How to Get Free or Almost Free Beauty Products to Review On Your Blog

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I love trying new products. I especially love to write product reviews. Trying new this can get really expensive really quickly. I’ve put together a few ideas and resources to help you get started.

Your Own Collection

So, technically this isn’t a free resource per se, but If you’re a beauty junkie, you probably already have an extensive collection. If you’ve amassed a literal graveyard of a particular category of makeup, why not start there.  For example, I have a plastic bin filled with lipsticks that I either hate or are indifferent about. That is a resource of 20+ products that I can review without spending another penny!


GWP stands for gift with purchase. This is another opportunity to try products that might not have been on your radar. On black friday, Ulta had a sale and an 8 piece free gift with purchase offer with a minimum purchase. I received 8 trial sized products that I’d never tried before. 


I’ve been a member of Influenster since 2011! Influenster is a makeup and skincare review site that offers its members free VoxBoxes in exchange for a review. My last box was a very expensive eye cream! You connect your social media accounts, and the more active you are, the more likely you are to receive boxes. My very first box was a “Mom” themed box with different items. 

Pinch Me

Pinch Me is another product review site the works on a first come first served basis. The first Tuesday of the month a noon, the samples are up for grabs and once they are gone, they are gone. They have all kinds of items such as skincare, cat/dog food, people food coupons etc. 

Ask Brands

If you never ask, the answer will always be no. It doesn’t hurt to email brands that you are interested in to ask for samples.  I like to ask to lab samples on trial sizes in order to actually test out products before I spend my own money or even to see if it’s worth spending my own money. (I think it cuts down on the bias factor)

These are the handful of ways that I trust to get free product. There are countless other ways that just ask for more personal information and access to my social media accounts that I’m just not comfortable with. 

What are some of your favorite ways to get products for consideration? 

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Holiday Gift Guide for…Makeup Lovers

This post contains affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, check out my disclosure/privacy policy here.

Wasn’t it just the 4th of July?  Now we are what…two months away from Christmas? I guess it means it’s time for my first ever gift guide.  There are so many great things on the market for beauty lovers that I’ve decided to break my  guides down into pretty specific sub-categories. 

How to Spot Conceal Without Looking Obvious

My first guide is for beauty lovers. I’m not talking about the person in your life that happens to wear lipstick every now and again. No! I’m talking about the person that can tell the the girl at Burger King was wearing the exact brand and shade of lipstick as them. ( This really did happen to me, Milani Amour Matte Lip Creme in Devotion) 

This person should either start their own YouTube channel or open their own store with the amount of “inventory” they own. This list is special because it does not actually contain any color products! That is on purpose because this person probably has very specific tastes when it comes to colors, formulas and finishes that makes it hard to pick out colors products for them. 

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Review and Swatches

My list consists of items that you as the giver cannot go wrong with!

Check out my recommendations below:

Ginsey LED Stand up Makeup Mirror with Tray and Sensor:

Every makeup lover needs a great mirror. It that mirror also comes with great lighting too…all the better. 

Velour Lases Too Easy Lash Applicator:

I love the look of falsies, but HATE the pain of applying them. This applicator takes away a lot of the frustration by being long enough that your hands don’t obstruct your mirror during application. Plus it comes with a lash comb on the other end! BONUS!!!

Danielle Creation Cat Ear Extendable Gold Midi Mirror:

I know there is already a mirror on this list, but I never met a reflection of myself that I didn’t like:) This mirror 100% made the list on cuteness alone!

Covergirl Striped Makeup Bag:

If you haven’t heard the news, Covergirl is the first MAJOR cosmetics retailer the go the route of cruelty free! This black and white makeup bag with the slogan, “Covergirl, I am what I makeup” will be right at home for beauty junkies everywhere.

Sonia Kashuk Makeup Brush Drying Rack:

Washing brushes sucks. I said it and I meant it. But it really is necessary for the health of your skin, eyes and honestly your brushes too. That’s why I love this drying rack from Sonia Kashuk. It lets you air dry your brushes upside down the prevent water from damaging the glue. 

Allegro Makeup Bags and Organizer – Letter A:

Again, it’s just too cute and who wouldn’t want a makeup bag with their initials!

