If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
What do you do with all those foil packets you collect? I have so many foil packets and rarely use them, because I prefer not to make snap decisions. Like with everything else I do, I put thought and consideration into product reviews. Trying a foil is a great way to see if your skin reacts to the product, you cannot tolerate the smell, the consistency is annoying, or if there is anything about the product that bothers you. Sampling a foil and thinking you need to have that product in your life is rare, but it does happen. This is most likely to happen with products where you can see instant results. In February, I want to challenge myself to try a foil of something new every single day. Feel free to take part in this challenge with me. If you are a fellow deal shopper, I bet you have a lot of foils stockpiled in your collection.
Trying a foil of the same type of product each day would probably wreak havoc on my skin. Too much change can irritate the skin, and it easier to see how a specific product reacts when you are not introducing new items to that area too often. I will be trying different types of products throughout the month. My skin is sensitive so I never introduce new products to my face more than once a day. When I try a new sheet mask, foundation, serum, eye cream, etc, I make sure everything else I apply that day is something I’ve used before. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend you do that as well to know what is causing irritation should you react to something. Since there are 28 days in February, I want to try 28 new products via foils this month. On any day where I run out of a full or sample size skincare item I am already using and do not have a backup of the same item or an item I’ve used in the past, I will try a foil of a new hand cream, hair product, body lotion, etc.
The 28 products I’ve selected for this month are below. What is great about some of these foils is I have bigger sizes of them. This challenge can help me see if any are worth opening or if I should just donate or gift them. Those I am unsure about can go into a maybe pile. As I use them, I will edit in my first impressions. They will not necessarily be used in the order listed. I want freedom to grab whatever item I want each day and write about the products when I choose to. Some foils are big enough for multiple uses so I may come back and edit more detailed reviews if I notice anything else from extended use. If I enjoy this challenge and have enough new products to keep it going, I may do this in future months as well. We’ll see how my skin reacts to the changes, because I am usually pretty consistent with skincare. Other than hand creams, hair products, and lip balms, I usually only have one type of product open at a time.
I realize sheet masks are technically not foils since they are usually full-priced items I purchased. Including them in this challenge is the best way for me to make sure I use them. In the past year, I’ve purchased countless masks, but I barely use them. That needs to change. Shampoo and Conditioner pairs are one foil. They will always be used together when I own a matching set.
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel – This is a very thin moisturizer, but it does hydrate nicely for a gel. Even on dry skin, I think this would work nicely in warm weather.
Benefit Cosmetics the Porefessional Instant Wipeout Mask – This has terrible reviews most of which claim it does not clean out pores. At $32 for a pack of 8, that breaks down to $4 for one. That really is only $1 more than the Sephora branded one, which only has one side though. I doubt I would pay that, but I would certainly pick these up if they go on sale or clearance due to the bad reviews. While I do not have a lot of blackheads, I thought this worked nicely on my brownheads (that’s what I call them because mine never look black). The area around my pores also looked a lot brighter so it was obvious that this cleaned them out. What I like about this wet strip is it does not dry and rip the blackheads out the skin. Not that I am against those types of strips as some people are. This one just works in a different way. You push the blue button before opening the packet and it releases the pore cleaning serum onto the pad. When you open it, the pad is wet. The smooth side goes against the area (anywhere) you want to clear. After 10 minutes, you use the rough side to wipe the area clean. Though the side against my nose almost dried by the elapsed time, the other side was still wet. I used it to wipe my whole face since I decided to skip my chemical exfoliant. For some reason, my pores have been larger than usual lately. This did not seem to make them look any larger as pore strips tend to do. If you are weary of alcohol, avoid this. It is the second ingredient after water. The alcohol smell on this is almost overpowering, but it did not dry my overly dry skin out. That alcohol also makes your skin lightly tingle for the first few minutes and my eyes are slightly bothered by the cooling effect. I followed this with my normal routine (minus the chemical exfoliant), and my skin felt the way it always does.
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne, Natural, and Smashed – This feels like a very thick, slightly sticky lip gloss. It even imparts color nicely. Those who do not like the taste of Agave should avoid this, because it is heavily Agave flavored. After the color and product fades, my lips still feel more moisturized than they did before I applied this. They definitely penetrate the surface of the lips, but I am not a fan of anything sticky on my lips. I still need to try this in the regular version (which I purchased a deluxe sample of before the holidays), but I am certain these colors are more like lip gloss than lip balms. There is enough for about 5 applications in each little slot. That means this 3-pack gives 15 applications. It is a very generous foil.
