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Post in Beauty Confidential

The Gratis Thread πŸ›πŸŽ‰

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 I’ve been finding that while it’s easy to initially post about receiving it and initial reviews, it’s not as easy to follow up! 


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

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@curlychiquita Ooooh how lucky are you to get Under the Lemon Trees! Congrats! πŸ‹ 😊

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

Oh, I also love the Sol de Janiero Coco Cabana Cream, although my husband thinks it's a bit overwhelming. So I wear it when I'm going out, not staying in. SOL DE JANEIRO - Coco Cabana Cream

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@curlychiquita  I got the same feedback from my husband. He loves when I use Bum Bum Cream but he asked me to give Coco Cabana Cream a hard pass πŸ˜‚

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

I've just started back up on the DE APassioni @curlychiquita !  Fingers crossed I can be a bit more patient this time and don't overdo it!

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@itscarin Thanks! I’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! ❀️

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@cianni Thanks, we're very excited!

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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 - SUPERTONER β„’ 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+. 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- 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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@ShortErica ,

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on these items!

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

Thanks @tsavorite!

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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! Smiley Wink


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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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. Smiley Happy

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

@ShortErica ohh it’s a shame you don’t love the KAJA color. I got one in 04 Be Mine, which for the record looks nothing like the online photos. I’ll post a swatch/me actually wearing it when I get home. If they go on sale I’d recommend picking another one up! I wear mine relatively often because it’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 don’t have to worry that the cap will pop off and I’ll end up with lipstick graffiti all on the inside of my bag (a very real concern for meπŸ˜‚)

Re: Gratis Check-InsπŸ›πŸŽ‰

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. Smiley Happy