Beauty Samples Review Round-Up

Today I’m sharing my reviews on beauty and skin care product samples I’ve tried over the past two weeks. I didn’t care for a few of the samples I tried, but there were a few winners in the bunch!

Beauty Sample Review Round-Up 8.2

I’ve listed my reviews below in order of my favorite to my least favorite.

Laneige - water bank serum (1)

1. Laneige Water Bank Serum 5/5

Deluxe sample from Target beauty box

This was a great product to be sampled. It has no scent and has a soft gel-like serum consistency which left my skin feeling soft and wonderful.


2. Algenist Sublime Defense – anti-aging blurring moisturizer SPF 30 4/5

Deluxe sample from the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit

I liked this product. It has a fun whipped consistency that went on soft and smooth. I mainly used it on my neck, and it felt good but I don’t know if it really had anti-aging effect for me. I liked that it had no scent though, and overall I liked this product.


3. Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser with orange extract; 4/5

Deluxe sample from Ulta online gift with purchase

This product had a good consistency & results for an exfoliator. It left my skin feeling clean. It didn’t foam well though, and I didn’t love the orange scent. Not something I would buy, but if you like orange, you might love this one.


4. Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel 4/5

Single use sample from Sephora

I liked this sample. It had a decent lather and left my skin feeling soft and clean. Not sure if it’s better than anything I currently use, but I liked the sample I tried.

living proof frizz

5. Living Proof Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner 3/5

Single use samples from recent Birchbox

This was a bit of a disappointment for me because I’ve heard so many good things about this brand. I didn’t particularly care for this product at all. The shampoo lathered well and I liked the scent and it didn’t leave that bad rubbery clean feeling but it also didn’t leave it fully fresh and clean either. The conditioner smelled good but didn’t work well on detangling my hair. I suppose you could say I’m indifferent on this set; I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. I don’t think it did much for giving my hair a smooth anti-frizz look though, so I’d have to say the results were just fair.


6. Caudalie – Premier Cru- La Creme 3/5

Deluxe sample from Sephora VIB Rouge gift with purchase

The first thing I noticed about this product was that I didn’t like the scent. It smells like something an older woman might wear, classy, but similar to a French perfume, which I don’t care for. I liked the consistency and feel of the product, but the scent made me ditch this one. I put it aside to give my mom because she doesn’t mind various scents the way I do. She also didn’t love the scent, but she did like the consistency of the product.

mario badescu

7. Mario Badescu skincare – enzyme cleansing gel; 2/5

Deluxe sample from Ulta online gift with purchase

Not a fan of this product and since it’s the first product that I’ve tried from this brand, I can’t tell you if all their products are just okay, or if it was just this one in particular. It didn’t leave my skin feeling very clean. It had no scent, so that was good. Unless it’s supposed to be a soap-free cleanser, I don’t like when facial cleansers don’t lather well.

Fresh Soy cleanser

8. Fresh – soy face cleanser; 2/5

Single use sample from Sephora

Not a fan of this one. I didn’t like the scent, it didn’t lather well and it didn’t leave my skin feeling clean. Although I wouldn’t recommend this particular product, I do tend to love most of the products by this brand. As you can see, the sample also came with a sample of the soy conditioning eye makeup remover. I also tried that sample but forgot to include it here, so you’ll see my review of that one in my next samples review round-up. (Hint, I liked that one)

estee edit

9. The Estee Edit – Dissolve the Drama 3 in 1 Makeup Remover + Cleanser 2/5

Single use sample from Sephora

This product mostly got off my makeup but it was oily and super messy to use. I liked that it had no scent, so that was good, but overall I’m not a fan. Again, this one was a disappointment because I’ve heard such fantastic things about this line of skincare and beauty products. Right now on this item has 118 reviews averging 4/5 stars. Maybe it’s better when used from the regular size bottle than the small single-use packet? Perhaps it would’ve gotten a 4 from me if it wasn’t so messy to use.


10. Ouai hair care – wave spray 1/5

Deluxe sample in July Sephora Play!

I strongly disliked the scent, which for me is a huge determining factor when I use and purchase a product. If I love the scent of something, I often don’t care much if it works super well or not. If I don’t like the scent, it doesn’t matter how well it works. For me, this was a total loss because it smells like an old French perfume and it actually gave me  bit of a headache.


What products have you tried recently that you’re loving or loathing? I want to know! Share in the comments or connect with me on social media!


