Category Archives: Beauty

What I Learned from my Month With No Spending Challenge

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For those who tuned into my No Spend October: Month With No Spending Challenge, where I outlined 5 “simple” rules for not buying stuff for 31 days…thanks for keeping up! For those who didn’t, here’s the synopsis:

I decided to challenge myself with 31 days of no spending on clothing, accessories, beauty products, footwear, or home decor.

While the rules were relatively simple, I failed by Day 7 (accidentally), by ordering 2 packs of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. On one hand, they were 2/$10, and on the other, I needed to up my cart price to unlock free shipping. And, in my defense, I kind of forgot that face wipes qualified as a beauty product (and only because I listed it in my rules, knowing full well I snatch these up way too often). 

When the package from Walgreens showed up (ok, I admit it, I’m the lazy person who orders toilet paper and allergy meds for delivery), I realized I had not one but two (2!) packs of face wipes already stashed in my linen closet. So, I really had no reason to cheat, especially when I already had a very similar product on hand.

Upset that I cheated while I actually had virtually the same thing on hand, I knew I had to do something about it to prevent future unnecessary purchases. So, I inventoried every skincare / makeup / beauty product I own.

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I took every product out of my medicine cabinet, drawer, undersink stash, linen closet, storage drawer, and nook and cranny I could think of. And I put it all in one spot. Out in the open to see.

When I Googled this phenomenon (of wanting to inventory all of the things I have to remind myself to use them and that I don’t need to repurchase the exact same things I already have plenty of), I found many people use sophisticated Excel spreadsheets to track what they’ve got and what gaps they have in their makeup collection, for instance. I wasn’t feeling that ambitious, so instead I grouped like things and took photos. After all, this way I could easily search + see what I’ve got, vs. navigating to a specific section of a spreadsheet.

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The Bronzers

This exercise helped me discard items I no longer need / use. It helped me reorganize my medicine cabinet and place items I use / should use regularly within plain sight. In doing so, I felt really good about “all that I’ve got” and it significantly diminished my yearning to “buy more stuff just because.”

My inventory exercise highlighted the fact that I have a lot of stuff, and I really don’t need more until I use all of this up. For instance, my makeup / skincare / haircare collection includes…

48 lip products.

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14 serums. (BTW I really love Glossier Super Pure, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Kiehls Midnight Recovery and Caudalie Vinoperfect).

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15 masks.

8 full-size hair sprays. Eight?!

8 products containing SPF.

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8 body lotions.

14 face lotions / moisturizers. Some were samples, but still… I have a really hard time choosing just one fave, ok?

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23 makeup brushes / applicators. Sad thing is, I’m not sure what is used for what, and still feel like I’m missing some key brushes? Please advise.

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7 different mascaras.

1 reigning blush champ. You guessed it, NARS. At least I got that one figured out, right?

I wish there was an easier way, but physically corralling like items, counting and photographing them really helped drive the point home. This is similar to the Kon Mari exercise of pulling all items out (of a closet, or dresser) and going through each item one by one, to decide if it stays or if it goes. If it stays, it should be something you find beautiful and/or useful. Something that brings you joy. If not, it’s just taking up space, creating clutter, and you’d be better off without it.

Despite this exercise, over the course of the past few weeks some new-to-me products stood out . And in some cases, they screamed out. I really wanted to try them, but also wanted to fulfill my challenge to the best of my abilities (you know, outside of that early slip-up).

And then something else happened… Glossier (my biggest weakness, ugh) announced that their highly-sought-after perfume, Glossier You, was available for pre-order. How could I resist?

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To suppress the need to shop, I collected each item in a list to keep an eye on and if come November I still wanted them, well… I guess they’d be fair game.

Here’s the list of products that’ve caught my attention recently:

Have you tied any of these? Are they worth the hype?

Also, you’ll be proud to hear that during this time I not only rediscovered stuff I already had (for free, in my own closet / mini drug store), but I also corralled all my product samples into one spot so I had the ability to still enjoy those high-end luxuries (at least a little bit of ’em).

If you’re considering embarking on a month with no spending, I’d encourage you to do it! Create your own rules, and try to stick to them. When you’re feeling sad that you can’t add new things to cart, clean out some drawers, your closet, or medicine cabinet, and re-discover some items you already have.

If you’ve done a month (or more!) without spending on clothing, accessories, etc., comment below to let us know how it went / what you learned!

Glossier Review: Skincare + Makeup Products + Promo Code!

