Monday, April 23, 2018

**REVIEW** Sephora's Play Box Subscription

UPDATE: If you sign up for Birchbox because you read about it here, please use this link so that I get acknowledged Trudy Sent Me!

Of the many subscription boxes in the beauty and skincare categories, there aren't tons that are as affordable as the Birchbox and Sephora Play boxes. I mean, if you want to try new products every month, you really can't beat 10 bucks for some good-sized samples. I had decided that if I was going to join the subscription craze, I would only choose one box. Budget, budget, broke is my version of duck, duck, goose!

I've tried and reviewed the April Birchbox. I hope to try out Ipsy or another box in this price range. Today though, I am going to review the Sephora Play April 2018 box that I recently received.

It's finally here! Finally...

The box took forever to arrive but when I checked the dates, I can see that Birchbox took 10 days from the order date to deliver and Play took 11 days. So, they are about equal there. Since I do have Birchbox to compare to this one, that is what I will do throughout this post. Let's go look at what came in the April Play box.

6  items + the bag

With Birchbox, I got the cute little collectible box to use. Sephora sent this little bag.

very flimsy material

Birchbox wins this round. While I thought a bag would be more versatile to reuse than a box, this one is a cheap little Dollar Store type of thing that I'll probably just tuck some socks or maybe some laundry quarters in. It wasn't that cute to me. I was really hoping the other box items were going to be much better. So let's see...

.33 oz each packet

I have not used this shampoo/conditioner sample set from Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day line. The samples were a good size and I will review them once I try them out on my next wash day. The 8oz shampoo and 8 oz conditioner sizes are priced at $26 each.

 I give Sephora Play credit for including such a nice sample size of the product. I have thick, afro-curly (er, sometimes nappy) hair and I think the shampoo would be enough for a wash. I would probably have to dilute the conditioner to saturate all my hair from root to tip.

Next up is the item with the best name ever:

This one is the  Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. Not only do I love the name, but I really liked the product. I used this on my chin and nose area. It tingled a little bit but not strongly and not for long. I left it on for 15 minutes instead of the 20 as instructed because I was worried it might be too drying. When I rinsed, I was super surprised at how good my treated skin felt. It's like it sucked close off the larger pores and my nose was really smooth and I kept touching it!  Normally, I don't use products like this. Most of you all know me by now and know that I would rather do a treatment with essential oil or use something from my kitchen.

I was so excited about this product that I scooted online with a quickness to check the price for a full-size. That stopped me right in my broke little tracks. This is priced at $80 for a 1.69oz/50ml pump (so this 15ml sample is worth about $24). That's just ridiculous. I'd have to be a drunk woman to put that in my cart. Besides, I can buy a lot of Manuka honey for that much money and it's all natural and what I don't use on my face, I could eat. Thank you, Sephora for the generous sized sample, but I can never buy more of this so... Whatever. Moving on.

The Purity Pore Extractor Mask is another item I haven't yet tried. My face was still so clean from the Drunk Elephant that I decided to wait a couple of days before I use the mask but I tested the clay on the back of my hand. It has some fine granules in the texture that were easy to wipe away once the clay dried. The mask dries quickly and the clay adhered to my hand until I rinsed it off. It wasn't sticky or unpleasant while rinsing as so many similar products can be. Since I liked the way the skin on my hand felt afterward, I think I would like this - but only on the nose and chin areas. My skin is too sensitive for any type of astringents or scrubs anywhere else. So I do like this item but, once again, I had sticker shock when I checked the price. It's $35 for 2.5 ounces. This is why I am glad to be a natural product gal. I have to be thankful, I guess that Sephora did supply a 5ml sample.

Next up is the Sephora Rouge Cream lipstick in the shade called The Red.

It's a great lipstick with good texture and a coverage that I love. One problem: that red is more for Marilyn Monroe/Rita Hayworth while I need something more Danai Gurira/Lupita Nyong'o or at the very least, Angela Basset after she's been in the sun for a few hours.

This photo doesn't fully capture how wrong the shade is on me. I even checked with my neighbor and she was like, "Uh... yeah. No. Not that shade. Not on you." I think what she wanted to say is that this shade makes me look like a starving harlot. There is just a touch too much orange in it to suit me. Usually, I can wear a deep red (though I prefer a more non-vampish color now that I'm on the upper side of 50). I think that I will save this and use it to mix with another unwanted shade to use as an eye color. I dunno.

That shade of lipstick is not
going with that shade of grey hair!
This was a big disappointment to me because I wanted to like this lipstick and I feel Sephora ignored my Profile when choosing the shade. I mean, they ask your shade and I entered mine as the darkest they had. ~sigh~ To add insult, this lipstick is one of the actually affordable ($12.50) items in the box.

The PeterThomas Roth Skin to Die For mattifying primer sounded interesting. I watched the little video that Sephora had up and was impressed with the difference the primer made on the model. On me, it felt great but didn't make much of a visible difference. I would be curious to see if it works as touted to eventually improve one's skin. I'm pretty happy with my skin so I will pass. The price is not that bad ($28 for 1oz), depending on how much and how often it would need to be applied.

For the very last of the items, I have to say that, once again, I was not thrilled. I was still hopeful though, even as I got down to the last item in the box. This gloss is from a favorite brand:

I adore Urban Decay and was glad that the box included their Hi-Fi Shine Ultra Cushion Lip Gloss, but...

... once again - for what? The third or fourth time? - I was not crazy about the color Sephora chose to send me. They're reading (or not reading) of my profile reminds me of the 80's when every drugstore makeup artist wanted to put vivid, shimmery blue eyeshadow on my black face.

If Sephora just wanted to send me a daring, lighter color gloss, they could have gone with the shade of Naked. I would have been very happy to get that or, better yet, the Beso, or the 1993. The one they sent was the SPL. It doesn't even have a cool name. And to beat it all, the stuff is a glittery-sparkling, minty-tasting concoction. Ugh. It's like something that a little kid would get for their doll. To be honest, I could have gotten past the glitter and the mint, but that bright pink... And unlike most glosses (because, yes, I do own gloss in light pink shades) this was pretty heavily colored. If the red lipstick made my lips look weird, this gloss made them look chapped as if I was in need of a lot of water. I gave it to my Caucasian sister-in-law and I haven't seen her wearing it yet.

I don't want to forget that the Play box did include a card with 50 Beauty Insider Points. That's a Plus. The downside is that I would not be able to get the offered extra 50 points because there is no store near me to walk into. So there's that. Birchbox just straight up gives you a discount if you decide to purchase something you've sampled. Now, that's what I'm talking about.

Decisions, decisions...
Birchbox vs Sephora Play

I told you all that I could only (barely) afford to do one box. If I wasn't waiting to try Ipsy, and the decision was to be between Birchbox and Play, Birchbox would be the winner by miles and miles. Sure, they sent a hair product I would never use, but it's not as if I wouldn't use it if I styled my hair differently. I feel like they paid more attention to my profile.

I already made sure to cancel the Play subscription so that I don't get stuck with a second box or payment. When I reviewed FabFitFun, I knew it was a subscription I'd keep if I could afford it. The Play box is just $10 and I know the products weren't cheap, but I had no regrets canceling. I think that Sephora often falls short on paying attention to customers. I'm I've posted about the $50 perfume certificate I never got to use because Sephora ran out of the perfume I wanted and never honored it. It's like they robbed my niece of the money she meant me to have.

Well. Sephora, I guess you kinda, sorta, maybe tried.