Press Sample, Samples & Gifts (Affiliate Links)
I have to say that I am surprised by the sheer number of samples that I used up in November, though I didn't do such an exemplary job finishing up full sized products. I account for this disparity, in part, because I was testing out lots of new products, but also because I made a conscious choice to use up a lot of sample packets to see whether or not there were any real jewels worth purchasing. That said, this tends to be somewhat of a rarity given that the majority of sample packets do not contain enough product upon which to form a real opinion.
Full Size Products:
1) Maple Holistics Argan Conditioner (reviewed here): Maple Holistics Argan Conditioner is an ultra-nourishing, yet lightweight, conditioner that leaves my hair soft, shiny, frizz-free, moisturized and manageable. It is one of those rare conditioners that permits me to comb my curly hair without the aid of additional products, and that is no small feat. It has a light and pleasant nondescript scent that does not linger, and therefore will not bother those sensitive to scents. I'm already working on my second bottle, and I still love it!
2) Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser (reviewed here): Charcoal is the "new secret weapon from the Bioré® Skincare Experts. Draw out and trap 2x more dirt and impurities than a basic cleanser with this innovative black cleanser that foams white and rinses clean. Infused with Japanese Skin Purifying Technology, this facial cleanser gives you results after just one use!"
Not only does this cleanser clear pore congestion, but it leaves the skin fresh and tingly! Soft and smooth skin is revealed quickly and efficiently, but it never feels stripped. I would definitely use this again.
3) Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash (reviewed here): is a very powerful, yet gentle, exfoliating facial cleanser that was formulated to be safe for use during pregnancy, and yet effective enough to treat acne or breakouts. While I am neither pregnant, nor acne prone I tested this cleanser when I had a monthly hormonal break out, and not only did it swiftly eradicate my few pimples, but it did so without stripping my skin. I find this to be a very effective and gentle cleanser that took up permanent residence in my shower. It removed dead skin cells and left my skin baby-bottom soft. I would definitely use this again.
4) Sonoma Olive Oil Soap in Blood Orange: I am obsessed with this luscious soap, and definitely will purchase it as soon as I need more nourishing bar soaps. I used it on my hands and body, but also used it for shaving, and it left my skin so soft and moisturized.
Pure, 100% olive oil soap hand made using only organic olive oil from the Sonoma Valley. Gentle, moisturizing, affective. Excellent for face, body, shaving, shampoo, and babies.
5) Essence Sea Loofa Bath Bar: I am obsessed with this exfoliating soap, and will definitely purchase this soon. It is a gentle exfoliating soap, with 2% seaweed from the coast of Brittany, and it leaves skin silky smooth and soft. It removes dead skin cells effectively and quickly, and neither strips nor dries out skin.
6) Kaunis Soothing Facial Mask (featured here): I am a huge fan of hydrating sheet masks, and was pleasantly surprised to find the Kaunis Soothing Facial Mask in my November Beauty Box 5 subscription box. This left my skin ultra-hydrated, smooth and supple. I would happily use this mask again!
Kaunis Soothing Facial Mask contains Deep Ocean water that is extracted from the negative pressure in the light-free level at 800 meters below sea level and has the molecular size close to the water molecules in the human body, so it easily penetrates the skin cell membranes to moisturize your skin. Deep Ocean Water is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium and manganese and it balances the secretion of sebum for glowing and healthy looking silky skin.
-Alleviates Inflammatory Skin Conditions
-Soothes Irritated Skin
-Refreshes Damages Skin
-Smoothing Effects on Skin
7) The Honest Company Honest Wipes (reviewed here): These wipes are made without: Alcohol, Chlorine, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Parabens, Phenols, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, SLS, or SLES, Lanolin, or any other unnecessary additives. They are so gentle that I used them to remove swatches, and they didn't dry out my skin. They even removed every bit of the most pigmented makeup– including highly saturated matte lipstick swatches.
8) Altchek Depuff Eye Pads (featured here): These were also in the November Beauty Box 5 box, and I was thrilled to try them out. There were two packs for two full treatments, and I definitely saw the benefit in using them. They were ultra hydrating, very refreshing, and left my skin smooth and plumped. Furthermore, my fine lines were noticeably diminished for a full day. I would definitely use these again!
Eye Gel Pads help reduce the appearance of fine lines and puffiness while hydrating the sensitive and fragile skin under the eyes. It is a perfect treatment before a night out.
