Birchbox: August 2014

I got my first Birchbox in August, right before we moved.  I have to say, I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed with my first foray into Birchbox.  I was thinking they would have more full sized products but they seem all about the small sample sizes instead (that’s what was in my second box too).  So that is a bit disappointing and definitely makes me glad that I was able to get a good deal through LivingSocial now.  I’m thinking of it as a good way to get to try new things and brands.

The August 2014 Birchbox was themed “Away We Go” to celebrate summer getaways.  The box had five beauty items, I think one of them might have been full sized, plus there was a single chapter of a book.  And it came packaged in a clear plastic pouch that you could take with you on a plane without security going nuts.  The pouch is kind of handy but probably smaller than full airline security needs it to be, but it does have a handy zip top closure to keep all of your stuff secure without a big hassle.  I’ll probably use it for short weekend trips since I never take as much products then.  The products are all geared toward travel too, not just because of the small size, but because of what they do, so they worked with their theme well I would say.  There’s only one product that is a total “no” for me (the first review below), so that is really good.  I haven’t read the book and doubt I will and I’m not reviewing it here.  If I want to sample a book chapter, I can do that on my Kindle without wasting paper (hint, hint Birchbox).

Dead Sea Spa Magik Refreshing Bath Shower Gel
Dead Sea Spa Magik Refreshing Bath Shower Gel

Dead Sea Spa Magik Refreshing Bath Shower Gel, 25ml tube.  You can add this to a bath or apply it in the shower to get nicely moisturized skin.  The moisturizing part it does do well, but it’s got a bit of a scent issue, in my opinion.  In the tube it smells like old fashioned Oil of Olay or maybe makeup remover.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t smell good and definitely smells like my grandma’s bathroom.  So, I’m not a huge fan of the scent straight on the tube and unfortunately, you are left with a trace of that smell on your skin once you’ve used it.  It certainly isn’t as potent after I’ve washed with it, but definitely I can still smell it.  But hey, at least it is allergen-free fragrance.  Let’s talk about the good stuff.  The good thing is that it does make your skin feel soft and lovely after you’ve used it.  Here’s all the ways Finders Health (the maker) says it will help your skin:  Helps to prevent dryness, Helps maintain skin’s elasticity and texture, Makes you feel revitalised and relaxed, Leaves body refreshed and moisturised, Rejuvenates appearance of skin, Relaxes your body and mind.  I will point out that they are a bit repetitive with their list, but I won’t dwell on that.  They use something called harmonised water which they don’t really explain but has something to do with using Dead Sea water as the base.  But that doesn’t really say much about how it is going to be helpful or beneficial to my skin.  The shower gel is paraben free, so that’s a point in their favour.

Somehow it does make my skin feel soft but overall, it isn’t something I’d be likely to buy a full size of because of the scent which I just can’t get past.  You can buy it on the high street at places like Holland & Barrett, Debenhams and John Lewis.  The full size is 350ml bottle that you can pick up for £7.15, and judging from the reviews at John Lewis, I am the only person that doesn’t like the smell.  For something that does pretty much the same thing for my skin, I prefer La Roche-Posay Lipikar Surgras even if it is more expensive.

Wild About Beauty Eyeshadow
Wild About Beauty Eyeshadow

Wild About Beauty Powder Eyeshadow, 2.5 gram full size compact.  This isn’t that big but is a regular full size compact, and is actually a perfect size for popping in your bag or taking with you on a trip.  The colour I received was “Aine” which is a great neutral golden colour with a bit of an orange undertone.  The shadow looks really nice on and has great colour that lasts really well.  The shadow is highly pigmented and fortified with good things like aloe vera and vitamins E and C, all of which will keep your skin healthy and looking good.  There are five colours in this same formulation and they all look really wearable for a neutral eye look.  I love the deep purple that they have called “Heather” and might consider picking it up after I give this one a few more tries to see how it holds up to a really long day or night out.  The colour I received is great for taking with you on a trip if you want to pack super light and have just a single colour of eyeshadow because it is neutral and could work for either a day or night look, though you’d definitely want to jazz it up a bit for night with more eye liner and mascara.

You can apply this eyeshadow with a brush or your finger, though I prefer the control of a brush.  They also suggest you can apply it with a wet brush to create a more dramatic look; I’ve not tried that though.  You can pick this eyeshadow up at FeelUnique for £13.00.  Since it seems like a nice eyeshadow, plus it is free of nasty things like parabens and petrochemicals, I think the price is probably reasonable.

No 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect
No 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect, 30ml spray bottle.  This is a leave-in conditioner that is designed to protect your hair against heat and sun.  Naturally, that makes it perfect for a holiday.  I love stuff like this when I’m going to the beach because sun can be really hard on your hair, as can the salt water or pool water.  And if you colour your hair, you definitely need something to give you some help with the sun which can really zap your colour.  And if you’re not hanging at the beach or pool, you can always use it just to keep your hair tangle free and nice.  Of course, things like this are perfect for protecting your hair from heat styling tools like blowdryers or straighteners too.  I’ve only used this once but thought it worked pretty well even on my very fine hair.  I tried it on a day when it was humid and my hair usually gets a bit frizzy but it seemed to keep the frizz down to a minimum.  The smell is also really nice with a bit of a florally thing going on, but isn’t that overly fragranced.

