Friday, June 15, 2012

Fragrance Review - Escada Rockin’ Rio

I was sent a couple of very small postcard samples of Rockin’ Rio from Escada as part of a promotion to try some of their new (?) scents. I know that there were a few other scents that could be requested, but this was the one that was the best suited to me judging both by its descriptions and by the scent profile-survey that interested participants could take.

This is a really nice scent, and I actually did really like the smell. It was a lush fragrance which Sephora describes as young, fruity, and tropical. The problem was with the longevity of the scent. Between when I applied it and when I left the apartment, it had essentially vanished. It was too bad, because I really liked the scent, and I thought it would be a great summer option.

I would be really interested in trying a sample of this at a department store from a tester bottle instead of relying on the little swipe that was included in my postcard. Maybe the formula is different on the cotton swipe than in the bottle? If so, that really is too bad – I was totally ready to love this scent, and if they happened to cut costs on the samples by reducing the carrying component, it would be a bad way to experience the product.

Does anyone reading this blog know if companies generally use a lower quality of carrying oils (I think that would be the correct term – do fix me if I am wrong) in small samples?

P.S. – Who knew that Escada ships out of Budapest? Both of my postcards shipped out of Hungary.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Product Review - NewTree Dark Chocolate and Coffee in "Vigor"

Hey guys! Before I get to my product review, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been using my Sircle Samples referral link. I have had a bunch of readers join with it, and I am SO grateful to you guys! Thank you all bunches. I hope you get some cool stuff through the program!

 This afternoon I have a product that came in my Conscious Box a few months ago: the NewTree dark chocolate and coffee bar. I think this is the cutest idea, especially for chocoholics -- caffeine and chocolate must be a good combo for you guys, right? :P

I did enjoy this product, though I admit to having eaten my bar samples at a time when I was on a "ingesting more caffeine than any other nutrient" week of my life, so I did not see much of the energizing effect that they advertise. I imagine that there would be one for normal, not-caffeine-addicted human beings. As it is, it is a tasty bar. I seem to really like dark chocolates more than non-dark chocolates. The raw/natural flavor is really apparent and less chocolate-y to me...

I would definitely like to try more of these, especially when I can appreciate their role as little chocolate energy bars. I think this is a really nice little company, and I was happy to try it out.

They have a really pretty website that you guys should check out: They have ginger bars that I would kill peeps to try, lol! I haven't had chocolate and ginger together, but ginger is about one of my favorite things, so it cannot be a bad combination.

Product Review - Equate Medicated Apricot Scrub

Holy crap. Yes, yes that is a Wal-Mart brand you see!

This has been a staple of my shower and beauty routine for years. I have bad breakouts if I stop using this product, and I also use it as a body scrub, even though I think it is sort of intended more as a facial/neck product.

I always have wanted to try the St. Ives product upon which this store-brand is based, but I have never gotten around to it. Any comments from people who have tried one or both?

I think the one drawback is that the grit, which is (I think) ground walnut shell, can accumulate in your tub if you do not wash it away right away. Also, the salicylic acid, I have been told, can cause increased melanin production in your skin. Again -- anyone who can tell me if this is true, please comment!

I can definitely tell if I go a couple of days without using this. It is a great blemish control product, and I think an essential for anyone with unfortunately blemish-prone or oily skin. It's a nice body product, too, and I have never had any problems using it. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Product Review - Giovanni "Wellness with Chinese Botanicals" Shampoo and Conditioner

Hey guys! This afternoon I have a shampoo and conditioner set to talk about. I picked up a bunch of samples of Giovanni's "Wellness with Chinese Botanicals" shampoo and conditioner, so I wanted to try it and see how it worked.

Giovanni's has a lot of nice hair and body products. I usually love trying their samples, and they make pretty much the only shampoo/conditioner set for reds that is still on the American market. I love different botanicals, so I was expecting to really enjoy trying this.

Unfortunately, I was a little let down by this product. I would almost like to have tried it in bottle form, though, because I always worry that my impressions of foil samples are set by how large the foil sample packet was. In this case, I felt like it honestly just did not do a very good job of cleansing my hair. I have normal to oily hair, and it felt like it did very little to remove the oil -- or maybe that was just because of the shampoo packet size?

It has a nice scent, and I think the botanicals do add a bit to the quality, especially of the conditioner. I had no trouble combing my hair after using it, and I think they probably would do a lot of good for the scalp after being used for the long-term.

On the whole, this might be better either rotated with a better shampoo to get the herbal benefits or used by somebody who has fewer oil issues. As it is, I am still on the fence unless I get a larger sample to try.

Product Review - Camille Beckman "Mango Beach" Hand & Shower Cleansing Gel

I can't lie... today's review is a little snarky.

