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Post in Beauty Confidential

The Gratis Thread ๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

A place to say thank you, provide reviews and first impressions, or follow up on gratis received after more use!


Many of us have been very lucky to receive gratis (thanks Sephora!), and Iโ€™ve been finding that while itโ€™s easy to initially post about receiving it and initial reviews, itโ€™s not as easy to follow up! 


I thought maybe we could have a dedicated thread to follow-ups and reviews with products weโ€™ve received after weโ€™ve been using them for a while, especially because itโ€™s sometimes hard to find the original thank you and first impressions threads.

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@missjeanie don't use it every night!  Try every other night or every third for a while.

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

I tried it when I first got it in gratis (Around February), and I started off with twice a week for about three weeks, three times a week for a few weeks, then I just went all in and started using it every other day.  I think I over loaded my skin and it started to feel too dry (I'm dry to start off with).  On top of this, I didn't think I was seeing any results; I'm clearly also impatient. I'm going to go in with twice a week and stick to that for the summer @curlychiquita .  I'm glad that it's been a love for you though, it's motivating me to get back at it!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@cianni Genius idea!


Valentine's Day Gratis

-Kaja Heart Melter: used it once and put it in my "friends giveaway" pile. The color was sadly all wrong for me. 


April Gratis Box

-Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist: I haven't seen any skincare benefits from it, but I love using it on very light makeup days, on an airplane as a in-flight mist, or lightly sprayed over my face when I've used a powder. I anticipate carrying this in my purse throughout the hot, humid Chicago summer. 

-Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream: THE BEST. THE END.

-Velour Effortless No-Trim Lashes: It's not their fault that I'm inept with false lashes. They aren't effortless for me, but the length is spot-on and they don't look as ridiculous as many other lashes. 

-Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Sweet: I can see how it would be too sweet for some, but when applied with a light hand I find it quite lovely and fruity. I normally lean towards bright citrus fragrances, but this is a nice change. 

-Clean Reserve Solar Bloom: This is a fascinating fragrance. On my skin, it has a heavy mineral quality and not much citrus. I don't think I'll repurchase it, but I'll definitely use the entirety of this sample. 

-Sephora Collection Hot Tip Liner: Still working on achieving the perfect wing, but this pen makes it easier. It works well for both fine and thick lines, and it *does not budge* the entire day. 

-Olaplex No. 6: I haven't used this enough to render judgment. I avoid silicones when I'm wearing my hair naturally wavy, and plan to use this only when I'm straightening. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@cianni Great idea!  I love seeing everyone's stuff when they first get it, but it would be nice to hear if people are still using the products several weeks/months after receiving it.  

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@itscarin Thanks! Iโ€™m especially curious about how people are liking skincare and haircare, which are rarely things you get results with in a few uses. PS - peeped this in the Ulta thread earlier - congrats on your little one on the way!! So excited and happy for you! โค๏ธ

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@cianni Thanks, we're very excited!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

I've received two things of gratis.


First was the Kaja Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick 06 Wink Wink- of course I get the shimmery one which other people want but just isn't my style. It could play off in office lighting but in the sun it's just too much for me. I wore it a few times after receiving it but really haven't reached for it since. It's such a same because the product itself seems pretty good but the color just isn't up my alley.


In March I received a gratis box featuring various brands:


Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette- I don't wear eye shadow. I gave this to my cousin and she was so excited because she had planned on buying it. Anytime I've asked she's only said good things.


Fresh Sugar Mint Rush Freshening Lip Treatment- I have this in my purse and use it frequently. I like the mintiness and it reminds me of a gloss I got from Bath & Body Works called Mentha Lip Shine. I prefer the Fresh as a balm vs. a gloss. Though I like it, I don't know that I would spend $24 on a lip balm/treatment. We will see how long it lasts. If it pulls a Laneige lip sleeping mask (and lasts years) maybe I'll sing a different tune.


Farmacy Freshen Up All-Natural Deodorant- this is the 1st natural deodorant I've tried and this was the most exciting item for me in the box. For me it performs much better during workouts vs. "normal" deodorant. But during a regular day, "normal" deodorant is the winner. By the afternoon I don't smell but just don't feel as fresh. This has encouraged me to explore natural deodorant after I finish the last two "normal" ones I have. Oh, and I have finished the Farmacy. I used it consistently and it lasted 2 months. Again, $15 X 12/2 (months) would mean $90 in deodorant a year. Not sure I want to spend my budget this way. It does work pretty well and the smell was pleasant so I'd classify it as I will use it if I have it but not repurchase it myself.


GLAMGLOW SUPERTONERโ„ข Exfoliating Acid Solution Toner- I have only used it once. I have been wanting to incorporate toner into my routine. I used this before a sheet mask. Thank goodness for soothing sheet masks. This product has a lot of acids in it and as a new thing for my face, I could feel it. So take my review with that in mind - my face is new to this. I barely swept it over my face and it was a bit much for me. The mask made the feeling go away though. The smell of this product was also not my favorite. My last critique is the coloring. Isn't toner supposed to me a step to remove the last bits of residue and balance your skin? Having gray means I can't verify that I've removed any last bits of dirt and/or makeup. I need to try it again. I will see if I can get it to work for me (which may be a process) or pass it onto someone else.


OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Face Primer- I don't wear primer but the vitamin C aspect appealed to me. I've been wanting to look into that ingredient and maybe put it in my routine. The primer goes on smoothly and worked well with my Bare Minerals powder foundation. I would also put it on the backs of my hands which if you haven't, primer makes your hands look very smooth and considering hands exhibit signs of aging, this makes me feel more youthful. Back to the primer itself..well, with makeup it is fine and I felt I looked pretty natural. One day I put the primer over my sunscreen without makeup and the car ride was whoa! I noticed it was shimmery when I put it on my hands but on my face with no makeup, I felt a little disco ball. It reminded me of my reaction to the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination with SPF 50+ Medium. Just too sparkly for me. In office lighting it wasn't as bad but just not my style. It's a personal preference so if you like that look, then you will probably like this primer.


Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Midnight 1.7oz/50mL Eau de Parfum Spray- I've worn it a few times. It's not something I reach for as I don't really wear perfume. It smells okay to me but as I'm not a connoisseur, I'll leave my thoughts brief. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@ShortErica ,

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on these items!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

Thanks @tsavorite!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

I'd love to hear more about how the Glamglow toner goes, @ShortErica. To answer your question regarding the color/purpose though, there are different uses to toner, but it's kind of an older perception that toner should be removing the last bits of makeup/dirt. That's why double cleansing is such a big thing now- ideally, your face should be free of random particles by the time you get to toner. And those toners can be for exfoliating (like this one), simply for hydrating, for prepping your face for other ingredients, etc.


ETA for grammar- I promise I do know the difference between your and you're LOL. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@quspork this was very informative. I assumed this was more for exfoliating than cleaning and evening but toner is new to me. I am interested to try it again and will let you know. I am searching for a good 1st step for double cleansing. Currently I use some type of makeup remover (testing balms and oils) but always have to follow with a micellar water because I haven't found one that works 100% and then 2nd step of a gentle cleanser. Do you a toner and if so what one?

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

It's definitely trial and error to find the right makeup remover, @ShortErica! There are some people who use micellar water as their first step instead of an oil-based cleanser because it works better for them. Personally I love Shiseido's Perfect Oil. It's a little pricey, but I see it pretty often at TJMaxx and stock up when I make a point redemption purchase at Ulta. 


I go back and forth with different types of toners. My favorite light exfoliating one is Pixi's Glow Tonic. For hydrating ones, Benton (k-beauty brand) makes my favorite two - the Snail Bee High Content Skin and the Aloe BHA, which doesn't actually have much BHA nor the right pH to really exfoliate. This is why they're all so confusing, haha! I'm actually using Fresh's rose deep hydration toner right now, but am just "meh" on it so far. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

Micellar water is good at getting it off but it takes a few rounds, especially with tinted sunscreen, so I worry about how much I'm rubbing/tugging my face. Thanks for the recommendation @quspork. Like I need another reason to go to Marshall's! ๐Ÿ˜‰


I remember people discussing snail on the masking thread. What differences have you seen using it? Interesting about the rose one, I recall some people loving it. But everyone's skin is different.

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

Image result for snail skincare gif

Yes to all the snails, @ShortErica! I love snail mucin. For me, honestly, it's probably been the one big game changing ingredient for my skin over the last few years. As you said, of course, everyone's skin is different, but it's helped brighten and even out my complexion, especially with regards to redness and acne scarring discolorations. Plus it's very hydrating! 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

I think I've used masks with it but no other products. I try to look for niacinamide to help with redness but this may be another ingredient I should hunt down @quspork. I'll look forward to more lessons in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@ShortErica ohh itโ€™s a shame you donโ€™t love the KAJA color. I got one in 04 Be Mine, which for the record looks nothing like the online photos. Iโ€™ll post a swatch/me actually wearing it when I get home. If they go on sale Iโ€™d recommend picking another one up! I wear mine relatively often because itโ€™s easy to grab and go, plus it keeps my lips hydrated, and stays glossy longer than I would have expected. Plus the packaging means I donโ€™t have to worry that the cap will pop off and Iโ€™ll end up with lipstick graffiti all on the inside of my bag (a very real concern for me๐Ÿ˜‚)

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

I know it was completely random with the shades so luck just wasn't on my side @cianni. I'm just not a sparkly girl. I do agree that the product and formula have me intrigued about other shades. I'm trying to pan some lip minis this year so maybe I'll need something new when I succeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

This is very convenient and an amazing idea @cianni! I think you deserve some bonus gratis for getting this started! ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

LOL @ShortErica I actually have a couple things on the way in the near future that I canโ€™t wait to share!! I think I know what one is but no idea about the other. Iโ€™m the worst person for surprises, Iโ€™m so impatient!! But also so so grateful that brands and Sephora allow us to test some great new products! Itโ€™s definitely turned me on to a few things that I probably never would have even thought twice about

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@cianni were you the one trying Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Lengthening Mascara Black? I had been liking it a lot and then it was flaking on me a bit. The reason this comes to mind is a mascara is supposedly being sent my way. As mascara is probably my number one makeup product, I'm super pumped! I always admire your lashes so I think Sephora would be smart sending mascara your way as well. Just my two cents. ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Gratis Check-Ins๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽ‰

@ShortErica Yeah! Iโ€™m just finishing up my trial of NARS Climax Mascara Explicit Black

now. Which is just in time for the mascara gratis which Iโ€™m guessing is whatโ€™s gonna arrive tomorrow based on package weight. Iโ€™ll hold off with the benefit because Iโ€™m really interested in trying the newness, Iโ€™m very curious to see if itโ€™ll dethrone my beloved Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara Limited Edition Diamonds - 0.27 oz/ 8 mL. Plus itโ€™s probably a FS in the gratis, and I normally only buy minis to avoid half a tube drying out, so Iโ€™ll also have a tracker to see how many uses till it dried out/stopped performing as well. FYI - the climax is just ok. I like the brush but find to get really full and dark lashes, you need a bunch of coats and willingness/time to clean up everything on the lid. Iโ€™ll use it but wonโ€™t repurchase it. Itโ€™s also one of the only mascaras Iโ€™ve tried recently that even with all my cleansing oils and removers and skincare, I STILL wake up with mascara induced raccoon eyes!

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