Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beauty Bar Sample Society March 2014 Review!

I promised myself that this year would be out with the old and in with the new...with sample boxes, that is! My only problem is that I haven't been able to push out the old quite yet! Even so, I went on the hunt for a few new subscription boxes to review for you all, because I know how popular they have become in the beauty world! I love reading blogs about what everyone received and how every blogger has unique and interesting opinions each month. It's like a little tight-knit community of crazy-subscription-obsessed ladies!

If some of you have been around the subscription-box-block a few times, you've probably already heard of Sample Society. I remember when it first launched; I was a bit apprehensive about joining a subscription service that cost, *gasp!* $15  a month! I was only used to getting my $10 Birchbox at the time, so I decided against joining.

Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, trying to think of lower-cost beauty boxes to review and Sample Society came to mind! So while this is definitely not one of the newer beauty subscriptions on the block, it's definitely new to me!

Sample Society is a box that is released by the website, BeautyBar and contains 5 deluxe sized samples from a variety of higher-end brands. The box costs $15 a month, and also contains a mini-magazine produced by Allure. Each month, you will also receive a $15 off of $50 gift code to use on the Beauty Bar website. (Your purchase must include at least one product that you sampled that month in order to use the code.)

My box was ordered on March 2nd. It was shipped on the 7th, and on my doorstep by the 11th. I was actually quite surprised that it arrived so soon!

Here's a first look at what my box looked like when I opened it up:

First Thoughts: Hmm. OK. I was hoping there would be at least one cosmetic item, but it looks like there's at least an interesting variety for skincare and hair. I also noticed that there is no information card to help you figure out what everything is, however you can log into your Sample Society account and see each item in your box as well as more information.

1. Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging CC Cream

From the BeautyBar website:
Caviar CC Cream - or "Complete Correction" Cream - is a miracle leave-in product that delivers 10 benefits in one easy step, leaving hair perfectly polished.
 This particular CC Cream is supposed to deliver 10 benefits in 1 step:
Heat Protection
Light Hold
UV Protection

That's a LOT of claims for such a simple product. All that you need to do is apply this product to towel-dried hair, and apparently: voila! Magically perfect hair. I am REALLY interested to see if this product lives up to the "10 benefits" claim. If it does, you'll be the first to know because I'll be shouting it from the rooftops!

2. Jane Iredale Tantasia Self Tanner

From the BeautyBar website:
A moisturizing, natural bronzer and self-tanner for face and body. Features and benefits includes: Bronzer provides instant, healthy-looking color, Builds a gradual, natural looking tan within three days, for optimum control and customization, Fresh citrus fragrance, Streak-free formula, Sensitivity tested for use on face and body, and Provides natural hydration to the skin.
 While I absolutely love Jane Iredale products, I am definitely not a self-tanner kind of girl. I really love my pale skin. It's what I was born with, so I wear it with pride! Plus, when I try to use self-tanner I always look like a baked potato. However, I will say that I love Jane Iredale and how they have cruelty-free, natural beauty and skincare. This self tanner is a silky-smooth gel that has a very light fruity scent. It's not that typical offensive self-tanner scent that most of us are familiar with. Unfortunately I can't give an opinion on how well this works as I won't be using it, but I will say I've been very pleased with all my Jane Iredale products in the past!

3. Ahava Purifying Mud Mask

From the BeautyBar website:
Apply this unique mineral mud mask once or twice a week. It contains purifying and softening qualities, clears skin of excess oils, roots out the grime and blackheads, and prevents the formation of blemishes.
I am kind of obsessed with skincare lately, and I'm even more obsessed with masks. Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and pampered than a good clay mask. I am pretty familiar with Ahava, as I remember they were popping up pretty frequently in subscription boxes for a long time. I haven't tried their masks before, but this one is super creamy and has a very light, pleasant, spa-like scent. I used a bit on the back of my hand and it dried quickly, but didn't make my skin feel tight. I'm excited to try this out on my face and see if it can help shrink up my giant pores!

4. MD Solar Sciences SPF 30 Mineral Tinted Cream

From the BeautyBar Website:
This multi-functional, tinted creme, infused with ProVention-R antioxidants, leaves skin with an even, matte finish. The lightweight "barely-there" formula goes on silky-smooth and blends quickly and easily. Use alone or with your regular foundation for soft, smooth skin in and out of the sun.
I have a ton of tinted sunscreens at the moment, so this was probably the least exciting thing in the box. I had some issues with this product (more detail at the end of the post) but I was able to get a swatch to show you the shade. It comes out a lot darker than it blends out. The formula is soft and even feels a bit powdery once it's blended out. BeautyBar's site also says this product is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and won't clog pores.

5. Jane Tran Hair Accessory Assortment

There isn't much information on this company via the BeautyBar website, however I have seen the Jane Tran hair accessories in other subscription boxes. I am always down for hair clips and bobby pins, however I didn't think that this pattern was my style at all. I will probably use the bobby pin to hold my bags to the side when I get too lazy to trim them, but I would have preferred a pattern that was a bit more feminine. Either way, I was happy to see some hair accessories in the box!


The Bad
I had a few issues with my first Sample Society box. 3 of my 5 samples had some sort of issue with them. For ease of reading, I saved those issues until now, as they did not effect the product itself. My Ahava mask had some sort of white dust all over it, as well as a maroon stain on the front of the tube. I was willing to let that slide, however when I opened the Jane Iredale tanner, half the tube was gooped up in the cap, which was a waste of product. Finally, the tinted sunscreen tube was SO empty, that I could completely flatten it out and barely any products emerged. I was able to do my swatch, and cover one cheek before I ran out.

Sample Society claims that all of their samples are deluxe; in other words, they will contain enough product to use more than once, so that you can really get a feel for a product to see if you like it or not, and I do not feel like this sunscreen fit the bill on that.

The Good
I contacted BeautyBar around 2am (I know, I'm a night owl!) and explained my disappointment and my issues with the samples. Within 2 hours, a customer service representative got back to me. That is record speed for most, if not all other subscription boxes. She apologized repeatedly and without question, arranged to have a replacement box sent to me at no cost. I have heard that this company has great customer service, but this was above and beyond. I felt so good about my interaction with their CS Rep, that I will happily continue to subscribe and get a better feel for their boxes overall. I personally think you can feel very safe purchasing a Sample Society subscription knowing how helpful their customer service is!

Other things that I like after doing a bit of research: the brands they feature. While they are a bit like Ipsy, and tend to sample repeat brands, I find that I love brands like Jane Iredale, Butter London, Stila, etc, so that's a plus for me. I also think that the box is very high quality and easy to re-use, and the samples are packed extremely well.

I think for $15 a month is well worth it. You are receiving 5 deluxe samples, a mini mag, $15 off $50 coupon and stellar customer service. You are truly getting a variety of items from higher end brands, and nothing beats the comfort in knowing that Sample Society has not only been around for quite some time, but they continue to have excellent customer service. I am really looking forward to the April box!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE hearing about companies with phenomenal customer service! I'll have to check these guys out. $15 for all of those sample sizes + a nice coupon + a magazine = great deal! Thanks for your review, and always love to read an honest blogger's opinion! <3