Super Comb Prep and Protect is easy to use too.  All you need to do is spritz it onto your damp hair and comb through, then just style like normal.  It is that easy!  The results are good too, so you can’t really ask for more than that.  But if you could you might want it to be free of nasties, and this totally is: it is 100% vegan, as well as free of gluten, sulfate, parabens, and sodium chloride.  The full size 200ml spray bottle seems to only be available through Birchbox in the UK, which I find a bit annoying.  You can buy it at Birchbox for £20.00 though.  The price might seem a bit steep, but it is about the same as the Phyto leave-in conditioner and protectant product that I use (I don’t think I’ve done a review of this yet but I love it).  I’ll have to try the No. 4 product more before I can judge if it is better than the Phyto product for my hair.  I might take it on my upcoming holiday to give it a good try.

Vasanti Brighten Up!
Vasanti Brighten Up!

Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, 20ml tube.  This is an exfoliating face wash that is designed to refine your skin texture while leading to a brighter appearance to your skin too.  Vasanti uses papaya extracts along with micro-crystals to help you get a better texture to your skin and rejuvenate your skin’s appearance.  They also have added in some other things to help your skin too:  aloe vera, coconut and panthenol.  The micro-crystals mean that unlike some exfoliation products for you face this one has a really fine texture so you don’t feel like you are scrubbing the top three layers of your skin off.  It does leave you with a soft feeling to your skin that doesn’t feel irritated and too scrubbed.  Here’s what they say about how this product works on the Vasanti website:

Triple Action Formula:
1. Powerful papaya enzymes break down dead skin cells to help progressively smooth your skin’s surface and uncover a healthy radiant glow.
2. Dermatologist-grade Microderm Crystals at 25%, work to stimulate and exfoliate your skin to help smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and blemishes. Many dermatologists use these same crystals for their microdermabrasion treatments.
3. Aloe vera, coconut, panthenol along with a mild cleansing gel keeps your skin hydrated and refreshed and helps soothe the skin during the exfoliation process

I’ve only used this once so far, so I don’t feel like I have really tried it enough to know how it will work for my skin with regular use.  However, based on my initial try I think it is something I’m going to like.  Though, how well it will work to brighten up my skin’s appearance is still to be seen.  I have a couple of different facial exfoliants that I use, and generally I do think your skin looks best if you use a gentle exfoliator three times per week.

Along with being 100% vegan and 99% natural, Brighten Up! is free of gluten, parabens, mineral oil and petrolatum, sulfates, GMO’s, and Triclosan.  This is a North American brand, so it seems sort of hard to find in the UK.  You can get it through the Birchbox shop or through Amazon UK though.  Each place sells it for £26.00 for the full sized 120ml tube.  The reviews at both places, as well as the Vasanti website, are all really positive and everyone seems to rave about this product, so I’m looking forward to fully trying it out.

NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil
NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil

NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil, 5ml pump bottle.  This is seemingly the perfect thing to keep your face hydrated either on the plane or when you are actually on holiday.  This oil has all kinds of good things for your skin, like omegas 3,6,7 and 9 to reduce the signs of aging, as well as 10 carefully selected plant oils that hydrate and smooth your skin.  I really like facial oils because they seems to deliver the good stuff right to your skin in a more efficient way than creams and they absorb quickly too.  I also think they are often lighten in texture so you can easily wear them under your foundation or regular products and get all the benefits without feeling like you have a bunch of heavy layers on your skin.   The ProGenius oil is really lightweight but very nourishing and on a regular day around the house, has managed to keep my skin feeling soft and well great all day long.  I’ve tried this a couple of times and think I will definitely use it for my next plane ride to keep my skin extra hydrated.

You just need a tiny, tiny amount of this for it to be useful to your skin, so two drops should be all you need.  After you’ve cleansed your skin, put a couple of drops onto your skin and rub it in.  I’ve sometimes found with facial oils that if my skin is feeling particularly dehydrated that an extra drop is needed.  This works so well under makeup or my regular moisturizer that I’m a fan.  But the price is pretty steep, so I’m not sure if I’ll splurge on getting the full sized version of this.  You can find the full sized 30ml bottle at Birchbox or SpaceNK for £58.00.

So, how does my first Birchbox stack up on value:

  • Dead Sea Spa Magik Refreshing Bath Shower Gel, 25ml tube:  £0.51 value.
  • Wild About Beauty Powder Eyeshadow, 2.5 gram full size compact: £13.00 value.
  • Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect, 30ml spray bottle: £3.00 value.
  • Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, 20ml tube: £4.33 value.
  • NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil, 5ml pump bottle: £9.67 value.
  • Total Value: £30.51

I’ll be honest, this box didn’t seem to have that much value in it, but it did pretty well when I actually tallied it up.  I paid £38.00 for a six month Birchbox subscription, including the shipping, which means £6.33 per month.  So, I think I came out surprisingly well overall with £24.18 worth of product value over the cost of the box.  Luckily there was just the one product, the shower gel, that I don’t like and probably won’t want to really use, and it was even the cheapest one in the box.  I must say, I am pleasantly surprised because I didn’t really think the Birchbox subscription was going to prove to be worth it when I first opened the little tiny box.

Pati Dubroff Beauty: Visionary Eyes Eye Crayons at Costco US

In the last couple of years, Costco has been trying to get a wider, and better, selection of makeup, skin and hair care products.  They’ve always had stuff in kind of a hit or miss fashion, but now they’ve got the Beauty’s Most Wanted collection, a selection of cosmetics from well known stylemakers for makeup, skin and hair care at their US stores and at Costco.com.  Continuing on from my post last Friday, I’m reviewing another product from the selection of Pati Dubroff Beauty cosmetics that you can find at Costco US.

Pati Dubroff Beauty: Visionary Eyes Collection
Pati Dubroff Beauty: Visionary Eyes Collection

I tried the Visionary Eyes Eye Crayon Collection too.  I love the Clinique lip colour balms which are also like a big crayon, and thought the Eye Crayons would be similarly easy to use, but I’ve had a hard time getting the hang of them.  You get five colours in the collection at Costco:  Rose Gold, Olivine, Truffle, Nocturne, Gunmetal.  And they come out ready to party.  These are super richly pigmented and go on just like they look in the crayon.  This is great if you want a really defined, bold look.  But that is rarely the look I want, so these are a bit much for me, of course you can smudge or blend them to lighten the colour.  You can use them as either an eye shadow or a liner, and then blend as required to get the look you are aiming to achieve.

These should be great for making a dramatic smoky eye look for an evening out because they seem so pigmented and dramatic.  Of course, that said, I have found that the colour seems to smudge, crease, and lighten once on for even a little bit of time.  I rarely wear an eye shadow primer, so this might be the problem, but I think a good eye shadow should not require a primer to stay put.  And I’ve never had this problem before with any eye shadow that I’ve worn, no matter the colour or brand.  I would only suggest using them as an eye liner if you like a rather smudged look because the tip is pretty wide and the formulation smudges incredibly easily I have found.  They are very portable since they are in this crayon form and that makes them perfect for your purse or suitcase.  I’ve taken them on trips because it allows me to augment my eye shadow palettes pretty easily without a bunch of space, which is handy.

Overall, I’m really not a fan because of the smudgy, quick to crease and disappear nature of them.  And my skin is pretty dry, so I can’t even imagine what a mess these would turn into if you had an oily skin type.  After having them on for just an hour, all of the colours end up looking like grey on me and are smudged and have sunk into all of the fine creases around the eyes, both on the lid and along the bottom lash line as eye liner.  As you can imagine this is not the look I want to achieve.  Perhaps these would work well for someone with a different skin type or who uses primer on their lids, but they’re not for me.

You can get the five eye crayon collection at Costco.com for $11.99 plus $2.99 shipping.  The price is very good, unfortunately, I don’t think these live up to the quality of the other Pati Dubroff cosmetics that I’ve tried.  And I really wanted to like these because the purple colour is gorgeous in the crayon or on the back of my hand and would look great with my eyes, but these just aren’t working for me.  I’d like to try the eye shadow crayons again because of how convenient and travel friendly they are, but I’ll have to find a different brand.

Even though I did receive my selection of Pati Dubroff cosmetics for free from Hatch Beauty (the company behind Beauty’s Most Wanted), my opinions are still my own and I still feel like my biggest obligation is to be honest and open with everyone here about my experience with the products.  When I say I liked, or didn’t like, a product that is the truth and not something I have been paid to say.

Pati Dubroff Beauty: Palettes at Costco US

In the last couple of years, Costco has been trying to get a wider, and better, selection of makeup, skin and hair care products.  They’ve always had stuff in kind of a hit or miss fashion, but now they are starting to get a much stronger selection at their locations in the US.  Of course, they used to carry the really great Kirkland Signature Borghese line of skin care products, that people loved.  For some reason though, they have decided to discontinue the line, which has a lot of people upset or angry.  However, now they’ve got the Beauty’s Most Wanted collection, a selection of cosmetics from well known stylemakers for makeup, skin and hair care.  Today I’ve got reviews for a selection of Pati Dubroff Beauty cosmetics.

Pati Dubroff is a well respected industry leading makeup artist.  She works with celebrities like Charlize Theron, Jessica Alba and Katy Perry, and has had her work featured on the covers of magazines like Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Marie Claire.  Plus, she’s created a line of professional quality cosmetics so that you can create her red carpet looks right at home.  At Costco you can find a selection of her eye shadow palettes, eye crayons, eye liner, and lip gloss.

