Unboxing Frenzy: Sephora Play! & Popsugar Must Have Box October 2016

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Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

Subscription box lovers, rejoice! Today I have not one, not two, actually yes two monthly deliveries to unbox with you: our usual Sephora Play! box, plus the Popsugar Must Have box, both for October 2016. Let's jump in and unbox these treats... or are they disappointments? We'll find out!

Sephora Play! Box October 2016

What is Sephora Play! ?

By now, I'm sure most of you already know. If you don't, here's the deal: Sephora Play! is a beauty subscription box that comes to members' mailboxes every month and costs $10, charged automatically to the credit card on file. For this price, we receive 5 samples, deluxe or travel sizes of makeup, skincare, haircare products and one fragrance sample. You cannot pick your samples - you just get what you get and there's no exchanging samples you don't like. I don't remember filling a survey asking for my preferences when I signed up, but the subscription is linked to your Sephora BI/VIB/Rouge account, so you might want to complete your profile just in case. Different subscribers have received completely different boxes this month, with just one product that seems to be common to all (more on that later).

The Sephora Play! program was launched last year in a bunch of test markets in the US and just opened nationwide in April. Subscribers are charged in the beginning of each month and the box is supposed to be shipped in the 3rd week of the month: I was charged on October 3rd and my box was shipped on October 14th. I did receive an email with my tracking number this month (it wasn't always the case). The box was sent through UPS Mail Innovations as usual, which is a mix of UPS and USPS, where UPS brings the box to your city and USPS does the final delivery in your mailbox. It came from New Jersey and took a long 8 days to arrive to my Southern California location, with a delivery on October 22nd, no signature required. The shipment didn't actually start moving until October 17th, 3 days after the initial notification.

Let's unbox this month's goodies!

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

The theme for this month's box is The Cool Cut: "These are the ones to watch: uncover breakthrough formulas, indie finds, and products that truly stand out from the crowd. Before they hit the mainstream, try out out routine-changing [blablabla]". The canvas bag the products always come in has a print that says Lipstix and Chill this month. Not sure what it has to do with the theme, and that's my feeling about this entire box...

What's in the October box?

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

Unboxing: Sephora Play! October 2016

- Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver's Seat. Smashbox, indie? Eeeerh, not really. Plus a liquid matte lipstick isn't exactly a breakthrough, Sephora is full of them these days. Still, that's not a bad sample for me, as I've never tried the formula and the color looks like something I would have picked myself. Weird thing though, the sample doesn't look full, see for yourself on the pictures...

- Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle. Okay, I guess Nudestix qualifies as Indie. But not really breakthrough, upcoming, and "ready to hit the mainstream"! The brand has been around for a while now, and I've never been attracted to their products. Everything in a crayon format is just a little too basic for my taste, I like variety in textures, packaging, finishes. This pencil looks like a dupe of Nars Dolce Vita matte pencil, and the color is actually quite close to the Smashbox liquid lipstick shade included in this box. I'm lucky it's my kind of color! Overall, I'm not too excited...

Swatches: Nudestix Bell, Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver's Seat
Nudestix in Belle on top and Smashbox in Driver's Seat on bottom

- Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream: I like the brand and its fun visual identity, but I'm rolling my eyes at the description of this cream. It's supposed to be, I'll need double-quotes here cause I'm calling BS ""5-in-1 multitasking cream [that] works as a serum, priming moisturizer, eye cream, neck cream and sleeping mask"". Give me a break!! This is a face cream. You can use any friggin' face cream as a serum under another moisturizer, as a moisturizer to prime your skin, around your eyes (except if it contains irritating ingredients), on your neck (like, seriously??) and as a "sleeping mask" which is just a new cool name for heavy night creams that don't get absorbed well. Maybe it's a good cream, I don't know yet, but the marketing nonsense makes me want to scream. It's a face cream with eggs, period!

- Skin Inc. Pure Revival Peel. Now, that's a skincare brand that I wanted to try, but this sample is ridiculously small. It is, indeed, a sample, and not a travel or deluxe size as I expect to find in my Sephora Play! box. I can probably use it twice if I apply very little. On top of that, I would have preferred to discover what Skin Inc. is best known for, which is their custom serum system.

- Verb Leave-In Mist. I never get excited for haircare products, but as it turns out this one is probably what saved the entire box from being sent on a one-way journey to the trash can. Verb is a brand I don't really know much about, so it qualifies as an indie find. I tried it this morning, and I have the biggest hair of my life today, woohoo! This spray means VOLUME you guys. In terms of texture it's very similar to the well-known It's A 10: it's a creamy conditionner, not a mist. The spray pump wasn't working well, but I'm hoping I can fix it, cause I'll definitely go through this travel-size quickly. Ironically, the only two products I'm planning to buy full-size after trying them in Sephora Play! boxes are haircare products - the other one is Bumble & Bumble Don't Blow It!

- The usual fragrance sample: Tom Ford Orchid Soleil. This one is going straight to the dumpster. I boycott Tom Ford because the brand created ads for their men's fragrances that depicted the female body as a sex toy. I consider myself a feminist and I put my money where my mouth is, so I will never be associated to this brand in any way shape or form, not even by wearing their scents. That's all I'm going to say, Google is your friend if you want to learn more. The sample is already in the garbage where it belongs.


