I did my research a.k.a. I hopped onto YouTube and watched a ton of unboxing videos and read reviews online. I finally decided that Sephora's Play! box was the best match for me. I went onto the site to order my first box only to find out that it's so popular, I was being put on a wait list! I was super bummed, but within a month I had received the exciting news that I was off the list and would get my first box in March! I was invited to then fill out information about my appearance and favorites.
I'm not sure how Ipsy and Birchbox work, but with Play!, you don't receive your box until closer to the 20th of the month. I received an email when my box had shipped, thinking it would arrive days later. It showed up within 24 hours of the shipment email- awesome!
Opening up the box, you get to see what the theme of the box is for the month. March's was "The Gleam Team" and it was all about glowing and highlighting. That paper has a Play! card which you can take into Sephora to meet with a makeup artist and then the card is worth 50 extra points on top of the points you get for any purchase. I don't shop on Sephora's site, but you get points for your purchases that you can redeem for freebies down the road.
Under the card is a sheet that shows you all of the products in your bag. You open up the sheet further to read more about the products and suggested uses.
Then, under your sheet, you get to the good stuff! Each month, you get a drawstring bag to hold your makeup. Not sure that I need 12 of these a year, but I have been keeping all of the Sephora products in it so that I can make a point to reach for all of those products and use them now since they're perfect for the spring season.
The first product I received was Ghost Oil by Verb. I had never heard of this, but I was excited to try it because my hair is super frizzy, and I really struggle with fly-aways. According to Sephora, "Ghost Oil™ features an integrated moringa oil blend that coats the hair shaft with essential nutrients. This transparent oil prevents color change to lighter hair colors, naturally smooths frizz, and delivers a radiant shine to all hair types." A 2 oz. bottle retails for $14. The bottle in my bag is .57 oz.
I noticed that on the website, the full size comes in a spritz bottle. I think that might change things for me as it would be a spray that could reach all over vs. me getting a dab too much of it in one area.
So, first I tried just using it on dry hair and then blowdrying my hair. I didn't want to combine it with any products the first time I used it to see what it could do. It made my hair look a little oily and helped a little with frizz, but it didn't do anything miraculous for me.
Before going out to dinner, I applied a little to wet hair and then used my other hair products. I definitely think it is best to use it in conjunction with the rest of your products, especially if you're needing some help in the volume department.
VERDICT: It's something I'll continue to play with as needed, and I'll try it out on Ari too since she has major hair crises like me. I wasn't wowed enough to pick it up for $14, but I appreciated trying a new product and being able to cross another item off my list in my quest for the perfect hair product.
Next up, I received a Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal by Becca. I'd heard of Becca before but had never used their products. According to Sephora, "Shimmering Skin Perfector® Liquid Highlighter instantly imparts that effortless, dewy natural glow that we all want. Ultrafine, light-reflecting pearls blend seamlessly with the skin to achieve a believable, healthy-looking glow. Inspired by the fresh, dewy glow of flattering light at sunrise, this is the perfect formula to give you that glow. Just use this unique highlighting formula as the perfect mixer to your favorite primer, foundation, or moisturizer for added luminescence. For an all-over dewy glow, apply it evenly on your face, or wear on the high points of the face, such as the cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose." A travel size of the product is 0.68 oz. and costs $19. A full size of the skin perfector is 1.7 oz. and costs $41. The sample in my bag is 0.34 oz.
Sephora recommends mixing this highlighter in with your moisturizer or foundation or to put it on the normal HAC spots. My Play! card recommended putting it on in a C-shape around the eyes. I don't love shine on most of my face, so I followed the recommendation and have been using it as an eyeshadow and shimmer around my eyes.
VERDICT: This was probably my favorite product in my box! I feel like it was a decent size, and I've been using it daily for over 2 weeks now and still have a lot left. I don't normally like a lot of shine on my face, but I feel comfortable recommending this product to those of you who do! I'd start with the travel size first as you do get quite a bit of use out of such a small bottle.
The third product that I received was Urban Decay's Vice Lipstick in Big Bang. Urban Decay is a classic brand, and I've only used an eyeshadow mini that I received as a birthday gift from Ulta. According to Sephora, "Get unbelievable laydown of color with just one swipe of Vice Lipstick. It features an array of addictive shades and six indulgent finishes—including 20 shades that are Sephora exclusives, in shades that range from bold brights to dark hues to versatile neutrals. Each shade applies smoothly (without dragging or skipping), hugs lips, and feels ultra-comfortable. Urban Decay’s proprietary Pigment Infusion System™ gives the formula its super-creamy texture, rich payout, and superior color dispersion. This creamy formula is packed with nourishing ingredients. A butter blend comforts, hydrates, and enhances, leaving lips soft and conditioned, and never dry. Aloe vera, jojoba, avocado, and babassu oils nourish and soften lips. Illipe butter, derived from Malaysian illipe trees, provides long-lasting moisture, while the vitamins C and E deliver a hint of antioxidants." A full size of this lipstick is 0.11 oz. and costs $17 and comes in over 90 shades! I didn't keep the lipstick box so I can't tell you my sample's exact size, but it is a decent size mini.
Big Bang is a fun disco, party girl shade, and it adds a little bit of shine to your lips on its own. Sephora recommended layering it on top of a matte lipstick, and I would 100% agree with that if you're going for bold lips.
