I love sampling new things. The thought of discovering my latest and greatest FabuFind is always with me. There are items I adore and will probably always repurchase, but trying new things gives me the chance to find things I love even more. My sample obsession started with purchasing packaged sets. These usually contain items I really want to try or items I’ve tried in the past and need more time with. Sometimes, you find sets that are great values, so it is actually cheaper to purchase them if you really want most or all the items in the set. Although I still purchase sample sets, there is something surprisingly welcome about not knowing what I will get. Subscription Boxes seemed like the logical step to try items I had not considered.
By now, I am sure you’ve heard Sample Society Boxes no longer exist. Allure took over management and anyone who chose to continue with the subscription was transferred to the Allure Beauty Box. After receiving my March box, I decided to cancel. Do not get me wrong. I was happy with every single sample that came in this box. It just arrived during a time when I was not in a beauty product mood. Based on my history, which was hit or miss, I did not want to continue. Sample Society also sold boxes that did not sell out on Beautybar’s website for the same price subscribers paid.
The only benefit to subscribing was a guaranteed box, which based on some of them, was no benefit at all. My thoughts were I would just buy any box that tickled my fancy after I saw the contents. Beautybar stopped selling the newer boxes. I am still deciding whether I want to subscribe to Allure’s new box, but I did not subscribe in time to receive June, July, or August.
Sample Society closed in 2015. The Allure Beauty Box launched the same year. When these boxes were released Beautybar handled management.
After seeing the strength of the December 2014 and January 2015 boxes, I decided to resubscribe to Sample Society. The January one did not have an overly high value, but it did have items I was extremely interested in. I ordered those boxes separately from Beautybar and wrote about them here. One of my favorite things about Beautybar is it releases additional boxes that do not fully sell out to subscribers on the site, so if you miss a great box or want to get another for any reason, you can just order it after the fact. I knew that we were getting a Strivectin serum sample in the box and as a Strivetcin fan, I was excited for that. Some mistakenly got one in their January 2015 box, but they had already removed them by the time I ordered. No worries, because it did arrive safe and sound in my February box along with other items of course. Continue reading
Sample Society closed in 2015. The Allure Beauty Box launched the same year. When these boxes were released Beautybar handled management.
I originally joined Sample Society just before the April 2014 box. Allure collaborates with Beautybar on Sample Society. The subscription costs $15 plus tax a month. For me, the cost is $16.22. I always include the tax in the price, so you will rarely see me write it costs $15 a month. Why do I include the tax? As it is the only beauty box (other than Target, which is not a subscription box) I have received to charge tax, it adds to the cost of the box compared to its competitors. I feel the same about the boxes that add shipping when so many ship for free. Whenever I consider the value of a box, I ask myself how many of the items will I use. Do they exceed the amount I paid? Of course, the value of all items will always exceed what I paid, but do I find all of the items valuable?
I felt the first month was off to a decent start. It easily contained over $16.22 worth of value for me. The Tatcha papers and Butter eyeliner were full sized and each alone were valued higher than what I paid. My only complaint with the Butter Liner was I was told (as you can see in my dashboard) that I was getting pink. When it arrived, it was black. Black is one of my least favorite eyeliner colors, because it is just too dark for me. Not only do I have more black eyeliner than I can use, but I already had that exact black eyeliner. Thus, I traded the black eyeliner away.
It is neat to reflect back on old boxes to see what I have tried, what I liked, what I still have not used or what I gave away. When you pick up as many samples as I do, you do not always have the opportunity to use them all. I liked the Dr. Hauschka cleansing cream. It left my skin soft even though it did not smell great. The verdict is I would not buy it, because I have others I prefer. I find the eyeliner (which I picked up elsewhere) good quality. If I could get a color other than black, I would be interested in another one. The H2o+ item is still unsampled, but I hope to get to it before it expires. I’ve used the candle once, and thought it smelled nice. I have not used the Tatcha papers yet, because my skin runs dry in most placed. While my T zone does run oily, it is rarely bothersome enough to have me reach for these. I did get another package of these after this box and gifted them to a fellow beauty lover.
I liked my May box a little less than April. The item I was most looking forward to trying was the Dermalogica. Sadly, it was missing from my box. Sample Society customer service was very friendly about the missing sample. Rather than sending me the missing sample, it sent me a second box full of samples. Apparently, they cannot send individual samples. All of the samples were included that time, so I had 2 of some of them and 1 of the Dermalogica. Unfortunately, I opened a different moisturizer while I was waiting for the Dermalogica to finally ship, so I still have not used it to this date. I actually have not used any of the samples, which I did not realize until just now. The Juice Beauty CC cream is something I love and use the full size of at least a few times a week. I have received so many samples of this over the past year that I always seem to have more to give away. The most recent one I received came from a Beauty.com bag and is about to be shipped to a lucky recipient of a free box of samples I am sending tomorrow. The other three items do interest me as well, so I will try them soon. Hopefully, I get to them before they expire.
