Samples Showdown: Exuviance

Today’s Samples Showdown features three products from the same company.  Awhile ago, Exuviance sent me a set of deluxe samples to try, which were the Performance Peel AP25, the OptiLight Essential 6 Serum, and the Evening Restorative Complex.  To be honest, I was a little scared of using the peel since I have sensitive skin, and also recently just recovered from some mad beach sunburn.

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EXCUVIANCE PERFORMANCE PEEL

Exuviance’s Performance Peel comes in two pouches, an activator pad and a neutralizer pad.  Upon opening the activator pad, I was hit in the face with some serious chemical smell that reminded me of a perm.  Thankfully, this went away after application, which was surprisingly gentle.  After a few minutes of leaving it on my face, the product became tacky to the touch, and my skin started tightening.  There was minor tingling, but redness or discomfort.  Following their directions, I removed the activator after 10 minutes using the neutralizer pad, and then rinsed with water.  Immediately I could feel that my skin felt smooth and firm.

THE VERDICT: If I’m ever shopping for an easy-to-apply peel, this would definitely make the list.  But I don’t think this is something I’ll need to buy for a long time.

EXCUVIANCE OPTILIGHT SERUM

I can’t say much about the OptiLight serum since I haven’t been using it long enough.  In terms of smell and texture, it’s unassuming but also not memorable.

THE VERDICT: Bleh.

EXCUVIANCE EVENING RESTORATIVE COMPLEX

This is a pretty nice moisturizer.  In a gel-cream formula, it feels light and absorbs quickly into the skin. It’s biggest downside is that it’s not quite moisturizing enough for my combination skin.

THE VERDICT: If you have oily skin, this will probably work for you as a nighttime moisturizer!

 

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Samples Showdown: The Face Shop

Today’s Samples Showdown is a seedy one – not because things look sketchy, but because all of the samples are from The Face Shop’s Seed In Seed line (sorry, I can’t resist a pun!).  I got these samples from my recent The Face Shop Haul, which is great because all three products are ones that I haven’t heard of or tried before.

CHIA SEED FRESH CLEANSING FOAM

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I was pleasantly surprised by how fine this cleanser was, but it doesn’t foam much despite its name. My face felt squeaky clean afterwards, but I’m skeptical about the deep pore cleansing as advertised on the package since I could still see foundation residue on my nose.

THE VERDICT: Skip it.

CORE SEED PURIFYING ESSENCE

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This is advertised as being a great base for The Face Shop’s Seed In Seed moisturizers (on the back, it recommends combining it with different moisturizers depending on your skin needs).  I’m sure that’s true, but from my short term use I can’t really tell.

THE VERDICT: Requires further testing, but I don’t feel motivated to buy the full size to do so.

CALMING SEED SKIN RESTING CREAM

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My favourite of today’s three samples – it is a gel cream that is light and retains moisture well.  This kind of texture is exactly the kind of moisturizer that I love for my combination skin.  Plus, it smells soooo good, in an herbal spa sort of way.

THE VERDICT: Baby buy buy buy (better than the N’Sync song)

That’s it for today’s Sample Showdown!

Samples Showdown: Marc Jacobs and Benefit

Today I’m bringing two deluxe samples into the showdown, and I’ll tell you which you should buy and which to say buh-bye to.

MARC JACOBS LIP LOCK MOISTURE BALM WITH SPF IN 10 MAKEOUT

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Yes, even a clear lip balm gets a color code and name.
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You can count on Marc Jacobs for luxe packaging

I got this as part of a Sephora VIB exclusive lip-focused goodie bag.   I’m always looking for the next big miracle worker in lip balms/treatments because I have incredibly dry lips, and I looove products with SPF, so I had my eye on this before… but the price point is high, because Marc Jacobs.  This unfortunately, isn’t anything to go crazy for.

THE VERDICT: Don’t expect the inside product to match the outside luxe; though it wins points for having SPF (your lips need protection too!), it loses huge points for being so expensive yet blah.

BENEFIT THEY’RE REAL! PUSH-UP LINER

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The applicator is a slanted tip made out of flexible rubber, and the product comes out by clicking it up through the dispenser.
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Benefit comes up with the cutest names.

I’m sure you’ve allll heard the hype surrounding this new innovation in makeup technology – gel liner, in a pen form?? Oh my!  I love just about everything about it; the name (sassy!), the brand (Benefit is awesome!), the packaging (sturdy yet easy on the eyes), except… yeah.  The product itself is good, but doesn’t blow me away.  The gel formula is really long-wearing, to the point where it’s a little overkill.  I think I used half a bottle of makeup remover getting this stuff off!  The slanted tip is going to give you a nice application, but not as nice as a brush dipped in a gel pot or a liquid liner pen.

THE VERDICT: Girls, don’t throw away your liquid and pencil liners yet – this liner is worth buying but probably won’t replace your current favourite.

Samples Showdown: Nars, Kiehl’s, and Kate Somerville

Do you have a huge stash of product samples?  I always have a bunch on hand.  Here I’ll tell you which to buy, and which to say buh-bye to.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
Ugh, what happened here?  I received this in St. Moritz, a supposedly neutral medium.  I can’t even tell you if this is any good because I had to remove it right away – it’s soooo orange.
 
THE VERDICT: Pass.
 

Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream

kiehl's rosa arctica lightweight cream
This formula is a gel-like cream, feels instantly refreshing, and smells like spa heaven (aka lavender).
 
THE VERDICT: Would buy, like, yesterday.
 

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intense Exfoliating Treatment

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The package is a lie, because it’s all orange and cheery, but the product itself is slime green.  It worked really well, but it wasn’t a miracle considering this brand’s price point.
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THE VERDICT: Sure, if you’ve got the dough.
 
 
 

 

Samples Sunday: Nest, Bumble & Bumble, and Origins

I receive a lot of samples, both trial and deluxe sized, and I probably end up using samples as much as I use the full-size products I actually buy.  Here, on this weekly feature, I will share my initial impressions to a variety of products.

NEST DAHLIA & VINES EAU DE PARFUM

nest dahlia & vines sample

With such a pretty packaging (I looooove florals), I was expecting something elegant yet perky.  But ew.  It smells like potpourri.  I’m going use the rest of the sample as as a room freshener only.

THE VERDICT: Buh-bye!

BUMBLE & BUMBLE HAIRDRESSER’S INVISIBLE OIL SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER

bumble & bumble hairdresser's invisible oil sample

Smells faintly of argan oil and – what’s this? – gardenia mmmmmh.  The shampoo and conditioner, like most Bumble & Bumble products, work well.  I don’t feel any of it’s detangling effects, but my normally coarse hair definitely feel more silky.

THE VERDICT: Buy when the price is right!

ORIGINS NEVER A DULL MOMENT FACE POLISHER

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Sorry I don’t have a picture of the sample! It was just a generic container.

I was told by an Origins representative that the papaya extract in this exfoliator “eats” your dead skin – whoa.  This thick scrub does its job, but, as weird as this sounds, it smells too good.  I prefer a skincare routine that doesn’t make me crave papaya.

THE VERDICT: On the fence.

That’s it for today!  See you next week with more teeny tiny sample packets.