Sephora puts out limited edition Play Boxes that are not part of the regular subscription. These are Play Smarts and Play Luxe boxes. I’ve been subscribed to the regular Sephora Play box since the national launch, because it is only $10 a month. Even though I end up with a lot of duplicate samples, I gift the ones I do not want dupes of to friends, family, and women’s shelters. As long as I see the value in the box, I will keep my subscription. In 2017, Sephora started releasing limited edition Play boxes for $20. Like the $10 version, they had six samples. Unlike the $10 version, this was not a subscription. That gave people the chance to buy the ones that interest them and pass on the others. There were four boxes released in 2017, and I purchased three of them (no reviews, because I was on a blogging break) with zero regrets. Yes, they had the same number of samples as the $10 version, but they were all from luxury brands. Luxury samples are harder to come by, so I was happy to pay twice the regular price to try them. The fragrance was also a deluxe size instead of a vial, and the bag that came with it was nicer than the one that came with the $10 boxes.
I had regret from missing one of the 2017 limited edition boxes, so I was ready for 2018. Only Sephora changed the format for 2018. It released Play Smarts and Play Luxe. Play Smarts have a specific theme, but they were all the brands and products that come in the regular boxes. Play Luxe boasts weaker brands than the 2017 limited edition boxes for $5 more. For those who are really into the theme, really want to try certain samples they cannot get elsewhere, or already love items inside the kits and want dupes, it might be worth it. Until reviews come in on the Play luxe box, you only know the products that are pictured and what brands it comes with for the items not pictured. Spending $20 was already risky when you had no clue what the products will be, but $25 makes it even more of a risk.
I have yet to purchase any Play Smarts, because I cannot see paying $20 for samples when I can get the same samples for $10. An upgraded bag does not carry the extra $10 in value for me. Besides, how many beauty lovers out there need an extra bag? We probably already have too many. Because of the extra cost on the Play Luxe box for cheaper brands, I have avoided those boxes as well. Volume 2 of the Luxe box released recently, and I do not think the brands justify $25 for samples. While I would never put out a blanket statement and say it is not a good deal to ever purchase a Play Smarts or Play Luxe box, I will say that you should really examine the box before purchasing it. If you are unsure you want it, wait for the reviews to come in. This is especially helpful with the Play Luxe box, because someone will always post the contents.
Yesterday, I got an email that the Superfoods box got discounted to $16. This does not surprise me at all. Sephora makes more of these inferior boxes than it did for the luxury boxes last year. Many of us do not see the value, so they will sit around until Sephora discounts them. For those on the fence at full-price, wait it out. If it sells out, take it as a sign it was not right for you. Should it get discounted, you can grab it then and feel like you got a deal. FOMO is a real thing, and I completely understand. That feeling can make us pay more than we need to. Sometimes, we just need to wait to get the best deal (unless we are 100% sure we do not mind paying full-price). A low price is not always a good deal, and a high price is not always a deal breaker.
If I ever purchase any of these boxes, I will review them and explain my thought process on why that one finally broke me. Until then, I remain convinced that these boxes are not a good deal in general for those of us who can grab a full-size item for $20 or $25 in place of samples many companies give away or offer as a GWP. I read a review on one box stating the eyelash serum is half-size and it retails for $65. As the reviewer was someone who loves that serum, getting two boxes got her a full-size serum and a bunch of other samples for $40. She saved a lot. That makes perfect sense. For her, that box was an amazing deal. I’ve never tried that eyelash serum and do not really have much desire to, so I will pass on that box as well.
What are your thoughts on the Sephora Play Smarts and Play Luxe boxes? Let me know below. Sephora does not inform any Beauty Insider of all promotions. It does list a great deal of them on its Beauty Offers page, but I list some it does not on my Sephora Deals Page. Between the ones it lists and the ones I list, you can catch most of them. Subscribe to emails to get targeted offers. If you’re spending over $25 online, there is always a promo code that you can apply. Most major events run on a set schedule, which is why I track them. See all Sephora articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Sephora. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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