Hauls

Beauty Hauls: Sephora 15% Off Spring Sale and Birthday Freebies

Sephora 15% Off Sale

A few weeks ago Sephora had their big 15% off spring sale. I decided to pick up a few odds and ends that I’ve been holding off purchasing. Most of these items have been on my wish list for a while but they’re a bit pricey so I’ve been waiting for a good sale to scoop them up.

First up is the Deborah Lippmann Nail Laquer in Harem Silks From Bombay (0.5 fl oz, $20) that I previously mentioned on my March wish list. This is my first Deborah Lippmann nail polish because I just can’t justify the hefty price tag. I really love the color and silk finish of this polish, though, and I’m happy to have gotten it on sale.

Another product I’ve been lusting after for months is the Hourglass – Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (0.35 oz, $45). It’s a cult product among beauty addicts and I must say, it absolutely lives up to the hype. It gives my skin a radiant, lit-from-within glow that warms up my complexion and gives me a sun-kissed look.

I probably already own too many blushes but the Clinique Cheek Pop in Berry Pop (0.12 oz, $21) has been on my wish list for a while. Berry Pop is a bit warmer-toned than it’s sister, Plum Pop, which works really well with the yellow undertones of my skin. I haven’t had a chance yet to thoroughly test this blush because I’ve been too busy marveling at the cute daisy design but I plan on doing a review of this blush in the future.

Lastly, I decided to pick up the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard (0.22 fl oz, $29). It hasn’t formally been on any of my wish lists but my current Estée Lauder concealer has been running low so I decided to add this to my cart. This is considered by many beauty bloggers to be the holy grail of concealers. For my part, I haven’t really been able to use this concealer much because it’s too dark for my current skin tone. I wish I had gotten this in a shade or two lighter but I might be able to make it work once I have a bit of a tan.

Birthday Freebies

I also picked up my birthday freebies from Sephora and Ulta since it’s my birthday month. The Sephora gift is a Make Up For Ever set containing samples of their Smoky Extravagant Mascara (0.13 fl oz, $13.57 value) and Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in N9 Copper Pink (0.05 oz, $8.57 value). This is a pretty neat set. The samples look tiny but they’re actually about half of the full size which makes them great for travel. The Ulta birthday gift this year is a full size the the CK One Mascara (0.31 fl oz, $18). This mascara has an interesting brush. In the default setting it’s supposed to be used for lengthening and definition. Twisting the cap changes the shape of the brush, making it more dense which makes it great for volumizing. I’m really happy about these birthday gifts. Thank you Sephora and Ulta!

What beauty products did you pick up during the 15% off spring sale at Sephora?

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Beauty Hauls: President’s Day Edition

Beauty Hauls: President's Day Edition

I love anything blueberry scented so when I saw that The Body Shop had a 40% off sale for President’s Day I decided to pop by the mall and pick up some of the items in their new Blueberry Special Edition. This limited edition collection has been on my radar for a while so this sale was the perfect occasion to cross those items off my list. I picked up the Shower Gel (8.4 fl oz, $8, $4.80 with 40% off), Body Scrub (6.7 oz, $20, $12 with 40% off), and the Body Lotion (8.4 fl oz, $12, $7.20 with 40% off) and all of them smell just heavenly.

I also decided to grab the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (6.7 fl oz, $18, $10.80 with 40% off) while it was on sale. Cleansing oils have been my cleanser of choice on days when I don’t wear any makeup as they’re lighter than a balm but still do a good job at removing all the sweat and grime that accumulate on your face throughout the day.

Afterward I stopped by the Aveda store to pick up their Intensive Hydrating Masque (5 fl oz, $22) and somehow left with another cleanser. Sigh. I don’t own any cream cleansers and I’ve been wanting something lighter than the REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk that would still be hydrating. The Purifying Creme Cleanser (5 fl oz, $21) fits the bill perfectly so in my bag it went.

Beauty Hauls: President's Day Edition

Do you have any Body Shop items on your wish list? Their 40% off sale ends tonight so there is still time to get a good deal.

