Deluxe Sample Mini-Reviews, Part 1

One of the side effects of purchasing a lot of stuff, whether that’s for blogging purpose or otherwise, is you end up with a lot of “extras”.  I consistently have at least 500 points in my Sephora Beauty Insider account, I occasionally get Nordstrom Notes, and whenever you purchase from Korean e-tailers you get samples out the nose. This is both a fabulous thing and an awful thing.  It’s fabulous because you can test out all sorts of stuff before you have to spend the money on purchasing a full size.  It’s awful because you end up with so many deluxe samples that it feels like you’ll never get to them all.

That’s why I’m calling this “Part 1”. I’m not holding back, I just know that I have so much stuff that there’s going to be a Part 2, and a Part 3.  This post series will probably keep going until the day I die. There will never NOT be samples. They are a fact of life.

Before we dive in I want to be clear.  None of these samples were provided to me for any consideration.  I either paid for them myself by using rewards points or received them as gifts with purchase or through use of a coupon code.

Because I know this is going to be a multi-part series, I’m going to start this post out with the stuff I’ve gotten so far that I was super excited to try out.  I’ll link each deluxe sample to the site where I got it, which for the majority of this post will be Sephora.  I’ll also list the prices for the full-size versions.  These products are generally also available in stores like Nordstrom and on their respective brand websites.  The prices don’t vary much, so just pick the purchase place that gets you the rewards you want.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliator – Full Sizes: .5 oz. ($25), 2 oz ($85), 5 oz. ($175)

Occasional exfoliators are not really my jam, because I tend to forget whether I’ve used them recently.  Either I end up overusing them or underusing them, and either way that’s bad for my skin. But I am also not the kind of person to pass up a free thing, so I tried this sucker out.  Lucky for me my skin was in kind of rough shape for it so I could see how it worked on “troubled” faces.

My first thought was that this stuff smells like Christmas. My guess is that’s from the combination of cinnamon, rosewood, and orange oils, but I can’t say for sure.  It just evokes the thought.

The product itself is fairly gritty when applied.  Instructions say to use on a wet face, massage for thirty seconds, and then leave on for two minutes.  I did exactly that.  The massage was more pleasant than I expected – the product seemed to lose some of its grittiness as I massaged.  This did dry the heck out of my skin.  It didn’t have an immediate effect on any active acne spots or blackheads or anything, but my face did feel smooth and clean.

My face kept feeling smooth and clean for the next day or two, which was really nice. I think if your main concern is texture issues and dead skin cell buildup, this could be a great product.  Unfortunately for me, it didn’t do a whole lot with hyperpigmentation or active spots.  If you have very dry skin, you’re going to have to seriously moisturize after using the ExfoliKate.

Ingredients: Water, Lactic Acid, Polyethylene, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pectin, Carica Papaya Fruit, Lactobacillus Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Ceteareth-20, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Dehydroxanthan Gum, PEG-100 Stearate, Salicylic Acid, SD Alcohol 40-B, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Sorbic Acid, Cinnamonum Cassia Leaf Oil, Honey, Acetic Acid, Lavendula Augustifolia (Lavender) oil, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Bromelain, Papain, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Cinnamal, Beta-Carotene (CI 75130), Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex (CI 75810). 

Conclusion:  While this is a decent product, it doesn’t address enough of my needs for me to spend real money on it.  It is worth it to me to spend “imaginary money” like Sephora points on a deluxe sample, though. No regrets.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream – Full Size 1.6 oz., $52

I actually bought a full size of this cream as a gift for my sister last Christmas, and I’ve been keeping my eye on it ever since. I just never wanted to spend that much on a full tub of something that I might not like. (She hasn’t reported back to me about how she likes it.) So I was super excited when a deluxe sample showed up in my latest Play! by Sephora box.

A little of this cream goes quite a long way – I can use just a pea-sized amount to cover my whole face.  It absorbs really quickly and doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind.  It’s also not particularly fragranced, which is a huge plus to me.

One thing that I have noticed while testing this cream is that it feels a little siliconey.  That makes me concerned, because I have acne-prone skin and the last thing I need is something that gives my face more incentive to breed zits.  Other than that, though, I really enjoy this cream.

Ingredients (from Peter Thomas Roth website): Aqua, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Yeast Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide EOS, Ceramide AP, Ceramide NP, Ceramide NS, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Sodium PCA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Caprooyl Phytosphingosine,  Saccharide Isomerate, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Methyl Gluceth-20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Cholesterol, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Behenic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Ceteareth-25, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Mica.

