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Post in Beauty Confidential

The Gratis Thread 🛍🎉

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-Ins🛍🎉

A few more updates: 
FRESH - Soy Face Cleanser - ❌ I’ve used it nightly for a week, and now I remember why I didn’t like it in October. It makes my whole face feel weirdly greasy... eh, “greasy” isn’t quite the right word... it leaves my skin coated in something I wanna wash off. For folks with very dry skin all over their face—no oily zone—this stuff might be great! But my combo skin’s not sure what to make of it. My oily zone feels even more oily (greasy!) right after I use this cleanser, and my dry zones feel somewhere between moisturized and oily. By the time I added FAB AHA or The Ordinary Buffet and my YTTP Superfood moisturizer, my dry zones felt clammy and my oily zone was ridiculous. I thought maybe Soy Face Cleanser wasn’t cutting through my sunscreen, hence the residue, so I followed up with micellar water. Any Coola tinted matte sunscreen residue should’ve appeared on my bamboo round. But nothing showed up, and my face still felt yucky. A few nights later, I noticed a few new tiny bumps on my jaw, right under both ears. Not a terrible reaction, but why keep using something that causes any reaction at all? So nope, I won’t use the rest of the tube. 
KAJA - Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick in Too Hot - 💚 I still love it. Took it on my April cruise and my lips were happy to have it in the Caribbean heat. It’s glossy and just pigmented enough to work for casual days and fancy dress up events, and it’s a good companion for bold eye looks. It wears down quickly during coffee/water drinks, but I expect that from any balm-like product, plus it’s very comfy. I keep it in my purse/bag. Even when I leave home wearing a different lipstick, sometimes I apply this Heart Melter instead of reapplying the other lipstick. 
MARC JACOBS FRAGRANCES - Daisy Love Eau So Sweet - ❌ Definitely too sweet for me. Cotton candy in a big bowl of confectioners sugar sweet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that for folks who love sweet fragrances. I’m just not one of them. Smiley Happy I wore this on one arm for about 4 hours before I finally had to wash it off; my nose and sinuses couldn’t take it any longer. On a positive note, it seems to be long lasting! 
KATE SOMERVILLE - Liquid ExfoliKate® Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment - ❌ Despite successfully patch testing this for weeks before using it on my whole face earlier this year, it dried my skin out thanks to its honey content. I didn’t like how it left my face feeling gummy and tight. And I learned from a dermatologist that this stuff has the wrong pH (“it’s close, but not quite there,” he said) for good AHA exfoliation. The 10% AHA exfoliation serum I currently use is much better for my skin. One positive thing I’ll say: at least Liquid ExfoliKate didn’t cause a super bad reaction, unlike regular ExfoliKate. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@WinglessOne  The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is a pass for me, too. I’ve tried several samples and my skin just doesn’t feel clean or balanced afterward. I thought I would like it because I prefer to use gentle cleansers, but this doesn’t work for me. 


Thanks for your thoughts on the other products! 😊

RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

I was so excited when I was chosen to try this product before it was released. I have now had it for over a week and have used it daily. I. LOVE. IT. It claims 24 hour wear and at first I was actually quite skeptical because I’ve never had good luck when I’ve had the misfortune of falling asleep with my mascara on. So the idea of actually leaving it on overnight ON PURPOSE was a little intimidating. But it’s actually been fine! I woke up with nary a flake and no itchy eyes! I wear contacts and have very sensitive eyes but this doesn’t bother them at all. It delivers volume and lift without weight or clumps. I’m shocked. I truly love it. It even gets all of my tiny little bottom lashes. I will be purchasing it in the future!

Re: RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@AJLClough this looks great on you!

Re: RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@AJLClough Your lashes look so long and beautiful! Happy that you were able to test this out and share your great review with us! 

