Why I Canceled Sephora Play

Several months ago, I signed up for my first beauty subscription box, Sephora Play. Optimistic that retail beauty giant Sephora would have the insight required to kick ass and take names in the sub box arena, I eagerly signed up.

After four boxes, I’ve canceled my subscription. I will receive and review October’s box, but that is the fifth and final Sephora Play box I will receive. Unfortunately, I found that Sephora Play is plagued by the same issues as any other beauty subscription box – for now, at least. My optimism, unfortunately, was unfounded.

Where I Take Issue

To date, it seems as though Sephora concocts two boxes based on the profile you create at sign up. The product selections are made for you; they spin this as a convenience. Personally, I’d rather take five minutes to pick from a pool of samples (like when you place a normal order) than have someone pick for me and make choices that don’t work for me.

They spin the fragrances as a bonus but they aren’t really. Let’s be honest, those vials are included in the $10 per month valuation.

There’s this big hoopla about the box being a surprise, even though manufactured leaks occur – there are several Sephora Play, “spoilers,” sites out there.

Instead of consistently getting exciting content in the boxes, they have people creating Spotify playlists. Seriously? Who is actually jumping at the chance to listen to this stuff? I’m a Sephora customer because I’m interested in beauty products, not because I’m seeking sweet hipster tunes.

Sephora Play List

To give you an idea of why I’m canceling, here are my hits, misses, and OKs.

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Paradise Lost, Foundation Found

sephoraserumRIP

My heart hurts. If you’ve been reading for a while, do you remember how over-the-moon excited I was when I found Sephora’s serum foundation? If you weren’t around, the excitement was so intense that it was camping.

But, naturally, all good things must come to an end.

Paradise Lost

I was in Sephora and saw a few of the precious, ridiculously-dropped-topped bottles on their neglected clearance end-cap. I panicked, and rummaged through the bottles to find my shade. I’d settle for not-my-shade-but-close. Nothing. Upon returning home, I raced to the website. Clearanced, $11, my shade and everything close-ish is sold out.

My half-hearted, half-assed search for foundation was reawakened with new vigor. My bottle of Teint Infusion is on its last legs. 

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Sephora Play August 2016

wp-1473333653258.jpgSephora Play August 2016
Caudalie / Urban DecayMUFE / Sephora / Lancome

More details and my thoughts on the Sephora Play August 2016 box after the jump.

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Lighting in Sephora

Lighting in Sephora

Over the weekend, I went to get matched to foundation. As usual, ColorIQ was neat but ultimately useless. I was looking to try the new Makeup Forever Ultra HD; we tried 117, 118, and a third I can’t recall. 117 seemed to be the best in the (fluorescent!) lighting in Sephora.

The sales associate eagerly asked if she could, “go grab one of those off the shelf for (me) today.”

GirlWoman, please. You work here. You should know better than anyone that the lighting in Sephora is god awful for getting an accurate shade match.

I know it isn’t her fault; she can’t control the lighting. The store has metrics to meet. I get it. But it’s worse for the bottom line for a customer to buy a foundation, have it be wrong, return it and then take a hit on the loss.

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Ulta Platinum vs Sephora VIB

Ulta Platinum vs Sephora VIBUlta Platinum vs Sephora VIB

Beauty chains companies are realizing that they have a a fiercely loyal group of customers that it is wise to maintain. Ulta features Ultamate Rewards and Sephora features Beauty Insider, respectively. They work differently and have different perks but they do have one thing in common – a tier system to reward their, “frequent fliers,” and top spenders with premium perks. So when it comes down to Ulta Platinum vs Sephora VIB which wins?

In late 2014, I hit Platinum status at Ulta and got to keep that status this year. I have no idea how this happened (reality, not being cute); I was shopping at Ulta less frequently than Sephora and I tended to spend less there; so I’m chalking it up to occasionally shopping with a friend who was content to have her purchases apply for my rewards.

In Spring 2015, with the purchase of the Silk’n Flash n Go Freedom (no longer sold at Sephora) and the Foreo Issa, I hit VIB at Sephora.

So between Ulta Platinum vs Sephora VIB – which is better?

This was originally published in December of 2015, but felt it could use some refreshing. Not joining rewards programs is like leaving money and/or product on the table, so I want to help educate my readers!

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