IPSY vs. Sephora PLAY! August 2016



One of my favorite ways to try out new products is through subscription services.  The one question that I see most on beauty forums pertaining to them is “Which box is best?”.  Well of course, that depends on what you are looking for.  Full sized products? Makeup? Skin/Hair Care?  Samples?

For me, I like subscription boxes that have a mix of beauty samples (think IPSY).  These boxes tend to be closer to the $10month range, and I personally can use a deluxe sample of something for a long time. I like the price point because it is low enough for me to feel like as a college student, I can spend it monthly, and it also allows me to subscribe to more than one service if I so choose.  That being said, I am currently subscribed to both IPSY and Sephora PLAY!.  I received both this month (August), and am going to do a comparison breakdown of the contents, as well as overall value*.



To be frank, this month’s IPSY bag has been my least favorite of all the IPSY bags I have received since starting last fall. Despite that, I still liked a lot of the products I got.  My bag contained:

  • IPSY 8.16Dermelect’ME’ Peptide Infused Lacquer in UNSCRIPTED (full sized)

  • Sally’s Box Secret Garden Ampoule Masks (2 full-sized sheets)
  • Sympan Beauty ONE Moisture Cream (10 mL)
  • IT Cosmetics No-Tug Mini Waterproof Gel Eyeliner (0.012 oz/0.35g)
  • Beau Gachis Paris Pro Series Applicator Sponge (full sized)


Dermelect Nail Polish: $14

Garden Masks ($6 each): $12

Moisture Cream (full size was $52.50 per oz): $17.50

IT Eyeliner (full size was $22 for 0.5g): $15.40

Sponge: $14

The total value* of this bag was approximately  $72.90. Dang. Overall I liked the products, but unfortunately they were products that I really do not use a ton of (nail polish, moisturizer, and eyeliner).  I really was impressed that there were only two real sample size products in this bag, the rest were full sized.  Included with the IPSY subscription is access to the IPSY community, ability to enter Instagram sweepstakes to win free makeup from  IPSY’s August featured brands, 15 points for reviewing each product (to be redeemed for additional samples), and coupon codes for the online stores of all the IPSY brands featured is month.  Quite a bang for your buck for only $10.00 + tax.


Sephora PLAY!

This is the first month that I have received the PLAY! box, and I was not disappointed! I didn’t know what to expect, but I really did like the products that I got.  The theme for this month’s box was “The Eye Openers”.  The play box differs from IPSY in that everyone who gets the box gets the same thing, and everything in the box is a brand that Sephora sells. This month’s box contained:

  • IMG_1358 [740593]LANCÔME Énergie de Vie The Smoothing & Glow Boosting Liquid Moisturizer (5ml/0.16 oz)
  • Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Eye Lifting Balm (5ml/0.Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow Eyeshadow and Powder Blush in Pink Granite (Iridescent) (0.7g/0.02 oz)
  • Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12-Hour Wear in 15 Flirting Game Taupe (0.48g/0.017oz)
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (3 ml/0.1 oz)
  • CLEAN Reserve Blonde Rose Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz/1.5 ml)
    • Sephora Beauty Insider 50 additional points on next in-store purchase card

LANCÔME Moisturizer ($55 for 1.69 oz): $5.21

Caudalie Eye Balm ($62 for 0.5 oz): $19.84

Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow ($21 for 0.07 oz/ 2.2 g): $6.68

Sephora Eye Pencil ($10 for 0.04 oz/ 1.2 g): $4

UD Mascara ($22 for 0.4 oz/ 11 mL): $6

Perfume ($90 for 3.4 oz): $1.32

Total value* of this box was approximately $43.05.  I really enjoyed the contents of this box! The variety was great, and I loved being able to try products out that worked with each other to achieve one cohesive look.  In addition to the contents of the box, the subscription grants you access to an in-person event at your local Sephora, online tutorial videos, and of course the extra 50 points with my next in-store purchase when I present the card.  Not as much bang for your buck, but it was still a great mix of products for $10 a month + tax.

Overall, this month I liked my PLAY! Box the best.  Even though so much more comes with the IPSY subscription, I like that the Sephora box is always products from brands that I know (brands on Sephora shelves).  I liked the products I received more from PLAY! by far.  I am looking forward to seeing how the bags compare next month!