VERDICT: I really don't wear much color on my lips since I usually do so much on my eyes. This sample color is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I've been using it sporadically just to see if I need to become a more fun lip girl. Even though this particular shade is a metallic, the lipstick is very smooth. I don't feel like this particular lipstick has staying power, but I do appreciate the size of the sample, and if I was a lip girl, I think the variety of colors are pretty cool.
The fourth product I received was Josie Maran's Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm. I remember when this line first came out in the 2000s, and it always got rave reviews! I was super excited to try the brand since I'd never actually used any of the products. Sephora says, "The first ever antiaging skin care finisher and makeup primer in one. This creamy, whipped, lightweight formula finishes both your skin care and makeup routine for a smooth, long-lasting, radiant glow. Makeup glides on seamlessly while the subtle glow awakens the complexion and softly sculpts the face with luminous light. It’s formulated with natural antiaging powerhouse ingredients that instantly hydrate, plump, and smooth for beautiful, smooth skin." A full size is 0.5 oz. and costs $36. My sample size is 0.1 oz, and I've been using it each day for the 2 weeks that I've had it and still have enough for another few weeks.
I have been using it following my Play! card's recommendation and using it on my cheekbones, but I just watched Josie's video on Sephora's website and am going to start using it as more of a primer, especially since the weather is heating up here in Houston.
VERDICT: Now that I know I can use this in a different way, I'd say the verdict is still out on this product. I'm going to have to try it more as a primer and see what I think. I don't believe in spending a lot on my makeup and skincare, so I highly doubt I would purchase this for $36. I'm definitely not mad about receiving this quality product in my first box though!
The last makeup sample I received was Glamglow's Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer. I've been toying with the idea of buying Glamglow's face masks, but they're pretty pricey, so I was excited to try the brand, but I was bummed when I realized this product was makeup instead of a face mask. According to Sephora, "GLOWSTARTER™ Mega Illuminating Moisturizer is formulated with vitamins, botanicals, hyaluronic acid, and TEAOXI™ golden root technology that instantly floods skin with hydration for healthy-looking radiance. The ultimate quick fix with super-powered botanicals in a soft cream texture, it delivers a rush of hyaluronic acid, plus vitamins and green tea for energized and moisturized skin. Added illuminating pearl particles help make you look instantly more radiant, blurring and reflecting light, so that all lighting is good lighting. Skin-moisture balance is restored by a combination of emollients including jojoba oil, shea butter, and ceramides, while a special skin-conditioning lipid complex is designed to help infuse skin with optimal nourishment for a luminous finish." The full size is 1.7 oz. and costs $49. The sample I received is .24 oz, and a little goes a long way.
So as I mentioned before, I don't really like a lot of shine on my skin. I've been using it under my concealer in my typical HAC spots. It doesn't really add a whole lot of color or sparkle (and mine is the universal "Nude Glow" shade so you'd expect it to show up more on someone as pale as me.)
VERDICT: Totally a bummer! First I was totally let down that I didn't get a Glamglow skincare product. Then, this product didn't do anything for me! I will definitely not be recommending this product to anyone, but I did like having the opportunity to finally try out the brand.
Aside from the 5 makeup, hair, and skincare samples you receive in the box, Sephora throws in a perfume sampler each month. I've heard that one company (maybe Ipsy?) was counting perfume samples as one of the items and people were getting really frustrated. The sample I received this month was Atelier Cologne's Clementine California. Sephora describes the scent as follows, "This sunny composition, built around Clémentine from California, sets off the sweet, citrusy fruit with green notes of juniper and the tang of mandarin. The heart of intriguing star anise and a hint of pepper blends over a distinctively warm base of Haitian vetiver, sandalwood, and cypress." A 1 oz. bottle runs you $75, but the scent is available in a travel .25 oz. spray for $25.
Last Friday I talked about my former love for fragrances, and you guys shared your favorite scents. You can view that post HERE. I've become highly sensitive to perfumes, so I know each month that I'll be sending the sample to my mom. I had not heard of this brand before, and if you watch any of the unboxing videos from this month, you may get a giggle out of some of the ladies trying to pronounce "Atelier!" Sorry, I'm a bad person!
VERDICT: I obviously won't be purchasing this fragrance (or any of the other ones that come my way) until a cure for perfume migraine is invented! I will say that I was disappointed that the sample was a pull top and of course caused me to spill some of the product when I opened it. I'd prefer the samples to be the mini spritzers.
So there's my entire bag in a box! Are you ready for some scary before and after pictures?
(I used all of the makeup products in the box plus my own mascara, bronzer, and foundation. This was my face for going out for errands.)
(I used the Ghost Oil solo to see if it did anything miraculous independently- it didn't!)
For dinner that night, I used the Ghost Oil with all of my regular hair products, and it looked much better, but I don't think it was because of the new Ghost Oil addition. I again used all of the makeup products provided and then added my own bronzer, blush, mascara, and used my bronzer on my lids.
Not glowing or sparkly like the products all claimed, but not horrible!
Overall verdict: I'm really glad that I tried out the box, and I will definitely be up for receiving my next box later this month. I did go on YouTube and watched some unboxing videos and was disappointed to see that some girls received a different box that had Bobbi Brown, Benefit, and Living Proof products. I think I would've loved that box! I'm hoping that my next box has some eyeshadow and mascara to try since I'm all about those eyes!
So, tell me in the comments below- Have you tried Sephora Play! or any other subscription makeup boxes? What were the pros and cons? Thanks for joining me today, and I'll meet you back here tomorrow for my Try It Thursday link-up- make sure to share your favorite recipe with us! See you soon!