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PLAY! by Sephora #897 Subscription Box Review – August 2019

Play by Sephora August 2019 beauty subscription box review

PLAY! by Sephora is a monthly beauty and makeup subscription box. Each month, Sephora sends you a mix of six samples (including cosmetics, haircare, skincare, fragrances, and other beauty products) personalized to match your preferences, a PLAY! BOOK of tips and tricks, and a PLAY! PASS to redeem in-store or online for 50 Beauty Insider points for just $10 + FREE shipping.

Sephora curates several variations of their PLAY! boxes each month and matches you with the version that best fits the preferences you set in your profile. (You’ll fill out your profile when you signing up—you can also update your profile at any time). The variation I received this month is the box ending in #897. To find out which box you’re receiving at the beginning of each month, follow these instructions:

If you log in through a browser, not the app, and go to my account > account details > online orders and open the play! Order Details, you can see the “item number” next to the image.

open box

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

all the included items

About PLAY! by Sephora

The Subscription Box: PLAY! by Sephora

The Cost: $10 + FREE shipping

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: The US

August 2019 PLAY! by Sephora #897 Review

front of info poster back of sheet with all included products

Each PLAY! box comes with an info sheet that provides the theme of the box and detailed product info. It also includes your PLAY! PASS, which gives you 50 extra reward points if you use it in-store or online. You can also bring your PLAY! PASS to any store and redeem it for tutorials and tips from a Sephora consultant. 

clear and teal sephora bag

Each month, your samples are tucked inside a recyclable pouch. This one is incredible for travel—it’s so much more chic than a kitchen zipper bag!


Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Cream Gloss in Hot Toddy, 0.07 oz – Estimated Value $10.50 (Buy a full-size 0.14 oz for $21.00)

You could easily argue that I don’t need any sort of lip-plumping product, but I have to admit that I love them! The tingle, the extra volume, yes! They always just make me feel a little sexier somehow. I absolutely love the sheer pink shade of this formula. It adds just a little rosy flush to lips but still looks natural. You can also layer this over another color if you want to add a little gloss.



Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer, 0.24 fl oz – Estimated Value $8.47 (Buy a full-size 1.7 fl oz version for $60.00)

I think Bobbi Brown will always be one of those brands I romanticize because one of her eyeshadows was one of my first “expensive” makeup purchases. I instantly fell in love with the clean packaging and great formulas and I have continued to buy from this brand here and there. This little pot of cream serves as both a primer and moisturizer and smells like citrus and geranium. It absorbed quickly and left my face looking super hydrated and ready for my other makeup layers. The shea and vitamins C & E provided my skin with all-day moisture without causing any makeup smear or slide.


Ren Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream, 0.5 fl oz  – Estimated Value $14.41 (Buy a full-size 1.7 fl oz for $49.00)

Ren is another brand I really like after sampling their Overnight Recovery Balm, a product I highly recommend for super dry skin in the winter. This day cream is also from their Evercalm line, and I found that I really liked it too! It had an herbal scent that kind of reminded me a wee bit of some Sisley products. It was lightweight and almost felt whipped in texture. My skin absorbed this stuff up!


Algenist GENIUS Sleeping Collagen, 0.27 fl oz – Estimated Value $13.23 (Buy a full-size 2 oz version for $98.00)

This brand can be pretty hit or miss for me, but I was intrigued by a sleeping collagen cream. It feels more like a balm in the pot- super dense and slightly difficult to scoop out at first. I wasn’t crazy about the scent because I think it reminds me of calamine lotion, though I will say this didn’t last long and it was very light. I can’t argue with the results from this cream though. My skin felt like straight up butter in the morning. I will certainly be adding this to my winter skin rotation. The pot is smaller, but a little goes a long way!


Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum, 0.17 fl oz – Estimated Value $14.45 (Buy a full-size 1 fl oz version for $85.00)

This is one of those products that I actually had in the full size and recently ran out of. When you sample as many products as I do, getting to the bottom is something to brag about! As always, my skin loved anything from this brand. I use this serum at night after a toner but before a moisturizer or cream. Retinol is an anti-aging powerhouse and I have been using one brand or another for three years now, starting right after my 30th birthday. I highly recommend this one! Be sure to moisturize after using and be sure to wear sunscreen during the day- you should be anyway, right?


CAVIAR Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter, 0.85 fl oz – Estimated Value $5.67 (Buy a full-size 5.1 fl oz version for $34.00)

Finally, our last item is a hair cream specifically for use before blowing your hair… which I NEVER do. I legit don’t even own a hairdryer! The nice thing about most blowout creams is that I find they work just fine on dry or frizzy hair. I like to rub some between my fingers and tousle it into my dry strands. It gives me just a little bit of smoothing while still protecting my natural waves and rougher texture. This was a really nice cream with a pretty scent, but my heart still belongs to OUAI.

Verdict: This month’s PLAY! by Sephora box has an estimated value of $66.73, which is really high compared to my normal estimates. This might be because there were some pretty pricy skincare samples and no perfumes, the latter of which are usually lower value items, even if I do adore them. I really liked my assortment this month and I was really pleased to see some familiar brands I already know and love. I also thought the sample sizes this month were on the generous side which is always appreciated.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive next month’s samples, curated based on your PLAY! PROFILE. Get email alerts for monthly spoilers!

Value Breakdown: At $10 for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:

  • Buxom Lipstick $1.57
  • Bobbi Brown Primer $1.27
  • Ren Cream $2.16
  • Algenist Collagen $1.98
  • Sunday Riley Serum $2.17
  • CAVIAR Blowout Butter $0.85

Alternatively, each of the 6 samples has an average cost of $1.67.

Check out all of our PLAY! by Sephora reviews, our best beauty boxes, and all of our reviews of cheap subscription boxes for other similarly priced boxes!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think about my PLAY! by Sephora box? Which variation did you get?

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Written by Megan Kirkland

Megan Kirkland

I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Cheap Subscription Boxes, Makeup Subscription Boxes, Play! By Sephora Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: play by sephora | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Can I get sample perfumes as well.

  2. This box would’ve been perfect for me 😍

    • It was def one of the best I have ever gotten from them!

  3. I have gotten clinique moisture surge 4 times this year in my boxes….I dont get it. And I am not exaggerating I am being totally truthful. I got another one this month. So weird I think I am done with play for a while. I called to tell them a few times and they tell me to update my profile? I mean my skin concerns dont change nor does my skin type or hair type….erg! This sub has an issue giving the same products over and over again. There have been other products I have got again and again I just cant think of them now. Anyone else have this issue????

    • Yes. When I first subbed a few years ago I would get one or maybe 2 products a month that didn’t really fit my profile but I understood since it’s not possible to fit everyone perfectly with a select number of different boxes. Then slowly it started to seem like they weren’t matching anything in my profile. There would be a box that would fit me so much better, but I’d get a random one that had nothing to do with my concerns. The final straw was when I got repeat products 4 months in a row (not the same product every month for 4 months but products in my bag that I’d already gotten before at some point every month for 4 months). I haven’t really missed it, but I do buy the boxes I want when they go on sale in the shop, which fit me better anyways.

  4. This would have been a good box for me.

    • this would’ve been an ideal box for me also–particularly if Sephora cared to look at my profile…

    • Me too! After having mostly “misses” in my play boxes, I unsubscribed quite a while back. But more boxes like this one would definitely bring me back!

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