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Arielle Joy

Review – Shore House Slumming

Shore House Slumming by Carli Palmer

shore house slummingPublished: June 23, 2016

Book Blurb: Working as an editor in Seattle, Dana Kline led a happy life. She had great friends, a career she adored, and her health couldn’t be better. But everything about it was mundane and safe. EVERYTHING. No gamble would have made her change her ways, so life was going to change it for her. After an unexpected release from her job and then finding out that she would become practically homeless for the summer, Dana gathered her courage and found herself ready to try a new life in Florida. The only problem was getting herself across the nation on a tight budget, hardly any connections, and an unadventurous self. After many stops along both coast lines Dana finds out that it’s okay to let her hair down, meet new people, and try new escapades. Just as long as her sanity doesn’t fly away with the seagulls.

Book Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

Shore House Slumming is the second novel written by author Carli Palmer. Super cool side note, a quote from my review on her first novel, Down the Aisle with Bridezilla is in the front of her new novel! 

You know that saying that it’s not about the destination but the journey on the way? That has never been more true than when reading this novel. The bulk of the novel itself is about Dana’s journey to her new job and home in Florida. She has some of the most outrageous, ridiculous and absolutely chaotic stops along the way. There were too many stops to mention them all, but one of my favorites was when she gets tied up with a neighbor that has her little daughter in those pageants with the big princessy dresses, big hair and lots of attitude.

Sometimes when you stop planning your life out just so and live your life one day at a time, the best things can happen. This novel was an entertaining light-hearted read, perfect for those lazy summer days that are still upon us.

I received a complimentary paperback review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


How cool is it that my review made it into her novel?!

shore house slumming

How cute is the matching bookmark?!

Author Links:  Twitter

Check out my review on Carli’s first novel Down the Aisle with Bridezilla

down the aisle with bridezilla

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thank you in advance for supporting Living Life With Joy!

Arielle Joy

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Quote – Priyanka Chopra

Today’s quote comes from a fierce young woman named Priyanka Chopra. You may know her from her work in over 50 Indian movies, or you may be more familiar with her recent work on the American television show called Quantico. Or you may not know who I’m talking about at all, and if that’s the case, I hope to change that for you today.

priyanka chopra

Writers and musicians are the people I admire. To be able to write, to be able to come up with something from thin air and create a story, that’s the purest form of art to me. I love books. I have a library at home, and there’s an armchair and a lamp in the middle of it. My favorite thing to do is grab a glass of wine and a great book and maybe put on some old-school Cafe del Mar or something like that. I’m a Cancer, so I’m very much a homebody.

Priyanka Chopra quoted by Veronica Chambers in the August 2016 issue of InStyle Magazine.

When reading celebrity interviews in magazines, one thing that never fails to excite me is when I find a common bond or personal connection with the celebrity as an individual. I recently read an article on Priyanka in InStyle Magazine and I was thrilled to find out that we share a love of books and reading. Reading is one of my favorite pleasures in life and I love discovering that people I admire also enjoy reading books in the comfort of their homes. Priyanka is a true example of what beauty looks like, both on the inside and out.❤


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Arielle Joy

Quote – Olivia Palmero

Olivia Palmero

Olivia Palmero quoted in the August 2016 issue of Allure Magazine. 

#NoMakeupMondays have become a popular social media theme post. Women everywhere embrace their natural beauty, without makeup and share their naturally beautiful ‘selfies’. I think it’s a wonderful mindset for women to love who they are and support one another in appreciating themselves. One of the best ways to be naturally beautiful is through proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and a great skin-care regimen. I was inspired by a quote from Olivia Palmero in the August issue of Allure Magazine; “The best compliment you can receive is that you look well rested.” Who wants to be told that they look tired? Certainly not me! Being told you look well rested is one of the best compliments a woman can receive because it means you look happy, healthy and relaxed, which in turn, means you look beautiful!

Do you enjoy sharing #NoMakeupMonday selfies? I’d love to see some below!

Arielle Joy



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How to: 5 Minute Makeup

Although I may be a bit makeup obsessed, I’m also a big believer in getting my beauty sleep. When getting ready in the morning, whether it’s for work or on the weekend going out, my makeup is the last thing I do before I walk out the door. Sometimes when I hit the snooze button one too many times, I end up with only 5 or 10 minutes to do my makeup. Read on for my top 5 beauty products to get you out the door in 5 minutes.

