Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sephora Favorites Scouted By Sephora Kit - Review!

What's one thing that would make me love the Sephora Favorites kits even more than I already do(well, besides more products for less money...)? Making the boxes holographic!
Oh yeah, look at those rainbows... Sephora switches up the design/theme of these boxes every now and then, and it looks like for the fall, and possibly the holidays, they're going with holographic lids with die cut cardboard labels. Très chic! Admittedly, a shiny box doesn't always mean a better product, but when I already trust that it's going to be good, it doesn't hurt; Sephora could packaged these kits in kraft paper boxes and I would still buy them.

The kit I want to show you in this post is the Scouted By Sephora kit; this is a skincare specific kit that highlights brands and products that are new or uncommon. I have definitely not tried any of the products included in this kit and some of the brands are completely new to me!

This kit is currently available from Sephora.com, and is most likely available in-store as well (I haven't been to a physical Sephora in a surprisingly long time, so I don't know for sure); for $44 you get seven deluxe sample sizes (one product is actually three individual use packets) and one full size product with a retail value of $150.
Since I did buy this online, I got some foil packet samples...
...and a special Hourglass sampler pack.
This sampler pack included deluxe minis of the Mineral Veil Primer (one of my faves), the Film Noir mascara in Onyx, and a Femme Rouge lipstick in Icon.
Everything in this kit comes well packed in vacuum-formed plastic; as the design changes periodically, the construction of these boxes also varies (both in materials and how they open: sometimes they slide, sometimes they have tabs, sometimes they lift up...), and this time it's a very sturdy cardboard box with a removable lid. I'm definitely going to try to repurpose this box, especially since it looks like you can easily removed the die cut label on the lid.
I always like to go in order of the products on the back of the box (which is also alphabetical order), so the first two products are the Cane + Austin Mircle Pad+'s
and the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. The back of the box info is pretty minimal; you get ingredients (which are quite important), the size of the product, and its country of origin. I do wish Sephora found a way to also include usage directions since it's not always printed on the samples themselves. It's not difficult to look up, Sephora includes them for each product on the website, but I'm not always near my computer when I want to try a new product.
I have no idea how new Cane + Austin Miracle Pad+ is to Sephora, or even in general, since this is one of the brands/products that I've never heard of before. These are facial treatment pads that are supposed to be as effective as 30% glycolic acid professional treatments. Each packet is a single-use pad and, considering that you're supposed to use these twice a day (once a day for sensitive skin), I think it would have made more sense to include four packets instead of three. These pads do have a lot of glycolic acid (it's the second ingredient), but they don't list how much, so I'm assuming it's less than 30% (which is way too much for home use, anyways). I do like these type of facial radiance treatments since they help improve skin texture and even pigmentation (two things I have issues with due to acne scarring), so I'm excited to give these a try. The full size is a jar of 60 single use pads for $88, so these three pads are worth about $4.40 ($1.46 each).
Out of all the products in this kit, this is the one I'm the most excited about: the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I've been very curious about Drunk Elephant as a brand (even the name is amusing), but the prices of the full size products are a little outside my comfort zone, especially without being able to try them first. Now, not only do I get to try a Drunk Elephant product, I get to try one of their serums, a product that I have a surprisingly small amount of in my skin care hoard (I have a ton of cleansers and moisturizers, but I'm lacking in serums, eye creams, and toners). This serum includes vitamin C and ferulic acid to help brighten skin and correct damage from UV exposure. Since this serum does include vitamin C and has an exfoliating effect, you need to make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 since it can make your skin more sensitive and prone to UV damage. I like that this product, both in sample size and full size, comes in an opaque tube with a pump since light and air can degrade skin care ingredients and make then less effective. The full size serum is 1 fl oz (about 30ml) for $80, making this 5ml sample worth about $13.30.
On to column number two! It's kind of amusing how many ingredients the Estee Edit mask has compared to the Herbivore lip conditioner...
This is the The Estee Edit by Estee Lauder Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack. The Estee Edit is a Sephora exclusive line by Estee Lauder that's meant to appeal to younger, trendier people. Estee Lauder, as a brand, is associated with an older, more mature audience and I think they've been struggling to attract new customers. When I went to an Estee Lauder counter to purchase a Double Wear foundation for the first time (which is a magical foundation and if you're looking for something that has full coverage I highly suggest checking it out), the gentleman who helped me was surprised that I was interested in the brand because I was so young (this was when I was in my mid 20's, so it's not like he was shocked I was a 13 year old looking for full coverage foundation or anything; he thought it was especially amusing when I told him I saw in ad in an Allure magazine, which made me finally decide to check it out). This product is an overnight mask ('pack' means mask; it's a term used a lot in Asian skincare) with extracts of pink peony, goji berry, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate. Overnight masks are slowly becoming more popular in the U.S., though I'm still not completely sold on them; you get a lot more benefits from them since they're on your skin for so long, but they can leave your skin feeling tacky or weird and they're not always the most comfortable things to sleep in. The full size of this product is 1.7 fl oz for $50, making this 0.24 fl oz sample worth about $7.
