Next-Gen Beauty Samples

I can’t believe it’s already time for another Play! by Sephora post! My September 2018 box arrived a little earlier than usual, and I got right to filming an unboxing video. My video this month isn’t my favorite, but I posted it anyway because, well, no one’s perfect. I mean…this was the best of three thumbnail options (LOL):

This month’s theme is Next-Gen Beauty: innovative products with cutting-edge ingredients, multitasking abilities, and technological trends. Take a gander at the September sample guide:

Play! by Sephora September 2018 Brochure

The samples came inside a recyclable plastic zip pouch which would be great for travel; it looks like it would pass TSA muster for taking liquids through security. My September 2018 box included two skin care samples, three makeup samples, and the dreaded (IMO) fragrance sample:

September 2018 Play! by Sephora Samples

The Skin Care Samples

My first skin care sample this month is Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Atomic Heat Mask (full-size, $58). The thermal water got me excited, because it made me think of the Indian Springs Spa where I got my first facial during a girls’ getaway this summer. This mask infuses skin with vital nutrients from the thermal water, which is supposed to reduce the look of dullness, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Sign me up!

Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Atomic Heat Mask | Play! by Sephora
How pretty is this green-and-blue ombré packaging?

I tried the mask once so far and I quite liked it. The instructions say to smooth the mask onto cleansed, dry skin and let it sit for up to three minutes. Then comes the fun part! You wet your fingertips with cool water and massage the mask into your skin. As you do so, you feel a flash of heat in the area you’re massaging. It’s very unusual, in a good way. Then you rinse the mask off. I enjoyed using the mask and felt like my skin looked very glowy afterward (see below pic). However, the mask left a residue on my face. It didn’t clog my pores or irritate my skin, but I didn’t like the residue feeling. I’ll keep using the sample, though—maybe I just need to do a better job of rinsing.

L: masking with Hungarian Thermal Water. R: glowy post-mask skin

My second skin care sample is Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly (full-size, $28). As I mentioned in my video, I used the classic Dramatically Different Moisturizing lotion back in high school. Clinique has been expanding the Dramatically Different line, which now includes this lightweight, oil-free jelly. I’ve never tried a moisturizer quite like this one before. The product’s consistency is looser than a traditional gel (jelly is an apt name). It’s not sticky like edible jelly, and it contains technology that’s supposed to lock in moisture while protecting skin from pollution. Sounds pretty good to me!

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly | Play! by Sephora

I’ve used this as my daytime moisturizer a couple of times now, and I like it but I don’t know if it would be moisturizing enough for my dry skin in the winter. It’s a unique product, though, and I think it would be a good warm weather moisturizer. And the jelly layers well under my SPF, which is great—nothing is more annoying than when products pill on your face!

The Makeup Samples

This next product is from a new-to-me brand: Stellar Brilliant Primer (full-size, $35). I had literally just noticed the brand at Sephora the morning that my box arrived in the mail. Stellar seems pretty under the radar at the moment—I don’t feel like I see anyone talk about it on social media. This primer comes in a tube with a slanted Blistex-like applicator tip, but I don’t think you’re supposed to apply straight from the tube. This primer is hydrating, lightweight, and illuminating, and it’s also meant to blur pores and prep skin for makeup application. So basically, all the things.

Stellar Brilliant Primer | Play! by Sephora

Here’s what the primer looks like; it’s a really pretty pearly pink color that blends seamlessly into the skin.

Stellar Brilliant Primer texture

I wouldn’t say I saw much blurring with this primer, but it did feel moisturizing and gave me a nice glow. The primer has a bit of that silicon slip feel, kind of like the original Smashbox primer. I do like this primer so far, though I’ve only used it once. I’m not in need of a new primer but I’ll likely consider this one in the future!

My next makeup sample this month is Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Kiss (full-size, $24). I received a Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color sample in May 2017 and liked the formula but not the brown color. So I was excited to see this rosy multitasker in my box because it’s a much more wearable color for me. This lip pencil is very soft and creamy; it’s quite pigmented and is supposed to last for up to six hours.

Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Kiss | Play! by Sephora

Below you can see a swatch of the Nudestix pencil on my arm. And if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can see me wearing it on my cheeks and lips. I like the shade better as a blush than as a lipstick, but it’s not a bad lip color on me by any means. Nudestix is never top of mind when I shop for makeup but I’ve liked the two samples I’ve received, so it’s probably time to start looking at the brand more!

Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Kiss swatch

I think it’s been awhile since I received a Sephora Collection sample. This time around it’s the Sephora Collection LashCraft Big Volume Mascara in Black (full-size, $14). I wasn’t blown away by the LashCraft Length & Volume sample that I got in my February 2017 box. But so far I’m liking this Big Volume formula more. It is quite volumizing, and it contains jojoba oil for nourishing lashes…which I definitely need, because my lashes have been falling out lately. The mascara also didn’t flake or smudge, so that’s awesome—I’ve had a lot of smudging with other mascaras in recent months.

Sephora Collection LashCraft Big Volume Mascara | Play! by Sephora

In my video I mentioned that I’m always searching for a holy grail mascara that’s cruelty-free, because my current favorites are from a company that tests on animals (Maybelline). I’m sure I have plenty of non-cruelty-free products in my collection but I’m trying to be more mindful of it with future purchases. So…I checked Sephora’s website and this product is indeed cruelty-free. If I continue liking this mascara I might consider buying it in the future!

Here I am wearing the primer (under First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Triple Protection Skin Tint), the mascara, and the Nudestix on my cheeks and lips.:

Selfie with sample makeup

The Fragrance Sample

I didn’t even bother to take a photo of my fragrance sample, Tom Ford Black Orchid (full-size, $125). I love orchids but this fragrance is not for me. One spritz of this perfume in the bathroom and the smell lingered for hours…which is very annoying when it’s a scent you don’t like. Fragrance samples are almost always throwaways for me.

Overall Impressions

Aside from the fragrance sample, I don’t have much of anything negative to say about this month’s samples! I’m liking all of them so far. It’s rare for me to like everything in my box…there’s usually at least one so-so product for me. I wouldn’t say I’d definitely buy all of these products full sized, but I’d certainly consider them. I’m sure the lack of hair care samples aided in my satisfaction. So…great job this month, Sephora!

How was your September Play! by Sephora box?

What is Play! by Sephora?

Play! by Sephora is a $10 per month beauty subscription that includes five deluxe samples. The product 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. 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). Click here for more information on the subscription.