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In the beauty world, there are a few big names that stand out. Birchbox has long been one of the most popular beauty subscription boxes on the market, while Sephora is the go-to store for your makeup and skincare needs.
So now that Sephora has its own subscription box, how does it compare to Birchbox
Both boxes send around five deluxe samples of beauty items per month. Both are around $10, and both offer a variety of brands from different price points.
They also both send similar types of beauty products, although Birchbox’s focus tends to lean towards skincare while Sephora sends more makeup items. So how does each stack up? Let’s take a look at what each box has to offer…
Birchbox was founded in 2010 by Hayley and Katia, who wanted an easier way to discover new beauty products without having to buy them first. Their dream blossomed into Birchbox, a way for customers to try product samples and buy them if they like them. Customers fill out a profile of their skin and hair needs as well as some preferences.
Each month, they then receive around 5 deluxe samples of various products that are relevant to those needs and preferences, packaged in a cute patterned box that can be reused.
Birchbox offers a mix of high- and low-end products, usually skincare and hair care with a few makeup items thrown in, and they’ve partnered with hundreds of brands to really give their customers a wide variety of new products to choose from. Most of the samples tend to be on the higher end of the price scale which really makes the box worth the $10 price tag.
With Birchbox, you can either choose one of your box’s samples from a few possible options or select the curated box, which is a collection of samples usually organized around a specific theme.
Choosing the curated box means you’ll know all of your samples beforehand, but it’s a great way to guarantee you’re getting your money’s worth if it contains products you love. If the curated box isn’t for you, it’s nice to know that you can choose one of your samples so you’re guaranteed to get something you like.
The Birchbox website has its own online shop where you can buy full-sized versions of your sample products for a discount when they have a coupon code available. They often have promotions going on where you receive a free gift with purchase, as well.
Birchbox has a points system where you earn points by giving Birchbox as a gift, buying items from their shop, or referring your family and friends. These points can be redeemed for products from their shop.
Another unique offering from Birchbox is their BirchboxMan subscription which contains things like skincare, aftershave, and other grooming products for men.
(Photo from My Subscription Addiction)
- The boxes are cute and can be either reused or recycled.
- Their online shop allows you to score products at discounted prices.
- The products tend to be from higher-end or well-known brands.
- You can customize your box and choose one sample per month through their website.
- They sometimes include perfume samples, which are hit or miss.
- The discounts offered through their website are limited
- It’s tough to earn points now that they’ve removed the option to review products for them.
About Sephora Play
The Play! By Sephora box rolled out to the masses in 2016 after a small, private beta launch to select customers. This box is chock-full of recognizable brands and popular products, all in a convenient deluxe sample size and wrapped up in a clear reusable bag.
Sephora Play only offers products that are available in Sephora, which is great if you want to avoid lower-end samples or ones from the drugstore: the brands Sephora offers tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Each month you get five deluxe samples ranging from skincare to makeup to hair care, as well as a bonus perfume sample, all in a reusable bag.
Sephora, unlike Birchbox, does not allow you to fill out a profile with your specific skin and hair needs or makeup preferences. This is a big drawback, as it’s possible you’ll receive colors that don’t suit your skin tone or skincare that’s not right for your skin or hair type.
The good news is that they don’t send samples of foundation or concealer that would need to match your exact skin tone, and most of the products would work for a variety of skin colors and types.
Sephora Play subscribers receive a few benefits outside of the subscription box itself. The first is the Play! Pass, which allows certain in-store rewards. Subscribers will get an additional 50 rewards points with any purchase once each month, which can then be put towards products in their rewards boutique on the site or in-store.
The Play! Pass also offers things like complimentary products or mini makeovers that vary from month to month.
The second benefit is the Play! Date, which is a monthly in-store event that’s only accessible to subscribers (and a plus one.) During these events, you can test out products, ask questions to the in-store makeup artists, and watch product demos of the samples you receive in the box so you’ll know how to use them.
This is a fun way to build a community around the subscription service that other brands don’t offer.
Sephora does not offer a subscription box service for men, which is surprising considering the fact that the store sells a wide range of men’s grooming products. This might be something to look out for down the line.
(Photo from My Subscription Addiction)
What are Some Pros About Sephora Play?
- Most of the products are recognizable brands, as they’re all Sephora brands
- You can earn rewards points to put towards free items in their Rewards Boutique
- Perfume samples are in addition to your five deluxe samples
- Products work for a variety of skin colors and types
What are Some Cons About Sephora Play?
- There’s no option to customize your box, so if you only like certain products this might not be for you.
- The packaging isn’t very exciting
- There’s no option for men, even though Sephora carries a huge selection of men’s products
Birchbox vs Sephora Play At A Glance
Below is a breakdown of how the two boxes compare:
|$10 per month||$10 per month|
|Comes in decorative packaging that changes each month||Packaging is the same each month|
|Mostly skincare and hair care||Mostly makeup and skincare|
|Rare inclusion of full-size items||Really only sample sizes|
|Gives you the option to choose one of your samples||Sends the same samples to all subscribers each month|
|Has a box option for men||No option for men|
|Has a full shop on their website||Allows subscribers to easily shop full sizes of their samples in their online store|
|Offers discounts and promotions||Offers complementary products or free services with the Play! Pass each month|
|No events for subscribers||In-store events for subscribers|
|Occasionally sends perfume samples||One perfume sample a month in addition to the 5 deluxe samples|
|Can gain rewards points through referrals, making a purchase from the shop, or giving Birchbox as a gift||Play! Pass allows you to receive 50 rewards points with purchase once a month|
|Can use points towards items in the Birchbox shop||Can use points towards deluxe samples from the Rewards Boutique|
Overall, both boxes are a great value for the price. The Sephora Play box is great for frequent Sephora shoppers looking to explore more of the store’s featured brands, many of which are high-end.
This box allows you to earn rewards points that you can redeem on the Sephora website or in-store, and they include coupons for free products or services to their subscribers, as well.
The Sephora Play box contains mostly makeup and skincare, so it’s a great choice if those are your main concerns. They also send a perfume sample each month in addition to the five samples, not replacing one of them, so you can try a variety of scents as well.
Birchbox, on the other hand, is perfect if you’re passionate about a wide variety of skincare and hair care products. Their products tend to be higher-end and allow you to try brands you might not see in stores near you. They also occasionally include a full-sized item, boosting the box’s value even more.
If you’re passionate about Birchbox, you can earn rewards points that you can put towards items in their online shop, which is a great deal if you’re a long-time subscriber. They also offer an option for men, which Sephora does not, harnessing a new audience for their subscription service.
My Final Say: Which is Best?
All in all, for $10 a month you really can’t go wrong with either of these subscription boxes. They both give you a way to try out a selection of high-end products without committing to buying the full size. Whichever box you prefer, you’re sure to get your money’s worth in amazing new products, special promotions, and fun sponsor offers each month.
My September 2018 Comparison
Note: This is my slightly older comparison of the September boxes from both companies!
So, today we’re going to talk about which box was the better box for September: Birchbox or Sephora Play?
In today’s comparison, we’re going to look at:
- The value of each box
- The variety of each box
- The types of products in each box
- The size of the products in each box
Who do you think is going to win for the month of September?
How much is it?
- ($10 a month/ Total value of my September Birchbox: $29.92)
What I got inside of my September Birchbox?
