Samples from

I recently discovered the sample scheme on (yes, I know I’m a little behind the times!) and I think it’s a brilliant idea! If you don’t know what it is, the site offers the opportunity to choose 5 samples of your choice and you just pay the £3.95 postage. You can do this as many times as you like as far as I’m aware and there are a huge range of samples, from haircare to beauty to perfume.

The £3.95 postage seems just a tad expensive for amount of product you actually get but the principle of being able to try before you buy is great. I think this is especially good when some of the products are not available in stores and you may not be able to see them in a shop first. I’m possibly a bit unusual in this, but I still quite dislike buying beauty/skincare products online unless I’ve tried them first, so this is perfect for me.

The samples I got were these:

1. Madara Organic Face Delicate Cleansing Milk (£17.50, 200ml)

2. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£28, 30ml)

3. Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil (£31, 195ml)

4. Bioderma Soothing Repairing Cream (£7.10, 40ml)

5. La Roche-Posay In-Depth Nutri-Reconstituting Cream (£16.50, 50ml)

So after trying the samples, would I actually buy any of these products?

1. Madara Organic Face Delicate Cleansing Milk (£17.50, 200ml)

I really liked this product! It felt lovely to apply to my skin and I enjoyed incorporating it into my nightly cleansing routine. After my make-up remover, I usually just use a face wash, but after trying this product, I definitely want to switch to a cream cleanser as I think it is a lot better for my skin. This product is organic, which I don’t know if this really makes a difference to the quality of the product but it certainly felt very gentle on my skin and after I had rinsed it off, I didn’t experience any tightness at all, which is just short of a miracle for me because usually anytime I put water on my face, it dries me out!! I was very impressed with this product so I will definitely purchase when my current face face has run out.

2. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£28, 30ml)

I don’t have very much to say about this product really. I don’t find that serums feel particularly nice on the skin – kind of tacky and filmy – so you’re using them for the moisturising effect and this product didn’t seem to be any better than any other serums I’ve tried. It was fine and it does do it’s job but I don’t think it’s that special. I haven’t looked in detail at the ingredient list but this serum essentially felt the same as The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid and for 6 times the price, I don’t know why I would pay for this product.

3. Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil (£31, 195ml)

I had never used a cleansing oil before but I think this is a good one. Firstly it smells amazing, sort of citrous-y and fresh – really lovely. It feels great on the skin, very moisturising and smooth. I think it would be a bit heavy on the skin to use in the morning but as an evening cleanser it would be really nice to use when your skin needs a treat. For this reason, I probably wouldn’t buy this cleanser as I don’t think I would use this as an everyday product.

4. Bioderma Soothing Repairing Cream (£7.10, 40ml)

Of the 5 products, this was the one I was most disappointed with. I had chosen it hoping to find a product that would be good for my eczema but I found this to be extremely ineffectual and not that nice to apply to my skin. It comes out of the tube a rather odd colour and the consistency is strange: it appears creamy but when you rub it in, it goes weirdly watery and thin. Definitely wouldn’t purchase!

5. La Roche-Posay In-Depth Nutri-Reconstituting Cream (£16.50, 50ml)

This cream was nice to use and smells really good. It absorbs really well into the skin while still being quite rich and creamy, which I liked because it means it’s great to apply before make-up and it still gives my skin the moisture it needs (and my skin needs a lot!). Having said this, I don’t think I would buy this product simply because I am still wedded to The Body Shop Vitamin E moisturiser, which is so far the best moisturiser I have ever used.

To conclude, there is only 1 out of the 5 products I tried that I would actually buy and it isn’t the one that I thought I would like best. Madara wasn’t a brand I’d heard of before ordering these samples so I would probably never have discovered it otherwise! In writing this post, I have also found it interesting to find out the price of these products. When I picked these samples, I didn’t actually look at how much they would be to buy in full size so it was good to try the products without being influenced by their supposed ‘value’. I think it is definitely easy to be swayed by branding and price (where expensive is supposed to equal better) so it was a good little experiment in this sense too.