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My Current Morning Skin Care Routine

I’ve been talking about updating my skin care routine a lot lately, making wish list upon wish list, going a bit shopping crazy last month and finding new favorites. I’ve had some time to put my new routine to the test so I thought I would write a post to share it with you. Please keep in mind that I have used some of these products only for a few weeks so my opinion might change in the future but I think I’ve used them long enough to form a solid first opinion. First up is my morning skin care routine.

My Morning Skin Care Routine

That’s a lot of products…

I start off my morning with a good cleanse. I have a bunch of different cleansers on rotation at the moment so which one I use depends on how my skin feels that day. If I’m having a hard time getting out of bed and just feel tired and grouchy I love to use the Murad Essential-C Cleanser (6.75 fl oz, $36). It a refreshing gel cleanser that instantly makes me feel more awake. It does contain the foaming agent Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate but it’s less harsh and stripping than SLSs. On days where my skin feels a bit dry and irritated (which has been most days this winter) I will skip the Murad cleanser in favor of the REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28) to calm and moisturize my sensitive, dehydrated winter skin.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Cleansers

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk and Murad Essential-C Cleanser

Next up are toners. I start off with the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion (5.1 fl oz, $28) to exfoliate. It’s mild and doesn’t irritate my skin and has a really pleasant scent. I follow things up with a moisturizing toner. I like the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (6.7 fl oz, $23.90) because it’s very refreshing. Some days I find it to be just a bit too much and prefer to use the Caudalie Moisturizing Toner (3.38 fl oz, $14) which is gentler on my sensitive winter skin.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Toners

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion, Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, and Caudalie Moisturizing Toner

After toners I apply my eye cream. Right now I’m using the H2O+ Aquafirm+ Eye Lift Concentrate (0.5 fl oz, $38). It’s similar to Origins GinZing in that it’s a lightweight cream with a slight shimmer to it that helps to reduce the look of dark circles. It’s pretty good but it’s not my holy grail.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Eye Cream and Serum

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum

During the serum step I’ve absolutely been loving the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (1 fl oz, $49). I got this serum as part of the Caudalie Vinosource Hydration Set ($48) which was limited edition during the holidays. My local Sephora had one last lonely box on their shelf when I went there last week. Since I’ve had the serum on my wish list anyway and the set was one dollar cheaper than the serum by itself, I obviously just had to pick it up. This serum is very lightweight which is really important to me for my morning routine. I hate it when I can feel a layer of skin care products on my face and have to apply makeup on top of that. This serum hits the mark on all accounts: lightweight, fast-absorbing, moisturizing, pleasant scent.

The Vinosource Hydration Set also contained a sample of the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (0.33 fl oz, $9.90 value) which is a lightweight moisturizer. The sorbet consistency is great and absorbs well. It’s not quite nourishing enough for me this winter but I like it a lot and I think it will be perfect for the summer. Speaking of moisturizers, which are the next step in my routine after the serum, I’ve mostly been using Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (1.7 oz, $37) which is a firm staple in my skin care routine. Its gel consistency makes it lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-greasy and just perfect under makeup. At the same time it’s pretty moisturizing although I wish it was a bit more nourishing for the winter months. I’m test-driving a couple of other moisturizers right now so I hope to report back on that front soon.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Moisturizers

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief and Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet

I finish off my morning skin care routine with sunscreen. Right now I use the Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25 (1.4 oz, $22). It has a good amount of SPF for the winter months and just a bit of a tint so that I could even get away with not wearing any foundation on a good skin day. Just add a bit of concealer to my blemishes and dark circles and I’m ready to go. It blends nicely and doesn’t leave any white cast like some other sunscreens.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Makeup Setting Spray and Sunscreen

Caudalie Grape Water and Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25

Lastly, I wanted to give an honorable mention to the Caudalie Grape Water (2.5 fl oz, $6.72 value) which was the third product in the Vinosource Hydration Set. I’ve been using this as a makeup setting spray or whenever my skin feels a bit dry throughout the day. It’s like an instant wakeup call for your skin.

