It’s been ages since I got a Clinique free gift. We used to get them as often as we could as students – which wasn’t often at all. My flatmate and great friend was a fellow Clinique fan so in theory, we could buy one product each and then split the gift (it’s always been ‘free’ with two purchases, yes, that kind of free). Living far from any exciting shops and having no money severely cramped our style, but did mean that when we got our hands on one, by scanning magazines for advance warning, then taking what seemed then like an epic journey to Dundee or Edinburgh, we enjoyed it to the full. I haven’t used Clinique for years, until the Look Good: Feel Better workshop I did with another lovely uni friend but, when I found myself in John Lewis with Child Two the other day I realised I was back in the running for a free gift. I’ve got very fond of the Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion Plus (that Plus seems to make all the difference) and I had to buy a birthday present (for that self-same Clinique fan friend), so once I’d selected one of the gorgeous Sweet Pot Sugar Scrub and Lip Balms, we were good to go.
I recently saw a YouTube video of someone unwrapping a Clinique free gift – don’t ask me why I watched it, I clearly need my head examining, but I will say it was strangely compelling. Studying someone else unfurling a present is actually almost as satisfying as getting one yourself, and definitely more economical. Anyway, it did make me think that you might be interested in what we got in our free gift, so here goes:
- Quickliner for Eyes, Intense, in black. This is the eyeliner I definitely wish I’d had when I was at university. It goes on really easily and draws a fine black line in an instant – absolutely perfect for cat flicks. How I struggled with a chalky old Rimmel pencil when this would have done the job perfectly in half the time. Of course, I am now way too old for such tricks and this eyeliner draws an uncompromising a line. It also sets completely after 60 seconds, so if you’ve made a mistake or gone slightly wonky, act fast or you’ll be stuck with it all day. I love it though and find if you smudge it straight away it doesn’t look harsh.
- Take the Day Off makeup remover. If you do make a mistake with the eyeliner, then this is the perfect antidote. Child Two got this in our share-out of the goodies, but I know from experience it works well and does all it promises.
- All About Eyes quad of eyeshadows. We got this in the nude tones and I promptly made off with it, as Child Two has the Urban Decay Naked Basic palette, plus others from Two Faced, Benefits and YSL. We could have selected the purple tones but frankly they were quite scary. I’m not massively impressed with these four little shadows, as I feel that the Boots palette from Look Good: Feel Better had silkier, more flattering shades and would be cheaper to buy, but they will be useful for holidays.
- High Impact Mascara, Black. I haven’t used my free sample yet but I remember this as being a good all-round mascara from days of yore. The trial size, again, is great to slip into a holiday makeup bag. The Clinique mascara I’d really love to try is the clever Bottom Lash Mascara, such a brilliant idea which has loads of great reviews on line.
- Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream. I gave this to Child Two which is ridiculous on quite a few levels. Obviously she has no wrinkles at all, and what’s more is at the lovely stage of life when it seems as though a winkle would never, ever dare to land on her perfect face. Nevertheless I had a bad experience with an allergic reaction to Clinique Moisture Surge years ago and I am not yet ready to go back to Clinique’s more heavy duty moisturisers, so she is stuck with it.
- Repairwear Line Smoothing Moisturiser. The same goes for this little pot, too. I hope it doesn’t seem as though I am foisting potential allergens on poor Child Two. In fact, I am not at all sure whether it was the Clinique that caused the allergic reaction, or the stress I was under at the time (just before my first wedding). In any case, I don’t think she will react to it but I am not quite ready to go there myself. The day will come, though.
- Make-up Bag. The bag (and the lid of the eyeshadow compact) are in a very eye-catching purple and yellow design. The complementary colours are zingy and, while not entirely to my taste, will certainly get used at some point.
It was funny returning to the Clinique free gift after all this time. I was reassured to find that the quality, as ever, was really excellent. Although the products are smaller than full-price ones, they are still generously sized and will last for ages. The eye pencil in particular will keep me going for yonks and I am sure Child Two will use the eye make-up remover every day. I loved unwrapping all the little gifts and, even though the make-up bag is not something I would seek out and buy, it is rather jolly and will definitely be used on holiday. I also found the experience very nostalgic and it was good to share something (even if it is the slightly mad idea that the free gift makes any kind of economic sense) with the next generation, in the shape of my dear Child Two. A lot has changed in 30 years but the Clinique free gift is as lovely and as reliable as ever.