Wednesday, January 25, 2017

samples made me buy it

Sometimes shoppers complain about the 100 point perks at Sephora.  If you are part of their rewards program you rarely get discounts but you do earn free deluxe size samples or "perks" as they call them.   This may sound stingy to some but I have ended up buying quite a few full size products of the samples that I got from Sephora.  Obviously it works out well for them but I am always excited to discover new loves.

Also at Sephora they are happy to make a free sample of whatever product you request.  Or they just hand you random stuff they want to promote.  But for the purposes of this blog post I am only going to talk about unsolicited samples ie. stuff I did not ask for.  Oh with one caveat, a couple of these samples came in my Sephora Play! Box which I guess means I indirectly asked for them, but then again not, because I don't get to choose what's in my box.  So yeah, these are all going to be products I didn't specifically request, wasn't even looking for, and in some cases didn't even think I'd like.  But like them I did, in fact LOVED them, and so ended up spending my own money buying them.

Here is what I am excited about, my wonderful inadvertent discoveries:

My latest and greatest is the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer.  I got a little sachet of this with an online order and assumed I wouldn't like it because I thought it would be thick and cakey and drying.  Something got into me one day though and I just put it on and was delightfully surprised at how flawless it made me look.  It had a nice satin finish, not dry at all, and a full coverage effect that didn't look cakey in the least.  It instantly became my most favorite foundation (and I am a foundation hoarder).

I don't remember exactly how I got a sample of Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, I think maybe it was in a Play! box, but it ended up making my Must Have Mascaras list.  It gave super great, moist, volume for an irresistible come-hither look.  A couple coats of this and I would say it is one of the most volumizing but clump-free mascaras I have ever tried.

One day at the cash register a Sephora Sales Associate tossed a handmade sample of Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask in my bag.  When I got home I was just going to throw it out because I thought it would be too harshly clarifying; more for someone with oily skin.  But I decided to try it on my T-zone and it turned out not to be too harsh at all.  In fact it gave me no redness whatsoever, but it did eliminate every last blackhead.  Amazing!  Now it's my favorite way to exfoliate (I only leave it on for 5 mins. because of my sensitive skin).

I got a travel size Ouai Wave Spray in one of my Play! boxes.  It was pretty cool but what I really fell in love with was the brand itself.  The spray enhanced a gentle wave and texture in my hair without being sticky or too dry.  Nice, but it also meant there wasn't as much hold as some other wave sprays.  However it was evident that the quality of the product was exquisite, healthy, and luscious.  Needless to say I am dying to try more from Ouai!

In another Play! box was a small size of the Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof in Flirting Game-Taupe.  I tried it in a what-the-hell moment and it ended up lasting all day.  And let me tell you, that is a feat because I have very watery eyes. There are a scant few eyeliners that I can wear.  The color was a lovely neutral shade (actually a bit darker than what I consider taupe to be) which went with many eye looks, and I liked how the soft creamy texture gave me a sultry expression.  

I adored the deluxe sample of Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment mask against all odds.   I never would have chosen it because it was supposedly for normal to oily skin and my skin was dry and sensitive.   Who knows why I decided to try it, but it made my face look glorious.   I was all glowy!  My skin was actually hydrated and thoroughly cleaned out while all redness was reduced.  I don't know how others' dry sensitive skin would like it, but mine loved it.

I got a little card of Pinrose Merry Maker Eau de Parfum with an online order and after wearing it for only a day went and ordered a full bottle of it (partially because it turned out to be fairly inexpensive).  It even made it into my November Favorites post.  It was a sexy nectarine scent that for some reason reminded me of popular unisex fragrances of the 90s. Very nostalgic, and I became addicted to its uplifting vibe!

What samples, from Sephora or elsewhere, have caused you to buy a full size?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

best of beauty 2016 (finally!)

I don't know what it is but coming back from England I get the worst jet lag and can't seem to move a muscle.  I had been planning to blog a day or two after returning from vacation but the jet lag laid me low.  It's embarrassing to be so tardy but it's is all I have by way of an excuse that my "Best of 2016" post is so late.  Hopefully you aren't bored of reading these types of posts by now, but I think you'll find I have some different stuff on my list from everyone else.  Either way I hope you enjoy.  Personally, I will be repurchasing these items again and again.
Also to clarify, these are not necessarily products that were released in 2016, they are just what I loved the most.  So really, this could be titled "beauty favorites of 2016".  OK?


Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Disco Dust was used on many an occasion.  It makes for the simplest, prettiest, one-shadow eye look around.  The colors go with everything, and there is a little bit of sparkle if you want to jazz things up.  Superb smooooooth quality too.

Hermes Eau De Rhubarbe Ecarlate Perfumed Bath And Shower Gel is the perfect pick-me-up.  It smells divine!  And I can't resist the glowing ruby red packaging.  This is really the perfect treat for yourself and I highly suggest this fresh scent to get you through the long dreary Winter.

Dior Creme De Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm has the most irresistible texture of any lip balm I've ever tried.  And the light rose scent is delightful too.  I'm a lip balm junkie and this is by far my most favorite of all that I've tried.  Plus the packaging is so chic!


Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer is on many beauty influencer's 'best of 2016' list.  It is subtle (unless you are extremely pale I would get the darker of the two shades) and a breeeze to use.  I think the color is really natural-looking and because of all that, and the silkiness, it is utterly addictive.

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer pencil gives me the best look.  Something about the texture is just right:  not too waxy, not too creamy.  I would normally blow through these guys but one pencil seems to last for ages.  I like it better than any of the high end alternatives.

Garnier SKINACTIVE Micellar Cleansing Water All-In-One Makeup Remover & Cleanser has a long name but yields excellent results.  Nice and cheap, I think it does at least as good a job of cleansing my face as the more expensive brands do.  Perfect for a lazy day/night - I rely on it heavily!

Bio-Oil Specialist Skincare is what I use all over my body immediately after showering while my skin is still damp.  I love the consistency because it is super hydrating without being too too heavy.  It's not greasy at all.  Plus it has a nice faint, sort of floral scent.  Dermatologist recommended!


Juvia's Place Masquerade Palette started out as limited edition but it was so popular I believe it is now part of their permanent collection.  The vivid eyeshadow colors and formulas are astounding and the price quite reasonable.  If you want to see swatches and more details check out my post Juvia's Place The Masquerade Mini Eyeshadow Palette & Feeding Your Soul.

BECCA Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette is long gone unless you want to spend a fortune on ebay.  For that reason I hate to mention it, however I bought it primarily for the blushes (there are 3 blushes, 2 highlighters) and so I am highly recommending any of the Jaclyn Hill BECCA blushes that are in the permanent collection.  I was particularly drawn to this palette's colors but all of their blushes are exquisite.


bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream rendered me many compliments whenever I wore it.  I liked to slather it on because of the spf 30, and it always made my skin glowy/not greasy.  Easy-peasy to apply, it was the perfect solution for my no-makeup makeup days (it's basically a tinted moisturizer/BB cream).

What were your beauty faves of 2016?  Do tell!

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews