Sephora Play All-Stars

Sephora Play All-Stars

Hi everyone! I recently got an email offer about a luxury version of Sephora Play! It’s a one-time purchase retailing for $20. VIB Rouge members got first access to it on August 30, VIB got access on August 31, and everyone else got it on September 1. It had sold out by September 2.

The service:

This is based on the Play standard of six samples, one of which is a perfume sample, in a bag. Individual info cards replaced the info sheet. They were way less informative. For instance, the perfume sample didn’t list notes. Customization is not available, as well.

I liked the all-black mailer box instead of the black and white stripes. The Play logo was shaded silver and the tape was black, as well. It looked more sleek and high-end. I actually bought a couple other things so this was mailed within a larger box and didn’t have any mailing stickers.

The theme:

The All-Star Edition. This means that is a collection of best-selling luxury products. There was also an astrology theme of some sort, but for the most part that element felt cheaper than the normal Play boxes. The info cards doubled as a deck of six cheekily-named tarot cards (“The Wand of Queens”). The entire card either gave a fortune or tied the product into the tarot name. If you really want to know something about the product, you can read the two-word phrases culled from Sephora reviews (“really working”).

The bag:

Sephora does usually pride itself on the products instead of the bag. With normal bags, they’re cheap but cute. I normally prefer the extra sample over a small, cheap bag that looks decent enough to not throw out. I’ve never seen a worse bag in any subscription box, though. For starters, that holo fabric has these weird dusty marks on it. It looks like it was dropped on the ground and someone stepped on it over and over again to stamp the marks into a pattern on one side. Yes, eww. A couple spots have also been stretched and deformed from the products inside.

This also looks very poorly designed and constructed. My guess is that the fabric and zipper were too expensive. The amounts of each material were therefore strictly regulated and finishings were out. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? Who approved the cut, the seams, and the unfinished zipper? A fashion design school dropout?

My favorite part is the circular zipper. I’m ripping the entire zipper out and will use it elsewhere. The rest of this mistake is going straight into the trash. I’d prefer one of the normal drawstring Play bags.

The goodies:

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Tom Ford Lip Color in Indian Rose
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Creme
Dior Diorshow Mascara in Black
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

The SK-II Essence:

I saw that an SK-II product would be included and knew exactly what it was. I love working essences into my skincare routine and have heard amazing things about this. The wide opening and watery formula do not mix well. So far, I only managed to not spill some product once. This packaging is also the cheapest-looking. The other products all came in boxes and reflect the full-sized versions. My skin felt very plump and hydrated after using this. The formula must have sank deep into my skin. I noticed these extra effects if I applied this twice, but otherwise it didn’t seem to do much more than, say, Belif Hungarian Water Essence. I will continue to test this out, in case prolonged use makes a difference.

The Tom Ford lipstick in Indian Rose:

I love the packaging! The outer box has a light texture and gold text that together create an understated-but-luxurious feel. The entire lipstick is made from black and gold chromed plastic. It feels light, so I’d hope that the full-size would use metal to give it some heft. This smells very similar to a MAC lipstick. The formula is creamy and thin. I love the rosy color! The undertones shift with the light from pink to nude to even a warm red.

Tom Ford Lip Color Indian Rose

The Amore Pacific moisturizer:

Again, another K-beauty product for me to try! Lately I’ve been using hydrating products, but my skin needs more moisture or nourishment. And this came at the right time! I’d call it a water-cream formula and it’s a dream to apply. It’s lightweight but sinks right into my skin. The scent is lightly perfumed for that typical “luxury moisturizer” scent.

The Hourglass primer:

More gorgeous packaging. The frosted white and shiny black complemented each other well. The applicator is a paddle with holes in it. It’s a strange way to apply the product, and I felt like I put too much on. The primer minimized the look of pores slightly. It also gave my skin a weird pale almost bluish tint to it. I didn’t notice the color difference after applying foundation or BB cream. I’ve also been really busy and haven’t checked how well this prolonged my makeup.

The Dior mascara:

I knew a mascara would be included! Normally I stockpile mascaras because I only like having one or two open at once. However, I currently am only using one with a tiny wand that takes forever to use so I tested this out. The wand pulls out instead of screws out. If my hands are slippery from other makeup or hand cream, it’s tricky to open. The wand is very long, thick, and dense, with a tapered point. I noticed less product on the bristles nearest the base. I’ve used a mascara from Rimmel in the past with a similar shape.

The first time I wore this, it didn’t do much. Or at least, I didn’t notice much because the effect is somewhat subtle. I only noticed how gorgeous this is when I didn’t have any other eye makeup on. The mascara coats each lash in a very thin layer of product. It looks very natural and beautiful since it adds length, volume, and some lift without clumping or looking spidery. However, it didn’t build up easily. A second layer added very little to the effect. Overall, a very nice mascara for natural-looking lashes.

The Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb perfume:

The perfume is actually a larger, decently-sized mini with a cap. I believe Flowerbomb is classified as niche, but I don’t understand the perfume industry/classification as much.

Head notes: bergamot and mandarin. Heart notes: sambac jasmine, freesia, centifolia rose, and osmanthus. Base notes: deep amber, woody, patchouli, warm vanilla, and praline.

The perfume starts out as a very warm, sweet floral with a hint of spice. I prefer fragrances with a bit less sweetness and no citrus. I don’t read the mandarin in the mix. The fragrance settled down into a more nuanced scent. It does stay warmer and sweeter than I’m normally comfortable with, but I don’t mind. The scent smells really nice and has enough complexity.

The verdict:

Sephora made mistake after mistake about the styling. Play has always seemed cheaper than all their other services, and that fact is more obvious here than in their normal boxes. The products themselves, though, were all surprisingly solid. At one point or another near the beginning most of these didn’t impress me. Something changed with each one, and I found myself enjoying them. I understand exactly why these are bestsellers and why Sephora chose them.

-xo, Andi

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