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Post in Beauty Confidential

March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

With the Spring Savings event just around the corner and samples from the holiday season gift bags overflowing, what better time to do a March Madness showdown: Beauty Edition!  


Foils and deluxe mini's seem to be taking over my stash and I'm hoping there are a few others out there who'd like to do a sample sized showdown to help figure out what they'd like add to their loves list for the spring sale.


Choose to do a bracket style showdown, a mini a day, or see how many foils you can use up in the month of March!


Who's got a stash to test out?  What are the winners and the losers? What will make it into your spring savings basket and April Hauls?



Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

I set aside 31 foil samples to work through in March, the majority of which were products I've used before. As a result, I was able to get through all the samples I set aside for this Mini March Madness challenge. I'm really happy I was able to work through a lot of my sample stash - just in time for the spring sale too! 😉 Brief summary below with more detailed review of the products in the spoilers.

3.2022 Empties - Mini March Madness (Foil Samples).jpg

The first two rows are loves; with the exception of just a few items, these are all tried-and-true products, all of which I would happily repurchase (or consider repurchasing if the price is right) at some point if I haven't already. 


The second row are products I like - either that I like very much (first 3 items) and would probably repurchase, or that I like enough that I would be happy to use but is not one I feel I must have. The exception is the Chantecaille Detox Mask - I like it a lot; the price keeps me from repurchasing it.


The last row is a hodgepodge of foils - the first two items suffer from having a scent I'm not super fond of. I like how each product performs but the scent on both is not something my nose cares for. Could I get used to it? Maybe? Do I want to see if that's the case? Not really. The next two items were "just meh" - did what they were supposed to but not standouts. Finally, the last one is a no - there are other better performing products out there; and oh, the scent is too much for me. 



Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask may have been the first fancy-pants hair mask I fell in love with. I feel like I have this mask in pretty much every size it comes in. lol. 
My skin drinks up the Sulwhasoo First Care Serum. I have a full size of it that I need to stop hoarding and just incorporate into my skincare routine. 
Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen (x2) leaves my skin feeling more soft, smooth, supple, hydrated and firm overnight. Hard to argue with those results. 
Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm Vanilla is a slightly thick, emollient, but not goopy or greasy balm that glides beautifully across the lips. Despite already having a healthy stash of lip balms to work my way through, I've picked up a full size of this one already - it was one of the first products I picked up during the sale.
With its retail economy stimulating price tag, Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (x2) is definitely a moisturizer I'd only consider picking up if it was on sale and Skinceuticals products rarely go on sale. That said, it is a wonderful moisturizer - creamy without being thick, greasy or goopy; feels soothing and moisturizing. I may end up purchasing a full size later in the year; it would be lovely to have this around during the colder seasons.
A full size of the CLE CCC Cream has already been repurchased. I love this stuff!
belif The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb is a cold weather favorite, and when paired with TO rose hip seed oil, it's been my winter skin savior for 4+ years. 
There are a handful of brands that I consider favorites - Dr. Jart+ is definitely one of them. While there are a few items within its portfolio that are a pass for me, its Ceramidin and Cicapair lines are big time loves. 
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream Moisture Retention Shield - rich and thick, but still spreads easily and smoothly against the skin. It feels comfortable and nourishing and is one I have on hand to combat winter's drying effects. Layering the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner underneath is a dynamic duo against winter's cold and windy elements 
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum (x2) and Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream are "go to"s for calming and caring for redness, which I deal with year-round with my sensitive cheeks that often become easily flushed from the wind or sun. 
Tatcha The Rice Polish Gentle Foaming Enzyme Powder is an enzyme powder that I do love, but I just have a teensy bit more love for the version by AP. Does it make sense to have 2 similar products on hand? Not really. Could I see myself having both on hand? Absolutely.  
Not pictured: There were 3 other foil samples I finished that are also loves, but that I forgot to bring back with me. Two of them are oldies-but-goodies and loved products.
AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence costs a pretty penny but she is worth it in my mind. 
AmorePacific Moisture Plumping Nectar Cream is silky, lightweight and moisturizing. Like other AP products, it is heavily fragranced but I don't mind the scent on this one. It would make a good moisturizer for combination skin. 


