Sunday, July 3, 2016

Play! by Sephora June 2016 Review

As you may have noticed if you saw my review last month, this is my second Play! by Sephora box - ever! It took a while to get off the waitlist, but it's been well worth it so far. I was really pleased with my first box and this one certainly didn't let me down either.

BareMinerals BareSkin Sheer Sun Serum Bronzer
(Full Size, $28)

At first glance, this product looked far too dark for my fair skintone. However, it blends extremely well - just remember that a little goes a very long way! I would recommend just using a single drop in one area and spreading it around with either your finger or a Beauty Blender. 

I've read elsewhere that it works nicely when blended into your foundation or moisturizing cream. I think I'll try it in my moisturizing cream next time. That sounds like a really great way to get a subtle glow. 

I don't know if the full size bottle has the same applicator. I don't believe it does. I was a bit surprised by the applicator on this sample. It looks almost like an eye dropper but the opening is actually quite large, so product comes out quickly.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter
(Full Size, $38)

I don't really use any other products like this at the moment, so this was a fun new product to experiment with this month. As you can see below, the product goes on in a nice thick texture. It just kind of rests on top of your skin, so you need to make sure to blend it in well with a sponge or your finger. It has a nice glow and can be layered with any other products you would like in your routine. It provides a sort of nice, glistening base that makes your face look energized and healthy. It reminded me a bit of the Tarte Illuminating Moisturizer which seems to be a product they are phasing out of most retail stores. This Becca product works more as a highlighter than an overall moisturizer or BB cream though.

The swatches above will show you what the products were like when first applied to my skin tone. The top one is the Becca product which matched my skin tone very well but came out really thick. The bottom one is the Bare Minerals product which came out extremely dark but could be easily blended across that patch of my skin to look much more natural.

Benefit They're Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara
(Full Size, $24 / Travel Size, $12)

This mascara has been my go-to for several years now. So, needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to get a sample in this box. It's always nice to have a travel-sized version for my purse. This mascara adds incredible length and volume to your lashes to make them instantly glamorous. The brush shape also lends itself well to helping you create some curl in your lashes. This is the main mascara I use, so I could go on for days. If you haven't tried it, you definitely should! 

The only negative things about it I can possibly think of are: 1) it creates a pretty dramatic effect so you might want to use a more subtle mascara for the office and 2) some people say this mascara is really hard to remove - my experience, it's actually not at all, just get some TopCare/Ponds/Simple make-up removing wipes and you can very easily get it off.

Bumble & Bumble Don't Blow It (H)air Styler
(Full Size, $31 / Travel Size, $15)

I have to admit I was a bit in the dark about how to use this product because there are no instructions provided on the tube or on the pamphlet that describes the products in the box. So, I have no idea whether I used the right amount of product (about the size of a quarter) at the right time (after my hair had air dried a little bit following a shower). 

Since I air dry my hair more often than not, this product sounded like a great one for me. The first time I used it, I used it in the same washing as another new product, a John Frieda gloss. So, I have to admit it was hard to tell which product caused which effect. However, my hair turned out being so soft to the touch and beautifully shiny that I was just floored. 

Admittedly, I did try the product a second time without the John Frieda gloss and noticed much less of an impact. My hair was relatively smooth and most of the "bumps" or "waves" I dislike in the back of my hair were minimized. However, I did get a bit of a cowlick toward the back of my part from air drying my hair. I wouldn't say in that instance I noticed that this product made a huge difference. I think I will need to try it a few more times to really make up my mind.

Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
(Full Size, $32 / Travel Size, $12)

First off, I love this sample because the packaging is just so lovely. The little bottle is actually made of glass, not plastic! It is super easy to use and fragrance-free. When applied about 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, this sunscreen will keep you protected for about 2-3 hours. It's really gentle on your skin and is great for your face. If you apply a few drops to your hands, rub it around, and then pat it on your face, you can get pretty full coverage after you apply your makeup.

Tocca "Florence" Eau de Parfum
(Full Size, $68 / Travel Size, $34 / Rollerball, $22)

This perfume has a really lovely (but strong!) Gardenia scent. I absolutely love Gardenia so this is a great fit for me. A little goes a long way, so dab on just 1 drop if you want a subtle all-day scent, or 2-3 if you want something more noticeable. In my Play! Date event Catherine from the Sephora team suggested mixing it in with lotion for an all-over subtle scent. She also pointed out the really unique high-quality metal cap on the full-sized bottle. Not only does it have an intricate attention to detail, but no two metal caps are the same! What a fun thing to know - each bottle is unique and collectable.

I delayed posting this review for a little bit because I did get to go to the Play! Date event this month at my local store. It was just this past Thursday. I have to admit that my expectations from this other blogger's review set the bar really high. I think these events vary greatly from store to store and my local store (86th Street in NYC) was nothing like that. It was definitely not as big of a production - more of a "welcome to the neighborhood store". 

The event was from 7-8pm. When I arrived at 7:15pm it looked like there wasn't any event going on at all in the store. I went around a bend and found a tiny table set up in one corner with the products from this month's box. There were two staff members talking to a group of three women. I popped over and joined them, making the Play! Date a total of 4. Nobody new joined after me and by the point when I joined they'd already gone through explaining half the products. I had no idea I needed to be there right at 7 on the dot, I thought it was more of a "drop-in" event. The explanation of how to use each product ended around 7:30pm and that was the end of the event. 

The staff members, April and Catherine, were extremely knowledgeable and it was such a delight to meet them. It was a great, really brief event, it just wasn't what I'd expected from other review which reported that there was a big crowd, a bag of giveaways, selfie stations, and makeup applications (other than the mini makeovers always available) - my location didn't have any of that. Next time I might check out the Play! Date at another location to see if it's any bigger.

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