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Get to know Glossier

Glossier just celebrated their 3rd birthday and launched in the UK. All very exciting. We’ve been fangirls for a while now, but just yesterday (literally yesterday) we made our relationship with Glossier official in the form of #Glossierrep status. This means, our love for Glossier has paid off and we get to share perks in the form of 20% off your first purchase + free shipping on orders of $30+! Unlock those deals here: https://www.glossier.com/reps/martha.

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The Classics
To us, the original Glossier Starter Set (slightly modified version of the actual Glossier Phase I Set), includes:

Milky Jelly Cleanser + Boy Brow + Generation G + The Supers.

If I literally had to choose between just one Glossier product to use for the rest of my life it would be Generation G in Jam. While it’s a close match between Gen G and Boy Brow, I find Gen G to last a *lifetime* compared to Boy Brow, which I need to replace on the reg. So, from a value standpoint Gen G is the best ever.

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Haters (and frugal friends we’ve made on the Internet) will say these $5.00 ColorPop Lippie Stix are “the same thing” or “a better thing.” TBH we still need to try them but we will. For your sake, we’ll update this post when we have a POV (point-of-view) on how the two stack up.

**Drumroll please**
In my humble (but in no way professional) opinion, my favorite Glossier products (and I’m ALL CAPS OBSESSED) rank-ordered by priority are:

1. Generation G. Specifically Jam. Zip (aka Red) also looks pretty good with my fair-to-olive-toned skin and brunette hair. Jam is my daily jam and Zip helps spice up my weekend look.

2. Boy Brow. I go brown. I also got clear but unless you color your brows with powder or pencil, PASS. The pigment makes the product. Fuller brows FTW.

3. The Supers. These little bottles are appropriately named. They really are super. The Super Pack is $65 and it comes with 3 serums that suit specific skin needs, such as combating effects of stress, dullness and dehydration.

4. Milky Jelly. Like the above, this product is appropriately named. The color is milky, the texture is jelly-like, the results are totally up to par. It’s gentle, it’s effective, it’s kind of hard to ask for anything more?

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5. Stretch Concealer. For when you need a little bit of extra coverage (without caking your entire face in product). I stretch a tad under my eyes and other problem areas as needed. Presto! Swipe some Wowder (#8) over the product and you’re set.

6. Body Hero Daily Oil Wash. I really like the smell. I just got this product, so not sure how long it will last, but I’m hoping forever because I’m kind of hooked on it.

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7. Glossier Sweatshirt. Maybe you think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It’s warm, cozy and just makes me happy, ok? When I first purchased it (I’m the gal who is normally in navy + white striped long-sleeve tees, even to bed) I wasn’t sold on it. I looked… like an inmate in Phy Ed. But yeah, it’s grown on me. I don’t wear it out of the house (maybe I’m not cool enough?) but I do wear it around the house all. the. time. I think a need a spare for when it’s in the wash. Seriously.

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8. Wowder. Puts the “wow” in powder. Pretty sure that’s how the name was invented. I’ve bought expensive setting powders, but this one is different. And cheaper. It also has fun millennial pink packaging, a matching brush, and this trampoline-style mesh that prevents spillage / messes when traveling, or just going about your daily routine.

9. Priming Moisturizer. At first I thought this was “overpriced and meh.” But it’s grown on me. For one, a lot of daily moisturizers are $$$. It’s just a really good base. Much lighter than the dense Priming Moisturizer Rich Creme (which I like, but it doesn’t make the top 10 list because I rarely use it. Ok, since winter is approaching maybe it will come back into rotation. Stay tuned).

10. Masks. These are good. They really are. If you’re super diligent with using masks on the reg, try one! Probably the moon over the green only because of versatility. If you find it hard to find time for masks they aren’t mandatory. I like them, but I don’t need them. There’s quite a bit of product inside, so they should last quite a while, which is a plus.

We promised a promo code. Here’s a link to unlock 20% off your first Glossier order, plus free shipping on orders $30+ https://www.glossier.com/reps/martha. If you want any further details on Glossier products, comment below with your question(s) and we’d be happy to provide a POV!

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Original Post: Published April 10, 2016

Glossier
Glossier is a modern beauty brand inspired by real life. We’re big fans of this mentality, given the “Style Tips for Real Life” angle we’ve woven into many posts over the years.


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Glossier was founded by Emily Weiss, the blogger and CEO behind Into the Gloss (now leading the helm at Glossier, too). Her team of 35 employees (and counting) have set out to rethink, reclaim, and redefine beauty. Gotta love a bold and ambitious #GirlBoss!

The shift from blogging about beauty products to creating beauty products was a natural one. As they put it, “We are creating a highly edited collection of modern staples reflecting how you get ready every day, starting with the most important thing—a perfectly primed canvas (your skin!)—and working our way up.”

After hearing rave reviews of Glossier skincare products from many female friends (both on the Internet and IRL), we had to try them out. They are simple, straightforward and hard not to love!

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Glossier recently launched Phase II: Makeup. A 3-piece line including Generation G Lips, Stretch Concealer and Boy Brow. Like their skin care line, these beauty basics are designed to leave you fresh & glowing : )

The reviews of this new product line have us *adding to cart* as we speak!
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Shop Glossier Phase II

If you’re new to Glossier, you’re eligible for 20% off your first purchase. Shop via ➞ https://www.glossier.com/reps/martha to unlock your discount!

Did we mention it comes with adorable packaging complete with a sheet of Glossier stickers?

 

UPDATE: 4/20/16 – While the Stretch Concealer has been SOLD OUT for some time now, we were able to get our hands on Generation G Lip Color (in Crush), Boy Brow in Brown & the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack aka ‘juice cleanse for your face.’

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As anticipated, we understand why these products have a cult-like following, and anxiously anticipate future product lines (and current ones coming back in stock)! Shop Glossier skincare and makeup on Glossier.com.

Beauty Reviews: Lash-Enhancing Serum, Malin + Goetz Cleanser, Kevyn Aucoin Contour Book, Ouidad Multi-Use Curl Treatment…

Welcome! We’re excited to bring you another round of beauty reviews, this time going further in-depth on eyelash serums, testing out the new Kevyn Aucoin contour, sculpt, and highlight book, sharing our favorite curl-enhancing hair products from Ouidad, and our first impressions on Malin + Goetz Face Cleanser + Moisturizer.

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1. Eyelash Serums

If you’re looking for an alternative to spending $$$ on lash serums, I think you’ll be surprised by the variety of offerings now on the market. A quick Google search yields dozens of different brands and price points, but what’s the difference? Can I trust the effectiveness of XYZ brand?

So, I did some further digging. From what I’ve gathered, all products promote the following ingredients: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids to promote hair growth, hydration and nourishment.

If you tuned in to our last round of Beauty Reviews, you’ll know we’ve been trying out SkyOrganics Castor Oil.

Pros: 100% natural and organic. Promotes overall hair growth, including nourishment and hydration (meaning you can use it for a variety of purposes, to grow stronger and longer eyelashes, brows and hair). The best part? It’s currently only $15.95!

Cons: The product itself is sticky and can get runny, so be careful to apply only a tiny amount to avoid a sticky mess.
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Among eyelash-enhacing products on Sephora.com, GrandeCosmetics GrandeLASH rises to the top with the highest volume of positive reviews. We have a lot of positive things to say about the product as well. (Although, be sure to read the reviews before making a purchase, because if you have sensitive skin and are prone to “staining” you may well want to consider a more natural product).

Pros: Easy / slick application, attractive packaging + easy to pack, has landed several “best of beauty” awards (so critics say it’s really something!).

Cons: I’m afraid it won’t last very long! We’ll see…

What about neuLASH? Is it really the best? Worth $95 per 0.1oz?

Ok, I haven’t actually tried this product (it’s been in and out of my Nordstrom shopping cart multiple times over the past few years though), but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to shell out this kind of cash on a cosmetic product. Would love to hear your POV on it in the comments though!

neuLASH promotes the following key ingredients: Sodium hyaluronate (for hydration, softness, elasticity, and shine) + Panthenol (for moisture, flexibility, durability) + pumpkin seed extract (nourishment + “leaving them luxurious”).

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Moral of the story…

You probably can’t go wrong with any of the above options (unless you have sensitive skin or have had issues with staining in the past). The ingredients lists and price points are quite different, but from the reviews, the results are similar and most consumers are pleased with the products.

2. Kevyn Aucoin “The Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining Volume II”

An all in one contour, sculpt and highlighting palette for face and eyes.

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First impressions: This product is luxe and really pretty. There’s just something about the high end look + feel that makes using it an even more elevated experience. This product combines both cream and powder products inside, and comes with an in-depth guide how-to guide that includes detailed steps and easy-to-follow illustrations.

