I’m back with another Play! by Sephora post! My February 2018 box arrived yesterday morning so I immediately cracked it open in an unboxing video:

February’s box theme is all about feeling—and sharing—the love. The back of the brochure is designed with beauty-related Valentines for friends that say things like “You Are My Lash Crush” and “You Know What an Essence is and That’s Why We’re Friends.” Too bad the box arrived more than a week after Valentine’s Day…but still a cute idea.

This month I received three makeup samples, two skin care samples, and one fragrance sample. At first glance, all of the samples (minus the fragrance, of course) looked pretty great to me!

Take a peek at my samples and the Feel the Love bag they came in:

Play! by Sephora February 2018

The first sample I pulled out of the bag was the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in a very Valentine’s Day-appropriate shade, Let’s Go Crazy (full-size, $27). As I mentioned in my unboxing video, I’ve tried NARS lipsticks but not the lip pencils. Beauty geeks tend to love NARS—it’s another cult classic brand.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pen in Let's Go Crazy

And you know what? I can see why, because this product is great! The color is so pretty: it’s a fun pop of pink without being too bright. The lipstick is a comfortable, non-drying matte, and it’s long-lasting. However! When I couldn’t find the product’s ingredient list on Sephora.com or NARS.com it felt a little suspect,* so I dug the box out of my recycling bin. Lo and behold, this product contains two parabens. Because parabens are believed to disrupt hormones I’m trying to steer clear of products that contain them, so for that reason alone I wouldn’t buy this one full sized. Keep reading to see a swatch and how it looks on my lips.

My next sample is Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in the shade Rose Gold (full-size, $29). This is another one of those cult classic products; Sarah Jessica Parker is reportedly all about it for her signature smoky eye. I was actually recently considering buying this product in a bronzy brown, so I was very happy to receive a sample to try before shelling out almost $30 on a full sized version!

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold

In my video I noted some hesitation because I think at least some Laura Mercier products, such as her ever-popular Tinted Moisturizer,** contain parabens…but the Caviar Eye Stick does not. 🙂 I first tried this product on my lids without primer and by the end of the day it was definitely creasing in, well, my crease. The product sets quickly, so blending it back out was not an option after hours of wear. The next day I applied an eye primer before using the stick and it still creased (to a lesser extent), so, at least for me, this is not something that works well when applied all over the lid and up into the crease. Seems like a dark color would be fine smudged along the lashline, though. Swatch and real-life photos are below.

My second lipstick sample this month is Sephora Collection Rouge Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic (full-size, $12; this shade is listed on sale for $7 but is currently out of stock). I like the attention to detail with the matte tube for a matte lipstick—I looked online and their regular lipstick tubes are shiny.

Sephora Collection Rouge Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic

In the tube, Rebel Chic looks pretty dark and almost a bit brown, but once you swipe it on it’s a really lovely berry shade. The brochure states that the product is ultra-conditioning; while I wouldn’t go quite that far, it is another matte that’s comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. And guess what…no parabens in this lipstick! See below for a swatch and photo of me wearing it.

On to the skin care samples! The first is Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb (full-size, $48). That’s a pretty eye-popping price…pun fully intended. I really liked a sample of Belif’s The True Cream Aqua Bomb, so I was excited to try the corresponding eye cream.

Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb

The Eye Bomb smells basically the same as the face cream (as far as I can remember), but it has more of a traditional cream consistency than the gel-cream consistency of the face cream. It’s quite thick and a little goes a long way, so this deluxe sample will last me for a long time. I would not spend almost $50 on an eye cream unless it literally erased the fine lines around my eyes and maybe also scooped our litterboxes daily.

My final sample this month is Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy™ (full-size, $34). I was the most excited about this sample for two reasons: 1) this is one of the cleaner brands available at Sephora and 2) I’ve never tried a cleansing balm.

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy™

In my video I kinda rambled about how I have a vague sense that cleansing balms are meant to be used as part of a double cleansing process, but I don’t think that’s a hard and fast rule. I mean, the only hard and fast rule in facial cleansing is “wash your damn makeup off before you go to bed.” I was concerned, though, that a balm would leave an oily residue that I’d want to wash off with a different cleanser before continuing with the rest of my skin care routine. So I was pleasantly surprised when I washed my face with this balm and didn’t feel the need for a second cleanse. It did a great job of removing my makeup without leaving any residue or making my skin feel dry. It smells great—sort of a light, fruity green tea scent—and it’s oddly satisfying to scoop the soft green balm out of the tub and smear it all over my face. It’s a little pricey for a cleanser and I don’t need any at the moment, but I would definitely consider buying this product in the future.

Swatch time! Here’s NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Let’s Go Crazy on top, Sephora Collection Rouge Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic in the middle, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold on the bottom:

Swatches of NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Let's Go Crazy, Sephora Collection Rouge Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold | Play! by Sephora

Here I am wearing NARS Let’s Go Crazy…how pretty is that pink?!

And here I’ve got the Laura Mercier Rose Gold on my lids and Sephora Collection Rebel Chic on my lips:

Oh yeah, and if you watched my video you saw me spritz my perfume sample (Chloé Eau de Parfum, full-size $180) and not enjoy it while basically eating it. That scent really stuck around, too—I still smelled it in our library a couple hours later.

All in all, I’d call my February Play! by Sephora box a win. I legit liked all five samples, which is kind of rare. Would I buy all of these products full sized? No. But that’s okay.

What were your favorite samples from your February Play! box?

*IMO it’s kinda shady when brands don’t list product ingredients online.

**I have used Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer and LOVED it, but sadly decided not to repurchase after realizing it contains parabens.