- Number 4 Jour d’Automne Smoothing Balm- $5.88
- Avene Cleanance EXPERT Lotion- $3.08
- IPKN Moist and Firm Beauty Balm (Light)- $5.16
- Arrow BOOST Clear Enhancing Lip Balm in Blush Hour – $14 (full size)
- Proenza Schouler Arizona Perfume- $1.86
First product: Proenza Schouler Arizona Perfume
- Sample value: $1.86
The only subscription box that I’ve ever received perfume samples in has been Sephora Play, but for the last couple of months, I haven’t received any sort of perfume sample in my boxes. I was really excited to see that I got a perfume sample in my Birchbox because I really love getting and trying out different scents and seeing how they react with my body chemistry.
The perfume sample that I got in my September Birchbox is a mix of cactus flower, jasmine, and orange flower. I am always on the hunt for a citrus-scented perfume, but I tend to wear a lot of musk’s because I haven’t found the perfect citrus-scented perfume yet.
The Arizona perfume came with a spritzer, so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally dumping the entire sample out on my body (I’m super accident prone). I really didn’t like the scent of this perfume, as I really don’t enjoy the scents of floral perfumes. My nose definitely picked up on the jasmine and the orange flower scent, but I didn’t like how powdery and floral this perfume was.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting perfume samples as I love experimenting with my scent! This perfume wasn’t the perfect scent for me and that’s totally okay, as I’m really glad that I got the chance to try the perfume out!
Second product: IPKN Moist and Firm Beauty Balm (in shade light)
- Sample value: $5.16
Birchbox is also the only subscription box company that I’ve ever received BB samples in. I have received foundation samples in other subscription boxes, but the shades are always too dark for my pale skin. I usually purchase shades ‘ivory’ or ‘bone’, but I always end up getting ‘buff beige’ shades in my subscription boxes.
I was a bit apprehensive about the color of this BB cream, as the term ‘light’ is a pretty basic name and isn’t really too descriptive on the depth of this color. Besides, Birchbox sent me a BB Cream last month that matched my skin last month, so no way are they going to send me another BB Cream that matches, right?
Birchbox sent me another BB Cream sample that does match my skin! On the back of my hand, this BB Cream does look too orange (but look how full coverage it is). On my neck and on my face, this is just a tinge too dark for me, but it doesn’t look orange. It’s the perfect color for my summer-tanned skin transforming into my ultra-pale fall skin.
As I’ve told you before, I have extremely oily, acne prone skin. On my skin, this did a great job of covering up my hyperpigmentation and the small breakouts I was having. However, on the large, inflamed, cystic acne that I have, it didn’t really cover up too well. This is a BB Cream and not a foundation, so it’s not going to cover up as heavily as a foundation does. Overall, I’m very happy with how close the color match is and that I’ve gotten a different BB Cream in my box!
Third product: Avène Cleanance EXPERT Lotion
- Sample value: $3.08
The Avene Cleanance EXPERT Lotion is a lightweight treatment that can be used as a moisturizer that helps to mattify your skin, while also working to reduce the appearance of the redness in your skin and prevent future breakouts.
However, you can also use this lotion as a spot treatment for any breakout that you are currently having. I have extremely oily, acne prone skin and I have a major problem with cystic acne on my chin and my jawline. I also have a lot of blackheads on my nose and on the tops of my cheeks. With the hormonal, cystic acne that I have, I also do have a lot of problems with redness in my skin.
I don’t really worry about my blackheads and the redness in my skin, but I’m always looking for treatments for my hormonal cystic acne because it hurts. I’m really excited that I got this lotion in my box because I’m literally willing to try anything to get my cystic acne to be less painful. I have used this as a spot treatment on my current cystic acne breakout, but I haven’t noticed any difference in the redness of my skin or in the pain that I’m feeling on those enlarged pimples.
However, I did use this on across my nose and on the tops of my cheeks, where I have a large number of blackheads. I haven’t noticed a huge decrease in the number of blackheads that I have, but I have noticed a difference in how oily my skin is in those spots and a decrease in the texture of my skin in that area.
I’m almost out of this lotion, especially since I’m using it on the largest parts of my face. It’s lasted me about three whole-face uses and I have enough to be able to cover about half of my face next time I use it with. I personally wouldn’t pay $26 for a full-sized version of this product, but I am happy with the small differences I’ve noticed in my skin after using this sample.
Fourth product: Arrow Boost Color Enhancing Lip Balm in Blush Hour
- Sample value: $14 (full-sized)
This is the only full-sized product that I received in my September Birchbox, but I’m so happy that I did receive this product! While this is the only ‘makeup’ product that I got in my box, I recently just got another color changing lip balm in another subscription box and I’ve really have been wanting to try out another brand’s color enhancing lip balm!
This formula is claimed to be ‘ultra hydrating’, which is a statement that I strongly disagree with. This isn’t a lip balm that I would reach for when my lips are dry feeling, as I found this formula to be very drying on my lips.
Personally, I have only been reaching for this lip balm for when I’m in a rush applying my makeup and just want a quick tint on my lips. It does turn a very light pink on my lips, but the hue of the color that it will react to on your lips is based upon the pH level of your lips. A little science and a little beauty, it’s a fun combination!
Fifth product: Number 4 Jour d’Automne Smoothing Balm
- Sample value: $5.88
A smoothing balm is a hair product that I didn’t even know that I needed in my life. In order to properly use this smoothing balm, you are supposed to put it in your damp hair. You can use this balm to fight against frizz and to protect your hair against heat damage, which I didn’t even know you could find in a smoothing balm!
I like the smell of this smoothing balm, but I haven’t noticed any big difference in the amount of frizz in my hair when I do use it. For $30, I’ve tried more impressive hair samples from Birchbox before. On the bright side, at least it isn’t a tiny sample that I can only use once! I’ll keep using it until I run out of the sample just for the fact that it claims to protect against heat, but I won’t be going out of my way to purchase this balm. Not impressed with these contents, check out our review on Birchbox vs Ipsy.
How much is it?
- ($10 a month/ Total value of my September Sephora Play: $46.59)
What I got in my September Sephora Play?
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum- $10.59
- Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer- $12.51
- Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer- $4.03
- Sephora Collection LashCraft Big Volume Mascara in Black- $5.73
- Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Boy Gorgeous- $12.50
- Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose Eau de Toilette- $1.23
One thing that I would like to mention before we get into unboxing my September Sephora Play is that every Sephora Play box you get, you have ten points added to your Sephora Beauty Insider account.
In addition to getting points for your monthly Sephora Play subscription, Sephora also includes a card that’s attached to every booklet that contains 50 Beauty Insider Points. In order for you to get these extra 50 Beauty Insider points, you have to spend $20 at Sephora to cash those points in. In other words, if every month you wanted to go and cash in your 50 extra Beauty Insider points, you would have to go in and spend $20 at Sephora every month in order to be able to cash in these extra points.
I don’t shop at Sephora all that much, so I haven’t ever cashed in the Beauty Insider points that they give. However, another bonus that comes with the Sephora Play subscription is that you can show your Play Pass (that black and white card that also had the 50 Beauty Insider Points) to a Sephora Beauty Advisor and you’ll get a lesson on how to incorporate these products into your beauty routine.
As a quick side note, Sephora is now sending out all of their boxes with plastic bags, instead of canvas! This means that you can recycle your entire Sephora Play subscription instead of just half of it!
First product: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
- Sample value: $4.03
I’ve already tried out and loved the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer before I got it in my Sephora Play subscription. I honestly really love this primer, which is kind of shocking, because I’m usually pretty disappointed in most overhyped beauty products. I love using this primer for when my skin is dry, dull, or tired looking, as this primer brings so much life back into my skin, almost like the primer has magical powers!
For me personally, this wasn’t one of those primers that I had to put on only one side of my face and do a close-up inspection of my skin to notice any differences. Immediately after I put this primer on, I notice a huge difference in my skin. My skin looks so much more refreshed, hydrated, and has a little bit of a glow to it.
One thing that I want to say about this primer is that it isn’t greasy or heavy feeling at all. It’s very hydrating, but it isn’t greasy or oily feeling by any means.
While my previous experiences with Too Faced has led to more misses than it has hit, I really love how this primer instantly makes my skin look refreshed and more awake. However, I do have to say that I was surprised to see a Too Faced sample in my September Sephora Playbox. I’ve never gotten any Too Faced samples in any of my Sephora play boxes, so I’m really glad that a whole lot of other people are going to be getting the chance to try out this primer.
Before we move on to the next sample that I got in my September Sephora Play I want to mention something- I don’t have dry skin. I have extremely oily, acne prone skin with large pores, so I’m always looking for pore-filling mattifying, and/or smoothing primers.
When you sign up for Sephora Play, you have to fill out a beauty profile, just like you do with FabFitFun, Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxycharm, and a whole lot of other beauty subscription boxes. I always make sure to mark on all of the beauty profiles that I have dry skin, so I do have to say that while I really do love this primer, I don’t feel like Sephora Play looks at the beauty profile that all subscribers fill out when signing up for this subscription.
While I’m not really mad about this primer not fitting into my beauty profile because I know it’s a primer that I already gravitate towards for when my skin is dry, I don’t really think that Sephora matches the samples that they put in our Sephora Play boxes to the beauty profiles that we fill out.
Second item: Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose Eau de Toilette
- Sample value: $1.23
I was really shocked to see a perfume sample in my Sephora Play because it’s been a few months since I’ve received any sort of perfume sample in my Sephora Play boxes. While I do have to say that I’m very picky about the types of scents that I like to wear, I really love getting the perfume samples in my Sephora Play boxes because I love experimenting with different scents and seeing how these perfume samples react to my boy chemistry.
The scent of this perfume is very floral and a little powder smelling, with a blend of:
- Top notes: Rose Absolute, Dewy Peony
- Middle notes: Lychee, Jasmine Petal
- Base notes: Pink Musk
- Fragrance family: Floral
Personally, I really love wearing musk’s and citrus scented perfumes. This isn’t the best perfume sample that I’ve ever received in my Sephora Play subscription, mainly because I really don’t like floral perfumes.
But the good thing is, is that it made me really happy to see that I got a perfume sample in my Sephora Play box! I really hope that Sephora gets back to sending out perfume samples in their Sephora Play boxes, because I do feel that with the added perfume sample you get a large value out each box.
It was also really nice to see that my perfume sample was from a popular brand, as I only recognized this brand for the bath products that they sell. I know that perfume samples (especially from luxury brands) are very pricey, but I feel like having a monthly perfume sample in each box is what truly sets Sephora Play apart from Birchbox or Ipsy.
Third product: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
- Sample value: $10.59
Normally, at this part of the unboxing of my Sephora Play boxes, this is where things start to go downhill. Usually, there are two or three really nice products in my Sephora Play box, but everything else is a combination of foil packets and dry shampoo.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case with my September Sephora Play box!
Skin care is so incredibly expensive, but can cost even more if you’re buying skin care from a luxury brand; a full-sized bottle of the Truth Serum from Ole Henriksen is $72 for 1.7 ounces. Isn’t that crazy?
I’ve been using this serum for two weeks now and I haven’t really seen any changes in my skin, I do know that it can take up to 30 days of consistent use to see any changes in your skin when using a new skin care product!
The Truth Serum is supposed to help re-energize your skin with the use of Vitamin C and the use of collagen is supposed to help firm your skin. This formula does take a little while to absorb into my skin and has the same texture as a gel moisturizer. I’m so in love with the citrus scent of the serum!
Fourth product: Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer
- Sample value: $12.51
When I pulled the Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer out of my Sephora Play, I was honestly a little surprised. Mainly I was surprised that I received two skincare samples from Sephora and both of the samples aren’t face washes or face scrubs! This is honestly such a rarity with my Sephora Play subscription boxes!
Also, I know serums are expensive, so I’m really honestly surprised that Sephora didn’t try to cheap my box out and not send me another expensive product. But, in my September Sephora Play, I ended up getting an expensive serum and an expensive moisturizer!
I also didn’t know that Boscia was a luxury brand. I thought Boscia was a brand that you could find at Walmart or Ulta, but I didn’t know it was a high-end brand.
From advertisements that I’ve seen on the Internet, I’ve always assumed that Boscia was a brand that was comparable in pricing to Aveno or another drugstore brand. I also didn’t know that they offered skin care options for your face, as I also thought that they only sold body lotions.
Personally, I really don’t like using scented moisturizers because I always find that the perfume that they use in the formula is just too overpowering or it smells too medicinal for my liking. The Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer doesn’t have a scent, so I can wear it and not feel like I can’t breathe because the perfume is too strong!
I also really love the texture of this moisturizer- it’s a watery gel, instead of a thick, gloopy moisturizer. It’s lightweight and perfect for daytime wear. Also, the mint green packaging is super cute!
So not only did a get some great samples in my Sephora Play box, but I also learned a few new things.
Fifth product: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Boy Gorgeous
- Sample value: $12.50
I’ve heard wonderful things about lipsticks from Marc Jacobs, but does it live up to the hype?
I always say that Sephora Play is the better subscription you want to get if you’re more interested in creating makeup looks that fall into ‘Instagram makeup’ rather than everyday makeup. I always end up getting lipstick shades in my Sephora Play boxes that are bright, colorful and aren’t really colors that you could wear to your 9-5.
I was expecting this Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème lipstick to be a shade that falls into the ‘Instagram makeup’ shade range, as I feel that Sephora only sends out lipstick shades in their Sephora Play boxes that aren’t selling very well in store and online.
However, ‘Boy Gorgeous’ is an absolutely stunning shade! This is the perfect lipstick shade for your office job, for your trip to the grocery store, for your Friday night date, for your Fall Instagram photo shoot, or for your best friend’s wedding! It’s so beautiful and is such a stunning shade for fall.
The formula is also everything that I want in lipstick and it literally didn’t fall short of all of the hype that I heard about this lipstick. When I put on this lipstick without any primer or any lip liner, I didn’t have problems with the formula bleeding outside of my lips. I didn’t get that ‘irritated mouth’ look that I often get when I wear red lipsticks without any sort of lip liner.
Call it a magical formula if you want, but this formula literally stayed right where I put it. Don’t think that this is a kiss-proof lipstick because it isn’t. There was a lot of transfer onto my straws, my coffee cup, and on the back of my hand when I kissed it a few minutes after I applied the lipstick (I kiss the back of my hand to test out the kiss-proof-ness of the formula).
The more that I used my lips to drink from my straw and sip from my coffee cup, the less pigmentation I saw transferring over to my beverage holders. But when I looked into my bathroom mirror to see if I had any lipstick on my chin or if the formula was looking splotchy (which I was expecting, considering how much transfer there was on my straw/cup), I still had full-coverage pigmentation on my lips!
The formula is really creamy and rich feeling but wasn’t drying at all. It went on absolutely seamless and was so much fun to wear. Even if you hate Sephora Play, I would highly recommend treating yourself with this lipstick!
Sixth product: Sephora Collection LashCraft Big Volume Mascara in Black
- Sample value: $5.73
It’s been a little while since I’ve gotten mascara in my Sephora play box, so I’m happy to see that I got mascara in my September box. High-end mascaras are really expensive, so having the chance to try out a sample size version of the full-sized product before you commit to trying can really help to save you from an unnecessary splurge.
