This month I was just absolutely beyond thrilled to finally get off the waitlist for the Play! by Sephora beauty subscription box. It's pretty much just like Birchbox - once per month, $10 each + tax, and at least 5 samples. I think the main difference is that it appears everyone gets the same Play! box. I don't believe they are varied or customized at all. That being said, this was one of the most incredible subscription boxes I've ever received.
I absolutely adored everything in it and was psyched to see a few premium brand names I already love! I struggle with that a bit with my Birchbox subscription because I feel like I'm frequently unlucky - other subscribers are always randomly getting products from the brand names I already know and love like Benefit, The Organic Pharmacy, theBalm, Dr. Jart+, Ciate and Caudalie. I almost never get them.
I also loved the decorative cloth pouch that came with the products. It was so cute, good quality, and will be a great place to stash some of my samples on-the-go. I know Birchbox delivers its samples with a little pouch in the UK (where it charges more than $10/box) but I've never gotten something like this in a Birchbox here. It's a really nice touch.
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask ($36)
I got this exact same sample just last month in my Birchbox. However, that really wasn't a bad thing at all. I really like Briogeo products and the full size versions are quite expensive. So, I was super happy to get a dupe! I have dry, color-treated hair so deep conditioning masks really help repair my hair and make it look shiny, healthy, and strong. This product has a really nice subtle floral/herbal scent and leaves your hair feeling thick and moisturized but not at all greasy.
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue Pure Perfume ($25-195)
I've received a few Atelier Cologne samples in Birchboxes before. They're really good quality and the scents are always highly concentrated, so a bottle would last you a long time! I've definitely received this sample before. I thought it would be a bit floral with a subtle orange scent; however, it's really dominated by the citrus notes. It smells a bit more sour then I would think a typical orange would smell. It actually reminds me of the scent left on your hands after you eat a bunch of tangerines. It's pretty powerful but not unpleasant at all.
With my personal taste though, I think I prefer some of Atelier's other scents that smell more subtle like their Rose Anonyme. Most of their scents come in four different sizes (0.25 oz, 1 oz, 3.3 oz, 6.7 oz) which is great for travel or if you haven't yet decided to invest in the large bottle.
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi ($26.00)
I've never tried any Bite Beauty products before so I was excited to receive this one in my box. The sample is a really nice size that will last quite a long time. Kimchi is a super bright pink which might turn off a lot of people, but I actually really like the color. I also really liked how the lipstick was moisturizing on my dry lips and the color blended quite naturally - or as natural as hot pink can!
I'm now really interested in visiting the Bite Beauty Lip Lab here in NYC where you can customize your own lip color for $36 (tip: be sure to book about 2 weeks in advance).
Tarte Tarteist™ Lip Crayon in Latergram ($18)
This liner has a pretty fine point which makes it a bit delicate. Although the sample is smaller than the full size, I think it is still relatively close to the full size and has the same type of mechanics/packaging. The liner glides really easily as you twist it. The color is really nice - a sort of mauve mixed with beige or "pinky nude". I wouldn't use this to fill in my lips, as it's not moisturizing like a lipstick, but it makes a nice standard liner that blends well with a variety of different colored lipsticks, like my Olivia Palermo x Ciate Satin Kiss Lipstick in Praline and my Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita.
This photo should give you an idea of sample size. I'm holding up both lip products in front of a standard sized business card. They were both actually pretty substantial sizes that will last months.
Origins Maskimizer™ Skin-Optimizing Mask primer ($22.00)
The primer feels a bit like a misting spray. I found that I had to use quite a few sprays to cover my face. So, with the first use I used a bit more than half of the sample vial. It smelled a bit like mint to me but the packet says it has a Marine Algae Complex. It kind of reminded me of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir or Farmacy Skin Dew.
Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask ($4-26)
Since the main purpose of this mask is to clear pores and I've recently used quite a few masks and cleansers, I've decided to hold off on testing this one until a time when I really need it. I'll be sure to update this post once I have.
Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask ($4-26)
After applying the primer this nighttime mask gives you two options. You can either apply it for 10 minutes and then tissue it off or you can leave it on overnight. This mask is yellowish-cream in color and has a really pleasant tropical scent - sort of like a mixture of guava, passionfruit, and orange. I think the scent comes from all the lovely flower extracts listed in the ingredients. I've never used a mask with such a fruity smell, but it was pretty nice. The mask has a thick texture like a sunscreen, and absorbs into your skin in a similar way. It still felt a bit sticky on my skin when I woke up the next morning so I had to wash it off then. I can't say my skin felt especially moisturized in the morning, but to be fair I have very dry skin and it was an especially hot day.
Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial ($19-48)
Korres is a brand with such a great reputation, so I was excited to try out a new product by them. Since I have dry skin with some red splotchiness, skincare products with rose are absolutely perfect for me. They calm the skin in a nice natural way.
This facial is really easy to use - simply apply before bed right after your cleansing routine and leave it on overnight, no need to wash it off. The scent of this product is absolutely divine! If you love anything rose scented, you will adore this. The texture, much like the moisturizing Origins mask, was of the same sort of consistency as sunscreen. I was a bit surprised by the texture and color (white). I was expecting this one to be more like Fresh's Rose Face Mask which is a petal-infused clear gel.
I used this product the night after I got an eyebrow wax, which is always a little tough on my skin the first couple days - irritation, redness / bumpiness, extra dry skin. It definitely worked to calm my skin and stopped it from itching. I can't say I noticed a massive difference in the morning, but the product absorbed completely and didn't leave any sticky residue. I'm curious if I'll see more results after multiple uses.
Each month the Play! box comes with a Play! card. If you bring your card into the store you can get a "free one-to-one tutorial" and a bonus 50 Beauty Insider points with any purchase. I bought a travel size Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder for just $12 and got to walk away with 62 points after my visit!
I also presented my card to a staff member to see if I could get the advertised tutorial. The staff in the store I went to (Princeton, NJ) said that I was the first customer to ever bring in a Play! card. They assumed the "tutorial" meant one of the "mini makeovers" that are available to all customers any time they come into the store. That sounded fine with me, but I was wondering if anyone else has had a different experience? Did they do a tutorial with the products in our box? Anyway, I went ahead with the "Mask & Moisturize" mini makeover which was really great and taught me about some very high quality Peter Thomas Roth products to combat my dry skin. I even got to take home a little sample they made up for me of one of the products they used!
It turns out each month they have "Play! Dates" at a few select stores where they event Play! subscribers in for a special night of advice and treatments. Unfortunately when I tried to RSVP for the one at my local store (NYC Upper East Side) right away, it had already filled up. Hopefully I can go next time. It would be fun to meet some other subscribers in my area.