Interested in trying one or both of these subscription services?  Follow these links to find out more information and to sign up!


Sephora PLAY!


Best Wishes,




*Value for the sake of this post was determined by the cost of the product (if size received is purchasable) or by the cost of the product in ounces from dividing full price of the product into price per ounce and then calculating cost of ounces received.

Discount Makeup?

There are a lot of places that carry discounted brand-name makeup.


Yes, discounted name-brand makeup.  There are places that you can find your favorite makeup brands at a steep discount.

Let’s talk about where:


My love. My life.  TJ MAXX is my go to store when shopping for all things.  Clothes, shoes, beauty, housewares, craft supplies.  You name it, they have it.  The last few months, me and others around the internet have noticed that TJ has gotten more and more name-brands.  Some brands that I have seen at TJ have included Too Faced, NARS, Smashbox, Kat Von D, Estee Lauder, BUXOM, and BareMinerals. All of these have been at discounts of 50% or more off of retail. Most of the brand name makeup products you will see are discontinued shades/formulas, or promotional kits/giveaways.  TJ also has most high end haircare and skincare brands too.  I have seen CHI tools and serums, Batiste, Redken, Big Sexy Hair, BLISS and tons of others. Unfortunately, these deals are not online on the website, and the products on hand vary greatly by location.  Marshalls and TJ MAXX are sister companies, and most of what you can find at TJ you can also find at Marshalls.  TJ MAXX is not predictable, but be sure to go over the beauty section with a fine tooth comb to find some amazing steals!


 A part of Nordstrom rack only available online, Hautelook is my holy grail for name-brand beauty and clothing.  This website contains member-only deals that change daily.  Luck for us, membership is completely FREE!  Hautelook deals are amazing, usually between 30-50% off of beauty products.  Products go on sale by brand, and often include a wide selection of their line.  I have seen Too Faced, Stila, & LORAC go on sale just in the last month.  Not only do they have makeup, but brand names in hair care, skin care, and tools! I recommend subscribing to their emails to stay in the know about what brands are coming up on sale!

Clearance Sections

Most people I talk to don’t even realize that stores like ULTA or Sephora have clearance sections in store as well as online!  Other stores that carry high end beauty like Kohl’s also have them.  The only trick is to find it.  My rule: when you can’t find it, ASK!  The section containing clearance items is often hard to find.  At Sephora, the clearance items tend to be clustered on the endcap of a display labeled “SALE”.  Sephora tends to have mostly Sephora-brand makeup discounted, but I have also seen Urban Decay palettes and discounted sets.  ULTA usually has their sale items in sections labeled “CLEARANCE”.  There may be more than one section in a store.  ULTA tends to have more drug-store clearance items and hair care clearance items than anything else.  High end brands on clearance usually come in the form of discontinued makeup sets or extra giveaway items/sets they have left in store, or discontinued shades/products.  If you like brands that are carried at Kohl’s, check in their makeup section for a clearance area.  Brands they carry like BLISS and theBALM often have discounted holiday sets year-round, or slightly damaged products.  I have found makeup items in the Kohl’s clearance for over 70% off retail.

Subscription Services

 If you want to try a variety of products but your budget it tight, try a subscription service!  There are many affordable subscription services out there that supply deluxe sample size products.  I personally am subscribed to IPSY and the Sephora PLAY! boxes.  Both are $10.00 a month, and give 5 personalized beauty samples delivered to your door.  The PLAY! box also gives you a deluxe scent sample in each box.  I think that these two boxes are a great value, both give out great brands, and deliver way more for your money than just buying one product for $10.00!

Makeup Resale Websites and APPS

If you don’t mind using a slightly used product, then you may find great deals online on sites such as Glambot.  This site allows you to buy/sell gently used makeup, often resulting in some great deals.  Other options include swap sites such as Mercari or Ebay.  I personally do not use these services, as I do not feel comfortable using a used product, and you also risk ordering a fake product.  However, if it is something that you are comfortable with- go for it!

These are some of my favorite ways to score some major deals on makeup and other beauty products.  Where do you find great deals? Let me know in the comments!

best wishes,