SKIN | Mini Reviews – High-End Skincare

More sample reviews! Here is a selection of trial-size sachets and tubes I’ve collected, from higher-end beauty brands. Do they live up to the hype?

Well, you’d better read on!

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules: These made my face feel a strange combination of siliconey and oily. Unpleasant. They also weren’t too beneficial for my skin, but I think they would be for older skins. Repurchase? No.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Serum: This felt lovely, but I didn’t need it – I just liked using it. It made no difference to my skin, but I’m not the target clientele for this product. Repurchase? No, perhaps in 10 years.

Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream: This smells quite herby and while at first I didn’t like that aspect, it did grow on me. It was a good night cream, perhaps a little oilier feeling than I really like though. I would advise caution for sensitive-skinned people, because of that fragrance aspect. Repurchase? If I couldn’t get my preferred products, sure.

Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream: This is quite a nice all-rounder cream, suitable for most skins and pretty unreactive. It’s for these reasons I keep a tube of it in my makeup artist’s kit; but I want my moisturiser to be a little more targeted for my skin’s needs. Repurchase? Only for my kit.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser: Terrible. Awful. WAY too harsh. Repurchase? No, no no no no.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed:
This is the ‘normal’ skin version of a previous favourite, the Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter. Despite the name ‘foaming’, the shea butter version isn’t too stripping, but this one was. A bit too much for my dry skin, but for oilier complexions it’d work. Repurchase? No.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Night Cream:
This is really nice – thick and comforting, but not too emollient. It reminds me of my favourite, MAC Comfort Creme, but a little heavier on the dimethicone and a stranger scent. Repurchase? Maybe – but not if I can have my MAC one.

Shiseido Future Solution LX Cleansing Foam:
This is a little pot an ex-coworker gave me which had this cleanser in it. It was LOVELY, one of the only foam cleanser I’ve used that didn’t completely strip my skin. I think I preferred the Ibuki Gentle Cleanser a little more for my skin, but this is still a great product. Repurchase? No, just because I like the Ibuki one better.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Caplet Serum:
I’ve written about this in an empties before, when I used up the full size. It feels nice and is enticingly sparkly, but I doubt it actually does anything – I certainly haven’t seen a marked difference. Repurchase? I’ll use up the other minis I have, but won’t repurchase in the full size.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Eye Gel:
Eye gels are no replacement for creams, and this isn’t an exception. Unremarkable. Repurchase? No.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum: Oh, the famed miracle-serum. No idea if it’s actually intended for my skin, but it made it feel bloody lovely – constructive and hydrating, but not too oily. The same way my loved Clarins Double Serum makes my skin feel. Repurchase? Not unless I discover it has some benefits beyond what my Clarins one offers me, as that one is less expensive than ANR.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Moisture Cream SPF 30+: This was a struggle for me to finish, as I really don’t like SPF in my moisturiser. I’ll admit, I’m lazy with SPF, but I’d rather pull my socks up and use seperate SPF and moisturiser, instead of taking a lesser-quality moisturiser. This gave me a white cast, didn’t hydrate enough and felt incredibly thick. Repurchase? No – but if you have normal skin and like a moisturiser with SPF, this would be a good one.

Estée Lauder Take It Away Makeup Remover: I don’t know what it was about this, but it didn’t live up to the hype at all. As a makeup-removing lotion, it felt like it did fuck all – and I don’t wear anything near as hardcore as Double Wear, so how is this supposed to work? I am aware this was an old (4-5 years) tube of my mum’s, which may have been a factor, but yikes – I needed my standard double cleanse even after this. Repurchase? No, give me an oil/balm cleanser any day.

Lipidol Cleansing Face Oil: This was a tiny sachet I used up over a year ago so this review is relying on one use, with a dodgy-at-best memory. Bear with. I do remember being surprised; it was better than I had expected, but certainly not a huge game changer. It was too fragranced and liquidy for my liking – an oil cleanser shouldn’t be the consistency of water. Repurchase? Unlikely – I’d try it again, but I already have oil cleansers I do love.

Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Refining Serum: I first used this nearly 6 years ago in a sample size, and I loved it. My barely-ever-touched skin loved this silky, refining serum, and it inspired my first fascination with my skin. I remember washing my face, putting this on and moisturising – then admiring my face in the mirror. Ah, the seeds of my future obsession. Repurchase? If I could afford it and my pores were more of a problem (like when I don’t use A/BHAs), I would.