- Immediately refreshes and revitalizes fatigued eyes
- Hydrates and replenishes the delicate skin around the eye area
- Retinyl Palmitate helps renew and improve skin's resilience
- Smooths to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Antioxidants help the delicate eye area resist environmental stressors
9) YU CHOO Steam Silk Hair Pack (featured here): This is supposed to be a deeply moisturizing hair mask that you leave in for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing out. I followed the instructions to the letter, but found it very difficult to rinse out. My hair was left feeling greasy and slick, and I finally had to shampoo my hair several times to remove all of the residue. This was a definite miss for me.
10) Marc Anthony Macadamia Oil Sulfate Free Deep Rescue Conditioning Treatment: I loved this deep conditioner so much that I will definitely be purchasing it. I got two full treatments out of a single packet, and it left my hair deeply conditioned, shiny, manageable and completely frizz free.
Indulge your hair with this ultra-rich strengthening and reconstructing Sulfate Free, Deep Healing Weekly Treatment. A unique blend of Tropical Macadamia Nut Oil penetrates the hair shaft for deep hydration. Bamboo Extract corrects, strengthens and boosts shine while restoring dry, dull, damaged, frizzy hair. Improves elasticity. Seals and bonds split ends. Protects color.
There are far too many samples to go into an in-depth overview of each one, but there were some definite loves in this pile. In the spirit of full disclosure, the 20 little white jars contained an assortment of cleansers, lotions, creams and serums, each of which only contained enough product for a couple of uses. I used up a little more than half of them and tossed out the contents of the remaining since they no longer seemed fresh or appealing. Nothing terribly memorable to report. There are also a variety of lab samples and other unmarked samples that didn't really speak to me, and some are already forgotten.
11) Laura Ashley Coconut Lime Body Butter (featured here): This was another Beauty Box 5 deluxe sample, and I really liked the texture and the scent, and it did a good job moisturizing my skin. I am currently swimming in lotions, creams and body butters– so it will be quite a while before I need to purchase any, but I did enjoy using this.
12) Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse Gentle Clarifying Treatment (discussed here): I don't often have the need to use clarifying products to remove product buildup, but I did like this one. It didn't leave my hair feeling stripped or squeaky-clean– which is a good thing since naturally curly hair tends to be dry by its very nature.
pH Balancing Restorative Rinse. Restart the clock on healthy hair. Over time, product buildup causes hair to look dull and lifeless. Lemon Rinse Gentle Clarifying Treatment helps return hair to its natural glory with active lemon extracts that gently cleanse and tone, rapidly restoring weightless body and shine.
13) Philip B. Nordic Wood Hair & Body Shampoo: I am utterly obsessed with Philip B. products, and I have yet to use one that I didn't love. This multipurpose hair and body shampoo smells divine, and makes the hair and skin look and feel wonderful! I would definitely love to get a full size bottle.
Invigorate your mind and body with the aromatic scent of the clean, fresh, green forests of Scandinavia. Moisturize, tone and condition your hair, scalp and skin with a nurturing one-step product. PHILIP B® Nordic Wood Hair & Body Shampoo is stimulating and soothing with a pure 6% herbaceous blend of Norwegian spruce, balsam fir, white pine, cedarwood and camphor with oat extracts, wheat amino acids and aloe. Nordic Wood Hair & Body Shampoo invigorates your spirit, while cooling, reviving and refreshing your body and soul.
14) L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil: Given my love of body oils, almonds and all things L'Occitane– it was obvious from the moment that I opened this bottle that it was going to be true love, and it was. This is an absolutely lovely body oil that is lightweight, fast absorbing, and utterly delectable. It is deliciously moisturizing, and left my skin soft, supple and super moisturized. I definitely need a full size bottle.
Formulated with more than 50% almond oil, this light, fine body oil effectively helps skin feel supple and smoother. Skin feels nourished thanks to the ideal combination of almond oil, rich in omega 6, and camelina oil, rich in omega 3. This balance provides suppleness and comfort to the skin. Applied with a spray, this oil melts into the skin, enveloping it with a subtle and mouthwatering scent of fresh almonds while leaving a delicious satiny-smooth finish.
15) Molton Brown Gingerlily Body Wash: I love Molton Brown Body products, and was smitten with this particular scent. Their body washes are moisturizing and luxurious to use, and they make fantastic gifts!
A luxurious bath and body wash blended with enriching Polynesian Tamanu Nut Oil and moisturizing White Lily Extract.
