I subscribe to the Sample Society monthly beauty boxes from Beauty Bar and Allure, and today I’d like to show you the boxes I received for December, January, and February. Reviewing the boxes on a seasonal basis allows me to comment not only on how happy I was when I first opened each box but also on the quality of the products I’ve had time to test out and the overall consistency of the subscription service.
Sample Society costs $15 per month and the boxes usually ship within the first week 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 hair care, hand or nail products, fragrance samples, and small candles, as well. You can halt the 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 fall roundup here. Now, on to the boxes!
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, a very fine, smooth rice-based powder for exfoliation gentle enough for daily use. I really enjoyed how smooth and soft this product made my skin feel, and the the deluxe sample size is quite generous. I have a full review here. The full size costs $52, making this feel like a high-value sample.
- Philosophy Hope in a Jar Night intense retexturizing moisturizer, a night moisturizer with glycolic acid. The Hope in a Jar product line is pretty popular but kind of expensive, so it was really nice to be able to try this out in a subscription box. I will say, though, that I wasn’t that impressed and on top of it all this broke me out after a couple of days. I have a full review here, and the full size costs $50.
- Alterna Caviar Dry Shampoo, a loose powder dry shampoo with a precise nozzle. I found this to effective at absorbing oil, and it left no real texture in my hair, so this would be great if you’re really just looking for clean, soft hair as opposed to textured and volumized hair. I think it’s great, though it takes longer to apply than a spray would. It normally costs $22.
- Aromachology Clean & Fresh Eau de Parfum, a fresh fragrance that includes notes of white tea, bergamot, green tea, cardamom, lemon balm and precious woods. I like that it comes in a larger and nicer perfume sample bottle that’s made of glass and has a nice spray. When I wear this I end up feeling like I just smell like dryer sheets, so it’s pleasant enough but not my favorite. A 1.7 oz. bottle costs $70 and a 3.4 oz. bottle costs $100.
- Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Mousse, a volumizing hair mousse. I loved this one, and I used it after every time I washed my hair for a few weeks until I ran out. Hair is lifted at the root, and it leaves no heavy or greasy residue. This was a product that I was tempted to purchase, and I wrote a full review here. The full size costs $23.
Additional notes: for size perspective, here’s a photo of the Oscar Blandi mousse.
- Butter London Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, a full sized bottle of cuticle oil that smells like coconut and pineapple. This alone is valued at $15 (or $19 if bought from Butter London, rather than Beauty Bar) which covers the price whole box, and I really love this one. I use it every day! I have a full review here.
- Orlane Paris Extreme Line Reducing Lip Care, a lip serum designed to erase lines and wrinkles from the lips. The full size costs a nearly absurd $75, so I think it’s super fun to try things like this out in a subscription box, but what took me by surprise was that it actually seemed to work! It’s free of any scent or flavor, so I enjoy using it, and I have a full review here.
- Nicole by Nicole Ritchie Eau de Parfum, a feminine fragrance that includes notes of blackberry, Seville orange, rose, lily of the valley, golden amber, papyrus, cashmere woods, sandalwood, sugared patchouli, and vanilla. I thought this was kind of boring when I first smelled it, but I enjoyed wearing it more than I expected. This is just a standard plastic sample so it’s not a particularly high-value addition to the box, but I still liked it. A rollerball is available for $20, and bottles are $55 for 1.7 oz. or $69 for 3.4 oz.
- Fekkai Advanced Glossing Shampoo, formulated with olive oil. This is supposed to be safe for color-treated hair, and costs $25 for a full size. I like it, it’s true to it’s name but doesn’t make hair feel weighed down or greasy. I personally enjoyed getting to try out my first Fekkai product in a subscription, and these shampoo samples tend to last me a good amount of time.
- StriVectin Present Perfect Antioxidant Moisturizer, a moisturizer that combats dullness, the look of fatigue, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. I used it during the day and really enjoyed it, it has a fabulous texture and is rich but doesn’t make my skin feel sticky or greasy. It’s a $59 moisturizer, so a really great thing to be able to sample in a box before buying.
Additional notes: for size perspective, here’s a photo of the Fekkai shampoo.
I just received my February box, so I haven’t had a chance to try these products yet but may review them in the next few weeks.
- Phyto Phytokeratine Hair Mask, an ultra-repairing hair mask for weak or damaged hair. This is formulated with botanical keratin and two hyaluronic acids to moisturize, plump and repair hair. This is a pretty generous sample (50 ml or 1.7 oz.), and I expect it’ll last me a long while, since it’s not really a daily-use product. It normally costs $39 for a 200 ml jar.
- Murad Environmental Shield Intensive-C Radiance Peel, a treatment to encourage cell turnover. This is meant to be applied and then washed off after 10 minutes and used one or two times a week. I enjoy receiving Murad products in my boxes, as they’re pretty high in value and quality. This is normally $49.50 for a full size.
- Ahava Osmoter Concentrate, a serum to recharge, rehydrate and illuminate skin. I love getting serums since they tend to be expensive, and these samples can last me a couple weeks. That’s not necessarily long enough to see the full benefits, but it’s still nice. This is normally $60 and includes highly concentrated Dead Sea minerals to benefit skin.
- Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum, a serum to improve skin’s radiance, clarity, defense, texture and tone. This is the big one in terms of value, as a full size bottle costs $89. And like I said, I tend to enjoy Murad products and I’m always up for trying a serum.
- Alterna Bamboo 48-Hour Sustainable Volume Spray, a lightweight thickening spray for hair specifically created for women with even the finest hair types. I’ve been missing my Oscar Blandi volume mousse from December’s box since I ran out, and it’s great to have a replacement to try out! This supposed to be used on towel dry hair before blow drying, and a full size bottle costs $25.
Additional notes: For size reference, here’s a photo of the Phytokeratine hair mask.
Sample Society consistently provides me with products that I enjoy trying out, and very rarely do items not agree with my taste or my skin type. They introduce me to nice brands and I always get my money’s worth. I’ve been subscribed since June of 2013 and there seems to have been a slight change in the types of products I’m receiving: I used to get one or two cosmetics each month, but these days the cosmetics have gone away and I’m receiving more hair care items. Skincare continues to be at the heart of the boxes each month, though. The samples are usually a decent size and take me at least a couple of weeks to use up, and I’m always still working on samples by the time my next box arrives.
I continue to subscribe to Sample Society because they’ve continued to provide consistent value at a very easy $15 per month. It’s the perfect price point for me, personally, and I enjoy the types of products I receive.
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?