How to- 5 minute makeup

Half the trick of doing your makeup in 5 minutes is having a skilled hand, but the other half is knowing which products to use and which ones to skip. Liquid eyeliner is a BIG HUGE NO! when you need to get out the door in just a few minutes. How many times have you messed up your liner and it’s taken almost 5 minutes just to fix it? Take it from me and save the liquid liner for those days when you have 10-20 minutes to do your makeup. These are my top 5 makeup products I grab when I’m running low on time: 1) Fast Foundation 2)Blush 3) Mascara 4) Eyebrow Tamer 5) Moisturizing Chapstick

1. Fast Foundation – Hourglass’s Vanish Foundation

Three weeks ago I would’ve never suggested foundation on my list of 5 minute makeup products. Usually foundation takes a while to apply and make sure it’s even and smooth, but since I was introduced to the new Vanish Foundation from Hourglass, I can honestly say that I can get out of the bathroom in 5 minutes (well, for the time spent doing my makeup anyway). It’s super easy to apply and blends quickly, evenly and perfectly! It’s a bit on the pricey side at $46 for the foundation stick (and $46 for a one-time purchase on the brush) but I swear it’s worth it. When you’re short on time, with this foundation you don’t even need to use concealer! [I received the foundation stick and foundation brush for free for testing purposes and I can’t tell you how happy I got it, because this product has completely transformed my morning makeup routine!]

2. Blush – Benefit’s Dandelion Box o’ Powder Blush

At first glance this blush looks a bit pale and seems like it wouldn’t be good for someone like me that has a medium complexion. However, once I started using this blush, I haven’t switched to anything else. I’ve tried a few blushes I’ve received as samples, but I keep coming back to this one for my everyday rosy healthy glowing look.

3. Mascara – Giorgio Armani’s Black Ecstasy Mascara

Almost anything you read will tell you that mascara is a must, even on days when you only have a few minutes and I am a total advocate for that! A few quick swipes of a good mascara will do wonders for waking up your entire face. Right now I’m loving the Black Ecstasy sample I got from Giorgio Armani, but there are countless amazing mascaras that you can use.

4. Eyebrow Tamer – Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

Oh Em Gee! Another newbie on the market, this little brow gel is fantastic! I’ve always struggled to find a good way to tame my naturally thick eyebrows and this thing does just the trick. It’s good for adding a little volume, but I honestly use it because it’s like a good hair spray; it keeps my brows in place without making them crunchy to the touch.

5. Moisturizing Chapstick – Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

Never, never, ever leave your house without a moisturizing lip product!! Sure a matte cream lip looks great, but it takes a few minutes and a steady hand, which isn’t always available when you’re running around getting ready to leave the house. Instead, grab a moisturizing chapstick with a subtle hint of color. My favorite lip treatment is the berry color from Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment product line. It’s super moisturizing and has just enough color to brighten up your face, but subtle enough that you don’t need a mirror to apply it. On average I’ve got at least 3 of these in different colors in my handbag but the berry is by far my favorite. At $22 a piece for the full size product, it’s a bit expensive for a chapstick, but I can’t tell you how completely worth it it is! Just don’t carry too many at once, or you’ll be likely to misplace and lose them.

Okay, so I took an extra 5 seconds to take a quick selfie this morning after I did my makeup only using the 5 products listed above. What are your go-to products when you’re short on time in the morning? Share your favorites and your own selfies below!

How to: 5 Minute Makeup

Arielle Joy




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Quote of the the Week – Judith Light

Today’s quote comes from Judith Light (famous actress & producer) on working hard to achieve your goals❤



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Arielle Joy

Makeup Monday – Sample Review Round-Up

Happy August everyone!

Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve got a bit of an obsession with beauty products. I have my regular makeup and skin care routine but I love supplementing them by trying new products. I often purchase new products from Sephora which includes free single-use samples with all purchases and deluxe samples with all purchases over $25, plus deluxe samples with reward point redemption, and tons of new products in my monthly and seasonal beauty box subscriptions (Birchbox, Ipsy, Target, Sephora Play, FabFitFun and Walmart).

Seeing as today is the 1st, I thought it was the perfect time to re-fresh my blog and start sharing posts based on a blogging schedule. My three main weekly posts will be Makeup Mondays, Wisdom Wednesdays and Top 5 Fridays. One of the regular posts I’ll be sharing on Makeup Mondays are review round-ups of the samples I’ve tried in the past week or so. Today I’m sharing my review on 14 products I’ve tried in the past two weeks.

Sample Review Round-Up

As you can see I’ve tried quite a few new products recently. I liked most of them, loved a few of them, and disliked a few of them. I’ll go in order of my favorite to my least favorite.