This is the absolute worst Sephora Play! box I've received so far. I'm not excited about anything at all, and the only product I was slightly intrigued about was the hair spray. Me, the blogger who couldn't care less about hair... The most frustrating part is that other subscribers such as Agata and Emmy received completely different boxes, with products from Christope Robin, Farmacy, Drunk Elephant, the Estee Edit, etc, that I would have loved to try. No luck for me this month! The only product that was in every box, as far as I can tell, is the Smashbox liquid lipstick. I hope Sephora gets their act together because this is not worth $10 for me. And please, try to actually tie the products to the theme!

Number of products: 6
Makeup products: 2
Products I'm really excited about: 0
Products I know I won't use: 1
My grade: D

Popsugar #MustHaveBox October 2016

What is Popsugar Must Have Box?

I would describe this one as a lifestyle subscription box: every month, members receive a curated selection of full-size fashion, beauty, and home items. The cost is $39.95 a month for the regular box, and $15.95 for the Mini. You can find all the info here, and don't forget to use the code SHOP5 to get $5 off your first box!

Popsugar sent me the regular-sized box for consideration, let's take a look!

Unboxing: Popsugar Must Have Box October 2016

What's in the October box?

The content of the Popsugar Must Have boxes is inspired by the season and the main events of the month, so this edition is all about keeping yourself cozy and warm on a cool fall Sunday, reading a good book with a hot cocoa in hand before soaking in a vanilla scented bath.

Unboxing: Popsugar Must Have Box October 2016

- Henri Bendel Packable Umbrella: this umbrella sells for $58, so it's already more than the cost of the box itself! It's quite stylish with white and brown stripes and compact enough to keep in a purse. Living in San Diego I don't use an umbrella very often (seriously, it rains a dozen times a year max, usually in the winter) so I didn't actually own a decent umbrella. The only one we have at home is by... Ikea Family. Not exactly classy, I've felt embarrassed when I traveled to a wetter place with my orange umbrella before! I've heard about Henri Bendel, but I can't say I'm very familiar with the brand, so this is a nice way for me to discover the quality of their products. There was also a discount card for purchase on their website in the box.

- Lalicious Brown Sugar Vanilla Shower Oil and Bubble Bath: I love shower oils, they're so great in the winter when my skin feels dry! This one smells really delicious, exactly what you would expect based on its name, but not too sweet. The bottle is quite large so it should last me through the cooler season.

- My Cup of Cocoa Dark Drinking Chocolate: does Popsugar know me? I'm a big fan of hot chocolate, I have it almost every night as soon as the temperatures go down. I'm excited to try this dark version, although I wish it was unsweetened. I'll drink any kind of cocoa as long as it tastes very chocolate-y, but my preference goes to the plain bitter powder. Without sugar it's healthier, and I really like the sharp taste of pure cocoa.

- Morning Culture Rise & Shine Diner Mug: hey, a mug to drink my chocolate! It's not like I need anymore mugs in my house, but this one is really nice. It has a rather unusual shape, slightly narrower in the middle, and it's both minimalist and inspirational, just white with the words Rise & Shine. Sounds perfect for Saturday mornings! Because on weekday mornings, believe me, I'm not shining that much when my alarm rings...

- Makeup Eraser Mini: I read many good reviews of this supposedly revolutionary makeup removing cloth that only requires warm water to take away any kind of makeup, so I was really thrilled to find it in the box! This is the small Mini version, and it is shaped like... a sanitary pad. But I've tried it a couple times already, and it actually works pretty well. I have to rub a little bit to remove all traces of my mascara, but not really more than I do with regular cotton pads and makeup remover. The only thing that bugs me is that it gets really dirty after one use, so I feel like I'd need to wash it every night if I used it daily. Or maybe I'd need 8 of them and wash the batch weekly. I think I'll keep it for short getaways, or for those days when I'm so tired I can't be bothered with a multi-step night routine. The Makeup Eraser is definitely a lot gentler and more effective than any makeup wipes I've ever tried.

- Power Your Happy by Lisa Sugar: I can use some inspirational career advice these days, so I was excited to find this newly published book in the box. Lisa Sugar is the founder of Popsugar, a small business turned into a digital empire. Hey if I follow her tips, maybe you'll see a Beaumiroir Must Have Box for sale one day, haha!

- Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen: another full size beauty product, score! This is not any old drugstore eyeliner, but a brand new one by Revlon that has a weird tip with 3 different edges to easily draw lines from ultra thin to thick and sexy. I noticed it when it was released at the drugstore and I was planning to get one, since I'm a bit challenged in the winged liner application department. Hopefully the odd-shaped tip works for me, I'll let you know!


I'm very happy with this box, in fact this is probably the best subscription box I have ever received! I wasn't sure if the concept of a lifestyle box would work for me, as I'm not particularly into fashion or home decor, but after trying the Must Have box for two months in a row (take a look at the September box), I have to say that I love to discover unexpected and rather random products. A striped umbrella, a cocoa powder to make hot chocolate, that's actually really fun! Another thing I love is that everything in here is full-size, and the total value comes down to over $150, which is a great deal for a $40 box.

What do you think of these boxes? Do you subscribe to any monthly box? Which one is your favorite?

The Sephora Play! was purchased by Lulle while the Popugar Must Have box was sent by PR for consideration. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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