Although my routine isn’t quite perfect yet I’m pretty happy with it at the moment. The weather has been extremely cold in our part of the US but my skin has been doing pretty well. My new routine has been helping in keeping it well hydrated and nourished, looking more supple, less ashy, and all in all just healthy.

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Beauty Hauls: November Catch-Up

I placed a few online orders during the month of November but with my trip to Germany and Christmas I haven’t had a chance yet to write a post about it. So here it is: the big November beauty haul catch-up. This post is a bit on the longer side. You have been warned.

Sephora Online Order

During the beginning of November Sephora had this great gift with purchase deal where you got to pick one of four cosmetic bags filled with amazing beauty samples. The total value of this particular set is over $50. It was just too good to pass up. I was a bit bummed out because the set was supposed to include a sample of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat but I got the Lancome Définicils Mascara instead. I do like trying new mascaras but I was particularly excited about the topcoat because it’s supposed to turn any mascara into waterproof mascara. Oh well.

You might remember the beautyblender duo set and the Formula X nail polish from my November beauty wish list post. I actually haven’t used the beauty blender as much as I would’ve liked because most mornings I’m in a hurry and using my fingers is simply faster. The few times that I have used it I really liked the result. The Formula X nail polish is a beautiful shade called Supernatural. Unfortunately, it chips very easily on me.

Beauty Hauls - Sephora Online Order #4

Full Size Items

beautyblender Duo Set

$39.95 price, $43.90 value

Formula X For Sephora

Shade: Supernatural (ashen pearl)
Full Size: 0.4 fl oz, $10.50

Free Gifts with Purchase

Festive Cheery Endurance Sample Bag (8 pc)

Free Samples

Another Sephora Online Order

It’s kinda sad to admit but the main reason I placed this order was to get Sephora VIB status in time for the big 20% sale. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out as planned because for some reason my status wasn’t unlocked for a few days after I placed the order and by then most things I wanted were sold out. Anyway…

I had my eyes on the Jolly Jelly Candy set for quite some time. I love Philosophy shower gels – they just smell so darn good. The matching body scrubs were a great addition as I don’t currently own any body exfoliation products. They do a fabulous job at making my skin baby smooth without being too abrasive.

I added the Clinique Chubby Treats Set mainly in order to get free shipping. I own a few Chubby Sticks and love them. Unfortunately the colors of these two didn’t really work for me as the Pudgy Peony was too bright and the Voluptuous Violet was too dark. I ended up returning them.

I also spent some of my points on the Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara which is well on its way to becoming my favorite mascara. It does a superb job at separating and defining my lashes which gives me great volume and makes them almost look like falsies.

The Julep Freedom top coat was another 100 points perk. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while because it’s fast-drying. Unfortunately, I experience major shrinkage when using it. It makes my manicure look like it has significant tip wear and is 5 days old. Not flattering.

The Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation was a gift with purchase. I used my Body Shop kabuki bursh to apply this powder foundation but I found it really hard to get any type of coverage. I would describe it as light at best but by no means is it full coverage. I even tried using a Bare Minerals concealer brush to apply it directly to my blemishes to get better results but without much success. I’m glad I got to try it but I would’ve been disappointed had I spent money on it.

Beauty Hauls - Sephora Online Order #5

Full Size Items

Philosophy Jolly Jelly Candy Set

  • 2 x 4 fl oz Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath in Sweet Orange and Pink Grapefruit
  • 2 x 6 oz Salt Body Scrub in Sweet Orange and Pink Grapefruit

$35 price, $53 value

Clinique Chubby Treats

  • 2 x 0.04 oz Chubby Stick in Pudgy Peony (sheer fuchsia) and Voluptuous Violet (sheer plum lavender)

$19.50 price, $13.60 value

100 Bonus Points Perks

Free Gifts with Purchase

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Shade: Fair-Light Neutral

Free Samples

NARS Online Order

To continue the saga of me attaining VIB status: the main reason I hoped to be able to get the 20% discount was because I had my eyes on the NARS One Night Stand palette. This palette included the customer favorites Orgasm and Deep Throat blushes, as well as two limited edition blushes, a highlighter, and a bronzer. I mainly wanted it for the Orgasm and Deep Throat blushes because I had my eyes on them for a while. By the time my VIB status was unlocked this pallet was, unfortunately, sold out. Boo.