The June box was a huge disappointment. On top of the fact that I received four moisturizers and two perfumes, which was upsetting, Sample Society forgot a sample again. This time, the Karin Herzog sample was the missing item. I had never even heard of the brand, so I did not want to miss my chance to try it. I called customer service. She was very nice even though she mentioned that I was missing a sample last month, too. While I am sure there are people who say they are missing things they’re not, I was already upset to be missing a sample two months in a row. Thus, I wish she had not mentioned it. Since she mentioned it, I told her that I thought about canceling due to it. However, I generally believe in the three strikes you’re out rule, so I would stay subscribed for now. If they forgot a sample a third time though, I would cancel. Once again, Sample Society shipped me a box full of samples rather than just the one I was missing.
When it comes to perfumes, I have yet to find one I love. Most make me lightheaded, so I rarely wear them. I did try each scent once. I found the Juliette one decent, and the Nicole one was okay at best. The H2o+ is one I really like. I’ve picked this sample up again since then as well. The other three are still untried. Pur-lisse is a popular sample with subscription boxes, so I have given away a bit and still have more of my own to try when I am ready.
Sample Society knew its June box was a huge miss with subscribers. There were a lot like me who were very unhappy with getting similar items within the same box. It promised a revamp. The revamp meant that we would get a mix of products, the way my beloved Birchbox mixes everything up. I was excited to see what would come. After the huge disappointment in June, I was ready to cancel if July was another disappointment.
I actually liked the July box a lot, and unlike the previous two boxes, all of my samples were inside. The Fekkai hair mask did explode in the box, but there was still plenty left to sample. It was exciting that I did not have to place a call to customer service. Feeling that way is pretty sad, but I was dreading a missing product before the box arrived. The Loreal lipcolour was surprisingly wonderful. I liked the formula and the color. I did not own any Loreal products at the time either, so it was nice to try a new brand. Granted, Loreal owns my beloved Lancome, so I am certainly familiar with the parent brand. Although I have not yet used the Butter London polish, I was happy that it was full size. I already know and love this brand, so it was nice to receive this. A friend of mine had her eye on the Laura Mercier highlighting powder, because I already owned this. When it comes to backups, I just do not usually need them for most makeup. I sent her this with a bonus beauty spatula in exchange for a Too Faced item. The exploded Fekkai mask was lovely. I will consider buying this once I’ve used up some of my current hair mask stash. The perfume is nice, but it is nothing I love and need to buy. This was a good month.
The August box looked nice in theory. I was very pleased again that all of my samples were inside the box. Facebook posts showed me that a lot of other people were still plagued with missing samples after the revamp. It took me a few months, but I finally got around to trying the Melted lipstick in peony. I found it very pretty. None of the other samples, although they look amazing, have tempted me enough to try them yet. I just have way too many mascaras, so I have to be super amped to try one before I open it. I love Ciate, but I surprisingly (consider my very large nail polish collection) do not paint my nails often. The Oribe and Kate Sommerville samples will be used at some point.
Between still being upset about the two months with the missing samples, all the Facebook posts from people stating they were missing samples since the revamp and just feeling my stash was out of control and would never be used, I canceled after my August box.
Fast forward to this month. I started seeing pictures of Sample Society’s January 2015 box. It looked amazing, so I decided to resubscribe. Unfortunately, I missed the cutoff for the month of January, so February will be my first month. Once again, customer service was amazing. This time, I emailed rather than calling. The agent suggested I order the box from the Beautybar website when it went live. I got an email stating it was up and off I went to order my box. While I was there, I thought the December 2014 box looked nice, so I picked it up as well.
After I ordered the January box, I saw a post on Facebook that the Strivectin sample (the 6th sample everyone received) was a subscriber benefit and would not be included in boxes purchased from the website. I was disappointed and logged into the website to see how I missed the notification. It was listed on the website, although I cannot be sure if it was added after I placed my order or before and I just missed it. Either way, I was still happy, because there were other items in the box that interested me. Yesterday, I saw a Facebook update that including the Strivectin sample in the January box was a mistake, so it will be the 5th sample in the February box. That is awesome, so I will be receiving it after all. Mini celebration over here. I love Strivectin samples. It’s a great brand.
