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  • Stella Lee

David Jones Beauty Deluxe Sampler Tote Bag - Spring/Summer 2016

David Jones put together beauty sampler bags twice a year - around February (Autumn/Winter) and August (Spring/Summer). There are usually 2 versions to choose from each time.

Each sampler bag costs $19.95. To qualify, purchase anything from the beauty department (try to find the $2 David Jones-brand eye shadow if there is nothing else appealing).

I don't miss David Jones sampler bags. My mum loves the tote bags and the products are perfect sizes for the gym bag.

David Jones reckons the sampler bag is "valued at over $110". Well, let's see!

The bag is quite well constructed. The plastic is softer than the Autumn/Winter tote bag (which was horribly inflexible). David Jones used to make canvas bags but it has gone plastic-kie for a while. My mum doesn't have a problem with it. She likes any enviro bags. It's about saving the world, she says.

Mandatory items

Each bag comes with the following 4 items:

Grown Alchemist Shampoo - Damask Rose, Black Pepper & Sage 50mL (one-tenth size) ~$2.10 | I love this shampoo. Best shampoo I have used in my whole life I reckon (it's a serious call, I know). It does not lather a lot (which is completely opposite to what I usually like) but it cleanses perfectly and it makes my hair look so good that I can overlook its flaw. Nobody is perfect afterall.

Grown Alchemist Conditioner - Damask Rose, Chamomile & Lavender Stem 50mL (one-tenth size) ~$2.45 | I love this conditioner, probably more than I love the shampoo. It's a complicated love triangle, but this conditioner works really well together with the shampoo. And my hair is silky and soft. Split-ends disappeared without a hair-cut. I call it magic.

WARNING - do not get hooked on to them. Not that I would get jealous, but both products have been discontinued and currently discounted in David Jones. I'd say putting in discontinued products in a "sampler bag" is irresponsible, it can really hurt people's feeling. But you have been warned. If you like them, stock up now.

Molton Brown Bath and Shower Gel - Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise 30mL (one-tenth size) ~$3.90 | Sounds like one of those smells-so-nice-but-so-overpriced shower gel I would never buy at full price. Great bottle to put my cheap Sukin body wash in though. I hope it doesn't leak.

Natio Moisturising lip Balm SPF 30+ 4g (full size) $4.95 | I have a lip-balm overload from the last Priceline Goody Bag, but this one comes with sunscreen! No excuse for any sun burn on the lips in my next holiday.

The total value of the 4 mandatory items comes to $13.40 - not looking too promising at this stage!

Then there is a choice between option 1 and option 2. Each option contains 5 additional products.

Option 1 items (my choice)

Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening Serum 10 mL (one-third size) ~$19.70 | Now we are talking. I have used a few Antipodes products and I like all of them. In fact, last time when I purchased Antipodes I was tossing up between this Apostle serum and the Devine Face Oil, I went with the oil by pure luck. Now here's my chance to try this serum anyway - The ingredients sound exotic - mamaku black fern leaf and "Vinanza Oxifend" pinot noir grape extracts.

Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque (a bit less than one-third size) ~ $17.90 | have used this before and it works beautifully - it smells very cucumber and this improved formula has squalene and sodium hyaluronate - both are excellent skin hydrating ingredients. It does not dry up so for lazy people like me it is a great mask to use overnight.

Tara Tinsel Facial Cleanser Oil (a bit less than one-fifth size) ~$4.29 | I haven't heard of this brand before, nor the packaging looks very serious to me. I googled "who is Tara Tinsel" and I've got this:

Tara is a bombshell, a live wire, as unpredictable as she is uncontrollable. Tara on the loose - anywhere, is not to be imagined! She spends much of her time at the Museum of Modern Art - though it is the guard uniforms, not the art, that attracts her. Though most potential suitors she dismisses as being out of their depth in parking lot puddles! In fact were they any dumber she'd have to water them twice a day!

That confirms I was right to not take it seriously.

Kora Organics Vitamin Enhanced Lip Balm 10mL (full size) $19.95 | Another lip balm! I think I am set for lip balms for the next 3 years. While everyone calls their products "organic", this is the only Ecocert (an European certifying body for organic products) item that I own. I hope it is good.

Weleda Natural Light Perfume - Pomegranate 1.5mL (vial) ~$1.05 | Very affordable line of perfume by Waleda (full price at $34.95 for 50mL), and it reminds me of the "smell" of nature and garden. The other varieties are sea buckthorn and wild rose - both sounds great. However, short shelf life - the vial expires in January 2017. I go through perfumes very slowly so perhaps the short shelf is not for me - I think I have perfume bottles from 2009 - Oops.

Option1 total value (including mandatory items) = $76.29, far from the $110 claim... but wait for it - there's a voucher for a whopping $40 off when you purchase any "Kora Organics 3 step system". so that would make up the "over $110 value". But honestly, I would not buy a 3-step skincare system because I have tried a lip balm; and any accessible $40 voucher screams to me that the product was quite overpriced in the first place. Also included are a 30% off Weleda voucher, and a Dermalogica "Microzone" 20-minute treatment, both of which I would consider using.

Option 2

Here's the alternative option:

Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tin 8.5g (full size) $7.95

StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate 10mL (less than one-tenth size) ~$11.63

MOR Mon Amie Hand Cream 50mL (full size) $12.95

St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse 50mL (one-quarter size) ~$14.99 - a deal breaker for me

Napoleon Mattetastic lipstick Sampler Pack 0.8g (insubstantial value) - a deal breaker for me

Option 2 total value (including mandatory items) = $60.92, I know I was right to go with option 1!

Overall, this sampler bag is not as good as the other ones in the past, but for $19.95 it still contains some decent products to try. And for my mum, it's all about the tote bag.

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