Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Samples, Samples, Samples!

I love sample sizes.  I frequently get bored using the same product for more than a couple of weeks.  Unless of course I see major results.   So since I have not discovered an earth shattering, wrinkle/complexion miracle worker so far, I will continue to try out new things.  But my skin also gets bored.  I see my skin respond to a new product for 2-3 weeks tops, then it sort of plateaus, gets dull or congested, telling me to switch it up.  So I oblige, albeit willingly...  

As a willful participant, I have dabbled in the monthly sample boxes, bags and tubes out there.  I have tried Birchbox, Ipsy, TestTube, Julep Maven, Target Beauty Box and GlossyBox.  I think there was one other one but I can't think of it at the moment. Beauty Army!  I was one of the first, watching the time clock count down for it to launch!  I love the element of surprise and it's just fun to receive a box full of goodies every month.

Target was great because it used to be free!  Now I believe it is $5.  Still worth it to try out and they include coupons which is a nice touch.  Birchbox is probably my favorite as it is affordable at $9.95 a month and I have discovered some favorites.  They also offer free shipping on full size versions of the monthly samples and you can earn Birchbox points to use towards the on-line shop. Some months are hit or miss though.  And foil packets really are not my preference.  For me, I can't fall in love with a product after one use.  I need to use it for a week to 2 weeks to really see if a product is going to work out for me. 

I was one of the 300 Beauty Bloggers chosen to receive GlossyBox for free when they first launched in the States.  I was subscribed for a few months at $21 a pop!  Yowsers.  The first couple of boxes were awesome and then I realized quickly that the UK GlossyBoxes contained the products I really wanted to try.  Though I did receive some nice products, affordability was a major factor in my cancellation.

My second favorite would be TestTube.  It's pricey but the tube is packed with travel size and full size items.  They are shipped 6 times a year at $29.95.  So technically it's $60 more a year than say Birchbox but the full size products are a draw.  I will probably go back to TestTube after I use up all my samples at some point but not every 2 months, maybe just a couple times a year.  The next time they send me a 30% off coupon, I will probably cave.

I was one of the first to try out Ipsy when it was Glam Bag subscribing in its second month.  They had a few issues in those beginning days.  Currently, the unboxing videos show some incredible makeup products but I think the color choices are geared towards a younger-than-me crowd...  I am still intrigued to try this service out again.  Quite affordable at $9.95 a box.  They pack full size products in a nice makeup bag that is included every month as well.

I was also one of the first subscribers of Julep and have kept an active subscription the entire time.  They started off a little rocky as with any other new business but things have smoothed out.  What I like about this sample service is that you can skip a month.  I also frequently gift out my monthly Maven box for friends and family for their birthday and holidays.  So I have never cancelled this subscription.  Julep started off just nail polish and manicure items but now they have added skincare and makeup items.  I love their cleansing oil and dual ended Kajal liner.  There are a variety of boxes to choose from each month as well.  Julep is $19.95 a month. 

So since we are almost nearing the end of the first quarter of the year, I thought I would update you all on my sample progress.  I wish that I took a picture of what I started out with...  But I have a photo of where I am at right now and I am happy with the progress.

I keep my samples in a clear plastic tray that I picked up from Target that fits perfectly in my IKEA 5-drawer Alex which I store in my bathroom.  My samples used to be in the last 2 drawers but I'm happy to report that this is all I have left!


To be honest, I have separated out my hair care samples.  That's another post... 

But this should be everything at least, in the skincare/makeup department (possibly minus 1 or 2 that could be scattered about.)

In the middle of I have 2 travel size Urban Decay All-Nighter Sprays and 3 of my all time favorite mascara, Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara which I have never owned a full size of...  Though L'OREAL Lash Out Butterfly Mascara is a super close contender for taking over the #1 spot.


You have seen this Arbonne eye sample before.  One packet lasts about 2 weeks was it?  7 more to go!  I picked these up from Ebay.  Fun fact.  I used to be an Arbonne rep.  Correction, at a party I signed up and paid the fee to be one but never sold or purchased Arbonne during that entire year.  Dummy.


I save the LaRoche-Posay Effaclar treatment and cleanser for bad skin days, weeks...  I will definitely need to use these when the weather warms up.


I have a couple of these oils in my Week 11 Skincare/Makeup box.  I've been holding on to these 2 Le Metier de Beaute forever!  Why?!  Hopefully they are still good and I didn't waste them!


Primers, treatments, and BB, CC, creams and a foundation...  Not bad!  I've included a couple of these in Week 11.  I've tried the Lumene BB cream before.  I actually bought the full size and returned it to Walgreens a couple days later 2 years ago.  It was too pink and melted off a couple of hours later during the summer.  So I already know how that one turns out!

These 2 conditioners are currently in my shower awaiting for me to use them!


I've tried most of these primers and BB creams.  The Lorac CC Cream in Medium, Too Faced BB cream, and Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact (CC cream right?) are all too dark at the moment.


Sorry for the blurry...  I use Boost-it and the Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel pretty frequently.  I'm not going to sugar coat it but the emu oil smells and there are some solid portions in the oil, a bit like coconut oil really, not the smell, just the half melted consistency.  It's not something that I reach for but I can use it up on my cuticles I'm sure!

My weekly skincare/makeup box has prompted me to use up and try new and old things in my collections and I am much more organized.  I feel like this is a very manageable amount of samples for me now.  I'm less overwhelmed when I open up the old Alex drawers.

What does your sample stash look like?  More or less than mine?  :)