are all great brands. However, I was really hoping for more makeup samples…

Check out my unboxing below and then scroll down to read my likes/dislikes/comments on the actual products.

Play! Box Number 1


Bonus Perfume Sample

Atelier Cologne

Orange Sanguine

Glad this was a bonus item and not part of the five. It smells like orange, which it seems it is supposed to. I think the postcard is cuter! I’ll drop you a line on it, just email me your addy!


Bite Beauty

Amuse Bouche in Kimchi

 

This sample is hands down amazing. However, the color they chose to include is not versatile at. all. Like, I don’t know a ton of anyone who would wear that color on the daily. I will definitely be mixing that pink or subduing it… If Sephora would’ve put in a more versatile color, I guarantee they would’ve had a line out the door to buy the full-sized… Bite’s lipstick formulation is the bomb dot com and it’s worth the hefty price tag but this color might be too intimidating.


Tarte

Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram

First of all, I love the color! It’s not particularly a spring/summer color but I’m not going to complain because it suits me. I still can’t get over at how tiny the sample is. Like… it’s thinner than my tweezers and I’m afraid of losing it. If you weren’t familiar with Tarte products, this deluxe sample would not really give you a good idea of how amazing Tarte products are. That’s a shame… For me, if I receive an awesome deluxe sample, where the packaging feels as luxurious as the real thing, I generally buy the full-sized when I’m done. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara is one of those and Kiehl’s is another company whose deluxe sample keeps me coming back for the full-sized.


Origins

Maskimizer

+ Drink Up & Clear Improvement Masks

Excited to try out these bad boys. Not sure I’d put this on a list of deluxe samples, although you do get 2 masks and a pre-mask treatment… I guess when I hold it, feel it, look at it, nothing feels really deluxe about it. It feels like something you’d randomly find on the bottom of your Sephora bag that they threw in last minute. I def wouldn’t use 100 points on this but like I said, I am excited to try them out.


Korres

Wild Rose Sleeping Facial

So I’ve used Korres products before. I thought maybe I had used this one but I was wrong! Sephora must’ve read my mind in needing a good overnight mask – excited to try this one out. The handout that came in my Play! box says, “Wild rose oil is rich in vitamin C for helping even skin tone and visibly improve fine lines.” I can use some of that in my life. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Briogeo

Don’t Despair, Repair!

Deep Conditioning Mask

I think hair masks are the rave right now. This will be the first time I’ve used a Briogeo product, so I’m excited to try. I have a lot of hair so I may only get two masks out of this. Again, this is one of those products I’ll just have to let you know how it goes.


Second Play! Unboxing

So here’s my second unboxing, I opted to post this unboxing to Facebook. I actually did a live unboxing but the audio feedback was terrible! I re-recorded the unboxing… on a total side note, would you prefer me to post videos to YouTube or Facebook? Let me know in the comments below.

This Play! was better in my opinion than the first Play! but still left me disappointed. To be honest, I called to cancel my Play! subscription right after this unboxing but Sephora offices were closed 🙁 I never got around to calling them before the July Play! shipped.

Items In Second Play!

Becca Backlighting Priming Filter

Deluxe Sample

Probably my favorite sample of the box, this is a product I’ve been on the fence about purchasing. I’m debating between this, the Hourglass Veil Primer, and the Burberry Luminous Glow Primer. The Becca is significantly less expensive than the other two but I haven’t been madly in love with the Becca like I was when trying the other two. When I commit, I commit…and this sample will help me to decide whether or not to save or splurge.


Tarte

Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Board

Another reasonable sample size, I’m excited to try this sunscreen out. Nice packaging too! This is a new product from Tarte so I like that Sephora is including something I haven’t tried (and likely wouldn’t have purchased otherwise).


BareMinerals

bareSkin Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer

Is it just me or are you over getting free samples from BareMinerals? As much as I appreciate BareMinerals generous sampling offerings — I feel like another BareMinerals sample is just another ordinary sample. Maybe I’ve become acclimatized. This serum bronzer really has no staying power — which has been my experience with several other serum bronzers (and illuminators). Had Sephora put in the NARS liquid bronzer sample, I would’ve been a happy camper!


