BEAUTY.

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Sephora Play March 2017 Review

After a 2 month hiatus, I am back! It has been a crazy busy last semester of college, but I have dearly missed blogging and am glad to be back. This month I finally made it off the Sephora Play waitlist and received the Sephora Play March box yesterday. I got right to playing and wanted to share a quick review of each of the products based on their first impressions!

Want to keep up with all my shenanigans? Follow me on Instagram! 

What is Sephora Play?

Sephora Play is a $10 monthly subscription box with lovely Sephora products to sample. It is similar to an Ipsy Glam Bag, which I have been subscribed to off-and-on for years. I wanted to try this box because I heard it had nicer, higher end items. Plus I’m addicted to watching eleventhgorgeous’ unboxing videos and needed to go get me one!

The box also comes with a Play! Pass to get one free makeup tutorial and for 50 bonus insider points! The only catch is that you need to use it within the following month.

What is in the Sephora Play March Box?

Make Up For Ever Shadow

The march box was ‘gleam themed’ and stacked full of highlighter products. I am going to be honest—I am a bit disappointed. The idea of having a gleam-box sounded great, but in reality three of the products are almost the same.

GlamGlow | GlowStarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer | $49

This moisturizer has a nice thin consistency that applies evenly over your whole face. I found it to be a bit too much glow for the average day, but would be nice for a night out! It has an amazing smell that I can’t quite describe, but its amazing. I would love to have it in a perfume!

Algenist | Reveal Concentrated Luminizing Drops in Pearl | $38

With an interesting package, this product comes out in a dropper of high shine and highlighting power. I put a small amount on each of my cheekbones and loved the color payoff!

Benefit | Watt’s Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter | $30

So, I have this product. I have probably 4 of these samples, and they last a long time. I don’t know why, but they end up in so many sample packages. Anyway, its a nice creamy stick that is easy to apply on the high points of your face and blend in with a brush or sponge! I would recommend it, but maybe just wait and get it in a few samples?

Make Up For Ever | Artist Shadow in I-544 | $21

This is a gorgeous eyeshadow for a smokey, night out! I love the color saturation and subtle purple hue. It is actually the first Make Up For Ever shadow I have tried, but I am definitely impressed by its first impression.

Living Proof | Full Dry Volume Blast | $15-29

HELLO! I have been wanting to try you for ages and cannot wait to play. My hair has been flat this winter, especially with the recent hat hair, so I am thrilled to add some volume with such a great product.

Atelier Cologne | Clementine California | $25-195

I love, love, love getting samples of these perfumes! They come with cute post cards that I love decorating my room with! Also, they are perfect to throw in your travel makeup bag for a little perfume on the go.

Want to subscribe to Sephora Play?
Add your email to the waitlist and literally pounce as soon as there is an open spot. It fills up so quickly!

How Much Would I Pay for These Samples?

While the Sephora Play March box wasn’t all products I’ve been dying to try, one item was on my list. The Living Proof Volume Blast is 3 ounces, which costs $15 on Sephora’s website. I am not kidding when I say I have added this item to my shopping cart multiple times. I am beyond thrilled to try it out now and could not be happier to have gotten the product for $5 less than I almost paid for it!

While I wouldn’t have purchased any of the other products, they will be fun to play with and work into my routine. I am glad to say that I got my $10 worth with the Living Proof product!

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, upcoming Spring Break Trip—but others aren’t. I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can incorporate new products into your daily routine without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin

November Ipsy Bag Review

As a girl on a budget that has a passion for trying new products, Ipsy is my perfect soulmate. For only $10 a month, I get five new products in the mail. In High School, I was a long time Ipsy subscriber, and I actually restarted based on my trip to the Birchbox Store in Manhattan. I realized how much I was missing the service and figured I would do it for a few months, get some new products, and then cancel again. I know, big plans for a simple subscription, but as a true budget-lover, I can’t help but think ahead. This November Ipsy bag is really good, so get ready for a full review.

Subscribe to Ipsy Here!

Please note: This is not a sponsored post, I just like to tell you about things that are fun and worth the money!

Review of the November Ipsy Bag 2016

Luxie Beauty Rose Gold Small Duo Fiber Brush 524T : $18

This brush is not only super cute, its very soft. I love brushes and, to be honest, I can be pretty lazy about washing them, which makes brushes a great thing to get in an Ipsy bag!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: $12 for Deluxe Sample

As I mentioned in my September unboxing, mascara is one of my favorite things to get in a beauty subscription. Mascara is supposed to be replaced every three months, so having sample sizes is a great way to ensure you replace your mascara without wasting any product. This particular mascara, I had never tried before. I’ve heard good things about it though, so was excited and found it lived up to the hype. I had full, defined lashes with only two coats.

ModelCo Instant Brows Brow pencil in Medium/Dark: $16 for Full Size

BROWS. They are the picture frame to the face, and I always do mine. Recently, I have been using the Elf brow pencil. It was $2 and lasted me two months, but ran out literally a week before this came in the mail. I was using powder until I had time to go buy another Elf pencil, but then I got this! I have tried it for a few days now, and LOVE it. That said, it gives me a similar effect to the Elf pencil, so when it runs out, I will likely stick to that affordable options.

Lasting Smiles Lip Balm in Peppermint Creme: $3.99

Who doesn’t need more lip balm in their life? They are perfect to keep at the bottom of your purse. Anyway, this one has been GREAT so far. It is super nourishing and my favorite peppermint flavor. I would definitely repurchase this lip balm, so if you’re in the market: check it out!