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask – This left my skin feeling very soft but a little dry at the same time. I expect clay masks to leave me feeling dry and this one gets tight on my face in less than a minute. My pores did not look any smaller after using this, but they did seem cleaner. It definitely detoxifies.
Chanel Gabrielle Eau de Parfum – I love the way this smells when I apply it. The jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom and tuberose are a beautiful blend. It is not overly floral, which I appreciate. This is such a soft, feminine scent. Within a few short hours, I could barely smell it. If it lasted longer on my body, I would have considered purchasing this.
Charlotte Tilbury Luminous Modern Lipstick Amazing Grace – Although the packaging of the sample is adorable, it is not super practical. I thought it would be fun to try to kiss the lipstick on, but it just made a mess. The ridges on the sample make an even application difficult as well. With future samples of this or anything similar, I will use a lip brush. For a matte lipstick, it is pretty moisturizing. Moisture is the number one thing I want in all of my beauty products. Like most bullet lipsticks, it did not last a long time on my lips. There was still a decent amount on after drinking, but it disappeared after eating. As the color faded, it did not look odd or awkward. The Vintage tea rose shade is stunning, but it emphasized lines in my lips. That does not really bother me too much as lip lines are natural to lips. This formula is nice, but it is not as comfortable as Tom Ford or NARS Audacious.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation 3 and 4 Fair/Pale – Shade 3 is a little too light for me, and shade 4 is a little too yellow. Mixing the two together probably would have made a better match. There is a shade 3.5 so that is the one I’d want to sample next. It does cling to dry patches, and it is always funny to see dry patches you did not know you had once you put foundation on. My skin feels a little dry when I wear this so I would pair this with a moisturizing primer if I tried it again. The foundation separated around my nose with the second sample. It was a cold, windy day so I did have to blow my nose a few times. On the first day, it lasted even around my nose through the night. Even when this gets set with powder, it will fall into fine lines throughout the day. While it is possible that coverage builds, I can still see some imperfections and my freckles through this foundation despite using the full sample with each application. That makes me slightly hesitant to agree this is full coverage.
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch – This silicone primer really fills in lines and imperfections on my face better than anything else I’ve ever tried. My face feels silky smooth. The trade-off is it is not as hydrating on dry skin as I would like. It does not leave me too tight however so I can easily and happily wear this in warm weather. In the winter, I want a more hydrating primer. Makeup does stay better with this, because it bonds with the primer. I did not notice the pearl pigments, but there was only enough for one use in the sample.
Clinique acne solutions clinical clearing gel – This definitely dries out the area you place it on, which will reduce acne over time. It does not work as fast as some of the other items I use. Even when I am really careful, it dries the skin around my acne, too. I would not purchase this.
Clinique beyond perfecting powder foundation + concealer 9 neutral – I thought this looked too dark in the packaging, because I swatched a liquid formula of this shade and found it too dark. It actually blended nicely with my skin once applied. My biggest complaint is the little puff this came with absorbed most of the powder. Given how little powder came with this and the puff stole a lot, I just did not have enough to give this a proper review. This claims it is full coverage and while that could be true with enough product, too many imperfections in my skin poked through with this, including redness on my nose, blemishes on my face, and the dark circles under my eyes. That caused me to add small amounts of liquid concealer on top of this (don’t own any powder concealers or know where they are if I do as most of my stuff is still at my old house). I usually hate layering liquids over powders, but it did not look that bad. While the powder does cling slightly to dry patches on my skin, it actually looks better than using setting powder over some liquid foundations. For a powder, it does sit comfortably on my skin. I expected my skin to feel dry throughout the day while I wore it, but it did not when paired with a hydrating primer. It did not easily rub off my face either, which surprised me.
DevaCurl Buildup Buster gentle Deep Cleansing Serum – This does not really lather at all. It requires a lot of product and elbow grease to really cleanse the hair. Like other products that lack lather, if you use too little, do not scrub enough, or fail to rinse it completely out, your hair will look greasy. As I knew that going in, I did not make either of those mistakes. The 1oz sample was more than half gone as I got to the ends of my long hair. I always like to start at my scalp and work my hair down with samples, because the scalp is typically the area that needs the most cleansing. Since I knew I did not have enough for a second use, I opted to use the entire ounce on a single wash. If I had the full-size product, I would probably use 0.6oz – 0.7oz per wash. At $3.50 an ounce, that is just not practical. Using this would cost me about $2.28 every time I shampoo my hair. My hair did feel clean, and my usually frizzy hair did not look very frizzy at all. On the right side of my hair, my curls really wanted to come out and play. That side was also a lot fuller than the other side. I am not sure if I used more or less product on that particular side, because I tried to work it through my hair evenly. My hair feels extremely soft, and I already have pretty soft hair. The one drawback is the fragrance is just odd. It smells like chemicals, but the conditioner (my current one) I used after it thankfully smells nice. I would happily use any samples of this that make it to me, but I will not purchase it at $3.50 per ounce.
dr. brandt Do Not Age beauty sleep serum – It is way too hard to judge a serum based off a tiny sample. I did not react to it, but I did not notice anything about it either. With a bigger sample, I would like to see what this can do.
