Friday, 20 July 2012


I don’t make any claims about being a beauty blogger, or even now as a fashion blogger, mostly because I think I lack the deep intellectual insight to talk about clothes beyond how they appeal to my particular aesthetic (read: I ramble a lot about myself and upload a gratuitous picture of my outfits taken with a crappy camera) but though a beauty blogger I am not; I do enjoy indulging in various cosmetic and skincare products but what has truly caught my attention is the fact that a couple of days ago, is the fact that when it comes to freebies, I’m pretty much a hoarder.

A common practice for beauty brands is to hand out free samples of other products when you buy an item and though I’m more likely to see this practice with Asian brands, it’s not out of the question for Western brands either in my experience.

However, a normal person probably uses these samples up ASAP and that’s the end of it. However, dear reader, if you have been following me for even just a bit now, it should be noted that I am far from. But I’m okay with that. What’s not okay though is this situation:

I do have snazzy bedsheets, though.
 Yep. All that. There's probably more that I haven't found or left in Aberdeen, but that’s almost every free sample I’ve received over the course of a few years, all of them in pretty much useable condition and so, in order to ensure I get around to properly using them, I’m introducing a series on my blog I’d like to call Free Stuff Friday, in which I review these products and post about them on Fridays until I’m through with my sizeable collection of crap. I’ll try and post the real retail price of the full size product when I can, but this may prove difficult, as majority of the Asian products were received in Brunei, and as such would be subject to different mark-ups in store, and some websites do not display their prices.  As this is a new project for me, friendly critique is welcome! Unfriendly critique is much less so, so please kindly refrain from throwing eggs at me.
With all that rambling out of the way, let’s start the first in what will hopefully be a continuing series with a double-barreled Free Stuff Friday and review 2 sets of freebies!

The Face Shop Keratin Intensive Shampoo and Conditioner 

Price: Unavailable through the website.

Full Size: 300 ml each

Sample Size: 50 ml each

What they say: Formulated with phytokeratin and Aloe this repairing shampoo replenish lost keratin in damaged hair leaving it stronger and healthier.

What I say: I’ve been using this since Monday now and I’m quite pleased with the result. Having been in Brunei since June, my hair has been a combination of baked by the sun, chlorinated, subjected to hard water and frizzed by humidity, turning it brittle and dry. After using this for the first time, I could feel a physical difference in the texture of my hair in the shower after rinsing off the conditioner. The shampoo doesn’t lather as much as a conventional shampoo would, but it gets the job done well, and when followed by gently working the conditioner through my hair, the end result felt incredibly soft and silky.

Unfortunately, crappy iPhone photos were the only thing I could use to compare. On the left, standard day without this shampoo. On the right, standard day after using said shampoo and conditioner.

While the problem of frizzing was unfortunately still present, this is more likely to do with Brunei’s humidity than the product itself. In terms of packaging, the products come in miniscule 50 ml bottles made of hard durable plastic, which make them ideal for travel, however, squeezing on the hard plastic to extrude some product can be quite cumbersome for delicate lady-type fingers (but not me. I have small but manly little hands.) The scent is a very pleasant, if somewhat generic, floral scent, surprisingly light for a considerably thick texture.

Rating: 8/10

Will I purchase this in a full size?

Maybe. I’m considerably tempted, thanks to silky my hair feels at the moment, so I might pop in and buy a full set before I fly off. Since it’s an “intensive treatment” type of shampoo, I’m thinking a little goes a long way, so it’d be great for days when I feel my hair needs some TLC.

Laneige Water Sleeping Pack Kit. 

What is it?

A kit comprised of:
  •     Laniege Multi Cleanser.
  •     Laniege Water Bank Essence Moisturiser.
  •    Laniege Water Sleeping Pack_Ex.

Laniege Multi Cleanser.

Price: £16.99 on Ebay

Full Size: 180ml

Sample Size: 30ml

What they say: Papain enzymes-based multi cleanser with 4 functions.

What I say: A fairly standard face wash. I got this kit when I bought a full-sized moisturizer and a BB cream and use it only when I go away for a few days and can’t be bothered to pack my full-sized skin care regime along. It’s pleasant enough, and doesn’t dry out my face after washing, and my skin feels soft and supple after using it. It has a scent that I can’t fully place, and a texture that’s not overly creamy but just so that you easily massage it gently over your whole face without creating a huge amount of lather.

Rating: 6/10

Will I purchase this in a full size?

I guess so. I like it enough, and personally, I don’t often get excited about face washes too often, I’m more likely to be impressed by a moisturizer, but I can see myself enjoying this enough to consider a full size once my current face wash runs out.

Laniege Water Bank Essence Moisturiser

Price: £19.09 - £39.62 on Ebay

Full Size: 60 ml

Sample Size: 30 ml

What they say: Long-lasting Moisture Essence for Smooth and Clear Skin Texture.

What I say: Meh. I bought this in full-sized and came to regret it somewhere down the line. It’s by no means a bad moisturizer, however, for me, it is at best non-descript. I had first tried it out on a school trip a couple of years back when a friend and I shared a room and had let me use a bit of hers. I was initially impressed by how light the texture was and got round to buying some of my own a month ago when I came back to Brunei for the summer. It’s alright, but I don’t think it really does it for me, as at times just one pump of this moisturizer isn’t enough for my skin. Keeping in mind that the sales assistant told me that a tiny amount (less than a full pump) goes a long way, my need to use up to two pumps of this product shows that it isn’t sufficient to keep my skin moisturized. (Moisturise is a very strange word to hear and say after saying it repeatedly, no?)

Rating: 4/10

Will I purchase this in a full size?

I already did, but it probably won’t happen again.

Laniege Water Sleeping Pack_Ex.

Price: £14.56 - £30.54 on Ebay

Full Size: 80 ml

Sample Size: 20 ml

What they say: Light gel-type texture provides intensive hydration, vitality, and brightening effect while restoring skin with deep relaxation.

What I say: As far as the Water Sleeping Pack Kit goes, this, in my opinion is the star of the show. It’s such a soft, lovely gel texture that goes on so smoothly that your skin immediately feels smooth and supple, and you wake up the next morning without feeling greasy or dry. Upon massaging it into your skin, it absorbs quite quickly, and I only need just a little (say, enough to coat my pinky finger tip) to cover my whole face. It has a pleasant cooling sensation, which though not vital, is a nice bonus. It’s become quite a regular in my night-time skin routine, usually being the last thing I use before bed. A small gripe that I have is the typical problem with jarred products. Having to dip your fingers into the product (I try and avoid this by using what is stuck to the cap as opposed to dunking my finger in the stuff) does leave it susceptible to bacteria, but as far as the aesthetics of the packaging are concerned, the light blue sample pack does look quite ordinary and almost cheap, being made out of thin plastic, but the full sized product has a nice, elegant finish to it made of weighty plastic.

Image courtesy of the Laniege website.

 In all honesty, packaging isn’t very high on my list of priorities when beauty products are concerned, but it does have an impact for some people.

Rating: 8/10

Will I purchase this in a full size?

Yes. Since such a little goes a long way, I think my current 20 ml pot will last me a while before I need to invest in the full sized tub, but I’d happily buy this again.

And there we have it! My first proper beauty review! I really enjoyed doing this, so hopefully I'll keep it up, so here's hopefully to more to come!

- Diana x x x 

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