Play! by Sephora is a monthly beauty subscription service curated by one of the leaders in cosmetic retain, Sephora. Each month, subscribers receive 5 beauty products, plus a fragrance bonus (that’s right, the fragrance doesn’t count as one of your samples!) The goodies arrive in a cute, reusable bag, along with your monthly information pamphlet and your play pass, which grants you 50 bonus Beauty Insider points when you make a purchase in store! As of right now, Play! by Sephora is only available in the 48 contiguous United States, and you can find out more here!
Ole Henriksen is a Danish spa-owner and cosmetician living in Los Angeles. Henriksen himself suffered from cystic acne in his youth, and his discovery of skin treatments and botanical sparked his passion for skincare. His spa has been successful among the rich and famous for three decades, and his skincare line is now available in 12 countries. In the US, it is available exclusively at Sephora.
Thanks to Influenster, I was able to try three products from Ole Henriksen; the POWER Bright 3 Step System, Truth Serum, and Sheer Transformation Moisturizer. I had never tried the brand before, but was vaguely familiar, having seen it in Sephora. Although these products were provided to me as no cost for review purposes, this in no way affects my final opinion of the product.
What it is:
A professional-strength three-step brightening system with an unprecedented 25 percent vitamin C concentrate to deliver maximum radiance in as little as one use.
– Uneven skintone
– Fine lines and wrinkles
$55 for 6 treatments
What it is:
A high potency serum that’s formulated with a proprietary five-source vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
The POWER Bright 3 Step treatment starts with the Truth Sugar Glow Polishing mask, to exfoliate the skin and cleanse it. The second step is the Truth 25% Vitamin C Concentrate. Finally, the Pure Truth Melting Cleanser is added on top of the vitamin c concentrate, and is left on the face for 10-15 minutes. Sponges are provided to assist in gently removing the product from the face. I used the treatment before bed and was surprised to find my cystic acne scarring on my chin to be less red the next morning. It seemed to help dry down the area and diminish the redness and scarring in the area due to hyper pigmentation. I was provided with one treatment, but it is recommended for weekly use, and I definitely believe that after a few of these treatments, my scarring would be nearly gone. The price tag is steep, but I think it is worth in in terms of results, and the next VIB sale, I am grabbing this baby right up.
The Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation have been incorporated into my daily skincare routine and I really like them. The Truth Serum I use in the morning after cleansing and toning, and I have been using Sheer Transformation as both my day and night moisturizer. I have not had issues with my sensitive skin reacting negatively to these products, and in face my breakouts have lessened in the last month (although I have also been using some products from Mario Badescu that have been helping my acne a lot as well). My normally ruddy cheeks have been less flushed and my overall complexion is evened out more than it has in a long time. I have also noticed the texture on my face smoothing out. These products both go a long way and feel great on the skin. They absorb fast and do not feel sticky or greasy in the slightest. Frankly, while the prices are quite high in comparison to drugstore skincare, they are in line with what I would expect to pay for the results and quality. I will be purchasing these items when I run out.
I have always thought Anastasia Beverly Hills was a good brand, after all Anastasia Soare is the QUEEN of brows, but lately they have really been making me fall in love more and more. Claudia “Norvina” Soare, president of ABH and Anastasia’s daughter, has a keen eye for design and always has her finger to the pulse of trends. Moonchild is her brain child, born out of her childhood love for “The Neverending Story” and its bright and colorful visual palette. She also is a great person and makes a point of ensuring her line is inclusive of ALL genders and skin colors, something I applaud. Check out the promo shots below!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the current makeup trends are all about bright, vivid, rainbow colors, from eyes, to lips, to even cheek bones. Moonchild is a 6-color rainbow highlighting palette featuring hues ranging from celestial pink to dazzling lavender. Each pan contains .15 oz of product, with .9 oz total in the product. Their 4-pan glow kits have 1.04 product, for reference. All ABH glow kits currently cost $40. The price breaks down to $6.67 per shade for this product.
