Play! by Sephora – Feeling December Disappointment in January



In my December review of November’s Play!, I hinted that I was less than pleased with this box.

Let me clarify beforehand: I love several of these products. Some of the main reasons I’ve been so frustrated with these boxes are –


  1. I feel that they consistently lack cohesion.
  2. The service has been redic – for example, this box was shipped on December 15th and didn’t arrive until the 26th (est. delivery was the 19th). I understand this was right around the Christmas rush, but it’s happened with every box before it, too.
  3. Presentation is also kind of a fail. The white confetti that’s stuffed inside always leaves a film of white powder on every product. It makes them feel grimy and gross. Also, as you can see in the picture above, they actually sent out stapled sample packets this month. REALLY?


Now, let’s get down to the finer details. This month’s theme was “Oh, What Fun!”, which honestly made little sense to me. Perhaps if the curation had contained bright colors, or festive products, or something that said fun in any way, I would feel differently.

Since it’s the craziest element to me, I’d like to start with the Nude Advanced Renewal Serum. I’ve actually used a full bottle of this serum before and LOVED it! Nude’s products are natural, luxuriously textured and scented, and chock-full of beneficial ingredients. This one in particular has Omega-9, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba seed oil to hydrate, firm, and smooth the skin. I definitely saw noticeable brightness, and a softer, smoother texture when using this.

But come on, 7 sample packets stapled together?! It’s like there was an excess of samples at the warehouse, and without a little bottle or tube, its inclusion seems like an afterthought.


Also strange to me was that there were 2 serums included in this box. Fresh’s Seaberry Face Oil also reminds me quite a bit of the Nude Serum, and both are really made to do the same thing. One point of difference is that in addition to Omega-9 the Seaberry oil contains Omegas 3,6, & 7 to help with skin healing and inflammation as well. It is very fragrant, but I don’t mind the herbal scent (my partner is not such a fan though!).


Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes Liner is a classic. A lot of the waterproof, long-wear pencils out there are so dark, but this one is a softer, more wearable black that still gives a smudge-free look. I actually got my grandmother hooked on this a few years ago, and now every 6 months or so I get a request for a refill.


Unfortunately, I didn’t get much use out of Dr. Brandt’s PoreDermabrasion Exfoliator. I’m not a big believer in grainy physical exfoliators. They tear the skin at a microscopic level, and while you may feel smooth after use, you also tend to produce more oil after using them because you’ve stripped your skin. If these types of scrubs are your thing, mix a little bit into your regular cleanser once or twice a week to soften the blow to your visage.


I know, I know! I always turn these posts into a novel. That’s what happens when there are 6 products in a row to review! We’re almost done though 🙂 Let’s power through!


Smashbox’s Full Exposure duo was my favorite addition! I thought it was great to include both a matte and shimmer shade, which is something I like a lot about the full-size palette as well. Texture on the warm, brown matte is a little dry, but the shimmer shade is smooth. Both are more sheer than pigment-saturated, but are perfect for a daytime look. This duo is also great to toss in a makeup bag for a weekend trip, so I’m really excited to have it in my collection!


And lastly, we have Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. A scent so prolific, it had a song written about it! “Flowerbomb, let me guess your favorite fragrance?”

This is not your grandmother’s floral. It’s light and sweet – refreshing, instead of the heavy, powdery florals so popular in the past. This parfum wears extremely well throughout the day, and can transition from season to season.


That’s it for December! Regardless of the issues I’ve had with this box, I’m excited to see what 2016 holds for Sephora’s subscription service. My irritation with Play! may soon be over, and first looks at January’s box are telling me that it will only get better with time. Be watching out for that review soon!

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