Next is the Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Lip Conditioner, and it's full sized! This is a coconut oil-based lip conditioner with very minimal ingredients, including no added fragrances, dyes, or fillers. I really like the idea behind this product, but I don't like to use potted lip products since they're difficult to travel with and can be unhygienic. I also really don't like the coconut-rose scent; I appreciate that it is the natural scent of the ingredients, but I hate the scent of roses, natural or not. I'm still going to try it (I'm particularly interested in it as a night-time treatment) and see if the smell dissipates, but if it sticks around, I'm going to have to pass it on. This is the full size product at 0.17 oz and it is worth $22 (the container itself has no information on it besides the Herbivore name; I had to look at the box to figure out what it was and how big it was; online, the lip polish looks exactly the same and I'm not sure if the individual products are labelled or if it's easier to tell what's what in real life).
Is it weird that I find the the fact that the third column of products is also the only one that has three products? Yeah, it's probably weird.
First in this column is the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, and, interestingly, this is the only product in this set that's not from the US (it's Australian). This was also one of the samples that I thought I would get the least use out of (the other being the lash enhancer, for reasons I will get to later). Rosewater mists are great for the complexion, and this mist includes other good-for-the-skin ingredients like aloe, but the second ingredient is alcohol, which is something I try to avoid when at all possible. As I said above in regards to the Herbivore lip conditioner, I hate the scent of roses, and, not only does this mist smell heavily of roses, it has added fragrance, so it's artificial. While I like the idea of this product, I already have other mists that I like better just due to ingredients and scent, so I'm going to pass this on without using it. This is a very nice sample, though, since it comes in a heavy, frosted glass bottle and it has the expiration date clearly stamped on the bottom. A full size mist is 100ml for $35, making this 30ml sample worth about $10.50.
I'm going to be honest, even though it's pretty embarrassing; when I first saw this kit, I didn't know anything about Lancer as a brand, and I assumed that this was some kind of toothpaste. It's not too far-fetched; Sephora does sell toothpaste and teeth whitening products, but I was very wrong and this is, in fact, a face exfoliant: the Lancer The Method: Polish. It is a two-part exfoliant since it has natural quartz and sodium bicarbonate crystals for physical efolixation and pumpkin and pomegranate extracts as chemical exfoliants; these two-part exfoliants can be very powerful, especially if you have sensitive skin or are using other exfoliating products, like the treatment pads also in this kit. The product description says you can use it daily, but this is something I'd use two or three times a week. It also is supposed to have a warming sensation, which I've really come to enjoy in masks and exfoliants; after trying the Caolion pore pack duo, I fell in love with the Steam Pore Pack (the warming one) and really, really disliked how the Original Pore Pack felt (the cooling one). The full size of this product is 4.2 oz for $75, making this 1 oz sample worth about $17.90.
Last in this column is the LashFood Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancer; along with the Rosewater Mist, this was the other product I had doubts about using. Not that I think there's anything bad about it; I don't know much about eyelash enhancing products so I don't even know to to look for ingredients-wise. This lash enhancer uses an ingredient to stimulate lash growth and prevent hair loss that is supposedly safe and side-effect free; it is also cruelty-free, fragrance-free and is 'formulated without prostaglandin, silicone, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, mineral oils, phenoxyethanol, PEG, petrochemicals, GMOs, and formaldehyde donors'. The ingredient list does look mostly natural and I am familiar with most of the ingredients, but I still feel reluctant to give it a try; I know it clearly says that this a drug-free lash enhancer with no side-effects, but the side-effects from prescription enhancers like Latisse (which, according to Google, was originally created as a glaucoma medication) are a little scary and can include things like darkening your eyelid skin (possibly reversible) and creating brown spots of pigmentation in your iris (which is permanent). I'm not saying this product will cause anything like that, but it just makes me wary of any lash enhancing product. The full size is 0.10 oz for $78, making this 0.05 sample worth $39.
Last coloumn, last product of this kit. I'm actually surprised at how big this ingredient list is!
The last product in this kit is the Tata Harper Purifying Mask. I'm a little familiar with Tata Harper products, and I'm still using and enjoying the Hydrating Floral Essence I got in a previous Sephora Favorites kit, so this product interests me. It's a pretty standard put on, wait 20 minutes, rinse off clay mask, so it's nothing new or exciting in that respect, but it won a Best Of Beauty award from Allure for 2016, so there has to be something special going on. This mask is designed for people with issues with pores, acne, and oily skin, which is definitely relevant to me and it apparently uses yogurt probiotics to deeply cleanse the skin. This isn't the first time I've heard of microbes being used to cleaning purposes (it may be where we're going hygiene-wise, actually, especially in places where water conservation is especially important; I, for one, am excited for the day that I can 'take a shower' without having to actually take a shower!), but this is one of the first times that I've heard of it in a product that's not 'fresh'. Probiotics are living things, so I'm interested in how Tata Harper managed to preserve them for an extended time and without using refrigeration, without compromising their integrity. Very intriguing! The full size of this product is 1 fl oz for $65, making this 0.25 fl oz sized sample worth about $16.25.

So how does this box stack up? I got eight products, one full size and seven deluxe size samples, with a total value of approximately $130.35, which is more than the $44 I paid, but less than the promised $150 value. I thought this kit had a great variety of products, though there are two masks (to be fair, one is a clay mask and one is a gel-based sleeping mask) and two exfoliants (again, they are different; one is a radiance peel and one is a chemical/physical exfoliant combo). I also really like the variety of brands; some have been done to death in these kits, but these have been featured in only a few, if any (the Estee Edit products have been featured a bit lately, but that's only because the line is exclusive to Sephora and I think they're really trying to market it). I think this kit is worth it, especially if you're like me and love trying new skincare products, but I will say that you are getting about $20 less worth of products than the promised value, which is kind of lame.

Thanks for reading! <3

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