I decided to check the NARS website and as it happens they were offering a mini Orgasm blush with every purchase. While the mini packaging is quite a bit cuter than the full size, the product itself is actually not much smaller. At 0.12 oz it’s 3/4 of the full size. For free! I ended up falling in love with the Deep Throat blush. It’s not as sparkly as Orgasm and just the perfect shade. I think I’ve been wearing it every single day since I got it.

Beauty Hauls - NARS Online Order

Full Size Items

Blush in Deep Throat

Full Size: 0.16 oz, $29

Free Gift with Purchase

Mini Blush in Orgasm

Sample Size: 0.12 oz, $21.75 value

Free Samples

Bumble and bumble Online Order

Lastly, we have a small order that I placed with Bumble and bumble. They were having a special where they included a 7 piece sample set with every purchase. I ended up getting the Thickening Shampoo in a travel size to take with me to Germany but I ended up not using it since my luggage got delayed and I had to buy a totally new shampoo.

Beauty Hauls - Bumble and Bumble Online Order

Full Size Items

Travel Size Thickening Shampoo

Full Size: 2 oz, $8

Free Samples

Sephora Black Friday Beauty Wish List

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US Readers. I hope you all have a great day with your family stuffing your bellies with delicious food.

Thanksgiving also means that Black Friday is just around the corner. I usually try to stay away from the mall on this day because of all the craziness. Most of the time the so called deals just don’t seem to be worth all the hazzle and stress. Seriously, who wants to sit out in the cold all night in the hopes of getting one of the two TVs that are just a few bucks off and having to fight with the other customers? As someone who didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving and Black Friday it seems really counter-intuitive to the spirit of Thanksgiving.

On days like these I prefer to be at home with my loved ones and maybe try to score some of the online deals. This year the Sephora offers caught my eye. They have a good selection of product packages for $10 each. You can see the full selection on their Pinterest page.

Unfortunately, Sephora doesn’t specify what time these deals go on sale so I assume it will be at midnight PST. That would be 2AM here in the Midwest and I don’t know if I will be able to stay up that long so I’ll have to see if I get lucky. Here is what I’d like to get:

All images courtesy of Sephora's Pinterest page

All images courtesy of Sephora’s Pinterest page

The Art of Shaving: The Four Elements of the Perfect Shave

  • Aftershave Balm – 0.5 fl oz, $5.88 value
  • Pre-Shave Oil – 0.5 fl oz, $8.00 value
  • Shaving Cream – 1 oz, $5.00 value
  • Trial Size Badger Shaving Brush – $5.00 estimated value

Total Value: $23.88

Bliss Soapy Suds Body Wash + Bubble Bath in Blood Orange + White Pepper

  • Body Wash – 16 fl oz, $18 value

Total Value: $18

Ole Henriksen Clean Sweep Duo

  • African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser – 1.5 fl oz, $9.00 value
  • Truth To Go Wipes – 10 ct, $5.00 value

Total Value: $14.00

Tarte Little Miracles Best Selling Essentials

  • Smooth Operator Finishing Powder – 0.07 oz, $6.34 value
  • Maracuja Oil – 0.24 fl oz, $6.49 value
  • Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara – 0.16 oz, $12.67 value

Total Value: $25.50

Wei Pore Purifying & Brightening Collection

  • Gingko Leaf Repairing Face Treatment Pad – 1 ct, $11.33 value
  • Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream Sample – estimated 0.025 fl oz, $1.44 value
  • Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask – 2 ct, $10.50 value

Total Value: $23.27

Boscia Pore Perfection Set

  • Luminizing Black Mask – 1 fl oz, $12.14 value
  • Pore Purifying Black Strips – 1 ct, $2.33 value

Total Value: $14.47

The Art of Shaving set would be a stocking stuffer for the very best boyfriend. The other products are things that I’ve heard really good things about or have been on my radar for a while. Which Sephora Black Friday deals are you hoping to score?

