The $10 Beauty Box you didn’t know you needed.

Let’s get something out in the open – I am by no means a make-up beauty guru.  Sure I can apply the mascara, brow tint, and some bronzer, but if you asked me how to contour or do a smokey eye I’d probably laugh.

But – that’s exactly how I stumbled onto this box.

I’m sure a lot of you are like me: you get by with your morning routine, maybe even feel bold cause you added eyeliner one day [Oo, watch out!], but you don’t have a clue as to what products to buy.

I wanted a way to sample products without paying an obscene amount, or committing to a full size item (especially if I didn’t like it).  I also didn’t want someone selling me something they wanted me to buy.

Enter Sephora’s Play! Box. A $10 monthly subscription box that contains 5-6 products, everything from skin care to make-up to hair products.

At this point you are probably thinking, “oh Erin, get a grip. They are just samples,” and that’s where you’re wrong!

I started the subscription box at the beginning of the year, and still have products that I’m working my way through.

I’m talking high end products from companies like Tarte, Murad, Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Bobby Brown, Fresh (and many, many more).

Sephora only puts products in the box that it carries at the store, so if you end up liking it you can grab a larger size, and you earn points as you do it (which earn you free stuff).


Each box is curated based on your preferences.

When you sign up for the subscription, you answer questions about your skin care, complexion, hair, and make-up routine.  Each month they curate 3-6 box combinations and send you the one that most fits your needs.  Sometimes I will get things out of my comfort zone, like lip stain, which upon first sight I thought I would never put on in a hundred years, but it’s now the only thing I use when I want to spruce it up a bit.

My box arrived on Monday.  Normally I cheat and go look at to see what’s going to be inside.  This month I told myself I needed to wait.

When you open each box you will find a paper menu that contains an overview of everything in your box with information about what it is, how to use it, and why they chose this product.


The flip side of the insert has the month’s theme with beauty trends and tips for the month.


Behold this month’s products:



Olehenriksen Truth Serum


An effective serum formulated with Vitamin C that brightens and hydrates skin.

Why it’s trending according to Sephora:

This fast-absorbing formula visibly firms skin with collagen and revitalizes with Vitamin C. Orange and green tea extracts nurture skin while aloe juice softens and conditions.

My thoughts: Hello orange! This stuff smells just like a fresh cut orange. As someone who puts on Vitamin C everyday after my toner, this product adds a nice citrus smell to a rather dull morning routine. It has a little more glow and moisture in it than a normal Vitamin C serum, so imagine serum meets moisturizer (a 2 for 1 combo).

Would I buy IRL: Yes!


Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly


A weightless, oil-free water-jelly that cares for skin’s moisture barrier and protects it from pollutants.

Why it’s trending according to Sephora:

This genius jelly locks in the good (moisture) and shields from the bad (pollutants).  The fast-absorbing, non-sticky formula leaves skin feeling rehydrated, fresh, and smooth.

My thoughts: When I first read the label I wasn’t sure what to do with this. It has no scent and is thin, but thick at the same time.  It almost reminds me of a Hyaluronic Acid (like Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel).  This would make for a good neck moisturizer for someone active.

Would I buy IRL: Probably not. Personally, I just can’t see this fitting into my skin care routine, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a great product.


Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer


A replenishing primer that hydrates skin and creates a perfect canvas for makeup.

Why it’s trending according to Sephora:

Beauty hangovers are no match for this revolutionary primer that’s infused with coconut water and other energizing ingredients. Skin looks refreshed, dewy, and makeup ready.

My thoughts: I’m not one to wear a lot of make-up so I’m not a fair judge. I thought this product smelled terrible, and the thought of putting it all over my face made me feel sick just thinking about it.  It’s sad because I loved the brand’s matted lip gloss, so I had high hopes to the rest of their products.  With that being said however, it was very hydrating when I put a small dime-sized amount on the back of my hand and rubbed it in.

Would I buy IRL: No.


Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Youthful-Look 24H Foundation SPF 25 in Light Y210


A long wear, medium-coverage foundation that contains visibly undetected SPF.

Why it’s trending according to Sephora:

Eureka! This innovative foundation protects skin with SPF in the pigment, so there’s no flashback in photos. Plus, the weightless, oil-free formula is ideal for building coverage and blending.

My thoughts: This foundation strikes me as a tinted moisturizer. It has good coverage, but it’s not too heavy where it feels like it’s caked on.

Would I buy IRL: Yes – if I wore foundation.  I love that it has SPF in it. Definitely make sure to go in to the store to find the right color for your skin tone.

Sephora Exclusive

Sephora Collection LashCraft Big Volume Mascara in Black


Full-volume mascara with a buildable formula that coats lashes in intense black color.

Why it’s trending according to Sephora:

This mascara creates bold, thick lashes with maximum definition thanks to nurturing jojoba oil, which prevents clumps, smudges, and flakes.

My thoughts: This brush is comparable to Loreal’s Voluminous Original.  I like a mascara that gives me length instead of volume so it’s not my cup of tea, but I like way the brush is shaped to match the curve of your lashes.

Would I buy IRL: No, just not for me.

This Month’s Bonus

Tom Ford Black Orchid


Dark accords and a mix of black orchids and spice make this rich, sensual fragrance both modern and timeless.

My thoughts: This is a heavy scent. You can definitely smell the black orchids and spices – and I’d say more spice than orchid. It’s more of a perfume someone would put on for a Gala or Wedding, rather than a movie date or work function.

Would I buy IRL: Probably not. I wouldn’t be able to use it as much as I’d like for the price point.

And there you have it!

September’s box: 2 out of 5 things will work with my routine. I’ve had some boxes where all 5 products worked well for me, and on the flip side, I’ve had others where only 1 product worked.  But to be honest, that’s the exciting part.

This box gives me the opportunity to be exposed to things I wouldn’t gravitate towards on my own.

Before you say I don’t have $10, think about that Starbucks run you made, or the lunch you bought, when you had perfectly good food in the fridge at home. Fit this box into your budget like Netflix or Hulu, and you may be surprised to find things you never thought you’d like.

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