Posted in cosmetics, subscriptions

Sephora PLAY! – Box #2 (October)

My second Sephora PLAY! subscription box came while we were in Oklahoma, so it took a few more days to get it from the post office.

Sephora PLAY! is currently only out in Houston and Dallas, TX, Boston, MA, and the Cincinnati/Columbus area of Ohio. All the items come in this nice box, great for storage, and placed prettily inside. It also has a booklet with it, and the “title” of this month’s box is: Secrets to Dewy Skin. The booklet is pretty cool, going through each of the items in the box, giving you a Did You Know?, a Fun Fact, a How To Tip, and a Play! Hack. In the back there are six more hacks for the items, and the Play!Pass. The Pass entitles us to one-on-one advice from someone at Sephora (which I think just comes with walking in the door, really), and if you scan the Pass when you are shopping, you are awarded a bonus 50 Beauty Insider points.

2015 09 24 Play_ box

The booklet that came with it:

2015 10 Play booklet


The sheet mask and the perfume:

2015 10 Play mask and perfume


And a peek inside!

2015 10 Play box



Because this is a skin care routine, I tried everything out one after the other, with the exception of the sheet mask and the belif Aqua Bomb – those were at separate times.

boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser: “Use the sponge and cleanser combo in the morning to gently remove sweat, oil, and any remnants of your nighttime treatments – even around the delicate eye area.” ~ Helen Phillips, Sephora Pro Artist

DID YOU KNOW? This innovative Japanese brand has a name that is more than just a pretty word: It is derived from botanical science, which fits perfectly because all boscia products are preservative-free and formulated without synthetic fragrances and colors.

FUN FACT! Konjac root might be new to you, but for many women, it’s an old favorite. These gentle sponges have been used for over 1,500 years in Asia as a beauty staple. They originate from Korea’s volcanic Jeju Island, which is known for its pristine landscape.

HOW TO TIP Get the most out of your cleansing ritual with these steps: 1) Gently dampen your konjac sponge with water – don’t wring it, as the fragile fibers tear easily. 2) Using circular motions, massage in your cleanser with the sponge. 3) Rinse and hang the sponge to dry.

#PLAYHACK Konjac sponges are a great way to exfoliate delicate skin. Just let your konjac sponge soak in warm water for a few minutes. This will help to make its pillow-soft surface even more soothing!

What do I think about it? I wasn’t so sure about it when a black, oily substance came out of the bottle! Okay, so I know it has bamboo charcoal in it, but it’s still a little odd when you’re used to cleansers that are clear or white. Putting it on my face, I got a bit of a surprise when it began warming up – not a bad surprise, either! I loved that. Wetting the sponge, I started massaging the cleanser on my face. It foamed up a bit, and kept renewing the warmth where I had the sponge at the moment. The cleanser felt nice, and so did the sponge – in fact, I think I will use the sponge to help work my Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Soap onto my face, too! The only thing that I didn’t care much for was it sort of felt as though it left a bit of residue on my face after I rinsed it off. I could be mistaken, of course – plus that can also be remedied by using a water-based soap afterwards. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? Mmmm… I want to use it a few more times, but I think I might. I would definitely purchase another konjac sponge!

Sephora Pearl Mask“Does the dry air on a plane leave your skin feeling parched? Bring this mask on board! People might stare, but you’ll arrive at your destination with a fresh, hydrated complexion” ~Helen Phillips (My note: Oh HELL no. I know celebrities are all rockin’ their sheet masks on Instagram, but I am not hip enough to pull off wearing a sheet mask on a 5 hour flight. Besides, isn’t that what the misters are for?)

DID YOU KNOW? The diamonds of the sea are not just for jewelry! This mask actually contains real white pearl. Finely ground, pearls have been used cosmetically for centuries in China for their incredible ability to brighten, condition, and perfect the skin.

FUN FACT! Don’t be afraid to flaunt that fiber mask! Celebs and beauty lovers around the world have been having fun sharing their #sheetmaskselfie on Instagram, making it the latest social beauty trend to follow. Share yours and tag your posts #SephoraPlay.

HOW TO TIP Sheet masks are perfect for saturating your face with a serious dose of hydration, but applying them can be tricky. Avoid getting air pockets under your mask by pressing it to the middle of your face first, and then smoothing out toward the edges.

#PLAYHACK Feeling puffy after a stressful week or night out? Let your mask cool off in the refrigerator for an hour prior to using it. You’ll get all of the same skin-smoothing benefits, and the coolness is particularly good for redness-prone skin.