I’ve tried out the original LashCraft formula and I had the same problem with the LashCraft Big Volume Mascara that I did with the original formula. This formula takes a really long time to dry, so if you sneeze right after you apply your mascara, you’re going to have smears everywhere.
I wouldn’t recommend choosing this mascara to wear underneath of false lashes, as this formula really just takes too long to dry and moves around too much to be worth wearing underneath of your falsies.
On the other hand, if you aren’t someone who wears false lashes all that often, this isn’t a terrible formula. Take a look at the applicator and you’ll see that it has a very similar shape to the Too Faced Better than Sex mascara. The Too Faced Better than Sex mascara and the LashCraft Big Volume mascara have an hourglass-shaped applicator to give your lashes a huge volume boost.
Even though I’m really not happy with the formula of this mascara, I’m really glad that I got this mascara in my Sephora play box. I totally would have gone out of my way and spent the full $14 for the full-sized version of this mascara. After trying out this sample size, I got to see that this formula just really isn’t worth the $14. I don’t feel like it provided my lashes with any volume or any other benefits that would make me want to buy it.
What Are My Final Thoughts of the September Sephora Playbox?
After adding up the estimated total value of all of the samples that I got inside of my September Sephora Play box, I’m honestly surprised to see that this was one of the cheapest boxes that I have ever received from Sephora Play. My August box had an estimated value of around $70, but the total value of my September Sephora Play box is less than $50.
I’m really not upset about the value of my September box being so much lower than my August box, because I’m so much happier with my September box than I am my August box. I actually think that this is one of the best boxes that I’ve ever received from Sephora.
The only thing that I have to complain about the makeup samples that I received is that while I do love the Too Faced Hangover primer, I marked on my Sephora Beauty Profile that I have extremely oily skin. I feel that by getting a primer that works extremely well with dry skin, that Sephora Play didn’t even look at my beauty profile when putting together my box.
Who won for September- Sephora Play or Birchbox?
I really feel like Sephora Play blew Birchbox out of the water for September. There wasn’t anything in my September Birchbox that really made me super excited or was something that I’ve never seen before. I felt that my Birchbox was bland and didn’t really leave as a big of a smile on my face as my September Sephora Play box did! That’s why for me, Sephora Play has won this round of the battle of the subscription boxes!
If you are interested in checking out more of Sephora Play competition, see how Sephora Play measured up with Allure.
Which subscription box do you feel won for September- Sephora Play or Birchbox?
October Sephora Play vs October Birchbox
There are hundreds of different makeup subscription boxes for you to choose from and a good portion of the boxes that are available are $10 or less. Today, we’re going to take a look at two $10 subscription boxes to see which one is better than the other!
In today’s comparison, we’re going to look at:
- The value of each box
- The variety of each box
- The types of products in each box
- The size of the products in each box
Who do you think is going to win for October?
How much is it?
- $10 a month
Total value of my October Sephora Play?
What I got in my October Sephora Play:
- Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen in Black- $22
- Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Queen Hydrating Primer- $3.20
- Fresh Rose Face Mask- $9.39
- BareMinerals Gen Nude Patent Liquid Lipstick in ‘Everything’- $5.43
- Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum- $26.07
- Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Eau de Parfum- $2.94
Sephora Play has recently started sending out all of their subscription boxes with these plastic, recyclable bags instead of the painted canvas bags they were previously sending out in their boxes.
Sephora Play sends out a booklet with every box that goes over the name of each product inside of the box, the brand name, a small description of what the product is, and tips/tricks on how to effectively use the product. I think the spooky-theme for this booklet is super cute for October!
With every box you get from Sephora, you automatically get 10 points added to your Beauty Insider account. On every booklet, you get a 50 Beauty Insider play pass, which has several purposes. You can bring this pass with you to a Sephora store and you’ll get a free mini makeover. That means that every month, you can get a free mini makeover! You can also use this pass along with any $20 or more purchase inside of a Sephora store or Sephora.com (online) and you’ll receive 50 additional points to your Beauty Insider account.
First product: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum
- Sample value: $26.07
The Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is a radiance boosting serum that helps to even out your skin tone, which is something that I definitely need to work on with my skin! This is a very thick, pearlescent formula that comes in a glass bottle with a glass dropper. I did notice that the formula itself is very thick, but I also think that the viscosity of the formula may have been exacerbated due to the weather being so cold. I did have a hard time getting the formula out of the dropper because it was so thick and the formula didn’t absorb too well into my skin.
While I did struggle to apply this serum to my skin, I still have been able to apply the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum to my skin twice a day (as recommended by Sephora). There haven’t been any changes in the brightness of my skin or in the appearance of my dark spots, but I also know that it can take up to 30 day to notice any difference in the appearance of your skin when using a new skin care product on a consistent basis.
Second product: Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Eau de Parfum
- Sample value: $2.94
I absolutely love getting perfume samples in my Sephora Play box and was so excited to see a perfume sample from Yves Saint Laurent in my box! The scent of this perfume is literally so close to being perfect for me, it’s one that I’m actually considering purchasing a full-sized bottle of.
The way that Sephora describes the scent of this perfume is as a ‘modern floral scent inspired by the sparkling city of Paris’ matched along with notes of red berries, pear, and peony. When I first sprayed this perfume, I really picked up on the scent of raspberry, strawberry, and pear immediately. With the way this perfume sample mixes with my body chemistry, I feel that the middles notes are what are the most prevalent, which are the Jasmin samba, orange flower, and peony. The bottom notes are cedar wood and white musk, but I absolutely adore the top notes mix of peony, pear, and red berries.
I’m also happy that the perfume sample that I did get has a spritzer on it, instead of a dip stick or no applicator at all.
There is only one complaint that I have about this perfume sample and that is when I got this perfume sample in my box, it looks like it was half way empty. The picture you’re seeing is what it looks like directly pulled out of the box, before I even used it. It’s a small complaint, especially considering how happy I am with this perfume sample!
Third product: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Hydrating Primer
- Sample value: $3.20
Seeing one of my all-time favorite high-end brands in my Sephora Play box was very uplifting, especially because I’m almost entirely convinced that Sephora Play only sends out products that aren’t selling very well (and that they’re trying to get rid of) in their Sephora Play boxes. The Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Hydrating Primer is a hydrating primer that helps to soften and smooth your skin, while also helping to ensure that your skin is being protected from harmful environmental pollutants.
There is Hyaluronic acid in this hydrating primer, which is supposed to deliver extra moisture to your skin, while also helping to retain your skin’s suppleness. While I was using this primer, I didn’t notice any difference in the firmness of my skin, but I did really enjoy how luxurious feeling it was on my skin. In terms of texture, it has a very similar feel to the Smashbox pore filling Photo Finish primer.
I really enjoyed how soft feeling my skin was after I applied primer and I also noticed that my foundation took a lot easier to my skin, mainly because there was a pretty big reduction in the rough texture of my skin after I used this primer.
I also think that the packaging for this primer is extremely cute and I love trying out new primers in my subscription boxes. I think that the light blue tint that this primer has, as that small difference in the formula is enough to make it stand out from the rest of the primers that I have. Overall, I’m really excited about using this primer in my daily winter makeup routine, especially because it made my skin feel so nice.
Fourth product: Bareminerals Gen Nude Patent Liquid Lipstick in ‘Everything’
- Sample value: $5.43
I’ve tried a foundation and a few concealers from Bareminerals, but I’ve never tried out any of their other products. When I first pulled out this Bareminerals Gen Nude Patent Liquid Lipstick, I originally thought that this was going to be a liquid lipstick, but this formula actually has a lacquer finish to it. In other words, it’s a very thick feeling lip gloss, with a high-shine finish to it. Lip lacquer isn’t my favorite lip product, but I love the shade of this lip product!