Bumble and Bumble

Don’t Blow It

I love Bumble and Bumble. Their products have failed to disappoint me. However, like BareMinerals, another Bumble and Bumble (I refer to them as BB in the video) sample is the last I need. Also, I have a lot of hair (not complaining) so this small size will maybe give me 2-3 tries. That’s just not enough for me to make a decision as to whether or not I will purchase the full-sized version.


Benefit

They’re Real! Mascara

Who hasn’t used this mascara yet? Or tried it out? Or received it as a deluxe sample? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE receiving deluxe mascara samples — no complaints. But I would’ve really liked to have tried a new mascara, one that hasn’t been around for FOREVER.


Bonus Perfume Sample

Tocca – Florence

 

Another perfume sample that goes into my box of other perfume samples. Fortunately, my loss is my cousin’s gain. She indicated she loves these little viles & I will be sending her several of them!

The scent, as far as I can remember (I’m writing this post a few weeks after the fact) was nice, light, and floral-y.


Third Play! Unboxing

Like I said above, I truly meant to cancel my Play! and this post was NOT supposed to happen. But I do like giving services like this three chances (like my StitchFixjourney) and I’m glad I never got around to calling them back to cancel because this Play! was by far the best in my opinion. The “samples” were actually useable and a little different.

Check out the unboxing below.

Items In Third Play!

Nest Fragrance Citrine

I’m not a huge fan of the little vile perfume samples. If you’ve watched any of my video unboxings, you’d know this! However, this sample had a little pump and thus, I’ve actually used it and not just in the video (woot woot!). Don’t let the “Citrine” name fool you, though. The scent if more woodsy & gender neutral, which isn’t a bad thing. But if you were thinking of getting a light, citrus-y fragrance, this one isn’t it.


First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

This was actually a decently sized sample, I can’t complain. I think though because I put in my profile that I have normal/combination oily skin, Sephora matched me with the “oily skin” box. That’s okay but I really don’t have oily skin…in the summer, I get some oily patches in my “T” zone, which is totally common and normal. Add that to the fact that I’m 37 weeks preggo and yea, I tend to be more oily.


Ouai Wave Spray

I am excited about this because I received this exact size product and all in my Summer Box of Style. Because this is an item that I would’ve repurchased (that’s how much I liked it), I don’t mind that I have an extra one on hand.

I am a bit confused though because in the BOS info pamphlet, they valued this product at $12. So if Play! included a $12 sample — obviously this box is worth the price! It paid for itself this go around!


Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer

So although there’s nothing new or exciting about this primer, I’m glad they included this primer vice Smashbox’s signature original primer. Another one of those would’ve really set me off (because they are samples that are easy to come by).

I will only be using this primer on my nose and “T” zone — and applying a normal primer to the rest of my face. I obviously have several primers in my kit, mattifying ones, so this is just a great little bonus sample to throw into my personal kit.


BeautyBlender

blotterazzi

I actually found myself using this little bad boy the other day. I had just returned home from picking my son up and was a bit “glowy.” I said to myself, “Heck, let me just try this out.” I love that it wasn’t an oil blotting sheet because honestly, those get so nasty so face and who really wants to look at all the oil on their face? Also, I can NEVER get away with one oil blotting sheet — I always have to use at least 3-4 of them… this was so much more convenient and I am sure it would’ve been even better had I saturated it with cold water first.


Too Faced

Soleil Matte Bronzer in Chocolate

I’ve tested this bronzer out long ago! I remember not purchasing it because of last ability — I don’t think it’s the most lasting bronzer out there. It’s also quite brown — so a lot better as a contour color. The size is decent, the packaging a bit cheap… okay, really cheap.


Do you subscribe to Play! by Sephora? If so, did you receive the same items? I’m SO curious. After seeing this unboxing, what are your thoughts? Would love your feedback!

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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