July 26, 2016

Not Impressed But Let’s Unbox the Sephora Play July 2016 Box

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

Sephora Play July 2016 Box

My Play by Sephora Box for July 2016 arrived about two weeks ago but I didn’t get a chance to do an unboxing! Sorry about that. As you may or may not know Sephora Play is Sephora’s new beauty box subscription service. The service is $10 a month and features 5 to 8 samples and deluxe sizes of new and exciting products.

My first box arrived back in May and I expressed some disappointment with the contents. I decided to stick with the service and so far, I’ve been ok with the contents but not terribly excited. I think as a beauty blogger much of the content are items I’ve already tired or purchased for myself. I wish they would include some super new and exciting.

The good news is that Sephora Play July 2016 Box actually did contain a product I wanted to try. It was a full size of the Blotterazzi by Beauty Blender. Sephora sells these in a pack of 2 for $20 and they gift you with a single, full size blotter in this month’s box. To me this covers the cost of the box and anything else inside is basically free.

Here’s a look inside.

Ok, so, don’t kill me as I’m about to be a negative Nancy. I wasn’t excited about this box. It included a few items I’ve already tried and a few I likely won’t use.

You get:

  • Blotterazzi by Beauty Blender
  • Nest Citrine Perfume Sample
  • Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer (0.25 oz)
  • Ouai Wave Spray (1.7 oz)
  • First Aid Beauty Deep Cleanser with Red Clay (1.0 oz)
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (0.08 oz)

Play by Sephora July 2016

This month’s box focuses on oil control and Summer skincare as well as hair care. I personally didn’t like it because I have drier skin and I’m not much of a lover when it comes to bronzer. On that note, I will say it’s filled with items that you might love if you have oily skin or like beach hair (I don’t because I already have beach hair every single day of my life since my hair is crazy long and wavy like a mermaid’s).

I loved the Nest sample and also, I’m quite happy about the Blotterazzi but I’m doubtful I’ll make use of any of the other items. I already own a full size Chocolate Soleil Bronzer so, that’s ticked off my list. The Smashbox Primer and the First Aid Cleanser is meant for oily skin another I can tick off. And as I described above I def don’t need to Wave Spray!

It’s a nice round up of products for $10 bucks that’s for sure but just not products I’ll personally use. And I’ll leave this unboxing with a note that I’ll continue my membership because I’m still waiting on that one box that’s going to knock my socks off and wow me 😀

What did you think of the Play by Sephora July 2016 Box?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Sign up for Sephora Play at Sephora.com.


I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Janessa

    I really liked this months box. I wanted to try the Ouai spray before I knew it would be included (my bottle didn’t have a label on it though) and I love the primer, cleanser and bronzer already. The blotterazzi was actually the only thing I was like “meh” about, but definitely recognized the value in that little guy vs. the cost of the box.

  • Rachel

    Muse, you may want to check out your Sephora profile…they sent out 2 different boxes in July, the oily skin version, and a dry skin version. Maybe they made a mistake and sent the wrong version? 2 of the products (the cleanser and primer) were skin-type specific.

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m def marked as dry skin Rachel! I think they made a mistake for some reason! :-/

      • Agona

        I’m marked as dry skin and received this one as well. However, I also marked sensitive skin and I know First Aid caters to sensitive skin types so I’m wondering if their cleanser (despite it being clay) is more gentle than I realize. I have it stashed away with my travel-sized toiletries to try at a later date. I tossed the primer though–I know that will clog my pores right up.

        • Isabella Muse

          Weird right? I’m dry but not sensitive but still got all the oily skin stuff haha!

  • effie

    Agreed with you, Muse! This is my third box and I wasn’t too impressed. Unlike you, I got the Benefit Hoola liquid bronzer, I’m not a regular bronzer myself, so that is useless. I love they include the Blotterazzi, but I’m not too fond of the cardboard container… hard to travel with.
    I’ll keep it one more month and see, maybe next month it’ll be great.

    Thanks Muse, love your blog.