I did not expect to like the peach slices Peach Pudding Makeup Cleanser (x2) as much as I do. While cleansers are one of the skincare categories that I tend to use up what I have, I don't really need to keep more on hand. That's probably the only reason I haven't picked up a full size of this one yet. lol. 
I'm sure YSL Top Secrets Instant Matte Pore Refiner is going to cost me a pretty penny if I decide to purchase a full size. Fortunately, I won't have to find out anytime soon. I have a full-size pore refining primer from another (and less expensive) brand that I'm working through and a deluxe sized one on deck. I tend to use these types of primer more in the warmer months so I may be able to hold off until next year's spring sale to pick this one up. Who knows? Maybe a less expensive alternative will come around by that time.

Chantecaille Detox Clay Mask with Rosemary and Honey - the formula I love, the price not so much. I'm thankful I've discovered similar products at a fraction of the price. 
Hair feels soft and smooth after using Kerastase Resistance Bain Force Architecte Strengthening Shampoo; for some reason, I think the mask from this line might work very well. On my list of things to try. 
A nice to have but not a must have for me is the Ouai Treatment Masque - Fine to Medium Hair. I feel like this one might rank higher if I didn't already have a full deck of hair masks on hand.
If the Oribe Cote d'Azur Replenishing Body Wash and Oribe Cote d'Azur Restorative Body Creme were not such spendy treats, I'd probably repurchase both. 
Not pictured: My skin generally responds well to honey-based products, and the CNP laboratory Propolis Energy Ampoule was no exception. It's a nice hydrating serum and works well under moisturizer. It's a product I consider a nice one to have but I'm not sure it's a must have given the other honey-based serums available.

MAYBE ... if the scent was toned down, different or just not detectable:

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream is one I like but not enough to purchase a full size. It's neither too thick nor too thin and absorbs easily into the skin without leaving hands feeling greasy. My biggest issue with it is the scent - it smells like sea buckthorn and that's really the problem. It's one of those scents that my nose either finds tolerable or wretched. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. It'd be an ideal hand cream for me if it was available in a fragrance free version. 
The formulation and consistency of the Sisley Velvet Nourishing Body Cream are actually a win for me. It feels luxe and nourishing on the skin and my skin absorbs it quickly and smoothly. Fragrance is not a deal breaker per se for me, but this one is very strong and isn't one that I care for either. As with the Weleda, I'd be on board with a fragrance-free version of this one.


Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Volumizing Shampoo and Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Volumizing Conditioner smell wonderful. That's the biggest draw of the products for me though. I try not to wash my hair everyday but I definitely need to wash it the day after using these products. ETA: the scent on these hair care products is fruity, more honeydew melon like than pineapple.


Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub* is a gommage exfoliating gel peel that is similar to those frequently found among Korean beauty and Japanese beauty skincare brands, and PTR FirmX Peeling Gel. I have a preference for the Kbeauty, Jbeauty and PTR gommage peels. For the most part, those products are unscented, or if they contain fragrance, the scent is faint and does not linger. This Wishful scrub, on the other hand, is overly fragranced and smells more like perfume than the fruity pineapple and papaya scent I expected and hoped for given the star ingredients in this product.

Thank you @missjeanie for a great challenge (and for helping me lighten my load of foil samples)! 😁

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

Thanks for your really great summary and reviews, @itsfi ! 💖💖💖

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@Titian06, thank you! 😁 It's nice to work through what I have at home. I hoarded samples often in the past but have, over the course of the last 3 years or so, been trying to just pick up samples of products that either I know work well on my skin and can pack with me for work travel or if I go away for a day or two over the weekend, or that I am really interested in trying and that I would purchase a full size of if the sample works out well. Holding myself to picking up ones that fall into that latter camp and not getting distracted by all the samples available can be a challenge though. 😂

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

I'm not a massive fan of hemp infused products (creams, lip balms, bath products) you have an opinion about them @itsfi ? because I never found a product that truly worked for me with hemp in the formula, maybe it's the smell that bothers me....🤷‍♀️

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@Skunk12puzzola, the scent on the Hempz shampoo and conditioner was fruity - the scent I picked up made me think more of melons than pineapple. 

