Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sephora Favorites Vol.2 Skin Cleanse Kit - Review!

Hello! Hope you all had a great Valentines Day! Mine was pretty okay; it could have gone better, but that's only because the food at the restaurant my husband and I went to wasn't very good. Otherwise, it was a nice night and my husband got me some nice, thoughtful gifts. Unfortunately though, the main gift he got me didn't arrive in time. We're hoping it comes today, otherwise it will have to wait until next week (President's Day on Monday will slow things down even more). We were also going to go see The LEGO Movie, which I hear is really good, but we didn't have time so we'll have to do it sometime next week as well.

But this post isn't about Valentines Day, it's about my Sephora Favorites Vol.2 Skin Cleanse kit! I showed this kit in a haul I did a while ago (a long while ago now, back in mid-January I think...) but I wanted to take some time and look at the products included in it individually. As of today, this kit is still available on the Sephora website (I just checked), so if you're interested in purchasing it, you can!

And yes, I am using the same picture as in my haul. It's just easier that way.
I really love these "Sephora Favorites" kits; they're a great way to experiment and try a bunch of different products from a bunch of different brands (though I have noticed that Sephora likes to reuse a lot of the same brands in these kits, but that also might be just because the brands are that well-liked). I'm one of those people that loves trying new things, especially new new things AND I really like sample sizes, so these kits are basically tailor-made for me. When I first saw this kit (and it's sister, the Vol.1 Skin Bender) I wasn't all that interested in it. I have a lot of skincare samples sitting around my home from all my various subscription boxes, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to pay $45 ($48 for Vol.1. I ended up buying that kit as well. Because I have problems) for more, especially since I wasn't sure if I could even use some of the products with my skin type (which I admittedly don't know what it is. I think I have combination/sensitive skin that leans on the dry side but who even know). After I went home without purchasing it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. When I can't stop thinking about a product, I know I have to have it (I think I explained this before and, no matter how many times I do, it still sounds like backwards, silly, unlogic). After I went back the next day and bought it (I bought this kit in-store, Vol.1 online a few days later), I thought it would be fun to wait and try out all the products so I could do a real review, not only of this bag itself, but of each individual product inside!
This is the back, which lists all the ingredients as well as some warnings and usage instructions. I wish all the products had directions on the back; most of these are pretty straightforward "put on face, don't get in eyes" kind of things, but sometimes I like to double check just to make sure I'm using a product in its intended and most effective manner (some products can be more or less effective depending on how you layer, and some don't need to be rinsed off after use, things like that). You can easily look everything up on Sephora's website since they sell the full sizes of all these products, but it would be nice to just have them printed, right in your hands, especially since some of the sample bottles are too small to print on.

Let's start with the bag! I didn't actually take a picture of just the bag for some reason (and I have a long and complicated reason why I can't just go take one now that I'm sure you don't want to read), but it's pretty easy to see in the first two pictures. It's a black bag with white side patches and black 3D, uh, nubbins (I couldn't think of a better word) all on the outside. The bag for the Vol.1 is similar, just with the colors swapped, though instead of white nubbins on white it has black nubbins on white. It kind of reminds me of an old school bowling ball bag and to be's not the cutest. It feels kind of mod and retro and that's not really my style. It's a pretty good sized bag so it would be good for traveling but it's a bit too big to go in a purse.

Now, I said I was going to wait to do a review until I've used every product in this bag at least once and, unfortunately, I didn't actually use every product yet. I still haven't used the Murad Oil-Control Mattifier.
We're still in the frosty grip of winter (though it sounds like it's going to finally warm up a smidge soon!) and as such it's been really, really dry. I already have combination/dry skin so I've been trying to keep myself hydrated. I really don't need any oil control, nor do I need any mattifying (in fact, I need some products that will keep my skin looking dewy and fresh!). I've tried a handful of Murad products and overall I think it's a good skincare brand, so I'm confident this will be a good product. I didn't do values in my video since this isn't a subscription box or anything (and they say right on it that it's worth $112), but I'm curious to see what exactly everything in here is worth. The full size of this product is $39.50 for 1.7 fl oz, making this .33 fl oz sample worth about $7.66.

