Subscription boxes have become so popular over the past few years, expanding into almost every category imaginable (treats for your face, your belly, your pets, your workout bag, you name it!). It’s so easy to see why the concept is so popular – what could be better than a “surprise” box full of little goodies of brands you love, or new things to discover…from you, to you! Regardless of what category, it’s a great way to try new product without feeling wasteful, and my favorite…to have travel sized items ready for your next trip!
On the same note, it can be frustrating when the samples you do receive are way offtrack from your preferences, or so tiny that it’s borderline comical (anyone else get the mini-eyebrow pencils that are so small you can barely grip them between your fingers, much less fill in both brows with it?) I’m definitely a fan of subscription boxes, but have had my fair share of misses too.
I recently switched from Birchbox to Sephora’s new monthly program called Play!, because I honestly found myself losing or not using most of the products that Birchbox sent (a girl can only have so many mini-perfume vial’s before going insane). February was my first month with Play! and I was super happy with everything I got, and actually have used all of the items over the past month instead of trying once and never touching it again.
I was so happy with the assortment that I thought it’d be fun to review what I get in my Play! box each month and share new finds (that are actually worth buying the full size of!). I will also link the full size products in my review, along with the price point on each, to make shopping easy (yo’ welcome 😉 ) and see how much each box would cost if buying full sized products.
Before I dive in to February’s products, here is a little overview of the program for those of you who are unfamiliar. And, as all content on the blog unless otherwise stated, this is solely my opinion and not influenced by sponsorship in any way. These are just my thoughts and how things worked for me; to each their own and I’ll always give it to you guys straight! 🙂
PLAY! is a beauty subscription box that is shipped once a month to you, for $10 per month (and billed monthly). We all know Sephora’s product and line assortment is stellar, so right off the bat I felt I would be happier with this subscription box because I knew the brands would be more familiar to me. Each month you’ll receive five trial-sized samples (plus a bonus product), packaged in a cute drawstring bag that correlates with that month’s theme. I personally find the bags more practical than the boxes from Birchbox, so I liked that aspect as well. Upon signing up for Play!, you will complete a short questionnaire to identify your skin type, tone, and beauty preferences, which Sephora then uses to help customize the shades/product that are sent.
You also receive a Play! Pass with each box, which gets you 50 bonus Beauty Insider points when you bring in store…which just means more free product! There are also cute features like Play! dates, which are subscriber only events hosted in store, and exclusive video how-to’s on the product you receive. Overall it’s a really straight-forward program with some great benefits, but my favorite part so far is the quality of product you get for just $10. The idea of subscription boxes are to discover product you actually want to buy the full size of, and I can absolutely see myself doing so with Play!
February’s box was themed around Valentine’s Day/Galentine’s Day and was super cute! The bag came with a cute themed-card that had beauty inspired Valentines Day cards you can give out to your girlfriends, and had the following product inside:
- Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Perfect Nude (Full Size: $12): Described on the site as “Nude lip gloss that makes lips look fuller with its light-reflecting formula”, this gloss definitely lives up to the hype. I just recently started to wear gloss occasionally again, as I’m pretty loyal to matte lips, but that’s what’s great about subscription boxes…trying products out of your typical wheelhouse to discover things that might work great for you. This gloss isn’t sticky, would compliment a vast-array of skin tones, has a great applicator, and really does make your lips look more full and pouty. A great staple-gloss to layer over color or wear solo.
- Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in M-500 – Wine Violet (Full Size: $22): Described as a “silky, high-pigmented lipstick in a deep wine shade with a matte finish”, this Make Up For Ever lipstick is so nice! This vampy shade is actually so wearable, and feel you can tone this down by blotting for a more subtle daytime look, or amp it up with a lip liner for nighttime. While I probably won’t be reaching for this every day, the mini size is perfect to have on hand. I wore alone for a night out and even just one coat lasted through our Thai dinner date..so it’s a winner in my book.
- Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara (Full Size: $23): What can I say about this cult-favorite mascara that hasn’t already been said? Described as the “fan-favorite mascara that volumizes and separates lashes with its unique wand”, this mascara is definitely a classic worth a try. I love having mini-tubes of these sample mascaras on hand because I keep them everywhere (one in my desk, one in my car, one in my bag), and recommend this mascara to anyone who hasn’t tried yet. Sephora always has the mini-sized tubes towards the front of the register, which is a great option if you want to try before you buy the big tube (mini’s are $12). While this isn’t my everyday go to and I do find it tends to be a bit flaky throughout the day on me, it’s worth a try because it seems to work a little differently on everyone.
- First Aid Beauty Ginger & Tumeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask (Full Size: $32): A “Jelly mask packed with Ginger and Tumeric to soothe and brighten Skin”, this Jelly Mask was selected for my skin type by Play!. I was completely unfamiliar with this line and product, but absolutely LOVED it as soon as I tried it! My skin always runs hot and my face carries some redness, so the Jelly texture immediately felt so good as I applied and instantly helped to soothe my skin and brighten up my overall tone. I will definitely be buying the full size of this baby once my sample is out! (but for reference, think this sample size will get me quite a few applications, which is so nice!) This product was perfect for my specific skin concerns and I thought Sephora hit it out of the park using the info I provided.
- Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel (Full Size: $48): Another product selected for my skin concern, this “Exfoliating gel that uses fruit enzymes to reveal bright, glowing skin” is unlike any product I have ever used before! You apply to clean, dry skin, and in circular motions the product helps to lift dead skin cells to smooth and brighten the surface of your skin. As I applied I was so surprised at how quickly the peel was lifting and was honestly a little freaked out at first (is this stuff taking off my skin? Am I going to have a face when this bad-boy is over with??), but after finishing and rinsing I was blown away at how clear and fresh my face looked. I did originally think a lot of what was “peeling” was the product itself…remember in grade school when you would put glue in your hands just to rub it off? That’s honestly what this reminded me of. However, after trying several more times and reading other reviews online, I realized it really is exfoliating your skin and not just balling up on itself. I think this would be a great product for mature skin as well – and read that men love this product to help with shaving/ingrown hairs on their face! (Hubs – if you’ve made it this far into reading this, be ready to try this tonight).
Philosophy Amazing Grace Fragrance (Rollerball: $20): Fragrance is such a personalized thing to me, so it’s pretty rare when I really click with a sample I receive. I’ve used other Amazing Grace products by Philosophy and while I like this scent in bath/body products, I’m personally not a fan of this as a perfume. I am so insanely loyal to Chanel Chance (which I’ve been wearing since High School), and am still awaiting the day when I find something that suits me better. Sorry Philosophy, Amazing Grace just ain’t it!
February Total: $157!
Granted, that would be for full size of each product, but most of these samples are sized for a few applications at minimum, rather than just one-time trial sizes. So far, I’m super impressed with the value of Play! and can’t wait to share my future boxes! Going forward, I’ll be sure to include some photos as well…so be on the look out for my March review coming soon.
Do any of you have Play!, and if so what do you think? Anyone prefer Birchbox, ipsy, or another Beauty box? Drop a comment below to let me know, or if you have questions on any of the February items above!