What do I think about it? First of all, I thought it was funny I’d just received the very same advice about putting the mask in the refrigerator from the lovely Korean lady whose shop I visit to purchase my other sheet masks! As for the mask itself, the first thing I noticed taking it out of the package was the scent. To me, it smelled like day-old orange juice, like when you’ve had a glass with a few swallows left in it sitting on your nightstand from being ill yesterday. It isn’t that strong, but it was enough to make me wrinkle my nose. The sheet covered my face really well, and the product seemed to moisturize like sheet masks are supposed to. I’m not sure I got more brightness out of it, but that could be something you get over time. too. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? Nope, I wouldn’t. Apart from the smell for me, I can’t see spending $6.00 on a sheet mask from Sephora, when I can spend $1.00 on a pearl sheet mask at the locally-owned Korean shop. Sorry, Sephora… though this will be good for people who don’t have access to other masks. 

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Day Tint SPF 15“Don’t forget: Sunscreen is truly your best antiaging ally! Having it incorporated into this high-performing day tint makes this a must-have all-in-one product.” ~Helen Phillips

DID YOU KNOW? This luxurious cream is all about keeping you replenished. It is formulated with ceramides, which are molecules that exist naturally in our bodies and decrease as we age. When that happens, our skin tends to become dry and sensitive.

FUN FACT! You might know licorice as an old-school candy flavor, but it’s actually much more than that. Japanese geishas have used licorice root – which is found in this cream – for centuries to help get beautifully bright, flawless faces.

HOW TO TIP Apply this tint with your fingers for the easiest and most goof-proof application (added bonus: the heat from your hand helps it to melt in). Try a brush for fuller coverage, or if you’re prone to dry skin, a sponge applicator might be the way to go.

#PLAYHACK To get a natural, no-makeup look, skip the foundation and let this product sink into your skin. It creates a healthy-looking glow that is perfect for weekends and days off – or when you’re just feeling a little lazy and low-key.

What do I think about it? At first I was afraid it was just going to look greasy, because that’s sort of what it looks like when you’re just putting it on. But wait a few minutes – it does sink into your skin and the shine is really reduced. Now, if you want a matte finish, you’ll need some powder, but I loved this just as it is. It’s almost too light for my skin, so if you’re thinking about buying it, try it on first! The formula is really nice and creamy, and a little bit goes a long way. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? Maybe. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I am already in love with my other Dr. Jart+ item, so this may need to be added to it. I want to wear this a few more times to decide, because $48.00 is a bit pricey. 

fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion Treatment Toner“After patting on this toner, give yourself a little massage with your fingers. The stimulation will add some extra glow to your skin!”” ~Helen Phillips

DID YOU KNOW? Don’t confuse this treatment with traditional astringent toners. This formula is based on the Asian skincare idea of a toner: a deeply hydrating essence that works to boost the performance of the other skincare products in your routine.

FUN FACT! You might be familiar with kombucha, a fermented beverage that is traditionally made with black tea. Besides being loved by health junkies for its detoxifying properties, it is also what inspired the creation of the Black Tea Age-Delay Collection.

HOW TO TIP Apply this toner after you finish cleansing your face. Be sure to lightly press or pat it in with your fingertips – save rubbing and circular motions for rich creams that work by coating the surface of your skin, rather than soaking into it.

#PLAYHACK Feeling rushed? Have a plane to catch? Staying fresh-faced when you’re on the go can be difficult, so keep this toner in a small spray bottle and occasionally give yourself a little spritz for a quick, easy dose of hydration.

What do I think about it? I have been wanting to try another toner, and really did like this one. It smells slightly of black tea, which I love, and it felt good on my skin without using very much out of the bottle. And kudos to fresh – they sent these small samples out in glass bottles! I know this company is a good one, too, which made me even more excited to try it out. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? Another “I might”. The thing is, I lovelovelove my AmorePacific Treatment Toner. The full size of the fresh is 4oz for $48.00, and the AmorePacific is 3.4oz for $50.00. Yes, I pay more for less with AmorePacific, but… okay, I really like the scent, too. It works well, does what it says, and the scent reminds me of Chinatown. *laughs* Silly, I know, but silly things like that can sway me one way or another. But aside from that – if I couldn’t buy AmorePacific, or if I really couldn’t see myself spending more for less product, I would definitely go with fresh. It’s a good toner!

belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb: “In Korea, this hydrating moisturizer is also known as a bounce balm, since it gives skin that plump, springy look. Whenever you’re feeling dry, just pat a small amount of it over your makeup for a refreshing glow.” ~Helen Phillips

DID YOU KNOW? belif hails from South Korea, but the company is unique because many of its products are made with extracts from Scottish botanicals. Most of the herbal formulas are based on the research of Duncan Napier, a Victorian botanist from Edinburgh.

