I went to NYC last Saturday through this Tuesday, and when I got back to DC my November Play! by Sephora box was waiting for me. What a fun welcome home! This month’s theme is “Survival of the Chillest,” so Sephora sent a collection of samples intended to help you treat yourself and practice self-care before the full force of holiday season hits. The “It’s Me O’Clock” sack containing this month’s samples was so cute that I had to photograph it with a couple of my crystals, which felt appropriate for November’s theme:

You may remember that last month I filmed an unboxing video but I wasn’t happy with it so I scrapped it. Well, I managed to make a halfway decent unboxing video for my November Play! samples, though I ended up using my laptop’s webcam again rather than my digital camera. So the sound and picture quality isn’t stellar, but otherwise, please enjoy:

Alrighty then! My November brochure promised two makeup samples, two skin care samples, one hair care sample, and one fragrance sample…about three quarters of which I was pretty excited about.

The back side of the brochure has a cute coloring book design that I’m not ashamed to say I’ve already begun to color in. Bonus points for a double duty brochure!

This month’s samples look pretty cute against the black-and-white design of the pouch they came in:

First up is the Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara (full-size, $26). In the past I received a mini Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in an eyeliner sampler kit, and I was not impressed. I had high hopes for this mascara sample, though, because I love Marc Jacobs. I wear his perfume every day and I like his now-discontinued lip gel that I bought years ago. Unfortunately for this mascara, I’m still not impressed. The mascara does in fact volumize and lengthen, but it’s slightly clumpy and ends up flaking underneath my eyes after just a few hours—that’s not great. Basically, I wouldn’t spend $26 on a mascara that isn’t life-changing. Sorry, MJ. I’ll still buy your perfume until I die.

I really need to do my nails.

My next sample is a face mask—always exciting! This sample of Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores (full-size, $27) is pretty substantial. I’ve been using a couple different boscia charcoal masks, which I really like, but I’m always up for trying a new mask.

I tried this mask out the other day and thought it did a nice job of clearing my pores out. I use masks pretty frequently so my skin wasn’t in terrible need of a pore cleansing, but this sample will be a good mask to throw into my rotation.

I look so sad, but I’m not smiling because it would have cracked the mask!

I feel like it’s been a while since I received a lip gloss sample, so it was nice to get Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Perfect Nude (full-size, $12). I’m not sure if I’ve heard of a lip gel before, but apparently the shiny finish is inspired by gel nail polish. Okay, sure. The lip gel is intended to make lips look plumper by reflecting light. The gloss comes with a sort of hourglass-shaped sponge applicator that feels more novelty than functional; it works just fine, but I don’t see any benefit to the shape over a standard doe-foot applicator. I do really like this color on me—if I could find a regular lipstick in this shade, I would be thrilled. The gloss has a bit of a vanilla scent, which I don’t mind, and it’s not overly sticky, either. Literally no one likes super tacky lip gloss that your hair gets stuck in. I’ll get plenty of use out of this gloss, and might consider buying it full sized if I’m in need of a gloss in the future.

The hair care sample that Sephora sent me is the Moroccanoil Moroccanoil Treatment (full-size, $34). That’s not a typo; the brand is Moroccanoil and the product is also called Moroccanoil. This is an argan oil treatment that’s meant to protect, condition, and add shine. Though I don’t love the idea of putting oil in my super baby fine hair, I actually bought something similar from the drugstore years ago, a product that said it was specifically for fine hair. I didn’t particularly care for it nor did I come close to using up the whole bottle before tossing it out. The instructions on the brochure say to add a couple drops to damp hair from mid-length to ends before styling, so I can see how maybe this would be good for heat styling protection. However, I rarely even blow dry my hair, much less use other heated styling tools. I haven’t tested out this particular sample on my hair just yet, but I’m willing to give it a shot a couple times and see how it goes.

My final beauty sample this month is the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum (full-size, $49). Sephora sent me a sample of Caudalie Vine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum back in July, and while I liked it I didn’t love it enough to buy it full sized. Because winter is coming, I am looking forward to seeing whether this serum helps hydrate and soothe my skin. I feel like my skin dries out more and more each winter, so I will definitely need some moisture assistance in the coming months. I’ve used this serum a couple of times so far and it smells basically the same as the last one. The weather hasn’t been too dry lately, so I think I’ll hang on to this sample until my skin really starts to get upset with the lack of humidity and then see how well it works.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include makeup swatches! Below I’ve swatched the Sephora Collection lip gel and the Marc Jacobs mascara on my arm:

I do love the pinky nude shade of the gloss!

If you watched my video you know that I spritzed this month’s fragrance sample (Burberry My Burberry Blush, full-size, $90) and didn’t like it. That’s all I have to say about that.

I’m pretty happy with my Play! by Sephora box this month. I’d say my favorite sample is either the Origins charcoal mask or the Sephora Collection lip gel…the color is wonderful!

What did you think of your Play! by Sephora November samples? Did you love or hate any of them?

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).