This past weekend was my big skincare/shopping expedition! I was accompanied by two of my best friends who are great to have around for opinions and help in justifying any purchase.
Over the past few weeks I've been reading up on reviews of mostly moisturizers, tinted moisturizers, cleansers and lip balms. These are the things I need/use most and therefore want the best that's out there. And I can tell you now I have so many samples I probably won't know till the end of this week or maybe even the next which I like best, but I can at least tell you what I've got and what I like so far etc. (be prepared for a longish post)
Before I begin let me tell you that I have normal skin with a slight tendency to break out (if I'm not exercising some, drinking some water and eating decently (which for me isn't really that healthy)). But for the most part I have normal skin, very fair and with some freckles. Just so you can take into account that this is how things are working for my skin.
I bought a few items, the Korres lip butter in the Quince tint. So far this has been exactly what I've been looking for (except that it doesn't seem to have any spf, but I have other chappys that do). It is so creamy, and chemical free! I know a lot of people don't like balms that they have to apply with their hands and they have it offered in a "glaze" version in a squeeze tube, it is however a few more dollars. Whenever I buy a lip balm or a lip gloss it has to be something that makes a difference (color/tint) but that I can still apply without a mirror. This is the answer, and another bonus you can even use a bit of it for cheek stain (this however, requires a specific technique. You must first get some on your finger and then gently (don't force it off) swipe it on the back of your hand to get off excess and then rub in a circle on your cheek, if you need more you can always go back to the excess you swiped off, but this helps prevent a giant glob of pink on your cheek that you have to remove).
-I do have another lip gloss fav but it's 20+ dollars! and this korres is only 10. It's Smashbox's O-glow. It goes on clear but then changes to match your skin tone. I was always skeptical about such things (see: mood rings) but this was perfect for me, and easy since it's a gloss, but like I said, it's pricey and can't be bought often.
The next lineup includes moisturizers. I bought Josie Maran's Argan Natural Oil. It was one of the most reviewed I found and almost everyone loved it, so I thought (since it was such a small bottle and only $14) I'd just buy it and try it out, and if I didn't love it on my face I could use it elsewhere). I've used it either after morning or night face washings every day since I bought it (except for last night and this morning). I have decided that I really like it. It is an oil so you have to get used to rubbing an oil in your skin (which seems so backwards because weren't we always told not to get oil based products? but I think that since this is an actual natural oil and not some face wash with chemicals it's okay, at least I hope so). But it is actually lightweight and two drops covers my face and cuticles, so a little goes a LONG way. Another plus, it can be used for cuticles, split ends of your hair (tried this, and I think it works okay, helps give a moisture boost) and other areas you need moisture. I will however advise against putting a tinted moisturizer on top of this, it's just too much moisture for your face, or I suppose if you were using a really creamy, thick foundation I'd stick clear of this.
Sephora doesn't have Josie Maran's full product line, at fashion place (they said they'd be getting it soon) so they didn't have the spf one, but next time I suppose.
The next one I've tried is Estee Lauder's Hydration lotion. I've only used it at night, but so far I think I like it. I would definitely recommend for dry skin, it's very creamy and I really liked the way my skin felt afterward, it felt very luxurious if that makes any sense. I've only used it once or twice so I'll have to keep you updated on this one. But so far I like it.
The next one I got a sample of is L'occitane's face shea butter. I've only tried it once, last night. Afterwards I smelled like baby powder, so if you like that smell then you'll love it. And boyf said I smelled like makeup. It did have a very nice feel to it, similar to Estee Lauder's hydration in that it felt like I was putting something that costs a million bucks on my face. I'm going to keep trying it, and I'll keep you updated on this one.
The next sample I got was for Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer. Apparently they are famous for their tinted moisturizer (a fact I was unaware of until saturday). I have used it twice, once on top of the argan oil which was too oily, I was dabbing off my chin after about an hour, but obviously two moisturizers is one too many. And then I tried it today after washing my face and without any moisturizer under. So far it seems to be okay, I wonder if I need the next tone up because the last time I looked in the mirror I looked quite pale, and a little sick (but then again my peach shirt color isn't helping any, def. not my color-online purchase, it happens you know?). I didn't put any blush on so maybe that would help. The only concern I have with the tinted moisturizer is putting on concealer. How do I do this? And the current concealer I have is a powder, can I just put this on top? I didn't try it today, so I guess that'll be tomorrow's test run. But it is easy to use, just rub on with your fingers and it's got spf which is a huge plus. It is $42, so I don't know how I feel about that. It comes in a decent sized bottle, but man why does skincare have to be so expensive?
The next sample I have is a cleanser. It's Estee Lauder's Perfectly Clean Light Lotion Cleanser. It's a product that I've never even heard of existing on the market (but apparently it's an idea that's been around for a while). It's a lotion cleanser that you rub on dry skin and then rinse off. It's kind of weird to rub a lotion on your dry skin on top of makeup and then rinse it off and your skin is clean. So far I love it! And with normal skin I hardly have to put on any moisturizer afterwards (when I use at night), I still do of course put a bit on just to make sure I've got enough for my skin. But if you have foundation, concealer and just normal make up on it's great at taking it off gently, but if you have crazy smoky eyes, or glitter on your face I wouldn't count on this alone or at least one wash of it to take that all off, but since I hardly ever put that much makeup on I don't really need to worry about that. I think it'll be one that I end up buying after my samples all used up.
I did also buy Sephoras face complexion brush. It's a small brush that you use to help exfoliate your face. I thought this was genius, and only $5 is going to save me a lot of money. This way I can use this with my regular skin cleanser two or three times a week to exfoliate my face without having to buy a separate face wash to exfoliate my skin. Great, huh? I've used it once and plan on using it again tonight after the gym to get all my sweaty grossness and makeup off. I'm pretty excited about this thing. It's very soft to the touch of your hand, but it's not super soft on your face, it's not harsh though, just what I would expect from exfoliating beads in a face wash. But, I think the key is to only use it a few times a week and not at every wash because that might be taking too much off your face.
I did also get two perfume samples, just for fun. I got one of Marc Jacobs new Daisy. I really like it, but it seems to fade easily. But since I now have a sample bottle maybe I could just keep some in there and tote it around with me? But that's kind of annoying. The other I got was Dior's Miss Cherie. I haven't tried it yet, so I'll let you know. Perfumes are fun for me, I feel like a whole new person when I have a completely new scent.
This concludes my review (I did also get an eyeliner pencil from sephora but it's just a basic dark brown one, nothing special works just like it should). I will say that with skincare it can be so expensive that I will definitely have to pick and choose what I get from the grocery store and what I spend the money on. I will definitely be spending money on moisturizer (once I choose which to get, other than the oil) and I think I will keep getting the korres lip balm (it's only $10) and whether I decide to stick with the powder foundation/concealer that I currently have (It's bare essentials and it works fine, just wanted to try a tinted moisturizer) or if I decide to switch to Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer. I will continue to get my mascara from the grocery store. I use it maybe 5 times a month and therefore do not want to spend $14+ on it every few months. I also am going to try a grocery store version of a brow pencil (although I'm a little wary of this because I love the mac pencil that I used and am now out of). I'll let you know what I decide on that. If you use mascara a lot and want a good one, I think that clinique's (don't normally like clinique) high definition (I think that's what it's called, it comes in a dark shiny green(very dark almost black) tube). I hate the clumpy look and this is definitely not for you if that's what you're going for, it's more about length and defining what you have, but I think it's $14 or $16. so If you want to spend that on mascara I'd recommend it.
Okay, now I'm done.