PR Haul #1 | Beauty

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PR Haul #1 | Beauty

A while back I swore I would never make these “PR haul” posts because they seem braggy, but I am going to start with this first installment of my new irregular blog series purely out of necessity. The point of the series is to show you what products arrive at my doorstep so you can:

a) have an idea what type of content to expect in the upcoming weeks/months.

b) request reviews or swatches for specific products.

c) ask any questions about ingredients, similar products, or my first impressions overall.

Many beauty influencers receive free full-sized samples from cosmetic companies in the hopes of having their products featured on the blogs or social media channels, but sometimes we just get totally overwhelmed and backlogged. Contrary to popular belief, bloggers do not write about every single product they get, nor are we required to. For instance, to thoroughly test everything featured in this blog post, I would need at least a few months, but guess what? Everything you see here arrived last week. Everything. Yes, that’s just one week’s worth of product samples, and some of them will never get another chance to shine, either because I didn’t like the formula, or because the product was ineffective for my skin type.

Don’t get me wrong, I always feel guilty when I get these huge beautiful packages and don’t write about any of them at all because I didn’t like anything, or I simply didn’t have time. So, without further ado, here are all of the PR samples I discovered in my mailbox last week. Some of these you may never see featured here again, so let me know if you have questions and I’ll answer in the comments below.

L'Oreal PR package: Air Dry It Un-Done Style Cream, Air Dry It Ruffled Body Mousse, Air Dry It Wave Swept Spray, Infallible Total Cover Foundation, Visible Lift Radiance Booster, Brow Stylist Kabuki Blender, Infallible Total Cover Concealing & Contour Kit, Infallible Total Cover Color Correcting Kit, Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender, L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara Cobalt Blue, Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer, Micellar Cleansing Water, and Revitalift Triple Power Moisturizer and Serum

L’Oreal, you spoil me!

The biggest package came from L’Oreal Paris, and as always, they were extra generous with samples. Here’s a list of everything that was inside.

Complete Advanced Hairstyle Air Dry It Collection designed for achieving effortless, undone, Parisian chic styles. The collection includes Air Dry It Un-Done Style Cream, Air Dry It Ruffled Body Mousse, and Air Dry It Wave Swept Spray. So far I only tried the mousse, and if my first impression is any indication, I think I will be using it a lot this summer. It seems to hold the volume at the roots well, even without blow-drying, and that’s something I look for when styling my flat, fine hair. It also smells very beachy, sort of like those tropical sugary coconut sunscreens, if you know what I mean?

I was also sent three shades of Infallible Total Cover Foundation [there are a total of 12 to suit a wide range of skin tones], and I can already tell you with certainty that I love it. This is one of the best foundations L’Oreal has released in the recent years, or at least my combination/dehydrated skin thinks so. The formula is thick yet weightless at the same time, and it actually stays on the skin without melting off, while providing beautiful medium coverage. It makes my skin look slightly dewy, and also allows it to breathe, so my face doesn’t get any oilier throughout the day. I am seriously impressed!

PR beauty blogger haul #1

Luna is helping unbox everything.

Visible Lift Radiance Booster is a new primer that hit the shelves in January this year. I tried it a couple of times and I can’t decide if it deserves a spot in my makeup bag or not. It’s a pink primer that gives the skin a slight pinkish hue and very subtle glowy sheen without shimmer. It is invisible under the foundations I tested it with, including the one above, but it turned out to be a nice base for a BB cream with light coverage. So if you like barely-there foundation, or don’t wear foundation it all, you might like this one for evening out the skin tone a little bit. Basically, I liked the feel of the formula, but still not too sure about the color, since it disappears under most of the foundations I normally wear.

L’Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Kabuki Blender is kind of like khol crayon but for your eyebrows – thick, pigmented, and meant to be worn a little messy. There is a twist-up pencil on one end and a smudge brush on the other to achieve the “blended brow” effect [think trending Korean beauty brow]. Korean women avoid sharp edges and currently the most popular look is smudged brow that subtly outlines the desired brow shape, like in this picture, or this one, or this one. The shade I got was not a great match for my brows, I prefer something ashier, more gray, and this one was chocolate brown. I did like the effect though, and it was super easy to get the intended look. I will show you a LOTD at a later date.

Color correcting trend is not going away anytime soon, so naturally L’Oreal released their own palettes – Infallible Total Cover Concealing & Contour Kit and Infallible Total Cover Color Correcting Kit. I only tried the color correcting palette so far, and I like it. The pans are creamy and very easy to apply with fingers or a brush. The shades sheer out beautifully, so you are not stuck with weird color patches peeking from underneath the foundation. I want to give a special shoutout to the peachy pan on the left, it’s the most perfect color for undereye correcting and it made my dark circles virtually disappear. I also want to note that this palette is a great place to start if you are a beginner at color correcting, because all of these shades are fool-proof, buildable, and very easy to work with.

