Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 2015's PLAY! by Sephora Box

While I can't say that I'm a subscription box addict (my budget won't allow me to be), I do love trying out different boxes. When Sephora announced last month that it was getting in the beauty subscription box game, I figured I would give it a whirl. After receiving my first box, I'm very happy that I did!

PLAY! by Sephora is very similar to Birchbox, Ipsy, and other beauty subscription boxes in its most basic details. Like these other boxes, you signup for a monthly subscription ($10 + tax per month) and get a package of deluxe samples from the brands that Sephora carries in its stores. You also get a PLAY! Book with information on the different products as well as a PLAY! Pass that, according to the box's FAQ page, you can "redeem in store for a free one-on-one learning session with a beauty expert." My PLAY! Pass also says that I can redeem it to get 50 extra Beauty Insider points with purchase (depending on your thoughts regarding Sephora and the entire "Epic Rewards/Epic Fail" debacle, your mileage on whether these points are worth anything may vary).

Based on what I've seen online, I don't think that there is much (if any) variation in the boxes, which can be both good and bad. While Birchbox gives subscribers sample choice and has them fill out surveys so that the boxes can be tailored to preference and style, it seems like Sephora's boxes all contain the same products. Since I've had mixed experiences with Birchbox personalizing my products (I tend to get shampoo with sulfates, which I can't use because I glaze my hair, and foundations that are much, much too light), I'm actually happy to get the same products as everyone else since this helps mitigate the frustration that comes with getting products that don't work for you and seeing someone else get products that you could and would use.

 I received the notice that my box had shipped on the 18th and received my box today (the 22nd), which is a record for me and beauty boxes. It was packaged in a black and white Sephora shipping box. The inner packaging can be seen on the left. The size is somewhere between a Glossybox and a Birchbox, and it is very cute. One thing I'll be interested in seeing is whether Sephora changes the design on the inner box lids. While this is cute, I'd love to see some other colors and designs. The packaging inside the inner box was crinkled paper, which kept the products in place. If I have one complaint about Birchbox, it is that there isn't any cushioning, so I've gotten more than a few damaged products. I don't necessarily see that happening with the PLAY! box.

The products are snug in their bed

My samples were all deluxe-sized, and there was a nice variety to them. They included:
  • The Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion lip tint/stain in Peony 
  • A Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer
  • Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation face creme
  • Bumble and bumble Haidresser's Invisible Oil
  • Glamglow Supercleanse
  • Elizabeth and James Nircana White perfume (this is a bonus product)

Overall, I really liked the products I received. When I first subscribed, I was a little nervous that the majority of items would be Sephora brand (rather than prestige brands), so I was pleasantly surprised that I received only one Sephora brand product, which I really liked. I particularly appreciate that these are all products I would like to try but aren't ones that I would necessarily purchase on my own. Since one of my hopes when subscribing to a beauty box is finding something new that I would like, I consider this a success.

Additionally, I found the PLAY! Book to be informative. I typically don't pay too much attention to the info sheets or booklets included with subscription boxes, but this one had some helpful information, such as how to use the products in unusual ways (for instance, you can use the Marc Jacobs Highliner to tint light-colored lashes and the Bumble and bumble oil primer to tame brows and moisturize nails). The book is also supposed to be scannable, meaning that you can scan the product pictures with the Sephora smartphone app to get additional information.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the box, and I'm looking forward to next month's. If you have any questions or thoughts regarding the box, please feel free to share in the comments section.