What sample/mini things have you tried or used lately?

December Favourites

Lavanila Deodorant – Vanilla Passionfruit:
Lavanila is a deodorant brand I’ve been wanting to try for a few years now – ever since Esteé started raving about it. Luckily it’s available in Sephora in Australia, and my brilliant and kind friend Sophie offered to pick me up some things while she was in Melbourne. I’m a convert – it’s gentle and non-irritating on my annoying eczema-prone underarm skin, and smells amazing, all day. I’ll note that when it goes on it’s a thick white paste, but I assure you it doesn’t mark or stain any clothes. My trusty Bionsen deodorant has a contender!

Oasis Sun SPF30 Suncream:
As a translucent, milky-white skinned specimen I usually smirk at SPF 30, but it turns out that’s quite a naïve view. I’ve used this as my only suncream, both as day-to-day facial skin protection and as a dedicated sunburn prevention in direct sun. Both ways its excellent, and while I know it’s not supposed to be water-resistant I’ve been consistently and impressively protected, even spending all day sunbathing in the pool.
I do have to say that I’ve not tried too much from Oasis Beauty. However, I’ve definitely heard good things, and I’ve been so enamoured with this stuff that I think I’ve found a new brand to scope out..

Nude By Nature Single Eyeshadow – #12 Quartz:
When a palette I’d been wanting was sold out in Sephora, I asked Sophie to surprise me with anything she thought I’d suit in the palette’s place. She brought me back this shadow from Nude By Nature and holy shit I am so glad. I’d never really looked too far into Nude By Nature, and while I had seen they’d revamped their range and begun bringing out new things, I never looked too closely – my mistake. If this eyeshadow is anything to go by, I’m surprised the whole range isn’t sold out! It’s buttery, hugely pigmented, housed in in gorgeous copper-toned packaging and flatters my blue eyes like few other things do.. what’s not to love?

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation:
Okay, so this is far from a new item – in fact, it’s half gone. But this month I’ve had an extra appreciation for my ‘lazy face’ foundation, my MAC Studio Fix powder. I don’t wear a great deal of makeup (I know, what kind of MUA am I?!), and when I do I like it to be able to be done fast. Studio Fix lets me chuck on an even-ish layer of base in a heartbeat, and doesn’t protest when I want to add further powder on top. It settles on my skin pretty quickly at this time of year, and doesn’t suck all the moisture from my skin.


Hello Tanya’s Nail/Cuticle Oil:
Now that I see Tanya on a semi-regular basis and my nails are beginning to bounce back from The Acrylic Experience, I’m making an effort to actually care for them. Hand cream was a basic step, but then Tanya explained that to do my hands justice, I should use cuticle oil too. She’s begun to make and sell her own blend, and it is the TITS. Seriously, you’ve never tried a more nourishing and wonderfully-scented oil, and definitely not one that sinks in as fast as this (without leaving a filmy residue, too). It’s only available in limited quantities, so I suggest you check Tanya out lickety-split; quite aside from the cuticle oil, her expertise is a surefire ticket to snazzy nails.

Real Techniques Blush Brush:
I don’t have the hugest collection of makeup brushes compared to your average MUA, but I definitely have more than enough – especially when it comes to powder brushes. I’m not sure why, but I significantly prefer a more tapered and fluffy brush to apply my powders, and the Real Techniques Blush Brush hits the mark dead-on. It reminds me of the Bobbi Brown Powder Brush in it’s style, but it sheds much less, and weathers a lot better. It’s been working seamlessly with the aforementioned MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation to give me a finish that’s even, but not too heavy.

Goodness Every Evening Night Cream:
As I mentioned in last month’s Favourites post, I’ve been trialling the Goodness range, from the people behind Trilogy. In that post I professed my love for the Chia Seed Oil, and in this post I’m all about their night cream. Morgan raved about it last year, my friend Nicole is a fan and now I’m jumping on the bandwagon. The chia seed oil base is nourishing and soft without being heavy or reactive, it doesn’t interfere with my various other skincare layers and it smells of honeysuckle. Oh, it also lasts AGES. Seriously. I use this nearly every night and I’m not even halfway through my mini size. I’ll have absolutely no problems paying $24 for the full size.

What products did you love in December?