A couple quick swatches for you, guys.

L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Foundation 301 swatch, Infallible Total Cover Concealing & Contour Kit swatch, Visible Lift Radiance Booster swatch, Brow Stylist Kabuki Blender swatch

L’Oreal Infallible Infallible Total Cover Concealing & Contour Kit, Total Cover Foundation 301, Visible Lift Radiance Booster, Brow Stylist Kabuki Blender 313 Brunette.

I often use sponge applicators to apply foundation, but I almost never use anything other than my beautyblender, although I tried many dupes and alternatives. The only sponge that comes close is from Real Techniques, so if you don’t want to dish out the $$$ for the original, I highly recommend trying that one. On that note, L’Oreal Paris recently released their first collection of makeup sponges – three products right now – and I got the Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender to try. The shape kinda looks like a classic beautyblender after a waist trainer, if you know what I mean, haha! I didn’t actually try this one yet, because I already have 5 other sponges to wash, but as soon as I toss one, it will go into rotation.

Last makeup sample is L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara in the new shade Cobalt Blue. I liked most of L’Oreal mascaras, and their Voluminous Butterfly is an absolute must have IMO, so I have no doubt that this new shade is fabulous. I won’t be trying it until early summer, though, because I still have a ton of open mascaras to finish right now.

L’Oreal also sent me some of their newest skincare to try – Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer, Micellar Cleansing Water, and Revitalift Triple Power Moisturizer and Serum. First of all, Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer comes in millennial pink, which I thought was a cute touch. The formula boasts antioxidant, brightening, and soothing Imperial Peony Extract, and LHA, a derivative of Salicylic Acid, that helps decongest the pores.

Here’s what I liked so far:

  • The tint actually disappears on the skin, so your face won’t look pink.
  • It’s hard to find products that have ingredients to address blemishes and skin aging, and this one has both.
  • The second ingredient after water is Squalane, which is a fabulous skin protectant.

What I didn’t like:

  • Like many L’Oreal products, this one is heavily fragranced with the signature rose scent. I don’t mind it in toners and cleansers, but sometimes it bothers me in moisturizers and serums, and just generally in everything that stays on my skin.

Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Skin Revitalizer seems like a cool concept, because it’s like two products in one. One compartment holds anti-aging serum with 6% Beech Wood Extract, also known as Pro-Xylane, and the other contains a brightening daily moisturizer with 2% Vitamin C. I kind of wish the amount of Vit C was higher, as I personally find anything lower than 10% is not a true active ingredient, but a mere antioxidant additive, but I guess 2% is better than not using any Vitamin C in your routine at all.

Final product in the box was Micellar Cleansing Water, and I couldn’t be more excited to try it! It’s nice to have an affordable alternative to my cult favorite Bioderma Sensibio, which I have since replaced with the pink Garnier Micellar Water. L’Oreal version costs a little more [a dollar, maybe?] for the same size bottle, so it’s just a matter of personal preference. There are three to choose from: for normal/oily skin, for normal/dry skin, and for all skin types and waterproof makeup. The last one is what I received to try and I think it’s fabulous. It’s an unscented bi-phase formula, so you have to shake it before each use.

Biore Baking Soda Acne Scrub, Charcoal Acne Scrub, and Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

Biore Baking Soda Acne Scrub, Charcoal Acne Scrub, Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser.

Biore Baking Soda Acne Scrub, Charcoal Acne Scrub, and Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

It’s dangerous to go alone. Here, take this cleanser with you!

Sky Organics Bath Bombs.

Sky Organics Bath Bombs.

I also got a package from Biore with three products designed for problem skin: Baking Soda Acne Scrub, Charcoal Acne Scrub, and Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser. Out of the three I will probably only try the charcoal line. IMO, baking soda as an ingredient has no business being on my face, so that scrub will be given away to someone less picky. I have not tested these for pH yet, so there’s still a chance that none of them will make it into my routine, but we will see.

While we’re at it, how cute is the packaging? Those plastic army men are actually the #SkinWarriors that fight acne and skin impurities. Cute!

I received Sky Organics Bath Bombs [thanks, Sara!] a little too late to be included in my Clean Beauty Month, but I will totes include them in an upcoming roundup. These are more affordable than LUSH bath bombs, and have better ingredients. Plus, no glitter that sticks to the bathtub! 😉 Each gift set comes with six bath bombs: Caribbean Coconut, Lavender Lemon Muffin, Love Potion, Strawberry Milkshake [smells like heaven!], Mermaid Kiss, and Sugar Rose [great dupe for Rose Jam]. As you can see, I used one and it was a lovely experience. Love Potion had a zingy, citrusy fragrance that was very uplifting, and the scent lingered on my skin for a while.

