Mainstream Monday: Sample Challenge 1

sample challengeAs anyone who’s ever shopped at Sephora online knows, it can be super easy to accumulate a ton of beauty samples. I think it’s silly that I have so many that I haven’t tried yet, so I’ve started a challenge for myself. I put a cute box in the middle of my makeup area and I filled it up with samples I want to get through. I figure if I see them, I’ll use them. And at the end of the month if there’s anything in the box that I haven’t at least used once, it goes into the giveaway pile. Today I pulled some of the make up things out of the box and did a simple look with them. The samples were Josie Maran’s lip and cheek oil, Buxom Lash Mascara and Benefit They’re Real gel liner. Spoiler alert: I love one, hate one and like the other just fine. My thoughts on the products are at the end of this post. Because pictures first.

sample challenge 1 Totally uneven liner. Thicker on one eye than the other, and nothing I did changed it. I gave up. The lip and cheek oil is pretty though!

sample challenge 1 samplesEyes:

  • Shiro Doge
  • Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner
  • Buxom Lash Mascara


  • MAC Face and Body in N1
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Limitless Pink


  • Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Limitless Pink

I kept this look super simple so I could really see how the samples performed. I started with a quick wash of Doge, a sheer champagne, all over the lid. Then I opened the They’re Real liner. Then I tried to figure out how in the world to get the liner to come out. Turns out you squeeze the bottom of the rubbery tip bit. But it’s super tricky to get the right amount. Then I did my usual winged liner, but it took about five times as long and even then was uneven. (Guess which one’s the product I hate?) I applied mascara and marveled at how nice it is to have a product that is quick and easy to apply. I did my face as usual before turning to the lip and cheek oil. I read the instructions, which were… unhelpful. Writing “How to use: This cream will melt to an oil for a soft flush of hydrating color when applied to the lips or the apples of the cheeks.” doesn’t actually tell me, you know, how to use the product. I put a tiny bit on my finger and dotted it on to the apples of my cheeks and blended it out using a circular motion, which worked well. I used my finger to apply it to my lips as well. But it stuck to my dry patches, so I took it off, exfoliated (it had been a while) and put it back on. Look complete.

All in all, there was one total win, one fail and one “it’s nice.” I love the Buxom Lash mascara. It goes on very nicely and the shape of the brush (which is thinner in the middle and thicker on both ends) makes it really easy to get all my lashes covered without covering my eyelid with mascara dots. Plus, it makes my lashes look great! If I ever run out of mascara samples, I would definitely buy this.

The Benefit They’re Real liner, however, was the opposite end of the spectrum. There’s pretty much nothing I like about this. As you know if yo have ever looked at my blog, I love winged liner. I’m pretty decent at winged liner. But this made me feel like I had no skills. It was hard to figure out and clumpy and applied unevenly and I couldn’t tell where the product was going to go because it was the same color as the tip. I hear there’s a learning curve for this, but I don’t think I care enough to figure it out. There was such hype around this when it came out (I wound up with not one but two free samples of it), but it’s just not great.  Besides being difficult to apply, it started flaking within five hours. I’m happy with my regular liquid liners. Give me Stila or Kat Von D any day. I would never, ever buy this and would give the second sample away if I knew anyone who I thought would like it.

Last was the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil, which has a stupidly long name. Typing it all out kinda bugs me. However, I like the product. I love me a good dual lip/cheek stain. This is not quite a stain, but a similar product. It was easy to apply on both the lips and cheeks and not streaky at all. It’s a pretty color on me, I think, and very natural. It’s lemon flavored, but not too strongly. I like it. But the color’s not that strong on the lips and it’s a little bit migratory, not I’d pretty much only use it as a cheek product. I’m not sure I would pay 18 dollars for it, but I’ll definitely swatch the rest of the colors next time I’m at Sephora, and would consider buying it in mini sizes.

So those are my thoughts. Have you discovered any products you love amongst your free samples? Any sample disasters?


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