Sephora has described this liquid lipstick as a lightweight, comfortable formula, but I actually found that this liquid lipstick is hard to wear because it was a really heavy feeling and it transferred on to everything. This formula literally didn’t have any staying power and it really didn’t feel like I was wearing a high-end lip product because of how often I had to keep touching up this formula.
I really hope that Baremienrals comes out with a matte formula for their Gen Nude lipsticks because the color range is absolutely beautiful. I love how the shade that I received fit perfectly along with my everyday makeup, but it also looked equally beautiful with my nighttime glam.
Fifth product: Fresh Rose Face Mask
- Sample value: $9.39
Before I originally signed up for Sephora Play, I had never heard of the brand Fresh, but the last product in that I got from the brand Fresh in a previous Sephora Playbox was also a face mask. I wasn’t really in love with the other face mask that I had received from Fresh, but I was really interested in seeing all of the benefits that this face mask was going to offer my skin (especially after I saw how fun the formula looked)!
Take a glimpse of the actual mask inside of the jar and you’ll notice how the mask itself has a very similar appearance to honey. There are little spots of the rose inside of this mask, which really reminded me of spicy honey. The purpose of this mask is to help restore your skin’s natural suppleness and radiance. When I did use this mask, I didn’t notice any difference in my skin’s radiance or suppleness, but I did really love how hydrated my skin felt after I used the Fresh Rose Face Mask!
Sixth product: Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyeliner Pen in ‘Black’
- Sample value: $22
Now I’m not completely certain if what I’m about to say next is true, but I’m pretty sure that Sephora sent out a full-sized eyeliner in my October Sephora Play box! I couldn’t find any info anywhere on the Internet about how many ounces are in the full-sized Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining pen, but just based on how large this ‘sample’ sized pen is, I’m thinking that this is actually a full-sized eyeliner.
When trying out this eyeliner, I wasn’t super impressed with the pigmentation of the eyeliner. I read in the description that Sephora left in the booklet that the color of this formula is ‘black’, but it isn’t a deep black that I want my eyeliners to be. The color for this eyeliner was a light black, leaning more on the side of being a gray rather than being a black eyeliner. I did go back over the eyeliner a few times in an attempt to build up the color of the eyeliner, in an attempt to get a darker blackout of this pen.
I also had problems with this formula transferring up onto my brow bone and upper lid, as I have hooded eyes. The formula for this eyeliner isn’t very fast drying, so if you’re looking to get a perfect cats eye in just a few swoops and aren’t looking to worry about dry time, I would highly recommend checking out a different eyeliner.
I did really love the tapered brush on this eyeliner, as it easily allowed me to change up the thickness of my line without having to completely switch out products or change how I was holding the pen. I easily achieved an extended tear duct with little trouble and was able to get a fat wing all with the use of one eyeliner.
What Are My Final Thoughts of the October Sephora Play?
This isn’t the worst Sephora Play box that I’ve ever gotten from Sephora, but I also don’t feel like it was one of the best boxes I’ve ever received either. I think that the majority of the products inside of my October Sephora Play are just mediocre products and there wasn’t really anything inside of this box that really wowed me.
Let’s see what I got in my October Birchbox!
How much is it?
- $10 a month
The total value of my October Birchbox?
What I got in my October Birchbox:
- Amika Vault Color Lock Leave-in Conditioner- $3.73
- Murad Clarifying Cleanser- $6.67
- Purlisse BB TINTED Moist Cream SPF 30 in shade ‘Light’- $6
- R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse- $5.33
Every month, the box that Birchbox sends out as a part of their subscription has a different pattern on it! I think their boxes are always so cute and make wonderful boxes to use as decoration around your house or for makeup storage!
First product: Purlisse BB Tinted Moist Cream SPF 30 in shade ‘light’
- Sample value: $6
The first product that I pulled out of my October Birchbox was the Purlisse BB Tinted Moist Cream in shade ‘light’, which is an antioxidant balm that helps to even out your skin tone, soothe inflamed areas, and hydrate your skin with the help of Asian herb extracts and chamomile.
Birchbox is the only subscription box that I have that had consistently sent me out BB creams, foundation samples, and CC creams! They’re the only subscription box that has that has done this and has also managed to match my skin tone very well, which in my opinion, is what sets Birchbox apart from other similar subscription boxes.
Purlisse is a brand that I have never heard of or tried before I got it in my October Birchbox, but I’m even more impressed by how full-coverage this BB cream is. While I wouldn’t use this BB cream to cover up any new breakouts that I’m having (it’s not as full-coverage as a foundation is), I love throwing on this BB cream when I have five minutes to do my makeup or if I’m just looking to cover up any redness/irritation that my skin is having.
Second product: Amika Vault Color Lock Leave-in Conditioner
- Sample value: $3.75
I was absolutely blown away by the packaging of this leave-in conditioner! It’s the brightest, most colorful packaging that I’ve ever seen for a hair product. I’m also absolutely obsessed with the scent of this leave-in conditioner! The purpose of the Amika Vault Color Lock Leave-in conditioner is to protect your hair’s hue with special UV filters and antioxidants.
The directions say to spray this conditioner in your damp hair and style as desired, but I love the smell of this conditioner so much that it’s the last thing that I put in my hair. I haven’t noticed a difference in the softness of my hair, but I do feel like my hair dye is lasting a little bit longer than it does normally.
Third product: R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse
- Sample value: $5.33
Once a week, I wash my hair with baking soda and rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar to remove all of the hair spray build up from my hair, which helps to keep my scalp healthy and to make my hair nice and shiny! I’ve been rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar for years, but I always thought that it was one of those Pinterest hacks that most of us knew about, but not all of us believed in.
This R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse helps to detoxify your scalp and remove all product buildup before you start washing your hair with shampoo. The squirt bottle container was so convenient to have, especially because I typically just pour the ACV from a glass bottle right onto my head. The squirt bottle allowed me to control how much (and where) I wanted the detoxifying formula.
I left this formula on my hair for three minutes, rinsed, and washed and conditioned as I normally do. When I got out of the shower, my hair was a lot softer feeling and the majority of my product buildup/dandruff was gone. This was a really nice product to get in my box and it makes me so happy that other people were able to try out this life-changing hair hack!
Fourth product: Murad Clarifying Cleanser
- Sample value: $6.67
The Murad Clarifying Cleanser is one of my favorite facial cleansers for acne, as it leaves my skin feeling clean, oil-free, and my skin doesn’t feel tight or excessively dehydrated once I’ve finished using the cleanser. Salicylic acid and green tea are the two ingredients that help to calm breakouts the most in this cleanser, but I do enjoy the slight tingling sensation that I get from the salicylic acid on my skin when I’m washing my face with the Murad cleanser.
I use this cleanser twice a day and I’ve noticed a pretty noticeable difference in the whiteheads that I have along my worst breakout areas. I have problems with cystic, hormonal acne and the Murad Clarifying Cleanser is the cleanser that I’ve been using on a daily basis to help get my skin back under control. While I don’t think that this cleanser is preventing any breakouts from my cystic, hormonal acne, I do think that this cleanser has helped to decrease the lifespan of my breakouts, which is literally a miracle for me.
I love this cleanser so much and I’m so happy that I got a sample size of it in my Birchbox, as it’s the perfect size to throw in my purse and travel around with for all of the travelings I’m going to be doing for the upcoming holidays!
What Are My Final Thoughts on the October Birchbox?
