My Favourite Travel Sized Companions

We take a lot of weekend trips, so over the last few years I’ve tried to get a good selection of travel sized beauty products.  If we’re not going on a super long trip, I only carry hand luggage, which means I have to comply with airline regulations that I have all of my liquids in a clear quart sized bag and none of the items can be over 100ml.  This is pretty annoying and restrictive, but I’ve found some really great multi-purpose products that fit into the small size requirements perfectly.  Sometimes, I even have room left over in my quart sized bag.

Some of my favourite travel companions
Some of my favourite travel companions

1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, 70ml – I’ve written about this before because it is my daily facial cleanser of choice.  It’s an ideal travel companion though because it does the work of two products but isn’t a space hog.  It removes makeup and leaves your skin looking and feeling super clean but since it doesn’t strip it of its natural oils your skin still feels soft and not at all tight.    I always use it to remove my makeup because it works so well on even really stubborn mascara.  Plus, the oil texture means that you don’t have to worry about scrubbing at the delicate skin around your eye area to get your eye makeup off.  You can only find this at the DHC website, but you can get it in two travel sizes now: 70ml for £11.00 or the really tiny 30ml version for £4.50.

2. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light, 50ml – This is another great multi-purpose item.  Depending on how heavy you put this on it is equally good as a day or night cream.  It doesn’t have an SPF in it, but I’ve got another product for that, so it can be used to keep you skin hydrated and lovely all day and night.  It has a nice light texture that works well under foundation because it isn’t too heavy feeling, and really, the lack of SPF means that you won’t get any of that shine in your holiday snaps either.  At night I put this on a bit heavier and it works to keep my skin hydrated.  You can get La Roche-Posay products at a number of chemists, but I get mine from FeelUnique for £16.50.  They also have a formula that is thicker called Hydraphase Intense Rich for people with really dry skin, they sell a version of that with SPF too, both for £16.50 as well.

3. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, 30ml – I am loving this foundation.  I haven’t had a chance to write my full review of this yet, but the condensed version is that I am a huge fan.  This gives your skin a beautiful smooth, matt finish with an incredibly light texture even with its SPF15.  It goes on as a liquid but dries to a powdery type finish, and that’s how it makes your skin look so great.  It is light enough that you can use it under your eye area too without it settling into all of the fine lines and looking like a hot mess.  This is great for travel because of the packaging, but also because you’ll look gorgeous on holiday.  The packaging is very slim, flat, and compact so it fits in your little bag of liquids really well.  This is the best liquid foundation packaging I think I’ve come across for traveling.  Also, you don’t need to use a lot of it so this little bottle has good longevity.   You can get this at Boots or Harrods for £33.00.

4. Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara, 6.5g –  I’ve used this mascara for years and love it.  It will always have a place in my mascara collection because of how you can use it to either get a very light coating or layer it up for a more dramatic look.  The small brush is the key I think because it is can easily coat all of your lashes, upper and lower, without clumping.  It’s nice for travel because of the slim packaging, which I’m sure they can achieve because of the small brush.  Also, I never have a problem with this flaking after a long day, which is great since I wear contact lenses.  Lately I’ve been getting my Définicils Mascara from FeelUnique for £22.50.  You can use this without an eyelash curler because it will actually give your lashes a bit of curl it seems, or you can pack the very compact Muji Portable Eyelash Curler (£3.95) which takes up way less space in your travel bag than your traditional eyelash curler.

5. Aveda brilliant Retexturing Gel, 25ml – Dave and I have both been using this for years in our travel kit.  It works really well to give your hair body and control without making it look dry or dull.  I like it because I can use it to bring out my curl or to keep my hair sleek and smooth when I blow it out straight.  This has all kinds of reasons for being in my travel bag really, not the least of which is that both Dave and I can use it and it works for curly or straight hair.  It’s quite good for hold too, so sometimes I don’t even need to bother with hairspray, which means I can save that much more room.  I’ve only had luck finding the travel sized version of the brilliant Gel from Aveda for £5.50.

