Mini-Reviews: Play! by Sephora – May 2016

Last month was the first time I signed up for the Play! by Sephora subscription box service.  I wrote about the April box then, and I just got the new one last Friday.  This month’s theme is “the forces of nature”, and each item in the box is said to be both high performing and good for you.  I assume that they are referencing natural ingredients like plant extracts and oils and things when they say that.

So without further ado, let’s open up the box!

Tarte’s Tarteist Lip Pencil in Latergram

The product list included in the Play! by Sephora box states that this product contains Vitamin E, “a natural preservative that nurtures dry skin and helps protect from free radicals”, and notes that “the mineral pigments in Tarte’s products are made by crushing actual earth minerals into fine powders and contain no synthetic counterparts, so they’re perfect for sensitive skin”.


This is an auto-type lip pencil that has a very slim output, which is great for precision lining.  The color itself is a kind of brownish mauve.


I didn’t like this lip pencil at all – it tugged an awful lot when I was using it on my lips.  I overextended it once – twisted too much product out – and when I tried to apply it with more than just a millimeter or two of product out, the liner broke off.  I decided to try and fill in my lipline with the pencil.  Having such a small tip is great for precision lining in the corners of your mouth but it makes it difficult to fill that line in. When I did fill it in, it applied patchily and really struggled when I got to dry patches on my lips. Then I licked my lips and rubbed them together and almost all of the liner on my bottom lip flaked right off.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi

The product card states that “Bite Beauty creates all its lipsticks using food-grade ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and made in small batches”, and points out coconut and pomegranate oil as the two highlights in the formula.

I got another deluxe sample from this line as a perk from Sephora awhile back. That color was called Radish.   This color, Kimchi, is described on Sephora’s website as “shocking pink”.

Play! by Sephora Bite Beauty deluxe sample

Here’s a swatch of it.

Play! by Sephora May 2016 Bite Beauty swatch

They weren’t lying when they said shocking pink, were they?  Pretty great.

The lipstick itself goes on incredibly smoothly, with no drag at all. With a color like this that’s bright and opaque and with such an emollient formula, I think it would be best to use a lipliner, but the color goes on smooth and not patchy at all.  It leaves a nice stain behind.

This lipstick does not pass the coffee-cup test; it will transfer, and it never really ‘sets’.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! deep conditioning hair mask

Briogeo was a brand that I had never heard of before, and the Play! by Sephora card states that “Briogeo’s founder was inspired to start a cosmetics company by her grandmother, who harvested raw ingredients from her own farm to make hair care products.”  The card points out argan and avocado oil as the two highlight ingredients.

Play! by Sephora Briogeo sample tube

Here’s what the product itself looks like.  It’s a watery kind of cream.

Play! by Sephora May 2016 Briogeo product swatch

I used this treatment and it really didn’t feel much different than a typical conditioner.  It absolutely kept my hair from tangling when I went to brush my hair out after the shower, but my hair didn’t seem shinier or anything. It didn’t seem to weigh my hair down or make it greasy faster than it normally would be.

This box is kind of heavy on masks.  We’ll continue this theme with the next two products.

Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial

The focal point of this sleeping pack is quite obviously the rose, which is listed on the information card as being “Wild rose oil, rich in vitamin C for helping even skin tone and visibly improve fine lines”.  The card says that “Korres works with local famers to produce botanicals and other natural ingredients that are unique to Greece’s climate”.

Play! by Sephora May 2016 Korres tube

Here is what the sleeping pack looks like out of the tube.

Play! by Sephora May 2016 Korres product swatch

Now, I personally am not a ‘floral scent’ kind of gal, so I don’t generally go buying products containing rose since they tend to be, in my opinion, overperfumed.  This mask has a rose scent, but it’s not overwhelming or unpleasant, it doesn’t throw far, and it disappears fairly quickly, so it’s something I can work with.   I found that it absorbed really quickly – in fact, I put it on and watched a youtube video, and by the time the video was over my face didn’t feel oily or greasy or filmy or anything. The next morning, my skin felt more moisturized than it otherwise would have, so I consider that a success.

Origins Maskimizer (and two mask samples)

The Play! by Sephora information card doesn’t separate out all the things in these three products, but the listed highlight ingredients are marine algae, bamboo charcoal, white china clay, apricot kernel oil, and Japanese seaweed.

Play! by Sephora May 2016 Origins sample

The Maskimizer is a clear liquid that is supposed to prep and prime your skin for any masks that you use.  To go with the maskimizer sample, Origins included two masks: the Clear Improvement charcoal mask for pore clearing and the Drink Up Intensive sleeping mask for moisturizing.

Since the idea is that the maskimizer will make the masks more effective, I tested it out.  I used the Clear Improvement charcoal mask with maskimizer on one half of my face only to see whether the results were any different.

The maskimizer itself absorbs quickly and easily, and has a faint scent to it that I can’t really put my finger on.  I tried it out with the charcoal mask.  I don’t think that my face is that large (maybe it is I guess? I dunno), but there wasn’t really enough product in the mask sample for me to feel like I got a good coverage over my face.  That’s neither here nor there, I guess, since the charcoal mask isn’t the sample I’m supposed to be playing with and reviewing.  I just found that a little frustrating.

Anyway, hilariously enough, the charcoal mask went on pretty well on the left side of my face (the naked half), but stung like crazy on the half where I had put the maskimizer.  Not helpful.  Additionally, when I went to go put on my sleeping pack later in the evening, the same thing happened – only that side of my face stung.  Clearly this product does not agree with my face.

Atelier Cologne in Orange Sanguine


The last sample is, of course, the inevitable perfume.  Atelier Cologne is a French company that uses essential oils to make their scents, which are designed to be unisex.  Orange Sanguine is described as “sweet blood orange and bitter orange peel paired with notes of geranium”.  That sounds like it’s right up my alley, but I actually didn’t particularly care for the scent.

Overall, this box didn’t really do anything for me.  Last time, I was happy because at least two of the samples were pretty exciting.  I really like the Bite Beauty lipstick sample I got in this box, but everything else left me kind of cold.

You can sign up for the Play! by Sephora box (or the waitlist, if there aren’t spaces available) here.

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