So most of you know the scoop on GoGoGirlfriend by now. If you don't, the verdict is that this is just short of a Posh Pod caliber scam, and never, ever, ever let them have your money. That said, I actually received two... assemblages of products of varying levels of "junk" during my tenure as a consumer of GGG, and this was in my piles.

So I am trying really hard not to let the source of this product skew my review. Although apparently GGG started actually breaking up (lol) these sets of Camille Beckman products, this one actually did come in a complete bath set, as pictured above.

I have only used the Hand & Shower Cleansing Gel so far. As you can see, there were a few other products, but I have yet to use them. It was a... pretty unremarkable product. Apparently these products are "worth" (read: priced at) $11.95. It looks like something I would pick up at the dollar store, though...

In spite of some really nice botanical extracts, it also has sodium laureth sulfate as its number two ingredient. I am not a huge stickler on these kinds of things, but for something that's such a luxury brand... seriously?

Oh well. I sort of wish I had just used this as a travel set instead of something else, but I wanted to give an honest review of these instead of just assuming they were on the junkier side. I wish I could report that they were not. Oh well... GGG continues to be a barrel of fun, even after having unsubscribed in December.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Free Sampling Opportunity!

Hey guys!

I usually do not like to overpost referrals, but I wanted to share one with some of you guys who might not be aware of a newer sampling company that is on the market: Sircle Samples.

Sircle Samples offers samples 100% for free. You receive Sircle Coins for reviewing products and completing product surveys (the surveys are at most three or four questions in length), then you can "spend" the coins on samples and gift cards in their shop. I have received some really neat hair products and cosmetics. One of my favorite eyeshadows came from this site! You are basically guaranteed at least one free product just for filling out a beauty profile. :)

They are adding a lot of new products, so check them out! If you use the link above, I will receive 100 coins, so I would be much much grateful if you would. :)

Product Review - Yogavive Fuji Apple Chips in "Strawberry"

Writing product reviews this afternoon is making me hungry...

This is another product that I received from Conscious Box that is just ridiculously good. I love how Conscious Box is keeping me in snacks, and calories probably do not count as much when they are organic, right?

These are probably the best chip substitutes I have ever seen. (Again, I am literally salivating as I write this review and remember how delicious these were). They are crunchy, but sweet, and the sample bag, which was filling, was 35 calories! It might be a little more expensive, but what an alternative to an apple!

I can only imagine how good the caramel flavor would be. This one was in strawberry, and while I am not a big strawberry-aholic, these were just the perfect flavor. :)

Definitely rebuying these, too! I am so happy that I am finding so many awesome products through my Conscious Box subscription.

Product Review - Jouer Body Butter

I have one of my favorite Birchbox acquisitions to share with you next up today! This product is ridiculously luxurious, smells amazing, and feels great, too.

I received a small pot of Jouer's body butter in one of my first Birchboxes. I absolutely loved it. The scent is just ridiculously amazing, and I usually shy away from strong florals. On the other hand, it only lasted as long as the product did, and I did not have an overwhelming "leftover" scent from the butter the morning after I used it.

My sample was fairly small, so I do not know how long-term use of this product would affect skin quality. I will say that while I was using it on my feet, I was not getting blisters, and it helped slough off some dead skin over the winter. It is plain pampering to use, and it is absolutely wonderful to enjoy during the application process. It includes essences of gardenia, jasmine, and honeysuckle.

It came in the cutest little glass pot, but unfortunately I dropped it and broke it while I was cleaning. In general, though, I think you could use it for repotting eyeshadow or any foil products. I am a little bummed that mine broke.

I have nothing but good things to say about Jouer. They were also kind enough to send me some samples of their cosmetics so that I could find some matches for my skintone, and tossed in a bunch of extras while doing so. I will be reporting in on these down the road, but Jouer definitely has a great attitude, so I am happy to be giving their first product I have finished off a five star review! Does anyone know their policies on animal testing, out of curiosity? I would love to hear that they are a cruelty-free company to boot.

I will definitely be rebuying this product. I already miss it!

Product Review - Cloud 9 Raw Chocolate "Original Flavor"

I have such a tasty treat to share with you! I have a lot of product reviews to catch up on, so watch the blog today. ;)

I received a couple samples of these fudges in my Conscious Box a little while back. They did not last very long. I also would like to say that I never actually like brown chocolates. I enjoy white chocolate, but I would never actually go out and buy dark or milk chocolate. This, however, I loved eating. It was so strange! :D

This stuff is so decadent. I cannot describe it any better than that, lol. It tastes incredibly rich, but healthy too. I would love to try the fudge with some nuts in it, maybe. I see a few different options on their website.

I definitely will look at ordering this, and I was really happy by this addition to my Conscious Box!