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

Thanks! @itsfi I always find that hemp skincare products bother me for some reason 🤷‍♀️🤣

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@Skunk12puzzola, we all have ingredients, scents or formulations that don't agree with our skin. More times than not, we find out about it the hard way. 😬 Knowing what it is that doesn't agree with your skin is helpful in that you can avoid products with those types of ingredients.

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

100% agreed @itsfi ! thanks again 💕's the worst when the skin throws a tantrum....yikes!

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@missjeanie I have a lot of samples of all sorts that somehow I can’t get to finish! I hope this serves me as an incentive and encourage me to use more of them! I was going on a trip today for the next two weeks and I was so excited because I packed a bunch of samples to use those days but the flights were cancelled due to weather and there are no other available flights that work for me, so trip ruined and samples back to the drawer.... 😖

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@Saradestin Oh noooo, so sorry to hear your trip didn't end up happening! I recall you were excited for it! Maybe you can slip in a sample or two into your routine that remind you of the beach? Just to give some nice, warm vacation vibes☀️

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

Thank you @Guessgal sweetie! I will have to plan another much longer trip, because with the Sephora sale there will be more samples coming and accumulating! 😅😅😅

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

I'm sorry to hear that, @Saradestin! I used to go on a lot of business trips, which is how I used up my samples. Since COVID, I haven't traveled, and my samples are building up to be too much.

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

I hear you @curlychiquita ! Mine are accumulating as well 😅😅

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

Oh no!  I'm sorry your trip got ruined @Saradestin Crank up the heat, toss on a bikini, pour up a frozen adult beverage and watch a good beachy movie?  I do the same thing with foils and DS samples... I "save" them for my next trip... alas... travel has been... minimal of late lol.  

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

You are so sweet @missjeanie 😊🤗 I will feel better soon but now I am quite disappointed. Seeing all the unused samples won’t help! 😂

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

Understandable @Saradestin !  We need to get to planning the next one and make it even better!

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

9E63D09B-DDDC-48F7-A85E-6A0B644C2EBE.jpegTodays’ samples-

The Laneige Hydrogel is lovely and super absorbant and plumping.  Love it!  
The FAB Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum smells weird.  Does it smelling bad mean it works in a medicinal way?  Hahah I don’t know and likely won’t know unless I use it for at least 21 days.  The scent did dissipate right after application so it’s not a deal breaker if it’s effective.  My curiosity may get me on this one. 


Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@heartsmyface I have to say I'm always curious to see if someone thinks a dark spot cream works wonders.  I have a few sun spots that pop up every few years (dang teenage me who though a tan was cool).  The only thing I've ever really found to work was IPL, orrrrr I just don't have the patience to wait for a cream to work.

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@missjeanie ugh I tanned too. somehow I was spared wrinkles but my skin went straight to skincancer.  
IPL would for sure work better.  All the creams do is inhibit melanin production.  You have to keep using them and using sunscreen religiously until your skin turns over and even then your body adapts to protect itself and at the first sun exposure shows off it’s melanin memory.  

Re: March Mini Madness: Sample Showdown to Set up for Spring Savings!

@heartsmyface Oh no! I’d take my fine lines and sun spots over skin cancer any day. I’ve been clear so far, but still get checked out every 3 months by my dermatologist just in case. I hope you were able to beat it. Such a scary thing to go through. I’m very religious when it comes to my spf, but those pesky spots somehow reappear in 5-10 years after I get them removed. 

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