    • Isabella Muse

      I agree! I wish it had some sort of plastic slip versus the cardboard! Aw thanks Effie <3!

  • Felis

    Man, this month sucked for me. I was not excited about one single thing in the box. Some chick on Reddit suggested that I could use the primer sample as a cuticle guard for nail art, which is good because I have FOUR of the damn things from three different sample boxes.

    Bronzer? Ew. Also I hate the look of this one. Salt spray? I have a Chelsea cut, so I have no use for that. Commercial perfume? Nah, bro. I will probably use the cleanser and the Blotterazzi (god what a dumb name). But step up your game, Sephora!

  • Kelsey

    I noticed that other subscribers had a different bronzer and cleanser in their box gear towards dry skin, might suggest checking your quiz and making sure it’s up to date on your skin type! I didn’t even realize they sent out different selections based on skin type! 🙂

  • Liz

    That’s so odd, I thought the boxes were customized to skin type…. I have oily skin so I liked this box. I actually love the cleanser, it didn’t break me out, but it is suited to my skin. I have a few bronzers that I already like so I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to try the chocolate soliel. I’m so glad it was in my box because I love it! The wave spray was a disappointment, I was excited to try it and didn’t like the smell or texture :-/ Oh well. Loved the Nest fragrance. I hate primers so I’ll be giving mine away. I like the bloterazzi too, and again it was a product I wouldn’t pick up on my own, so I’m glad it was included. It was my first Play by and all in all I thought it was ok. I’ll give it a few months to make up my mind for sure. Love your unboxing posts!

    • Isabella Muse

      Apparently they are but I just got the wrong one lol! 😀 Aw thanks so glad you like the unboxings, Liz!

  • *Estrella*

    This was my first and it was “meh”. I had previously purchased and immediately returned the “gimmicky” Blotterazi as it did nothing to a absorb excess oil. The Ouai went to a friend as my hair is big and fluffy 24/ even after 4 “de-frizz” products. I received the liquid version of Hoola which I guess is cool. Smashbox primer is a No-Go oily mess so was passed off. I do enjoy the Nest Citrine and will try the First Aid face cleanser sample.

    I’m holding out in hopes of some bangin’ holiday themes boxes

  • Tabitha

    I agree Muse! I already had 3 items due to full size purchases& free samples from Sephora. I was super excited about the Blotterazzi though! Perfect for my purse! While I have curly hair as well I was happy to see the Ouai spray as I live at the beach & was hoping it would help tame the flyaways from the salty air, which it did! I also liked the fact that unlike other beach-look sprays my hair wasn’t crunchy at all. Even the other beach sprays with oils added to them still give me curl crispies. Also, I liked the fact that it was a decent size and a fairly recent release. I too hissed and booed at my box until I saw the blotter. Hopefully next month will be extra fancy!!!

    • Isabella Muse

      You made me want to take back the beach spray from my sis (I gifted it to her) and try it Tabitha 😀 haha!

      • ruth

        i’ll send you my spray! my hair is fine and pin straight; all of the sprays in the world don’t do anything for it =D

        • Isabella Muse

          I thought it would work best on straight hair! beach spray makes me look like a freaking frizzy mess!

  • denise

    Yeah, I’m with you. This month’s box was a big whomp, whomp. bummer. Interestingly, a few of my products were different than yours. I had the clear Smashbox primer (which I might use a bit). And I had Benefit’s Dew the Hoola instead of the Too Faced bronzer. It’s okay, I guess. Really quite light and not all that bronzy to me. Shrug. Like you I have curly/beachy hair already. I tried the wave spray and it’s okay. It has a *very* strong scent that reminds me of (I think) Paloma Picasso perfume. Or maybe Ysatis? I can’t put my finger on it exactly but one of those that was very popular in the ’90s. 🙂 And I also share your dry skin so the FAB cleanser is a no-go. I too am holding out for the great WOW box.

    • Isabella Muse

      Apparently there are two boxes, for some odd reason I got the oily skin one! Weird!

      • Randi MacDonald

        I got the dew the hoola too. But isnt the bloteratzi for oily skin? I got that too.

