Beauty Army is a personalized subscription of six samples you select each month, for $12 per box. My March kit was a nice mix of bountiful samples and products I’d consider buying again, with only a few disappointments.
New York Streets Dry Shampoo was a full size product, so its lid was removed to fit the bottle in the box, and it leaked a bit during shipping. Whoops. But Beauty Army’s customer service was quick to respond when I reached out about it, and promised me an additional selection for next month. A paraben and sulfate free formula, NY Streets did a nice job of absorbing oil, has a fresh fragrance, and doesn’t seem to coat my dark hair with a dingy grey at the roots. I liked it, but I’m just not convinced that at $17.99 a bottle it does anything that my Suave Dry Shampoo can’t do for $4.
Fragrance free and non-greasy AmLactin® Moisturizing Body Lotion was a generous sample, and its full size counterpart retails for $11.99. AmLactin contains clinically proven 12% lactic acid that’s pH-balanced for the skin. “Don’t let the word “acid” concern you” the description notes, “Especially since lactic acid is a naturally occurring humectant for the skin with a certain affinity for water molecules to help keep skin hydrated.” It does sting a little where teeny scratches, zits, and raw spots might otherwise go undetected. But the exfoliation properties are undeniable. I was excited to give this a shot since I’m still recovering from a sucky self-tanner that dried my hide, and my skin felt really silky the next day.
It’d take a lot for me to quit Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and Avon-made bargain beauty brand mark won’t be the one to woo me away. The two do share a price bracket, both retailing around $7, and the rich application of Mark Scanda-Lash Mascara definitely lengthened my lashes, but it really made them too spidery, and didn’t hold curl as well as my reliable Great Lash.
I’ve been enjoying my little (little) sample vial of Whip Hand Cosmetics Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in Locked and Loaded, which sells for $14 at full size. The iridescent brown is a pretty neutral shade and seemed to remain on my lids without a lot of work, though the instructions encourage using primer first. (Who has time for a separate eyelid primer? Come on.) The sample seems little stingy but with the power the mineral shadow packs, it may be enough to last.
I opted for two scents this month. A powerful fragrance, Ineke Hothouse Flower is a sultry combination of rich spices and sensual gardenia, which retails for $95. Top notes include Earl Gray Tea, Green Foliage, Cypress, while the middle notes are Gardenia, Galbanum, Fig, Frankincense, with a base of Guaiac Wood, Mush, Corn Silk. The spray sample came packaged in a pretty little slide box complete with a tiny square of purple tissue paper and would definitely make a bold signature scent.
I was less impressed with Ruddy Water’s Blushed Towelette. The sample wrapper’s sides had split open and the towel was left pretty dry. I didn’t mention it to Beauty Army since that’s no fault of theirs. A sweet smell, red currant and rich vanilla are dominant and work nicely with ginger and citrus notes. It’s retail version includes 24 sealed perfumed towelette pouches, housed like teabags. But if they’re prone to split the way my single sample did, I’d be reluctant to pay $22 for a collection of the pretty perfume only to have it go to waste. —Casandra Armour