If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Welcome to the new month. The beginning of the new month to me always represents closing out the previous month. I am going to post May’s empties now and its FabuFinds later today. I will also post the next month’s tomorrow and so on until I catch up. There is something so fulfilling about seeing something empty even though that sometimes mean you have to go out and buy more (assuming you do not already have backups).
I will give you a mini review on each item. I’ll tell you the items I love and will repurchase. If I like or am indifferent to an item, I will not rush out to repurchase, but I would be willing to use or try it again. Lastly, I will present the items that are not for me. Generally, I will not use these any more in the future. If they’re really awful to me, I always hope I can find someone else who may actually like them. Thus, I will try to find someone to give duplicates to. For the items that I really love, I will do a separate product spotlight on them at some point to discuss them in more detail.
Q-Tips- I’m not really certain why I like this brand more than other cotton swabs, but I do. There was a cheap knock-off version of this at a hotel that actually scratched me when I used it. Now, I try to always pack these even when I travel.
Carol’s Daughter Ecstasy Frappe Body Lotion- I am in love with this scent. The lotion moisturizes pretty well, too. Hopefully, I always have some of this in stock.
Dessange Paris California Blonde Illuminating Shampoo- This left my hair soft and manageable. I liked the way it smelled, and it helped reduce frizz. It was nice enough for me to explore the brand a little more, but this one was better than the one I purchased after receiving this from Influenster.
YSL Gloss Volupte- I am definitely buying these once I come off my lippie no-buy. They wore beautifully, felt comfortable, were not sticky, and had gorgeous colors. The hardest part will be trying to limit how many I buy.
YSL Rouge Volupte Shine- I really loved all three colors and formulas. The outer container must have been accidentally thrown away, so I did not get to use these as long as I wanted to. Although I place all open containers in a Ziploc, the outer container helps hold the foil down.
H2o+ Targeted Care Hand and Nail Cream- Yes, that is a straw in there. As much as I love the lotion, I hate the design of this bottle. The pump does not come anywhere close to reaching the bottom of the container. About a fourth of the lotion remains at the bottom. My straw technique allows me to get most of that without having to resort to a spatula and a separate container. Once the straw falls deep inside, I have a hard time getting it back out, so the lotion removal ceases there. I only buy the lotion in this size when I get a good deal, because even though the price per ounce is better than the 6oz tube, the hassle makes the tube a better purchase for me. The direct store is the only place I’ve seen that sells the pump anyway, and I mostly buy this lotion from other stores. The cream is thick and moisturizing. I really like the price, and the scent. It will always be a staple in my products.
StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles and Stretch Marks- No one likes stretch marks and while I truly believe this cream helps stretch marks move from pink to white a little faster than regular creams, I do not think decreasing the pink stage is worth the huge cost. If you can afford it and the overly pink marks bother you, by all means purchase it. I did buy The Power Pair Beauty To Go Duo from Ulta for $19 to get my hands on this, but I also wanted the eye cream offered as a gift with any StriVectin purchase.
StriVectin-SD Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles- The best part of the Beauty to Go Duo I purchased from Ulta was the GWP. This 0.25oz eye cream retails for $15 by itself. Seeing that I loved it, I can view it as paying $15 for this and getting the two items I did not like as much for $2 each. Justifying my purchases always makes them easier to swallow. A little goes a long way with this eye cream, which is easier to blend into the eyes than most other creams I’ve worked with. It was generous enough it last a while and show me that it works and well. From when I started to when I finished I really felt like my wrinkles looked reduced.
Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Hand Cream- This scent is amazing (not my favorite Pacifica scent). It is a really hydrating hand cream even though it is only moderately thick.
Lancome La Base- This is a very nice primer. It feels silky and helps the makeup stay on.
Willing to Try Again
Dolce & Gabbana True Monica Lipstick- They were decent, although I preferred the darker ones to the nudes. I cannot remember anything that screamed buy me now.
Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipstick- I remember liking them, but I remember wondering if they were worth the cost.
Ritz Carlton Lotion- I almost want to move this into the not for me group, because the lotion is thin and the smell is not the best. The only thing that keeps me from completely writing this off is I have tried way worse offerings from hotels lately. This is one I will use when we stay at the Ritz, but I would never actively seek this product.
Peter Thomas Roth Shampoo- This shampoo, courtesy of the Hilton, is nothing special. It did not do anything for my frizz but it did cleanse my hair well enough.
Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick- When you’re sampling something, always remember to write your thoughts. I can no longer remember which ones I liked and which ones I loved. If my memory serves me correctly, there were two of each in here. That leads me to believe there is inconsistency in this line. Should I sample them again, I will take note of which I prefer.
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipstick- There was one of the four I loved and the other three I liked. That leads me to believe most are probably nice, but a few are great.
StriVectin Potent Wrinkle Reducing Serum- I really wanted to try this, so I purchased the Power Pair Beauty To Go Duo from Ulta for $19. Although I love the original stretch mark cream that came in the kit, I do not think it is worth the cost alone. The 0.25oz sample was too small to see if it really worked. It takes longer for serums to work than samples provide, so paying for tiny serum samples is not generally a good idea. My only redemption on this is I did get a free eye cream with this purchase that I loved. I’d be willing to try this again. One day, I would like to try a big size to see what it does.
H2o+ Sea Marine Conditioner- It blends nicely and smells great. I am not certain it does a lot for my frizzy hair, but it does not seem to make it worse either.