Pati Dubroff Dream Neutral Eye Palette
Pati Dubroff Dream Neutral Eye Palette

I’ve got one of the previous eye shadow palettes, Perfect Palette.  However, aside from some of the colours it is just like the Dream Neutral and Spotlight Eye palettes that are currently available at Costco.com.  In all of these palettes you will find twelve different eye shadow colours in an array of neutral colours, along with a single eye liner pencil.  They all have colours from barely there creams to dark grey or black, so that you have a wide variety of eye looks that you can create.  The Spotlight Eye palette has some bolder colours, and certainly more shimmery shadows, but the palette is all about making dramatic eye looks, so you would definitely expect that.  The Perfect palette that I have is quite similar in colour mix to the Dream Neutral palette that you can still find at Costco.com.  The eye shadow is nicely buildable in colour, so you can go for a very soft neutral eye, or you can build up the colour to be as dramatic as you want.  The shadow isn’t as richly pigmented as some that I have tried, but is very similar to high end brands like Dior or Chanel, which I really like.  I’m all about the neutral eye looks and think that these are great for that type of look.  And, just so we’re all clear, neutral doesn’t mean boring or flat, because there is plenty of variation in the colours to get you just about any eye look you want.  Plus, you’ve got a nice mix of matt and shimmer.  There’s a colour in my palette called “Bellini” that is similar to “Siren” in the Dream palette, that I love and use all the time.  It has a bit of shimmer to it but this great colour that isn’t exactly pink or tan, but something in between.  I find it works really well for casual daytime looks or as part of a darker, going out eye look.  I’ve taken this palette on trips with me too and it is great because of the versatility, and in a real pinch you could also use the dark colours as eye liner to up the dramatic eye factor.  My only complaint was that my eye liner was wedged into the little cut out spot for it so well that I had an almost impossible time removing it.  I actually had to use pliers so that I wouldn’t break it or my nails, so hopefully in the updated palettes they have fixed that little issue.  Other than that one issue, I really like the eye shadows and would certainly recommend them, especially for the price.  I think they compare very favourably to things like Stila or Naked palettes but so, so much cheaper at Costco.  The Dream Neutral palette is just $19.99 and the Spotlight Eye palette is $21.99, plus $2.99 shipping for each.  So, you could both of them almost for the price of a single palette from Stila or Naked, and the shadow is every bit as good and the colours are just as wearable.

Pati Dubroff Star Palettes Color Collection
Pati Dubroff Star Palettes Color Collection

Since I’m talking about great palettes, I have to say that I love the versatility and handiness of the Star Palettes Color Collections.  This is a brilliant idea, where you get all of the makeup you need in one handy little palette that you can easily pop in your purse or your suitcase.  Each palette comes with four eye shadows, a blush, a gel eye liner, and a lip gloss.  Naturally, all of the colours in each palette work perfectly together.  The really cool thing though is that you get four of these palettes along with a single mirrored compact so that you can pick the perfect palette for you look that day or night and take it with you.  The palettes just pop right into the compact and you are good to go with everything in one convenient spot.  Brilliant!  The brushes in the compact, as all brushes that you get like this, are not great and you should get a mini brush set from someplace like Sephora to take with you instead.  As with the eye shadow palettes, the makeup itself is very nice and goes on easily and allows you to build it up to the colour depth that suits your style.  I end up using the Eclipse palette the most often because the purples work well with my hazel eyes.  However, I’ve also used the Golden and Mistique palettes quite a bit too.  The Ethereal palette is a bit too blue for me, it’s just not a colour that works well with my skin or eyes, unfortunately.  The lip glosses are very sheer, so when you see the very bold pink in the Eclipse palette, don’t immediately write it off as too bright for you.  It goes on quite sheer and gives just the hint of that colour when on your lips, but does have a nice sheen  and the texture isn’t at all sticky.  Right now you can get the Star Palette at Costco.com for the unbelievably low price of just $9.97, after a $10.00 discount, plus $2.99 shipping.  That is an amazing deal for such a nice set of mini-palettes, even with shipping, that means each palette is just $3.24!  There is no way you can get such quality makeup for that kind of price.  I actually just bought this for my sister because this is totally the kind of thing she loves and I knew she would appreciate it.  I would have paid full price for it too though because it is such a nice set.

Unfortunately, for all of us beauty lovers in the UK, Australia, Korea, or Japan, our selections just aren’t as wide as Costco US.  However, I am definitely hoping that changes in the next year or so (hint, hint Costco).  We all love beauty and bargains too, Costco!

Even though I did receive my selection of Pati Dubroff cosmetics for free from Hatch Beauty (the company behind Beauty’s Most Wanted), my opinions are still my own and I still feel like my biggest obligation is to be honest and open with everyone here about my experience with the products.  When I say I liked, or didn’t like, a product that is the truth and not something I have been paid to say.

Glossybox: March 2014

Well, after getting so much full-sized goodness in the February box, I am a bit disappointed in the March Glossybox.  Oh well, not every month is going to be filled with really terrific, and full-sized products, I guess.  But at least I’m getting to try some new stuff and so far it seems that the Glossybox subscription has been worth it.  I’m thinking of getting a second subscription to Birchbox or YouBeauty, just to see what some of the other boxes are like too.