16) Miller Harris Citron Citron Body Lotion: This is an uplifting citrus body lotion that smells divine. It is lightweight in texture, but a very effective moisturizer. I would happily purchase a big bottle when I start to run low on body lotion.
A lovely citrus scented moisturising body lotion that will soothe and uplift the senses. Citron Citron is the summery essence of citrus with all the bright, clean freshness that suggests. A vibrant spritz of Sicilian lemon, Spanish orange and Jamaican lime are given spin by cool mint and basil, while a complex base of green moss, Moroccan cedar and cardamom provide a lasting background.
17) Lollia In Love Shea Butter Hand Creme (reviewed here): This is one of the most intoxicatingly beautiful hand creams that I have ever tried. The floral scent leaves me deliriously happy, and the thick and rich formal leaves hands and cuticles very moisturized. I need to buy another tube soon because I really miss using this!
A modern interpretation of a sheer romantic floral with delicate infusions of apple blossom kissed sweetly by jasmine, floating upon the breath of the truest living rose.
Macadamia nut & avocado oils are blended to comfort & soothe skin. Beneficial hydrating extracts of aloe and shea butter lightly moisturize. Formulated to absorb quickly and leave skin deliciously fresh.
18) The Honest Company Honest Shampoo & Body Wash (reviewed here): I only used this as a body wash when I was traveling, and I really liked it. It is gentle and non-stripping, and works well for shaving.
19) Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream: This is a really beautiful and rich anti-aging cream for the face. It was a little too rich for my normal to combination skin– so I used it on my neck, décolleté and hands instead. This is perfect for dry and/or more mature skin, and definitely not something that I could use on my face with any regularity.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is clinically proven to reduce the depth of wrinkles and improve skin firmness, tone and hydration after 15 days of use. It contains a unique Mediterranean algae, padina pavonica, which has been shown to dramatically increase the quantity of glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs) within the skin. By special cell communication, these water-attracting GAGs moisturize skin and improve suppleness, firmness and elasticity. Additionally, the cream contains ginkgo biloba (which provides superior free-radical protection) blended with precious rose and mimosa absolutes to create the ultimate anti-aging product.
20) Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF20: This seems like a really nice hydrating moisturizer with sunscreen, but I think that it is better suited to oilier skin than mine. I tend not to use oil-free products, even though I have normal to combination skin (with an active t-zone) because I love using oils. This definitely doubles as a primer, and makes skin look and feel lovely.
Flawless skin, maximum radiance. This oil-free, hydrating SPF20 moisturizer diminishes skin concerns, tightens the pores, reduces excess sebum, decreases imperfections, corrects spots, and leaves the complexion even and radiant. The skin is transformed. Excellent as a skin primer. Apply in the morning to face and neck. Avoid the eye contour area.
21) RADICAL Skincare Extreme Repair Cream: This is a rich cream that features a blend of 18 active ingredients to protect from visible signs of aging while delivering deep hydration, and evening skin tone. Like all RADICAL Skincare products, it is highly effective, lives up to its claims and is an absolute joy to use. This is one of my all-time favorite luxury skincare lines!
Protect your skin from the primary causes of aging—free radicals, chronic inflammation, and dehydration—while moisturizing and repairing. This anti-aging solution contains two peptides, 10 plant extracts, and antioxidants to help improve skin texture and the appearance of wrinkles. It’s infused with cutting-edge agents such as carnauba wax and desert date oil, which are proven to increase hydration by forming a second skin barrier. Perfect for the most demanding skins in the most extreme need, it controls water loss, fights free radicals, firms skin, and decreases the look of wrinkles for a youthful-looking, luminous complexion.
23) L'Occitane Divine Oil (reviewed here): Divine, indeed. What can I tell you, L'Occitane makes really really lovely skincare, and this oil is just fantastic. The scent and texture are utterly luxurious and velvety, and skin is left moisturized, plumped, soft and supple.
The Divine Youth Oil helps fight visible signs of aging for a skin texture that appears replenished, as if plumped from within.
24) Goldfaden MD Fleuressence Cell Oil: For me, it isn't often that a single sample size results in the strong desire to make the purchase. Generally speaking, I need more time to determine if it will be a good fit for my skin, but I knew I wanted this gorgeous anti-aging beauty oil almost immediately. While I haven't yet made the purchase, I can tell you that it has a beautiful lightweight and fast absorbing consistency, and that it leaves skin very hydrated and luminous. There is definitely a full size bottle in my future.
