Hands & Nails | Makeup | Skincare

Sample Society subscription box seasonal roundup for fall 2013

November 13, 2013
Sample Society monthly subscription box ($15/month)
Sample Society monthly subscription box ($15/month)

I subscribe to the Sample Society monthly beauty boxes from Beauty Bar and Allure, and instead of writing separately about each box that I receive every month, I like to give you 3 months at a time split up by the seasons. I’m hoping this is helpful on a couple different levels: you can get a slightly broader look at how consistent Sample Society is in the types and amounts of products given, and I can give better opinions of the products because I’ve actually had some time to try them out. I recently received the November box, and it’s time to tell you about all of the products I’ve received over September, October and November!

First off, the Sample Society boxes cost $15 per month, and usually ship within the first few days of the month (you can always check the website to see when boxes start shipping each month). They contain 5 deluxe samples of products, focusing on a mix of skincare and cosmetics but I’ve also received fragrance samples or small candles, as well. You can halt your subscription at any time, no commitment necessary. With your subscription you receive a monthly gift code to redeem $15 off of an order of $50 or more from BeautyBar.com when any product from the brands you sampled is included in your order (you get 60 days from when the box ships to use the code). You also receive a mini-magazine from Allure in each box, though they are quite small. If you’re interested, you can view my summer roundup here. Now, on to the boxes!



Sample Society box for September 2013
Sample Society box for September 2013


Biobliss Lock It In Serum For Face & Eyes, featuring Hyaluronan, Matrixyl 3000 peptides and prickly pear extract. I thought it was ok, I didn’t see or feel much of a difference in my skin while using it. The sample lasted me 10-14 days. The full size costs $70.

Deepa Gurnani scroll clip, a sparkly hair clip that regularly costs $45. I think the package it came in said it was made in India. It has brass and plastic beads and a couple of crystal pieces, plus woven cotton and cow hide.

Suki exfoliate foaming cleanser, a fabulous sugar and lemongrass cleanser. The sample pot looks small, but you just need a pinch. You can buy this on Beauty Bar in two sizes that cost either $10.95 or $32.95, and I have a full review here.

MD SolarSciences moisturizer with SPF 30, an anti-aging and deeply moisturizing formulation. This was a disappointing sample as I could only get, like, 3 uses from it. It has a fabulous texture, but it’s a bit too moisturizing for my combination skin. Full size is $68.

Arcona Cranberry Toner, a toner sample that lasted me a couple of weeks. It’s described as a 3-in-1 formula (tones, hydrates and infuses with antioxidants), and I have a full review here. A full size will put you back $32.

Additional notes: For size perspective, here’s a photo of the hair clip.

Deepa Gurnani scroll hair clip (normally $45)
Deepa Gurnani scroll hair clip (normally $45)



Sample Society box for October 2013
Sample Society box for October 2013


– Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer, a nicely hydrating moisturizer that absorbs into my skin really well. At $45 for a full size, it isn’t cheap, but may be one of my new favorites. Read my full review here.

– Butter LONDON nail lacquer in The Old Bill, a full sized bottle that normally which would cost $15. It’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. You can see photos of it on my nails here.

Pur~lisse Pur~Youth Preserve Age Delay serum, advertised to nourish skin, improve texture and minimize the signs of aging. I didn’t see big benefits after using for about 2 weeks, but it has a very smooth, moisturizing texture, and would be good for dry skin. Full size is $76.

IPKN Moist & Firm BB SPF 40, a BB cream in shade 02 Light. Sadly, the shade is a bit dark for me so I can’t say a ton about how it wears. It contains Ceramide 3, Collagen, Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), Adenosine, and the full size costs $35.

Minus 417 Hand Moisturizer, a hand cream I’m currently keeping in my purse because it’s perfect for on the go. The scent is light and fresh, and it “dries down” really well, rather than feeling greasy. The scent is ‘ocean’, but the smell doesn’t particularly remind me of the ocean. Full size costs $14.

Additional notes: For size perspective, I thought I’d show you the hand lotion bottle, which is quite large! My boyfriend has even commented that it’s too large for me to carry in my purse.

Minus 417 Hand Moisturizer
Minus 417 Hand Moisturizer deluxe sample



Sample Society box for November 2013
Sample Society box for November 2013

Note: I just received this box a couple of days ago so I have less experience with these products, but I’ll provide early impressions where I can.


– Borghese Splendore Brightening Makeup, a luminizing liquid advertised as universally flattering. They don’t say so, but this is actually full-sized at 1 oz., though when purchased it comes in a bottle with a pump. I really like it, it provides more of a radiant glow than a color or shimmer, so I can see why they say it’s universal. The full size costs $29.50. Full review here.

Jane Iredale Lip Drink, a colorless lip balm with SPF 15. This comes in a cute, teeny weeny sample lipstick-style tube. It’s texture is on the firmer side, and it initially adds a little bit of a lighter tint to lips, but seems pretty effective. It has an enjoyable lightly sweet and lemony scent. Full size is $12.

Illume Balsam & Cedar candle, a mini candle in a metal tin. I love tree scents, and I think this one smells great. It emits a good amount of fragrance once it’s burning. The full sized jar costs$36.

Murad Pore & Line Minimizing Hydrator, a moisturizer that’s supposed to help keep skin clear and tighten pores as well as plump by boosting collagen. Haven’t tried this one yet. The full size costs $49.50.

Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien eau de toilette, a scent for both men and women with Sicilian lemon, citron and grapefruit. I like it, but it’s not particularly long-lasting. The full size costs $92.

Additional notes: Here’s a look at that 1 oz. Borghese tube – it’s quite a lot of luminizer.

Borghese Splendore Brightening Makeup


Overall value:

Overall, I find a lot of value in the Sample Society boxes I receive. I’m introduced to a lot of new companies, and think they do a good job on the whole of finding nice products that are useful to a wide variety of people. The boxes each include products that are a pretty good size, as well. If you like getting a mix of skincare and cosmetics, I think this is one good subscription to consider. You will always receive your $15 worth, for sure. Sometimes you’re getting $15 or more a single product, such as in the case of the Butter London nail lacquer or the Borghese luminizer.

There have been a couple of products I don’t find useful (the BB cream that was too dark and a perfume sample that’s on par with a freebie that comes in a Sephora order), but they’re pretty few and far between. Beyond those two disappointing products, I should also say that the November box marked the moment that I received a product for a second time: I had actually received the same eau de toilette sample spray in a Sample Society box over the summer. Beyond that, I had received another Illume candle over the summer, as well, but it was in a different scent and several months had passed, so that one doesn’t bother me.

For me, Sample Society is a great fit because I like the balance they strike between the different kinds of products included and $15 per month feels really doable. I know that you can get really nice monthly boxes of full sized products (like Wantable, for example), but they cost over double what Sample Society does. This one works for me, and I’ll be sticking with it for a while.


Referral Code: BeautyLoon

If you sign up for Sample Society and list “BeautyLoon” as the referral code , BeautyBar.com will donate a portion of the purchase to one of a handful of charities that they work with. I’ve never seen a company use referral perks in that way, and think it’s a pretty great service.


Do you subscribe to a monthly beauty box service? I’d love to hear about your experience.

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