A Little Bit in Love

Codage Paris Sample Kit Review

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I can’t remember exactly where I first saw Codage Paris, but I remember that its distinct laboratory-inspired aesthetic really resonated with me. I always loved science; I miss using pipettes and wearing my lab coat. To me, science and natural beauty were never a dichotomy. When I ran out of Chanel’s HydraBeauty serum I wanted to try Codage before replenishing. But, I could not find Codage at any Canadian retailers. And I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the buy considering the exchange rate, overseas shipping and duties.  So, I decided to try out their sample kit along with the travel-sized scrubbing cream (Crème Gommante) instead.

And after a little bit of research, I found a few more reasons to love this brand. Codage Paris was established by French siblings, Julien and Amandine Azencott. Prior to starting Codage, the pair worked as consultants connecting cosmetic brands with the top cosmetic labs in France. When starting this venture, they set Codage’s core values: maximum efficiency, customized products, dedicated service and respect for nature. The brand’s essence is a blend of the traditional French pharmacy and modern advance skincare research. And their products are paraben and phthalate-free. Codage’s products aim to cleanse, treat and nourish skin. Their flagship product is a customized serum. You can create your customized serum using their online “diagnostic tool” to find the “prescription” that suits your skin’s specific needs (and it comes in a cute monogramed bottle).

The products I’ve used from my sample kit are the Serum № 1 and the Crème Gommante. Serum № 1 is formulated with ingredients that have hydration, antioxidant, and antipollution properties. The serum provides intense nourishment that makes skin soft but more resilient by improving skin integrity. When testing it out I poured the 1 ml contents into a small container. I was surprised that such a small amount gave me three uses. To see how my sensitive skin would react, I wore the serum with no makeup and no additional moisturizers on top.  With the serum alone, my skin felt appropriately hydrated (not greasy) and looked radiant. I even received a few compliments about my skin from people surprised that I wasn’t wearing any foundation. The Crème Gommante (scrubbing cream) is designed to exfoliate, soothe and provide radiance. It is an emulsion of fine rice particles that gently exfoliates to remove impurities and dead skin. It is not abrasive or drying like the apricot scrub I usually use. And I found it worked well with my sensitive skin. I’m still working my way through the sample kit, but so far I’m very impressed!

If you’re interested in giving Codage Paris a try, you can order a sample kit here. The samples are free, but you have to pay for shipping. There are also travel-sizes available if you're looking for a little more. And I'm excited to share today that there is a special promo code for Friday, November 27th (until midnight). Use WHITEFRIDAY15 at checkout and you will save 30% off of your order (doesn't apply to prescription kits or minis). I've been waiting for an offer like this to pick up a full-sized product. I thought it would be a good time to post this review so you that if you're interested, you can take advantage of this offer too. Let me know what you think of Codage if you do purchase.

This was not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 

Holt Renfrew Holiday Beauty Bag 2015

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

It’s the holiday season! There’s no snow in Toronto just yet, but Mink Mile is already lined with glistening holiday windows. And at Holt Renfrew there’s a little something extra to be excited about.  If you read this previous post, you’d know I look out for the Holt Renfrew Beauty Bag each season.  This is because it is usually filled with luxury beauty samples you can’t find anywhere else and only costs between $25 to $45. The bag also comes with a $10 voucher that you can use on a future beauty purchase. It’s brilliant! I don’t buy every single one, but in the past my favourite beauty bag samples were the Hermes Terre d’Hermes miniature cologne and shower gel set, Erno Laszlo Timeless Serum and Clinique Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”.

When I saw this season’s bag in Holt Muse, it made its way to the top of my shopping list. It is priced at $35, but valued at over $100. And the bag still features the $10 voucher. I have a few beauty items on my wish list (including Tom Ford’s “Drake” lipstick…just because), so the voucher is a bonus. The bag itself is beautifully designed with navy honeycomb print and rose gold hardware. And it’s functional. There’s a top-handle for carrying it, plenty of storage space and a built-in interior mirror. So it will work well for makeup storage on your vanity table or in your suitcase for travel.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