LAQA & Co. B’lighter in Peacher’s Daughter: $19 for full size

Wow. I haven’t used a creamy blush since high school, but after trying this, I love creamy blushes and highlighters. I’m addicted. The color, consistency, and staying power of this product is amazing. I would 10/10 recommend trying this product if you want one product to give you a little color and a little shimmer all in one.

Things I Would Have Purchased Myself

When you are on a budget and subscribe to something like this, I think it is important to take a step back and value the bag. I ask myself what I would have actually purchased, and what I would have paid for that product. Not what it is worth, what I would actually pay. That’s they only way to truly know if it was worth it. In my November Ipsy Bag, I would have purchased the following items myself:

  • Lip Balm for $3
  • Brow Pencil for $2 (lol thanks Elf!)
  • Mascara for $5 (it is a sample size)
  • Blush/Highlighter for $7 (it is a sample size, but will last a long time!

The total I would have spent to get items that I will use to completion was $17. Therefore, even with my own stubbornly, cheap mentality, this bag was worth the $10. This doesn’t mean I won’t use the other products, it just puts value on what I would have spent on these same products.

Interested? Subscribe to Ipsy!

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, upcoming Spring textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can incorporate new products into your daily routine without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin

September Ipsy Bag Review

As a girl on a budget that has a passion for trying new products, Ipsy is my perfect soulmate. For only $10 a month, I get five new products in the mail. In High School, I was a long time Ipsy subscriber, and I actually restarted based on my trip to the Birchbox Store in Manhattan. I realized how much I was missing the service and figured I would do it for a few months, get some new products, and then cancel again. I know, big plans for a simple subscription, but as a true budget-lover, I can’t help but think ahead. This September Ipsy bag is really good, so get ready for a full review.

Subscribe to Ipsy Here!

Please note: This is not a sponsored post, I just like to tell you about things that are fun and worth the money!

Review of the September Ipsy Bag 2016

Waxing Kara-Sweet Lips Honey Lip Balm in Clear, $10: This product is amazing. For the past two nights, I have put it on before bed. In the morning I can still feel the insane amount of moisture on my lips. Lip balm is something I think you can never really have too many of, so I was happy to find this in my bag.

Crown Brush Ombre Angle Brush, $13: Brushes are always fun and often expensive, so I was happy to find this in my bag. It feels soft and seems like a decent quality level, but I haven’t played with it yet so can’t say more.

Whish Renewing Mud Mask, $44-full size: I am a mask hoarder. I have had acne prone skin for about 12 years, so I love to try new masks. This sample size is honestly perfect for me because it will last roughly 5 uses.

tre’StiQue Mini Highlight Stick in Maldives Luminescent, $34: When I first opened this product, I thought the cap was missing. It wasn’t. It just opened completely differently than expect. After that initial struggle, I am extremely happy with this product. I have sampled the Benefit Watt’s Up highlight stick before, and am very excited to try another. I find this type of product to be perfect for your inner eye duct or as an eyeshadow base.

Tarte Cosmetics Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara, $23-full size: Mascara is always a necessity because you never want to use a tube for much longer than 3 months. Mascara is the one product that I try to continuously replace and keep up with. That’s why getting one in a subscription box makes me smile. I tried this mascara this morning, and like the consistency; however, it has an interesting cap as well. It is pull off instead of twist off. I am very interested to see if the product dries out faster with this type of packaging and will keep you all updated.

Total Bag Value: $124 (if all products were full size)

Things I Would Have Purchased Myself

When you are on a budget and subscribe to something like this, I think it is important to take a step back and value the bag. I ask myself what I would have actually purchased, and what I would have paid for that product. Not what it is worth, what I would actually pay. That’s they only way to truly know if it was worth it. In my September Ipsy Bag, I would have purchased the following items myself:

  • Lip Balm for $3
  • Face Mask for $5
  • Mascara for $5 (it is a sample size)

The total I would have spent to get items that I will use to completion was $13. Therefore, even with my own stubbornly, cheap mentality, this bag was worth the $10. This doesn’t mean I won’t use the other products. It just puts value on what I would have spent on these same products.

Interested? Subscribe to Ipsy!

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, Fall textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can incorporate new products into your daily routine without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin

Build Your Own Birchbox Day!

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Mostly Morgan, and stumbling upon a post about a brick and mortar Birchbox store. I had never heard of them having their own stores before, so I instantly texted my roommate to see if she would be up for an adventure to build your own Birchbox! No one can really turn down a trip to look at makeup, so off we went the following day.

First things first: this store is more than just a Birchbox store. It is a candy store for adults. I kid you not, we spent over an hour looking through samples and picking the perfect ones to fill our boxes.

It was much longer than I ever spent at Dylan’s Candy Bar growing up…

What I Got

Birchbox Unboxing

My friend Amy and I were looking at the fifteen dollar box, which was five items with one from each category, and were not impressed. When it came time to pick a fragrance, I was instantly unimpressed. I was an Ipsy subscriber for years, and fragrance samples were always the worst. I, personally, just don’t see the value with them.

That lack of value…was able to convince me to spend an extra $10 to upgrade to any products I wanted. You all know I hate to waste money, so that’s saying a lot!

I ended up picking out:

  • Two Stila Liquid Lipsticks
  • Mally Eyeshadow Stick
  • Malin & Goetz Clarifying Clay Mask
  • Party Proof Matte Lipstick

So far, I am extremely impressed with all of the products. I’ve never fully finished a lip product, aside from chapstick, so I think the money was well worth it! If you want a full review on anything, please let me know in the comments!

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get great deals and manage your college life! While a “build your own birchbox” isn’t as cheap as the subscription, you are able to get five products you will use and love, so I think it is well worth it. As a college student, I know the budget struggle, so I always want to share ways to maximize your dollar, so you too can be like me—ballin’ on a budget. 

~Alana Robin