6. L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra Hairspray, 75ml – Even though I just got through saying that I don’t always need hairspray with the Aveda gel, sometimes I do, it just depends on where we are traveling too.  I like the L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra because it keeps my hair soft to the touch, and to the eye, but still manages to have great holding powers.  I find this to be really useful when it is humid too because it doesn’t ever seem to get sticky like a lot of hairsprays.  I normally get mine when I order from my groceries from Ocado for £2.50 because it seems to be less expensive than other places I’ve found it. It is kind of expensive for this little can, but I haven’t found a good replacement that is less expensive for a travel size.

7. bareMinerals Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, 4g – Okay, this doesn’t need to go into your clear baggie of liquids, but is something you should always take when you’re traveling.  I’ve only been using this for about a month now, but I love it.  The powder sunscreen works so well to protect my skin, but doesn’t feel heavy or make my face feel greasy or sweaty.  I like that this does double duty as a way to protect my skin from the sun, but also as a light finishing powder to set my makeup.  The packaging is nice because it comes with its own retractable brush so you don’t have to worry about bringing one along with you but is still really compact.  This can easily tuck away in your carry on luggage or even your handbag.  I got mine from FeelUnique for  £21.95.

So, that’s not an exhaustive list of what’s in my travel bag, but these are the things that are always going to be in there.  If you are looking for some other travel sized suggestions, Vogue recently had a great article with 20 petite products that they think are tops for travel.

Glossybox: February 2014

Well, better late than never I guess.  I got my February Glossybox a bit after Valentine’s Day but was so sick that I just opened it a couple of days ago.  I’ve been in bed for the last 10 days or so with a broken rib.  Needless to say, February was not a great month for me!  But I was pretty impressed with the amount of full sized or at least large products included in this month’s Glossybox.  And the box was super cute too with a definite Valentine’s Day theme.

The theme this month was clearly all about love and Valentine’s Day.  I thought the box design was cute and they had a nice selection of products in a decent size.  I think this is the best box I’ve gotten in a while as far as product sizes go since five of the six items in the box were actually full size and the one that isn’t full sized is still quite large.  The only thing I’m a little iffy on is the body shimmer lotion.  I’m not really that kind of girl and might be a little bit too old to shimmer, but then again it might be perfect for giving my skin that healthy glow post-winter.

Ciaté Paint Pot in Red Hot Chili
Ciaté Paint Pot in Red Hot Chili

Ciaté Paint Pot in Red Hot Chili, 13.5 ml full size bottle.  I received a Ciaté nail polish in one of my other Glossyboxes that I was skeptical of at first because it was glittery.  However, the polish is really great with excellent coverage and it lasts quite a while, even without a top coat.  The colour that I received this month, Red Hot Chili, is a very bright reddish orange.  I highly doubt that I would wear it on my fingernails, but I will definitely put it on my toenails.  I like a pop of colour on my toes for summer and I think this is perfect for that.  This colour is actually pretty similar to the “Island Hopping” colour that I received in my July 2013 box, just without the additional sparkly glitter.  Here’s a little information about Ciaté:

Ciaté use a combination of professional and lovingly chosen high performance formulas. Our beautiful and sophisticated packaging encourages an incredibly artistic and effortless nail painting experience. The long handle provides you the best strokes every time. With a dense 250 bristle flat brush, you are guaranteed a flawless even finish. The bottle has been ergonomically designed to sit comfortably in your hand for maximum control. The formula is amazingly pigmented, long lasting and available in a range of finishes whilst formulated to be easy to apply. And finally, the iconic satin bow as the finishing touch which crowns each polish.

I like that Glossybox includes nail polish so often in the boxes.  They’re always full sized, which makes me feel like I’m getting some real value out of my subscription.  I really like that they have introduced me to a new brand that makes very nice polish, plus they push my boundaries a bit with the brighter colours that I would normally totally avoid.  For me, this is a great example of why I signed up for Glossybox in the first place.

You can choose from a very wide array of colours, textures, and sets of nail polish at the Ciaté website.  All of the polish seems to be £9.00 for a single bottle.  It’s such a good quality polish with lots of shine and staying power, that I think the price is actually quite reasonable.

