As a beauty junkie I am always gathering samples, which typically come with online purchases or when I’m interested in purchasing something from a department store. This is especially true when the items in question are as expensive as these are! I thought it would be fun to share my first impressions on a week’s worth of samples and let you know whether or not I plan to purchase a full size of any of the products. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.
- Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer ($85*): I don’t like this brand for a variety of reasons I won’t go into today, but I heard enough about this new launch that I sampled it at Sephora. I think the hype is partly due to their colorful branding and the way they’ve named their products, which is both sensational and impossibly promising (see this moisturizer as a prime example). C.E.O features 5% vitamin C, but comes in a jar package that compromises even the so-called “stable” form of the ingredient. It is heavily scented, but what I liked least of all was the thick, balm-like texture, which took so much coaxing to sink into the skin. After all that, it doesn’t even matter to me how my skin felt afterwards (which was only fine, by the way), because I’ve already ruled out dropping $85 on it. And where is the SPF, if we’re being super nitpicky about the”protect” part of the name? WNR
- Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner ($70*): Sure, it’s green. Sure, it turns clear on the skin. But does it have to smell like dirty gym socks? Disgusting. My $12 Avon toner feels just as hydrating and smells better. I’ve heard people use it as an aftershave, but any drugstore option would smell twice as good for a fraction of the price. WNR
- By Kilian Intoxicated ($345*): I went back and forth about this fragrance for about a week before writing this review. At first, I hated it. Then, as I grew to anticipate it, I began to warm up to it. Now, I actually want it. To me this smells vaguely like tobacco, honey, and roasted coffee. Normally I wouldn’t care for this type of deep, dark, masculine scent, but it is irresistibly smooth and velvety, with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. Perfect for winter. WR
- By Kilian Straight to Heaven ($335*): No, no, not my cup of tea at all. Very woodsy, with dried fruit. Smells dusty and old. I hate it. WNR
- By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses ($335*): By Kilian is definitely proving a difficult house for me, it’s like I never know what exactly I’m going to get. When I looked up the notes it seemed like Liaisons Dangereuses was going to be some kind of fruity scent, but it’s really not. On my skin the notes that stand out are geranium, which lends it a heavy, sharp floral side, and cinnamon, which gives it warmth and familiarity. I really dislike that particular combination, as it turns out. WNR
- By Kilian Moonlight in Heaven ($360*): I really wasn’t sure what to make of this supposedly fruity women’s fragrance in the beginning. What I’ve come up with here, and I hope you indulge me, is that Moonlight in Heaven is a cool toned, masculine coconut-infused rice pudding. Though all the listed notes are of fruits (minus the tonka bean and vetiver), there’s really nothing fruity at all about this fragrance save for a burst of lemon in the top. In fact, along with the lemon there is a strong note of something bitter in the opening, which is off-putting but lasts only a few moments. Afterwards it is slightly sweet, but only in that peculiar way foods that are not sugary can taste sweet. More so, I would go as far as to liken this to any number of fresh, aromatic, lavender based mass-market masculines rather than a ladies’ perfume. The main notes are the coconut (which I am not a fan of regularly, but this is more similar to Creed’s Virgin Island Water, where the coconut is subdued and refined) and sweet rice, with maybe a tiny hint of tart mango, but really only by a stretch of the imagination. This fragrance is very unique and actually lovely, and while I gasp a little at the price, I would definitely like to have it in my collection for the summer months in the future. Note that it doesn’t project much on the skin. WR
- By Kilian Back to Black ($335*): Easily my favorite of the whole bunch. It’s actually kind of similar to Intoxicated in the deep sweetness it possess, but this is far more gourmand. Chocolate, honey, vanilla, gingerbread, all the good stuff. Absolutely edible. Get in my shopping cart already! WR
Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?
*Prices true at time of writing.
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