The theme for the March box was “Beauty Blossom”, seemingly perfect to say so long Winter, hello Spring.  I think most of the products I received fit into that theme, but the eye shadow in dark blue I’m not so sure about that being “Springy”.  They had just the regular box design this month, I was hopeful for a cute one with flowers or some other seasonally appropriate design.  Of the five products, three of them are things I will probably use and two of them less so.  There’s a perfume sample included and I’m not thrilled with it, to say the least.  And then there’s the dark blue eye shadow that I will try but doubt that it will look right on me.  Three of the products are full sized, and one of them is at least a good sized sample.  And I’m pretty much just going to pitch the perfume, so it doesn’t really matter how big that sample is, but at least this way it won’t take up too much space in my rubbish bin.

Mitchell and Peach Body Cream
Mitchell and Peach Body Cream

Mitchell and Peach Body Cream, 40 ml sample tube.  This body cream contains lovely essential oils and contains honey, organic cocoa, vitamin B5, and shea butter.  The body cream has a texture that is somewhat thick – kind of between thick and thin really – and makes my skin feel really soft and lovely after I’ve put it on.  Since it is made with shea butter, it absorbs into the skin really easily and doesn’t leave you feeling sticky or almost wet like some creams, it just leaves behind soft skin.  It seems to do a good job of leaving my skin moisturized, with the additional benefit of a really nice scent.  The scent is really interesting and unique, with a kind of sweet smell but definitely not floral at all.  Perhaps that is the honey and cocoa coming through.  Though, they have quite a combination of essential oils and extracts that could be responsible too:  sweet almond oil, lavender oil, rose extract, vanilla extract, sweet violet extract, and ylang ylang oil.  I’m not doing a good job at all of describing the scent, but it is nice and I do actually like it. It’s funny that there are so many flower extracts in the cream because I swear it doesn’t smell flowery at all.  I had a second nose opinion from my husband and we both think it must be primarily the honey, cocoa, and vanilla that we pick up.  In any case, it is sweet and almost fruity, but certainly not flowery.

This is just a 40 ml sample tube, however, that is a pretty nice size for trying it out.  And would be great to throw in a travel bag.  The full sized product is 180 ml and costs a not insubstantial £36.00 at the Mitchell and Peach online shop.  I like it, but I’m not sure I like it enough to pay that price for it.  Of course, I might change my opinion after using it a few more times.  In any case, I’m loving the sample.

Sleek Make UP Pout Polish
Sleek Make UP Pout Polish

Sleek MakeUP Pout Polish in Bare Minimum, full size 10 gram tub.  This is another brand that I was totally unaware of before it arrived in my Glossybox this month.  I like lipgloss and have a ton of it, so it’s nice to get something that is more of a protective balm instead.  The balm comes in a really generously sized tub that you can easily get your finger, lip brush, or cotton bud into without a problem, but it is still slim enough that putting it in your bag isn’t going to seem like a big deal either.  Since this is a balm, it is more protective and nourishing for your lips than your run of the mill lipstick or gloss.  The balm is made with almond oil, shea butter, and vitamin E to keep your lips moisturized and supple.  The balm also has an SPF 15 so that you don’t have to worry about the sun, should you happen to see some.  A lot of balms are just clear in colour or have such a faint colour that you can barely even notice it.  However, the Pout Polish in Bare Minimum does a good job with adding just the right amount of colour so that you get a subtle colour enhancement along with a bit of sheen but not so much that it is highly noticeable.  This is perfect for the natural/no-makeup makeup look.  The balm has a super light texture which is a positive and a negative, in my opinion.  It’s great because it feels like you don’t have anything on but your lips are protected, however, it also seems to get absorbed quicker than a thicker product.  Oh yeah, and there’s a rather strong vanilla scent too.  If you’re not a fan it will smell like you ate a candle, if you like vanilla you’ll probably really enjoy it.

Overall, I like this and think it will be a good to add into the mix of my other glosses, balms, and lipsticks.   You can buy the full size, 10 gram tub of Pout Polish for £4.49 through the Sleek MakeUP website.  I had the Bare Minimum colour, however, there are eight other colour choices available some of them much more vibrant too.

Dave Hair Therapy Intensive Repair
Dave Hair Therapy Intensive Repair

Dove Hair Therapy Intensive Repair 60 Second Treatment Shot, full size 15 ml tube.  This is pretty much the same as a Tressème version I had gotten in my December 2013 box.  These are the perfect way to give your hair a quick and easy revival.  Since it takes just 60 seconds it is easy to apply during a shower that way you don’t have any mess or hassle of essentially taking two showers, as you do with some other treatments for damaged hair.  I like anything like this that is simple and quick, but still gives me a good result.  I haven’t tried the Dove product yet, but I’ve used their shampoo and conditioner before and felt like they did a good job, so I expect to get a good result when I try this one too.  I think that these are a great idea for anyone that colours their hair, be it in a professional salon or at home.  It is important for your hair to be really well moisturized before you colour for you colour to work the best.  But it is also imperative to keep your hair in good shape after you colour it as well, because your colour will last longer if your hair isn’t fried and damaged.  Not to mention, your hair will actually still look shiny and healthy, instead of dull and dry.  These treatment shots are really easy to use.  After you shampoo, just work this through the ends of your hair making sure to avoid the roots.  After about a minute, or so, rinse it out.  I have fairly short hair (chin length) that is pretty fine in texture, so when I tried a similar sized product, I was able to get two treatments out of it.  When you tear off the little thing at the opening just save it and stick it back in the opening to secure it for the next use.

