Samples Roundup: May 2018 (MAC, Alterna, Caudalie, Smashbox, Prada)

For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.

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© Gil Segev 2018

  • MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo ($67*): Another dirty scent from the Shadescents collection. Interestingly, it does develop into a sweeter rose after many hours, but still not something I’m interested in. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics Lady Danger ($67*): God, this was not good! I love cherry smells normally, but add patchouli in there and apparently I hate it! So sour and gross, smells like a slimy trash bin. WNR
  • Alterna Haircare Caviar Smoothing Hydra-Gelee Nourishing Hair Perfector ($35*): A hair oil by any other name is still a hair oil, and this is just that. Does nothing for the frizz in my hair, smells good though. I honestly don’t care for the ingredients, either. WNR
  • Alterna Haircare Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner ($40* & $40*): I still can’t bring myself to understand how there’s a market for these $40 hair products when a drugstore option for a tenth of the price works just the same (I guess one could criticize the makeup side of the business just the same, but I digress). These smelled oddly grassy, and the conditioner was a pain to wash out. While we’re on the subject, I still don’t understand what a conditioner is meant to do for me. WNR
  • Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Firming Serum ($94*): I do enjoy Caudalie’s products, but this has no “wow” factor. After using Fresh’s Black Tea serum, I know what a firming serum can do and this doesn’t cut it. While it does contain the brand’s signature red grape antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, I didn’t feel like it did enough to warrant $94. WNR
  • Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation and Studio Skin 24 Hour Waterproof Concealer ($50* & $29*): I want to point out that this sample didn’t even have enough product for a swatch, let alone a trial application. I went out to Sephora to get a proper sample, so I just wanted to call out Smashbox for that. The lightest shade in the trio, 1.1, was the color I sampled, and it was really light on my skin. I had to use a significant amount of blush and bronzer to warm up my complexion. If I do purchase this, I would have to go several shades darker and warmer. I found this foundation gives medium coverage and it did live up to the 15 hour claims. It comes in a glass bottle with the standard 30 mL of product. It has a really light, barely-there texture that would be nice in summer. I wish it had SPF and some skincare ingredients in there, but for what it is and who it is aimed at (younger, oilier complexions), this isn’t bad. WR
  • Prada Luna Rossa ($102*): Named after a sailing team (“red moon”), one might have expected LR to smell aquatic. However, I found it to be a lavender bomb for the first hour (but fresh! Very fresh) and then it evolves into this spicy, almost oud-ish scent that stays close to the skin. Considering both of those are ingredients I typically stay away from, this is actually not bad. It may be a bit more fitting for a suit-and-tie workplace in the winter than my lifestyle, but I am intrigued to sample the other LR flankers. 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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