Maybelline Master Kajal Liner
Maybelline Master Kajal Liner

Maybelline New York Master Kajal Liner, 13 gram full size pencil.  I’m not really sure about the longevity of this product (not the wear) because of the weird end and the fact that they say you don’t need a sharpener.  That little cone at the end is all the liner that you get because it doesn’t extend out, so really what you see is what you get.  Which makes me think that you will need to replace this when it starts wearing down.  The instructions on the pencil are to use it on its side and sweep it across your lash line.  It’s like a giant crayon with a sharp end really.  It does glide on really easily though and doesn’t pull at your delicate eye area because it is a cream-stick liner, which is a very good thing indeed.  It can get a bit smudgy with the slightest provocation.  My guess is that it would be good for a very dramatic eye look but is also suitable for a more subtle liner look as well.  I have also found that it is easily removed with makeup remover, so you won’t end up having to scrub it off of your face.  But again, that really is a bit of a double-edge sword, as it doesn’t seem to have the staying power of other liners.  And I really do have my doubts about how long you will find it useful because of the cone shape of the end.  At some point it is going to be impossible to use it to get anything but a big fat smudgy line.  And really, no one wants that.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Maybelline, I will admit.  I like the ease with which this liner goes on, but am unimpressed with its staying power.   You can buy this at places like Superdrug or Boots, where it will cost around £6.00.

Miners Cosmetics Cocktail Kiss Lipgloss
Miners Cosmetics Cocktail Kiss Lipgloss

Miners Cosmetics Cocktail Kiss in Manhattan, 12 ml full size tube.  I love lipgloss, so I was very pleased to see this.  I just ran out of a similar shiny lipgloss, so it was quite good timing.  The lipgloss is in a fairly standard squeezy tube design with the slanted applicator.  This kind of reminds me of my Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers from when I was young because it is flavoured.  Of course, this is the more adult version since the flavours are based on cocktails.  The Manhattan variety that I have is an iridescent-ish pink and has a definite berry flavour and scent.   The colour is pretty nice for my skin tone actually, though I was worried that it was going to be really bright when applied.  The bit of shimmer and colour variation from the swirl makes it look better I think than if it were just a solid colour.  For me, it just kind of looks like my natural lip colour, just with an added bit of sparkle and shine.  It is rather shiny, so if that isn’t a look you like, I don’t think this would be the lipgloss for you.  It’s a pretty heavy texture, which is going to be good for keeping your lips moisturized and the gloss on, but does have the unfortunate side effect of making it fairly sticky.  That’s something that can be hard to avoid in this type of lipgloss though.  As long as it isn’t windy out and your hair isn’t constantly plastering itself to your lips, it isn’t usually that big a deal.

You can buy Cocktail Kiss from the Miners Cosmetics website for £2.99.  They have three different “flavours”: Manhattan (the one I have), Mudslide, and Flirtini.  I don’t know what it tastes like but the Mudslide looks like it might be a nice combination of colours to give you a pretty shade of gloss.

Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Stick It Up Gum
Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Stick It Up Gum

Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Stick It Up Gum, 90 ml full size tub.  This is supposed to “hold and control for a gravity defying style with a high shine finish.”  I like it because it is a good way to tame fly aways.  Since my hair has a curly texture, it can get really bed with the fly aways and end up looking really messy, so anything I can use to control it without weighing it down is a huge plus to me.  This has a kind of sticky, waxy texture but seems to just work right into your hair and not leave it looking greasy or weird, which is a good thing.  It is also pretty lightweight and doesn’t weigh down my very fine hair.  But it does have some good control.  I actually put some on today, for a bit of a test, before I went out for a walk in the somewhat windy weather.  I was impressed with how well my ponytail stayed put and all of the little bits did too.  When I returned home, I was amazed that my hair still had a smooth look, despite the wind.  I haven’t had a chance to try it yet when I’m styling my hair into something other than a ponytail, but I anticipate it working quite well to give me control and volume without too much work.  And I do like that it still allows your hair to have a lot of shine, even with all that control.  Some styling products like this can really dull your hair and give it an unhealthy look.  Which, I think I speak for all of us when I say, I’d rather avoid that look.

This definitely seems more like a guy product, at first glance.  However, it seems to work well and did a good job on my hair, so I quickly got over that feeling.  You can buy the 90 ml tub from Toni & Guy online for £7.19.  You can buy it at Boots, but it is more expensive than at Toni & Guy, so I don’t know why you’d bother.