  • Rina

    Did not like this, nor the last two. Think the might be the third strike, as I’m having better luck with the Target boxes! After all the hype, I’m really disappointed.

  • Ana

    I was actually a little meh about my box too, maybe a 7/10 for being a $10 beauty box. I got the benefit liquid bronzer (don’t really like Benefit as I find them gimmicky) instead of the chocolate soleil because I’m under dry skin. The only thing I’m excited to try is the wave spray since I have super fine straight hair and the first aid beauty cleanser that everyone raves about and I have yet to jump on that bandwagon. I think that the beauty blender blotterazzi may come in handy in this ridiculous heat wave in LA. Here’s to hoping August is a 10/10

  • Kimmwc03

    I was glad to see the Blotterazzi as well. I like the Ouai spray but already have the full size (so I gave the sample to my bff). I’ve been using the bronzer but it just reminded me that I like the Milk Chocolate one so much better on my skin.

  • Ann-Marie

    I got a slightly different box than you did. Instead of the Too Faced bronzer, I got Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer, the Smashbox primer I got was the Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer (oil-free), and the First Aid Beauty sample I got was the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser (not red clay one). The other stuff was the same. Overall I am happy with mine!

  • Dena Mcclure

    I use a service called Choix where I get to pick the samples I want to try and they are from great brands like Clinique, Tom Ford, etc.. If I wish to buy a full-size I get a $5.00 credit towards the cost of it. For a month I believe it is $10-15. I usually buy a year’s subscription, but you can just choose to buy samples each month. Really good customer service too, and they have fragrance, and nail polish, and skin care too.

    • Isabella Muse

      Tom Ford? Hmm! This could be good I’m going to google!

  • Maria A

    Mine beauty thing packet was completely empty. Nothing was in it. I called up Sephora and they offered to give me 50 points but I was like I don’t want the 50 point I wanted to try the product. So they were nice enough to give me credit for the whole box : )

      • Maria A

        LOL. This is true. But I rather have had the chance to try out the product. Have you tried it?

        • Isabella Muse

          likewise ha! I’d want to try the items! The blotter??

  • Jay

    Hahaha Muse you’re my Sephora Play twin! They’ve given out that Blotterazzi sample several times–even Beauty.com was giving them out. The Smashbox primer is a nice size since you only need a little, but I already own the full size…its hardly a new product. The wave spray wasn’t made for my hair type. I guess I can use the bronzer as eye shadow? And the dark spaces under my bed will love another perfume sample, because they all roll there eventually. Do you get any other beauty boxes?

    • Isabella Muse

      Ha no kid! This is my first one! I was happy that I got it, I thought it was a pretty generous pick for the box. The rest I was meh on! I did like the Nest sample though 😀 I didn’t end up in my makeup graveyard haha I ended up using it all! I don’t! I feel like most boxes contain stuff I’ve tried so I don’t bother with them much! I do like Memeboxes but that’s a matter of picking and choosing not getting one every month!

    • Maria A

      LOL, that’s what I did with the bronzer. I use it as a crease color

  • StellaDiva

    I thought it was good value for $10 but like you I won’t use much but will give away.

  • Jennifer

    I thought it was good. I’m a bit tired of getting products for beach waves. I seriously have a drawer full from other boxes.

    Have you tried Allure’s box? I’ve been getting them since they were called Sample Society and I’m rarely disappointed. This month we got a La Mer sample, a Clinique lip balm, Glam Glow, an Estee Lauder serum, and Smashbox Photofinish primer. Although some boxes are better than others-I’m never wholly disappointed in any of their boxes.

    • Isabella Muse

      I haven’t it, Jennifer! That sounds like a great box maybe I need to sign up for that 😀

  • Jamie

    This month they sent out 2 variations. One for combo oily skin and one for combo dry. I got the same one as you even though I also have dry skin. Already had the bronzer. Not thrilled the last few months so I cancelled. I’m sure there will be a wow box that will make me regret my cancellation, but now I have $10 a month to spend on other goodies!

