The Sephora Favorites Skincare Ritual 3 Steps to More Flawless Skin kit includes 10 popular offerings from Sephora’s brands. There are all sorts of products that you might have heard about but never tried or gasped at the price tag. This is a great introduction to skincare products and brands offered at Sephora!
Quick note: This seems to be a Sephora Inside JC Penney exclusive, according to the box. I couldn’t find it on Sephora’s website when I checked. I also got it back in June or July, and am not sure if it is still available. If it isn’t, though, it’s still mini-reviews of all of the products.
$36.00. That works out to $3.60 per sample. The box says the retail value of all of these samples purchased separately is $82.
This kit doesn’t seem to be specifically geared toward any skin concerns or skin types. Most of these sizes are large enough for at least 3 weeks’ use to truly test all of these products properly. While the box shows a picture of all products on the front and includes ingredients for all on the back, it does not include any extra info such as claims about each product. The selling point becomes the fact that these are best sellers, but not why, which is weird because a lot of these products have something cool or extra to make them more unique.
As reference, my skin is mostly normal/combo with an oily chin and some slight dryness on my nose and around my eye/brow area. The tip of my nose is always dry and usually peeling from my allergy medicine, which definitely looks gross. My skin is acne-prone, and I have some acne scarring over most of my face and different amounts of active acne at different testing times.
The testing process:
I know that using a product for at least 3 weeks, preferably without introducing other new products into your skincare routine, is the proper way to test. But I’m testing these in less time to get more of a feel for each product.
Marula Foaming Cleansing Oil
Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser
Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
Algenist Algae Brightening Mask
GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Face Creme
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield
The Marula Foaming Cleansing Oil:
This is hands-down the thickest cleansing oil I’ve ever used, and I think that’s because it’s foaming. It feels a bit too thick to use as a cleansing oil on bare skin, and that you need to add a little bit of water and use a lot of product to really be able to get it to start lathering on the skin. Otherwise it kind of just sits on the skin and is hard to work with. It removes makeup decently, but it always seems to get into my eyes if I try to remove mascara because of the foaming quality. If I don’t wash it off completely (I notice it most around the eye area) it can feel really thick.
I’ve also never heard of marula (either the plant or the brand) before, and when I checked the website back in the summer, Sephora was only selling a shampoo and conditioner from this brand, not any skincare products (they’ve since added more products like this on the site, but I don’t know if it’s sold in SIJCP or an actual favorite). From a Google search, I found that this plant claims to have all sorts of amazing health benefits, but a lot of them seem a bit odd in a cleanser that doesn’t stay on your face for long and is followed by a second cleanser.
The Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser:
I’ve been wanting this cleanser for a while now, and this is the reason why I bought the kit. You can probably guess from the name that it includes charcoal, but also includes pore-tightening and brightening ingredients. I never realized that this was a warming cleanser before. It warms with contact to water, but it starts warming when I pour it out onto my damp fingers and the effect doesn’t last long enough to even spread it over my entire face.
I was considering switching to this cleanser so was using this every day. The second week of using this, I broke out into about 3-4x as much acne as I’d had total in the three months prior. Maybe it was a detox effect from the cleanser or my skin reacting to no salicylic acid in my cleanser, or maybe it was an unconscious change in diet or environment, but it was consistent for a few weeks and only seemed to get better if I alternated this with my old Mario Badescu Acne Face Wash. I’m not going to try using this daily again instead of my acne cleanser. It took over a month to get my skin back in a decent-ish condition.
The Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash:
This was a creamy foaming cleanser with the really thick foam. From the get-go, I loved how it looked and it reminded me of a Goodal cleanser sample I got from a Birchbox. This was meant for more oily skin, and my entire face squeaked when rinsing this off (from what I can find, squeaking = stripping when it comes to skincare). My oily chin was a bit less squeaky. This left my skin super dry, but it also left a weird film on my skin.
The Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask:
This has always been one of those masks that I’ve seen and never really understood how it could be so expensive. When I first felt this, it was kind of squishy and springy. It also feels and looks a bit mousse-y, unlike most of the mud and clay masks I’ve seen. It doesn’t dry down completely on the skin. It still did a really good job purifying, better than a lot of my other masks (such as the black L’Oreal mask) in less time. I really like it, but I’m not sure I can justify the price ($58for 5 fl oz) when the cheaper alternatives still do a good job at a fraction of the cost.
The Algenist Algae Brightening Mask:
This was a bit weird. It felt like this might have been dried out some, because it was really thick and kind of hard to spread onto my skin. It doesn’t help that there are some coarser particles in this. The directions said to rub it in circular motions, which did help some but not a ton. For all this, I didn’t find enough of a brightening effect.
The GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment:
This smells very strongly of coconut – I unscrewed the cap and could smell the coconut through the safety seal. I’m personally not really crazy about coconut, though I’m okay with it. A small amount of this goes far, and it’s very hydrating. The directions say to let sit for however long you want and then wipe off, and I usually like products to stay on my face for around 20 minutes or so. This is really great for the colder months, and while I probably would use this on my whole face about every other week, I like using this on my nose a lot more frequently.
The Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream:
A bit of an oddball, in my opinion. You squeeze some out and it’s more on the thinner side of a moisturizer. But it feels like a really thick consistency by the time I’m rubbing it into my skin, so much so that it’s almost hard to rub in, the way that some thicker serums can start to get. It was nicely moisturizing but the texture was just a bit too odd in my opinion.
The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydration Serum:
I really loved this serum. The few times I used this, I would wake up the next day with the softest, smoothest, most hydrated skin. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about this product, just that it’s a great hydrating serum. I will say that it’s a bit weird to be in the “hydrate” category of this box, rather than “treat” when the GlamGlow product is in “treat”, but I think that has to do with the GlamGlow one being able to be wiped off like the other two masks. I could understand this being confused with a moisturizer based on how the box is presented.
The Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Face Creme:
I actually really liked this moisturizer. I’ve been sensitive to some products from different lines of this brand, but had no problems with this. It was lightweight and non-greasy, giving me the perfect amount of moisture. The only thing I could complain about is packaging – it’s a very small jar, so it’s a bit annoying to scoop out. This also seems to be the only daily product that doesn’t have enough product to last the full three weeks of testing, so I only use it in the morning.
The Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield:
This actually feels silicone-y like a primer and goes onto the skin very nicely. It also feels a bit hydrating. I’ve never tried wearing this as a primer, but if you do, it may be better to wait a couple minutes and really make sure it’s fully settled into the skin. Of course, I can’t really review the effectiveness of a product like SPF because its effects are preventative rather than immediately noticeable. This is SPF 30. It also smells really nice, kind of like a really fresh and fruity lemon herb.
For this being called Skincare Favorites, a lot of these products seem to be a mixed bag or a weirdo product. Maybe some of that is personal preference or something, but I doubt all of it could be. I did really like some of the products, and while I understand that the idea of a kit like this is about testing and finding what works for your skin, I probably would not have bought a kit of the products I did like for $36, especially because they’re some of the smaller samples in the group. They are also some of the most expensive products, too, and are currently a bit out of my price range.