I do think that the value of my October Birchbox was on the lighter side, is that the total value of my October box was just over $20. However, I’m very happy with everything that I got in my October Birchbox! I’m especially happy with the BB cream sample that Birchbox sent out in my box, as Birchbox is the only subscription that I have that sends out BB samples (and they all match my skin tone very closely).
I also love how I feel like Birchbox actually listens to my beauty profile. The Murad face wash was the perfect addition to my box, as it’s the skincare sample that I actually need (and want). It’s a very large sample too, considering that most of the samples that I get from Sephora Play can’t be used more than a few times.
October Sephora Play vs October Birchbox- who won?
Value wise, both Sephora Play and Birchbox cost the same, but I got a much higher value out of my October Sephora Play. However, I feel like my Birchbox for October was really customized to my beauty profile and to all of my preferences. I mean any subscription box can send out pretty lip colors, but no other subscription box that I have actually sends me skincare samples that match my skin’s needs!
The winner for this month’s battle of the boxes is Birchbox! I wish that there were another item and a higher value out of my October Birchbox, but I’m so happy with being introduced to new brands and unique products inside of my box. Birchbox did such an amazing job of listening to my beauty profile and selecting fun products that fit right along with my beauty needs and preferences! My October Birchbox was definitely a breath of fresh air!
Which team are you- #TeamSephora or #TeamBirchbox?
Birchbox vs Sephora Play: November 2018 Update
Today I’m going to be unboxing my November Sephora Play box and my November Birchbox!
In today’s comparison, we’re going to look at:
- The value of each box
- The variety of each box
- The types of products in each box
- The size of the products in each box
November Sephora Play
How much is it?
- $10 a month
The total value of my November Sephora Play?
What I got in my November Sephora Play:
- Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder- $8.36
- Erborian CC Cream High Definition Radiance Face Cream Skin Perfector in ‘Clair’- $4.99
- Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo- $3.45
- Grande Cosmetics Hydraplump Semi-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Desert Perk- $25
- Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream- $5.30
- Juliette Has a Gun Not A Perfume- $2.33
One of the benefits that Sephora Play offer with their subscription box that really makes the subscription that Sephora offers stand out from other $10 subscription boxes is that with every Sephora Play box you purchase, you automatically receive ten Beauty Insider points to your Sephora Beauty Insider account. In addition to the ten Beauty Insider points that you get with each month’s Sephora Play box, inside of each box that you get you all to receive a 50-point Beauty Insider Play Pass.
You can use the 50-point Play pass to redeem with any $20 online or in-store Sephora purchase. All of the points that you collect with your Beauty Insider account, you can redeem to get free sample sizes when you shop at Sephora. In comparison to other $10 monthly beauty subscriptions, just with the Beauty Insider points alone, you get a lot more value out of the Sephora Play subscription than you do with other boxes!
First product: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
- Sample value: $3.54
- Full-sized value: $25
The Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo was the first product in my November Sephora Play that caught my eye! The packaging design for this bottle of dry shampoo is absolutely stunning, but I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see the brand Amika in my Sephora Play box because I didn’t know that Amika was a high-end brand that you could purchase from Sephora. I was introduced to Amika in my October Birchbox, as I received one of Amika’s leave in conditioners. I fell in love with Amika immediately- they have the perfect combination of eye-catching packaging and high-quality product that actually works!
I have to admit that dry shampoos are the samples that I receive the most often in my subscription boxes, so I wasn’t super thrilled to see another dry shampoo sample in my box. However, the Amika Perk Up Dry shampoo really stands out from all of the other dry shampoo samples that I’ve gotten in all of my other subscription boxes. I know that I’m totally obsessing over the packaging for this dry shampoo, but the formula and scent for this dry shampoo is also outstanding!
When I sprayed this dry shampoo in my hair, I noticed an immediate difference in the volume in my hair in the spots where I had sprayed this Perk Up Dry Shampoo. To be completely honest, I noticed the change in the volume in my hair before I had even looked to see if this dry shampoo had sucked up any excess oil in my hair (it did get rid of the excess oil in my hair).
Thanks to this formula, I now have a dry shampoo that has everything that I could ever want in it- an amazing scent, a volume boost, fun packaging, and actually sucks up excess oil in my hair without leaving any clumps of powder in my hair!
Second sample: Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume
- Sample value: $2.30
- Full-sized value: $135
The only subscription box that I have that sends out perfume samples on a consistent basis is Sephora Play and I absolutely love getting different sample size perfumes to play around with! Thanks to Sephora Play, I’m able to experiment with a different side of beauty and test out how different perfumes interact with my body chemistry. The Juliette Has A Gun is a brand that I had no clue existed, but the sharp packaging of this perfume really made it stand out from the bright, colorful packaging of the Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo.
In the mini booklet that Sephora sent out in the November box, Sephora described this perfume as a clean and fresh scent, with the only note of their perfume being cetalox (which makes this perfume hypoallergenic). Sephora also stated that this perfume falls into the earth and woody family, but when I smelled this perfume, I really picked up on the earthy notes of Not A Perfume. My initial impression of this perfume reminded me of what the Earth smells like after a fresh rain, which isn’t what I was expecting this perfume to smell like after judging the packaging. It’s a unique scent and I thought that it was really nice of Sephora to have a hypoallergenic perfume in the November Sephora Play.
Third sample: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
- Sample value: $8.36
- Full-sized value: $38
I was so shocked to see the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in my November Sephora Play box because the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder is one of Sephora’s best sellers. The Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder is a powder that I’ve wanted to try out for a long time, but I never could really pull myself to invest in the full-sized product, especially because I’ve discovered that a lot of hyped up beauty products just don’t work for me.
The problem that I run into the most often with other translucent powders that I’ve used is that they are too yellow for my skin, but the Laura Mercier Translucent powder didn’t turn my concealer or foundation yellow. I also didn’t have any problems with this loose setting powder settling into my fine lines around my eyes, which was another bonus!
The sifter on top of this loose setting powder made it really hard for me to get any powder out of the jar, so I did end up taking the sifter off of the jar to have an easier time accessing the setting powder. I really enjoyed how it didn’t look or feel like the Laura Mercier powder was sitting on top of my skin. This powder blended in with the rest of my makeup and left me with a flawless finish that wasn’t cakey. Where I baked with this powder under my eye area, this setting powder didn’t leave my concealer yellow or cakey, but instead left my under-eye area bright and smooth!
I did have one problem with this setting powder, that it didn’t keep my skin matte all day. My skin is very oily and I tend to have to blot my oily areas with mattifying face powder throughout the day to keep my face matte unless I use a mattifying setting powder. The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder kept my skin matte for around four hours, but I needed to keep touching up throughout the day to ensure my face stayed matte. This setting powder is a lot better than most of the non-mattifying setting powders that I’ve played around with, but I’m totally in love with the finish of this powder!
Fourth sample: Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream
- Sample value: $5.30
- Full-sized value: $26.50
The Clinique Pep-Start eye cream is described as a lightweight eye cream that helps to hydrate and brighten your under-eye skin, while also helping to keep your face looking refreshed by de-puffing your under-eye bags. There are peptides in this eye cream that work to sustain that natural collagen reserves in your skin.
I read through the directions that Sephora wrote on how to properly use the Clinique Pep-Start eye cream, which is to apply the eye cream both during your morning and nighttime skin care routine and to apply the cream in circular motions until it’s completely absorbed into your skin. My under-eye area doesn’t really have bags, so I really didn’t see too big of a difference in the depuffing properties of the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream.