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise Jamie! I checked my profile and it says dry skin but I still got the oily skin one! I’m going to hold out for another month and see how it goes!

  • Emily Hertler

    This was the first box I received, and I wasn’t especially excited for any of the products, but not bad for $10. This is the THIRD mini Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer I’ve received, and I like it but not enough to want a third. My skin is very combination, so the primer might work well for me and I’ll definitely try it, but from reviews I’ve read, it takes some trial and error to get the application right in relation to other products, and I just haven’t had the time. I have a bunch of beach wave sprays in my stash already, and I like them all about the same, i.e., I’ll use, but I’m not particularly excited about it. Haven’t tried the cleanser yet; maybe I’ll try that on tonight. All in all, not terribly impressed, but not overly disappointed.

    • Isabella Muse

      oh no! Third in the Play box!? Ugh reruns! Likewise! Not terribly impressed but not disappointed either!

      • Emily

        No, not third from the Play box; just somehow ended up with 2 other minis from other kits. I think it was in the Sephora bronze bares all kit and maybe a some sort of Too Faced discovery kit I picked up a while back. I like it, but will probably never hit pan on the first one I started.

  • Celestine

    I opened my box and was “meh”. This is my third Sephora Play box and so far, I’m not impressed at all. I keep considering cancelling the subscription, but then I have a sneaking feeling that the first box I miss will be amazing. (SMH)

    • Isabella Muse

      there’s a link right in this post with a pic of it 🙂

  • Randi MacDonald

    Think about this though. We have to spend 100.00 at Sephora to get One (100pt) perk and here we are getting 5( 100 point perks) of them for 10.00. Does it seem like a better deal now?

  • Katie

    Hi Muse! I totally agree with you – not impressed. I actually did cancel my subscription. This month was probably the best I’ve received of the three, so that’s saying something. I still subscribe to Ipsy, and have a couple non-beauty subscriptions so I figured I’d save my money for things I actually want at Sephora! I did really enjoy getting the Blotterazzi because I have the original one already and use it almost daily (oily skin + 100° Los Angeles heat) and now I have another to switch out while I wash one! But the wave spray is completely pointless for me! I have very fine, straight hair that’s only about 4 inches long at its longest… Waves aren’t happening, especially from a spray. I hate that they assume everyone loves “beachy waves”! The ocean makes my hair dry and tangled 🙁 The bronzer and face wash are decent, I’ve used them both now and they’re fine, but not something I was overly excited about. And I actually don’t like perfume samples… I have probably 10+ in a drawer somewhere so I really didn’t like that Sephora was including them every month. Sorry that this comment got so long! Hopefully they’ll send out something great next month that might make me regret canceling (not holding my breath though). And thanks for your great reviews! I always look to you for an opinion on a new product! 😀

    • Isabella Muse

      Hey Katie! I’m holding out hope, girl! I didn’t cancel yet even though I’ve been tempted since the start of my subscription! I just keeping hoping it’ll get better lol! But it hasn’t! Hopefully next month!!!????? I think you made a smart choice though! Now you have ten bucks more in your pocket for something else as far as I’m concerned 😀 Aw thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ali

    I’ve been on the waitlist since April! I used to have dry skin but ever since becoming pregnant my skin has turned to a hot oil mess. Dying to try the Blotterazzi!

  • Dia

    This was my first Play box, and I quite liked it. I won’t use every item, but that’s just the way these boxes go. I’ve pin straight, limp hair, so the wave spray is a definite no for me. I’ve a friend who subscribes to Ipsy and another who subscribes to Birchbox, so we get together once in a while and trade stuff that we don’t want.

    • Isabella Muse

      omg that’s actually a great idea! My friend Jai is the queen of beauty boxes I should trade off with him ;D

  • Agona

    I was happy with the box only because it allowed me to try things that I’m curious about but would’ve never purchased without sampling. And sample sizes (aka foil packets) never give you enough product to really test something out. I found out that I liked the scent much more than anticipated (very picky about my perfumes) so I may purchase a full-size. The blotter was interesting–I need to play around with it more. The bronzer was a surprise for me–I expected it to be darker but it barely showed up on my medium skin-tone. Cleanser I’ll try eventually, and I straight up tossed the textured hair spray and primer–but I’m okay with that because I feel like I got my money’s worth of products to test/experiment with.

    • Isabella Muse

      HA! you’re going to look adorbs in those! Can I borrow them!

    • KittyGlitter

      Ruth, I got those on purple last Christmas but haven’t tried them out yet. They’re are spoilers out for the August Sephora Play box and looks like 2 versions again this month. I think this is my first post. I love this site.

  • Jules

    Yeah, I feel a lot like you, Muse on this!! And for most of the same reasons…. I have very curly hair, and I tried out the spray…OMG. total poodle head !! But it smells so good, so I might use a couple sprays as hair perfume, after I’ve put in my normal goop! And bronzer? Yeah… My skin tone is very similar to yours, just about 3 shades paler…so bronzer just looks like I’ve smeared mud all over my face. And the Nest perfume smells good at first, but am I the only one who gets a whiff of Old Spice on the dry down?!?

    So anyway. Summer colors/products usually aren’t really my jam, since I’m a year-round vampire. I think the box is a good value, at least, so here’s hoping fall & winter work out better for us!

    • Isabella Muse

      I dunno how people use it. They must have stick straight hair. If I use it I look like I put crazy glue in my hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s horrible lol! Mmmm…I didn’t get the Old Spice, it had a lemony scent on me the entire time even at the dry down! ;-D Ha welcome to the club, totally avoid the sun like the plague. Twins! 😀

  • Ashley

    Got this box 2x, wasn’t impressed, so I canceled it. I love that citrine fragrance, I smelled it at the store last time I was there. Allure box is way better in terms of value

  • Desi

    I got the box for drier skin and my profile at Sephora says combo and I still get breakouts, so maybe they just sent them randomly. Would have made more sense to gear it to our info
    Nest was probably the only thing I will really ise though the blotter is cute.
    First box for me, hope they do better in August – it features eyes, awesome!

    • Isabella Muse

      ha! Let’s swap! 😀 I think they likely should have but there was some mistake/mix up. oh I can dig eyes! Maybe some new mascara!?

      • Desi

        Might be worth doing. I have other samples of cleanser unopened from other subscriptions too that I know won’t work. Maybe I should gather them and see if you want to exchange?

        • Isabella Muse

          I don’t have the contents of this box but I def have other goodies! 🙂 email me!

  • Susan

    I’m not sure which area in your account you’ve already checked, but there is actually a separate quiz for the Play box that asks about your preferences and things. It’s separate from your regular profile.

    I haven’t been disappointed by any of my boxes yet, but I don’t have a huge collection. I enjoy getting the minis to try, and they are great for travel. I also enjoy the experience of playing around and experimenting with different products, so it’s nice to get the samples instead of always buying a full size.

    • Isabella Muse

      Yup, I know. I took the quiz when I first subscribed. If I go back in to edit all my answers are still the same. Here’s what I see when I edit: https://postimg.org/image/ihjqcyupz/ I guess I go the oily one by mistake. I’m glad you’re enjoying the boxes!! 🙂

      • Susan

        Oh, how frustrating! I heard that many people didn’t even get their box this month, maybe due to Sephora overselling the subscription. Sounds like they were having some technical difficulties. I hope you love your next box!

        • Isabella Muse

          oh wow I didn’t hear that! That sucks! I hope so too!!!!!!!!

      • Kim S

        Don’t feel bad. I would have much rather had the oily version. The Hoola bronzer is so orange. I would of loved to have a back up chocolate.

  • EliCaroline

    Wow. Your beauty box was different than mine. I really liked the July box. I wanted to try Ouai products, but my local Sephora doesn’t stock them, so I was stoked to get a sample in the box. I thought it was neat that there was a Blotterazzi in there, but being since I have dry skin, I’m giving it away.
    The FAB face wash is one that I go back to time and time again, so I ain’t mad at that sample.
    I received the Hula Bronzer gel instead of the Too Faced one. It’s alright. After getting a bronzer in both June & July boxes, I better not get another one in my Aug box 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      Yeah, it was actually two boxes but I got the oily skin version ;-D

  • Kim S

    I now know why the Smashbox primer is so expensive. They give away a gazillion free samples. I don’t get a lot of samples per se but I have 2 of these right now. I have never had to buy this stuff. By the time I run out of one, I get another.

    And yes I am somewhat disappointed with this subscription. I couldn’t wait to sign up thinking – Sephora – makeup samples. Out of my boxes I have only received 1 lipstick ( a ridiculous bright pink that I can’t wear to work, a bronzer, lip liner and a mini mascara. Not a single eyeshadow, highlighter, eyeliner or foundation sample. I would much more happy if it was makeup and one face cream sample. And nothing really high end to me. No Dior, ysl, Armani, Hourglass, Laura Mercier. or even Mufe. Maybe I missed those boxes or maybe there are yet to come. I’m going to hold out a little bit longer.
    Although I would be much much happier if they would at least let us redeem the bonus points online. Sephora is 50 miles away from me. I cannot be driving down there every month for 50 points.

    • KittyGlitter

      Ruth, I got those on purple last Christmas but haven’t tried them out yet. They’re are spoilers out for the August Sephora Play box and looks like 2 versions again this month. I think this is my first post. I love this site.

    • KittyGlitter

      You will like August I think. Has items and a brand you like.

  • Kelly

    Another meh box from Sephora. Why do I want to blot facial oil with a sponge that I keep in my purse? That’s just so gross. Primer=blah, so tired of the fragrance samples as they’re nothing but filler. Cleanser and bronzer is ok, but boring.
    Next month is all about eyes, I believe, and we better get some amazing stuff! If not, I’m gone.

  • Kelly

    Ps the wave spray did NOTHING! I have curly wavy hair and the spray actually flattened my hair instead. I do like the smell though.

    • Isabella Muse

      that’s actually good news lol! I can maybe use it as a hair perfume! Although I gifted it to my sis so I have to steal it back!

  • Kristen

    I feel sort of the same way you do! I’ve only subscribed for a few months and I feel like they are giving WAY too much skincare and almost NO MAKEUP at all. The first box was okay, last month’s I kind of hated, and this month’s was all right. I also have curly hair so the beach hair spray is not something I need/want. I don’t mind the travel size bronzer and the bloterrozi actually is a pretty good product (I have oily skin and have already tried it, just not sure how it will do long-term). The clay mask I feel like is something you can often get as a “bonus” with a $25 purchase. As someone else commented, next month is “all about eyes” so there better be some great stuff in there, or I think I’m going to bow out as well. Although, I bet they start stepping up their game as holiday season approaches so it may be worth it to stick around…we’ll see!

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise! I just wasn’t into most of it and was hopeful for more makeup! So far, I think I only got one color product in the three boxes I got! Kind of sad that it is all meh for me! But hopefully it’ll get better 😀

      • Kristen

        Yes! More makeup please! I just looked at a sneak peek for next month’s, and it looks pretty good, if true. Rumored it will contain a makeup forever shadow, urban decay perversion mascara, lancome energie de vie, one of two sephora eyeliners (both cute colors), an eye cream: either Caudalie resveratrol lifting balm or algenist renewal eye balm and then one of two CLEAN scents. Definitely worth the $10 for that I think. Here’s hoping! 🙂

  • ame

    I got the dry version of this one, and it’s the best one I’ve gotten since my first box in April. It’s the first one I haven’t pretty much tossed/donated everything out of so far. Last month I kept one item. This month I actually was interested in maybe two or three things. But prior to that? All trash.

    I really despise the one-box-for-all nonsense they’re peddling. This is a HUGE international corporation that has tons of customer records, as well as ridiculous access to samples, and tons of power to get access to custom samples. Why are they not customizing boxes using those records?