Play! by Sephora Box January Review

It’s been a few months since I last reviewed my Play! by Sephora box so I thought it’d be a good idea to show you what I got this month.

This month’s theme is “Beauty, Set, Go”– all about detoxing and renewing, starting the new year fresh. I will start by saying that the bag in which the products came this month is my favorite piece from this box. The bag is waterproof so it would be perfect for throwing it into your gym bag and it has a cute saying “Sweat is just another way to glow” on it. But, overall, January Play! by Sephora box was a big disappointment to me.

I was truly happy to see Tarte Frxxxtion Stick, which is an exfoliating cleanser that comes in the form of a stick. Although it’s an exfoliator, it’s very gentle on the skin and I really liked how soft my skin felt after I used it. And besides, a cleanser in a stick is a really fun idea, isn’t it?

The second product in January box was Youth To The People Kale+Spinach+Hyaluronic Acid Age Prevention Cream. Before receiving this sample, I have never really heard about this brand. Youth To The People is an all vegan skincare company that makes all their products only in the US.  The cream sounds promising as it’s rich in hydrating and anti-aging ingredients. I have used it twice already as part of my PM routine and I woke up with really smooth and soft skin. Obviously, it’s too early to talk about any long-term benefits though.

The third product that I received was an Ouai Treatment Mask meant for damaged hair- something I can definitely use after using a lot of heat on my hair and getting it colored regularly. The product is claimed to strengthen hair against future damage too. The sample was enough for a one time use for me. What I really liked about it is the fact that it can be applied to dry hair. I left it on for 10 minutes, went about my business and washed my hair afterwards. I didn’t really expect miracles so I was really surprised with the results. Just after that one use my hair felt much softer, less frizzy and had more volume to it (here is the proof!). I think I am going to splurge on the full size of that mask, it’s really brilliant.

This month’s perfume sample is a scent called “Love Relentlessly” by Tony Burch with the notes of pink pepper, patchouli and orris. In theory, the notes sound like they would appeal to my inner perfumer, however in practice, I didn’t care for the scent at all.  And honestly, since I have subscribed to Play! by Sephora box I have had no luck with receiving a perfume sample that I would actually like. I feel like the perfume sample is always a wasted product for me.

The next two products I received were such a huge disappointment to me that I decided to contact Sephora via Twitter to express my grief.

The Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey came broken and thus- completely unusable. However, Sephora replied to my tweet right away and offered to send me a new lipstick sample at no cost to me (which I received 2 days later in perfect condition). I have never tried Black Honey before, although according to Clinique, it’s one of their top best selling lipstick shades. Almost Lipstick, as the name suggests, is a hybrid between  a lipstick and a gloss. It’s on a sheer side and it’s very easy to apply and I actually really like this shade on my lips.

Lastly, the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. A few months ago Sephora sent a message to Play! by Sephora subscribers asking them to update their preferences as far as the skin tone goes. I had a feeling it meant that soon they will include a foundation or a skin tone specific product in the box. And indeed, they did. The problem is that both shades of the product that I received were way too dark for me so I cannot try them. I emailed Sephora about this problem as well. They responded by saying that they are really sorry but they don’t have any other shades to send out and they rewarded me 150 Beauty Points.

It was a really nice gesture on their part, however, I feel like they sent the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact just to get rid of overstock sample without caring if the shades would match people’s skin tones or not.

All in all, January Play! by Sephora box hasn’t really met my expectations. I don’t think the samples included this month really matched the January theme. One product came broken, the foundation was too dark to use and I completely didn’t care for the Tory Burch scent. The Tarte Frxxxtion Stick and the Ouai Treatment Mask are the only two products I really enjoyed but that’s not enough for me to give this month’s box thumbs up. I do appreciate Sephora’s Customer Service though and how quickly they responded to my complaint and how they handled it.

What about you? If you are a Play! by Sephora subscriber- were you happy with this month’s box? Have you had any good or bad experience with beauty stores addressing your complaints? If so, what was the outcome?

Thanks for reading!

the founder and editor of Her and Makeup.



  1. carolinapage says:

    Once I didn’t like the way I was treated at a Sephora store here in Italy, so I emailed their customer service about it, and they apologized via email and also had the store manager call me to apologize, LOL. I don’t know if they would have done that with any customer or they just did it because they saw that I had spent several thousand euros over the past 10 years at Sephora…

    • Agata says:

      After I moved to the US from Poland I was really impressed of the level of Customer Service over here. I was blown away by the fact that you can return absolutely anything (and I am not talking just about beauty stores). I hope CS in Europe is heading in that direction too!

  2. Lulle.Beaumiroir says:

    I got different products this month, only the Tarte stick, Ouai hair mask and Clinique lipstick were the same in my box! About the lipstick, Clinique Almost Lipstick formula is a pain because the bullet is way too fragile, so they break all the time, so I’m not surprised by what happened to you. My sample actually broke after I swatched it!


    • Agata says:

      I read your post before bed last night and I was surprised your products were so much different than mine! Have you used the Clinique Almost Lipstick formula before (meaning have you purchased it yourself)?

      Keeping my fingers crossed that February box is much better!

  3. momerrell says:

    I stopped my Play! By Sephora box by accident lol but never got back on the waiting list. I like the box, I like the sample and deluxe items but still not 100% sold on it.

  4. themakeuptrain says:

    As soon as I read “The best part of this box was the bag it came in,” I almost gave an audible “Uh-oh.” lol While I’m sorry that you got such a disappointing box, I’m glad that CS at least got back to you so quickly and graciously. There are few things worse than bad customer service.

  5. Lisa @ Midwest Glam says:

    We got a lot of different products. Sorry to hear you didn’t like yours this month. I was actually a little jealous of the people who got the Tory Burch, but I guess I kinda lucked out there. But still I got a fricken wipe lol. The mask sounds really nice though! Also, cool of you to point out that the bag is waterproof. I wasn’t even thinking of that. It really would come in handy for the gym!

    I’m actually very impressed with their customer service. I know of a few other companies who could take a few pointers from them.

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