Posted by on in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Cheap Subscription Boxes, Makeup Subscription Boxes, Play! By Sephora Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women | Tags: | 126 comments

Play! by Sephora Review – March 2016

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Play! by Sephora is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription. Each month they send you six samples, a PLAY! BOOK of tips and tricks, and a PLAY! PASS for in-store learning.

FYI – Play! by Sephora is currently in waitlist mode. Make sure to sign up, and check back on their site to see if you’ve been accepted. (I know a few readers mentioned not getting an email that they were off the waitlist, but when they entered their email address again on the site, they were accepted.)

I really wish Sephora would be transparent about how their waitlist system works. It clearly isn’t first in first out. And I believe some current members were able to share invites with friends a month ago, and those people got ahead in line.

In conclusion – the Play! by Sephora waitlist is VERY frustrating/confusing, but when you finally get in, if you are anything like me, your reaction will be something like:

giphy (11)

giphy (9)

giphy (8)

giphy (10)

Now onto the beautiful box!


I absolutely love the packaging of this subscription!


My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)



The Subscription Box: Play! by Sephora

The Cost: $10

The Products: Six samples, a PLAY! BOOK of tips and tricks, and a PLAY! PASS for in-store learning.

Ships to: US


The info booklet for this subscription is one of the best I’ve seen, and I love that it has useful tips and illustrations for applying makeup/using your produts.







And subscribers get a Play! card to take into their local Sephora store:


With the card, you get in store tutorials on how to use the products in the box, and 50 extra beauty insider points with any in-store purchase.


SEPHORA COLLECTION The Perfectionist: Airbrush Sponge – Value $12

(Sponge pictured below.)

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – 20 ml Value $6

This cleanser is super gentle and fragrance-free. It has a natural cucumber scent, though, which I love!


I normally use the Beauty Blender, but I might actually like this sponge more! It doesn’t absorb as much product as Beauty Blender does, and I like the two different sizes – the smaller end is great for application under eyes and around the nose.

If you aren’t familiar with this type of makeup sponge, you wet it, squeeze out any excess water, then “bounce” the sponge – not rub – to apply foundation. It’s the most flawless way I’ve found to apply liquid foundation – I love it!

Sephora also included a mini container to get a foundation sample in your Sephora store:



Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper – .007 oz Value $6.65

I’ve always wanted to try the Kat Von D makeup line, and I’m pretty impressed! The eyeliner is super easy and smooth to apply. And it doesn’t budge after it sets! I had to apply it twice to get a super pigmented black line, though. (Swatched with just one application below.)

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil – 4 ml Value $5.50

I’ve sampled this before thanks to Ipsy and I like it! I believe the trick is to let it fully absorb before applying makeup. I’ve followed that instruction and I’ve had no issues!



Murad Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – .17 oz Value $11

This product is designed to be part sunscreen, part primer and moisturizer. I like it as a primer, and it smells great, but I didn’t notice any “blurring” effects. It’s pricey too, ($65 for 1 oz), so I’ll use this sample up, but I won’t be buying the full-size version.

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA ‘REPLICA’ Beach Walk – 1.2 Value $2.50

This is a new fragrance to me, and I think I like it? (I’m super picky when it comes to perfumes – I usually don’t wear any.)

Verdict: This box has a value of about $44. I think that’s great for a $10 box, and I’m so happy with the brands included, and the presentation of the box! I haven’t tried the in-store experiences that go along with this subscription yet, though. If you have – let us know if you felt they added value to the subscription!

What do you think of Play! by Sephora?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. If you buy something, MSA may earn an affiliate commission. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. Those of you on the waitlist, if I were you, I wouldn’t get all excited. I got my first Sephora Play box today and I was really disappointed – wouldn’t recommend it AT ALL. Teeny tiny samples, one was even labeled “free sample, not for resale,” one was that same Nars lip pencil that they’re constantly giving out and I have a million of. Seems more like something that would be a free add-on for VIBs, not something I’d pay money for. Now I’ve been on hold for 10 minutes trying to cancel it, as you can’t do so on the website. I’d skip it, knowing what I know now.