Etude House Mugwort Soothing & Bright Sheet Mask – This did seem to soothe my skin, which was not overly upset. In retrospect, I should have saved this for a day my skin needed to calm down. If I buy this again, I will do that next time. I did not notice any brightening. As with most sheet masks, my skin did feel more hydrated when I removed. It is not the most hydrating one I’ve tried, but it was enough to justify using it.
fresh Peony Brightening Night Mask – This has a light floral scent as expected, but it is not overpowering at all. The cream is thick and intensely hydrating. My face still felt very moisturized when I woke up in the morning. There was enough cream in the packet for a second night so I applied it immediately after removing a sheet mask I had never tried before. That sheet mask was the only new thing I tried that day. It initially made me think the sheet mask was the culprit. I read a lot of reviews for the sheet mask and only saw one that said the person reacted to it. Then, I remembered my face felt a little warm the first time I used this. I just never looked in the mirror. After reading reviews for this, reactions are more common with this. While it is certainly possible my skin did not like the combination, I think it is a lot more likely it did not like this.
Guerlain Abeille Royale Night Cream – This is thick, but it is far from the thickest night cream. I think it is a little too fragranced (as most of the higher end makeup brands tend to do with their skincare). It is somewhat moisturizing and feels nice on my dry skin. By the time I wake up in the morning, my skin feels normal. Night creams where my skin still feels moisturized in the morning are what I prefer. There is nothing about the sample that makes me think it is worth the price, but I would try more samples that made it my way.
Julep Triple Quench Deep Hydration Sheet Mask System – This is my new all-time favorite sheet mask. I applied this before I went to bed. Step 1 is the serum, step 2 is the mask, and step 3 is the sleeping pack. My skin still felt soft even after skipping my morning face wash (had no plans to go anywhere). It even left my forehead feeling hydrated, and that almost never happens with any product.
Kate Somerville KateCeuticals Restor8 Replenishing Serum – This is a thick serum. It is so hard to judge serums from a foil. I can say I did not have an allergic reaction and due to its thickness my skin feels more moisturized. Those are the only claims I am comfortable making. If I got a bigger sample, I’d love to see if this does anything else.
L’Oreal Mythic Oil Masque – This leaves my hair soft and less frizzy than usual. I definitely want to try this again, because parts of my hair look a little oily. I wonder if I just put more hair oil than usual in those places or if oil from the mask stays behind. Considering how smooth my hair looks, I am guessing this leaves behind some oil. On certain parts of my hair, it looks great. The oily parts look greasy. If I do this challenge again in March, I will use my second sample of this.
Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action Firming Moisturizer – Like most Lancome moisturizers, this is extremely fragranced. It is a medium density moisturizer that feels nice on the skin. I did not notice any firming (so I could not say that is an immediate effect). My dry skin does feel moisturized so I would try a bigger sample of this.
Laura Geller Spackle Treatment – This is a multitasking primer. It primes, soothes and moisturizes sensitive skin. There are natural botanical extracts and antioxidants to help calm irritation, and they seem to work. Though it has a champagne color, there are green pigments to diminish the appearance of redness. Those like me, with a lot of redness, may only see a very slight reduction. Anything helps, because it allows me to use less makeup to cover the remaining redness. The result is a soft, light from within look that has a natural but champagne tint. I think this would look great on no makeup days, because it makes the face look dewy without looking shiny. My skin felt moisturized all day, which is great because some primers make me want to wash my makeup off for dry skin relief. The Mica gives it a very slight silicone feel so there is a little imperfection blurring. Makeup does adhere to it so it helps it last longer.