Nougat London Sparkling Body Shimmer
Nougat London Sparkling Body Shimmer

Nougat London, Sparkling Body Shimmer in Cherry Blossom, 100 ml bottle (not full sized).  Even though this isn’t full sized (the full size is 250 ml), this is still a really generous sample size.  It’s so big it doesn’t even seem right to just call it a sample size.  I will admit that I haven’t tried this at all at this point.  It is very liquidy which makes me concerned with how big a mess this could turn into when putting it on.  However, you’re just supposed to use it to give your skin a bit of radiance, so my guess is that using it sparingly is probably much better than slathering it on.  They refer to it as a “gel” but I think that is implying a bit more thickness than is actually present.  The good thing is that it is enriched with mallow extract, vitamin E, and wheatgerm oil so that your skin gets a bit of nourishment, along with some shimmer.  The scent is a bit much for me because it is rather florally right out of the bottle.  I’m hoping that it isn’t as prominent after you put it on your skin and smell can dissipate a little.  I think this could be nice to make your skin look a bit healthier after a long winter; give it a little bit of a healthy glow.  I’m not sure how often I will actually use this, but I’m looking forward to having a chance to use it to see what it is like.  Hopefully, it is subtle enough for me and doesn’t make me look silly and glittery.

As I mentioned, this is pretty much the only non-full sized product in this month’s Glossybox.  However, it is a good sized sample at 100 ml and because of the very liquidy nature of the product, I think that it will last quite a while.  You can buy the full sized body shimmer at Nougat London online for £14.00.  They have a few other scents in the body shimmer too, if you would rather get something other than cherry blossom.

Lindt Lindor Treat Bar
Lindt Lindor Treat Bar

Lindt Lindor Treat Bar, 38 gram full size bar.  Yum!  What a great sweet Valentine’s treat from Glossybox.  I love the Lindt chocolate, especially the Lindor truffles.  So, this bar was a sinfully delicious little treat to include in the box this month.  And after the month of sickness and the broken rib, I was definitely more than happy to have such a sweet treat.  You can buy these at places like Tesco and Sainsbury’s for under £1.00.

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

  • Ciaté Paint Pot in Red Hot Chili, 13.5 ml full size bottle: £9.00 value
  • Maybelline New York Master Kajal Liner, 13 gram full size pencil: £5.99 value
  • Miners Cosmetics Cocktail Kiss in Manhattan, 12 ml full size tube: £2.99 value
  • Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Stick It Up Gum, 90 ml full size tub: £7.19 value
  • Nougat London, Sparkling Body Shimmer in Cherry Blossom, 100 ml bottle: £5.60 value
  • Lindt Lindor Treat Bar, 38 gram full size bar: £0.78 value
  • Total Value: £31.55

I certainly think that this box was a great value, as you can clearly see from the total.  Of course, with all of the full sized products it was sure to be a winner.  The value of the products was actually well more than enough to pay for two months of my Glossybox subscription too which is very nice; I still have about £5.00 left over after covering the February and March subscriptions.  The price of Glossybox is going up by £0.30 with my March box though because of a change in the shipping.  I don’t mind paying the extra because they are going to include tracking now which will make is so much easier to determine when the box will actually arrive so I’ll know when to be home.

L’Oreal Elnett Extra Hold Hairspray from Costco

I admit it, I am the “f” word….yes, frugal.  I shop at Costco and have for years and like it so much that it’s the topic of my other blog,  So naturally I end up buying lots of household staples and health and beauty from there, basics like toothpaste, shampoo, and hairspray.  I do it because it is convenient and the prices are so so much better.  My recent great buy was for L’Oreal Elnett hairspray and I wanted to share that with everyone here, in case you’ve never thought about getting things like this at Costco.