From here on, I'll probably go at random and I won't really follow the order that I went in the video.So next I'll talk about...
The boscia Luminizing Black Mask! I want to start by saying that I have absolutely no idea how to say "boscia". I've heard it said a bunch of different ways on Youtube, and I don't think I've ever heard an "official" pronunciation. That said, I've used boscia products in the past (and right now I'm using one of their toners) and I've had good experiences with them. And this product is no different! This is a special peel-off mask that helps deep clean and detoxify your skin. It's also apparently a Sephora exclusive, which is kind of cool. I really like this mask, if for no other reason than the peeling-off part. It's weirdly satisfying, especially when you uncover softer, smoother, more refined skin underneath! I do have an issue with this product, though it's not with the actual product itself, but with this sample size. It's too small! In order for this mask to really work (and to peel-off effectively) you have to put on a pretty thick, opaque layer. If you use too little, it won't peel and you'll end up picking at and irritating your face until you finally give up and rinse it off (which is also good to do if you get it on your eyebrows or in your hair. It WILL pull out your hair and it WILL hurt. Trust me). This sample is so small that if you put a thick enough layer on, you'll likely only get 2-3 uses max out of it. If even that. I do really like this mask, but the amount of product you have to use makes me question whether it'd be worth getting the full size or not. The full size is $34 for 2.8 oz, so this 0.7 oz sample is worth about $8.50.

Next is a product that I've tried before, Dr. Jart's Black Label Detox BB Cream.
I've been using this BB cream for a couple years now, and out of all the BB creams I've tried it's still my favorite. It makes my skin feel good and look good and it has a lot of good skincare ingredients (I should find a better word than "good"). When I was first getting interested in BB creams, I really wanted to try a Korean brand since they make some of the best ones (as far as skincare goes). There were some American/European brand BB creams on the market, but they were more like tinted moisturizers with sunscreen thrown in, unlike the Korean ones which were more like foundations with skincare elements (if that makes sense). Dr. Jart was the only Korean brand I could find that I could purchase from a retailer in the U.S. that was close to where I lived, which is why I gravitated towards it. I was originally interested in the original formula (which I think is just called the "Premium" BB cream), but it had parabens in it and if I was going to be paying that much for a BB cream, I didn't want parabens. The Black Label Detox BB cream doesn't have parabens (so I don't know why the other one does...maybe there's an ingredient stability issue or something), and it also has some extra ingredients to help with blemish prone skin. My only issues with this BB cream is it's a little too grey for my skin (it only comes in one color and since it's Korean, it's formulated for Asian skintones) and it doesn't ever set so it gets on my clothes if I'm not careful. Otherwise, if you're looking for a good BB cream, I'd highly recommend this one! There are two options for full sizes, 0.66 fl oz for $18 or 1.5 fl oz for $36, making this 0.33 fl oz sample worth about $7.90.

As you can see, I have a lot of things to say about each of these products, which is why I wanted to take a look at this kit all by itself! Moving on, we have FAB's Red Clay Deep Cleanser.

Again, this is another brand that I have a lot of experience with and that I really love! First Aid Beauty (FAB) initially caught my eye since it's a skincare line formulated for people with incredibly sensitive skin. Their products are irritant-free (at least when it comes to common chemical irritants. If you have allergies or anything, make sure to check the labels) and are general fragrance/dye and paraben-free as well. FAB's most popular product, the Ultra Repair Cream, is absolutely amazing and will make your skin feel wonderful and you really should try it if you struggle with dry skin or certain skin conditions (they say you can use it for atopic dermatitis, irritant eczema, allergic eczema, and keratosis pilaris). I use/have used their face cleanser, eye cream, face cream, radiance pads, and of course the Ultra Repair Cream and overall have been pretty impressed. This cleanser is no exception! I've used this a few times now and I really like how it leaves my face feeling clean, but not stripped! This is exactly the kind of cleanser I'm looking for; I have blemish-prone skin so I really need something that will keep it clean, but since my skin is so sensitive, harsher cleansers can really mess it up. This is a nice balance between the two. I might even consider picking up the full size of this when I finish my other FAB facial cleanser. The full size is $24 for 4.7 oz, so this 1 oz sized sample is worth about $5.10.

Next we have GlamGlow's SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment.
This was one of the items that made me feel like I had to get this bag. People go crazy for this stuff and, to be honest, I don't really know why. Before I tried this mask, I tried the YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliant Treatment (all caps their emphasis, not mine) a few times and overall I wasn't impressed by it. It stung my face pretty bad (but I have sensitive skin) and I never noticed that big of a different, especially after using a product that was so hyped up. But I thought maybe this one would be different since this product is targeted more towards problem skin like mine. This is a charcoal-colored mask with a minty kind of smell (there's mint but there's something more earthy about, which makes sense since this has, well, dirt in it. Basically. Except not really. You know what I mean). You don't get a lot of product (the full sizes are pretty small, too) but since you only need to use a thin layer (unlike the bosica mask), you can get a good amount of use from this sample. Unfortunately, this mask still didn't impress me, but I did like it a bit more than the YOUTHMUD. The full size is 1.2 oz for $69, so this 0.3 oz sample is worth $17.25, which is crazy!