Soothing Micellar Cleansing Water, Under Eye Rejuvenator, Blue Copper 5 Lip & Tuck Lip Gloss, and Blue Copper 5 Firming Elasticity Repair

How cute is the makeup bag my Osmotics goodies came in? It’s really sturdy and functional.

A lot of my blogger friends [and I mean, a LOT] have raved about Osmotics skincare, but I never tried anything from this cosmeceutical brand, mostly because I always have a gigantic backlog, and investing time into discovering what a new company is about just takes me longer than using products from brands I already know. I did not ask to try it this time either, but my contact from Pierce Mattie PR thought I should definitely try these and sent over a beautifully packaged gift set with some of the brand’s bestsellers. I like that the company really embraces the skincare over makeup approach, as it’s something that I am preaching, too.

I got sent four products: Soothing Micellar Cleansing Water, Under Eye Rejuvenator, Blue Copper 5 Lip & Tuck Lip Gloss, and finally, Blue Copper 5 Firming Elasticity Repair, which is the only product I got to try so far. It is every bit as fabulous as everybody says, and it feels like heaven on my skin. It’s soothing, hydrating, and just makes my face feel so comfortable and nourished. Over time, it is supposed to help even out the skin tone, and I’m all about that. You will be seeing this moisturizer in the future posts for sure!

June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist, Lip Renewal, and Rapid Repair Healing Cream

Loving the rosy vibes here!

Also, got a package from June Jacobs, which is a sister brand of Peter Thomas Roth, that included three products – Neroli Hydrating Mist, Lip Renewal, and Rapid Repair Healing Cream. June Jacobs is a brand of natural SPA-inspired skincare, that is made with a patented antioxidant complex and without the use of parabens, preservatives, petrochemicals, sulfates, synthetic dyes and fragrances when possible. I am going to feature these products on Instagram soon, so you’ll see another update in the next couple of weeks. So far I tried the Lip Renewal – love! – and Neroli Hydrating Mist, which reminds me of Kerstin Florian Neroli Mist, a similar product from a green beauty brand. I didn’t used to like neroli water in the past, but it’s grown on me lately and now I spritz my skin with it almost daily.

SquareHue May 2017 Pirouette swatch

SquareHue May trio, inspired by Ballet + SquareHue Pirouet swatch.

We’re almost there, guys, only two more brands to cover! One is a trio of SquareHue polishes, which I hope to review for you soon. This year the collection is inspired by the world of dance, and the May shipment includes three gorgeous Ballet pastels. I am wearing Purouette right now, which is a pastel pistachio with a hint of shimmer. The formulation of SquareHue polishes varies shade to shade, and this one is bulletproof. I think it has been on my nails for at least a week now, and the edges still look impeccable!

And the last package that came on Friday was from Perricone MD. I received four products from the H2 Elemental Energy Hydrogen collection, which is the brand’snew deeply moisturizing line. Those of you who read my blog for a while know that I have dehydrated skin, so for me keeping it thoroughly quenched is kind of a daily struggle. The package included Hydrating Cloud Cream, Hydrating Booster Serum, De-Puffing Eye Gel, and Firming Foam Mask.

Perricone MD Hydrating Cloud Cream, Hydrating Booster Serum, De-Puffing Eye Gel, and Firming Foam Mask

Is it me, or that bag looks like a space blanket?

Out of these four I only tried the moisturizer and the serum, and my first impressions were polar opposites. I loved the serum, because it instantly made my face feel soft, calm, and deeply quenched. The moisturizer, on the other hand, did not agree with my skin at all. I felt sort of like a stinging sensation all over, and I just had to wash everything off after it didn’t go away in a minute or so. I am not dismissing the moisturizer just yet – less than a day prior I used a strong peel, and it is entirely possible that my skin is sensitized right now, so I will try it again later this week and we’ll see how it goes. On that note, if that’s what really happened, then it’s nice that I managed to discover a moisturizing serum that doesn’t irritate sensitized skin!

And that’s it for last week’s PR haul! Does it feel like you’ve reached the end of the Internet, haha? 🙂

Keep in mind that some of these products you will never see me mention again for reasons listed at the top of this post, so if you have a question about anything at all shown here, ask away and I will answer in comments.

P.S. Huge thank you to my USPS mail carrier for letting me use the box this week!

P.P.S.: Apologies for the changes in lighting. I was shooting in natural light and all of a sudden the sky got cloudy, so my pictures don’t look uniform 🙁

Got questions? Let me know which of these products interest you and I’ll be happy to answer!