    • Completely Agree! I have l have 3 of those Nars lippies already. And would never use it at that. Extremely disappointed.

  2. Signed up with 2 different emails shortly after the program began. Got a notice from one email that I was in – nothing on the other. When I went to their site, the email that had not received a notice was accepted, as was the one which received the notice. Subscribed to both – one for myself in New Jersey, the other for my daughter in Virginia. I used to also subscribe to ipsy for both of us but we agreed several months ago that we were tired of getting the low quality products (and black eyeliner) and both cancelled. Seems that the Play box is random as far as address – how would they know where I live from my email?

  3. I got my invite today. Spent many months on the waitlist. I am in KY.

  4. I’m in Pittsburgh and just got my invitation on Friday (I’m a VIB, but not Rouge).

  5. I just got my invite on Friday, and live in Albuquerque, NM. This invite came a few weeks after I was bumped up to VIB status- however, it appeared the Sephora site was open to all Friday- so this morning out of curiosity, I put in another email address I have, and I got a message saying I would be put on a waitlist- so I’m wondering if it has to do more with your rewards status, and not geographical location???

    • I’m vib rouge and I just got an invite and I put myself on the list when it first launched. I don’t think status has anything to do with it. Probably geographical? I’m just glad I’m finally in! 🙂

    • No I got my invite the other day and I live in ny. No vib status. I usually shop at ULTA but I was on wait list four months for a long time. Also I have extra invite if anyone wants it… Expires in six days!

      • Can I have your invite please?! I had a subscription but Sephora screwed up and got rid of it somehow, even after I paid for it!

      • I’ll take the invite if still available?!! how do I get info to you?

    • No, I doubt it. I bought 3 things from Sephora last year. It totaled under $100 dollars. Me and my cousin just signed up a little before this year started and we got in this time around. Who knows what their method to their madness is. All I know is I’m in and I’m very grateful to not have to worry about it anymore.

  6. I’m in Texas and I’ve been on the list for a few months ,just bought something from Sephora last week and when I saw people were getting in I went and checked to see if I would.I got in on the first try so I kind of think I got in because I just ordered something from them and I live in Texas

  7. Finally!!! I just got the invite and I’m in New Jersey. Can’t wait ???

  8. Thank goodness my cousin sent me a text to tell me Sephora’s beauty box was now open for new subscriptions. Otherwise I would still be on that wait list that seemed to go on and on. That day is finally here and I’m so excited! Now, time to get rid of ipsy, Birchbox and Lip monthly. I’m good with beauty fix, allure, glossy box, Julep and now Sephora.

  9. I just got signed up for this, yay! On the welcome email it says that you should expect 5 samples plus a purfume sample & a collectable bag each month. I do not see a bag in your review so I’m wondering what that’s about?

    • They have an ad or notice that showed a cute canvas bag with a ladies face on it and she was wearing sunglasses. From what I saw it looked like it had a drawstring. It looked real cute and sassy. I think it popped up when I completed my subscription or when I was on Sephora’s site to make sure I was accepted.

      • Oooo I hope that’s it! Adding a bag to this sub monthly would be amazing!

  10. California- got my acceptance today!

  11. I contact Sephora and this was the response I got back today:

    Thank you for contacting regarding PLAY! dates within your area.
    While we are in the testing phase of the PLAY! by Sephora program, the PLAY! dates are only available at select stores in the Boston, Cincinnati and Texas areas. We appreciate your excitement!
    Please check back with us next year when the full PLAY! by Sephora program launches nationally for availability in your area.
    If we can assist you further, please contact us again by replying to this email or via phone at 1-877-SEPHORA (1-877-737-4672).
    Sephora Client Services

    • Next year?! That must be an old canned response. We know from several posts that they are sending to areas outside of the three listed. This is very frustrating. : (

      • I asked the same question in January when they launched last year and said next year a full launch. It seams to be next year every year. I truly think they should at least give vib rouge boxes for the amounts we spend at Sephora and to hit rough within a few months is almost imbarrising so it would be nice to have the play box as an excuse. Lol.