L'Oreal Cushion

1. L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation in W3 – 5/5

Deluxe sample from June Target Beauty Box

My June Beauty Box from Target had so many fabulous products and this one took the cake! I couldn’t get over how this color was my perfect match! I loved the sample so much that I immediately went and purchased the full sized product at Target… and got to use the $3 off coupon that came inside the box. Total deal!

Soap & Glory - Naked Body Butter

2. Naked Soapy & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter – 5/5

Single use Sample from June Target Beauty Box

This moisturizer sample also came in the Target Beauty Box. I used it right out of the shower and it felt delicious on my skin. Super moisturizing, smooth and had a subtle scent. Would definitely buy this.

Origins GinZing eye cream

3. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream -5/5

Single use sample from Sephora

This product is fabulous. It smells good and feels great. I wasn’t able to try it enough times to know if it is effective, but for me the smell and feel of a product is the bulk of what I look for.

Cotz Tinted SPF 40

4. Cotz Face Natural SPF 40 – 5/5

Deluxe sample from June Target Beauty Box

At first I thought this product was kind of pointless. I don’t like tinted moisturizers when I’m putting on makeup for the day. However, when the weekend rolled around and I was planning to have a productive day of running errands and doing laundry etc. this was the perfect product for me. The slight tint was enough for me to feel like my face wasn’t completely bare, and I loved knowing that I was protecting my skin with the built in SPF. Not great for an everyday product, but perfect for me on a casual no-makeup day.

Dr Brandt Pore Dermabrasion

5. Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator – 5/5

Single use sample from Sephora

My top two favorite skin care products are masks and exfoliators. This was a great Exfoliator. It felt like it was doing it’s job, but it wasn’t too tough on my skin. It left my skin feeling soft and glowy.

Caudalie sorbet

6. Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet 4/5

Redeemed 100 Sephora points for deluxe sample

This moisturizer smells pretty good and left my skin feeling soft and smooth. Would be good as a daily moisturizer but not worth the extra money compared to my everyday moisture surge from Clinique.

S.W. Basics Exfoliant

7. S.W. Basics Exfoliant – 4/5

Single use sample from June Target Beauty Box

I loved the way this Exfoliator left my skin feeling soft, smooth and glowy. I didn’t love the application though. It was strange to put a dry oatmeal looking product into my wet hands to mix the product. It looks and smells a bit like oatmeal but the product works wonders if you can get past the consistency.

First Aid Beauty - Red Clay

8. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay – 4/5

Deluxe sample from July Sephora Play! Box

This is a good cleansing product. It smells good and left my skin feeling smooth. The soapy lather was just okay, so I felt like it woudn’t clean my skin fully without having already taken off my makeup before washing it. Regardless, I thought it was a good product.


9. L’Occitane Almond Smoothing and Beautifying Milk Concentrate – 4/5

Single use sample from Sephora

I loved the feel of this product on my skin after a hot shower, but I didn’t completely love the almond smell.

erborian ginseng mask


10. Erborian Pate at Ginseng Black Concentrate Mask – 4/5

Single use sample from Sephora

I was somehow expecting this mask to be more like the charcoal masks I’ve tried recently. Instead it was a dark-brown gel-like consistency. It left my skin feeling great though, so I would say it’s a good product.


11. Dermadoctor KP Duty Lotion – 4/5

Single use sample from Sephora

I like the feel of this lotion but I may have been a bit too much for me. My skin was slightly irritated after I used it, but I can’t honestly attribute it to the lotion.

Nivea In-Shower Lotion

12. Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion – 3/5

Single use sample from Walmart Summer Beauty Box

This wasn’t my favorite product. It was strange using a lotion in the shower. I wouldn’t have minded it so much if it hadn’t left my hands greasy. When I gave my hair a last rub to make sure my hair was clean at the end of the shower, I felt as though it made my hair dirty because my hands still had lotion that wouldn’t wash off on them.

Origins Frothy face wash

13. Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash 1/5

Single use sample from Sephora

This was one of the worst products I’ve tried recently. I’m normally a fan of Origins products, so I was a bit disappointed. This face wash gave a great soapy lather, but it left my skin feeling rubbery instead of clean. Wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless maybe I suppose if you had super oily skin.


14. Dermadoctor KP Duty Body Scrub – decline to rate due to misunderstanding on product usage

Single use sample from Sephora

This one I’m embarrassed to admit I used incorrectly. I read the package afterwards and realized it was used wrong. Therefore I’m declining to rate it.


Have you tried any of these products or have been wanting to? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Arielle Joy




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