Leaders What Happened Last Night Radiance Revitalizing Mask – It felt amazing when I had it on. My skin felt calm and soothed as promised. The moisture in my skin felt incredible, and there was no tightness whatsoever. After applying my face cream (which I had used the night before), my skin felt hot and uncomfortable. I have a huge rash all over my face, and my pores look huge. At first, I wanted to blame this. This was the only new thing I used that day. Then, I remembered my face actually felt a little warm last night, too. I just never looked in the mirror. That means I did not get to enjoy what this mask could have done. At some point, I will purchase this one again to see if it really was this or the face cream.
frizz Conditioner – This is my new all time favorite conditioner. It leaves my hair so soft, easy to comb through, and almost frizz free. Prior to this conditioner, I’ve only seen my hair look this smooth after using a mask and a smoothing serum. Getting that look every time I wash my hair is something I want so much that I already ordered a full-size despite having a ton of conditioner in my collection. I will use this one on special occasions when I want my hair to look amazing and the rest until I use it up and can purchase this exclusively.
frizz Shampoo – This is my new all time favorite shampoo. It does have a nice lather, which always surprises me for products that promote frizz reduction. My hair felt really clean, but my scalp did not feel tight or dry. Even though the sample was small, it was enough product to wash all of my hair. That means I will not need a ton of this to get my hair clean. I am not sure how this blocks humidity, but it really works. The scent is great and not too heavy at all. Despite owning more shampoo than I need, I already ordered a full-size of this based on how this sample performed.
Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer – This hydrates extremely well for a thin moisturizer. A little goes a long way so this foil is enough for 2 uses. The scent is somewhat refreshing.
Skin Inc Pure Renewal Peel – You apply this to dry, clean skin and after 20-30 seconds, it starts to lift dead skin cells. It balls more than any other peel I’ve tried so far even though it starts out as the thinnest formula I’ve ever worked with. Thus, it leaves my skin soft and smooth. This makes it feel more squeaky clean than any peel I’ve tried so far. Alcohol is the last ingredient, but I can smell the alcohol in this more than any other peel I’ve ever used. The thin formula does allow it to remove the dead skin cells without getting stuck to the peach fuzz on hair. My favorite peel, the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel, gets stuck on peach fuzz. It is $25 an ounce (when you buy the travel size or $27.50 an ounce when you buy the full-size), which is less per ounce than the $28.24 on the Real Chemistry Peel. I feel those prices are too expensive for what this is. While I did pick up a Real Chemistry one when it was 50% off during the recent Love Your Skin Event and continue to select it as my sample choice when possible with Birchbox, I would not pay full-price for that or this (which technically works better and is cheaper).
StriVectin Max Volume Conditioner – This sample was not enough for my hair. My hair was very hard to comb through, but it is hard to say if it would have been easier if I had enough product. Whenever my hair is really tangled, it gets frizzy when I brush it. It looked frizzy with this. The formula is thinner than most conditioners.
StriVectin Max Volume Shampoo – This sample was not enough for my hair. Because I was unwilling to leave my hair dirty, I had to add some of my regular shampoo to supplement this. That leaves me unable to give a proper review. Unless I receive a bigger sample, I can only say it smells nice and does not have much of a lather.
tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating maracuja self tanning face towelette – This does work. It imparts a subtle, beautiful, natural color that sticks around even after a few washes. The main thing I dislike about all face tanning is it seems to cling to sun spots on my face and make them more pronounced. Long after the color on my face fades, the sun spots are still larger and darker than they were before tanning for a long time. Sadly, this one is no different. All of these face tanning products erase a lot of hard work brightening serums do. My skin is really dry so applying these is never super comfortable either. They have to go on dry skin. If you apply moisturizer over or under it, the product will not work as well. While it is a very thin consistency, it does impart a bit of moisture. After a few hours, my skin starts to feel tight though. I like that this smells like dessert. When you pair use a chemical exfoliant within days of this, you will see the color on the pad. Skipping the chemical exfoliants while you’re using this is a good idea.
tarte Shape Tape Concealer – This does have great coverage so you will not see dark circles or pretty much anything you are trying to cover with this. Light is almost the perfect shade match for me. From far away, it looks smooth and amazing. Up close, it falls into my lines no matter how much I try to smooth it out. When I add powder to set it, my eyes look older and crepey. The powder almost made it look worse. Even though the light-medium is a little too dark for me, I tried it to give this formula a second chance. I used a brighter powder to offset the darker shade. My undereyes just look and feel really dry with this. If I was going to an event, I would consider this for the coverage and how great it looks from far away. For everyday life, it makes me look older. I really do not need help looking older as I already look older than my actual age.
vitabath Grapefruit Vanilla Body Wash – This is a thick soap, but it lathers really well. It surprised me to see that this 0.25oz was enough for a liberal full-body washing. When samples are too small and I have to mix them with other things, it is harder to tell how well it works. The smells is nice, although I could not pinpoint the grapefruit or the vanilla. My skin did not feel especially soft after using this, but I applied a body cream afterward anyway. Based on the sample alone, I would not purchase this. If another sample made it my way, I would try it again.
Thanks for reading about this challenge, and a special thanks to anyone who follows along with the challenge. It only makes it more fun to complete it with other people. See more challenge articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.