RéVive Fermitif Neck Renewal Cream- While it smelled great and moisturized well, the sample was way too small for me to decide if it is worth the very high price tag.
Sheseido Ultimate Protection Cream+ Broad Spectrum SPF 50+- This sunscreen prevents me from burning, does not react on my skin, or make me look greasy. The only thing that keeps it out of the love group is the white cast it leaves on my skin. If I am spending that much on sunscreen, it must be perfect. While I like this sunscreen and will gladly use it from any kits it arrives in, I would not purchase this on its own.
Antica Farmacista Bath & Shower Wash- This smelled great and lathered well. It did not seem special enough to justify its $25 cost. I’d use this again but only purchased within a kit.
Not For Me
Salon Grafix invisible Dry Shampoo- This stuff smelled awful and did absolutely nothing for my hair. I should not have forced myself to use all of this and wish I tossed it full. I try to wash my hair every other day (thanks to my Dry Bar shower cap, my frizz is no longer out of this world bad on day two). On the second day, I must either use dry shampoo or wear my hair up. My scalp is too oily to wear it down without dry shampoo. With some dry shampoos, I can wear my hair down all day. Every time I used this, I had to put my hair up within two hours. It did absolutely nothing for my hair. Actually, it did worse than nothing. In addition to super oily looking hair, it also smelled badly when I used this.
Dior Addict Fluid Sticks- These were so awful that I never want to try them again. They were sticky, way too shiny and very fake looking. I swear two of the colors reminded me of wax lips from when I was a kid. There was one color that was very pretty, but I cannot get over how much I dislike the formula.
Ponds Original Fresh Wipes- I have no clue who thought it would be a good idea to put little holes throughout the wipe. While I am sure there is a reason to the design, I cannot see what it is. These were not the most effective wipes either, so the holes only bothered me that much more. If the holes were missing, I wonder if these would have been better at removing makeup.
Colgate Enamel Health Toothpaste- Ever since Sam’s Club installed a machine that dispenses free samples, I have to partake every trip. This was the offering on a trip earlier this year. Before I opened it, I saw it on clearance at Target and thankfully passed on purchasing it. Once I tried the sample, I was immediately turned off. It does nothing for my sensitive teeth, the taste is terrible, and my teeth never feel cleaned after brushing with it. The gritty formula did not do a lot for my breath either. I could taste the stank. These are all the reasons this was on clearance at Target. No one would probably buy it more than once.
bareMinerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum- It is really hard to tell from the pictures, but I was unable to try this serum. When I pulled it out, I noticed contents stuck to the side of the bottle. I literally mean stuck. If I tipped the bottle upside down or sideways the “liquid” did not budge. That’s odd I thought. The dropper was stiff and hard to remove. Once I pulled it out, I noticed the formula inside was almost syrup or even jelly like. It was really thick and amber-colored. This is one I really wanted to try, so I emailed bareMinerals to ask what the product should look and feel like. My thoughts were this condition cannot be its normal state, so it is bad.
After I emailed bareMinerals, I tried to track down where I got this sample from. I have since adopted a numbering method mentioned in my expiration dates article on beauty products. Prior to my numbering system, I threw everything in their respective buckets and thought I could remember when I received them. The problem is snatching every deal possible makes it difficult to track every little GWP you received. This caused me to search through all of my purchase records, which was no easy task. My educated guess is this came from Beauty.com in October 2014. Why was it already bad?
There was a batch number printed on it, but the number did not register on the Cosmetic Calculator. It could be because this was a sample, but I’ve been able to check dates on other samples when they have batch numbers printed.
bareMinerals responded to my email. This product should be somewhat thin and clear. Well, it was clearly neither of these things. The rep was unable to look up the batch number I provided in the original email. I guess I cannot be disappointed that the Cosmetic Calculator missed it when the manufacturer itself could not track it down. She asked me where and when I purchased it. Assuming it was for quality control reasons, I told her my guess and responded. Her next email was asking for specific order details. The problem, which I explained to her as well, is Beauty.com and most other companies do not list gift with purchase details. It only lists the bundle.
That meant while I assumed it came from them the invoice would not prove it. Since neither I nor she could determine when or where it came from, she thought it would be best for bareMinerals to send me a replacement. I still really wanted to try it, so I was happy about that. Less than ten days later, the package arrived as promised. This time it came directly from the manufacturer, and I opened it immediately.
Can you believe it arrived in the same condition! Here I was thinking my sample hoarding self took too long to get to it effectively wasting the sample. Obviously, there is a problem with this product or container. I emailed bareMinerals once more to tell them the bottle arrived in the same condition. After two false starts in trying the product, I made it clear I do not want them to send me a third. They just needed to know that they are mailing products out in this condition, so they can quality control. I never heard back from her, so I have no clue whether she relayed the info to whichever department sends samples. Hopefully, they are not mailing samples out in this condition now that I’ve alerted them to the problem.
The kicker is coming! I’ve actually tried this product before and forgot. While reviewing pictures of past empties quite randomly, I saw a foil of this not once, but twice. If I tried it twice and could not even remember, it cannot be too great, right. Once I saw the picture, I remembered trying it. It was thin, clear, and obviously stable in the foils. This bottle packaging is clearly faulty. Due to trying it twice and forgetting, then getting a destroyed formula twice, I moved this into the Not for Me Category. If I get any future samples of this, I will give them to someone who may actually want to try this or who already likes it.