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: | 98 comments

Play! by Sephora Review – April 2016

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


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 semi-waitlist mode. On Friday, we discovered that you could sign up without being on the waitlist or getting an email from Sephora about being off the waitlist. Since then, off-the-waitlist emails have been coming in to customers on the waitlist, but it is clear that the waitlist didn’t work like a waitlist should. I keep thinking of this quote with Sephora and the word waitlist:


Anyway! Hopefully everyone who wants a subscription is off the waitlist, but if you are still waiting for an invite, check the comments on this post for lots of tips.


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: Five deluxe samples plus a fragrance sample, a PLAY! BOOK of tips and tricks, and a PLAY! PASS for in-store learning.

Ships to: US

Check out all of my Play! by Sephora reviews and all of our reviews of Cheap Subscription Boxes for other similarly priced boxes!


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 products.

sephora-play-april-2016-4 sephora-play-april-2016-3 sephora-play-april-2016-2 sephora-play-april-2016-1

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.


Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil – .1 oz Value $7.60

Milk officially makes the tiniest and cutest samples! Also – why can’t all foil packet samples come with a cap? So useful!

Now that I’m done obsessing over the packaging – let’s get to the product! This oil is lovely – it has a light citrusy scent and absorbs quickly. You can use for your face body or hair. I’ve been using it as a body oil and love it.


Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream – .1 oz Value $5.30

I found this eye cream to be gentle and hydrating – and I love that you can apply it directly from the tube to your skin. I didn’t notice any brightening effects, but I like it enough to use the entire sample!

Sunday Riley Good Genes – 10 ml Value $35

This is a great sized sample – 1/3 of the full-size version! This serum gets such great reviews and is free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. I don’t love the scent – but I’ll get over that if it improves my skin tone!


Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2AM Kiss – 2 ml Value $3

Based on Sephora’s new brand messaging around the Play! by Sephora subscription, all boxes will now include a perfume sample and 5 other deluxe samples. I normally complain about perfume samples in boxes, but 5 deluxe samples for $10 is amazing – so I’ll just consider this bonus!


Sephora Colorful Cheek Ink Gel in Peony – .35 oz Value $7.30

This cheek tint gel is really easy to blend – very important for a cheek tint! It’s also a buildable color so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it. Sephora recommended applying it with a (Sephora) brush, but I applied it with my finger tips and had no problems!

NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien 1.7 g Value $18.50

This is almost the same size as the full size version. It reminds me of the NUDESTIX lip crayon (that I love), but this formula has more shimmer and shine to it.

Here are both shades swatched:


Verdict: This box has a value of about $77. That’s amazing for a $10 box! The brands and sample sizes are great too – and the presentation and extra info is wonderful. I have no complaints about this box! I think this is the new beauty box to beat!

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. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. late comment that no one will see…
    seeing this review reminded me that I got the ‘off the waitlist email’ while I was at work, then completely forgot about it
    now it is too late… oh well. next time?

    • Lol, I see it. Have you tried signing up again. Same thing happened to me. I’m waiting for this month’s delivery.. Should be here tomorrow….yayyyy!

      • I did just now and also added an alt email jic, I’m really kicking myself because I just bit the bullet around that time and subbed to ipsy and birchbox. Would have loved to have grabbed this instead of birchbox.

        • Go to the Sephora site and type/ search for Sephora play , use the email that is linked with Sephora …if you have not done that yet.
          I had birchbox….I wasn’t a big fan. Do you subscribe to the allure box? Or, the Beauty Box 5?

  2. I signed up on aril 15 should I expect my first one to be the April or the May box?

    • You should expect a May box.

  3. So I received an email invite saying it was my turn to sign up…and it won’t let me..very frustrated been waiting since november. Anyone else have this issue?

    • yes same here

    • Yes I have been waiting 1yr I got email saying it was,my turn but when I tried it said I was to late….I responded within 2hrs of getting there email….ugh

  4. I got my you’re off the waitlist email. I’m really excited to try this box. I’d also been on the waitlist since it started but it was so long ago I’d forgotten I’d signed up for it. Are they changing to be customized instead of sending out the same items to everyone? I had to fill out a profile asking for skin color, hair color, etc similar to BB and Ipsy.

    I also get BB and Ipsy but am probably going to have to drop one of those since I added this one. I’m so confused as to which one to drop. Suggestions on which to drop?? I know BB has more skincare and haircare items while Ipsy has more make up related items. I’ve only received 2 BB since I recently added it after being a little disappointed with Ipsy as it seemed like I kept getting brushes and black eyeliner. I’ve loved some of their bags and then been disappointed with them. I wasn’t excited about either of my BB or Ipsy boxes for April.

  5. FINALLY got an email today telling me I’ve gotten off the waitlist! (been on since it first started). super easy sign up…can’t wait to get it next month!

  6. If anyone is curious to see what will probably be in May’s box, someone on Reddit posted the list:

    They watched the video Sephora has up on the Play section of the site. It does look like we are getting a bag and a foldout instead of the booklet. If you pause when the foldout is open you can see the items listed.

    Btw, the perfume for this month keeps making me think of cinnamon rolls for some reason, haha.

    • Thanks so much – just posted the spoilers! 🙂

  7. Got the email invite after being on the waitlist since last year, only to find out they’re not accepting addresses for Hawaii and Alaska. Hopefully they open it up later… that was a bit disappointing.

  8. Anyone looking to sell a box? I need that acne treatment and love everything else!

    • I’m ALSO looking to buy a whole box (hopefully). I signed up in April and missed the cut off date for an April box by 1 day! 🙁 I literally wants to try very thing in the box!

      I have so many things for trade. I’d definetly make it worth your while in trade or simply pay-pal you for it!

  9. I just go off the wait list. I’m pretty sure it took at least 6 months but yay!!!
    I’m excited to see these boxes in person, I hope I love it as much as I do the allure box.

  10. FYI – I finally received an invite yesterday. I’m in southeast Michigan. Good luck everyone!

  11. I’ve also been waitlisted from the beginning and have never received an email about an open spot. I’ve tried using my phone, desktop, the mobile app, different email addresses – nothing works. No matter what I do, I get a message stating that no spots are available and I’ve been added to the waitlist. I finally contacted Sephora, and their initial response was that the program had launched nationally, so they’d look at my account to see what the problem was. Then they came back and said I was on the wait list and that the program was still in the testing phase. When I pointed out the discrepancies in their responses, they said they’d have someone look at my account again. So over it…

    • I would open a new account and see if that helps. I have 2 Sephora accounts(I cant remember why), one is mine, one my husbands. The invite came to my husbands account.

  12. I never did get an email notification of the openings , last week I got your email and that’s how I knew to run to the website . I’m now officially subscribed to Sephora Play … Hopefully it sticks ;0)

  13. Great box and great review! (I think you’re on to something regarding a potential misunderstand of the meaning of the word ‘waitlist’ and how a ‘waitlist’ SHOULD actually function. ) 🙂 Love that the dreaded foil sample has a resalable cap. And 5 deluxe samples for 10 bucks – can’t be beat.

    I’m really hoping that with the seemingly large (okay, massive) influx of new subs for May, they can keep up the quality and value of products that most of use have been envying for months. Very excited for the May offering.

  14. I am so excited to be off the wait list. I had no problem signing up. For $10 a box it was worth the wait. Can’t wait to get my first one. Thank you MSA for telling me about this.

  15. Can you sharpen the Nars pencil? The outside is hard plastic.

    • I received a NARS lip pencil last year for my BI birthday gift. I purchased the dual NARS pencil sharpener ($6) and it also works fine with other pencils.

    • Yes you can. You need an oversized sharpener as they are pretty fat but can get one pretty cheap! Hope this helps! A set came as bday gifts from Sephora last year and I was so confused till I looked it up.

      • It sharpens just like wood (better actually) – its not straight up plastic. Its like a waxy plastic material.

  16. This is the dumbest thing ever. I received a you’re off the waitlist email with an 11 day invitation expiration counter, when I click on subscribe now, it takes me a page for me sign up to be on the waitlist again.

    Its my own fault for even opening the email, but this entire process has me wanting to “shake the table!” So over it…

    • Hmm, I guess I should shake myself. I’m able to subscribe after all.

    • I thought the same thing when I got the email. Did you put in your email again? That’s what I did and it took me to a page with a “subscribe now” button in the upper right

      • Oh, just saw your above comment. I’m glad you got in, I’ve been waiting forever and am so excited!

    • I’m wondering if when opening the waitlist it was not meant to be shared and people got in because Sephora expected people to only get the email and sign up who where invited. Having a link posted and an open enroll they didn’t expect others to try so it failed!

      Here is why I say this. I got my email from this site before my invite later that day. I truly think they didn’t have the softwear to manage a waitlist open inrollment and again didn’t expect it to be called out. An IT defect if you will leaving it open cause they couldn’t close only the right people out. When I got this email as open I clicked from this site and when I got the Sephora email it was closed already later in the day because they alotted so many spots to the sign up list. I also think that’s why ones who called got in cause they screwed up and didn’t plan for this now it’s to much as they wanted to go in waves to build up.

