Two weeks ago was the last week of Sample Swag September, an amazing month of sample testing. It was glorious and wonderful and it really helped me clear some space off my counters.
The last week of Sample Swag September is a weird one. It’s a mishmash of eco-friendly samples I received during my Fresh Faced haul. That means a ton of brands and ingredients I wasn’t completely sure would work together instead of collaboratively wreak chaos on my skin. It was a large gamble.
Another variable was my holiday. I left a temperate early fall in favour of hot, humid and sunny summer. It was amazing, but it meant that the skin conditions I was working with the rest of the month were out the window.
My skin was reverting back to combination/oily, skewing heavily – at times – on the oily side. As a result my skin had different needs. Light hydration during the day, heavier hydration during the night (to counteract the air conditioning) as well as some major need for heavy hydration delivered to my tresses.
Yes. For the first time on the blog we will be talking about something that isn’t skin care-related.
1. Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser: The little beads in this cleanser provides thorough cleansing and gentle exfoliation, perfect for getting rid of a day’s worth of grime from the beach. It’s pleasantly fruity and herbal smelling and pink. There’s no residue left over after rinsing and my skin is noticeably smoother.
2. Innisfree wine peeling jelly softener: Maybe it’s just me, but this softener’s smell reminds me so much of Dimetapp, the over-the-counter cold medicine that smells and tastes a lot like sweet grape juice. This is a peeling gel – similar to Cure’s Natural Aqua Gel – and is super gentle, but incredibly effective at exfoliation. Rubbing a little bit of this on my skin ended up creating an absurd amount of dead skin (rolled up in eraser-type shavings).
3. Innisfree tangerine blossom perfumed body cleanser: I didn’t really like this when I first opened the packet. The flowery, citrus scent is really strong. It becomes more subtle after rinsing, which I really prefer. The cleanser is good; it didn’t dry me out. I like cleansers that foam up a lot and this didn’t really deliver. That, and the initial powerful smell, makes this product a pass for me.
4. Yarok feed your volume shampoo: I normally use a twice-weekly baking soda and ACV wash, but on holiday I needed something to use daily to wash off the ocean salt and combat hard water. I didn’t really notice any volume, but I loved how gentle the formula is. No sulfates or parabens! My thoroughly-cleansed hair and scalp appreciate this!
5. Yarok feed your volume conditioner: Again, I normally use a twice-weekly (if that) baking soda and ACV wash, but that was definitely not happening on holiday. This delivered a lot of moisture to my battered ends and left my hair silky soft. I found it quite herbal smelling and it was also a good detangler. Would definitely purchase.
6. Dr. Alkaitis mascara & eye makeup remover: This is oil-based, which I loved. But overall, I wasn’t a fan of this. It says this was made with almond oil, but it felt like there was a little bit of castor oil in it. It had that thick consistency to it. It’s a good cleanser (taking off my light makeup and heavy layers of SPF) and left my face moisturized, but it felt too heavy on my skin.
7. Malin + Goetz neroli hand + body lotion: This is a really lightweight cream. It honestly doesn’t feel like I’m wearing lotion. It’s amazing and makes my skin feel so soft. Love that it is unscented as well!
8. Malin + Goetz vitamin e face moisturizer: This is a white, unscented cream. It was perfect for my holiday: it was light, delivered lots of hydration and was non-greasy.
9. One Love Organics skin savior: This is the first balm type cleanser I’ve tried. I love it. Citrusy, with a hint of coconut. It is a bit of a strong scent for me, though. As a cleanser I found this to be gentle, effective and so relaxing to apply and take off. I haven’t tried it as a moisturizer, but the fact that it is a multiuse product is a definite bonus!
10. Skoah hydradew mask: Skoah is a Canadian skin care company. Hydradew is one of their hydrating masks and it is good. It goes on clear and can be left on for 20 minutes like a normal mask or used as a sleep pack overnight. Smells amazing to boot!
11. Aromatica rose absolute first serum: I love this so much. I had a bottle of this and it is amazing. Chic packaging encases a lightweight, hydrating serum made mostly of natural ingredients with a very fresh rose scent. What’s not to love? Oh yeah. It’s pretty affordable too. Check my Aromatica review for more information. A shame that this isn’t as readily available for purchase outside of Korea. Now I have to rely on very generous friends to ship me some or bite the bullet and purchase online.
12. Nature Republic collagen mask: Technically not a sample, I’m counting it as such since it was included as the many freebies I received during a Nature Republic run. Collagen is a type of tissue we have in the skin that aids in elasticity, renewal and generally helps skin look young and fresh. I don’t really need it, but thought it would be a good mask to take with me on a plane.
By the way, putting a mask on a plane wasn’t nearly a scary experience as I thought it would be! I did it when all the lights were dimmed, so that might have played a big part in it all.
There you have it! The last week of Sample Swag September!
For more, check out other weeks in the series: