This was the one product I was unable to sample. The product was no longer a whipped cream when it got to me. The oil had separated, leaving oily residue everywhere and a thick, grainy sludge inside the container. It also smelled horrible.
At least one other reviewer had a similar problem with the Drunk Elephant product. At $60 for 1.69 oz, I don’t want to have to deal with an unstable product. I’m disappointed, because Drunk Elephant is apparently a really great brand. I might investigate their TLC Night Serum, but that’s another pricey commitment to make after a bad experience with this sample.
belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb (.33 oz) Full size, $38; Value, $7.46.
This product smells amazing. The .33 oz sampler lasted about two weeks. I found the product to be a bit watery, but it absorbed quickly. Apparently there’s a less watery version, the Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, that I may want to investigate later, since I liked this one so much. I think the Aqua Bomb is a good morning moisturizer before make up, but unfortunately doesn’t suit my combination skin enough for me to spend $38 for 1.68 oz.
IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream (.23 oz) Full size, $48; Value, $5.52.
A little of this cream goes a long way. It’s a lot thicker than the belif Aqua Bomb and dramatically more moisturizing without feeling heavy. It also smells super good; though after reading one review that referred to it as a “Windex” smell, I began doubting my senses. Still, the moisturizer left my face feeling so soft. I didn’t feel like it clogged my pores, but I did think it was too thick to use as an a.m. moisturizer for those of us with oily skin. I really loved it, and of all the face products in this post, this is the one that I’m most likely to repurchase.
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream (.3 oz) Full size, $65; Value, $11.47.
This has a vague cucumber scent. The consistency is thinner than IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream, but a tad thicker than the belif True Cream Aqua Bomb. Instead of leaving my skin feeling soft, it feels tight. I’m not a fan, and felt by the end of the sample bottle that my skin felt dry, which is kind of the opposite goal of moisturizers. Sunday Riley is apparently a very nice brand, though. Her C.E.O. moisturizer, Luna night oil, and Good Genes treatment kept popping up in my skin care research. I would definitely keep an eye out for any opportunities I have to try those.
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (.25 oz) Full size, $65; Value, $9.56.
This is a thinner moisturizer, not a thick cream. It feels almost tacky on the skin. My skin doesn’t soak up the moisture right away, and it makes the cream feel like it doesn’t spread evenly. It does dry down eventually. I don’t like the formula because I don’t like that tacky feel, but I could see how other people might like this. I also broke out pretty bad the weeks I was using this. I am cautious to blame any face products because I’ve read it takes six weeks to know for sure if a face product is causing the problem, and these samples did not last quite that long. Still, I was so glad to use this product up. I can’t recommend it.
REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream (.5 oz) Full size, $45; Value, $13.24.
I love the thick formula, which dries down quickly. It has a faint almost pine scent. It Cosmetics still wins for me overall. For a short period of time right when I started using this sample, my skin was dry and peeling. I partially blame the change in seasons/weather. Even later, while my skin was soft, it never felt as moisturized and healthy as it did with the It Cosmetics lotion.
Dr.Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer (1 oz) Full size, $36; Value, $10.91.
This has a really fresh scent. It’s somewhere between a cream and gel. It has more of a gel appearance, but it spreads evenly and quickly. It dries down just a little tight. I didn’t prefer this product. To begin with I prefer thick creams, and I like it when you can feel and see your skin being more moisturized and soft immediately. I’ve been reading up on skin care and know that it’s hard to judge a product with only a few weeks of wear, especially if you’re mixing other products into your routine at the same time. I think this may have brightened my skin some, but the usage coincided with some pretty bad break outs I had, which may have been caused by a new brand of make up remover wipe I was using. In summary, the verdict is out for me on the actual value of this product, but I didn’t like it enough personally to use it again.
GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER Mega Illuminating Moisturizer (.24 oz) Full size, $49; Value, $6.92.
I legit hate this. It smells like cake batter and lemon to me. I’m sensitive to super sugary or super floral scents. It dries down very fast as well; as in, it’s already become part of your skin while you’re still applying it. This makes it feel like it’s not moisturizing at all. The shimmer to it just highlights all unevenness of my skin. I regret putting this in my 12 Pans of Christmas Project Pan. I’ll try to use it on a day with my foundation to see if there’s any change in my opinion, but right now this type of product is not for me.
Update: OK. I used it with my Rimmel Pro-Matte foundation, and it made my makeup look amazing. I use a primer, so I’m not sure what it is about this that improved my foundation game so much. I won’t be repurchasing this, but I might be looking into similar products–either a liquid highlighter or a lotion mixed in.
Josie Maran 100 percent Pure Argan Oil (.15 oz) Full size, $48; Value, $4.24.
As someone with oily skin already, I don’t have a lot of experience with face oils. I have that natural aversion to adding extra oil to my face! I’ve found the best explanation of how to use face oil comes from Stephanie Nicole on YouTube. (She also has an amazing, detailed affordable skin care video broken out by skin type.) I can’t really give a great review on this. The only other facial oil I’ve tried is a Marula oil from my Boxycharm. Since I lean toward oily skin, I struggle to use these products consistently enough to attribute any skin improvement to them. I ended up donating this to a friend.
I was pretty excited for this. With the name “intense hydration” and “ultra repair” I was prepared for a super thick evening cream that would make my skin feel as baby soft as the IT Cosmetics. I think that’s actually where I went wrong with this whole review. I fell in love with how soft my skin was the weeks I used the IT Cosmetics cream, and nothing could ever quite compare. There’s nothing wrong with this lotion, that I can tell. It just didn’t live up to my dreams for it.
In terms of value, I received $80.36 worth of product for $39. (Sephora claims a retail value of $88.) I would not have purchased this at the $48 it was before going on sale. It has given me about five months of usable face product, which is not bad. Now that I have a bit of an introduction to some brands and products, I’m more likely to ask for samples of some of these at Sephora rather than buy a sample size set again, unless it was a perfect combo of items that I want to try or brands I’ve wanted to research more.
Do you have any holy grail face items you would swear by? Send them my way!