    • This isn’t entirely true. I’ve been on the waiting list since December of 2015. In March 2016 I got the invite to try Play! I’m in Virginia. I can’t wait to get my first box.

      • I’m in Virginia too and I finally got off the waitlist for Play! I’m so excited to get my first box 🙂

  12. I signed up for the wait list at the beginning and since I keep reading that some ladies have lucked into getting spots I feel obligated to “sign up” again every day. Just hoping that one day it will be my lucky day. I must be on the wait list at least 40 times. Sigh. If someone has an invitation and would take pity on me my email is [email protected]. If not, I will continue with my obsession of registering each day.

    • Did you ever get in??

      • I just got in. Just went to site and got in. Yay. I keep putting in like 10 times then got it. Sign up now

  13. If that invite thing really works, I’d love one!! I’ve been on their wait list since it first opened up. I’m getting close to cancelling Boxy and need a replacement sub. 🙂 [email protected],com

  14. Could someone please be so kind as to send me an invite? I’ve been on the waiting list since day 1. 🙁

    [email protected]

    • Yes, yes if anyone is so kind as to send us outsiders invites please consider me as well lol [email protected]

    • Just got in no link from no one. Took like 10 tries

  15. I have been on the wait list for months and months. I just put my email address in again and got the same message as the first time. Still no openings and I’m on their wait list and will be notified when there is an opening. I have even tried with another email address and still, the same thing.

  16. I emailed them asking for an invition…they told me it won’t be next year until they are ready for open enrollment!!

  17. The wait list is based on location. They only opened up specific markets. It doesn’t matter how long you are on the list, once your market opens up you are in.

    • Again, they only know an email address!!!! How is it based on anything like location??? Someone please explain this!!!! You don’t sign up with your physical address, just an email address!!!!!!!

      • My guess is that they are only sending out invites to people that have a Beauty Insider account with them (which is free, so most people who shop at sephora have one.) Since everyone’s BI account lists where you live, or at least which Sephoras you have shopped at, they can tell where you live based on your email address.

        • That was also my guess, that’s why I went online and signed up for an account. Hopefully this will trigger an opening to their beauty box. We shall see.

          • How does an email address tell you where you live?

  18. This was my first month and I have to say I like everything so far besides the perfume. I do wish the sample sizes were deluxe sample or some full sizes like Ipsy…that would be nice. I hope everyone gets off the wait list soon. I know it sucks when you can’t have something you want.

  19. I’m so sad I’ve been on the wait list since day 1 and it keeps saying when I try again that I have been added to the wait list. I really want this subscription box and at this point don’t even know if I will e er cone off of this wait list.

  20. I’ve been on the wait list since the beginning – just went and signed up again because of this post and got right in – charge card charged and confirmation number – doing the happy dance!

  21. I live in Minnesota, and didn’t sign up for wait list right away, only did about 1 month ago and got email I was off wait list last week. I signed up and am excited for my first box in April.

  22. I’ve been on the wait list since the beginning. I’m in Charleston, SC. I think they know my location because of my Sephora account. We don’t have a store here (ugh), but we have a Sephora department store counter. I’m not sure if our lack of a store has anything to do with it. I just entered my e-mail address and was told I would be added to the list. I hope that doesn’t mean that I was no longer on the list previously or that I’ve now been moved to the back 🙁 I check my junk mail regularly, so I wouldn’t have missed it.

    • Definitely. The subscription includes a play date in store. I would set up a new account and go on the wait list. I have been on since box 1, and I live 2 miles from the closest Sephora store. I used another email to sign on the wait list for my sister who lives in London, and April was her first box.