L'Oreal Elnett Extra Strong Hairspray
L’Oreal Elnett Extra Strong Hairspray

When we were in Austin, I pretty much never used hairspray.  I didn’t need to as much because I always drove everywhere and my hair didn’t have to stand up to wind or anything drastic.  Plus, I don’t really like that stiff Aquanet kind of feeling on my hair.  However, since we’ve moved to London and I now walk pretty much everywhere, and it is often windy or rainy or mostly both, I need a little help keeping my hair looking like something other the bus driver from South Park.   So, I’ve tried a few different brands of hairspray to see which I can use that won’t make me feel like I’ve got a helmet of hair, but does still exhibit some control.  I have tried some cheaper stuff which felt gross and I’ve tried some far more expensive stuff which felt wonderful and made my hair look really nice but still soft.  However, the Elnett is a great middle of the road price but still with the feeling and control that I got from the more expensive hairspray.  It is really amazing that you can get such good hold now but still have your hair feel soft.  Apparently, they achieve that through a “unique micro-diffuser” that “sprays ultra-fine”, which does actually seem to be true.  The cheaper stuff comes out in bigger droplets and sometimes just sort of sits on your hair, which isn’t a look that anyone wants to cultivate.  The Elnett is so fine that you can’t see it or feel it on your hair.  Their big thing is that it “disappears at the stroke of a brush” and that is definitely true.  If you put it on, even quite a lot for an evening out, and then come home and brush your hair it is immediately back to just being hair.  I love that!  I’ve also found that it seems to offer some level of protection against humidity, which as you can imagine, can be a bit of an issue here in London.  My hair is naturally curly but I like to straighten it quite often, so it is nice to have a hairspray that will hold off the effects of humidity fairly well.  It isn’t as good as staying inside but is probably the best result I’ve gotten from any hair product to keep my straightened hair from getting curly at the first sign of a bit of humidity.

Now for the good pricing bit.  Sometimes you can get it at Boot’s or Tesco for about the same price as you’ll find it at Costco, however, more often I find that it is about £6.00 per can (for the large 400 ml size like you get at Costco).  I normally get my groceries delivered from Ocado and the price there is a whopping £6.60 for a single can, so I avoid buying it there for sure.  But at Costco, you get two 400 ml cans for just £8.89 or just £4.45 per can!  That is a remarkably good deal and one that you can always count on since it is their everyday price.  It’s like getting more than half can of hairspray for free.  And every bit that I save on stuff like this, is just more that I have to spend on nicer makeup or shoes or whatever.  How can you not like a deal like that?  So, if you haven’t thought about checking out Costco for your standard health and  beauty products, you should definitely give them a try.

How to Have Beautiful Hair Everyday

I read a great list of hair care and styling tips at FeelUnique’s Beauty All Access.  They have 36 tips that will help you have great hair everyday.  All of the tips are reasonable and don’t involve anything too crazy or expensive even.  The tips come courtesy of ten different hair experts and range from hair and scalp care to volumizing to colouring to styling.  They’ve got several tips that I already follow, so I’m feeling pretty good about that!  But there are definitely a few that I’m going to have to try out.

I’ve got a few of the tips that I wanted to highlight because I think that they are so great that even if you don’t want to read the whole article, these are things you’ve got to know.  Here are my favourites:

  • 1. If possible wash hair daily – think how dirty your face gets by the end of a day, and you take your hair to the same places. Philip Kingsley
  • 5. Throw away your dryer nozzle, you don’t need it plus it can lead to excessive damage. Michael Van Clarke
  • 9. Dry, split ends make hair look dull and lifeless and having them trimmed off is the fast way to getting hair in good condition. Nick Irwin
  • 11. If you want to get real supermodel hair like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or Gisele, rough dry the hair and then take random sections and wrap around big tongs, the secret is to leave the roots and at least an inch/half-inch at the ends and just tong the middle section.George Northwood
  • 14. Book a conditioning treatment when your colour is done or use an over-night deep conditioning treatment soon after. Nick Irwin
  • 19. For an easy, at-home concoction for healing scalps and increasing shine mix 2 tablespoons each of almond, olive and coconut oil, massage through from the ends of the hair to the roots and leave in for one hour. Wash thoroughly after. Nicola Clarke
  • 20. For the perfect at-home blowdry, always use a leave-in conditioner or blow dry lotion as a heat protectant and cuticle smoother. Use a root booster/volumiser on the roots and comb through to give lasting volume and hold, then use large round brushes and blow-dry section by section. Peter Gray
  • 29. I can’t live without my Tangle Teezer. It’s amazing for all hair types and I always keep one in my kit. Nicola Clarke
  • 32. I swear by dry shampoo, I can’t live without it. Use it on freshly washed hair to add texture and volume. Never spray directly on to partings or roots and always spray in sections. Sarah Louise
Every girl needs a Tangle Teezer!
Every girl needs a Tangle Teezer!

I bought a Tangle Teezer recently after reading something about it somewhere that I don’t recall right now.  If you haven’t heard of it, here is a brief snip from the FeelUnique website about it:

Glides through wet, vulnerable and colour treated hair with no pulling, tugging or yanking. Hair peace at last!

– Ideal for all hair types.
– Gentle, effortless detangling for both wet and dry hair.
– Increases shine noticeably.

I think this is essential, especially for those of us that have very fine hair.  When your hair is wet it is really prone to breakage and somehow this magical, weird looking brush puts an end to that.  My hair really does look better when I use it and the knots or what have you from washing come out much more easily with this too.  So, it’s one hair care product that I would definitely suggest for everyone, no matter what type of hair you have or what you do to it after you brush it.  We all wash our hair and everyone can use this afterwards to keep their hair in better shape.

I love a good leave in conditioner to keep my hair healthy, especially after I get it coloured.  So, I am definitely going to try the make at home mixture from almond, coconut, and olive oil.  I can’t wait to see how it works on my hair!  I’ll let you know if it is a good thing or a total disaster.

Go do something nice for your hair and follow some of these tips!

Glossybox: September 2013

The theme for Glossybox this month was “The London Edition” to honour the arrival of London Fashion Week.  There’s all kinds of great thing inside to highlight some of the upcoming seasonal trends.  As with the other Glossyboxes that I’ve gotten, this one contains some things that I’m looking forward to trying and some things that are totally new to me.  The only brand included in my box that I am familiar with is Toni & Guy.  It’s exciting when I get to try new brands and totally new products (fake lashes!!) thanks to Glossybox.  I mean, that really is the whole reason I wanted to sign up for a beauty box in the first place.  Also in the box was the inaugural issue of the Glossybox magazine.  Previously, the “magazine” was just a print out, sort of like you did it on your home printer, and didn’t contain that much useful information.   This month though, the magazine is glossy (appropriately, I think) and contains interviews and information on the trends for AW2013.  It’s a big improvement and I’m looking forward to reading it.

The box this month is adorable!  It is dressed up with a Union flag lid that makes it cute and fun, all at the same time.  Plus, naturally, it fits in perfectly with the London theme.  The cuteness continues when you open the door and see the great red tissue paper designed with little drawings of London (phone boxes) and beauty (perfume bottles) shapes. It’s all just very cute and is the perfect look for a London themed box.  I must admit that I like the themed boxes because the box designs are so sweet, though the regular pink boxes are nice too.  I use the boxes to tidy up all of the assorted little bits in my makeup collection and the office area; they’re perfect for getting rid of the clutter.

I received five items this month that are quite good and all are things that I’m looking forward to trying out.  Four of them are full-sized, though one of them seems really small (the lip balm).  The items in the box this month certainly paid for the subscription and shipping price though.  So, that makes me happy.  I get cool stuff and save month.  What’s not to like about that?

Eylure Pre-Glued Lashes
Eylure Pre-Glued Lashes

Eylure Pre-Glued Lashes; full set of lashes. Okay, I’m going to start right with one of the totally new to me things in the box.  I know they are all the rage, or at least they seem like they are to me, but I’ve never, ever had on a pair of false eye lashes.  I’m a little apprehensive about trying them because I don’t want it to all go horribly awry and have them end up on my cheek mid-way through my evening out.  I like the idea of having lovely full, fluttery eyelashes though and can’t wait to try these out.  The box claims that they are ultra lightweight, latex free, and safe for contact lens wearers such as myself.  They’re also reusable, which seems nice.  I’m not sure how the reusable thing works though since they are pre-glued.  I’m wondering if I will need to resort to additional adhesive to actually reuse these.  I will say that they also look kind of fiddly to put on, so not the super simple process they act like on the box.  I also think that including a printed sheet in the box that explains how to apply the lashes might be better than just putting four little tiny illustrations on the back of the box.  At least for newbies like me, more instruction would be a plus.  Luckily, on the Glossybox page for the September box, they have tips for application, as well as caring, for your lashes.  Of course, that means you have to find the September page on the Glossybox site and I can’t seem to find it; the last one they talk about seems to be the July 2013 box.  In any case, the style of the lashes looks really natural and like it will enhance my real lashes without making me look like I’m seeking that drag queen look.

