August 2018 Samples: Beauty Schooled

I’m running behind on posting about my latest Play! by Sephora box because I was in California again when it arrived. But here I am with another unboxing video and post with my initial impressions about my August 2018 “Beauty Schooled” samples!

The August theme is back-to-school related, which doesn’t apply to me; I’m not in school nor do I have kids in school. But I always loved back-to-school shopping…I enjoy a good notebook and pen, even in today’s ultra-digital age.

The back of the brochure had a Cosmo-style quiz to see “where to go next in your beauty curriculum.” I scored in the middle range as a “Strand Scholar,” which was laughably off for me: “Your daily agenda has one main objective—get hair that has shine, volume, and style—but you also want to grow in your knowledge!” And you all know how many fucks I give about styling my hair (zero. The number of fucks given is zero).  😛

This month I received one hair care sample, one skin care sample, three makeup samples, and bonus shampoo and conditioner packets:

August 2018 Play! by Sephora samples

This was actually the third month in a row without a fragrance sample! Yippee!

The Hair Care Samples

First up is Living proof T.B.D. Multi-Tasking Styler (full-size, $26). I know people love this brand, but I keep getting samples of their styling products and using them a couple times before forgetting about them. This is a styling cream that can be used on wet or dry hair, which is nice because—as I said in my video—I’ll sometimes think about using a styling cream after my hair has dried but oftentimes they’re supposed to be used on wet hair. This cream is supposed to do All The Things: help define curls, give texture, tame flyaways, and smooth strands. It can also be used prior to blow-drying, which I almost never do.

Living proof T.B.D. Multi-Tasking Styler | Play! by Sephora

The cream smells okay; it’s not overly perfume-y, so that’s positive. I’ve tried this once so far and I didn’t feel like my hair looked any better than usual. Seeing as how MEH I am about hair care, this sample isn’t super exciting to me.

I was excited, however, to see these Ouai Volume Shampoo and Conditioner (full-size, $28 – shampoo, $26 – conditioner) packets in my box. Though I don’t do much in the way of styling, I obviously still wash and condition my hair almost daily. Ouai is another cult favorite hair care brand and I’ve received a couple styling samples from them that I’ve also felt MEH about. My hair certainly could use some volume, so I was happy to have the opportunity to test these products on my super fine, flat hair.

Ouai Volume Shampoo and Conditioner samples | Play! by Sephora

The shampoo scent reminded me of something from my teen years. It’s a bit potpourri-ish, but not in a terrible way. The scent sort of recalled the memory of a Laura Ashley perfume I used to have, or maybe a Caswell-Massey bath product. Oddly, the conditioner has a different scent, and I liked it a whole lot less. The conditioner had a pretty perfume-y grandma smell. My hair looked pretty good after using the shampoo and conditioner, though not super volumized. I would consider buying the shampoo but I just cannot with the conditioner scent. It’s odd that they didn’t use the same fragrance for both the volumizing shampoo and conditioner.

The Skin Care Sample

My next sample is a mask: Origins Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay (full-size, $28) You know how much I love masking! This product has the Clean at Sephora seal that I talked about last month, and I always like trying new beauty products with fewer gross ingredients. This mask is meant to purify, exfoliate, and minimize pores. It smells lovely—exactly like roses and clay. In my unboxing I wasn’t sure if this mask actually contains rose extract in addition to the Mediterranean rose clay, and indeed it does.

Origins Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay | Play! by Sephora

I tried the mask but didn’t put it all over my entire face due to the current nasty breakout I’m experiencing around my eyes. (Which is literally the worst breakout of my life.) The mask has some grit from the jojoba beads, which help to exfoliate the skin when you rinse. I left the mask on for ten minutes and washed it off in the shower. The mask did make my skin look very clean, and I will happily use it again. I don’t need any new masks right now but will keep this in mind for future purchases.

Origins Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

The Beauty Samples

My first adorable makeup sample this month is Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer (full-size, $29). This is a cult classic bronzer that I’ve somehow never tried. I was concerned that this shade might be too dark for my fair skin. They do actually offer a Hoola Lite that’s probably better for fair skin tones, but I think this sample will be fine as long as I use a light touch—which I always do with bronzer anyway. I like that this bronzer is matte, because a sparkly or shimmery bronzer is just not for me. Scroll down further to see a swatch of this sample on my arm.

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer | Play! by Sephora

Next up is Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Clear (full-size, $22). Like I said in my video, I’ve never tried ABH products but I hear people rave about them all the damn time (especially the eyeshadow palettes). I was excited that Sephora sent me the clear shade because I use clear Maybelline Great Lash mascara on my brows daily, even when I don’t fill them in with a pencil. My brows need some taming so a clear gel is perfect for that. The brush is stiff and I like that it’s smaller than a regular mascara brush size. Also stiff is how my brows feel after this gel dries. Not great. This product costs at least three times as much as the Maybelline product that I currently use without being three times better, so I wouldn’t buy it full sized.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Clear | Play! by Sephora

My final sample this month is Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in C211 (full-size, $22). I was very excited to see a pinky nude shade in my box! I received a nice red MUFE lipstick sample in my December 2017 box, but I was less thrilled about that shade because I don’t do a red lip very often. This lip color is referred to as a soft rosewood, which feels like exactly the right descriptor. In the tube, the color looked like it might be a little too light to be the perfect pinky nude I’m always chasing.

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in C211 | Play! by Sephora

The lipstick looked darker and more intensely pink when applied than I had expected. It’s a really pretty color! The lipstick is super creamy with a bit of shine due to the satin finish formula. I probably wouldn’t buy this shade full sized, but I do like the formula so I’d consider seeing if they have that ever-elusive pinky nude.

Check out swatches of the lipstick and bronzer on my arm:

Top: MUFE C211 Lipstick. Bottom: Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Here I am wearing my unboxing video makeup along with the MUFE lipstick. On my lips, at least, it reads more like a medium pink than a soft rosewood. It’s still a nice color, though.

Final Thoughts

I rather liked my August 2018 Play! by Sephora box! In my video I talked about how I’ve been considering canceling my subscription. I’m making an effort to stop constantly trying new skin care products, and receiving a monthly beauty subscription box does not help. However, because I only got one skin care sample this month I feel a little better about it and might hang in there for a little longer. And I’m just happy with my August samples overall.

What did you think of your August Play! samples? Did you get introduced to any new favorite products?

What is Play! by Sephora?

Play! by Sephora is a $10 per month beauty subscription that includes five deluxe samples plus one fragrance sample; samples are curated based on your Sephora beauty profile (hair color, eye color, skin tone, skin type, skin and hair 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 the Beauty Insider program—which I highly recommend signing up for if you ever shop at Sephora. This subscription also offers a “Play! Date” each month, which allows you and a friend to attend an in-store event to learn how to use the products in that month’s box (RSVP is required).