      Just a theory but makes a lot of sense. They should’ve thought about shared links if the waitlist was so big!

      • I agree that something went all screwy with the waitlist. I too got an invitation email 6 hours after I’d gone to the site on my own and was able to sign up. However, whenever I signed up for their waitlist (I did it several – okay, maybe tens of times 🙂 ), I always put two emails on the list in the same session. I only ever got an invitation for one of the emails – To this day, nothing for the other.

        I know this type of business can be a bit of work in process – Especially when you’re first starting out, however, I think their waitlist experience could and should be managed more fairly. From what I’m reading, there are still people in test market areas, on the waitlist from the start that still can’t sign up for the box. To contrast, there were people who were new to the waitlist or not waitlisted at all that were able to sign up that day.

        I’m sure this doesn’t sit well with a lot of loyal Sephora customers.

      • I think you might be onto something there. Sephora said (on its Beauty Talk forum) that they were opening up the program to a lot of new markets in May (as happened) and that it was changing from a box to a bag. It also said that everyone who wants in will finally be allowed in this August, so exactly one year after the launch. It hasn’t been smooth and has ruffled the feathers of some loyal Sephora fans, but it does look like a very nice box so I guess it’s worth the wait. I’m not sure when Canadians get in on it, but I’d imagine soonafter August as Canada was in the plans all along.

        • Agreed, it does look like a very nice box. That, IMHO, has been their saving grace in all of this. Come on, if it was one of those hit and miss boxes, would any of us have hung around for months, hoping for an invite? I think not! 🙂 Just hoping they can keep it up.

          And I’ll say too, I’m intrigued with the Play! date aspect of this sub box. I’m not aware of any other sub doing this.

    • It did the exact same thing to me you have to enter your email into the subscribe field on that page. Then it takes you to another page where you sign up for play. It’s just verifying you are who you say you are. Stupid I know but it does eventually get you all signed up.

  17. Man, that lipstick color is perfect for me. I wish I was getting this month’s!

    • ME TOOOOO!!! 🙁

    • Same here!

      • There are some on the swap page!

  18. A couple of you asked are we getting a makeup bag. On the email you get it says all of the products in a collectible bag and it shows a bag on the email which is nothing like a ipsy bag. It’s more like a tote type thingy! So well have to wait and see. I think they are starting in May with makeup bags but that’s just my opinion. Also, if you log into the full site or desktop that’s the only way I could sign up. It wouldn’t let me do it from my iphone on the mobile site. You first sign in and then put in the search bar on the right play by sephora, then it will say join or waitlist I just put join and my credit card info and that was it. It sends you a confirmation email also. I don’t have a laptop or computer I use my iPad or iPhone but again the kicker fior me was the desktop site and being signed in before trying to sign! I hope this helps ladies!!! P.S. don’t click on their e- mail that might help too! Ipsy if you see this no matter what you will be my favorite. Ipsy was and is still my only subscription until I get Sephora’s. Liz’s great reviews on ipsy is what made me sign and through here so I didn’t have to be on their waitlist! Thanks Liz!

    • I keep seeing people say they were unable to sign up with phones, laptops snd certain e msils, but i was able to sign up from my phone; i followed the link from here and it asked me to enter my sephora account info, and it was all set up with billing and address. I didnt have any problems, so i think it just depends.

      • I agree. I tried to sign up on my phone but it wouldn’t let me so I read the comments and tried the desktop with a different email and it let me… but then i checked on my phone and it let me sign up with the waitlisted email. Seemed totally random- or maybe they had just opened new slots.

      • I had to sign up WITH the email I got on the waitlist with/received the invite with.

        Which created an issue because that’s not the email that my Sephora account is under (long story). I had to login, change my Sephora account email, then join.

        Also – I’m kicking myself a little. I honestly am not that excited about this box. I kicked my birchbox sub to the curb a few months back (along with my ipsy a few months before that) because I’ve been so impressed with Allure. I think there’s a fairly good change that their YOU CAN’T HAVE THIS marketing has worked on me…and I’ve joined only because I was told I couldn’t.

    • Great info on the make up bag. I actually called Sephora and asked about the “collectible bag” the rep knew nothing about it. I even had her go the website to see what I was talking about and she said, no you only get a box. She didn’t seem knowledgeable at all. Anyway, I hope it does start up in May.

      • My invitiation e-mail showed it as a little drawstring bag, nothing fancy.

