Who doesn’t love a free sample? I’ve resolutely decided not to buy any more foundations – especially not luxury ones – unless I can get hold of a sample first and give it a proper road test (to avoid another Marc Jacobs incident – shudder). Being a tough colour match with an oily complexion, I’ve quickly realised that the whole try-before-you-buy thing is essential. As well as makeup, skincare samples are also handy to have – not only for travelling, but also for making sure you’re not sensitive to something before you blow a ton of money on it. Nothing worse than splurging on an expensive face product and then having a reaction to it…
I’m not completely sure how I stumbled across Feelunique’s “Pick ‘n’ Mix” service – I’d never heard of it before, and the concept intrigued me. It’s not a subscription service, but customers are limited to one five-sample delivery per month. Basically, you choose five product samples from Feelunique’s selection (most of these are skincare and fragrances), pay a £3.95 shipping fee, and then receive both your samples and a £3.95 Feelunique voucher – this can be used on anything across their site, except on the Pick ‘n’ Mix service (of course). Feelunique has a really amazing range of brands on their website, as well loads of offers and free UK delivery on orders over £15 (big up Feelunique).
I thought this was actually really cool, and I wish more brands and online retailers would offer samples and travel sizes, even if you have to pay a couple of quid for them – Illamasqua sell sachet samples of their Skin Base Foundation. Feelunique’s range of samples includes both foundation bases from Charlotte Tilbury, sachets from Kiehl’s and skincare treats from Clarins and La Roche-Posay.
For my first Pick ‘n’ Mix, I ordered the following five samples…
Clarins SOS Pure Mask Sample 5ml
I’ve never tried anything from Clarins’ skincare or makeup lines, so I thought this would be a good place to start – a purifying clay skin mask. I love clay masks, as they help to mattifying and tighten the skin without being too harsh. This one is a luminous pastel green colour, with a fairly thin texture and nice plant-like smell.
Unfortunately, about 30 seconds after I applied this it started to burn. Real bad. I haven’t really got sensitive skin, so this took me completely by surprise – I can deal with masks that tingle a bit, but this was so unbearable I ended up taking the mask straight off. Not fun (obviously, I’m 100% not going to purchase the full size, which isn’t cheap at £30 for a 75ml tube).
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm Sample 5ml
Ahh how adorable is this little tub? This cleansing balm is a total cult-favourite among the beauty community, especially on YouTube, and has been for a long time – so, I was really excited to see it on the Feelunique sample page. I haven’t actually been able to give this a go yet, but I’ll take it on an overnight trip this weekend to see how it fares at cleansing. The 50ml jar is £44 at full price, so sampling is definitely essential before you splurge on this one.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+] Unifiant Light Sample 3ml
I’ve always been curious about this one, since the name is always thrown around where oily skin and acne is mentioned. It’s basically a tinted skincare cream (the original Effaclar is untinted) intended to provide some coverage while treating and preventing breakouts. Sadly, it only comes in two shades – Medium and Light. Light was too dark for me, and while I liked the feel and texture of this product, the coverage level is very low and not the easiest to work with.
I’m going to see if I can get a sample of the original version to try out, as I think that’ll work better as an overnight treatment – the full size retails for £16.50.
Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Sample 2ml
I bought my first Kiehl’s products on holiday in Italy this year, picking up the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and the Moisturising Cream. This sample contains the daytime version of the concentrate, a blend of oils that are supposed to brighten and revive tired-looking skin. I haven’t used this yet, because I’m so apprehensive about putting oils on my face during the day – I might give it a go on a makeup-free day this weekend. The 30ml bottle retails for £37, with a larger 50ml bottle for £49.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 1 FAIR
As far as I could tell, the only foundation samples on Feelunique were the two Charlotte Tilbury products – Magic Foundation and Light Wonder.
Light Wonder is NOT up my street, since I prefer high-coverage matte foundations, but I’ve not yet tried the Magic Foundation as I wasn’t sure about the shade match (and there’s no CT counter near me). I picked the palest sample available, and it’s actually a pretty good match! It’s not too ashy but not overly warm or orange.
While it doesn’t beat Estée Lauder Double Wear (let’s be honest, nothing ever will), I thought it gave a beautiful medium-coverage finish upon application, which was easily buildable – I just wish it stayed matte and lasted longer than it does. The full-size 30ml bottle retails for around £30 and comes in 15 different shades.
All in all, I’m going to continue trying samples on a monthly basis – I really like that you can spend the £3.95 fee on their website, and that there’s a whole host of brands on the site. You can find the Pick ‘n’ Mix service here.