FUN FACT! One of our favorite things about this moisturizer is that it quenches thirsty skin with an uncommon active ingredient: lady’s mantle. This little green flower – despite a quirky name – is known as a “hydrating herb” because it is so soothing.

HOW TO TIP You have to be quick to absorb all the benefits from your moisturizer! Gently pat it on with your fingertips immediately after cleansing your face or stepping out of the shower. This way your skin won’t have time to get dry and tight.

#PLAYHACK Winter is coming – which means a lot of us are about to start feeling dry and itchy. To keep your face feeling fresh, apply a generous amount of this moisturizer as a mask. Let it soak in for five minutes, then remove any excess with a damp washcloth.

What do I think about it? I admit it! I have changed my opinion of Aqua Bomb. Remember when I said I wasn’t sure about it because the fourth ingredient is alcohol? ANd that it seemed to feel tacky on my skin? I tried it again on my face after cleansing it yesterday, and it didn’t feel tacky at all. Neither did it seem to be affected by the alcohol being one of the ingredients. It went on smoothly, felt wonderfully hydrating on my skin – just like the Moisturizing Bomb I use, but much lighter – something that would be comfortable to wear during the day. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? Yes, I would, and probably will. I am finding the other one just a bit too heavy for daytime wear, especially if it’s warm or muggy outside. This will totally work so much better for me, and I am already loving the brand, too!    

Atelier Cologne Collection Azur – Mandarine Glaciale“The Secret’s Out. Inspired by the beauty of Calabria, Italy, this fresh citrus fragrance balances cool notes with hints of ginger and heart of vetiver.” 

DID YOU KNOW? The aromas from Atelier Cologne celebrate the traditional concept of a cologne, which means that they’re made with genuine citrus scents, classic ingredients, and high concentrations of essential oils – and can be worn by both women and men.

FUN FACT! If jetting off to an exotic island isn’t in the plans, you can take an olfactive trip with refreshing scents from Atelier Cologne’s Collection Azur. Each fragrance is inspired by the beauty of regions where blue skies and beautiful oceans meet.


What do I think about it? I tried it on yesterday before going to my doctor’s appointment. I liked it at first, but after about an hour it made me feel as though I needed to be working in an office wearing a “power suit” and using buzz words. Not a bad thing, probably, but it’s not me. I took it out of the envelope they sent it in just now and sniffed it some more – and my mind immediately took me to, of all places, the men’s store where Hims shops. Wait a minute… I sniff again, and I realize it’s the same scent as the men’s shop! I’m not joking! Now, I hadn’t read the booklet about the perfume until I was writing this – and laughed out loud when I saw they say it can be worn by either sex. 

Would I buy this at Sephora? It’s a personal thing, but no. While I love the scent of the men’s shop when I am there, I don’t want to smell like you can purchase Harbor Bay or Ralph Lauren from me. As for the office lady feeling, it doesn’t fit me at all. With that said, I’ve sampled other Atelier Cologne perfumes and just loved them! This one, however, isn’t one I can wear. 


 I gotta say – I am SO glad Sephora stopped with the RANDOM CAPITALIZATION of EVERY few WORDS that they were USING in the LAST BOOKLET. It was annoying to read, since I read all caps as yelling at me, and irritating to have to type. They also changed the rather lame “Convo Starter…” note to a “How To Tip”, which actually gives more information and… well, it isn’t so silly-sounding. Because I’m really going to strike up a conversation with someone by saying: “hey, did you know that designers Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen modeled the full-size bottle of Nirvana White after a vintage piece from their own collection?” Because really. 

So, what did you guys think? Did Sephora do a good job at introducing Asian beauty products? Is there anything you’d prefer they included? I’m thinking maybe the perfume sample should have been either more Asian or from an Asian company, but I guess the citrus scent went with the “fresh and dewy” idea – though I would have gone with a more “watery” scent, personally. 

I am sticking this at the end, because… yeah. It’s me. In the sheet mask. I don’t know why my off-white bathroom door looks like I painted it with split peas. I’d better publish this before I lose my nerve and delete this photo!    

2015 11 05 me in the pearl mask 




Syd is a Midwestern girl who doesn’t think the term “girl” is sexist in the least – especially after she left her 20s. She holds a huge love for history (from WWI through the end of WWII, Victorian, Regency, and Elizabethan eras), some science fiction, and likes to pass the time reading, working with photography and needlework, and writing things. Lots of things. Syd likes to dance, too, but she looks like an utter goob doing so!

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