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  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    Wow, that’s an incredible PR haul in just one week! So many goodies. I can’t believe that you got all that stuff from Perricone, be still my heart. Lots of great stuff. The L’Oreal correct & conceal shades look really good.

    • Unfortunately, I can’t say that I am particularly fond of this new collection by Perricone. The serum is a real standout and hands down my favorite product from this brand ever. Not too sure about the other three. So far the moisturizer keeps irritating my skin, the eye cream and the mask seem like they are just OK. I need more time to test them for sure, but I am probably not going to give the moisturizer more chances – something in it makes my skin go crazy.

  • I like PR hauls because sometimes the packaging is just to die for! Also, those bath bombs look amazing. I really wish I could find a place locally that sold them!

    • Right? A few months ago L’Oreal sent bloggers a green sphere made of clay along with a real hammer. You were supposed to break the sphere like a pinata to get to the products haha!

  • I LOVE PR HAULS!! LOL I am always watching them on IG stories!

    • Haha, me, too! I love being nosy 🙂

  • I adore the Sky Organics Bath Bombs, Mermaid Kiss was my fav. Osmotics makes wonderful skincare as well as June Jacobs. I’m not a fan of Perricone, I think the products are too expensive and not as effective as other brands in their class. Those Square Hue nail polishes are so sophisticated and classy!

    • Mermaid Kiss smells so nice, like the ocean 🙂

      I think your blog was one of several where I read all the great reviews about Osmotics skincare. I am excited to finally try everything!

      And thank you for sharing your thoughts on Perricone. Their products are a hit and a miss for me, too, and this new collection has only one real standout so far – the serum, – which feels like it belongs in that price range.

  • marciaf

    It’s amazing that you received so much. I guess the PR people recognize your talent. I’m looking forward to your future reviews.

    • I was lucky enough to develop lasting relationships with many reps over the years, so they introduce me to new clients when they move to new agencies, while the old agency still has my info for PR mailings. Sometimes I feel like a little spider in the center of a networking web lol.

  • Jen Sky Walker

    I’m really looking forward to learning more about the bath bombs. Caribbean Coconut? OH YES PLEASE!

    • Request received! I will make sure to bump them to the top of my list 🙂

  • polarbelle

    I LOVE Osmotics!!! The Blue Copper Elasticity Repair made my top 5 skincare products of last year, meaning it is holy grail for me. The Pink army men!!! I die. And wow, that loreal box!!

    • Hah, right? Those pink army men were so funny, especially the one with a grenade (that looks totally like something else to me).

  • 1alwaysnyc1

    Have you experienced any worsening of dehydration after using hyaluronic acid? At first, I thought that my skin was going through hormonal changes related to menopause. But I fear that it is HA that is causing my normally oily (my whole life!) skin to flake and feel tight! Like when you get a little sunburned an the skin starts peeling off. After much research, I found that HA can have that effect if there isn’t enough moisture in your environment, it will pull the water from your skin. So now I’m eagle-eyeing the ingredient lists on all my products for HA, fearful that it will cause another peeling episode. Anyway, I thought I’d ask.

    • Thank you for asking! I actually added small humidifiers to all places I spend a lot of time at (bed, desk, and kitchen) when I realized that I have dehydrated skin. I also introduced HA to my routine at the same time, so it would pull water from the air and stick it to my skin throughout the day. I guess a reverse effect would make perfect sense if the molecule has nowhere else to draw the moisture from. My skin does go through phases of peeling, but I think it’s because I use retinol daily, and sometimes strong AHA peels.

      Thanks again for sharing your findings, I’ll make sure to mention it in my future reviews about products with HA. I’ll give you a shoutout too 🙂

      • 1alwaysnyc1

        That’s a nice solution. But what about when you don’t have a humidifier. I was considering replacing HA with squalane. Thoughts?

        • If it was happening to my skin, I would probably try introducing a richer occlusive to help retain the moisture. Squalane is a nice occlusive, but so are soy lecithin, allantoin, or even plain old shea, mango, and cocoa butters. If all else fails, there’s always silicones, ultra-refined petrolatum, and lanolin, but those would be my last resort options.

  • Wow so many fabulous products here – I’d love to try those bath bombs! Also, Luna looks like an amazing helper! 😀

  • Ehmkay Nails

    Great haul! I see a ton of products I would love to try!

  • Wow, so many fantastic products! I’ve used some L’oreal skincare products for a while and I really like them 🙂

  • Naked Without Polish

    Oooooo those Biore products intrigue me! Can’t wait to see that post.

  • lacquerexpression

    I love this new post series and I think it’s still very informative.

  • Luna is adorable and I NEED those Sky Organics Bath Bombs.

  • My husband loves those Biore products!

  • Beautometry

    Those bath bombs look great. What was your final impression of them?