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I know I need a lot of practice in this department (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!). Kevyn recommends practicing at home in daylight to make it easier to check your progress. The tutorial videos found on this product page can be a huge help, too.

“Dark colors shade and make areas recede, Light colors highlight and make things come forward” – Kevyn Aucoin.

The Contour Book Volume 2 is exclusively available at Sephora. for $65.00 ($226.00 value).

3. Ouidad Curl-Enhancing Hair Products

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Ok, it took me forever to figure out how to pronounce this one (“Oui” like the French “yes” + “dahd” like “odd” with a “D”).

I’ve been saying “yes” to embracing my curls/waves the past few years, and Ouidad products have been key in keeping my hair looking neat + tidy as opposed to frizzy and unmanageable.

Whether you have classic curls, tight curls, loose curls, or kinky curls, Ouidad has shampoo, conditioner, and styling products suited to your curl type.

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The latest product from the Ouidad line I’ve tried is the Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment. It helps heal split ends (lifesaver!), while adding softness and shine. It can be used in the shower, or on dry hair. So far, I’ve only used it on dry hair as a leave-in (hello, shine!), but I plan to try these other uses as well:

As a conditioner: Pair a quarter-sized amount of Mongongo Oil with a drop of water in your hand. Work into wet hair and leave on for 3-5 minutes. Rinse.

As a heat protectant: Apply before heat styling to protect and help speed up drying time.

As a finisher: Warm a few drops between palms and apply throughout hair (focusing on ends) for frizz control and shine.

Talk about a multi-tasker!  Shop Ouidad at ULTA, Sephora or Nordstrom.

4. Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser + Vitamin E Face Moisturizer

Bestselling Cleanser + Moisturizer for balanced skin 

So fresh and so clean clean! I love the apothecary, back-to-basics vibe of this product line. Also, the functionality: Deeply cleanse sensitive skin with just a dime-sized amount of product. Works to remove makeup, too (no need for multiple steps + products, which I love).

The lightweight moisturizing lotion is also great for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The founders note it also works in place of aftershave (so this multi-use product is certainly worth sharing!).

This is my first foray into the Malin + Goetz product line, but I’m certainly not disappointed. In addition to high-quality, effective products, the fact that the products are made in the USA (through local, small, family-run businesses) makes me even more loyal to this brand.

Shop the Post:

Thanks for tuning in to another round of “random beauty reviews.” Let us know in the comments below what else you’re interested in hearing about!

Beauty Reviews: Brushes, Body Hero Duo, Colorscience & more!

Ever wondered about highlighting / contour palettes? If magnetic eyelashes are worth the cost? If there’s any effective low-cost Neulash alternative? Well… you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a fresh batch of beauty reviews.

  1. IBY Highlight + Contour Palette
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    Confession time: I’ve been intrigued by the art of contouring for a long time, but too intimidated to try it myself. 🎨 That is, until I came across the all-matte contour palette by IBY (@ibybeauty). I took the leap, and tried it on my nose this weekend. Voila! Very satisfied with my slimmer nose.

    The palette comes with a “How To” card that walks you though how to define your cheekbones, slim your forehead, and define + slim your nose. As a total newbie to contouring and someone without a lot of free time (or patience!) to watch tons of YouTube beauty tutorials, this cheat sheet has been super helpful. If you want to try the IBY palette yourself, use code MARTHA at checkout for 20% off your entire order 👉 ibybeauty.com thru 10.9.17. 

    2. Artis Oval 3 Brush + Artis Oval 6 Brush IBY-Cosmetics-Palette-Review
    To complete the look for Review No. 1, I used the Artis Brush Mirror Oval 3 (perfect for smaller areas). For my foundation, I used the larger Artis Elite Mirror Oval 6 (also great for contouring the cheekbone area). If you’re looking to take your makeup application techniques to the next level, you’ll appreciate the specific uses for each patented brush:

    Oval 3: Great for applying eyeshadow, under eye concealer and brow bone highlight. You can also use it to apply foundation/concealer to the inside corner area of the eye and on the side of nose near the nostrils.

    Oval 6: Provides blended, natural-looking results for applying full-face foundation, as well as blush, cheekbone contour, or highlight.

    Artis brushes are made exclusively with CosmeFibre, an engineered fibre made specifically for cosmetic and makeup product application. The Artis Elite Mirror 5 Brush Set can be purchased at Net-a-Porter for $170. Similar sets and individual brushes can be found at Nordstrom and Anthropologie.

