What You Get for the Money: SkinCareRX’s Beauty Caché

By Voxy  

First, let us all agree that that accent over the e in “caché” just doesn’t belong there. To quote John McIntyre, former head of the copy desk at The Baltimore Sun:

“Baltimore looks for prestige, for a little extra cache, or so a recent article suggested before the copy desk got at it.

The right word, of course, is cachet, pronounced ka-SHAY. A cache, pronounced kash, is a place where supplies are hidden for safety, or the supplies themselves. As a verb, to cache means to store something in a hidden place, as campers hide their food in a place where bears won’t find it.

Cachet, in the sense of possessing distinction, derives from the same root as cache. In pre-Revolutionary France, the crown used the lettre de cachet, a secret, sealed letter containing a warrant, to imprison someone without trial. The cachet was the seal that kept the letter secret. A cachet has thus come to mean a seal or stamp on a document and, by extension from the lettre de cachet, a mark of official approval. Odd that a negative connotation should metamorphose into a positive, but that is how language works.

Why anyone would confuse the two words is obscure, but I suspect that some responsibility must fall to Caché, a retailer of women’s fashions that has added an acute accent to cache to suggest cachet. Now you see the peril of allowing retailers to influence English usage. (Macy’s uses a little star instead of an apostrophe in its logo, but that doesn’t mean that you should use little stars instead of apostrophes.)”

I don’t know — I kind of hope the little stars thing catches on. However,  I do draw the line at dotting the letter i with a smiley face, heart, or daisy.

But! To the matter at hand, which is showing you what you get for the money when you get one of these SkinCareRX Beauty Cache packages (I refuse to use the accent). These are available for $29.95 and you don’t know what’s going to be in them, but the products are supposed to be valued at a minimum of $350. They will produce four different caches per year, but even within the same quarter’s caches, products may vary somewhat.

I know this because the first Beauty Cache I received had had a leaky product in it, and it had gotten goo all over the other products and the bag. Calling Customer Service got me a free replacement, with prepaid labels to send the other set back (and no, I did not get to keep the products from the first set). The products in the second bag (which arrived unharmed) are not all the same as the products in the first. Here’s what I got:

(Back row in photo)

1. Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel cleanser (2 fl. oz.)

2. Avene Rétrinal 0.1 Crème (5 ml) (anti-aging cream with retinaldehyde, a less-irritating form of retinol)

3. Dermalogica Hydration sample kit, containing small samples of Multi-Active Toner, Skin Hydrating Booster, Skin Hydrating Masque, and Intensive Eye Repair.

4. Avene Moisturizing Self-Tanning Lotion for Face and Body (100 ml/3.38 fl. oz.)

5. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lipid-Replenishing Body Emollient (15 ml/0.5 fl. oz.). Very purse-friendly size.

6. DDF Wrinkle Plus Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum (7 ml/0.23 fl. oz.)

7. Caudalie Démaquillant Soin Doux/Gentle Cleanser, normal to dry skin (30 ml/1 fl. oz.)

8. Sothys Homme Detoxifying Active Cleanser (15 ml/0.5 fl. oz.)

(Front row in photo)

1. Dermaquest DermaFirm anti-cellulite cream (29.6 ml/1 fl. oz.). OK, I’m not on the anti-cellulite cream bandwagon, but whatev.

2. (dropper vial) SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF antioxidant treatment. Bottle bears no measurements, but I’d guess it’s about 4 ml.

3. Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 Sun Protection (2.25 g/0.8 oz.). This is a powder sunscreen.

4. Kinerase Pro Therapy Advanced Repair Serum, full-size (15 ml/0.5 fl. oz.). This sells for about $132, so getting it in a $30 bag is a good deal if you like Kinerase products. I’m willing to give it a go.

And let’s not forget the bag itself. I normally hate bags that are part of cosmetics giveaways, because I always find them too small or inconveniently shaped. This one, however, holds a nice amount of product and I will definitely be taking it with me when I travel.

If you order one, you will likely get some different products, of course — a fact which caused no little consternation for some SkinCareRX customers who evidently don’t know what the prominently displayed phrase “CONTENTS MAY VARY” means and who are angry that they didn’t get this or that product that was pictured in the photo — but at least this will give you an idea of the quality and quantity you’re getting for your $30. There certainly is a lot to try, and it gives you the chance to sample products from lots of different lines that you might not otherwise have been able to do (especially if they are not carried at your local Sephora or ULTA).

I’ll be interested to see what the next installment is; it should be out around April. While the contents of each bag do vary, my understanding is that within each quarter, they are more alike than different. So from January to March, each bag will contain samples drawn from merchandise on List A; from April to June, List B, etc. Hopefully the lists do not overlap!

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