Friday, July 14, 2017

Sample Rundown #13

I tried a slew of new products while I was away this summer, so it's time for Sample Rundown! Yet again, I've kind of accidentally worked with a theme here; this post features products I ended up having a love-hate relationship with, or they were really good with a few caveats.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Volume Shampoo and Conditioner -- "Caviar" is right: a full size of either the shampoo or conditioner will set you back $34. Verb is usually as high-end as I go with hair products, but they were free and I was intrigued, so off I went! On the bright side, this stuff really made my hair voluminous; my hair looked twice as full and felt much thicker. It also maintained a lot of the softness that is the one benefit of having hair as fine as mine. Unfortunately, it seemed to amplify my frizz, even when I used anti-frizz products on top. I didn't get a lot of definition with this shampoo and conditioner combo, either. I'd go from having curly hair to...well, just big, poofy hair. The volume was nice, the frizz was not.

Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector -- I got this in a Sephora Play! box before I halted my subscription to save money, and honestly, I wasn't too excited to see it. I haven't had the best luck with Living Proof's extremely expensive range. I've ended up really enjoying this particular product, though. First, I decided not to cut my hair this summer, since I usually wear it up anyway to combat the heat and oppressive humidity. Second, my partner is visiting, so I've been spending more time outside, in lakes, and covered in sunscreen, all of which can damage my hair. Night Cap has been a great deep conditioning treatment for me, providing glossiness and taming split ends. Of course, there are a few issues. This product is clearly considered an "overnight," "pillow-safe" mask because most people shower in the morning; I shower at night, so I quickly learned that leaving it in for 24 hours is overkill. 4-5 hours was totally sufficient for me. Furthermore, I didn't notice that this lasted for "five shampoos" as promised: it was one wash cycle and done for me. Despite those minor quibbles, I'd still repurchase this product if it was available in this sample size, which is more than enough for me.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil -- Let's get this out of the way: argan oil only works for me when it feels like it. It makes my skin incredibly soft and smooth, but it also tends to break me out, and I can never tell if it's going to leave me looking more hydrated or more pimply. Hence, while I love the hydration I get from just 2-3 drops of this oil, I quickly decided it wasn't worth the unpredictable breakouts. That said, I honestly think it's hard to beat Josie Maran as far as argan oil quality goes. This product feels lighter and smells less than other kinds I've tried, and while the price tag is cringe-worthy, a couple of drops of this bad boy went a long way.

Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Sandwash Pink -- I used Bobbi Brown's lipsticks almost a decade ago, and my analysis of them at the time was "sedate, aimed-at-working-ladies shade range in a solid, but not spectacular, formula that kind of smells." Testing Sandwash Pink in 2017, I'm still feeling roughly the same way. The small range of mostly my-lips-but-better shades and the same black packaging that gathers fingerprints like a mofo feels a bit dated, I have to admit. But the formula is creamy and pigmented, and while it tastes a bit waxy, at least it doesn't reek of fake fruit or dry out my mouth. I don't know if I'd drop $29 on this mauve pink shade when I could get a cheaper formula I like more, like Besame or MAC, but I'll likely finish this one up. It's...decent.


  1. I'm intrigued by that Living Proof mask now. Hmmmmm. I got a sample of their in-shower styler, which does interesting things to my hair, and yesterday I got a cut and the stylist conditioned my hair with Living Proof. It's very soft and shiny today. But then that may just be the usual unrepeatable haircut magic. I tend not to spend that much money on hair products, though.

  2. My first big-ticket lipstick purchase was Bobbi Brown Roseberry, which I wore the hell out of in 2011 and 2012. It was a beautiful color (similar to Revlon Sultry), but I didn't quite realize at the time that I could find lipsticks that didn't smell weird or dry out my lips. I haven't bought anything from Bobbi Brown since; you're right, the brand feels dated. They don't seem to be very interested in innovating or jumping on trends, which I can respect: they clearly have a lot of loyal customers who will keep coming back to their favorite products. But yeah, not really for me.