What really sets this glow kit apart is its utilization of a proprietary cosmetic ingredient, Reflecks™, from BASF Care Creations, a cosmetic lab. BASF describes Reflecks™ as a color changing pigment that gives cosmetics vibrant life by changing their color as the visual angle of the viewer or the wearer shifts. This multi-dimensional effect material makes distinctive color travel effects possible through providing an array of optical effects that offer a pearl colored visual impact. Claudia noted that this ingredient is typically used in loose pigments, and this would be the first time the brand has experimented with utilizing it in a pressed product. Below are the brand descriptions of the shades:
Blue Ice- Diamond white with an icy blue reflect
Star- A moonstone fusion of mint, platinum, and silver reflect
Purple Horseshoe- A glittering lavender with an arctic blue reflect
Pink Heart- Pearl white with a pink opal reflect
Lucky Clover- A shamrock-infused gold with a canary yellow diamond reflect
Blue Moon- Frozen blue with a silver reflect
First off, aesthetically, the product itself is so stunning and visually appealing. I love the holographic packaging and the entire concept behind the palette and the marketing campaign. It appealed to me immediately, but I was concerned it would be something I couldn’t actually pull off in public. Au contraire, these are actually so beautiful on the face and are actually quit subtle! I have been using a fluffy highlight brush from Luxie, and find that it blends so nicely onto my face without being really crazy or looking like a line of color on my cheekbone or down my nose. These provide an almost celestial glow, and the color is so multi-dimensional, with the reflects changing with how the light hits the face. If you want it to really pop and show off the color, you can layer easily without over-emphasizing large pores or texture. They are also eye safe and make great overall eyelid colors for a glowing, ethereal look.
The texture is very luxurious. The are very soft and finely milled. The glitter is not chunky at all, and does not fall out all over the face. They also kick up very little dust in the pan itself, which can be a problem among powder highlights. The colors look great on my light skin, but as you can see from the promo pics, they also look absolutely stunning on darker skin, and I believe this is POC friendly.
My personal favorite is Purple Horseshoe. It is so pretty and looks like lavender fairy dust. It looks so pretty as a highlight on the cheekbones, and I find it to be just the right amount of glow and pigmentation to really work perfectly for me. My one complaint is that there are two blues, but I understand why they made that choice, as any warm colors would have looked out of place, and the shades are very different, not at all close to identical.
Overall I love this palette, and am so happy I got the guts to buy it. I am feeling more confident in wearing daring makeup looks and for some reason a poppin’ highlight gives me confidence like nothing else, so this is a perfect product for me to incorporate into my beauty routine. The colors are also subtle enough, and blend so well that they could easily be worn every day, especially Star and Pink Heart.
Play! by Sephora is a monthly beauty subscription service provided by, you guessed it, Sephora. For $10 per month, you are sent five beauty products (hair, skin, makeup, ect) AND a fragrance sample in a Sephora sachet bag! At this point, there is a wait list, but you can join the queue and get more info HERE. FYI, I was on the wait list for a couple months before I got my invite.
Pros of Play!
Affordable, $10 per month
Prestige brands only
Fragrance is a bonus and doesn’t count as one of your 5 samples
Point bonus for Beauty Insiders (50 extra points per month with Play! Pass purchase)
Play! Book with product info and tips for use
Cons of Play!
Wait list only
No customization, everyone gets the same thing
Some repeats of common samples (I’m looking at you ‘They’re Real’)
June Play! by Sephora Products
tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion .23 fl oz ($4.33 value)
Benefit They’re Real Mascara .1 fl oz ($8 value)
Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It Hair Styler .5 fl oz ($3.10 value)
Becca Backlight Primer Filter .2 fl oz ($7.60 value)
bareMineral Bareskin Serum Bronzer .1 fl oz ($2.80 value)
Anastasia Beverly Hills is an iconic brand built by Anastasia Soare, brow stylist to the stars. Along with her daughter Claudia “Norvina” Soare, these bad bitches have taken the makeup world by storm and no longer focus solely on brows. Their cosmetics line now includes liquid lipsticks and glosses, highlighters, liners, and complexion products coming soon! This is my first Anastasia eye shadow experience, but I had high hopes, as their shadows are raved about on social media.