The proprietary blend of 100% pure active botanicals, fruit extracts and natural oils delivers powerful vitamins and nutrients deep into the skin to boost moisture levels and skin cell revitalization. Rich in powerful Omega fatty acids and Vitamins A, C and E, the botanical actives work to diminish the appearance of fine lines, discoloration, inflammation and reduce pore size.
Added powerful oils—Kalahari Oil, Mongongo Oil and Baobab Oil—protect and shield the skin against environmental stresses, support the rejuvenation and renewing of skin cells, improve skin elasticity and promote accelerated skin-cell turnover. Skin is left glowing, hydrated and plump.
25) Fresh Crème Ancienne: This is a super rich balm-like cream that is perfectly suited to dry and/or mature skin. It is too rich for my face, but worked serious magic on my hands and cuticles.
This supremely effective formula is the ultimate age-delaying solution. It is proven to reduce the depth and length of wrinkles, increase skin elasticity and firmness, and provide instant and long-lasting hydration. It is enriched with meadowfoam seed oil, a unique, nourishing fatty acid that plumps and firms the complexion and improves overall elasticity. A dose of vitamin E provides antioxidant protection against free-radical damage, and beeswax and chamomile wax eradicate dry spots, soften the skin, and create a light moisture-preserving veil.
26) evanhealy French Rose Clay: I am a huge fan of clay masks, and this is a really special one. It exfoliates dead skin cells and draws out impurities with great precision. I used it when I had some congested pores, and it really cleaned them out without drying or irritating my skin. When I need another clay mask, I will definitely purchase this one.
French Rose Clay with rhassoul is a gentle, exfoliating and polishing treatment appropriate for all skin conditions. Actively draws pimples and blackheads to the surface leaving skin clear, clean and refreshed.
27) evanhealy Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer: evanhealy makes such high quality clean skincare, and the whole line is so affordable. I really liked this cream, but the travel size didn't provide enough product for me to see any sort of longer-term results. I will say that it is very moisturizing without feeling heavy, and it has a lovely earthy rose aroma.
Our balancing and protective Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer is a daily moisturizing skin treatment that enlivens and balances combination dry/oily skin with the nourishing and regenerating essential oils of rose geranium, carrot seed and vetiver. Added to this are the antioxidant plant allies of artisan-distilled extracts of mallow, horsetail and green tea. Organic plant and seed oils of Argan, Sunflower and Jojoba combine to deeply moisturize, soften, create suppleness and protect skin without feeling heavy or waxy.
28) Kanebo SENSAI Total Lip Treatment: This is more of a lip cream than a traditional balm, but it is very moisturizing. I didn't use it long enough to see any long term benefits, but I did like the way that my lips looked and felt while using it. I think that I might have another sample somewhere, and will decide whether it's worth getting after I have used it up.
A silky soft texture that smooths lines and vertical wrinkles for a naturally fuller, younger and beautifully defined lip zone.
29) Moroccanoil Body Soufflé: I really like this lightweight, but super emollient, moisturizer. It has a delicious scent, and it leaves my skin so soft and moisturized. I'm not sure whether I will buy a jar, but I really do like it a lot.
MOROCCANOIL Body Soufflé features an antioxidant-rich formula with argan oil and creamy shea butter to drench your skin with much-needed moisture. It transforms the skin from the very start, leaving it soft, smooth and delicately fragranced.
30) Pureology Hydrate Shampoos and Conditioners: Normally I wouldn't bother commenting on sample packets of haircare products, but I have full size bottles of their Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner (not my first bottles, either), and I love love love them! This line provides extraordinary hydration, and it leaves hair soft, manageable and frizz-free. It also is color safe, and smells divine!
Pureology Hydrate Condition reveals soft, lustrous hair while protecting colour vibrancy with this luxurious, concentrated daily hydrating conditioner. The exclusive AntiFadeComplex maximizes colour retention.
- Intensely hydrate without weighing hair
- For concentrated natural conditioning
- Awakens the senses with an energizing, refreshing fragrance
- Replenishes parched hair with movement and manageability
- Rehydrates lightened and chemically relaxed hair
- Minimizes static
Terax Life Drops is a leave in protein conditioner designed to close the cuticle after washing and treatment to seal in color and lock in moisture. Silk and Wheat Protein help to strengthen and repair damaged hair, while Sunflower Seed Extract helps to preserve and extend the life of your color treatment. Use with either of Terax's Crema rinse out conditioners to pH balance the hair.
