The big declutter 2017: sample update and mini reviews #2


A week or so ago, I introduced the above bundle of sample products to my 2017 declutter series (see that post here). At the time I'd already been using the products for a week or so, it just took me a while to edit my photos and get that post up.

I've now finished off a few of the above products and the others are on the way out because I've been using them consistently since then, so it's time to update this post with mini reviews.

I may also eventually do separate, full reviews of some products - once I've finished them completely and have given them a longer test-run. 

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra for Reactive Skin (50ml)

This came from our recent edit of The Parcel (unboxed here). It's apparently an extremely gentle, rinse-free cleanser to remove makeup, dirt and impurities without redness or irritation. It's free of parabens, colourants, fragrance and soap.

I've been using this for over two weeks now and I do think it's a decent micellar water: it's working better for me than some others I've tried, including Bioderma's. It cuts through makeup well and it hasn't irritated my dry, sensitive skin.

Having said this, I prefer the micellars I've used from eg Avene (reviewed here) and Unani (reviewed here) so I'm more likely to buy those, or even Garnier's version (reviewed here), which is cheaper.

Still, it does what it says it will do without 'upsetting' my skin so that's something.

L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream (8ml)

This came in our last Ageless Parcel (unboxed here). The product description notes that L'Occitane has invested in the very first large-scale, sustainable and organic immortelle program in Corsica (immortelle being a flower with exceptional longevity). The cream should leave skin looking more luminous, revitalised and rejuvenated.

I was looking forward to using this one because it just looks special and I'd also heard good things about it from a subscriber I trust. I'm happy to report that I am really enjoying it: it's so smooth, rich and velvety without being too heavy or feeling like it clogs pores.

I've also found that it sits well under makeup (I wasn't sure it would, given that it is quite rich), so I can use it as both a day and night cream. I mightn't buy it because it is quite pricey and it hasn't kicked out any of my favourite facial skincare, but it's still a lovely product and one I can recommend if you're after something luxe that feels special.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (7.1ml)

This came in one of my Mecca Beauty Loop boxes (unboxed here). It's apparently an award-winning primer that delivers a silky finish, creates a smooth base and increases the wear of your foundation.

I've seen plenty of beauty-lovers rave about this product so it's been on my list of things to test for a while. And I have been testing it on and off over the past couple of weeks, although not as consistently as I would have liked because I'm starting to wonder whether it's responsible for the break-outs I've been getting. Silicone-based products sometimes do break me out, so I wouldn't be surprised if this one did too.

Otherwise I'm on the fence about this product as it stands: I'll need to test it more before giving it a full review (and indeed it's this product that's been 'holding up' this mini review post). What I will say, though, is that it does what you'd expect a silicone primer to do - so it fills in pores and has a smoothing effect - but it also doesn't last well on my skin. My makeup tends to last less when I use it, perhaps because it's a slippery product, and I'm not sure it's worth the price-tag.

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Daily Youth Restoring Serum (5ml)

The capsules in this little serum apparently contain a ceramide formula that's clinically and dermatologically tested. The product claims to deliver triple the anti-ageing power to enhance skin's barrier repair function, replenish essential lipids and support skin's natural renewal process.

I've used up this little sample completely now and it was one of those products that didn't swing me either way - so it wasn't amazing or very bad, it was just somewhere in the middle. I liked that it was very thin in texture (that's normally how I prefer my serums to be) and it also had a brightening effect, although it wasn't super hydrating and my dry skin's feeling more comfortable now that I've switched to using something else. So yes, this wasn't awful but it also wasn't for me.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in 01 Rose

As you may know, I'm part of the secret community of people who don't love the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors (I've reviewed one here), but I'm too afraid to talk about that much because everyone else is obsessed with them! ; )

This balm, however, has blown my socks off. It looks like a gloss but feels like a balm (so that claim is true), and it also leaves your lips feeling hydrated and soft as claimed. Plus it has a plumping effect and feels super nourishing. I'm so obsessed with it that I want to go out and buy the whole range, but I have too many lip products as it is so I'll have to wait until I finish some before buying more.

Love. They remind me of Chantecialle's Lip Chics (I've reviewed one of those here), but I actually prefer these Clarins ones. They feel even more hydrating and nourishing than the Lip Chics do.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (5ml)

Sorry, I forgot to photograph this product individually because I'm a big spanner, but you'll see it pictured in the opening shot.

No need to rabbit on here: it's an HG product of mine and it probably doesn't need much introduction because it's well-loved in the beauty community and has been for years. It's one of those amazing cult products that does exactly what it says it will do and seems to work wonders for a variety of different skin types. Full review here.

The only other comment I have to note after using this daily again is that I much prefer it over makeup than I do underneath it, not only because of how well it plumps/refreshes the skin, but also because it can sometimes 'ball up' under makeup, so it's better to use this as a 'topper' product in my experience.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Moisture Rich Night Cream (15g)

This also came in our last edit of The Parcel. The cream contains cocoa butter - 'nature's super beauty ingredient', according to Palmer's - as well as retinol and vitamin e to promote softer, smoother and younger-looking skin. With the added goodness of peptides to protect cell structure, it claims to be the perfect overnight repair treatment. 

While I do love Palmer's for body care, I'm not sure it's a brand I'd turn to for facial skincare - and this cream only confirmed that opinion. It wasn't awful but I didn't love it either: it's just not hydrating enough for my skin, and I couldn't use it as my night cream without eventually putting something over the top to help boost hydration.

This was also my experience when I tried it for day use: ie, my skin felt and looked dry so it's not something I could use under makeup if I wanted to look my best. I also didn't notice any other benefits while using it (eg, softer, younger-looking skin as claimed).

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner (15ml)

Another product from The Parcel. This should mattify, refine and smooth the skin's texture. Thanks to a natural astringent action, dilated pores are tightened. Skin is left shine-free and more radiant. Its powdery finish makes it an excellent makeup base.

Bioderma is one of those brands that just can't seem to make a product that works for me, plus I have dry skin so I tend to run from anything that makes me look matte. I tried this three times before sending it to the declutter pile. Yes it mattifies but I don't think it tightens pores (it does blur the look of them a bit, though), and it's also really drying on me - which you'd expect, given that it's not designed for my skin-type.

In sum

Hooray to moving through some more samples! While I haven't completely cleared all of these products from my collection just yet, most of them are either finished or almost finished so we're getting there and you'll see them in an empties post soon.

Do let me know if you've tried any of these products and what you think of them if so. I'd love to hear.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

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