My top favourites inside this beauty bag are the Tuscan Scent trio from Salvatore Ferragamo,  Miu Miu’s eau de parfum and  the Matte Revolution lipsticks by Charlotte Tilbury. Within the Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent trio is a sampling of the “quintessential collection”. It features 1.5 ml samples of the White Mimosa, Golden Acacia and Incense Suede scents. Of the three, the White Mimosa is my favourite. It is a floral but sensual, so it fits well with the rest of my perfume collection.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The second fragrance item in the bag is Miu Miu’s new flagship fragrance. It is comprised of the Lily of the Valley and Akilgalawood scents. I’ve tried this at the fragrance counter before. It’s a classic women’s perfume. The Lily of the Valley reminds me of a perfume my Grandmother used to wear; which is a good thing. This fragrance and  Alaia are competing for the next spot on my perfume tray. So, it’s nice to have this generous 4 ml sample to help me decide between the two when I’m ready (I recently used my Optimum points to purchase Narciso, which I really enjoy. I keep meaning to write the review, but that’s a good fall/winter fragrance to try as well).

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

To be honest, I can’t write much about my final favourite because I haven’t opened these Charlotte Tilbury samples yet. The packaging is too cute. I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about this line from a makeup artist and my sister-in-NARS since its Canadian debut. The Miracle Eye Wand is on my wish list, but heard Charlotte Tilbury’s lipsticks are good as well. I plan to visit their counter at Holts to see how they compare to my favourite, NARS Audacious.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The beauty bag also includes deluxe samples of Clinique’s “repairwear” uplifting firming cream (7 ml), Laura Mercier’s radiance foundation primer (15 ml) and Erno Laszlo’s Firmarine face bar (17 g). The full-sized versions of these products are available for sale on Holt Renfrew’s new e-store, but it looks like the beauty bags are only available in-store. I’m very pleased with this year’s holiday bag and I think it would make a great hostess gift (or gift to self). If you grab this bag or have any past favourites, tweet me and let me know.  

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.


Afterthought: Alaïa Sample Review

(c) JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) JuleChu Lifestyle

I love collecting perfumes, but I’m very selective about the scents I wear. Since I hate having perfume go to waste, I only buy perfumes I really love and will wear frequently.  This is why I usually take a sample to try for a week or so before making a decision.  One of the recent samples I’ve obtained is the new fragrance, Alaïa. It is the first fragrance under the signature of Azzedine Alaïa, the Tunisian-born couture master. I first saw this perfume on a twitter announcement of its UK release in July. I thought the bottle design beautifully intriguing, but I couldn’t find the fragrance in Canada. But last week, Holt Renfrew announced its exclusive launch in Canada. I hurried over to try it in-person and ask for a sample. The fragrance has notes of pink pepper, freesia, peony and musk. I find it to be very elegant and distinct from other brands. I’ve already chosen Narciso Rodriquez eau de parfum (review to come) as my autumn scent, but this fragrance by Alaïa will definitely be on my Christmas wish list. Hopefully by that time, Holt’s will carry it in a gift set or at least have a miniature as a gift with purchase. Currently, Holt Renfrew is selling the 50ml bottles for $120 and 100 ml for $160.

Below are the other samples I was able to grab this week. The first is Aveda’s “be curly” intensive detangling masque (15ml), which you can pick up in-store at Aveda. The rest of the samples are from Sephora: Glamglow Supercleanse (15g), Bobbi Brown face oil (3ml) and fragrances- Versace Bright Crystal mini rollerball (3ml), Clean Warm Cotton (1ml), Prada Sport Luna Rossa (1.5 ml), Escada Joyful (2ml).

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

How to get luxury beauty samples in Canada (without buying a subscription box)

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I love being able to try new beauty products, but I hate having an excess of products that I never use. I’m a paperbag princess. I’ve learnt that my money is better in the bank than on my vanity (shout outs to Gail Vaz-Oxlade). Instead of wasting money on products I would barely use, I look to samples a way to try luxury beauty brands before committing.  For example, I went through two 5 ml samples of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum before buying the full-sized product. That way I’m more certain that the product is worth the price and that there isn’t a drugstore brand equivalent. By doing so, I’ve actually saved. For example, I’ve been using the same bottle of a luxury-brand facial cleanser for 6 months (expiries at 12 months) and still have plenty left. In the past, I would have spent more money replenishing a drugstore-brand every month. You can have nice things; you just have to be smart about it.

I always have a stash of samples to pass on to friends or to carry a little bit of luxury with me when I’m travelling. But finding luxury beauty samples in Canada can be a challenge. And I find that the subscription beauty boxes we have access to do not have the selection of samples that I would want to try.  So here are my tips for finding the luxury beauty samples you actually want.

