Gifts with purchase always fill me with trepidation, because so often I've found myself buying more products than I need or even really want only to score "gifts" that I wind up disliking. That said, I was already buying my husband a shaving set from Clinique, so I figured I didn't have anything to lose with this GWP.
The big draw here really are the two makeup bags included with the set (only the large one is pictured above). Designed by Tracy Reese, they're hip, fun, and colorful enough never to disappear at the bottom of a large handbag. The large bag is ideal for travel, while the small one fits perfectly in my purse, and is roomy enough to fit three lipsticks, a lip balm, and a regular-sized tube of mascara.
Aside from the fun bags, the kit contains a foaming cleanser, a skin tone correcting cream, an eyeshadow trio (brown, lilac, and pale pink), an eyeliner, a lipstick, and finally a sample sized tube of mascara. In terms of quantity, this GWP has it made!
So what about quality?
The first product I tested was the sample tube of Clinique's High Impact mascara. The brush is thick and fluffy, and the formula applied like a dream. No clumps (to be fair, a freshly opened tube of mascara should never have clumps, but in my experience Clinique mascaras seem especially good on the zero clumps front even after extended use) and the formula added noticeable length, albeit much less than I get from my favorite mascara, Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes. The formula doesn't really add volume. Zero flaking throughout the day impressed me greatly, as did the fact that there wasn't so much as a hint of raccoon eyes present 11 hours after application when I removed my makeup. Clinique was my go-to brand for mascara for years precisely because it's the one formula I've found that stays firmly on my lashes even when my under eye area is particularly oily. It's a fantastic brand for anyone with oily skin who wants a more subtle eye.
I'd never tried the foaming cleanser before, and I must say that I'm impressed. I applied a small amount in the shower this morning, and my skin was literally squeaky clean (yes, I'm using "literally" correctly--my fingers audibly squeaked as I ran them over my cheeks) within seconds, yet didn't feel at all dry or stripped of natural moisture. Provided that I don't have a reaction to it on subsequent uses I'll likely be purchasing a full-sized bottle when the sample runs out.
I have used Clinique's brown/black Quickliner before, and I'm not a huge fan. You can't sharpen the tip once it wears down (as it does after 2-3 uses--the formula is very soft and doesn't tug at all on the lid) which makes it difficult to create precise lines. The color is a very nice soft black, though, perfect for daytime wear.
The lipstick in Raspberry Ice was a pleasant surprise. As a rule I'm not a fan of berry-colored lipsticks since bright pinks don't look very good with my skin tone. This shade offered a very natural-looking pinkiness to my lips, though, which makes it a real keeper. As always, Clinique's lipstick formula is reasonably long-lasting (at least 4 hours before needing reapplication) and reasonably moisturizing.
The eyeshadow trio is pretty disappointing, especially considering how good the rest of the set turned out. The pink shade is so sheer as to be completely invisible in every photo I tried to get of it, and truthfully I could barely see it with my naked eye even after multiple swipes with a sponge-tipped applicator as well as a brush. The purple is also quite sheer, though obviously shows up much better than the pink. The brown is pretty unremarkable, though it does seem to blend well.
I can't comment too extensively on the skin tone correcting cream, except to say that it's a nice, thick formula without being greasy. It definitely has more heft to it than Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer, and at least on first use seemed to have some illuminating qualities.
Overall this GWP has far more winners than losers, and I'm pleased that I was able to snag one before they ran out.