I can’t believe it’s already more than halfway through August! My Play! by Sephora box arrived this week, with an “Elements of Beauty” periodic table design on the front and back of the brochure. Each box in the table lists an ingredient found in certain beauty products and explains what it’s good for (e.g., “guarana seed extract is best for deep hydration”). Cute…and helpful!

The theme for August is The Innovators: “advanced formulas and high-tech products from brands that are paving the way for the future of beauty.” I’m not typically all that into the little pouches that the samples come in, but this month’s Makeup Geek bag is SO up my alley! This one’s a keeper:

This month’s brochure didn’t get me quite as excited off the bat as last month’s, but the samples still looked great. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time I’ve ever received an actual beauty TOOL in a box of samples, so that’s awesome!

Behold: my August Play! by Sephora samples:

Play! by Sephora August 2017 Samples

Let’s start with the hair care sample: Alterna Haircare CAVIAR Anti-Aging Miracle Mutiplying Volume Mist (full-size, $30). A volumizing product is on the better end of the spectrum for me as far as hair care samples go. I believe I tried Alterna shampoo and conditioner a really long time ago—maybe in college—but it was so long ago that for all intents and purposes, the brand is new to me. I always kinda give side-eye to products that claim “miracle” on the label; I’m also not really sure what anti-aging means in terms of hair…it’s not like it’s going to keep the gray away. All that aside, this mist is pretty good—it is lightweight and adds texture to my stupidly fine hair. The mist does leave my hair feeling a touch crispy, but brushing my hair after it has dried alleviates the crunch factor. The scent isn’t my favorite but it’s not noxious like some hair care products. Overall it’s a decent product but I most likely wouldn’t buy it full sized simply because I’ve basically given up on trying to style my lame-ass hair.*

Alterna Haircare CAVIAR Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist | Play! by Sephora

Next up is the sample that I got most excited about when I got my first peek at my box: Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir Serum (full-size, $98). What excited me so? Well, just look at that adorable, tiny glass dropper bottle! I was also stoked to receive a fairly high-end sample. I can’t seem to figure out how to calculate the value of this sample BECAUSE MATH, but seeing as how a full sized bottle costs nearly $100, this little one is probably worth about the value of my entire Play! box. My brochure informs me that the serum is made with antioxidant-rich Greek saffron harvested from Krocus flowers—and it takes 150 of those hand-picked flowers to yield one gram of the ingredient. That’s why the product is so spendy! The serum is meant to reduce the appearance of fine lines and to smooth, plump, brighten, firm, and lift skin. That’s a lot of anti-aging power packed into a small bottle! Honestly, I’m not in love with the serum’s scent, but it dissipates quickly so that’s not a big deal. I’ve only used it for three days in a row so far, so I can’t really say whether it lives up to all of its claims. Pretty much the only reason I’d buy it full sized would be if it actually managed to lighten my age spots…which is not likely.

Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir Serum | Play! by Sephora

My next sample isn’t really even a sample—it’s a full sized beautyblender micro.mini ($18 for a set of two). Confession time: I actually bought this set at Sephora a couple years ago and found myself hardly ever using them, so when I was packing for our move to DC I ended up throwing them out in a frenzied “everything must go!” mode. However, I’ve recently been more into using tools rather than my fingers to apply face makeup, so I’m pleased that this little sponge has somehow found its way back to me.

beautyblender micro.mini | Play! by Sephora
Apparently, neon green does not photograph well.

This next product doesn’t feel super innovative to me: Clinique HIM Dual-Ended High Impact Mascara & Primer Duo (full-size primer, $17; full-size mascara, $18). Mascara and primer duos have been on the market for many years now…I feel like L’Oreal came out with one when I was in college in the late 90s (I could be wrong on the timing). Clinique doesn’t actually sell these products as a full sized duo—you have to buy each product separately, so the combined cost of the primer and mascara is $35. That’s a lot to spend on eyelash products! This primer is supposed to moisturize lashes while creating a foundation for mascara to cling to. I’ve used both products together a couple of times now, and while they’re pretty good, I think many drugstore mascaras do a better job at a more wallet-friendly price.

Clinique HIM Dual-Ended High Impact Mascara & Primer Duo | Play! by Sephora

My final beauty sample this month is another luxury product: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick in Shell (full-size, $46). I’ve only bought one Hourglass product before, one of their Ambient Lighting Powders, and it’s lovely. So I was happy that I got a chance to sample another Hourglass product without having to shell out a bunch of cash! This foundation is highly pigmented so you only need to use a little bit. I applied a few light swipes to my face, then blended and buffed the foundation using my tarte Smoothie Blender Foundation Brush. The Shell color is maybe a touch dark for my skin tone, but not terribly so. I might be better off with one shade lighter, especially in the winter. This foundation blended out quite easily and left my skin with a smooth, matte finish. I’m not a huge fan of wearing foundation, but because you only need a little bit of this one rather than caking a ton of shit on your face, I’d consider purchasing it full sized.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick | Play! by Sephora

Here are swatches of the Hourglass foundation stick on my arm:

L: unblended; R: somewhat blended

Here I am wearing the Hourglass foundation and Clinique primer & mascara duo, plus the Alterna volume mist in my hair. I created a subtly smoky purple eye using shades from my tarte limited-edition eye love you eye set, which was SUCH a great purchase (it’s unfortunately no longer available). On my lips I’m wearing a sample of Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Nude Kate, which I unexpectedly discovered is a great nude shade on me. More on Charlotte Tilbury lipstick to come soon!

Oh yeah, and there was a fragrance sample: Burberry My Burberry Black (full-size, $95). Eh.

How was your August Play! by Sephora box? Did you discover any new holy grail products?

Read my previous Play! by Sephora reviews.

What is Play! by Sephora?

Play! by Sephora is a $10 per month beauty subscription that includes five deluxe samples plus one fragrance sample; the samples are curated based on your Sephora beauty profile (hair color, eye color, skin tone, skin type, skincare concerns, haircare concerns, etc.). And of course, you can purchase full-sized versions of any samples from Sephora and earn VIB points if you’re a part of that program—which I highly recommend signing up for if you ever shop at Sephora. This subscription program also offers subscribers a “Play! Date” each month, which invites you and a friend to attend an in-store meetup to learn how to use the products in that month’s box (RSVP is required).

*Not to be confused with “lame ass hair,” which could be interpreted as something completely different! Proper punctuation is important!