This palette retails for $42 and is available on the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, along with Ulta and Sephora. It includes 14 colors, with each pan holding .02 oz of product. The eye shadow pans hold exactly half on the product that a normal MAC or Makeup Geek pan would hold. The price breaks down to exactly $3 per shadow, with the price per ounce EXACTLY the same as MUG and MAC! An amazing value, in my opinion. The palette also comes with a dual-sided shadow brush, with a blending brush on one end and a small duo-fiber shader on the other. The brush didn’t blow me away and I found the bristles on the blending brush a bit prickly. However, I think this brush would make it easy to do a full look with just the one brush, and for that I give ABH kudos.
Texture: Soft and buttery. Kicked up some powder in the pan, but I did not have an issue with fallout when applying them.
Pigmentation: Great color saturation. The shimmers and mattes are both pigmented and provide great color pay off. Only color that I had a bit of an issue with was Love Letter. It applied slightly patchy, but was able to be blended and looked fine on the eye.
Blendability: Great. Mattes blend like a dream and do not skip or show up patchy.
Color Selection:This is a well thought out palette. The reds, magentas, and oranges are romantic and fun, but the range of neutrals also make this a perfect every day palette. Wide selection of colors for the lid, crease, and brow bone. 8 mattes, 2 shimmers, and 4 micro shimmers. I love that it has more mattes than anything else, as this makes it so versatile and increases the usability exponentially!
Overall:A great quality palette and a good price. The value is there, as well as the quality I would expect from Anastasia. The looks you could create from this look are diverse and numerous, from grungy russet smokey eyes to neutral, every day natural looks. 4.5/5
Wednesday marks the official first day of fall, and what better way to celebrate the equinox than by making your nail game stronger than the earth’s gravitational fields? Fall is all about deep, vampy shades for both lips and nails, and this year’s trends are no different. Oxbloods and deep berries are back in style once again, but TAUPE has made an appearance as the newest, trendiest color for nails, and I am obsessed.
Taupe is a stellar color, but doesn’t get the attention it deserves. For those with dirty blond to medium brown hair, a taupe colored pencil or cream works amazing as a brow color. (I recommend Maybelline’s Tough as Taupe Color Tattoo cream eye shadow and a firm, thin brow brush!) Taupe shades work wonderful for eye looks, especially for lighter skin tones, and those who want a cooler and yet neutral look. Seriously, I love taupe… So taupe on the nails is a trend I can get behind fully.
My favorite taupe nail color has got to be OPI’s Taupe-less Beach (above). Aside from the punny name, it is a lovely color that is pretty much the perfect taupe in my opinion. So pretty and cool toned… I’m in love! For a drug store alternative, I found Sinful Colors Rebel (below) from their Sinful Shine line. Sinful Colors is dirt cheap, around $2 when it’s not on sale, and with a good base and top coat easily performs just as good as the higher priced brands! And it can be found at Walgreen’s, Walmart, and I’m sure other drug store or big box retailers.
As you can see from the pictures, Rebel is a bit lighter, but they are pretty similar. Thanks to Gargoyle Polish for the stellar swatch of Rebel!
Aside from taupe, which I think I’ve waxed poetic about enough for today, deep reds and oxbloods are stunning and totally on trend. My newest favorite deep red is Ignite by Formula X (below, on left), available online and at Sephora. I got a sample in my Ipsy this month, and I have had it on my nails ever since. It is such a lovely, deep deep red, and would suit so many people!
A drug store option for a deep oxblood in Revlon’s Nail Enamel in Vixen (below). Revlon polish is around $5, but right now it is on sale at Ulta for buy one, get one half off, so definitely hit that up if you’ve been wanting to buy a couple polishes and save some moolah!
If you’ve found some beautiful nail colors for fall, let me know in the comments below.