Despite not noticing any difference in the de-puffing properties of this eye cream, I did notice a slight difference in how dark the dark circles looked when I used this cream. Before I applied this Pep-Start cream, my inner corners were where the darkest part of my dark circles was. After I applied this Pep-Start cream, I noticed that my under-eye circles were still dark, but they were evenly dark. For an extra relaxing feeling, I put this eye cream in the fridge for 15 minutes and then applied it under my eyes; using a chilled eye cream under your eyes feels so relaxing!
I’m not really a huge believer in eye creams being able to provide immediate results or any sort of noticeable changes within a few minutes, but it was really nice to see that this eye cream gave my under-eye area instant results, even though they were subtle. The biggest problem that I had with this eye cream was that the packaging for this eye cream was very misleading as to how much of the eye cream was actually inside of this packaging.
I originally thought that this tube was going to be at least half filled with eye cream, but this tube was only filled with enough eye cream to reach the first ‘P’ in Pep. There was a very small amount of product in the actual tube, which makes it hard for me to believe that the actual value of this sample is anywhere close to $5.
Fifth sample: Erborian CC Crème High Definition Radiance Face Cream Skin Perfector in ‘Clair’
- Sample value: $4.99
- Full-sized value: $44
I first thought that I had of the Kerkorian CC Crème High Definition Radiance Face Cream Skin Perfector was that this was going to be the first CC Crème sample that I’ve ever received in my Sephora Play subscription, so I got really excited. Once I swatched the Erborian CC Crème, I realized that this sample is meant to be used as a primer, which was confirmed in the mini booklet that Sephora sent out that the CC Crème sample that Sephora sent out in their November box was a color-correcting primer that helps to blur imperfections, to help make your skin tone evened out. Sephora also described this primer to give users a luminous complexion with a formula that contains no oily, while also protecting your skin from the sun with the help of SPF 25.
I really love receiving primer samples in my subscription boxes, but it makes me so much more excited when I receive primer samples from a high-end brand that I’ve never heard of before. But when I went to sample this primer and see everything that it could do to help color-correct my skin, I realized that this primer is a very thick white shade rather than being a sheer or translucent color, like most other primers are. Using this primer underneath of my foundation made working with primer very difficult, as the primer was so white that is ended up lightening the shade of my foundation up so much, that my perfectly matched foundation was two shades too light for my skin.
Even after my foundation become too light for my skin tone, I did notice a difference in the texture of my skin. Compared to wearing foundation without any primer underneath, my pores weren’t anywhere as noticeable as they normally are when I don’t wear a pore filling primer; I also noticed that my skin didn’t look as red as it normally does. However, the shade of my foundation was too light for me to comfortable wearing out in public, so I wiped off everything that I had on my face and tried re-applying this primer with the same foundation.
With my second application, I tried applying half of a dime size primer and while the color of my foundation didn’t change in the way that it did with my first application of this primer, I also didn’t notice any of the blurring effects that this primer had on my skin the first time I had applied this sample. The first application of this primer left me with the foundation that was too light for my skin, but when I used less than half of the portion size for the primer that I normally use, the primer didn’t have any effect on my skin.
It was really disappointing to see such a big difference in the two different applications of this CC Crème, especially since when I used the primer sample properly, I struggled color matching my foundation shade to my skin. In addition to having problems with this primer not changing my foundation colors, I also didn’t notice any change in the luminosity of my skin when I used the primer in both test runs. I don’t really feel like this primer worked with my skin at all and it proved to be more of a struggle than it did to be beneficial in my makeup routine.
Sixth product: Grande Cosmetics HydraPlump Semi-Matte Liquid Lipstick in ‘Desert Peak’
- Product value: $25
- Full-sized value: $25
The Grande Cosmetics HydraPlump Semi-Matte Liquid Lipstick in shade ‘Desert Peak’ is the second full-sized product that I’ve ever gotten from my Sephora Play subscription! In my October Sephora Play, I received a full-size liquid eyeliner pen from Clinique in my subscription, but I don’t think that I’ve ever received any sort of sample from Sephora Play.
I think that the gold metallic tube packaging for this liquid lipstick is really pretty, but I think that the window that shows what color the lipstick is one of the most interesting packaging designs I’ve seen in a while. I didn’t really get too strong of a tingling sensation that I normally feel when I use other plumping lip products, but I also saw that Grande Cosmetics didn’t use cinnamon oil in the formula for this lipstick, which is the oil that causes the lip plumping effect. Grande Cosmetics uses Volulip, hyaluronic acid, and Instaplump in the formula for their HydraPlump liquid lipstick, working to give you plumper and fuller lips within a matter of minutes.
When I first used this liquid lipstick, I did notice a visible difference in the fullness of my lips around my cupids bow and around the corners of my top lip. I was also very impressed with how long the plumping effect lasted on my lips, but I totally become obsessed with the shape of my lips after the plumping effect took place.
In the past, I’ve complained about Sephora only sending our lip samples in shades that only fall into the ‘Instagram makeup’ category. I believed that Sephora only sent out those samples in their subscription box to get rid of the colors that weren’t selling well at Sephora. I’ve received several bright and bold purples from Sephora before, with most of these colors being colors that wouldn’t be appropriate to wear for office or daytime makeup. More recently, Sephora has started to send out lipstick samples that are a more neutral/natural and don’t really fit into ‘Instagram makeup’.
The finish of the liquid lipstick is semi-matte, but I’m really obsessed with the creamy feeling of this lipstick. Just by looking at this lipstick, you can tell that it’s a matte lipstick, but it doesn’t feel drying or dehydrating as most matte liquid lipsticks feel. I also really enjoyed using the pointing application that the lipstick had, as it really gave me the opportunity to get a crisp edge on my lip line and cupid’s bow.
The shade ‘Desert Peak’ is a stunning shade and pairs exceptionally well with a warm-tone glam smokey eye or just as a pop of color with your daytime makeup routine! This is a lipstick shade that a lot of people would feel comfortable wearing going grocery shopping or leading a meeting in a professional setting! I didn’t have any problems with this formula bleeding outside of my lips and I didn’t even use a lip liner when I wore this lipstick. However, there was a moderate amount of transferring when I drank, ate, and blotted at my lips with a napkin.
My initial thoughts of this lipstick when I first pulled it out my Sephora Play was that this was a sample size lipstick, but when I compared the ounces in the product that I received to the ounces of the full-sized product that you can purchase off of Sephora’s website, they were exactly the same.
What Are My Final Thoughts on the November Sephora Play?
I received six samples in my November Sephora Play, which is how many samples that I regularly receive in my Sephora Play subscription. Three of the samples that I received in this month’s box were pleasant surprises and completely won me over. The Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder was the sample that I was the most surprised to see in my box, but the full-sized Grande Cosmetics Hydraplump Semi-Matte Liquid Lipstick was really nice to get, especially considering that it’s a full-sized lipstick! I hope that Sephora is going to keep up with the pattern they’re starting to create with sending out full-sized products in their subscription.
The Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo was my favorite product in this box to receive and the only product that I didn’t really like in this box was the Erborian CC Crème High Definition Radiance Skin Perfector. I don’t really feel like this primer did anything to perfect my skin when I used it in a small portion, but when I used a proper serving size of this CC Crème, it made my foundation way too light. While I’m not really in love with using this primer for my face makeup, I’ve started to use it as a base for my eyeshadow and it’s working pretty well for that purpose.
I do think that this was a really great box from Sephora, but I’m super pumped about getting a full-sized lipstick in my box. Besides the CC Crème, I’m very impressed with the overall quality of everything inside of my November Sephora Play box!
Let’s see what I got in my November Birchbox.
How much is it?
- $10 a month
The total value of my November Birchbox?