E.L.F. Cosmetics (Online Only) 8 Piece Face Brush Set:

Most of the brushes in my collection are from E.L.F. The quality really is surprising for the price point. They are individually cheap enough as it it, but a bundle is even better!

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate:

I know I promised no skin type specific products for this list, but I had to make an exception for the creme moisturizer, this goes on great under makeup for my dry skin babes but also works wonders on hands and cuticles!

BeautyBlender Blender’s Delight:

Can you really call yourself a beauty enthusiast if you don’t own at least one beautyblender? Well yeah, but putting on makeup is way more fun with them. This set comes with two blenders and two cleansing solids as well as a blender defender to keep them germ free while they dry.

Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover:

Working for Lancome back in the day was one of my favorite counter jobs!  Their foundation shades ranges were “inclusive” before it was an “in” thing. But my favorite products from them has to be the Bi-Facil eye makeup remover.  This stuff will break down the most stubborn of waterproof eye makeup. 


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Fuego Palette by Crown Brush Pro | Review + Swatches


When it comes to eyeshadow palettes, I like a variety of colors. I like to feel as if I’m getting the most out of my money. Which is why I’ve never really been a fan of monochromatic eyeshadow palettes…that is, until now. I received the Fuego palette by Crown Brush Pro in a previous Boxycharm. This palette is sort of a mix of warm shimmery browns and oranges and shimmery rose golds and dark peaches. 

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Pretty Vulgar Nightingale Palette Review

Pretty Vulgar Nightingale Palette Review

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my disclosure statement.

pretty vulgar nightingale palette review

This month, Boxycharm features the Pretty Vulgar Eyeshadow Palette.  This palette retails for $35 at Sephora. This is the grayscale palette of my dreams! I love a good warm/neutral palette as much as the next girl, but I’m a bit sick of palette after palette featuring this color scheme.  

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Allure August 2018 Beauty Box Review

This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, check out my disclosure statement here!

I have been a fan of subscription boxes for almost 2 years!  The idea of building a collection of health and beauty products that I would not have even notices otherwise was very appealing. I canceled my subscription to allure’s beauty box a few months ago because none of the spoilers looked appealing to me.  Buy they “enticed” me back with the promise of a beauty bundle worth around $98. I was planning on resubbing anyway, so the timing was perfect!


According to Allure’s website:

Allure’s monthly beauty box offers top-trending, editor-tested makeup and beauty picks with a $50-$90 value for only $15

  • Full and travel-size products selected by Allure experts (we test more than 50,000 products a year)
  • A mini-mag with tips, shortcuts, and step-by-steps
  • New member gift: A bonus gift valued at $15+
  • Free shipping

After playing around with August’s box for a few weeks, I’ve discovered some great products as well as a few duds. Check out my review below:

Allure Beauty Box Mini Mag

The first thing you see when you open the box is the cute mini magazine that tells a little bit about the products inside as well as some tips and tricks on how to use them.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner Pen, Black

I didn’t expect to like this liquid eyeliner pen very much mainly because I can’t stand felt tip liquid eyeliner applicatiors. I find them hard to control and they never give me a crisp enough wing. This eyeliner pen from Eyeko really did surprise me. the felt tip is firm enough to draw a straight line but flexible enough to fill in the wing with color. It’s not the blackest black, more like a dark steel grey, but It did show up against my skin. It’s also smudge proof which is a great thing for miss runny eye over here! All in all, this is a nice eyeliner, but I wouldn’t replace my NYX Epic Ink eyeliner for this one anytime soon.

laneige lip sleeping mask

Laneige Special Care Lip Sleeping Mask


Lip Sleeping mask????  I gave this product some serious side eye! After all, isn’t this just a fancy lip balm. No. No, it is not! I wear a c-pap mask at night for my sleep apnea and because of this, my lips get super dry.  For the first time since starting the c-pap, I woke up to soft, moisturized lips that weren’t cracking or splitting. The texture is so unique, not at all like a lip balm but almost, almost like beeswax that tastes like bubble gum. This lip mask has earned permanent rotation in my nightly skincare routine. 


Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Shampoo/Conditioner

I’ve been using Nexxus Shampoo ever since I used to get my hair done at StudioOne! (ahh memories). I have short, natural hair that tends to be on the fine side.  This was the second subscription box that I’ve gotten this shampoo and conditioner in and I was thrilled.  it smells great, cleanses well and moisturized my curls like crazy.  A little goes a long way, so it will be a minute before I’m ready to buy full bottles.



Caudalie Moisturizing Sorbet



I remember thinking, right before I tried this moisturizer, “How different can a moisturizer be?”. After trying this, I was ready to eat my words. I don’t remember my skin ever feeling this soft and almost velvety! I look forward to this part of my routine every night.  I know that i blog mostly about drugstore brands and Caudalie is NOT a drugstore brand, but I think this moisturizer is well worth the money. 

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5 Brown Girl Friendly Blushes|Drugstore Edition

Brown Girl Friendly Blushes

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5 Brown Girl Friendly Blushes

Through all of my years as a makeup lover, there is only one product that I would consider my white whale…blush!  Oh, it’s so hard to find blushes that work on dark skin (brown girl friendly blushes), let alone from the drugstore. I have been disappointed time and time again to the point that I stopped trying to find drugstore blushes altogether. I figured it was one of those items that I would have to pay more for.  Which if I’m being completely honest sucks!

But I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet! One of the major problems with blush for some reason is that drugstore priced blushed always look dry, chalky and dusty/ashy on dark skin.  I think it has to do with a lot of formulas having talc as one of the first ingredients. Talc serves it’s purpose in cosmetics and sometimes that purpose is to bulk up cheap products to make it look like you’re getting something that you’re not.

Over the years beauty brands have slowly started to come around. These formulas have a great color payoff and blend beautifully. Check out my picks for Brown Girl friendly blushes and see for yourself.

Maybelline Fit Me Blush


I’ll be honest, I overlooked this blush for a long time. It just never looked very pigmented to me.  This blush really is on the sheer side. However, the color is very buildable which is a very good thing for the color shy.

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E.L.F. Blush Palette, Dark


I’m convinced that is blush palette is bottomless!  I’ve had it for two years and have yet to hit pan on any of the shades. What I love the most about this palette is how versatile it is.  Every shade works on dark complexions. They have two warm and two cooler shades to really round out any makeup collection.

Milani Baked Blush, Rose D’Oro


 In my last blog post, I talked about my love for this blush (that I picked up by accident). I was looking for a new highlighter and picked up the Corralina shade.  That’s when I discovered how much I love a little bit of glow in my blush. I especially love the Rose D’Oro shade.  It’s hard to describe, but it warms up my complexion in the most beautiful way.

Note Luminous Silk Blush, Desert Rose



I got this blush from a BoxyCharm sometime this summer.  When I saw pictures of it online, I was more than a little disappointed.  I figured that it was another dusty pinky nude shade that some company was trying to get rid of.  I was wrong…so wrong! The texture really is like silk. I only have to dip my brush in the pan once or twice for some great color. The shade really surprised me.  I figured it would look ashy and orange.  It has more of a warm almost coral look to it.  I highly recommend this for any brown girls collection!


Sleek Blush, Sugar


This brand showed me what a quality drugstore blush could be. that doesn’t look ashy on dark skin is in fact possible.  The blush comes in a 3 pan palette with enough shades to compliment any look.

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Makeup Bag Essentials for Fall | Drugstore Edition

Fall makeup bag essentials 1

This post contains affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Statement for more information.

Fall Makeup Bag Essentials


Oh, I can smell it! The scent of crisp cool air and pumpkin scented EVERYTHING! Fall is almost here. For me, that just means one thing…new makeup! Yup, along with a new capsule wardrobe come a sort of makeup capsule wardrobe if you will. This year, I’m trying to keep things simple. I’ve been more attracted to smaller eyeshadow palettes that I actually have a chance of hitting pan on. Also, I love a pinky nude glossy lip to go with everything! Check out my fall drugstore makeup bag essentials for 2018

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L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal | Review + Swatches


L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal is an OG YouTube favorite!  And for good reason.  This concealer is one of the first products that I ever purchased on the recommendation of a “Beauty Guru”.

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Wet n Wild Beauty | Timeless Beauty Picks for Fall | Haul+Try-on


Wet n Wild has held a place in my cosmetics bag as well as my heart for almost 25 years. 