Over halfway done! Next is the Kate Sommerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment.
This is another product that got me interested in this bag. I've heard a lot of positive things about this exfoliant, but I've never used it since I was concerned about it irritating my sensitive skin. This is also a very expensive product; this is actually a full sized product! Well, "deluxe travel size" might be a more accurate description, but I determine if something is full size or not based on whether you can actually purchase it on it's own and Sephora does sell this size individually. This is a special 2-in-1 kind of exfoliant since it has both manual and enzymatic exolfiants. There are special instructions for how to use it with sensitive skin (basically you just leave it on for a shorter amount of time) or there is a special ExfoliKate Gentle you can use. I was surprised that this didn't irritate my skin at all, even though I left it on for the full time. Again, for how much this product is worth, I expected a bit more from it. It's a good exfoliator, but there is another one in this bag that I liked even more. This is a 0.5 fl oz size tube and you buy it at Sephora for $22 (see, pricey!).

This is Ole Henriksen's Ultimate Life Eye Gel, another product that attracted me to this bag.
This is literally an eye gel; it's a clear blue gel you put under your eyes at night to help firm and de-puff them. I really struggle with my eye area (I have wrinkles, thin skin, and horrible under eye circles) so I love trying new eye products. I was initially put off by the texture of this product; I've never used a gel-texture eye product before and at first, it's kind of sticky and gross feeling. It eventually absorbs and you wake up without any residual stickiness, but it's definitely weird feeling at first. I've been using this almost every night since I got this bag and I'm not sure if it's doing anything for me. Granted, it hasn't even been a month yet (or has it? I don't know) and it takes a while for skincare products to really show results. I'll keep using it and see what kind of difference it makes. The full size is $38 for 1 fl oz, so this 0.50 fl oz sample is worth $19 ( a lot more than I was expecting).

Last two products! Almost done! This is the Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Peeling Gel.
My camera doesn't like shiny things, so I do apologize about the quality of this picture. This is the other exfoliant I was talking about, the one I liked better than the ExfoliKate. This is also probably my favorite product in the bag! I've used Peter Thomas Roth products before, but only in foil packet form (and a mascara for some reason), so it was nice to be able to try out a more substantial sample. Like ExfoliKate, this is an enzyme-based exfoliator, though it lacks any manual exfoliants (which isn't a bad thing). You don't need much and it's really gross and satisfying to feel your dead skin bead up and flake off as you use it (I know, super gross, but seriously, it makes you feel clean). This left my skin feeling almost brand new! I;m surprised I've never used an exfoliant like this before; I know I've avoided them due to concerns about my sensitive skin, but I'm definitely a convert! The full size is $48 for 3.4 fl oz, so this 0.5 fl oz sample is worth about $7.

Finally, we have the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner.
I was concerned about how this product would react with my skin since it's intended for oily/combination skin and, as I've said, I have dry/combination skin. I was very surprised to find out how much I like it! In my experience with Dr. Brandt skincare products, I've been generally pleased with the results (I like the XYY face cream a lot). This is a mattifyer, but I don't think it's quite as harsh as some others I've tried. I do have some pretty obvious pores on the tops of my cheeks near my nose and I find that this product does minimize their appearance. To help combat any drying effects, I only use this product where I need it, I don't apply it all over my face. There is a tint to it, but it blends out on my skin. If you're super pale or super dark, I'm not sure how well it would blend in, but since you are using it under foundation, I'm sure you could counteract any off-coloration. The full size is  $45 for 1 fl oz, so this 0.25 fl oz sample is worth $11.25.

And that's everything in the Sephora Favorites Vol.2 Skin Cleanse kit! For $45 you get nine different skincare products; 8 of which are deluxe size samples and 1 which is a travel/full size, depending on what your definition of "full size" is. Sephora says this bag has a value of $112, though according to my calculations, it's closer to $106. You still get your money's worth, but I really don't like it when companies give a value and then go under it. If Sephora said it was a $100 value, or a $100 + value, that'd be great, but since it's about $6 under the promised value, I'm a little sad (but I'm not upset or anything, it is only a $6 difference and I'm not sure how Sephora calculated the value of the bag. I'm going purely buy how much a product costs per ounce).

Is this bad worth it? Eh, maybe. I like it, because I like trying new things and I love samples. This would be a good bag for someone trying to figure out a good skin routine and what kinds of products or brands they want to look into. For $45, it is kind of expensive for what it is, so if you already have a great skincare routine or if you aren't really interested in these types of products, I'd say don't buy it. It's really a personal preference kind of thing.

Thanks for reading! <3

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