What I got in my November Birchbox:
- Davines Alchemic Shampoo Silver- $8.67
- Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver- $6.06
- Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment- $5.20
- Lise Watier Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara- $6.25
- Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow in ‘Aurora’- $10
First sample: Dr. Jart+ Cicipair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment with SPF 30
- Sample value: $5.20
- Full-size value: $52
The Dr. Jart+ Cicipair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment was the most interesting and unique item that I received in my November Birchbox! Upon initially pulling this little jar out of my Birchbox, I did notice that the jar lid had some damage to the top of it. This may have happened during shipping, but it wasn’t a big enough deal for me to feel like I should contact customer service. But if you are someone who wants to receive all of your products in pristine condition, I would totally understand how this would have been a little bit of a downer for you.
I have never heard of the Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment before, so I was originally under the impression that this was going to be an anti-redness moisturizer. The green color of the formula looked (and felt) like very creamy guacamole, which is normally a color I don’t see a lot of skin care products being.
After smoothing some of this cream on the back of my arm, I realized that this was actually a BB cream that color matched my skin to hide the redness and dark spots on my skin! Watching this Derma Green Solution change from a guacamole green to a burnt orange color was very fascinating, but I’m so impressed with Birchbox sending me out another CC (color correcting) cream sample in my box!
No other subscription that I have has consistently sent me out BB cream samples, but Birchbox is always sending me out CC or BB cream samples that match my skin tone and work to fix the problem areas of my skin! I do have to admit that the color match for this Tiger Green is a little too dark for my skin, plus the undertone of this CC cream is yellow (my skin has pink undertones), so even though this cream isn’t an exact color match, it’s still such a fun and unique sample.
I haven’t yet figured out if the more that I rub this Tiger Green Color Correcting Treatment into my skin, the darker yellow the cream turns, or the cream naturally dries that dark. Birchbox is somehow magically amazing at sending me BB/CC cream samples that are very close to my actual skin tone, so even though this didn’t match my skin tone very well, receiving this sample in my box really sets Birchbox apart from every other beauty subscription box that I have! Getting these types of BB/CC cream samples in my Birchbox makes me feel like Birchbox actually looks and listens to my profile, which is opposite of how I feel with a lot of my other subscriptions.
Second sample: Lise Watier Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara
- Sample value: $6.25
- Full-sized value: $25
I’m coming to the point in my beauty journey that when a mascara says, ‘3D Volume’, the amount of volume that I actually get from the mascara falls very short in comparison to where my expectations are. I have naturally dark and moderately long lashes, but at the same point I’m also a false-lash addict, so I’m currently only on the lookout for a mascara that will give me enough volume that it looks like I’m wearing falsies.
The Lise Watier Dramatique Intense 3D Volume mascara is one of the first mascaras that I’ve received in a subscription box that actually does something for my lashes! My first impressions of this mascara are that the wand size is big and can be awkward to manipulate if your lashes are short around your inner corners. However, I really liked that the volume that my lashes had after using this mascara lasted all day!
I also enjoyed that this mascara didn’t smudge at all, which is a problem that I’m used to running into with my bottom lash line.
Third sample: Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow in shade ‘Aurora’
- Sample value: $10
- Full-sized value: $10
- Bonus: Birchbox Exclusive
I absolutely love getting eyeshadow samples, but liquid shimmer shadows are my favorite type of eyeshadow samples to receive. The Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow in shade ‘Aurora’ is a metallic lilac shade, which I’ve fell in love with when using on my lids, as a lip topper, and to layer on my highlighter!
This Love of Color ‘Aurora’ liquid shadow sample is a Birchbox exclusive, meaning that you won’t find this shade anywhere else on the market. I’ve never had any exposure to the brand Love of Color, but I’m very impressed with how pigmented this liquid shadow was. I didn’t have any problems with this shadow being patchy or clumping up when I decided to layer this liquid shadow. I didn’t have any problems with this liquid shadow creasing or smudging when I was blending out other shades around it; even when I decided to blend out the edges of ‘Aurora’, it blended out extremely well and didn’t get muddy when I blended it out with darker colors.
The only complaint that I have about this sample is that this is a full-sized product and that .03 ounces of liquid shadow isn’t very much for $10. Other popular liquid shimmer shadows have 0.15 ounces of product in them and sell for around $24, which means that if you were to get an equal amount of the Love of Color Liquid Shimmer Shadow, you’d be paying $50. I do really like this liquid shimmer shadow, but I think that 0.03 for $10 is very pricey.
Fourth sample: Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver
- Sample value: $6.06
- Full-sized value: $31
Fifth sample: Davines Alchemic Shampoo Silver
- Sample value: $8.67
- Full-sized value: $27
The Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver and the matching Davines Alchemic Shampoo Silver sample I received are for natural and color-treated hair. My color-treated hair is very damaged, but I color my hair red, so this purple shampoo/conditioner set doesn’t really match with my hair color. In the description that Birchbox wrote for both the shampoo and the conditioner, Birchbox wrote that whether your blonde or grey hair is natural, the purple shampoo and conditioner will help to prevent yellow tones.
I’m not a natural blonde and I don’t have grey hair, so with my red hair color, this sample doesn’t match my beauty profile at all. Pairing these samples together were supposed to have gotten rid of any yellow tones in my blonde/grey hair, boost the clarity of my hair, and help to maintain the vibrancy in my hair. I did decide to give this matching shampoo and conditioner sample a try, considering that even though Birchbox wrote that these samples would be beneficial to blonde hair, maybe they could give my color-treated red hair a vibrancy boost.
Having purple shampoo and conditioner and switching it up from the normal white/cream shampoos that I’m used to using in the shower was a lot of fun! But I’ve used up the entirety of both of these samples and I haven’t noticed any difference in the overall appearance or feel to my hair. Sadly, these samples were a flop to me and getting these samples in my box made me feel like half of my box was built with my beauty profile in mind, while the other half of my box was just filled with extra samples that Birchbox was trying to get rid of.
What Are My Final Thoughts on my November Birchbox?
Besides the Dr. Jart+ Cicipair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, there really isn’t anything refreshing inside of my November Birchbox. I always feel like Birchbox is keeping my beauty profile in mind when going through and building my boxes. But with two out of the five products that I received not matching my beauty profile at all, I don’t feel like the other half of my box was built with my beauty profile in mind. The CC Cream sample from Dr. Jart+ is the sample that I’m the most excited about in my November Birchbox, and while the liquid eyeshadow and mascara samples were nice, I don’t really feel like the entirety of this box was really any different than other subscription boxes I receive.
November Birchbox vs November Sephora Play
My November Sephora Play was absolutely outstanding! It was well rounded, contained brands that I hadn’t been yet exposed to from Sephora, contained famous brands that are all of the rage currently in the beauty community, and even contained one of Sephora’s best-selling products! Sephora Play just keeps sending out better and better boxes, but I feel like this box not only contained a great selection of new products and a few staples but was just really exciting in general. Birchbox, on the other hand, was disappointing, but my perspective may be swayed because I had the high excitement from unboxing my November Sephora Play and was underwhelmed by my November Birchbox.
While both Sephora Play and Birchbox are both $10 a month, there is the potential to get a much larger value for your dollar out of Sephora Play than there is with Birchbox. There was a $7.95 difference in value between the two boxes, with Sephora Play having a $44.13 value and Birchbox having a $36.18 value; Sephora Play costs the same as Birchbox, but I got a higher cost value in my Sephora Play than I did with my Birchbox for this month.
Sephora Play, you take this round. Congrats!
Who do you think won for November- Birchbox or Sephora Play?