      • Me 3 I’m already loving Sephora Play I got an invite on my other Email & signed up just so I could have 2 of everything I love & or swap because the Value is so Amazing! It totally throws BB & IPSY out of the water (No pun intended) so a bag would totally be Amazing! I recieved March’s Box & loved everything & my April is on point to be delivered today I actually have to say this is the 1st box Ladies where I’m actually using everything in the Box so it makes it worth it! Like Liz always Says & she’s super smart & talented with her Reviews it goes somthing like “If you get a box & only use 1 item or nothing it’s no Value but if you get a box & your using a lot then it’s worth it” Liz I know I can’t remember the same quote as you so please correct me if I’m wrong but I think it goes somthing like that! For all you ladies who are frustrated with not getting on I feel your pain, I was signed up from the very 1st day of the Waitlist & like I said this will be my second month so don’t give up its totally worth the wait….. Just ? Hang in there!!

  19. I loved this box, but I’m sad about the Nars pencil shade choice because I already got it in the past birthday set! In fact, that slightly irritates me because if you get this box you are almost guaranteed to already shop at Sephora – thus you probably already got this as a birthday gift last year! I’ll have to give this one away because there is no way I’ll use up the one I already had, let alone need a back up that hasn’t expired by the time I get to it. Maybe I should finally join this swap group.

  20. Not shipping yet to Alaska (or Hawaii). Thanks Sephora…

  21. Today I visited the store near me; a couple of the workers told me about the subscription box! A few months ago they did not know about Play…. It’s getting closer….I think I will wait and see if I get an e-mail

  22. I got my “off the wait list” e-mail today, but I’m not really sure if I’m still interested. For one the closest Sephora to me is almost two hours away, so I would never get the Play Card benefits. Also, I’m just not really impressed with this box. IIRC the Nars lip pencils were the birthday gift last year? Which for some reason puts a bad taste in my mouth…like they’re just getting rid of leftovers.

    What’s interesting me is the perfume every month as a bonus, I hate buying perfumes but I live trying them out and getting samples. I also saw that they were going to start packing these in bags and I can never have enough stupid little bags in my life. Is a bag and a perfume with $10 every month? Idk, but I’ve got 11 days to decide!

    • So…do the bags start with May?

    • For reference, the Sephora birthday gifts aren’t exclusive and are mostly best selling products and colors from the brand. So you’ll probably see some repeats around in the sub box community (I’ve gotten repeats from several sources). Don’t let that stop you from joining! Plus you know the little bags are probably going to be really cute! I’d say give it a shot for a month or two to see how you like it.

    • Where did you see info about the bags?

  23. I’m not really interested in these products so my entire box is up for swaps!

    • Ill take it!

  24. What a great box! Hope my first box in May will be this great. I never got an email about getting off the wait list but I was able to sign up. No email in my junk mail either.

  25. The waitlist is a bit frustrating. I don’t really understand how it works. I signed up under my regular email, VIB Sephora account. That email is still wait listed.

    I tried my apple email account and got right in. It’s almost like I got preference for not using Sephora.

  26. I was so excited to get in it didn’t hit me until now I’m not getting this box!! I found a use for all the products in this box, I kept stalking the spoilers!! Oh well I waited this long…

    • I just signed up I was hoping to get April box to.

  27. I’m so excited for this Box! Mine says it will be delivered tomorrow. ?

  28. Can’t wait for May !

  29. Ladies, go slowly w/the Sunday Riley. It is an alpha hydroxy product and if you’re skin isn’t used to it, you might have some issues. I used a foil packet sample of it and it ended up burning my skin like a sunburn. I don’t think it’s a *bad* product, since it’s reviewed so highly, I just think it’s disagreeable for some skin types.

    • Amy what type of skin do you have Hun ? Also how should us 1st timers try it please? Any suggestions would be great!!

      • I bought and use the full sized product. I have normal and sometimes oily skin. My skin is pretty hardy and doesn’t have sensitivities. Sunday Riley products work well for me, but they are strong (both in formula and scent). My advice is a patch test before applying to your entire face. Once you feel comfortable, only use a small amount. With this product, a little bit goes a long way since it applies very well without having to use a lot. It’ll be easier to use more if you need it than to use too much. I had this exact size sample tube before buying the larger size and it lasted me well over a month. For new skincare products, I recommend patch testing and then gradually building up the amount of product if you choose to do so. Because skincare works differently for everyone, it’s great that sub boxes let us try new products beforehand. I would have never purchased the larger size if I hadn’t been able to try it first.

        • Thank you so much!! ?

