Subscription boxes are all the rage these days. Why? They’re convenient – you don’t have to scour a store, much less the world wide web, for products. They’re fun – who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail? And more than anything, they’re a great way to score a deal if you know what you’re looking for!
Sub boxes are available for all kinds of things: food, beauty, home goods, even clothing and activities. On 2LWithIt, I’ve reviewed both Ipsy (a beauty subscription) and Date Night In Box (a monthly curated date/activity box for couples). These boxes are offered at a variety of price points, but most boxes give bundled discounts if you subscribe for several quarters or an annual subscription.
Sometimes, though, you can find one-off subscription boxes. These are my favorite, because they don’t come with the commitment of an annual membership, and I know ahead of time what’s in the box (kI can base my decision of whether or not I want to buy it). Sometimes it’s nice to get a surprise and not know what’s in the box, but as I’ve mentioned in some of my reviews, that surprise can turn out to be a disappointment if it’s a product (or several products) you’ve already tried and don’t like and/or don’t have a need for.
Today, I’m reviewing a one-off box from the Play! by Sephora subscription. This box currently retails for $16 on the Sephora website, but I purchased it during the Labor Day sale, so it was 20% off. Sometimes you can find single Play! boxes available for purchase in Sephora’s Reward Bazaar (where you can cash in points for products). You can also find these boxes on eBay and other third-party sites because some people subscribe to boxes like this and end up not wanting it (so you can usually get it for less than the original price).
THEME: The theme of this box is “Superfoods: Feed Your Face.” Basically it’s a crash-course in all kinds of superfoods, which includes everything from preventing fine lines & wrinkles, to maintaining hydration and healthy skin.
BAG: Sephora describes the bag as an “unbleached, limited edition” creation. IMO, it’s a standard canvas pouch with a magnetic closure and brightly-colored orange trim. While this bag would be great to hold small amounts of produce or other reusable bags (e.g. in the back of your car for grocery shopping trips), I wouldn’t use it as a clutch because of the non-secure closure; smaller items like lipsticks and cash could easily fall out!
CONTENTS: Each Play! by Sephora bag comes with a “smart pass” that can be redeemed in-store (only) for 50 beauty insider points when combined with any full-sized purchase. PRO TIP: one of the cheapest full-sized items you can buy is a $5 face mask. Unless you need/want to buy something else, I’d recommend pairing the card with a less expensive item, so you can get the most bang for your buck; it’s basically $5 + tax for $55 worth of points.
In addition to the bag and the point card, Play! by Sephora boxes also include:
-six curated products
-notecards for each product highlighting how and when to use it, as well as the ingredients it’s made from
-and an invite for a live “crash course” about how to use all of the products. It’s like Q & A, where you can send in questions to the hosts and they’ll answer them during the talk. If you can’t watch when the video goes live, you can easily find it recorded and saved on Play! by Sephora’s YouTube channel (super convenient, IMO). You can also use the notecards during this talk; each one has space to take notes from the talk on the back.
For the sake of brevity, I won’t do an in-depth product analysis like I do for Ipsy bags each and every month. Instead, I’ll give a quick rundown and product price breakdown.
Sephora says that this bag has an estimated retail value of $44…let’s see how that stacks up with my valuations.
FIRST AID BEAUTY: Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream
- I’m a fan of all things coconut and this cream does not disappoint! Coconut contains electrolytes, potassium, and sodium, which’re all ingredients to boost skin hydration (aka major anti-aging goodness).
- Full-sized this item is 1.7 oz and retails for $34, but it’s currently on sale at Sephora for $17. The sample is .34oz, which gives this an estimated retail value of $3.40.
ILIA: Soft Focus Finishing Powder
- This powder has: bamboo stem (revive skin), rosemary leaves (antibacterial and skin-healing properties), and aloe vera leaves (soothes irritation). I like that this is a translucent finishing powder that can be applied to brighten under eyes, as well as set foundation. When paired with a concealer, this really helps with dark circles!
- Full-sized this item is .32 oz and retails for $34. This sample is .05 oz, so it has an estimated retail value of $5.31.
DR ROEBUCK’S: No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer
- This moisturizer has rosehip seeds to repair skin damage, as well as macadamia nut to soften skin. I like that this product doesn’t have a strong scent and dries quickly without much residue or tackiness.
- Full-sized this item is 1.69 oz and retails for $45. This sample is .5c oz, so it has an estimated retail value of $13.31.
YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE: Superberry Hydrate & Glow Oil
- This oil has three kinds of berries (acai, goji, and maqui), which all have antioxidant properties to protect skin from free radicals (the “free-floating electrons that live in pollution and UV rays…(which can) speed up the aging process”). Unlike other oils, this one doesn’t cause breakouts on my skin, and I find it pairs well with foundation and/or a moisturizer to give a dewy, but not oily finish.
- Full-sized this item is 1 oz and retails for $44. This sample is .125 oz, so it has an estimated retail value of $5.50.
TARTE: Mermaid Skin Hydration H2O Serum
- This serum is made with sea algae, which promotes skin oxygenation (aka helps it look and feel healthy)! It’s not as thick as a moisturizer, but if you’re on the go and want to pop something in your purse to keep your face or hands from feeling dry, I’d recommend this serum.
- Full-sized this item is 1.7 oz and retails for $42. This sample is .34 oz, so it has an estimated retail value of $8.40.
ORIGINS: Dr. Andrew Well for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
- I’d liken this treatment to a liquid of some kind; “lotion” is kind of a misleading term because it has the viscosity of water. It’s made with both reishi and chaga mushrooms which help to regenerate skin cells, as well as boosting immunity; both are good things that promote healthy skin! This is probably my least favorite product in the whole bag, if I had to pick one, just because I think it should be a pump instead of a cap to dispense it; other than that, it does calm irritation and makes skin look brighter with regular use.
- Full-sized this item is 6.7 fl oz and retails for $34. This sample is 1 fl oz, so it has an estimated retail value of $5.07.
TOTAL VALUE OF PRODUCTS: $40.99
This means that Sephora values the bag and 50 point card at $3.01. I’d say that’s a pretty spot-on valuation. With the 20% discount, I paid $12.80 for $40+ worth of products, points, and a decently-cute bag. The sizes of the samples are great for travel, which is one of my favorite things about subscription boxes, because many full-sized products are too big to take in a carry-on.
If you can get one of these bags on sale and you’re remotely interested in trying any/some of the products, it’s a much better deal than grabbing a travel-sized sample in the queue to checkout at any of these beauty stores (tempting as they may be).
FINAL THOUGHTS: This bag is a pretty good deal, as far as beauty subscription boxes go. The products are higher-end than most beauty subscription bags I’ve reviewed (*cough cough, Ipsy*). Plus, I really like the addition of an online Q & A tutorial, plus the option to redeem extra points for making a purchase in-store. Overall, I’d definitely consider purchasing another Play! bag, and perhaps even subscribe to the monthly box.
If you subscribe to Play! by Sephora, do you like it? Have you tried this bag? Would love to hear your thoughts!
This Play! by Sephora box was paid for by 2LWithIt; all thoughts, opinions, and photographs belong to 2LWithIt.