I’ve tried similar products before and like them because they are fairly inexpensive and give your hair that little helping hand it needs every once in a while.  You can buy these little 15 ml tubes of Dove Hair Therapy Treatment Shot at Sainsburys or Superdrug for £1.49.  The price might seem a bit steep at first, but you need to keep in mind that this isn’t something you are going to use all the time, just occasionally.  Or, if you’re like me and can get two uses out of it, it is even more reasonable.

Bellápierre Cosmetics Shimmer Powder in Starry Night
Bellápierre Cosmetics Shimmer Powder in Starry Night

Bellápierre Cosmetics Shimmer Powders in Starry Nights, full size 2.35 gram container.  So, it could just be me but I don’t feel like a deep blue eye shadow is particularly Spring appropriate.  I feel like this is more of a Winter or Fall thing, and should be something that I’m putting away for the season, not just getting out.  In any case, aside from the colour this is a nice eye shadow.  It is very fine in texture so it goes on really quite smoothly.  It gets the shimmer from the 100% pure Mica formulation.  On the Glossybox card they suggest blending it into other things like blusher or lip gloss to create a custom colour or product.  Yeah, I’m guessing those suggestions are for people that got a different colour.  If I did that I think I would just look like I had hypothermia.  Nothing says unhealthy like a bluish tint to your lips.  LOL  I don’t often feel like I got the short end of the stick from Glossybox, but this is definitely one of those times.  This colour is just one of 56 that is on offer from Bellápierre, so why would this be in boxes for Spring?  It doesn’t make much sense and is sadly probably going to sit in my drawer until next Fall.  Or, I might just have to give it to someone else because the very blue colour isn’t really the best match for my eye colour of hazel.  They have colours in earth tones to super vibrant and colours; clearly, with that many colours you can have quite a range.  The shadow does go on very nice and smoothly and has good pigmentation too.  I did find that if I just put a single, light coat on that it could probably be used in the crease for creating a smoky look because it tends to look more blue-grey at that point.  And of course, if you want that full on blue colour you just need to apply it with a bit of a heavier hand.

I like the shadow itself, but hate the blue colour.  It doesn’t work with my eye colour at all, unfortunately.  Many of the other 55 colours would have been preferred.  However, I will keep them in mind for any future eye shadow purchases because the formulation is nice.  You can purchase one of the 56 colours of Shimmer Powders from the Bellápierre Cosmetics website for £12.99.

Juicy Couture Malibu Collection
Juicy Couture Malibu Collection

Juicy Couture Malibu Fragrance, two, 1.5 ml sample sprayers.  Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to do a very long review of this because I found it far too strong and far too repulsive as far as scents go.  I’m not really a perfume person, however, Glossybox has introduced me to a couple that I do really like.  This Malibu fragrance is definitely not in that category.  It is supposed to be evocative of LA and beachy Malibu, but unless it is the worst part of LA and Malibu, like the parts found under highway overpasses,  I just don’t see it, er, smell it.  I’ve been to LA, I like LA even, but this is just gross.  My husband used to live in LA, so I asked him if this reminded him of anything there, after it made him sneeze and pull a face, it was clear that it didn’t remind him of anything good.  So, needless to say this will be going directly in my rubbish bin.  Perhaps it is some hideous interaction with my personal body chemistry that makes the fragrance so unappealing, but I think it is probably just overpowering and not so well created.

If my review has made you feel like you need to rush out and buy a bottle of this for your very own to repel all of your unwanted suitors, you can get it at Debenhams for £47.00 for 75 ml.  I think it could be better and more effective than pepper spray.

So, how do the numbers stack up for the box this month?  Here is the breakdown:

  • Mitchell and Peach Body Cream, 40 ml sample: £8.00 value
  • Sleek MakeUP Pout Polish, 10 gram full size pencil: £4.49 value
  • Dove Hair Therapy Treatment Shot, 15 ml full size tube: £1.49 value
  • Bellápierre Shimmer Powder, 2.35 gram full size container: £12.99 value
  • Juicy Couture Malibu Fragrance, 3 ml spray samples: £0.00 value (because it is so yucky)
  • Total Value: £26.97

So, despite the fact that I am totally discounting the value of the nasty Malibu from Juicy, the total value of this month’s box was much better than I had anticipated.  The value of the box is certainly greater than the Glossybox subscription, however, I don’t really feel like I’m getting that much value out of it this month.  Probably because of the blue Shimmer Powder, without that figured in the total value is just £13.98, barely more than the cost of the subscription for the month.  I wasn’t thrilled with the box this month, so I’m hoping that the April box is really great to make up for it.