    3. Glossier Body Hero Duo: Daily Oil Wash & Daily Perfecting Cream Glossier-Body-Hero-Review
    Be honest, what “hero” song comes to mind when you read this label? I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night…

    In all seriousness, we were pretty excited about this new product duo because: we love 90% of Glossier products already, and our shower gel / body wash / soap situation is pretty boring in comparison. Classic example of something we didn’t know we needed until Glossier graced our inboxes and bombarded our social feeds with news of these new heroes (advertised via attention-grabbing images of famous naked ladies). Surely you’ve seen this campaign?

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    If you caught our Insta Story on the topic, you’ll know that size-wise the oil is smaller than we were expecting. It also smells even better than we were expecting. While we (separately, of course!) have been using the Body Hero Duo for just a few days now, we’re “pretty sure we’ll reorder” given the innovative nature of the product and the smell. Oh, the smell. Our soon-to-be winter skin needs some love, ok?

    The Body Hero Duo is $35. If you had to pick just one product, we’d go oil wash – 8.4 fl oz for $18. We’ll update this post on “how long it lasts” when we have that info.

4. Castor Oil? Yep. Sky Organics Castor Oil for Eyelash (+ Brow) Growth

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I’ve had eyelash envy ever since I can remember. While my lashes are dark, they are quite short, and not really that noticeable. I’ve contemplated buying NeuLash (close to $100 per tube, yikes!) or Latisse (technically requires a prescription… unless you’re in Mexico, but… there are some dangerous side effects).

Ok, full disclosure: I bought a bottle of off-brand Latisse at a bodega-like pharmacy in Cabo San Lucas. I used it a couple of times, but got really paranoid, because discoloration including purple eyelids was one of the warnings and I thought I saw signs of this happening. Whether it was real or placebo I don’t know, but I’m nervous to try again.

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That said, when Sky Organics (makers of our favorite Bath Bombs!) sent over this Castor Oil kit for eyelash and brow growth, we couldn’t wait to test drive it. For one, the word “organic” has put me so much more at ease. While it’s only been a matter of days (and typically results are seen after several weeks) I’m confident this is the right choice for eyelash growth. I’ll report back on results at a later date.

5. One Two Lash Magnetic False Eyelashes Longer-Lashes-Product-Review

Remember how I alluded to my lack of patience earlier (some of those beauty tutorial videos just need to cut to the chase, am I right?). Well… while I wait to see how my natural lashes grow under this new Castor Oil regimen, I did bite the bullet and buy a set of OneTwo Lash magnetic false eyelashes. I don’t wear them daily (I bet some people do!) but I enjoy having access to them for special occasions / dressing up. They did take me a few applications to get it just right, but in my experience the magnets have staying power and they’re a huge improvement over the sticky glue solutions of traditional “falsies.”

For more information about One Two Lash magnetic lashes, I’d encourage you to read the reviews on the OneTwo Cosmetics website.

6. Colorscience All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector
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Roses are red, our favorite wines are red, our fave nail polish hues are red… but when it comes to facial redness we just can’t stand it. Luckily, Colorscience has debuted a new, redness-neutralizing formula that provides ongoing relief from sensitivity and the appearance of redness.

What’s more? The All CalmClinical Redness Corrector SPF 50 helps prevent up to 90% of skin aging (!!!), has no chemical active ingredients, is antioxidant and Vitamin E enriched, comes in a breathable, hydrating formula AND is dermatologist recommended.

I’m the first to admit, I was skeptical. What could this pump bottle really do to smooth out my complexion and reduce redness? Well, it delivered. I’ve used this product daily since receiving it (3+ weeks) and it’s quickly become a staple in my beauty routine. To be sure it wasn’t “too good to be true,” I consulted Brooke & Lauren, The Skin Sisters. These real-life sisters are both board-certified dermatology Physician Assistants and have expertise in all aspects of dermatology. In other words, they know what’s up.

According to them, “Colorescience is a fantastic brand! We love their brush on sunblock.”  

Hmmm, sounds like we’ll need to try SUNFORGETTABLE® Brush-On Suncreen SPF 50 next.

Stay tuned for more tips from this dynamic duo in an upcoming post!

P.S. Olivia Rink tipped us on a free gift offer from Kiehls going on now thru 9/24. The free 6-piece gift set is offered with any $75+ purchase. There are 3 options to pick from, and the samples include some of our all-time skincare faves. Plus, a free full-size Rare Earth Mask comes with any $115+ purchase. If you’re intrigued, we’d recommend checking out: