1) Gerda Spillmann Renaissance Age Serum
Full size: £69
I've still never bought a full sized serum and only ever had a play around with various samples. The nice thing about serums though, is that you only ever need a small amount for it to work its magic, so even my samples always last me a long time.
This one had a gorgeous citrus scent to it and I used it at night time only before applying moisturiser. The one thing I did notice was that it sunk straight away into my drier cheeks, but slipped around for ages on my oilier T-Zone, without ever fully absorbing into the skin. Likewise, my cheeks would feel softer and smoother in the morning, while there was no visible effect on the rest of my face (neither positive nor negative). As a result I feel that it would be more suited to dry skin, though the results on half of my face didn't impress me enough to wholeheartedly recommend this product.
2) Green and Spring Relaxing Conditioner
Full size: £16
I wish people would stop making things in squeezy bottles. They slip around everywhere and you can never get the last bit out of the bottom - so frustrating! This conditioner had a gorgeous scent - like fresh meadows on a spring day - which lasted on the hair for ages and bagged me several compliments on how nice my hair smelt!
Unfortunately my hair is very dry and it just wasn't rich enough for me, resulting in coarse, frizzy hair. For normal to oily hair types, however, this would be a lovely little luxury treat.
3) Weleda Skin Food
Full size: £8.95
With all the hype surrounding this cult product, my hopes for it were very high. Unfortunately, I wasn't really sure how to use it. I don't really get dry skin in summer, only in winter, when the cold air outside and central heating indoors turns me into a scaly lizard.
Eventually I settled on using it as a substitute for my 8 Hour Cream, so on heels, little cuts and grazes and as an intensive hand moisturiser over night. While it's not as greasy and smelly as 8 Hour Cream, it also didn't quite match it on the hydration front. I can see why it's earned its spot in the beauty world, but personally, I've found a product that works better for me and I'm going to stick with that for now.
4) Murad Hydrodynamic Moisture for Eyes
Full size: £57
I've always suffered from dark circles under my eyes and the odd bit of puffiness thrown into the mix, which made me a firm believer in the miracles of a good eye cream. However, I've been going through so many duds lately - even my old time favourite Clinique cream stopped working on me - that I started to consider scrapping eye cream for good and just saving my money for something else instead.
Then this little gem came along. To be honest, I didn't even pay attention to any changes until it was time to review the sample and that's when I realised that the condition of the skin under my eyes has really got a lot better. It's incredibly smooth and pleasant to apply and leaves skin instantly revitalised. My dark circles decreased up to a point where I found myself applying a lot less concealer in the mornings. It's only the huge price tag that puts me off purchasing the full size.
5) Wei Chinese Rose Foaming Cleanser
Full size: £25
Unfortunately, this sample has been a little too tiny to make a fair judgment on product performance. It's a clear gel that turns into a milky foam when massaged into wet skin and it cleaned my skin effectively without any stinging or tight sensations. The scent is undoubtedly rosy, but not so strong to put anyone off who's not overly into rose smells. It did its job reasonably well and got me a little intrigued by Wei, a brand I've never come across before.
6) Wei Pomegranate Buffing Beads
Full size: £16
I feel like I should have tried this one along with my Wei cleanser sample, but I'd already run out of that one before it was bi-weekly exfoliating time. I do quite like the idea behind these - little granules that you mix with your favourite cleanser to make it as gritty or as smooth as you like, without the need to buy a separate exfoliator. It's more of a novelty item than a beauty staple in my honest option, though.
7) Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara
Full size: £22
I'm already quite the fan of the original Hypnose mascara, but this one is set apart by the curved wand, which I originally feared would make application tricky, but thankfully didn't. I'm a bit gutted that I forgot to take pictures of it on my lashes because my oh my, this stuff is amazing. It made my lashes long, thick and very, very defined - I honestly didn't know I actually had so many eye lashes. It did a great job at curling my lashes, too, meaning I could give my eye lash curlers a bit of a break (though keep in mind that my lashes are naturally very curly already). At the moment I don't have enough money flying around to warrant spending this much on a mascara which I'll have to replace within two or three months, but I still think the quality completely warrants the price tag.
8) Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream
Full size: £5.99
Shame I only got one application out of this foot cream, but the one time I used it I could instantly tell a difference on the dry skin on my feet - and that was after neglecting them for a while, so they were a bit of a tough case. The cream sank in instantly and immediately nourished and softened my skin, without leaving any slippy or greasy feeling. I'm quite impressed that a product with such a low price tag performed so well!
9) Nivea In-Shower Moisturiser
Full size: £3.56
Ever since I first heard about this I really wanted to give it a go. It's like a conditioner for your skin, which you smooth on while still in the shower and then rinse off and you're ready to go, without the need for body lotion! While it did soften my skin, it wasn't quite as hydrated as I would have liked.
I did however enjoy being able to just get out of the shower, dry off and be ready to go. On hot days in particular, I just hate creaming my skin after the shower when everything just gets sticky and horrible straight away. A good one maybe to pack for a holiday or to use in blistering heat - otherwise, it's just not quite rich enough for me.
10) Organic Surge Blissful Daily Moisturiser
Full size: £8.49
I was introduced to Organic Surge through my first Beauteco Box and I think I've fallen in love with the brand a little bit ever since. This came with an online order and I already can't wait for my moisturiser to run out so I can buy a full tub of this.
It sank into my skin immediately, smoothed out my drier cheeks and softly mattified my T-Zone, leaving me with silky peach skin throughout. Utterly, utterly gorgeous!
11) Durex Play Intimate Lube
Full size: £4.29
Haha, no I won't be giving any details on this one, but just thought I'd mention it. Fair play to Cosmo for giving out samples of this in their magazine!
12) BiOrganics Hair Perfecting Oil
Full size: £13
Oh, I'm really not a fan of this oil at all. The first problem is the way the sample is designed, with a very wide opening at the top which makes it difficult to dispense the perfect amount. As a result I ended up with too much oil a lot of the time and a greasy, slippy mess everywhere. On my hair it didn't really do anything to boost moisture or to smooth my strands. Even on my very dry hair it refused to sink into the hair shaft and just left my hair looking greasy. I've honestly never seen greasy frizz before I tried this product. Wouldn't buy it and wouldn't recommend it.
13) Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
Full size: £20
Considering how excited I was to try out this cream I feel a little let down by the results. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely eye cream that sinks into the skin nicely and applies very well - but that's about it. It did nothing for my dark circles and nothing for my puffiness. I may as well have been applying tomato sauce to my skin. But then, apart from the Murad cream I mentioned above, eye creams just really haven't been doing anything for me during the last couple of months.
14) Eve of St Agnes Body Balm
Full size: £6
I mistakenly thought at first that this would be a body butter sort of product, but it's much thicker and way too rich for application all over the body. It's a thick, waxy balm that can be used for any tough and dry spots and I used it on my hands over night to give a little bit of softness.
To be quite honest, I'm not overly impressed. I love the strong rose scent (though that might not be to everyone's taste), but the texture is really rather off-putting. The balm is quite hard in the tin, but rather than melting on the skin when you rub it in, it becomes kind of grainy and powdery. It also doesn't moisturise quite as much as I'd like, so it's one I'm going to give a miss I think.
15) Eve of St Agnes Refining Bamboo Exfoliating Polish
Full size: £18
Now this sample I like a lot more than the previous one. It's got a very soft and delicate scent which I can barely notice even when I'm rubbing it all over my nose. The grains are quite tough, but as they're suspended in a very light, soft cream, it makes for a very satisfying scrubbing experience. Strong enough to get all the rubbish off my face, but gentle enough to not cause any irritation.
16) Pukka Radiance Serum
Full size: £24
I'm really, really torn with this product. Upon application it's quite frankly disgusting. I dislike the herbal scent, the runny texture makes it difficult to apply without dripping and it leaves my skin extremely sticky. Eurgh! But, on the other hand, when I stuck with it, it really did improve my skin tone. Radiance is something that's a bit difficult to describe, but my skin tone seems more even and my skin looks a little more "healthy" than on days when I don't use it. Is it worth putting up with the disgusting feeling it leaves on my skin? I'm still not entirely sure.