Clearly, the box includes a single full set of lashes, since it would be almost impossible to include just one or something.  Eylure are actually the creators of commercial false lashes and have been selling false lashes since 1947.  So, they’ve had quite a while to work out the kinks. They offer a number of different styles of lashes, including some celebrity lines.  I think their website could provide some better videos or tutorials for applying the lashes,but there are always several places to find that information online.  While looking through their site, I was a bit annoyed to see that they say to see the included instructions in the box with the strip lashes for information about how to remove them and store them so that you can reuse them.  Where’s my instruction sheet in my box?  A good tip from them though, is to not use mascara if you want to use your lashes again.  Also, they suggest that you apply the pre-glued lashes before any oily makeup so that they will actually stick, which is counter to what they suggest for other lashes.  According to Glossybox, a single set of these lashes are £5.06 but I think you could find them for a bit less at Amazon.  Annoyingly, they have different style numbers on each set of lashes, but there’s no number (at least not clearly identifiable) so I can’t match them up with certainty to prices on Amazon or even the actual Eylure website.   Based on the images on the Eylure website, I believe they are style 116, which means they would be £3.97 at Amazon.  Despite all the negatives with the packaging lacking instructions and such, I’m still looking forward to trying these out sometime when I’m feeling brave and really coordinated.

Be A Bombshell Onyx Eye Liner
Be A Bombshell Onyx Eye Liner

Be A Bombshell Onyx Eye Liner; full size product.  Okay, this is definitely the scariest item in the box for me.  I’m not very comfortable with really obvious makeup, so this kind of eyeliner that seems made for a dramatic look scares the bejesus out of me.  First of all, this doesn’t look like your standard eyeliner, it looks like a marker.  I can’t help myself from feeling like it is a permanent marker every time I pick it up because it even has that chunky marker look to the tube.  I guess this is considered a liquid liner.  I’ve always shied away from these in the past because they seemed like something I would need to have more skill and technique to put it on without getting it all over my face and making a bit mess of things.  However, since this is formatted like a marker, it seems like it should be easier to put on.  According to Glossybox I should be able to use this to create a thick line for a super dramatic look or a thin line to create a more natural look.  Since it is waterproof and long lasting, no matter what type of look you use it to create, you can count on it sticking around all day and all night.  You apply this just like you would draw with a marker, except it is around your eye instead of a piece of paper.  It is actually pretty easy to apply, though if you are a big fraidy cat like me, it might take you a few passes to build up a line wide enough to achieve a dramatic look.  It goes on very smoothly and is super pigmented, resulting in a full-on black liner.  I was worried about it not being feasible for creating a more natural line but you can use the very pointy tip to create a quite thin line without too much trouble at all.  Also, if you immediately use a cotton bud on it you can remove some of the colour and give a more subtle or more smudgy liner look.  All in all, it is easier to use than I had thought it would be, plus I might finally be able to get a little more dramatic with my eyeliner now.

Funny enough, Glossybox put the wrong URL for this company in the list of products in my box.  It is actually (they left off the “cosmetics” part of it).  In any case, this seems to be a US-only company.  I can’t find this eye liner anywhere in the UK.  If you purchase it in the US, it is $14.00 at the Be a Bombshell Cosmetics website.  Unfortunately, they don’t ship anything outside of the US.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips
Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips; 3 ml; 20% of the full sized 15 ml product.  So, I was really disappointed when I pulled this out of the box because it seems so teeny tiny.  And at just 20% of the full sized product, it definitely isn’t huge.  However, it is quite thick and just a small amount is enough for your lips.  Of course, they say you can use it for all types of dry skin, in which case it would be too small I think.  However, this is a good size to try it out over several weeks for use on your lips.  I’ve used it a couple of times and it does a good job of keeping my lips moisturized and supple.  Since winter is coming up, this is a great addition to the Glossybox.  The one negative about this might be that it isn’t completely scent free.  Luckily, the somewhat mediciney smell is toned down quite a bit and unless you have a super nose (like I do) you probably won’t notice the scent enough to be bothered by it.   The balm is very thick and goes on very smoothly.  This thick texture really makes it great for keeping your keep hydrated for a long period of time.  This small size is perfect for adding to your travel bag and that is what I intend to to with it.  Nothing dries out my lips faster and more uncomfortably like being on a long plane ride.