Beauty Hauls: Lost Luggage Edition

Lately I’ve seen many beauty bloggers talk about what beauty products they would immediately repurchase if their collection would disappear overnight. Most of the time those posts are totally hypothetical and it’s a fun thought experiment to come up with a shopping list. Unfortunately, I actually ended up in this situation the other day.

This past weekend I traveled to Germany to attend a friend’s wedding and my luggage got delayed for two days. The first day my bag wasn’t checked through all the way and stayed at my first layover in Toronto while I continued on to Germany. The second day my suitcase was sent to Cancun, Mexico, instead of Frankfurt.

The wedding was the day after my arrival so I had almost nothing I needed. I usually travel with my foundation and mascara in my carry on, as well as moisturizer, eye cream, and deodorant. Everything else was in my suitcase: blush, makeup brushes, eye shadow, eye and face primers, nail polish, razor, shampoo and conditioner, body wash and lotion, as well as my dress and shoes. Needless to say I had to purchase all of that stuff in order to look presentable for the wedding.

On the upside, I was staying with my parents so they had a few things that I could use like body wash, tooth paste, face primer (of all things), and a hair dryer. Last time I visited I had also left my German hair straightener because I had purchased another one in the US.

The day after my arrival I went to the mall to purchase everything I needed. Luckily the wedding wasn’t until later in the day so I had some time to get replacements for everything. I couldn’t really afford to repurchase my favorite high-end products so I had to make do with drugstore dupes. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to research products to get. In addition, there are a lot of German brands that don’t exist in the US and I’m not as familiar with. Lastly, I wasn’t able to swatch some of the products to match them to my skin tone. Basically, I just had to grab what looked good and hope for the best.

This is what I ended up with:

Beauty Hauls - Lost Luggage Edition

1. bebe Young Care 3in 1 Pflegende Reinigungstücher (Nourishing Facial Towelettes)

These facial towelettes do a pretty good job. They do remove waterproof makeup although it takes quite a few swipes to remove waterproof mascara. I also wish that the cloth was softer. Overall, I like the Yes to wipes better but these were an ok replacement.

2. L’Oréal EverRich Nährpflege & Reparatur Shampoo and Conditioner (similar here and here)

I’ve heard many good things about this shampoo and conditioner from the beauty blogger world. This set is very moisturizing which I like and makes my hair super soft. It even smells nourishing, like shea butter or something similar, even though it doesn’t contain any. I love this scent while applying but for some reason I’m not a huge fan of it lingering in my hair. The shampoo has a very thick consistency and lathers extremely well for not containing any sulfates. Overall, I really like how nourishing these two products are but I wouldn’t want to use them exclusively as they make my hair fall a bit flat.

3. Catrice Cosmetics Powder Brush and Smokey Eyes Brush

I’m not a fan of the brushes and applicators that come with most compact makeup products so I decided to buy some brushes as well. These two looked the best out of the limited selection. The brushes are dense and soft. The eye shadow brush is dual-ended with a crease brush and a tapered eyeliner brush. They’re not the best brushes out there but for the price they work well enough.

4. Wilkinson/Schick Intuition Naturals Razor

I usually buy the Venus Breeze razor, the one with the shaving foam in the blade and I really like it. This one was a lot cheaper than the Venus razor. I like the amount of “foam” you get but the whole thing is really big so it makes it a bit harder to hit every spot. It does a decent enough job though.