Re: RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@AJLClough ,

I'm glad to hear how much you loved the D*mn Girl! Mascara!

congrats!! @AJLClough

congrats!! @AJLClough

Re: RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@AJLClough  Thanks for your review! Looking forward to trying this 😊

Re: RE: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

Congratulations on your gratis @AJLClough! It looks great on you!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@cianni  This thread was such a great idea. I’ve been enjoying reading about everyone’s gratis experiences in one location. Thank you! 😊


Back in November 2018 I was tickled pink (and blue, orange, and purple) to receive my very first gratis package from Sephora:



It contained:

-Bumble & Bumble Thickening Go Big Volumizing Treatment

-Ciaté London Glitter Storm Eye Shadow Palette

-Gucci Bloom Nettare di Fiori eau de parfum

-Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum

-Sephora Collection Neon Lip Gloss in pink, orange, blue, and purple


Bumble & Bumble Thickening Go Big Volumizing Treatment: I have long, fine hair so I was happy to get this. I run 2-3 sprays of this through my hair after my shower, but no more than that, as it can weigh down fine hair if used too generously. After that, I blow dry my hair and it definitely has a bit more volume. No, it doesn’t look like the model on the Sephora product page, but it does look a bit fuller. My hair is so fine, though, that blow-drying technique is always the defining factor in any final look, more than product. That being said, I would still repurchase this.


Ciaté London Glitter Storm Eye Shadow Palette: First off, the packaging of this palette is totally beautiful and neat. I’m a grown adult but I will freely admit to playing with the moving sparkles for quite a while 😂 The contents in the lid move freely which is so fun. 


This was my first Ciaté eyeshadow ever, so I was happy to get this as well. I found the formula very nice to work with and it definitely put Ciaté on my radar for future eyeshadow purchases. Every shadow was very pigmented and applied and blended out very easily, with very little kick-up or fall-out. As I write this, the palette is still on sale. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to add these shades to their collection, or as a fun gift to someone starting their quality makeup collection.



Gucci Bloom Nettare di Fiori eau de parfum: I’m not a fan of most floral perfumes. Although I passed this to my mother who favours floral perfumes, I did try it on myself. The initial rose notes were very nice. I fully expected the finish to be the dull, watery rose I expect from most floral perfumes of this type, but that wasn’t the case. The rose notes stayed pure and clear which I really liked. If I liked rose perfumes more, I would have definitely kept and loved this perfume.


Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum: I had never heard of Indie Lee prior to receiving their eye serum in this package, so I went into this trial as a blank slate. As with most eye products, a little goes a long way with this serum. It sinks into my undereye area quickly, and I do notice some de-puffing for sure. To be perfectly honest, though, I don’t have much discolouration under my eyes, so I can’t speak to its effect on that. My bigger concern is the fine lines under my eyes and it didn’t do much for those. (Nothing seems to, except nightly collagen eye patches.) It was still a nice product overall, though.


Sephora Collection Neon Lip Gloss in pink, orange, blue, and purple: These were a fun surprise. I’m sad that I can’t seem to find them on the Sephora website anymore. I really like the formula of these. It glides on nicely and is quite comfortable. The pink and purple are quite bright, yet I would still wear them to go out for errands. (I guess I’ve become bolder in the last year!) The blue and orange... ehhhh, not so much 😉 I still had fun playing with them, though. I mean, how can you not smile when you see these pretty colours?



Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

This gratis was a great one, @PinkEvergreen. I'm with you on the B&B and the lip glosses. They're both great products!

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@PinkEvergreen I loved that eyeshadow palette as well! the packaging was so sturdy and the shades blended really nicely! and I am loving that perfume it's the perfect summer scent

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

@Kim888  I love my Natasha Denona palettes but I never travel with them. I live for compact, sturdy palettes like this Ciaté one, and the TOO FACED - Just Peachy Velvet Matte Eyeshadow Palette – Peaches and Cream Collection. I like that Natasha is coming out with hard plastic palettes, but people are still reporting shadows falling out of them. It’s definitely an area she could improve on. 

awesome gratis @PinkEvergreen

awesome gratis @PinkEvergreen

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

Lipstick/lipgloss junkie here saying those glosses look fun! Awesome gratis @PinkEvergreen!

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That gratis package looks awesome @PinkEvergreen! Thanks for the reviews😊

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

How about a very non-recent check-in? 😂 In October last year, I attended the Glowing Up event at the Michigan Ave (Chicago) Sephora. Attendees got swag bags! I don’t remember if I ever posted about any of this, but here’s what we got: 


B615E544-BD88-48D6-B179-08C6BAFE99D8.jpegOctober 2018 Sephora Glowing Up swag bag
FRESH - Soy Face Cleanser - I honestly don’t recall what I didn’t like about this cleanser. I don’t remember hating it, but I must not have loved it or I’d have used the whole tube. Had it caused a bad reaction, I’d have tossed the tube—but I still have it, and I never forget when a product angers my skin, so... hmm. I’ll try it again soon. 
FRESH - Rose Face Mask - I patch-tested this on one side of my jawline. I was concerned about how fragrant this mask is, especially since it contains rose petals. My patch area felt great right after I used this mask! I went to bed and woke up to a constellation of little reaction bumps in that area. 😡 I never tried (and won’t try) this mask on the rest of my face. 
DR. DENNIS GROSS SKINCARE - Alpha Beta® Universal Daily Peel - I tried one of these after easing my skin into chemical exfoliation via FAB Facial Radiance Pads. I didn’t see immediate results with the DDG peels, but I kept using them and saw results over time. I used these (and occasionally the extra strength version) until a month or 2 ago: I was getting too much alcohol burn from them. I’ve switched to a different AHA peel that my skin loves, but I still think the DDG peels are effective. 
LANEIGE - Lip Sleeping Mask - This is one of 2 free jars I’ve received. Do I really need to say anything about this magic potion? Smiley Happy It saved my lips last winter as an overnight treatment. I plan to use it often this summer, once temps are consistently above 85ºF (even in humidity, high temps dry my lips out). Since a little goes a long way, it’ll probably take me another year to finish my current jar. 
SEPHORA COLLECTION - Cleansing Wipes - Coconut Water - My favorite makeup wipes, and I might not have tried them had they not been in this swag bag. I love to travel with these. They’re great at removing things I wear most often: brow pencil, lipstick, blush, and concealer. They struggle a bit with mascara and waterproof eyeliner, but I rely on a different makeup remover for that anyway. At home, I use these to remove makeup swatches and clean my fingertips during application—especially when I’m applying eyeshadow with my fingers or blending lipsticks. 
SOL DE JANEIRO - Brazilian Bum Bum Cream - I know everyone else loves this stuff. So would I, if it wasn’t so strongly scented. It’s great as a body cream—very moisturizing—but the fragrance gives me sneezing fits and headaches, so I can’t use it. Smiley Sad 
SEPHORA COLLECTION - PRO Diffuser Brush #64 - When I don’t wanna get my hands dirty while applying skin tint, I reach for this brush to get sheer coverage. This brush replaced my similarly shaped yet denser IT Cosmetics buffing brush. I like the Sephora 64 better because I can stipple and lightly buff with it and get an even, natural finish. Since this brush doesn’t retain much product, it’s pretty easy to clean and I waste less product. 
BEAUTYBLENDER - the original beautyblender® - Since I don’t use sponges, I gifted this one to a good home. For me, brushes or my fingers are far more efficient than beauty sponges at applying makeup, and they’re much easier to clean. 
FOUR SIGMATIC - Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix with Reishi - I just realized I haven’t used this yet! Will do that soon. 
FOUR SIGMATIC - Mushroom Matcha Latte Mix with Maitake - Also need to try this soon. I just pulled both these Four Sigmatic pouches out of my pantry and put them on the counter beside my electric kettle, so I’ll remember to use them. 

Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

I also attended that event, it was so fun!!! Here are my thoughts: 

Fresh soy face cleanser: Meh. This is fine, I don't love it or hate it so I leave it at my boyfriend's place and use it around once a week. 

Fresh Rose Face Mask: Unfortunately for my bank account I fell in love with this mask! I found it super moisturizing and have since purchased the full size. Sorry it didn't work out well for you! 
Laneige lip sleeping mask: I actually really didn't like this product! I had heard amazing things so was excited to try it. I found that it made my lips really flaky even if they felt moisturized. 

Sephora Collection Coconut Cleansing Wipes: These really irritated my skin Smiley Sad 

Sol de Janiero Bum Bum Cream: I love this stuff and am using it super sparingly because i don't want to spend on the full size

Sephora brush SEPHORA COLLECTION - PRO Diffuser Brush 64: I love this brush! I use it every day to do my makeup, I've found it works best with my stick foundations and can leave liquids a little streaky

Beauty Blender: I totally understand the hype around this product now! It is so amazing and blends like a dream!


Re: Gratis Check-Ins🛍🎉

This is a great goodie bag, @WinglessOne! I can't wait to hear what you think of the Four Sigmatic mixes. 

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Thanks @quspork ! I’ll definitely post an update when I try them. 

@WinglessOne some scents are just too strong, sorry the f...

@WinglessOne some scents are just too strong, sorry the fresh rose mask didn't work out