Even though it doesn’t feel like it—DC got several inches of snow earlier this week—spring is officially here! My March 2018 Play! by Sephora box arrived on Thursday and I filmed an unboxing video in which I offer my first impressions of this month’s samples. Please enjoy (and sorry about my cat meowing during the video):

So! Festival beauty…yeah. I know I’ve said this before (and repeated it in my unboxing video), but festivals are basically the opposite of my idea of a fun time; you could not pay me to go to Coachella. My idea of what festival beauty is is sort of the 90’s rave aesthetic, only lighter, more colorful, and more magical. Like unicorns and mermaids and fairies and shit. Basically, Too Faced‘s Life’s a Festival Collection is exactly what I imagine festival beauty to be. Though I think that stuff is so fun to look at, it doesn’t exactly jive with my personal aesthetic…so I was happy that this box didn’t actually include anything with rainbows, crazy colors, or glitter.

This month I received two makeup samples, two skin care samples, one hair care sample, and a bonus hair care packet—all housed in a cute tie-dyed blue pouch emblazoned with “Beauty is my spirit animal” in a font that must be called Spiritual Hipster:

My first sample this month is the Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush (full-size, $17). It looks like a lipstick crayon, but it’s actually a chunky lip liner with a brush on the other end.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush | Play! by Sephora

This warm pink shade is definitely one that I would reach for in the store. I don’t mind the fat pencil because when I do use lip liner, I almost always line AND fill my lips in with it, even if I’m going to top it off with lipstick or gloss. So I don’t really need a pencil that can do fine, detailed work. I didn’t see any plumping effect when I tried this pencil all over my lips, but it’s a solid option in my nude lip pencil arsenal. And the brush is nice for smoothing out those harsh lip liner edges, which I can’t stand. The festival-appropriate element of this sample is that it’s supposed to offer all-day wear. I don’t need new lip liner anytime soon, but I’ll keep this product in mind once I run out of the ones I’m using (which will be in 10 years because I don’t use liner that often). You’ll see a swatch and a pic of me wearing the liner near the end of this post!

The second makeup sample this month is Sephora Collection Matte Perfection Powder Foundation in Shade 14 Neutral Linen (full-size, $20). Like I said in my video, I don’t think of matte skin when I think of festival beauty…but I suppose if you’re out in the sun all day you might want a product that keeps your face from looking like a literal hot mess?

Sephora Collection Matte Perfection Powder Foundation in Shade 14 Neutral Linen | Play! by Sephora

I’m not a huge fan of powder foundation because with age comes drier skin (at least, that’s the case for me), which doesn’t look great with powder sitting on top of it. This formula supposedly has a creamy texture, but it just feels like pressed powder to me. The full sized version comes with a sponge for application but this sample didn’t come with one, so I used a foundation brush to apply it to my face—admittedly not the best application method for this type of product. This shade is a touch dark for my skin but it’s not so far off that it’s unwearable. It does indeed do a good job of mattifying, but honestly, what powder doesn’t? I wouldn’t buy this foundation full sized simply because it’s powder. You can see a swatch and a photo of me wearing this foundation below.

The hair care sample this month is Verb Ghost Oil (full-size, $16). Love the name, don’t love that it’s an oil. But I’m always game for trying these things at least once!

Verb Ghost Oil | Play! by Sephora

This product is said to be ultra-light, though it looks thicker than a straight-up oil. The formula contains a moringa oil blend for detangling, repairing, and adding shine while also providing heat protection. The festival angle here is that the oil is meant to fight frizz, which I guess could be a problem at festivals in humid climates (Bonnaroo in the Tennessee summer, anyone?). I tried smoothing a small drop on the ends of my hair after showering, and my hair felt soft but looked and felt weighed down—even though I used a tiny amount. I do appreciate that the oil has a pleasant, very light fruity scent that doesn’t offend my nasal passages. However, I won’t buy this product because it’s simply not right for my hair type.

My first skin care sample this month is Lancôme Miel-en-Mousse Foaming Cleansing Makeup Remover with Acacia Honey (full-size, $40). Talk about a mouthful of a product name! This cleanser comes out of the tube like honey (without the stickiness, which I was worried about) and lathers up when mixed with water.

Lancôme Miel-en-Mousse Foaming Cleansing Makeup Remover with Acacia Honey | Play! by Sephora

I tried the cleanser and I wouldn’t say it turns into a mousse, but it does foam a bit. I don’t love the scent; it’s kind of a perfumed honey fragrance. I guess this is supposed to be good for washing a day of Festival Yuckies™ off your face. While this cleanser worked perfectly fine, I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly exciting about it…and the price tag is a definite con. I won’t be buying this product full sized.

The other skin care sample this month is the Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ (full-size, $65). This is a pretty cool concept: it’s a clear sunscreen-primer combo that blurs imperfections.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ | Play! by Sephora

When I tested the product on my hand in my unboxing video I noted that it had a matte finish, but what I thought was mattifying was actually the blurring effect. I tried this out on my face a couple times and it pilled over my usual morning skincare products. Not great. As I also noted in my video, this product has a floral scent (gardenia, I think?), which I’m not too thrilled about. The fragrance is actually quite lovely, but I have a thing about putting scented products on my face. I will say that the scent dissipated so it’s not like I could smell it on myself, so that’s good. Seeing as how it’s quite expensive, the SPF is only 30, and it pills on me, I would not buy this product full sized. Though I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t vouch for its quality, I would wager that this product is similar to the new Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40, which, at $32, is half the price and boasts a higher SPF. I would definitely prefer to buy that option over this one.

Last up this month is a bonus sample…which I realized while typing this sentence must have taken the place of a fragrance sample. Hooray! It’s one packet of the Ouai Anti-Frizz Sheets (full-size, $18 for 15-pack).

Ouai Anti-Frizz Sheets | Play! by Sephora

I should have known fragrance had to be worked in there somehow, because the back of the packet says it “smells like expensive perfume.” LOL. I have not tried this sample yet but it doesn’t sound super exciting due to the promise (more like a threat) of perfumed hair. I’ll give it a go, though!

Below are swatches of the Sephora Collection Matte Perfection Powder and the Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner on my arm. The bottom swatch is the lipliner blended out with the brush.

Sephora Collection Matte Perfection Powder Foundation in Shade 14 Neutral Linen swatch, Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush swatch
Top: powder foundation. Middle: Lip liner. Bottom: blended lip liner.

And here I am wearing the Sephora powder foundation—but only on the right side of my face (your left); you can see a difference if you look closely. I’m also wearing the Buxom lip liner all over my lips. I do like this lip color!

My March 2018 Play! by Sephora box was a pretty good one. I don’t think there’s anything I’ll end up totally in love with, but these are all fun products to play around with at least a few times. My favorite is definitely the Buxom lip liner, and that’s mainly because the color is right up my alley!

Did you get any amazing new finds in your March Play! by Sephora box? Do tell in the comments!

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).