5. L’Oréal Color Rich Quad Eye Shadow in Beige Trench (similar here)

In the store I was intrigued by the look of this product. It just looked very pretty. I like how the shape mimics the eyelid so there is no doubt about where to apply which color. Unfortunately, it turned out to be very sparkly which wasn’t too bad for the occasion but isn’t really suited for everyday use. Also, I didn’t like the crease color on myself because it turned out too orange. Beside that the color payoff and staying power were really good, even without a lid primer. I’d consider buying this again but probably not in this color.

6. Astor Cosmetics Skin Match Trio Blush in Rosy Pink

This was another product where I really liked the look of it. I like that it’s three colors in one and depending on how you use it you can achieve different results. It reminds me of the discontinued Clinique Fresh Bloom Allover Colour that made it on my last favorites list. The color payoff isn’t the greatest but it can be layered.

7. L’Oréal Prefect Match Powder in Golden Beige (similar here)

I really like this powder. It’s very finely milled, mattifies nicely, and isn’t cakey. I wish I had gotten this one color lighter. It’s not too noticeable though since it blends very well – no mask effect. I only use a light dusting to set my makeup but you can also layer it for more coverage.

8. Labello Hydro Care (similar here)

This is one of my favorite lip balms and I like to buy one whenever I visit Germany. It’s sold by NIVEA in the US but I’m not sure which one is the exact dupe to this one. It’s very moisturizing and leaves my lips super smooth.

By now my suitcase made it to Germany and it’s nice to have all of my favorite products with me again. Nevertheless, I’m happy about my purchases and some of these products will be used regularly in the future.

Beauty Hauls: Ulta Online Order #2

A few weeks ago Ulta had this amazing offer where when you buy $60 worth of products you get a cosmetic bag full of beauty goodies. Who could say no to that? Needles to say I had to have it so I ordered a few things that I needed. And by need I mean really wanted.

The avid reader might remember that I got a sample of the Benefit ’Hello Flawless!’ Oxygen Wow Foundation as a gift with purchase with my last Sephora order. I’ve been using it ever since and I have been so impressed that I decided to order the full size. The box also included a sample of the Stay Flawless 15 – Hour Primer which is nice bonus.

Second, I finished the travel size of the Living Proof Full Shampoo and I orderd the full size. Even though I said before that I didn’t care too much for this shampoo, I’ve been getting such great results with it that I decided to continue using it. I found that my hair gets much less tangled and I still get great volume if I wash my hair first with this shampoo and then with the Amika Balancing Shampoo.

The great thing about this purchase is that I didn’t only receive the sample goodie bag but I also received gifts with purchase for both the foundation and the shampoo. In addition, Ulta added two Jane Cosmetics Cream Eye Shadows to my order for free and I got complimentary samples as well. All in all, I received so many samples with this order that I don’t even know where to start. I’ll try to untangle the full list of products below.

Beauty Hauls - Ulta Online Order #2

Full-Size Items

Benefit Cosmetics – ‘Hello Flawless!’ Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation

Shade: “I’m pure 4 sure” Ivory
Full Size: 1.0 fl oz, $36

Included a 0.01 oz sample of Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer (Full Size: 0.54 oz, $32), a $0.59 value.

Living Proof – Full Shampoo

Full Size: 8 fl oz, $24

Free Gifts with Purchase

3 piece Benefit Cosmetics Sample Set – $30.84 value

Living Proof – Full Thickening Cream

Sample Size: 0.5 fl oz, $3.51 value
Full Size: 3.7 fl oz, $26

Jane Cosmetics – Cream Eye Shadow

Shades: Gilded Gold, Luminous Lilac
Full Size: 0.14 oz, $8 each

12 piece sample set

Free Samples

Variety Sampler

Phew, that’s a looooooot of samples. My fingers hurt from typing it all up. Honestly, in my opinion Ulta has the best gifts with purchase policy. I like it better than Sephora’s to some extend because you can get get multiple gifts with purchase depending on what you buy. However, I prefer that at Sephora you have the choice of what gift with purchase you’d like while at Ulta it is tied to the brands you buy. Anyway, please excuse me while I try to decide which sample to try first.