Sephora Play! July 2017

I know, I know, it’s almost September, and here I am still posting about boxes from mid July.  Life is just getting the better of me at the moment and there’s too much real life stuff going on to be as involved with the blog as I have been in the past.  It’s mostly good real life stuff, but it keeps me much busier these days!  So, anyway, July’s box was kind of a make it or break it box for me with Sephora since there were a few in a row that were pretty much meh, didn’t fit my profile, and FFS if I get another highlighter or dry shampoo… ahem.  Surprisingly though, this one was actually a nice box!  The theme was, “Beauty Staycation,” so I expected more treatments and masks out of that theme, but got a lip product and mascara, so, that says more vacation than staycation to me, but the themes are seldom ever actually a theme when it comes to the products anyway.

  • Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding – 2.8 oz / $38 – (Product is .84 oz, value of $11.40 by volume)  This makes sense for the theme, and hey, a mask?  Yes please!  It’s essentially a clay and charcoal based product which makes sense, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I am loving the ingredient list.  Sadly, Boscia isn’t cruelty free, so this isn’t a product I’d consider repurchasing.
  • Bare Minerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lip Color – 4 mL / $19 – (Product is 2 mL, value of $9.50 by volume)  The color is, “Swag,” which is described as a blushing mauve.  The formula goes on creamy and smells like chocolate.  I’m not entirely sold on the color which looks a little like a dull chalky pink and is just a bit too pale for my already pale complexion.  It is a nice formula though, just a miss on the color.  Bare Minerals is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.
  • Briogeo Rosarco Milk – 5 oz / $20 – (Product is .75 oz, value of $3 by volume)  This is already a tried and true favorite for my curly hair and I use it all the time to give a little life back to my 2nd or even 3rd day curls.  My hair is crazy dry, so every little bit of moisture and every drop of oil in this product helps keep my hair from looking like straw.  Bonus, Briogeo is completely cruelty free.
  • Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne – 3.3 oz / $130 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $1.97 by volume)  This is surprisingly nice!  Probably not $130 nice, but it’s a really bright, fruity orange scented cologne.  Sadly, Atelier Cologne isn’t cruelty free, and at that price I wouldn’t be buying the full size anyway, but I’m definitely going to use up this sample.
  • Milk Makeup Cooling Water – 1.2 oz / $24 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $2 by volume)  I’m really not sure what to do with this.  I get that it’s meant to de-puff under eyes and cool your skin, but it’s one of those superfluous beauty items that I’ve been living without and really have no need for anyway.  I do love Milk Makeup already since they’re cruelty free and awesome, and the product is interesting and I’ll use it, but it’s not a new necessity.
  • IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara – .3 oz / $24 – (product is approx .1 oz, value of $8)  I think what I like best about this is the wand!  It’s the best of those plastic spiky wands and a regular brush type wand all in one so it keeps clumping down and separates lashes well at the same time.  The product applies evenly and neatly, and I rather like this!  The company is cruelty free, but they’re owned by L’Oreal who is not cruelty free.

Overall the value of the box comes to $35.87 which is about average for this box that costs me $10.60 including tax.  I think the big winner was the Briogeo Rosarco Milk since I go through that stuff like water, so extra samples are always welcome.  Everything else is fun to try, but there are no big, new, stand-out products that wowed me enough to say, yeah, I’d buy that again.  I will definitely be trying the mask and will use up the cologne and mascara, but they’re not knocking out my favorites by any stretch.  August’s box already arrived too, so that’ll be up soon (I hope)!

Sephora Play! June 2017

This month’s Sephora Play! arrived last week on June 10th, but I’m running a little behind this month!  I think this is the earliest I’ve ever received a Play box and it completely surprised me since I hadn’t even received the shipping email (the email came after the box had arrived).  My box variant this month was #042 and the theme was, “Your Summer Starters.”  Again, not really much of a theme – there’s nothing with SPF or anything that really says summer to me, but these themes are always kind of nebulous and not really followed with the product selection.  The bag design is back to that awful cartoonish design that I’m just not into.

  • Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – 6.6 mL / $20 – (Product is 3 mL, value of $9.09 by volume)  The color I received is “K-Dub” which is described as a bold fuchsia.  I absolutely love Kat Von D, but this color is completely unwearable.  Between this and that awful brown lip crayon from last month.. Sephora, are you drunk?!  They keep sending the world’s most unwearable colors!  This shows up as a neon hot pink on me, and it’s awful.  I’m not sure anyone could hear me over that lip color, it’s so loud and awful.  I tried layering other colored glosses on top, but it’s just such a bizarre shade and doesn’t play well with others.  The formula is great – velvety and smooth without being too drying –  but the color makes it a garbage toss.
  • Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium – 1.6 oz / $91 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $2.28 by volume)  The scent is described as having notes of coffee, orange blossom, cedarwood, and patchouli which is FINALLY a win for the type of scents I like.  It’s not at all floral, but musky and rich, and I really dig this.  Again, probably not enough to buy the full size since YSL tests on animals, but enough to use up the sample here in short order.
  • Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil – 3 oz / $32 – (Product is .28 oz, value of $2.99 by volume)  Wow.  A hair oil that actually contains oils, no silicones, and a product from Ouai that isn’t incredibly over-scented!  The first ingredient is Sunflower seed oil, followed by a bunch of other oils, but there is still one troubling ingredient, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which was shown in a study this year to potentially damage human DNA and cause genome mutations, so that kind of ruins the product for me since I don’t need a UV-B blocker in my hair products anyway, and especially not one that can potentially cause cancer.  The company is cruelty free, but apparently that doesn’t extend to using dangerous, damaging ingredients.
  • Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer – .75 oz / $31 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $4.13 by volume)  It’s a silicone based primer.  Ehh.  It’s really expensive for a silicone primer that’s like all the other silicone primers, and I’m just not into them since I don’t really use primers or foundation basically ever.  I also don’t have a problem with large pores, so this is a miss for me.  Also, the company engages in animal testing since they sell in China, so I refuse to buy anything from this company.
  • IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel – 5 oz / $27 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $2.70 by volume)  I was so excited about this at first since this is a cruelty free company and coconut hair oil gel?  Sounds like me!  Unfortunately, the product list contains a bunch of silicones and acrylates in between the excellent oils, so this is a pass since I don’t use silicones on my hair (I do a low/no shampoo routine and since silicones and acrylates build up in your hair and I don’t use products with SLS/ALS to scour them out, I can’t use silicones either).  I’m completely bummed – this product would’ve been spot on perfect without the silicones or acrylates, but, as it is, it’s a pass for me.
  • First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer – 1.7 oz / $28 – (Product is .34 oz, value of $5.60 by volume)  It’s another silicone based primer, but this one has more fruit extracts in it.  So, two primers in this box.  Yay?  This one is a little better of a match since it’s a moisturizer/primer in one, but the company changed their policy recently and are now not really cruelty free, so it’s not something I’d buy (the company refuses to certify that their ingredients aren’t tested on animals, but the end product isn’t tested on animals, so it’s a grey area).

The total value for this month came to $26.79 which is definitely the lowest value box I’ve ever received from Sephora.  I mean, the cost is only $10.60 per month including tax, so the value of the products still exceeds the cost, but personally, this box was very nearly a complete waste this month.  Another awful, unwearable lip color, TWO hair products I can’t use, TWO boring primers, and the only thing I think I’m keeping and using is the perfume.  The duplicate products are getting annoying too – it would be great if we could even things out and have a variety of products in each box instead of two primers or three highlighters in the same month.  This is also my 12th month of Sephora Play! and I have to admit that the last three boxes (this one included) have been terrible misses for what I’m interested in, and even worse misses according to my profile for this box.  Sephora, I want you to do better.  I know you can.  Otherwise, I’m going to have to call it quits.

Sephora Play! May 2017

May’s Sephora Play! has arrived!  For those of you that are avid Sephora Play! fans, my box variant was #264, and my profile is set to dry skin and dry hair.  Unfortunately, it seems like the profile went out the window this month since I got products that are all for “Normal to Oily” skin or oily scalp.  Complete miss on the product selection there, Sephora.  The theme this month was, “The Rising Stars,” and I think this might be the first theme that they actually paid attention to the theme.  All those brands are relatively new and are gaining popularity, so, well done.  The bag is different this month too – it’s a clear vinyl bag, perfect for stashing away on vacation (possibly airline carry-on safe as well?).

  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub – 2.7 oz / $19 – (Product is 1.35 oz, value of $9.50 by volume)  This is actually a combo sea salt scrub and shampoo.  There is no chance that I’d ever use anything like this on my dry scalp since it contains sea salt (REALLY?!) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.  I haven’t used a product with SLS on my hair in years since my curly hair doesn’t need to be stripped of all of its oils with such a harsh surfactant.  It’s funny because this is the only product the company makes that contains SLS.  And the very idea of rubbing sea salt on my scalp when I have a terrible problem with dryness.. that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.  I saw other people report that this strips out color (I dye the ends of my hair a vibrant red using semi-permanent vegetable-based hair dye), so this is a HARD pass for me.  It’s also pretty heavily perfumed.  I think I may repurpose it as a plain old body scrub or exfoliator, but this isn’t going anywhere near my hair.  The company is cruelty free though, so that’s awesome!
  • trèStiQue Highlight & Perfect Multipurpose Stick – .21 oz / $34 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $6.48 by volume)  I’m not a big fan of highlighters to begin with, but this is one of those light, opalescent highlighters instead of a glitter bomb.  It’s subtle, so I actually like this as a brow bone highlighter to set of eye makeup.  It may be just a hair too light for my skin tone, and I’m pretty fair-skinned, but it’s also the only color they offer.  The company is also cruelty free.
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser – 4.2 oz / $45 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $10.71 by volume)  SUNDAY RILEY!  I know and love Sunday Riley already since they’re a wonderful cruelty free company.  This product says it’s for normal to oily skin, but I love the brand so much, I don’t even care, I’m going to use this up and not even worry about the fact that it doesn’t at all fit my beauty profile.  The product dispenses as a cloudy liquid gel that works into a gentle, light lather (not super foamy, just every so slightly bubbly) and rinses away cleanly.  I didn’t find it was drying, and the scent was very light.  I’m not sure I’d go in for the $45 full size version, but it’s great to be able to try this out!
  • Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color – .1 oz / $24 – (Product is .088 oz, value of $21.12 by volume)  I’m not sure why we couldn’t get the extra .012 oz to make this a full size?  It seems kind of silly.  But, maybe it’s all for the better since this color, “Greystone,” is quite possibly the most hideous color in the history of lip colors.  It’s brown.  Poop brown, dirt brown, disgusting brown.  I’m not sure this color would look good on anyone.  I heard people have tried layering other colors over it, but the formula is so opaque and strong that there’s nothing that can make it look good.  I mean, all of that would be awesome if it was a pretty color, but this isn’t.  It’s terrible.  The company though is cruelty free and there are other colors in this line that I actually like, but brown lipstick?  No.  Just no.
  • Maison Margiela Replica Eau de Toilette – 3.4 oz / $126 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $1.48 by volume)  The scent is, “Beach Walk,” and is actually not terrible!  The bergamot definitely comes out on top, and while the floral ylang ylang is there, it’s tempered a bit by the musk and cedarwood.  It’s a light scent that isn’t a stinky floral and I could absolutely wear this without wanting to scrub it off my skin.  It’s not enough of a hit that I’d ever pay $126 for a bottle, but it’s nice enough that I’d use up the sample.  Unfortunately, the parent company is L’Oreal, and this company does test on animals.
  • GrandeLips Hydrating Lip Plumper – .05 oz / $27 – (Product is approx 1.2 mL?, value of $20?)  I’m totally guessing on the product size – it looks about the same volume as the perfume once you remove the applicator.  It’s pretty close to being full size though, just in different packaging.  I tried this out already and while it does tingle, it doesn’t burn.  I can never really tell if these plumping products actually make a noticeable difference, but it works well enough as a hydrating gloss that I’ll use it regardless.  This company is cruelty free too!

Overall the value of the box this month comes to $69.29 which is pretty huge for a box that only costs $10.60 a month including tax.  Definitely one of the bigger value boxes!  I do have to give Sephora some credit this month too since I’d been ranting on about wanting a cruelty free box, and this one was SO close!  The only thing that was from a non-cruelty-free company was the perfume.  I’m not sure if it’s just because newer indie brands understand that their consumers are looking for cruelty free cosmetics and there’s no need or reason to test cosmetics on animals or sell in countries (*cough-China-cough*) that require the barbaric practice, or that Sephora actually aimed to include cruelty free products this month.  Either way, I’m glad to see it happen, and LOOK!  No Estée Lauder products this month!  It’s like they were listening to me!  So, out of 6 products, two were complete failures which leaves me with 4 products I’ll use.  I am a little disappointed that they seemed to not have bothered looking at the profiles this month, and I’m kind of sick of getting highlighters already, but I still want to hang on to this subscription for a bit since the price point is low and I’m still getting enough wins to make it worth it.  Looking forward to the next month!

Sephora Play! April 2017

The Sephora Play! for April has finally arrived today!  It’s a little later than usual, but it seems that my box variant, #575, was in the last batch to ship.  The theme for this month was, “Step it up,” so I expected something with intense colors, prestige brands, etc.  That didn’t really happen here.  The themes just never seem to be actual themes, just catchy slogans they trot out and then ignore when it comes to product selection.  I know I keep saying it, but for $10.60/mo including tax and shipping, I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining, but if you’re going to have a theme, stick to it.  The bag this month says, “The Best Things in Life Are Me,” and features a cartoonish girl in a tiara on the front with a pink ribbon.  Not my favorite bag, to be honest.  The design just isn’t to my tastes at all, and I think I prefer the more plain words-only designs.

  • Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover – 4.2 oz / $11 – (Product is .84 oz, value of $2.20)  This says it’s suitable for people with sensitive eyes, but it contains dyes and salt (sodium chloride).  There’s no reason for this to contain dyes other than to make it look pretty, and salt?!  Near your eyes?!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!  I don’t need a waterproof eye makeup remover since I don’t really use waterproof makeup, plus, I use natural oils to remove my makeup and it does a far better job with zero irritation (and only one ingredient!).
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer – 1 oz / $36 – (Product is .25 oz, value of $9)  I would honestly almost count this as a zero value item since I know I’ve received this multiple times as a free sample on orders.  I have about five of these exact same size lying around already, and there’s nothing stepped-up about a primer that everyone’s already gotten a sample of a few times.  It’s okay – it’s a basic, silicone-based primer – but it’s nothing new or special.
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate – .5 oz / $24 – (Product is .25 oz, value of $12)  The third ingredient is polyethylene, so the little exfoliator bits are plastic.  There is actually a ban on plastic microbeads passed in 2015 that goes into effect on July 1, 2017, and I’m not sure why Kate Somerville hasn’t gotten on board yet since these little plastic exfoliator beads are huge pollutants.  I did give this a try – the exfoliation action is much more of a fine sand than a coarse scrub.  It has a fresh, green and cinnamony sort of scent that isn’t overpowering.  Unfortunately, the use of plastic exfoliator beads is a huge problem for me, and I’m really surprised that they haven’t bothered to change their formula since the law is due to go into effect in a few months.
  • Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette – 1.7 oz / $80 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $1.88)  Stinky floral mess.  I really can’t handle floral perfumes and this contains both violet and jasmine, so it’s a huge nope for me.  As usual though, I enjoy getting these samples since it helps me figure out what perfumes I do and don’t like.
  • Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream – 48 mL / $52 – (Product is 7.5 mL, value of $8.13)  This is a perfect fit for my dry skin profile.  The first bunch of ingredients are silicones, so I feel like this could double as a primer too.  It dispenses as a completely unscented gel, but goes on like water, and it makes my skin feel super soft.  It’s a shame this company tests on animals, or I’d be first in line to buy the full size!
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Waterproof Eyeliner – .04 oz / $21 – (Product is .01 oz, value of $5.25)  It’s a basic black eyeliner.  The formula does go on nice and velvety matte and richly pigmented, but again, it’s not what I’d call stepped-up – it’s a pretty basic sort of item.  I guess the brand is maybe the stepped-up part?  Unfortunately, the company tests on animals, so this isn’t something I’d buy again since there are plenty of cruelty-free eyeliners out there.

Overall, the value of the box comes to $38.46 which is pretty much average, and a great value for the cost of only $10.60 per month including tax and shipping.  This is a far better box than last month’s, and I appreciate the diversity in products this time around!  Unfortunately, only one product this month is from a completely cruelty free company, Marc Jacobs.  Smashbox is owned by Estée Lauder, and Kate Somerville by Unilever, so even if they individually are cruelty free, their parent companies are not.  It also marks yet another box with an Estée Lauder brand.  I’m still waiting on that 100% cruelty free box, Sephora.  With Earth Day this month, they totally had a chance too!