Samples Roundup: April 2018

Another month, another samples roundup! I was so excited to use many of these products, but it was not to be for most of them. Hey, at least I saved myself a few bucks! It goes without saying that just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not good or that I don’t like the brand. These are my personal opinions at the time of writing, and should be taken as such. If you share a similar shopping criteria, you’re welcome to use these as references and suggestions for products to try or avoid. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.

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© Gil Segev 2018

  • Drybar 100 Proof Treatment Oil ($45*): Every time I get to try Drybar I get excited because I love their fun packaging and creative names. And yet, time and time again, I am left going, “huh?” I’m a big believer in oils, for the face, body, and hair. This oil does what most oils do, which is nourishing hair, giving it shine, and making it softer and more manageable. It also smells pretty good, and does all of that without a greasy feeling. What I can’t understand, however, is the ingredients. First up, cyclopentasiloxane, also commonly found in personal lubricants. Second, everyone’s favorite dimethicone. Third, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, another emollient… see where this is going? If you’re going to oil up your hair, do yourself a favor and use actual oils to do so, not this stuff! Yes, there’s some jojoba, sunflower, and olive oils in there, but at such low quantities for such a high price, you might as well mix up your own. WNR
  • Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($56*): I love me some Fresh and have personally spent hundreds on their products outside of received gratis, but I can’t bring myself to justify the price on this guy. The namesake ingredient is apparently all this and that for healing the skin, but what good is it in a wash-off cleanser, especially being so far down the ingredient list? I think there is a plethora of cheaper alternatives that are equally as effective at removing making, what more I actually found this one difficult to wash off completely. I also would have expected for the price better packaging than the plastic they chose. WNR
  • Hourglass Shell Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation ($68*): Love Hourglass, but this was not the one for me. I found it too drying and it also oxidized badly. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics Velvet Teddy ($67*): I was really shocked by the incredibly high quality of this fragrance, especially for the price. I could have been fooled to think this was a high-end niche scent, which is not surprising because it probably came from the same labs as Lauder’s other brands, like Le Labo, Tom Ford, and Fredric Malle. This is actually a near perfect dupe for Mugler’s Pure Havane, which is a masculine tobacco and honey fragrance with a boozy underbelly. It has also been compared to TF’s Tobacco Vanille, but I haven’t tried that one enough to give an opinion. If you don’t have either of them, however, I feel that Velvet Teddy would make an excellent addition to a collection. It wears very strong and long, especially cozy for winter. It does sweeten up over time, so take the initial dirty spicy burst with a grain of salt. Compliment getter. I’d get it if I didn’t already have PHWR
  • MAC Cosmetics Creme De Nude ($67*): Another surprisingly good one, but again it reminds me of other things. Take Bath & Body Works’ Warm Vanilla Sugar, mash it together with Demeter Fragrance Library’s Musk #7, and you get Creme De Nude; sweet, but with a musky cleanliness. Alternatively, it could easily be branded in the Elizabeth & James collection of musky, smoky, subtly sweet unisex scents. Far more subtle than Velvet Teddy, and doesn’t last as long. Might be nice for someone that doesn’t like strong, heady fragrances. However, I can’t see myself purchasing this, either. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics Candy Yum Yum ($67*): In a word, Candy Yum Yum is juvenile. It smells like a Bath & Body Works clone, or maybe a celebrity release à la Britney or Ariana. However, as one Fragrantica reviewer mentioned, if you truly pick it apart you can notice notes of pine mixed in with the fruits and cotton candy, which is a little deviant for the fruity floral category. I’m just not intrigued at all by this scent, or the namesake colour. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics My Heroine ($67*): This was the worst Shadescent yet. Vile, nasty, dirty leather and oud on my skin. Couldn’t take more than one spray. WNR

     Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?


*Prices true at time of writing.


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