Samples Roundup: November 2018 (Charlotte Tilbury, YSL, Hermes, Kiehl’s)

This quickly became the month of Charlotte Tilbury samples, and if you’re keeping track that means I’ve now tried almost her entire range – that’s a lot of products! It couldn’t be better timed because this fall she officially launched in Sephora, which means a lot of people are going to get to try her products for the first time. So, take a look through my archives if you want to read more about this talented artist and her impressive range. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.


© Gil Segev 2018

  • Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher ($48*): I’ve heard good things about Charlotte’s concealers, which made me curious to test them against each other. The Retoucher is housed in a click-pen not dissimilar to YSL’s Touche Eclat, but unlike that one this is designed to be a full-coverage concealer, not a brightener. In her tutorials, Charlotte often uses the Retoucher underneath the eyes, around the nose, and on blemishes. She recommends tapping it into place with your fingers rather than using a sponge or a brush. I did exactly that, and found that despite my chronically dry eyes, this product was too hydrating and slipped around a lot rather than settling onto the skin. It is so emollient that it absolutely must be set with a powder, which many people prefer to avoid. Once I did tap, blend and set, the concealer felt comfortable on my eyes, and definitely not drying. It wore okay throughout my day, not creasing but definitely smudging by nighttime. For me the performance and the application was just not satisfactory enough to purchase. WNR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand ($55*): This concealer has much in common with the above one, except that even though it is emollient, it stays put rather well. It packs quite a lot of coverage, but blends easily into foundation. Now, a note: Charlotte is clearly a world class makeup artist because she recognizes how crucial skincare is to a good complexion. This is evident in every product she makes, but none more so than this concealer, which features an eye cream on the other side. I have to be honest, I didn’t even sample it because I always do my skincare first thing when I wake up and right after I shower at night, so putting my eye cream on moments before makeup application just didn’t make sense to me. I would buy this for the concealer alone. WR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body ($78*): This body lotion is hardly worth nearly $80 for 60 mL. A little doesn’t go a long way, and though the ingredients are promising, they are not nearly magical enough to convince me to splurge. Would it have been too much to at least scent this with her signature scent? WNR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue ($65*): First thing, magic is one thing this cream is not. It’s more like a mix-and-match of ingredients in a formula that leaves me longing. There’s retinol, vitamin C and squalane, plus all sorts of oils and butters. For me it was simply not hydrating enough (texture is too thin) plus it bunched up in my eye crease unattractively. I think there are better options out there. WNR
  • YSL Cologne Bleue ($120*): I can’t be the only one suffering from flanker fatigue from YSL’s masculine collection. There are fifteen L’Homme variations listed on at this time, and I’m sure even that’s not entirely comprehensive. I wish they focused on making high quality, unique scents rather than throwing another variation at fans. That’s not to say I haven’t or don’t enjoy some of L’Homme‘s creations, including the excellent La Nuit De L’Homme. I just wish there was more to look forward to than another predictable release. This is a fairly standard and generic citrus and spice scent, reminiscent of the original L’Homme more than anything. It has poor longevity and projection and a list of notes that would put to sleep even the biggest designer-head. WNR
  • Hermes Eau de Citron Noir ($154*): I should have known from the start that this fragrance wasn’t going to last, as it’s all citrus! Citrus notes, of course, are usually the first to evaporate from the skin, which makes them ideal top notes. Indeed, this scent opens with a beautiful, high quality lemon that reminds me briefly of the older Eau d’Orange Verte. Then, however, it quickly spirals down a herbal path that leads absolutely nowhere, and it is positively gone from the skin within an hour or two at most. I can’t imagine what Hermes was thinking to put together a huge release with absolutely no substance. I’m disappointed. WNR
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facian Deep Moisture Balm ($36*): This is a fairly standard formula with some good moisturizing ingredients and antioxidants. Its biggest attraction, I imagine, is its rich texture, which is less of a balm and more like a thick cream. I found that it sinks in well enough with a bit of work. If you’re somebody who needs deep hydration but doesn’t have the patience for a full layering routine, this could be your one-step solution as long as anti-aging isn’t a concern (and please use sunscreen, for the love of God). I don’t have that much negative to say other than I didn’t care for the smell and I already use many layers of product, so this isn’t a must for me. 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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