      • Kristin – I have combination skin and I use an AHA every day. They’re awesome for cleaning your face while maintaining the acid mantle…just be careful because they can make you more photosensitive (so wear sunscreen!). Once I switched from benzoyl peroxide in the morning to an AHA in the morning/BHA at night my skin is so so so much better, but I HAVE to use sunscreen every time I leave the house or I will get dry/flaky skin very easily (sunburn with a minimum of redness). Hope that helps!

        • Yes it does help!! Thank you so much for all the great information! What I will do is try a little patch of my face 1st & go from there just to be on the safe side, & make sure that patch doesn’t burn when I’m outside. Thank You!! ?

    • Thank you for the tip!

  30. I’ve never received a link. I’ve been on the list since day 1. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I just don’t understand 🙁

    • Same here, I tried to sign up when it was open and it waitlisted me even though I’ve been on the waiting list for months already. I then tried another email and still no luck. Sniff 🙁

      • I’m in New Mexico, BTW.

        • Maybe it is a location thing then because I am also in New Mexico and nothing has worked for me? Keep getting told I have been put on the waitlist.

          • I’m in NM as well but I got in first try. Las Cruces

          • I’m in absolutely nowhere New Mexico and got an invitation and signed up the other day. It doesn’t seem to be location based at all.

    • i got my email but it went to my spam folder, so check there! It gives you a 15 day window period to sign up!

      • I was able to get in through the mobile app, iPhone?

  31. Kind of makes me not interested now. I was on the waitlist and didn’t get an email, yet other people were able to sign up without ever being on the waitlist.

    • I got my email but it went to my spam folder, so check there! It gives you a 15 day window period to sign up!

  32. I begrudgingly gave up Ipsy to start this. Ipsy was great stuff but I found I just wasn’t using stuff or even waiting excitedly by the mail anymore. Looks like this will be totally better!

    • I did the same as you. It was definitely tough to give up Ipsy, but I did my research and made a list of all the items I got from Ipsy and whether I kept or gave away products/didn’t use them and I compared it to what I would’ve gotten from Sephora (I just started getting Sephora in March) and whether I would’ve kept or given the products away, and Sephora seemed to be better for me based on that research. Plus, I live close to a Sephora, so I know that if I wanted a product, I could go to the store and get it or order online – whereas Ipsy was online only. For me, it’s nicer to get my items in one place (if possible), and this way I get extra Sephora points which is super great. I’m also glad that you get points for price of the box every month.

    • I gave up my second Birchbox sub. I was getting a lot of repeat items (I love the Eyeko fat eyeliner, but I really didn’t need three), so I just made a purchase to use up my points on the second account.

  33. My box will be here tomorrow and have been hoping to try a Sunday Riley product and I think I will like everything else as well. I don’t know why Sephora says it’s new with the perfume. From the very first box we have received 5 samples + 1 perfume, and I’m so happy that it doesn’t count as one of the 5.

    • Same here. It’s rare that I like a perfume enough to actually wear it, so I’m always bummed when I get a perfume sample. With Sephora, I’m fine with it, as it’s basically a bonus item.

      I got this same Sunday Riley sample in a previous Birchbox or Glossybox (I can’t remember which), and I really liked it. If I weren’t already on skincare product overload, I would buy it.

  34. My box should arrive on Friday and I can’t wait to try all of the products. I subscribe to Ipsy, Glossy Box and Sephora Play and Sephora has been my favorite so far. Liz I’m glad you’re now getting this box so now you can review it.

    • Me too! It is such a great box! 🙂

  35. I got the email but I can’t sign up. I’ve gotten as far as entering credit card (twice so far) and then everything disappears like it never even happened. No confirmation, no email, nothing. The whole website seemed glitchy too like it wasn’t sure what it wanted to do or if it wanted to work..

    • This happened to me when I was using the app, but it worked on my laptop

    • I’d call them. Nobody gets between me and my sub boxes!

    • Call Sephora and let them know, the same thing happened to me. They said it’s active for me. Good luck!

  36. I subscribed on the 15th. Do you have any idea whether I will get this box or May’s box? I really want this one.

    • Unfortunately, I believe your subscription will start with the May box.

      • Oh well, I am excited to see what May brings.

    • I emailed them asking this. They said if you order after the eighth you get the next month’s box. 🙁

  37. I was able to sign up on Friday… I wish Sephora would have started my sub with this box. But I am so excited for May!!!

    • Me too! I wish I could have had this box, but I’m excited that I subscribed, regardless!

      • Me too! I subscribed on the 15th and was really hoping for this box. But I am thrilled to finally be in so I will just wait patiently for May and hope it is equally as amazing.

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