Saturday, July 26, 2014

HauteLook Summer 2014 Beauty Bag Review

About 3-4 times each year, flash sale site HauteLook by Nordstrom puts out a "Beauty Bag" containing various high-end beauty deluxe samples in a unique cosmetics case. They usually run around $20-30 + shipping. The Summer 2014 Beauty Bag, which went on sale on July 18th and very quickly sold out, is my very first one. I decided to get it because of the large number of samples + the brands included + because I had a $20 referral credit to use on the site. This time around it was $25 + $5.95 shipping and the bag included a whopping 16 products!

BodyPurity by Philosophy 3-in-1 Cleanser for Face & Eyes (1 oz, $3.33), Whish Body Butter in Pomegranate (0.75 oz, $0.75), Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Body Wash (1 oz, $3.00)

None of these brands were new to me but they are all brands I really like. The Philosophy cleanser makes your face feel refreshed and detoxified. I love how smooth and gentle it is on all skin types. I'd only tried the Whish grapefruit shave cream before through Birchbox but the pomegranate body butter is just as indulgent. The smell is really sweet and tropical. Bonus - It's currently part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I am a massive fan of Molton Brown so I was really psyched to get anything from them. The Pink Pepperpod scent is a delightful mix of floral and pepper notes.

Face & Hair: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment (1 oz, $3.00), Fresh Rose Face Mask (0.68 oz, $11.60), Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action Lifting & Firming Cream (0.5 oz, $27.94), Clinique Moisture Surge (0.21 oz, $4.16), Mario Badescu Kiwi Face Scrub (0.5 oz, $3.75)

The only brands in this batch that were new to me were Living Proof and Mario Badescu. I'd heard of them both but had never tried them. I'm excited to try the 5-in-1 treatment on my dry, color-treated hair. When combed into damp hair it's supposed to provide volume, smoothness, conditioning, strength, and polish. Like my hair, I also have very dry skin. So, I was excited to see that the Fresh mask with soothing rose petals is supposed to hydrate and tone. The texture is a thin soupy brown gel, not an exfoliant. So, that combined with the rose scent make it very relaxing. 

The Lancome Cream is the item of the highest value in the bag. It's fragrance free and has firming effects that are almost immediately noticeable. Of all the samples, the Clinique one is one of the smallest. However, it delivers an instant burst of moisture and a little bit of product goes a long way. I've been really excited about trying a Mario Badescu product for a while - they have a boutique near work and their products sound like a good value for money. This scrub sounds like the perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin. It uses kiwi seeds and seaweed to slough off dead cells. It's got a nice creamy texture to it but I will admit the smell is a bit unusual.

Lips: Stila Lip Glaze in Mango Berry (top, .05 oz, $13.75), Lorac Lip Lustre Gloss in Peach (middle, .07 oz, $9.54), Jouer Lip Gloss in Peony (bottom, .08 oz, $6.95)

These are three very conservative and practical colors. The Stila one is a nice sheer nude that creates a sun kissed look. It's the only one that is essentially full-sized - the .05 size is what's included in Trio Set. The Lorac one is deeply moisturizing and has a nice rusty rose color with lots of shimmering sparkles. I've tried another Jouer lip gloss in a Birchbox and love how long lasting and moisturizing it is. This color is a fun Barbie pink - just the right amount of "pop" that's still appropriate to wear to work.

The Basics: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite Mascara in Black (approx. 0.2 oz), Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (0.25 oz, $7.50) 

I've received this mascara before in The Man Repeller's collab with Glossybox. It's actually one of the top 3 mascaras of all time that I've tried - up there with Benefit They're Real and Tarte Lights Camera Lashes. It's got great color and a wand that separates and makes a nice curl. The Smashbox primer is another one of my favorites. I got it before through the Birchbox Local "build your own box" station last year. It's soothing on sensitive skin and keeps your makeup in place all day long. It also comes in a few variations that tackle discoloration/redness and severe dryness.

The Finishing Touches: Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique (0.25 oz, $14), Ciate Mini in Mistress (0.17 oz, $8), Balenciaga Rosabotanica (0.25 oz, $15.62)

These are two very luxe and beautiful samples of perfume. I'd heard other bloggers rave about the Rosabotanica but the Bottega Veneta is completely new to me. The Bottega Veneta one is a bit spicy and could almost pass for a unisex scent like Kiehl's Musk Eau de Toilette. The Rosabotanica is very flirty and floral with strong notes of rose and geranium. It's a lovely but very strong scent so just a little dab will do. Last but not least - the lovely Ciate nail polish. The mini is actually sold on its own at retailers and, like the Stila, could be considered a full-size product. I recently received a mini Ciate Caviar Set as a free gift with a magazine in the UK but have yet to try it. I've heard great things about the brand and look forward to using it for my next manicure. Mistress is a classic red than can be worn in all seasons.

I estimate the total value of the box (minus the mascara + cosmetic bag) to be a minimum of $121.29 based on the lowest prices I found online for most of these products. This is by far one of the best beauty sample bags/boxes I've ever seen. The products are all from really fabulous high end brands and the colors and scents are all very practical. I could not be more pleased with my decision to buy it!

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