Glossybox: November 2013

I’m still trying to catch up on my Glossyboxes for the last couple of months.  And really, I had thought I would be all caught up by now.  But of course I had to get sick when flying home from New York.  The November box had some nice samples that were not necessarily things I would have found on my own, but things I’ve definitely enjoyed.  I really love the perfume sample that they included, so much so that I am seriously considering buying it.

The theme for the regular November box was “The Glossy Wishlist” and included some lovely items to be sure.  The box was just the usual Glossybox look, which means that I’ve got a whole collection of these little boxes now.  I wish they were just a touch bigger so that I could use them for more storage.  In my November box I got a nice sample of Vichy Idealia Life Serum, the small sample of Connock London Kukui Eau de Parfum, a full size Emite Makeup Micronized Eyeshadow, a full size Yves Rocher Cocoa and Raspberry Hand Cream, and a full size Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover Pads.  I like it when I get more full sized items, it definitely makes the boxes seem worth it.

Vichy Idealia Life Serum & Smoothing & Illuminating Cream
Vichy Idealia Life Serum & Smoothing & Illuminating Cream

Vichy Idealia Life Serum and Smoothing and Illuminating Cream; 3, 3ml sample tubes.  I will say that I have not tried this yet because I’m trying to see how my Lancome DreamTone works out and these two both serve a bit of a similar function.  The Idealia Life Serum is supposed to help your skin quality by evening skin tone and fighting the effects of everyday life on your skin (pollution, stress, bad diet, etc).  Altogether after using it you should have a fresher complexion, with a more even tone, and more refined pores.  I would love to find something that can do all of that (so far, not so great with the Lancome), especially something that can even out skin tone.  I have tried several products that advertise this as a benefit, but I have yet to try one that actually seems to work.  So, I am skeptical, to say the least.  But, as always, I am hopeful that I will find something that delivers on the promises.  Apparently, this has 10 years of research and development behind it, so perhaps that bodes well for it actually working.

The other sample was for Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream, which as you can guess is a daily moisturizer.  This is also supposed to help polish up your skin texture and tone, while also fighting wrinkles.  I haven’t yet tried this either, my plan was to try them together.  I love my current moisturizer, so it has a high bar to get over.  Of course, if it really would make my skin look more radiant, it would be my new moisturizer of choice, for sure.  The biggest problem with this I find, for daytime use, is that it doesn’t appear to have any sun protection.  Why would you make a moisturizer without that now?  So, despite them acting like you can use it during the daytime, I wouldn’t suggest it since it would leave your skin unprotected.  Of course, you could always add another product to give you some SPF.  But why have more stuff on your skin than you need to?

In my Glossybox I received two 3 ml samples of the Life Serum, which is 20% of the full sized 30 ml tube that costs £29.50 at Boots.  I received a single 3 ml sample of the Smoothing and Illuminating Cream, which is only around 6% of the full sized 50 ml tube which you can buy at Boots for £17.00.  I wish that they had given two sample tubes of the cream too since you usually use so much more of that and I feel like you need at least 10 days to really give a moisturizer a test.

Connock of London Kukui Eau de Parfum
Connock of London Kukui Eau de Parfum

Connock of London Kukui Eau de Parfum; 1.5 ml sample.  I love love the smell of this perfume!  It smells like holiday to me.  They were apparently trying to blend something that would capture the “spirit and beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.”  I would definitely say that they have perfected it amazingly well.  The first time I smelled it, before I read anything about it, I thought of being in Maui on holiday.  I swear it even relaxed me a bit just smelling the scent.  The power of smell to evoke memories and feelings is remarkable and Connock have certainly played on that beautifully with this perfume.  Here’s what they have to say about the scent:

Romantic floral notes of gardenia, white jasmine, and calla lily gently fade into a sultry, woody base to enliven spirits with memories of journeys to faraway places.  This elegant floriental fragrance is built around the Gardenia flower and is complimented by a full bouquet of fresh flowers including Italian Bergamot, Moroccan Rose, White Jasmine and Calla Lily.  The scent is further enriched with Sandalwood, Vetiver, White Amber and layers of cashmere and sheer musks, completed with the rich bitter chocolate sweetness of Vanilla Absolute and Tonka Bean.

I have rarely smelled a perfume that I like as well as this one.  It has such a delicate scent that is just beautiful and lush.  There isn’t anything that strikes a sharp or “off” note with me, which is what I like or require in a perfume.  I am certainly very tempted to buy the full size of this.  But it is a bit pricey at £75.00 for the full 100 ml size at the Connock of London online shop.  Sadly, I cannot find it anywhere else for less either.  But since I never buy perfume for myself, this might be my special treat.  Plus, if I get it I might be able to feel that Hawaiian holiday relaxed feeling all of the time.

Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover Pads
Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover Pads

 

Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover Pads; full sized 20 pads.  These are something that anyone who travels should definitely have in their kit.  Or if you are an avid polish wearer, prone to the needed touchup in everyday life, these would be perfect for your purse.  This is such a better way to have nail polish remover in your purse or luggage because they are just little pads soaked in remover.  When we were returning from Australia and going to be stopping for holiday in Japan for two weeks, I really wanted some of these but couldn’t find any there.  Of course, you can never find stuff like this when you really want it, right?  But now I’ve got these available for my future trips.  These work quite well at removing nail polish and do it all without a horrible smell.  Lately, I haven’t been wearing layers and layers of polish, so I’m not sure how well it would work on thick or difficult to remove polish; you might have to use a couple of the pads to get all of your polish removed.  The remover contains vitamin E as well as other moisturizers to keep your nails and cuticles looking healthy too.

You can buy these at several stores in the UK like Boots and Superdrug.  The full sized container of 20 pads is just £2.00, which is a great price for something so convenient.  Now that I know where to get these I will definitely always keep some around.

Emite Micronized Eyeshadow
Emite Micronized Eyeshadow

Emite Micronized Eyeshadow in Nect; full size 1.48 grams.  This is a lovely eyeshadow in a colour that I would call “champagne” but they call “Nect” as in nectar.  The eyeshadow is highly pigmetized and goes on beautifully and lasts quite well too.  The colour is very soft so it isn’t dramatic but is an excellent base for a variety of eye looks.  I like it for a standard or every day choice because it makes my eye area look brighter and helps create the effortless and uncomplicated look that I prefer.  It does have a bit of shimmer to it but once it is on it doesn’t seem glittery, just enough light catching particles to really open up your eye area, I think.  Here’s what Emite have to say (translated from the Swedish on their website):

NECT is a highly pigmented eyeshadow that is completely nickel, paraben and perfume free. The pigment is micronized to facilitate the application and to create even and fine results. An excellent choice for lens wearers or those with sensitive eyes.  The micronizing process also makes the eye shadow easy to work with and counteracts grainy results. Micronized Eye Shadow is completely vegetable (contains no animal fats) and of course not tested on animals.

In my Glossybox I received the full sized 1.48 gram eyeshadow, which is great.  The compact and size are small and perfect for traveling or your purse.  If this colour doesn’t suit you, you can always pick from one of the other great colours on the Emite website.  The only place I am aware of to purchase Emite makeup is through their website, which is in Swedish but is easily enough translated into English (via a drop-down selection in the upper right corner), but all prices are in Swedish Kroner.  They seem to indicate that they will ship internationally but it will cost you 49 SEK.  For the micronized eyeshadow, with shipping, you will pay 219.00 SEK or £20.53.  For the quality of the eyeshadow I think the price is quite fair and in line with similar brands.

Yves Rocher Raspberry and Cocoa Hand Cream
Yves Rocher Raspberry and Cocoa Hand Cream

Yves Rocher Cocoa and Raspberry Hand Cream; full sized 75 ml tube.  This smells more like dessert than a hand cream.  The raspberry is the overwhelming scent that comes across to me in this hand cream.  To be honest, the smell, while nice, reminds me of a creamy center chocolate.  Even once you put it on, the lovely raspberry scent continues.  The hand cream isn’t too thick or too thin and does seem to do a reasonable job of keeping my hands feeling lovely and soft.  But there’s something that seems to leave me with a bit of a sticky feeling for a few minutes after I apply it.  After a few minutes, maybe five, the cream is fully absorbed and the sticky feeling dissipates.  But I’m not really a fan of that feeling, no matter how luscious the cream smells.

All in all, this is unlikely to be a hand cream that I would purchase but if you have the patience to wait around for the cream to totally absorb, then it might work for you.  The 75 ml tube that I received was full size and can be purchased for a very reasonable £1.95 through the Yves Rocher online store according to Glossybox.  However, when I went to the site I couldn’t find it, so I’m a bit confused.

So, how do the numbers stack up for the box this month?  I would think that it might be pretty good since there were more full sized products than samples.  Here is the breakdown:

  • Vichy Idealia Life Serum, 6 ml sample: £5.90 value
  • Vichy Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream, 3 ml sample: £1.02 value
  • Connock of London Kukui Eau de Parfum, 1.5 ml sample: £1.12 value
  • Emite Makeup Micronized Eyeshadow, full sized 1.48 grams: £15.94 value
  • Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover Pads, full sized 20 pads: £2.00 value
  • Yves Rocher Raspberry and Cocoa Hand Cream; full sized 75 ml: £1.95 value
  • Total Value: £27.94

I guess that since two of the full sized items were so cheap, the total value of the box was pretty low.  I didn’t include the cost of shipping for the eyeshadow because the price of the eyeshadow all by itself pays for this box; the shipping would add another £4.95 to the total value.   Of course, the total value of everything still more than covers the price of the box.  And I was able to find the lovely Connock perfume, so that might make it worth it all by itself.