REVIEW: Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

In my first post I talked about my experience having a Daily Detox at the Clinique counter and what I thought of the products. You may remember that I was also given a 4 week sample of the new Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (£34, 50ml) so this is my review after using the product for a few weeks.

Firstly, a little goes a long way with this product so although it is quite expensive, I think if you had the full sized container it would last a good while. Although I haven’t used it absolutely every day, it’s been over 6 weeks since I got the sample tub and I still haven’t used it all.

Initially I liked this moisturiser – it is more like a gel than any other moisturisers I’ve had so it’s very light and it absorbs into the skin very quickly. It also isn’t greasy in the slightest, which I find is often a problem with more intense moisturisers.

However after having used it for a reasonable amount of time now, I haven’t seen any noticeable difference to my skin. I get the same results just by using my Vitamin E moisturiser from The Body Shop or even my Simple light moisturiser, both of which are much cheaper alternatives.

After the recommendation of the beauty advisor at Clinique, I was also hoping that this might become a product I could use to help manage my eczema, specifically for areas on my face, but unfortunately this has not happened and this product doesn’t make any impact at all. I know that this moisturiser is not marketed as a suitable product for treating eczema and Clinique doesn’t make any claims to suggest this, so it is probably unfair to judge it on this. However other people must get dry, flaky skin from time to time and although this cream is designed for dry skin – ‘thirst relief’ – I don’t think it provides the hydration that it claims to offer.

Secondly, I just don’t really like the gel formula of this moisturiser in comparison with the creamy ones I usually go for. This is mainly just personal preference so it is not really a criticism in itself. But I did find that this product leaves a sort of residue on my skin that I don’t like very much. ‘Residue’ is probably not the right word but the best way to describe it is that if I run my fingers over my face a few minutes after applying the cream, it feels like there’s a odd friction, rather than being just completely smooth. Weird!

Overall, I definitely won’t be buying this product and it’s also put me off using gel-type moisturisers in the future. I still like Clinique as a brand but I just don’t think this product was for me.

The Ordinary is Anything but Ordinary

I first heard about The Ordinary brand through Lily Pebbles blog and I was pleasantly surprised by the very reasonable price of their products when I looked on their website. I was then excited to find that you can order it on Asos so I promptly ordered the Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5 formula (£5.70) to see if it would work for me.

Due to my eczema, the main problem I have with my skin is dryness and hyaluronic acid is supposed to work really well for moisturising. It is a substance that is naturally found in your body’s connective tissue and one molecule can hold up to 1000 times it’s own weight in water! Therefore it has unique properties for holding water in your skin, thus helping skin appear plumper and well hydrated. Sounds perfect!

I’ve been using the Hyaluronic Acid formula for about a week and a half now; I use it in the evenings after cleansing and before moisturising. The bottle comes with a little pipette so I tend to put it on a cotton pad rather than directly on my skin.

It feels quite gel-like and only a few drops are needed per application. I’m not sure how effective it would be purely on it’s own, but it certainly helps my moisturiser to absorb much more easily than normal, so in combination, the two products work really well to make my face feel gorgeously smooth and soft.

I was hoping to see a noticeable difference in my eczema (which is often a problem around my lips and eyes) and so far I don’t think I’ve seen any vast improvement. However, I often need to use a product for a more prolonged period to see if it will make an impact on my eczema so I may yet see some results.

I like the packaging of the product – it feels quite clinical, which can sometimes put me off, but in this instance the simplicity is really appealing as it reflects an unfussy brand that tries to produce ethical and effective skin solutions.

I also like the website which is easy to navigate and the product descriptions are great for understanding exactly what is in the individual products. The only thing I think could be improved is for the brand to have a better guide about which products are best for which skin problem. For instance, there are a lot of products for hydration, particularly the oils, so it is quite difficult to know which ones to choose. I understand that it may be best to actual visit the store in Spitalfields, where no doubt a shop assistant would be able to advise me but nonetheless I think a little bit more clarity on the website would be great.

I am definitely considering trying some of their other products and I am excited to have found a new brand to explore.