Samples Roundup: September 2018 (Guerlain, Mugler, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury, MontBlanc)

Here it is, this month’s samples roundup! I’ve gathered seven samples of fragrance, skincare, and makeup to research and try out. What did I find? Read on to discover… For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.


© Gil Segev 2018

  • Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Intense  ($165*): I like collecting the various LPRN flankers, even though they are hard to keep track of names-wise and packaging-wise. This was an odd one because it’s called an Intense EDP, but it has nothing to do with the original EDP. Where the EDP is a strong cherry cola scent, this is a strong vanilla and berry scent, very sweet and luscious. It’s not groundbreaking, especially not for such a prestigious house, but it’s not bad and I would like to add it to my collection of flankers. Longevity isn’t striking, but the silage was pretty good while it lasted. WR
  • Guerlain Super Aqua Serum ($223*): This serum has the consistency of a light lotion rather than a traditional serum. That makes me wonder how it would layer under a similarly light moisturizer, as the traditional skincare regimen goes from lightest to heaviest. Regardless, it features what Guerlain calls cellular water technology, which works on regulating the skin’s water channels to ensure hydration (and therefore help with the appearance of wrinkles). This technology is not exclusive to Guerlain, and can actually be found in Dior’s entry-level HydraLife range for less than half the price. In any case, the serum doesn’t feel substantial enough for subzero hydration, and doesn’t contain enough skin repairing or protecting ingredients for my taste. It smells nice, though. I would recommend exploring the Orchidee Imperiale or Abeille Royale ranges instead. WNR
  • Mugler Aura ($150*): I think that any time Mugler puts out a new pillar scent there are huge expectations to follow up on the success of AngelAlien, and A*Men. So, I’m going to hold this scent to the same high standards I’ve come to expect from this iconic house, especially in the areas of uniqueness and longevity. I think it’s safe to say, off the bat, that Aura is not another Angel nor Alien, falling short of that legendary status for me. It features only a few key notes, including rhubarb, orange blossom, and vanilla. In the opening it distinctly reminds me of Dior’s Poison Girl, with that bitter-sweet duality that made PG so great. However, Aura is not nearly as long lasting as PG is, and it dries to a boring vanilla and sandalwood. I do get a hint of Alien‘s sharp jasmine DNA, which always gave me a headache. I think that if you enjoy the opening notes you would be wiser to spend your money on a bottle of Dior, because this feels like a cheaper clone in a bottle that looks straight out of a cheesy fantasy film. And if you like the jasmine vibes – well, might as well invest in good ol’ Alien. I feel that I’m not alone when I say that I was let down by this latest release. I can only hope the inevitable flankers will bring something new to the table. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics NC25 Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation ($45*): This is a fine medium-full coverage foundation with minimal SPF protection and a satin finish. It wore nicely enough on the skin, but for whatever reason it made my face feel itchy all day long. So, while the foundation stayed put where I didn’t touch it, it wore right off where I was constantly scratching. I guess something in the ingredients doesn’t agree with me! WNR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Brightening Youth Glow ($65*): It’s not clear from Charlotte’s description if this is marketed as skincare or primer, but then again her products do tend to be fairly ambiguous (if usually pretty good!). It certainly does impart the skin some serious luminosity under foundation, which quite a few people complemented me on. It features tiny but visible glitter particles, which reflect light and in turn give the illusion of brightness. I suppose if radiance is your primary concern then this will give you the results you want, but I wish it did more for providing a barrier between my skin and makeup without the glitter. So, I think it is overpriced for what it is. WNR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow ($65*): This is exactly the same product as above except the glitters are gold, not iridescent blue and pink. The thin, watery formula didn’t mesh well with my facial hair, and emphasized the texture in my skin. WNR
  • MontBlanc Legend Night ($107*): It’s interesting to me that there has been this huge push in men’s fragrances towards sweet vanilla-based scents recently – think Obsessed for MenEros, and Sauvage EDP. I find it ironic because all I ever hear from male clients in stores is they don’t want anything sweet! Legend Night is also a clean, refreshing vanilla scent with a touch of lavender and spices. It smells masculine despite the sweetness, and is pleasant although generic. I believe scents like this are designed to appeal to female consumers who often purchase them as gifts, and indeed my mom instantly asked what this one was and mentioned she’d love it on my dad. So, if you’re somebody who loves a masculine vanilla then this is a good one, but it’s a tad too unmemorable for me to invest in. 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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