Friday, July 5, 2013


Lately my interest in beauty and make up products has been re-sparked with the ferocity of a 17 year old girl. While it is an unusual  interest for me I've really enjoyed the confidence that it has brought to my life. I'd gotten into a comfort zone of laziness and ambivalence and it was nice to break out of that rut.  And, I do recognize that I may go around looking like a make-up application novice, or the occasional clown some days, but honestly- I don't really care. It makes me feel really good to spend time on myself, and to put the effort into trying to appear "put together" and beautiful. It makes me feel pretty and confident, and I know for a fact there is nothing more attractive than a girl who feels that way from the inside out. So there! :)

This new interest started with the discovery of Jaclyn Hill's youtube videos through Pinterest and snowballed from there. Through the videos of Jaclyn, Nicole, and Ellie I've learned everything from skin and body care to how to apply cat-eye style eye liner and everything in between. All of their videos are fun to watch and give you step-by-step directions on various different looks. I've spent hours watching dozens of them then trying to recreate the looks I've seen them achieve. 

Needless to say, I now have a beauty "wish list" a mile long. These girls use A LOT of products, and they are often not cheap and mostly unavailable in drugstores.  I am more than willing to buy a higher priced item if I KNOW it will work exactly the way I want, but I am not willing to take chances with that. I can't stand looking at something and knowing a threw money away to get it and will probably never use it or even like it. 

Enter sample kits. 

I love, love, love the sample kits I've been finding at local beauty supply stores. They are an awesome way to sample a collection of products for a fraction of the price. I picked the two sample packs you see here up over the last two week-the Josie Maran package came from Sephora, and the Benefits from Ulta. As you can see, they each cost $24 dollars, and offer a sampling of the best sellers. 

I'd heard the beauty guru's raving about Josie Maran products since I started watching the youtube videos and really wanted to try them. They are made of pure Argon Oil which is supposed to be really good for you skin, but left me a little hesitant. Put pure oil on your face = 100% chance of breakouts. After doing a little research and some convincing from Jaclyn I thought I'd give it a try. 
But woah- when I got to the stores I learned the prices for these products are steep!! Like, really steep. Again, if they work like I've been told then great, they'd be worth every penny. But unless I know for sure I'm not willing to spend the money. Call me cheep if you must, but I prefer "thrifty".  That's when I found the sample pack you saw above, which happened to cost less than even one full sized bottle of any of the products included and happened to have the exact items I had come into the store for. I snatched up the last package on the shelf and headed to check out! 

The verdict is still out on these Argon Oil products. Because I have combination/oily skin to start with I've learned that it's best if i only use them at night otherwise I feel a bit too greasy throughout the day. I've also had a few breakout that I can't help but be suspicious about. However, my skin has never felt softer before. It is seriously smooth and silky which is really nice but I'm not sure I would recommend these products to a friend unless they were dry. I'll keep using them and let you know if anything changes :)

Next, there was the Benefits sample package. With six products included for $24 I scooped this up quickly too! The items I was most excited for were the Hoola bronzer, Bad Gal Lash mascara, and the High Beam highlighter. The rest of the products were just a happy bonus if you ask me! Again, the price tags on these individual items are usually around or over $24 so this was a great way for me to try them out.  Did I mention how cute these miniature items are...just adorable! But they also provide enough product to use for at least a week. I also picked up a miniature version of the They're Real mascara by benefit because I've heard everyone rave about it, and wanted to see for myself if it's as good as they say it is without spending $23!!! (another YAY for sample sizes!)
The verdicts on these products are a little more positive. Run, don't walk to pick up your own They're Real mascara. Start with the sample bottle, but know that you will be returning for the full sized bottle. It's amazing.   I suspect I'll also be repurchasing the Hoola bronzer and the Posie Tint lip and cheek stain. The Posie Tint was a real surprise  but I've come to love it and it's something I never would have discovered if it we're for this amazing little package!

I look forward to discovering lots of new products this way, and promise to keep on sharing my experiences and recommendations with you :)