32) Alchemie Forever Eye Balms: While a couple of packets don't provide enough use to formulate a really meaningful opinion, I did really like how well this balm moisturized my under eye area.
Alchimie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm moisturizes, firms and illuminates the delicate eye contour for a more youthful appearance. Jojoba seed oil and cocoa butter increase elasticity while detoxifying alfalfa extract provides vitamin K to diminish dark circles. Grape seed and blueberry extracts protect, heal and nourish with antioxidants to prevent environmental damage.
33) Assorted EO Face Oils, Serums, Moisturizers: There really wasn't enough product in each packet to say something very meaningful, but I have used several of their full size skincare products, and have to say that I am very impressed by the line.
34) Love Life Skin assorted packets: I have a couple of their full size products that I really like. I will give an in-depth assessment in my upcoming reviews.
35) Clarins Extra-Firming Day Cream: This is a rich and lovely cream, and I think that it would be perfect for someone with dry, mature skin. For me, it was too rich for my face, but was lovely for my neck, décolleté and hands.
36) diptyque Ombre Dans L'eau: A lovely scent, but it didn't work well with my particular body chemistry. Instead, I spritzed it on my bathroom towels, and it smelled utterly divine!
Like a glorious green riverside English garden, L'Ombre Dans L'eau is fresh and delicate, yet luscious, too. Amid the rustling of petals and fruit trees, roses blend with blackcurrant leaves in a bouquet that is heady, sensual and sophisticated. From the legendary French perfume house, Diptyque, L'Ombre Dans L'eau is worn and adored by both women and men. This warm and captivating fragrance is ideal for evening wear.
37) diptyque Eau Duelle: I thought that Duelle would smell amazing on me, but it didn't. Like Ombre Dans L'eau, it didn't mesh with my chemistry and was happily relegated to being the guardian of my towels, and it made my bathroom smell sublime.
Vanilla being an adventurous soul, Diptyque has taken her along the Spice Route, the promise of dreams, distant horizons, and all that is exotic. Over the course of vanilla’s wondrous wanderings, she drinks in the exhilarating spices, each blending with her essence in a fragrant fusion.
38) L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris La Chasse Aux Papillons: I thought that this was going to be too sweet and floral for my liking, but I was pleasantly surprised that it worked with my chemistry. On me, it dried down to a beautiful white floral– so lovely was it, that I may buy a bottle.
Chasing butterflies, surrounded by white flowers. A fragrance icon, perfect for summer days. Imagine a summer garden flooded with sunshine, full of delicate white flowers, jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose and lime blossom; scents mingling to intoxicate the senses. Sunlight catches the wings of butterflies as they dart among the trees and flowers. Somewhere in the garden you can hear the laughter of children as they chase the butterflies, trying in vain to catch them as they escape on a sunny breeze. This is La Chasse aux Papillons (Chasing Butterflies), the scent of sun-kissed skin, luminous and transparent; a fragrance to make the summer months last that little bit longer. Notes: Linden blossom, Jasmine, Lemon blossom, Tuberose.
39) By Terry Lumière D'Epices: This is a very lovely scent, but I wasn't able to wear it long enough to really see how well it worked on my skin. Hopefully I have a couple more vials laying around to try it a little longer.
Vibrant and sparkling, the fragrance opens a refreshing symphony of citrus notes. The bitterness of grapefruit, the blood orange zest and bergamot: awakening the heart, fresh as jasmine water, it is contagiously chic. With facets of roses and orange blossoms, it seems oxygenated, like fresh air. Indian sambac jasmine, with honeyed tones gives warmth together with orange blossom absolute, spices and dry woods. Muscat, clove and cedarwood bring this contemporary composition to life. A distinctively elegant fragrance with a luminously vibrant bouquet.
40) TOM FORD Black Orchid: I was sure that I wouldn't like the way that this would smell on me, but once it dried down and the edges mellowed, it became a gorgeous and hypnotic spicy floral.
A luxurious and sensual fragrance, Tom Ford Black Orchid with its rich dark accords and alluring potion of black orchids and spice is new and timeless. Notes: bergamot, citrus accord, mandarin, gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lotus, orchid spicy floral accord, orchid, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, vanilla.
I would definitely say that I surprised myself by the sheer number of samples that I used up. That said, I didn't make much of a dent on my full-sized products.
What did you use up, toss out, give away or return in November? Any real winners or duds to report? Do share!
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