This post contains affiliate links

I remember hiding in the girls’ room with my friends, heating up the tips of our eyeliner pencils with a lighter for the smokiest eyes on the planet! With fall right around the corner, I decided to pull from my stash to create a fall inspired look that so happens to be from one of my favorite brands.

My Fall Picks…

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7 Best Skin-Care Products According to Amazon Reviewers

7 Best Skincare Products According to Amazon Reviewers

A good product review is worth its weight in gold. A great one can change your skincare game forever! Check out this list of 7 Best Skin-Care Products According to Amazon Reviewers!

Skinerals Luminous Citrine Facial Cleanser

4.6 Stars, 108 Reviews


“I have tried so many products in my 50+ years and this is the best. It smells wonderful, leaves my skin hydrated and glowing. i thought the price was a little high but you only need a small amount to wash your face and you get what you pay for.” Renee

24K Gold Rose Water Facial Toner by Leven Rose, 100% Pure Organic Natural Moroccan Rosewater Hydrosol Face Spray 4 oz

4.7 Stars, 2,254 Reviews

“Love this!! I wash my face, spray this onto the 4 quadrants of my face (L-upper/lower, R-upper/lower), then use shea butter for my moisturizer. My face literally glows!! I get so many compliments on my dewy dark skin! I’ve had it for a while now n haven’t even used 1/3 of my bottle. Future continued purchase!!” MC

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum for Face, Topical Facial Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin E, 1 fl oz.

4.3 Stars, 10,177 Reviews

“The results are unbelievable, Was a bit skeptical because all the reviews were from Caucasian women. I was slightly worried that my skin would not respond as well but I was quite mistaken.
With or without makeup, my skin is bright, smooth and my spots are disappearing.
One other result i am sure a number of people have not noticed is that your palms get softer too, i guess the residue on the palms makes it soft and supple.” Mayowa O

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer 1.7 Oz

4.2 Stars, 3,221 Reviews

“I have very sensitive skin and so in the beginning of using this Retinol, it caused me to break out, ugh. Because I have friends that have been using retinol for years, I knew this could be the case and also to give it 2 weeks before giving up. That’s what I did and WOW, am I ever glad. This is a powerful and fabulous product! I am a complete convert to all the LilyAna Natural products and use the Vitamin C, this Retinol, and the scrumptious Face Cream as my daily/nightly ritual for skin care. My face adores these products far and away from any others I have tried throughout my life and my mirror isn’t lying as it shows the benefits. If you find your face breaks out, give it time, give it the 2 weeks before you make a decision, and you, too, will be singing it’s praises. And as for their customer service — it can’t be beat. I’ve written before that they make you, the customer, feel like a member of their family and that still goes. I will always, always be a LilyAna Naturals Woman. I am attaching a photo since using these products, and it is unretouched (the lamp was on and that’s why it’s on the yellow side) and I am makeup free. I am 70 years old and feel like LilyAna has turned back the clock. A million + thanks to LilyAna Naturals!” JennyD

Majestic Pure Blue Eye Gel

4.4 Stars, 35 Customer Reviews


“I was excited to try this out because I am starting to get fine lines and have always had dark areas under my eyes. It’s onlyeen a few days but I’m beginning to notice a difference. Now when I look in the mirror in the morning I feel as if my eye area looks “brighter”. Joey Hudgins

Rose & Pomegranate Face Cream by LilyAna Naturals

4.2 Stars, 3,522 Reviews

 “When I ordered this product I was mid eczema outbreak, with dry, itchy, painful red patches around my nose and face, and over all bad skin. By day two of using the cream my face was already better. By the next week my face looked completely better! I am blown away and in love with this product. I use it morning and night, and still wear makeup every day, and it doesn’t stop this cream from doing its magic! Order it, you won’t be disappointed.” Mj R.

EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 1.7 oz

4.4 Stars, 464 Reviews 


“After hearing about this sunscreen from various skincare and beauty bloggers, my sister with significant skin cancer concerns was recommended this product by her dermatologist. I figured it was worth a try, since I didn’t have spf in my routine at the time.
So glad I picked it up! This is the only sunscreen I’ve tried so far that doesn’t immediately break me out, even with the recommended 2Tbsp for the face and neck. It says tinted but once it’s applied it doesn’t seem to have any pigmentation (might help avoid a white cast, but I’m too pale to tell). Very dewy finish. Like, “putting a highlighter all over your face” dewy. After setting with Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, the shine was acceptable but still noticeable if you’re into that. I usually also use a matte powder foundation to mattify it a bit more and add coverage.” Sarah Miley

7 best skincare products according to amazon reviewers

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How to Spot Conceal Blemishes Without Being Obvious


When I want to do a “no makeup-makeup ” look, I love to spot conceal as a base. Nothing says “Hey, I’m wearing makeup!” quite like a full face of foundation.

Fall Makeup Bag Essentials


Spot concealing can be tricky. If the concealer is the wrong shade or consistency it will stand out from the coloring on the rest of your face. My favorite trick is to use actual foundation to spot conceal! This works well with long-wearing, full coverage formulas because they cover more and adhere well to the skin.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal | Review + Swatches

First prep your skin with primer or moisturizer first and wait for it to absorb completely. Then use a small detailed concealer brush to apply foundation to discolored areas of the skin only. Let the formula dry down a bit and then lightly tap over it with your clean finger. Apply more layers if needed and set (lightly) with your powder of choice.


Another thing to think about when picking a foundation for spot concealing is the undertone of your discoloration. My dark circles and spots from my glasses are on the greenish/grayish side so foundations that are too orange or a shade or two too light for me to use all over work great on my spots.

(A color wheel is handy just for this reason.)


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aLamar Cosmetics Reina Del Caribe Eyeshadow Palette Vol 1. | Review + Swatches

Review of the aLamar Cosmetics Reina Del Caribe Eyeshadow palette Vol 1. from the July Boxycharm

Boxycharm really, REALLY knocked it out of the park with the June 2018 box featuring the Alamar Cosmetics Reina Del Caribe Eyeshadow Palette Vol 1. The preview for this box made me resubscribe specifically for this palette.

Description of the  Alamar Cosmetics Palette:

This palette features 8 highly opaque shades, reminiscent of the beauty and culture of Cuba. Dive into the pigments and pearls found in the intense metallics, or ground your look with the warm richness of the creamy mattes. For a more intense application, refer to the shade names that feature a water droplet, these shades can be used with a wet brush—the sun symbol represents the shades that should be used with a dry brush.


The Alamar Cosmetics Reina Del Caribe Eyeshadow Palette Vol 1. (say that 5 times fast!)  comes in a really sturdy, bright yellow cardboard packaging with 8 shades inside.  The cover to the palette snaps closed but doesn’t seem to be magnetic so I can only assume that it’s made of magic. There’s no mirror, but I actually hate holding on to a big palette while trying to do my makeup in that kind of mirror.



I love this color story so much it almost hurts!  This palette is more than a neutral palette with a pop of color. Half of this palette is bright, colorful foil textured eyeshadows and the bottom half of the palette gives me serious modern renaissance vibes. My favorite two colors from this palette are El Malecon and Varadero! My least favorite shade is Coco-Taxi simply because the shade is dusty and lacks any real pigment compared to the rest of the palette.

  • La Costa-Shimmery Champaign
  • El Malecon-Foiled True Gold
  • Varadero-Foiled Deep Blue-Green
  • Celia-Foiled Green
  • Coco-Taxi-Matte Warm Orange
  • Tropico-Matte Warm Deep Orange
  • Guantanamera-Matte Dark Rust/Berry
  • Cafecito-Warm Dark Brown

Close up of eyeshadow look from the alamar cosmetics reina del caribe palette

Close up of eyeshadow look from the alamar cosmetics reina del caribe palette


As far as I’m concerned, a palette is only as good as how many unique looks you can make out of it! That’s what I love about this palette.  It really is versatile. I can do a simple warm look with a pop of color or go all peacock and really make a statement!


I think it says a lot about an eyeshadow that can give crazy color payoff without using any mixing medium, setting spray or shadow primer to make it work. The foiled shades work really well alone but can go the next level if you wet your brushes first. The shadows last fairly long on someone like me with really oily eyelids.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I really enjoy this palette! I would actually purchase this outside of receiving it in a subscription box.

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