Before I say anything else, know that this is the longest I have ever stuck with one subscription box. I’ve plowed through Birchbox, ipsy, and even boxycharm but never made it more than a few months before canceling the service. Six months in, the Sephora Play! box still has my undivided attention.
If you’re not familiar with the box, it’s a $10 monthly subscription box that comes with six deluxe samples of products from brands sold at Sephora. Similar to Birchbox, your samples are chosen based on a profile you fill out. Each month your samples will arrive in a cute little drawstring bag accompanied with a fold out sheet describing each product. To top it off, each box comes with a Sephora card for 50 extra points on your next in-store purchase. While the box is not yet available everywhere, it’s expanding quite rapidly so don’t let a waitlist bum you out (it took me a few months to get my first one).
So what makes this box so much better than the rest? Probably the biggest factor is the choice of brands. Sephora stocks some of the coolest brands out there and they definitely do not skimp when it comes to putting the Play subscription together. I heard some grumbles that one box featured what was likely “leftovers” from last year’s birthday gift, but guess what? Last year’s birthday gift was a NARS lip pencil! Not exactly chump change for most of us. I’ve gotten products from Tarte, Korres, Atelier Cologne (one of my favorite perfume makers), Urban Decay, and even Bite Beauty. Even the scents have all been knockouts – there’s one in every box. I dreaded my unexpected samples from Birchbox, but Sephora’s choices are consistently pleasing and exciting across a variety of styles. So far, Sephora has crushed it each and every time – plus your monthly fragrance sample counts as an extra product, not a replacement for a bigger item.
The other standout factor for me is the cost breakdown of each box. These things are worth well beyond the $10 they cost each month, even if a few products make their way to friends and family (makes me look pretty great too!)
To remain objective, I’ve decided not to rate any of the products I receive beyond pointing out a few of my overall favorites. Everyone’s preferences are different and it’s not up to me to tell you a product is bad because I personally didn’t like it. There’s something in there for everyone so here’s a look at the last six months of my Sephora Play subscription!
So the thing with makeup & glasses is that it’s not really about the frames – it’s about the lenses. The lenses are what alter the look of your eyes: prescriptions for nearsightedness or astigmatism can make your eyes seem smaller, while those for farsightedness can often make the eyes appear much larger. The goal then is to tweak your makeup in a way that provides a balance – if your eyes look smaller behind your frames, you should take steps to help them look bigger/more open and vice versa. I’m focusing on nearsightedness and astigmatism here because that is what I have the most personal experience with, but there will be tips for those of you who are farsighted throughout the post as well!
Makeup is of course very personal and you should do what you want, but you should know this by now and I’m not going to take any more time for disclaimers or preemptive apologies.
Brighter/Wider: One of the best ways to make your eyes appear larger and brighter is by applying a nude or flesh-toned eyeliner to the waterline. Alternatively, if your lenses magnify your eyes, reach for deeper shades like black, brown, or even navy to pull everything back into proportion.
Neons & Drama: Some sources may discourage this, but I definitely do not. One of my favorite things about wearing glasses is that they kind of “minimize” any look you decide to go for. For me, that means I can raise hell with neons, brights, and otherwise dramatic eyeshadows that might otherwise be “too much” without the frames. If you have particularly “loud” frames, it helps to use shades that complement rather than clash, but with a color wheel as your guide you can go as bright or dark as you like. Glasses do not relegate you to neutrals-only eyeshadows!
Under Eye Correcting: Now this is a concern regardless of the types of lenses you wear. Glasses can often cast a shadow onto the lower part of your eyes, exaggerating any kind of darkness or discoloration in the under eye area. Concealer alone may not be enough to resolve this, but I’ve been really happy with the results of a peach toned color corrector. Don’t forget to set your under eye with a powder that prevents light reflection, this can bring more attention to the area.
I realize I’m a little behind on the times here, but man am I excited! I recently got my hands on some goodies from Melt Cosmetics (and also got to share a few words with Dana herself, more about that below) and I am in love. I scooped up all three of their four-pan eyeshadow stacks (Love Sick, Dark Matter, and Radioactive) as well as four of their matte lipsticks in the shades Spacecake, Dark Room, Sext, and Bang! Bang!. Since they’re a smaller brand with no retail presence (which means nowhere to go swatch all the preciouses), I thought I’d give you guys a full breakdown of everything I know about the brand and their products, with swatches and photos of course.
Founded in 2012 by makeup artist besties (and serious beauties) Lora Arellano and Dana Bomar, Melt is a California-based brand featuring cruelty free lipsticks and four-pan eyeshadow compacts. I was able to get in touch with Dana to ask her a few questions about Melt products and she informed me the brand started with just five lipsticks; now the range includes 12 eyeshadows across three palettes as well as 18 ultra-matte lipsticks in nude, black, and pretty much every shade in between.
The stacks come in sets of four eyeshadows with a small round mirror, each in a magnetic disc, which makes them perfectly stackable and perfectly portable too. They do run at a semi-steep $48 each, which works out to $12/shadow and a free mirror. That said, the pans are massive! With the price and size comparisons for MAC, Melt, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Makeup Geek below… I’d argue these are a pretty good deal.
MAC Pro Pan: 1.5g / 0.05oz ($10.00) ABH singles: 1.7g / 0.059oz ($12.00 or 4 for $40) Makeup Geek: 1.8g / 0.064oz ($6.00) Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow: 2g / 0.07oz ($21.00) Melt Cosmetics: 3.57g / 0.125oz (4 for $48.00)
It’s been quite a while since I posted a Top Five Favorites list, but I’ve acquired a lot of goodies over the last few months and a few of them have completely stolen my contoured heart. Here are my top five favorites for the month of February!
Sugarpill Cosmetics – Poison Plum eyeshadow ($12/0.12oz) – This was my first ever purchase from Sugarpill and now I want to try damn near everything! The single eyeshadow is massive (3x the size of a MAC Pro pan), and one of the best purples I have ever had the extreme pleasure of working with. It’s a gorgeous deep matte shade with a bit of hidden sparkle to it and has become a major player in my go-to look lately.
This is super cheesy and I didn’t really feel like I could share it with anyone directly, so it’s going here… I guess that’s what blogs are for. It’s about makeup.
Growing up, I was never particularly skinny or fat or pretty or ugly, I got picked on a lot for… I don’t really know. Being too average in the looks department I guess. I certainly wasn’t one of “those girls”. You know what I mean, flawless in the sixth grade with tan legs and perfect skin and eventually perfect makeup too, seemingly without a care in the world. I spent my whole life being jealous of girls like that, be it in magazines or in the hallways, in my yearbooks and in movies. I was never going to look like one of them – effortlessly flawless, clear skin glowing with confidence, and definitely looking like they have their shit together. That just isn’t me. Or at least, it wasn’t.