I admit it. I'm obsessed with samples. It used to be any free sample, but in recent years, I've scaled back to basically only perfume, wine and beauty products. And thanks to a more respectable salary, I've moved on to paying for samples. Yet my love to try hasn't diminished. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to pay full price, but before I invest a ridiculous amount on a face scrub (looking at you dr. brandt microdermabrasion skin exfoliant...how I crave you in full size.), I want several chances to try before I buy.
All of that is just my natural instinct. Then I add in a job where I live on planes, out of suitcases and switching hotels. My lifestyle doesn't allow for full size. When Birchbox launched, I was an immediate fan. (Same with RentTheRunway for basically the same reasons... And I love the idea of a new dress and no dry cleaner.) I can lose a unplanned and large amount of money when I find a Sephora in a foreign country.
Due to international shipping and the fact sometimes I leave my apartment for nearly two months straight, I send my Birchbox's to my mom's. This means roughly twice a year, I get six boxes all at once. Christmas doesn't hold a candle to the fun of opening those beautiful boxes. Last year, my mom had surgery and I flew in for about 30 hours. I took my boxes to the hospital and we opened them together post-op. I wish I had taken photos because thanks to all her pain meds, I played the world's best game of adult beauty parlor.
Travel size, sample size, whatever size are my staples. And I'm addicted. I also love reading blogger reviews of these products, so I figured I should add in my two cents.
I am currently living out of a suitcase for six weeks. Below are my top five new products that had to come along:
- Malin + Goetz Clarifying Clay Mask
- Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk
- Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer
- Dear Clark Thickening Balm
- Tocca Eau de Parfum Bianca
I go through love and hate phases with masks. It's like I forget I have them until my skin hits that dull, lifeless phase where it needs desperate attention. This mask is great because it smooths on so easily and feels like it gently polishes my skin. Ten minutes later and after a quick wash, I feel like new. And the witch hazel and arnica extract, both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, couldn't hurt.
Caudalie is a brand I see constantly in Belgium but was never willing to splurge on a full-size item without trying it out first. I actually have had a few Caudalie items in my boxes over the months (glycolic peel, Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet and Vinoperfect Radiance Serum) but it was the gentle cleansing milk that touched my heart. It is so creamy and smooth. I use it in the mornings when I wake up and don't need to put on makeup right away. I feel like it leaves my face fresh, clean and well-moisturized without any extra weight.
In general, my skin is combination but with all my travel (and not always drinking adequate amounts of water), it tends to get dry, especially in the winter. I wanted a moisturizer that I could wear under my foundation (currently wearing Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Cool Sand) without making it too slick or thick. This moisturizer is packed with avocado and olive oils. All those healthy fats make my skin feel hydrated and nourished...and ready for a slick of foundation, bronzer and the day.
There aren't enough words to explain why I love this thickening balm. I have thin hair, but I have a lot of hair. Hair product doesn't always leave me feeling thrilled. It either gets lost in there or it weighs me down. More often than not, I feel hair products make my hair look greasy. Not this thickening balm. It uses natural ingredients like Rose of Jericho, sunflower seed oil, aloe vera, yucca root, shea butter, rice protein and other plant proteins to plump, protect, and add shine. It's one product that totally multitasks.
When packing for a month in warm weather, I wanted a perfume that would be light and fresh, but that could hold up to a 16-hour day. This perfume starts with a citrus, lemon scent but then finishes with some musky undertones of rose and sugar, which means it was perfect over the past six week. I was happy and excited each morning when I sprayed it on. It set the perfect tone for the day.
I definitely was not paid for any of these recommendations. I received all of these products through my paid Birchbox.