  1. Join Sephora Beauty Insider 

    Most of my deluxe-sized samples are from Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. In my humble opinion, it is the best beauty loyalty program on the planet. I’ve obtained samples from brands like Glam Glow, Origins, Fresh, Becca and Bobbi Brown. Plus, a handful of miniature perfumes just by redeeming points. Deluxe product samples are usually 100 points and perfume miniatures are usually 250 points . On top of redeeming points you earn from purchases, you also receive a free birthday gift (this year it’s two NARS mini lip pencils) and you also have access to exclusive offers online and at in-store events. The online offers usually require a minimum purchase amount, so I save items on my wish list and checkout only if the offers are worth it. And all orders come with 3 free samples. Sephora is particularly generous with samples at product launch events. At an Atelier Cologne event, for example, I received a full 85 ml bottle of their Magnolia Sud fragrance along with a monogrammed leather case with my purchase.

     

  2. Follow Your Favourite Brands on Social Media and Join Their Mailing Lists

    Now that more brands are embracing social media as part of their promotional plans, you can find links to product sample giveaways directly from the brand (but you have to move quickly). L’Occitane Canada is a good example. In the spring, they offered a duo of mini hand creams to Twitter followers who filled out a short online form and tweeted the hashtag #loveloccitane. After doing so, followers could pick up their deluxe samples in-store and receive an offer of % off an item from the line if they decided to make a purchase. I’ve also been able to get free samples from brands like Chanel and Eve Lom simply by being on their mailing list. Retailers like Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Shopper’s Drug Mart also send out emails about samples when they are preparing for a new product launch. Being on a brand’s mailing list also gives you access to promo codes for exclusive gifts with purchase. Brands like Bobbi Brown and NARS are very generous, sometimes giving miniature eyeshadow palettes or 3-piece miniature sets.

     

  3. Visit Brand Websites Often

    Shopping through the beauty brand’s online store can get you access to exclusive samples or gift sets that include “free” miniatures that you can’t find in-stores. Some brands also have travel-sized products available for purchase as an introduction to their products. The Japanese beauty brand, Tatcha offers both. With my first Tatcha purchase, for example, I was given a generous 25 ml sample of their Pure Camellia Cleansing oil for free. Tatcha also sells travel-size options of signature products like the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder ($15US) and Indigo hand cream ($8US). Other luxury beauty brands who offer samples or travel-sizes for sale online are Codage Paris and Atelier Cologne . And according to Instagram May Lindstrom’s eco-beauty brand will also offer travel sizes in the near future.

     

  4.  Attend Beauty Events

    From what I’ve seen Hudson’s Bay Queen Street flagship puts on the best beauty events in Toronto. In addition to the mocktails and hor d’oeuvre, there are generous gifts with purchases and sometimes even 10% discounts. With this in mind, I usually wait for an event or the holidays to make bigger beauty purchases like perfumes so I can get the most for my money. It also helps to get to know your beauty counter staff well so they can keep you informed of up-coming events. According to my source at the beauty counter, Hudson’s Bay Queen Street’s next beauty event will be held September 17th, 2015. It will be a “Giving Back” event meaning, those who make a donation to the charity of the night will receive 10% off purchases. I haven’t seen any emails or signage to confirm this yet. So it’s best to follow Hudson’s Bay on Twitter for the details directly.

  5. Just Ask.

    At Sephora, you can usually have the staff make you a sample of any product that you want to try before buying. And at L’Occitane, you can usually get a few samples at the cashier with your purchases. Holt Renfrew does offer samples without you having to make a purchase but samples aren’t always available. Right now, Holt Renfrew does not give refunds on beauty purchase so it’s best to ask for a sample to take home before buying anything there just in case. Each season, Holt Renfrew also offers a beauty bag filled with luxury beauty samples for about $45. In addition to the samples you receive a voucher for $10 off your next beauty purchase.   I’ve purchased two so far and the best samples in those bags were from Hermes (miniature Terre d’Hermes cologne and shower gel set), Erno Laszlo (Timeless Serum) and Chantecaille (Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask).

If you'll like to stay updated on sample offers, feel free to follow me on  Twitter or look out for more "A Little Bit in Love" posts here on the blog.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 
J