    • I live in a small town in Alabama and I usually just order from Sephora, since the store I go to into is in Atlanta (about 5 hrs away). I have been on wait list since the beginning and I have gone back since others have jumped right off the wait list and still no luck. Sub boxes are my way of keeping up, they come right to you. I guess I’m not the target consumer.

    • Where I live we only have a Sephora counter too, in JcPenny. I got in, so I don’t think that’s the issue.

  23. I recieved an invite in January & February but it went to my promotion mail not my general mail so I missed it, so upsetting.

  24. So, I’ve been wait listed since it was first announced. I’m at the point that I’m not even excited for it. I agree with the person who said it was put together horribly. It is available in my area. It is just annoying that people can get invited if they know someone and bam, they’re in. For example, imagine someone has a friend that’s in, their friend told them about it. This person is now interested in it, just hearing about it this month. They get an invite, get in and get their box. Meanwhile, people that have been waiting for it since the beginning have to continue waiting until the point that it’s not exciting for them anymore. That my friends is a disappointment.

    • Are people actually getting invited that way?

      • Yeah, if someone has the box they can invite their friend and their friend accepts the invite email and they’re in. As long as they see the email. Even Liz said people got ahead in line with invites.

        • Huh. I knew Sephora sent out invites (I got one), but hadn’t heard that subscribers could invite people.

  25. I just attempted to sign up with NO confirmation email and it let me!! I’m literally shocked!! It just charged my cc and gave me a confirmation number! Thrilled!

  26. I have been waitlisted since day 1 of the sub starting. In Wichita, KS.

  27. Squee! Im in northern Virginia and just subscribed! I saw a couple other people in this area say they had been able to subscribe, so I checked my email and saw that I had been sent an invite on March 23rd. So, if you’re in this area look for an email around then. I signed up on my phone with no issues.

    I do think it is odd how the wait list system is (or isnt) working. Especially for those in the SF Bay area (my hometown!), where sephora is headquartered. With the play card to be used in store, I can see why they might want to ensure that staff is adequately trained, but why only some people in the area and not others?

    • Virginia Beach here!! I got my email invite a couple of days ago!! I was at work and squealed with excitement!! My coworkers looked at me like I was crazy!! Lol. So excited and can’t wait!! Been on the waitlist since day 1!!!

      • Interesting, I’m in Williamsburg, and I got mine the same day. I’ve been waitlisted since October, I want to say. I wonder if we’re getting another full store close by, because geographically, I’m close to the Richmond & the Norfolk store, but traffically, lol, is another story! I do almost all of my shopping online, a small portion is at one of the Penney’s Sephora’s nearby. I think there’s like 3 of those on the Peninsula.

    • I live in Berkeley, CA and I just got my invitation email a couple of days ago! So maybe they’re starting to roll out in the SF Bay Area?

    • Central Virginia…. also got invite same day and joined promptly 😉 So it’s interesting that it’s not just certain areas of this state, like I thought it would be (I sort of live close to the sticks & boonies)……

  28. How is it Las Vegas isn’t part of any test market? Seriously? My sisters in Manhattan and SF likewise remain wait listed, since literally the first day subs opened for both. Like many here I’m VIB Rouge but I think it’s pretty clear the status has nothing to do with the sub box. What I’m finding the longer I wait is that I’m really not as impressed as I was initially. With the exception of the Smashbox oil primer this month, the products aren’t new releases. The Fresh cleanser has been around for several years and the Murad primer was released over a year ago as well. I’m more interested in a sub that introduces me to new products and brands, not items I could have bought years earlier at my local Ulta.

  29. So I live in Madison Wi and I just clicked the link and was able to add it to my cart and sign up. I hope this means I’m subscribing. I got an email that says welcome to play so I don’t think that means I’m on the wait list. Not sure how they choose.

    • I live in Milwaukee, WI and I just signed up today. It asked for CC info and I got a welcome email right away. Does that mean we are subscribed? I hope so. Maybe not alot of customers in this area???

    • I live in northern Wisconsin (closest Sephora would be Appleton – 2 and a half hours away), and I got my second invite May 19th (missed the first one on April 19th). Unfortunately I was in the hospital and missed this one as well 🙁 I signed up on the wait list again so hopefully I will get another invite; maybe June 19th?

  30. I just received my invite two days ago and I can confirm that your reaction gifs are accurate lol! So excited to get my first box next month!!!!!

  31. I’m in So Call too and I’m still on waitlist…very frustrating.

    • Me, too. Waitlisted since last August. And I also got dissed by Allure by not receiving their two free goodie boxes despite being a long-time subscriber. Maybe I should wear deodorant?

  32. I thought I had added to the waitlist back in November or December, but when I tried just now, it said currently no spots available, added to waitlist. So I guess I never did. Opps! (I figured if I was already on the list it would say so)

    • I’ve added my name to the wait list several times. I don’t think it recognizes that you’re already on it.

  33. Anyone from Colorado?

    • I got my invite today and I’m in Denver, CO!

  34. Still wait listed in NYC…sigh…

    • NJ still wait listed too.

  35. I live in Baltimore and just got an email on Tuesday saying I can now join! I did, let’s see how my first box will be.

    • I’m in DC and also got notice. I was very excited, even though I’m about to explode from subscription box items.

      • Me too! NoVa over here

        • Same! Received invite this week in Annapolis!

    • Also in Baltimore, and also got an email Tuesday. I’m passing though.

  36. Does anyone in New York have it? I’m dying to get this box.

  37. Wait list just opened up here in Virginia a few days ago. I signed up right away, but my friend who tried next day said it was already closed again. The box is still new so I think that’s why there is confusion on the wait list. Because if you are “on the waitlist” , but Play isn’t in your target area yet then someone who signs up for waitlist way after you, but is in a target area will get an invite before you.

    • How do they know where you live!?!?! It’s just an email address!!!!

      • If you’re already registered with Sephora (have even once shopped online with them or in any way linked your points/rewards acct with your email addy) then they have your email linked to your physical address. I know I get specialized promos from them via email only for in-store events at my local Sephora, so they know where I live. (Why did that sound ominous? lol)

  38. I finally got off the wait list! Woo hoo! I am not sure if I will be getting this box or starting with next month. This one looks good! I live in the quad cities, iowa.

    • I’m in Iowa too and got an email last month that I was off waitlist. I want going to sub bc i have way too many products already… but I guess I’m addicted bc i ended up subbing this week 🙂
      I was just surprised to be off the waitlist so soon – seems like Iowa is usually one of the last to get a lot of things

  39. That’s funny I’m in SoCal and have been on waitlist sense day 1. There waitlist makes no sense!!! So frustrating!?

    • In So Cal also, and haven’t been selected.

      • me, too. I sighed up on day one. Sigh.

    • I am as well, normally we don’t have to wait.

  40. Does anyone in Texas have it?

    • Texas here!! I’m in San Antonio and I got my invite on Tuesday afternoon. Entered my credit card info and got my “Welcome to Play!” email while the little one was in the tub, just a few hours later. Nothing else yet though, since I won’t be charged or shipped a box until next month. But Texas has been recognized!

    • I do, I am in Houston.

    • I’ve had it since November I think and I love it. When you invite people to join the waiting list, they have to keep an eye on when the get an email so they can subscribe right away. I signed my mom up for it on the waiting list using my work email address and I didn’t sign up for the box right away and when I finally did like 2 weeks later I was back on the waiting list :(. I am totally in love with this box and have discovered many items that I just love.

      • I forgot to say that I’m in Houston lol

    • Houston here, I got my invite in the end of January.

    • I’m in Midland and have been with it since the first box. Go figure, I’m in the middle of no where!

    • Outside of San Antonio here and I have been signed up since December. I’m also VIB, I don’t know if that matters. But a friend of mine (not Beauty Insider) signed up for the wait list the same day I did and only got an invite when I was able to send one.

    • I live in Laredo which is 2-3 hrs from SA and still on the waitlist. What a bummer!

    • Austin here. I’ve been on the waitlist for months, and still waiting. 🙁

    • In the Texas Panhandle, only a JCP Sephore counter here and I got the email invite this week. Signed up as soon as as I saw it and received confirmation later that day. Soooo excited ?

  41. I live in Oklahoma, which I feel like is one of the very last places to get anything. Last October, the first H&M opened in the state. I live in OKC too, which only has one freestanding Sephora store. /sigh

    • I’m in OKC and have been subscribed since November.

      • Seriously? Then I have no clue what they are doing. I have been on the wait list since day one. Who knows?

  42. Not in Northern CA (way North).

  43. Their whole “waitlist” system isn’t the smartest approach, in my opinion. I would’ve loved to subscribe if it was readily available, and although they’re great boxes – I won’t be subscribing once it’s “available” to me. As a marketing coordinator myself, I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Instead of making it feel “exclusive” for some, it’s making others feel like they aren’t “worthy.” I’ll stick to my Birchbox who values me as a customer, thank you very much 🙂

    • I just think it’s based on supply. I know of a few subscription services who had too many subscribers and couldn’t handle it. Yes, Sephora is a pretty big company, but I think they are doing it this way to ensure the brands and sizes are satisfactory. I’m in South Dakota and I have one, so it’s obviously not based on location! Lol

      • How do they even know where people are located if we can’t even sign up? So it being based on where one lives doesn’t make sense. Also, how about giving the spots to people who have been signed up forever, instead of giving those who are signed up invites. They have handled this horribly, and at this point I’m so over them.

  44. So I ordered my first box on February 23 and I still haven’t received an email confirmation or anything showing when will it be shipped! Has this happens to anyone? It’s been a month and nothing yet.

    • Diana, you should be able to log in to your Sephora account and track your package. If not call them; I have always found their customer service reps to be nothing but helpful. You get charged around the 9th of the month and they send the boxes out like the next week after.

  45. I typed in my email, was allowed to add the box to my cart, and check out. Took all of 2 minutes. Glad I didn’t have to deal with waitlist issues!

    • Could you tell me exactly how you did it, or give a link. TiA!

    • When did sign up?

  46. At least you can get on a waitlist, we don’t even have that option in Nebraska

    • Huh? I totally don’t understand this? It’s a website that has you enter an email address. How on earth does Sephora know where people live with only an email address?

      • IP addresses

  47. One of these days they’ll allow a county girl who lives in the Georgia Mountain sticks to join their exclusive club and be allowed to give them money. Until then, I’ll have to live vicariously through you ladies lucky enough to get in. hehehe

    BTW, if anyone wants to take pity on me and send an invite, my email is: [email protected]

    I’ll be forever grateful, or, if bribery works, I’m desperate enough for that too! 😀

  48. Does anyone else get a page not found error when they click on the signup link? Maybe it’s just an issue with their mobile site?

  49. Congrats on getting off the wait list! I was very happy with this month’s box as I have not used any of the products before. I haven’t tried the sponge yet, it will be nice to use something other than my Beauty Blender.

  50. Is anyone in California getting play?

    • I’m in SoCal and have been getting it since the first box.

    • I’m in SF and this was my first month

      • I’m also in SF and have been on the wait list since day one. I’m also a VIB rouge. it’s hard to tell what the method to their madness is ? I’ve tried to just enter my email, like others above did, see if it lets me in, but it just told me I’ve been added to the wait list. I’ve probably just started myself over. ?

        • Same. SF and on wait list day one. ?

    • I think I am permanently wait listed. Kinda good since I would have to explain another subscription ?

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