When you order online, you still have no clue what specific colors or scents you will get when options are offered. Thus, you’re still in for a surprise when you open your box. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Eye Repair sample was in every box, so I expected that. It will take me a while to try this, since I have so many others waiting to be used. The value on it is $19.72. Lotions and hand creams are one of my favorite items to sample. My skin is so dry. I got Crabtree & Evelyn La Source, which I look forward to trying. It is sold in this size for $8.
The Burberry Fresh Glow has an $8.16 value and is very pretty. It has a subtle shimmer. I like the way it swatched, but it looks even more subtle on.
In this picture, I am using the luminizer as a highlighter.
This is my first Butter tinted lip balm. It is full size and retails for $20. I am happy with the way the color, Apricot Sunshine, swatched, so I look forward to seeing how it looks on. Hopefully, it wears as nicely as I’ve heard.
I’ve never owned any products from RGB. This is full sized with an $18 value. This Oxblood color is gorgeous. If it wears as nicely as it looks, I am in for a treat. Compare this to my other salmon and wine polishes.
This box seems like it was worth the purchase so far. I paid $16.22, and I received $73.88 worth of product. At some point, I hope to use all of the products, so I hope to receive $73.88 in value. Three of the five are full size items, which is an added bonus.
The whole reason I went to the Beautybar site was to buy the January box, so I hope to get a nice value. Please keep in mind that I was not subscribed, so my value will be lower than those subscribed. As I later learned the Strivectin was a mistake, subscribers should have received the value I received anyway. Some of you may already know that while the bonus Strivectin would have been nice, I was after the Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar.
I cannot find the size listed on this sample soap anywhere. It is extremely small, so I will venture a guess that it is 10x smaller than the full sized bar making it worth around $4.50. The renewed Hope in a Jar sample (relaunched of Hope in a Jar) is worth $5.88. Whenever an item is sold in multiple sizes, I use the smallest size to calculate sample value. It is the lowest price you can get the item for without getting a free sample or a paid sample in a subscription box. Thus, I calculate the Phillip B Lightweight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse at $2.50
I had not owned anything from the Revlon brand prior to opening this box. The Revlon Photoready Eye Art in Cobalt Crystal does look interesting. Blue eyeshadows can be a lot of fun, although cream eyeshadows do not usually go with my greasy eyelids. Glitter is also a hard look for me to pull off as well, so I have yet to determine whether I will get use out of this. I’ve swatched it for you, so it is no longer new. Thus, I will not be giving it away (only give away new items). It does swatch beautifully, but I wonder if I can wear it without creasing. This is a full sized item valued at $8.99 (currently on sale for $7.19 at Drugstore.com if you loved your sample and want more.
Although I own a Zoya polish, I have not tried it yet. The full sized Zoya polish in Rayne retails for $9. I am in love with the way it swatches, so I hope the brand lives up to its hype. Compare this to my other blue polishes.
This box is another winner. Then again, it is easy to pick winners after the fact. It has $30.87 in product. I paid $16.22. Even if the Revlon item misses, I hope to get $21.88 in value. Thus, I will still come out on top.
Anyone still reading may notice this article posed a question. My honest answer at this point is I cannot say yes or no right now. Although I am happy with these two new boxes, I need to see what is in store. The November and October boxes did not pique my interest. No matter how good customer service is, I am still nervous a future box may have a missing sample. If that happens, I promise you now I am canceling forever. I do not believe a company should mess up three times and keep me as a customer. While I can overlook two, I am not a saint.
If you want to subscribe based on what you read, visit the Sample Society site. I will post updates along my journey if you need more time to decide. See all Sample Society articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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When it comes to drugstore makeup, I do not really buy it. I am not naive enough to think there are no quality items of the drugstore variety, but I find it harder to sample or swatch these items. Many of the items I buy are the direct result of sampling or swatching. If I really trust a brand, I will buy something without sampling or swatching it. My product research must yield excellent results, because I very rarely make impulse purchases. As I never return products to the stores unless they arrive damaged, I try to only purchase things I know I will like. Someone in my life can take items that failed with me off my hands, so I never feel compelled to return anything. A failed product for one person can be an HG product to another one. Who knows how many hidden gems I am missing out on by refusing to buy things I have not researched, swatched or sampled?
Whenever I get a chance to sample a drugstore product through a subscription box, foil or GWP, I try to accept the opportunity with arms wide open. Sample Society sent me a Loreal Extraordinaire ColourRiche Lipcolour in my July 2014 box, which I loved. When Target released its Beauty box containing that item, I ordered it on 10-20-14. The Target Beauty Box is not a subscription box. It is a one time box that ranges in cost from $5-$10 with free shipping. This one was $7. The value of the items always exceed the cost you pay, so it is a good deal if the items interest you. I like that you get to see the items before making a purchase decision.
Sadly, I received the exact same color I had already received in the Sample Society box. Considering how many color possibilities there were, I thought receiving the same color was funny. I sent the duplicate one onto a friend (and I need to follow up for the sake of this article to see if she liked it). Due to the fact that I have never finished a lipstick or gloss, I had no desire to hang onto a backup. All of the Target Beauty Boxes are out of stock, but I will let you know when they come back and what will be inside. Birchbox sent me an amazing sample of a product called Egyptian Magic in my June 2014 box. This is an oil based cream that works wonders on my boys’ eczema patches. After one application, the patches start improving. By the third application, the dry patches are gone. This product heals their eczema better than their prescription. The ingredients are eczema friendly without the chemicals in the prescription. It is without a doubt one of the favorite items I have ever found in one of my subscription boxes and something I plan on repurchasing often. I was going to order this product anyway, when I saw the following offer from Drugstore.com.
With a $75 purchase from Drugstore.com, all of the items listed and pictured below are free. Other than the Strivectin, Sally Hansen and the Nicole by OPI, I own zero of these brands. I love trying new things, so I knew this would be a great GWP for me. Luckily for me, Drugstore.com carries Egyptian Magic. I just needed to find a few more things to buy. It is winter, and my skin is extremely dry. Thus, I can never have too many skin moisturizers.
With my boys having eczema, they use moisturizers after each shower as well. Rather than buying our usual Aveeno or Eurcerin, I decided to try some brands that would be new to us. Cetaphil and CeraVe are highly rated. I’ve done my research and know they will be safe for my boys. The other lotion is vanilla scented, so I will not allow the boys to use that one. It was pretty cheap, so I will have no problem tossing it or giving it to someone else if I hate it.
The GWP was supposed to include 29 items, including the tote bag. Sadly, mine was missing the Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum, so I only received 28 items. Luckily, according to the picture and the Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum (which I received), it was just a foil. If I had to be missing a foil, I am glad it was one that is probably very similar to another. Thus, I do not feel like I am missing much. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Real Techniques makeup brushes, so I am the most excited to try that. This year, I would like to do my nails more regularly, so the nail pen could be a very awesome treat. Strivectin is a product I already know and love. I thought I was getting a sample elsewhere and just found out I am not.
The items I received were: Iman Deja Vu Lip Kit, L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint in Pin-Up, Elnglish Laundry Arrogant, Real Techniques Shading Brush, Boots No 7 Protect Intense Advanced Serum, Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream in Medium, MDSolarSciences Mineral Beauty Balm, Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Night Cream, Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser Foaming Fomula, Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick Bright Berry 40, Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Cloths, Prestige Primed & Ready Eye Primer, StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for wrinkles and strech marks, Nexxus Color Assure 3-Step Regimen, Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray, Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss Serum, Toni & Guy Cleanse Shampoo for Damaged Hair, Toni & Guy Nourish Conditioner for Damaged Hair, Tresemme Keratin Smooth 7 Day System, Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, Nicole by OPI Cinna Man of My Dreams, Rimmel Stay Glossy 6 Hour Lipgloss All Night Long, Rimmel ScandalEyes Retroglam Mascara, Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat, Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Punch Drunk, and Tom’s of Maine Lip Shimmer.
I am not swatching the lip products, because I am unsure how many items I plan to keep. If I end up using them, I will add swatches and looks.
The Nicole by OPI Cinna Man of my dreams is a beautiful cinnamon color. Compare this to my other salmon and wine polishes.
The Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat is very matte with a whitish tint. Compare it to my other nail treatments, base coats, and top coats.
Sally Hansen Punch Drunk is a purplish-pink. Compare it to my other pink polishes.
I am pretty excited about receiving that one here as well. This Drugstore.com offer is available through the 23rd and only works with Drugstore.com beauty items, so you cannot load non beauty items or Beauty.com items into your cart. If you are unsure what items qualify, just play around with your cart. I tried loading vitamins and an electric toothbrush, which did not work.
Remember to check all Beauty.com and/or Drugstore.com offers before placing an online order. You can only use one promo link per order, but banner offers (they pop-up at times when you’re browsing on the site), and promo codes (uncommon) usually combine with one another. There are some exceptions. See other Drugstore.com articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal at Beauty.com or Drugstore.com.View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
Disclosure: Affiliate Links