Conclusion:  $52 is more than I really think about spending on a cream, especially when K-beauty is such a cheap alternative for often similar products.  But I think I might be willing to shell out the cash for a full size of this to keep trying.

Dior HydraLife Micellar Water – Full Size 6.6 ounces, $42


Guys, this stuff is so perfumed.  I hate it.  While testing I ended up getting some in my eye, and holy cow did it sting.  I use micellar water to remove all my makeup when I’m feeling lazy so it’s not uncommon for me to get some in my eye, but I’ve never had a painful experience like that. It also left my skin feeling a little oily, which is the opposite of what I intend for a cleanser to do.

Ingredients: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Poloxamer 184, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Glyceryl Cocoate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Coceth Sulfate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Parfum (look at how that is not even a little bit in last place on the ingredients list), Biosaccharide Gum-1, Caprylyl Glycol, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Saponins, BHT, Tocopherol. 

Conclusion: I’m going to pass on this product.  Frankly I won’t even give the deluxe sample to a friend, I’ll likely just throw it away.

Yves Saint Laurent The Shock Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils – Full Size 0.28 oz, $29

YSL has been really hit or miss for me with its makeup products. Their Pop Water lip products were one of my favorite purchases of 2015, but the eyeshadow palette I got left me wanting more.

I hate to say it but I feel the same way about this mascara.  The tip of the brush is so large that it’s hard to maneuver. The formula itself is not what I’m looking for – it takes a lot more time to make it look non-clumpy.

Conclusion: I will not be purchasing a full size of this, and I won’t finish using this deluxe sample either.  I never repurpose mascara samples for hygeine reasons, so into the trash this goes.

Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer – Full Size 1.7 oz, $105


I was pretty excited to see that this was a points perk at Sephora when I placed my last order, because it’s a pretty fancy line that bills itself as 100% natural and nontoxic.  This particular product is also geared towards folks with acne.

This is a watery cream.  It does a good job moisturizing and doesn’t leave a film behind or feel greasy on the face, although it takes a minute to sink in completely.  The downfall, for me, is the scent of this cream. I’ve never been real big on floral scents and to me this smells like the bottom of an old lady’s purse.  For products that are early in my routine (cleanser, acid treatments, even first essences) I can be willing to overlook a bad scent if the product is great because the products I use afterwards will either mute the scent or flat out get rid of it.  Since this cream goes on towards the end of my routine the smell just kind of…lingers.  I don’t like it.

Ingredients (from Tata Harper website): Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua/Water/Eau, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Glycerin, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Seed Oil, Propanediol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Seed Oil, Lactobacillus Ferment, Squalane, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Lactobacillus/Arundinaria Gigantea Ferment Filtrate, Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil, Alpha-glucan Oligosaccharide, Hydrolyzed Avocado Protein, Dictyopteris Membranacea (Sea fern) Extract, Zinc PCA, Copper PCA, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arnica montana (Arnica) Extract, Borago officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Narcissus tazetta (Daffodil) Bulb Extract, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Serenoa serrulata fruit extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Stearyl Alcohol, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Lysolecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Tremella Fuciformis (mushroom) Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sorbitan Olivate, Xanthan Gum, Pullulan, Maltodextrin, Silica, Aroma, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

Conclusion: This is waaaaaay too expensive for me to purchase a full size.  Even if I really loved it I don’t think I could bring myself to shell out that kind of cash. And since I don’t love it, I’ll probably pass it along to someone else.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – Travel Size 0.13 oz., $10, Full Size 0.4 oz., $22

I’m pretty sure I got this deluxe sample in a Play! by Sephora box.  I’ve been fairly brand loyal to the Chanel le volume de chanel mascara, but they seem to have reformulated it. To be frank, it kind of sucks now.  So I’m on the hunt for a new mascara.

I wasn’t expecting much from this product but I actually really love it.  It does a great job at lengthening without getting all spidery and weird, it doesn’t clump, and it doesn’t flake. I like that it’s available in a travel size.  I use mascara daily, but even so a lot of formulas get gross before I run out of product.  A deluxe sample or a smaller tube is economical for me.

Conclusion: I have a whole bunch of other samples to try, but I might end up purchasing a travel size.

That’s all for now, but with giant bags full of deluxe sample tubes, a subscription to the Play! by Sephora box, and a shopping habit, there’ll definitely be more to come!

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