Play! is a subscription box service from Sephora. The subscription costs $10 a month, and each month subscribers receive a box that includes 5 samples of high end beauty products, a fragrance, and a pass redeemable for a beauty tutorial and 50 bonus beauty insider points. Beauty fans looking to subscribe to the service must join a waiting list, so reserve your spot now!
It’s time to Play!
May’s theme is “the forces of nature”, and in the spirit of the theme, this month’s box includes products that include all natural ingredients. This box is also their most eco-friendly one yet!
Sephora has used an obscene and unnecessary amount of paper in their previous boxes (two layers of cardboard, one layer of useless and annoying confetti), but this month they severely cut down on paper product by including only one cardboard box (the shipping box), a product guide book, and a cute, reusable drawstring pouch (which held this month’s products).
I’ve had ample time to use these products and reflect, so let’s dive into this month’s box and see what I thought!
Note: Product values have been crudely calculated based on the price/ fl. oz ratio of each product.
Korres – Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial
Sample size: .34 oz
This overnight facial is formulated with wild rose oil and vitamin C – ingredients that help promote skin brightening while simultaneously countering uneven texture and dullness. Korres claims that most people will see significant improvement in their skin after only one use, but as I found out, I’m not one of those folks.
This sample size was too small for me to see a noticeable difference in my skin before the tube ran dry, but it did feel cool and relaxing on my face. That coolness combined with its refreshing rose aroma made for a very relaxing facial experience.
But relaxing as this product may be, I wouldn’t recommend applying it immediately before bed.
The rose scent is beautiful, but it’s strong to the point where it becomes insufferable to the nostrils. There are worse things that could pump through your nose when you’re trying to sleep, but the scent is distracting none-the-less. I suggest waiting until you’re almost nose blind to the scent before attempting to nod off for the night.
Overall, I found Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial to be a product that provides short term sensory satisfaction with zero signs of long term physical results.
Origins – Maskimizer Skin-Optimizing Mask Primer
Sample size: Maskimizer (.05 oz), Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (.1 oz), Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (.1 oz)
Origins is promoting the latest addition to their expansive skincare lineup, the Maskimizer! According to Origins, this new product was designed to optimize and moisturize the skin prior to mask application.
The Maskimizer comes with two mask samples: Origins’ Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask and Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Both are products I own and am familiar with (check out my review of the Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask), so these mini samples provided me with an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the masking experience with and without Origins’ Maskimizer.
I cleansed my face with Origins Checks and Balances, patted it dry, and spritzed my skin with the Maskimizer. I let the product sink into my skin for a moment before applying the Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask. Applying this mask is always a messy endeavor – it tends to spread unevenly and has a tendency to clump – but with the Maskimizer, the process couldn’t have been smoother.
With the Maskimizer, the charcoal mask glided onto my face like never before, and for once it seemed to apply relatively evenly. I even found myself using less product to completely cover my face, which was a pleasant bonus!
Considering how some of my masks cost about $60 (I’m looking at you, GlamGlow), being able to use less product with the Maskimizer would prolong the life expectancy of my masks and save me a pretty penny or two down the road.
A moderate sum of $22 for a 3.2 oz bottle of Maskimizer may just need to be my next beauty investment!
Briogeo – Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Sample size: 1 oz
Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask is a weekly conditioning treatment designed to bring life back to dull, damaged hair and protect against future damage.
Sephora included a 1 oz sample of the product in this month’s box. 1 oz is barely enough to fully cover my extremely long, thick hair, but those with fine, shorter hair should be able to enjoy 3 or 4 treatments from this size.
I followed the directions on the bottle and left the product in my hair for about 10 minutes before rinsing it out. When my hair dried, it did feel soft and nourished, but no more than it does after using a drug store brand conditioner.
Because this product would cost me $9.00 per treatment and yields the same results as a $7.00 8 oz bottle of Aussie, this product is simply too expensive and too ineffective to add into my beauty arsenal.
To be fair to Briogeo, this product wasn’t designed for my hair. I do not blow dry my hair, flat iron it, or over process it with bleach and dyes, so my hair was already soft, nourished and relatively damage free.
So basically, this review is totally moot.
Bite – Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi
Sample size: .05 oz
Who doesn’t love trying out new lipsticks?
Bite’s Amuse Bouche Lipsticks are matte, bright, and highly pigmented, meaning a little goes a long way.
Sephora previously offered Beauty Insiders this lipstick in Radish as a points perk, but the color featured in May’s box is Kimchi – a beautiful hot pink shade named after a Korean dish. An odd name choice, but I’ll roll with it, I guess!
The color is a little too bright and loud for my complexion and face, and because the lipstick is matte, I found it to be far too drying for my lips.
In truth, I don’t think I’ll ever use this product again, but I will keep it floating around my makeup drawer just in case I’m feeling dangerous and spunky.
Tarte – Tarteist Lip Crayon in Mauve
Sample size: .001 oz
A teeny tiny sample of Tarte’s lip liner was included in May’s box, and I’ll be honest, this is totally uncharted territory for me.
I know that faux-celeb Kylie Jenner has made the internet absolutely obsessed with the practice of lip lining, but in an act of defiance, I never personally attempted the trend.
That is, until now. Thanks, Sephora?
This lip crayon comes in the color Mauve, a more-or-less neutral color for the lips. The color can be worn alone to highlight your lips or paired with your favorite lipstick or gloss. Once applied, this liner is on your lips for the long haul, becoming almost like a henna tattoo for your lips.
Lip lining really isn’t for me, but makeup fans who have adopted the trend will likely be pleased with the longevity and versatility of this product.
Atelier Cologne – Orange Sanguine
Sample size: .05 oz
Sephora tends to include at least one perfume or cologne sample in their monthly box, which is absolutely perfect for folks who want to try out different scents but not commit to just one (guilty!).
This month’s box included a sample from Atlelier Cologne called Orange Sanguine, a scent that definitely lives up to it name.
Orange Sanguine heavily relies on citrus extracts, but it also has beachy undertones less blatant to the nose, making this perfume fresh, young, and perfect for summer. The scent is appropriate for both casual and formal outings, but it does fade away sooner than one would expect from a perfume this expensive.
A full bottle of Orange Sanguine costs over $100, which my nose and my wallet both agree to be absurd. I’ll be throwing this sample in my purse to use as an occasional treat to my nostrils (and the nostrils of people who lurk a little too close), but my love story with this scent will end when the sample runs out.
Box rating: 3.5 out of 5
As is true with nearly every Play! box, the sample sizes are just too damn small. Sephora’s goal for these boxes is to induce more sales in store and online, but it’s difficult for consumers to form an opinion about a featured product (positive or negative) when they are given only teeny tiny samples. If consumers don’t have an opinion, then they are less likely to purchase the products featured. I won’t pretend to be an expert on business, but it seems to me that this concept would be covered in Business 101!
Shockingly enough, those teeny samples are worth a combined total of $43 – an excellent value for subscribers.
As far as product quality is concerned, I wasn’t extremely impressed with this box. None of these products left me eager for more (maybe the Maskimizer is an exception), and none were helpful additions to my beauty arsenal. However, the value and eco-friendliness of the May box nearly makes up for its lack of usefulness.
Overall, I give this box 3.5 Kimchi dishes out of 5, and Sephora gets to keep me as a customer for at least another month.
Tune in next month when I unbox and review the June Play! box, and leave your own thoughts in the comments!