You are probably thinking “does that say nipple balm?”  And indeed it does.  It was originally used to soothe nipples on breast feeding women.  But since then it has caught on with makeup artists and regular people, like you and me, for use on their lips and other dry, chapped or irritated skin.  This vaguely reminds me of some stuff in the US called “Bag Balm” that I’ve used on really dry skin before, and has a similar origin, only for milk cows instead of breast feeding moms. On the information from Glossybox, they say you can use this to: heal chapped lips, burns, abrasions, minor incisions, cuticles, eczema, and extreme dry skin.  You can also use it for mixing pigments, eye glitters, shaping eyebrows, and last minute shoe polish.  It’s able to do it all!  It’s the jack of all balms, apparently.  The full sized product is 15ml and will cost £11.50 at most places including Amazon, or if you have super dry everything you can get a two pack at for £23.00.

Toni & Guy Classic Shine & Gloss Serum
Toni & Guy Classic Shine & Gloss Serum

Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Classic Shine & Gloss Serum, full sized product.  This looks small at just 30ml, but that is actually the full sized product.  In any case, this is a product I am happy to see turn up in my Glossybox.  This controls frizz and adds shine with just a couple of minutes of effort.  I have lots of things that are supposed to control frizz or add shine or add volume, but they’re mostly things that you add before you dry your hair.  I’m not sure that is as good at adding shine, or keeping the frizz in check even, as adding something to dry hair.  So, clearly from that, you get that you use this on dry hair.  You put a pump or two of the serum in your palms and then work it through the length of your hair making sure to get the ends as well, just make sure to avoid the roots.  The serum is rather liquidy and has a kind of fruity scent that is rather nice. Luckily, it isn’t too overpoweringly scented though so it won’t compete if you actually want to wear a scent somewhere aside from your hair. The feeling of the serum once you rub it in your palms is very smooth, like silicone type of smooth.  I’m not up on my chemistry since it has been quite awhile since my last course in that field, so I can’t really decipher the ingredients list to determine what accounts for that extra slippery feeling.  With that feeling it is quite easy to see how this adds shine and controls the frizz.  I’m looking forward to trying this out on a really humid day.  My hair is naturally curly but very fine so it can turn into a hugely frizzy mess quite quickly with the humidity.  Luckily, here in London, I shouldn’t have long to wait for the humidity to pick up so that I can give this a full testing.  I have noticed that it adds a nice amount of shine though, even to my curly hair, without weighing it down or making it look greasy.

Toni & Guy have been a salon in London since the early 60s, so they have a number of years of experience at making hair look good.  This particular version is a limited edition due to the packaging design created by Lulu Kennedy.  It’s not as special or fancy as you might expect from a limited edition.  However, the product is good so it doesn’t really matter how the package looks.  I am guessing from amount used that this bottle will last quite some time.  You can buy the full sized 30ml product for £7.19 from Boots or Toni & Guy directly, however,  you can get it for £6.00 at Amazon.  None of these comes in the fancy packaging, so you might as well save the £1.19 and get it from Amazon.

HD Brows Bronzer
HD Brows Bronzer

HD Brows Bronzer, full size product.  Of course, this would be included in my box because I just bought a bronzer the week before I got this Glossybox.  Oh well, now I will have lots of bronzing options, I guess.  I’ve never heard of HD Brows before and when I first opened my box I thought this was something for, surprise surprise, my eyebrows.  The bronzer has a really nice sunkissed colour that looks great on my pale skin.  This is a good bronzer for those of us that are rather pale because it doesn’t seem to have as much red in it as others, which means that it looks more natural on your skin and less blush-like.  It does have a little bit of a shimmery look in the package, however, that doesn’t seem to be noticeable when I blend it.  The colour is perfect for adding a touch of summer glow to your face, as you would assume from a bronzer.  However, I find it useful for highlighting and contouring.  In a pinch you could also use it for a nice shadow.  Glossybox also suggest that you use it as a highlighter.  Their easy way to accomplish this is by applying the bronzer in a “3” shape.  Easy to do if you start at the temple, sweep it under your cheekbone, and then lightly blend over your jawline.  If you want an outstanding video tutorial on highlighting and contouring, you have to check out this one from MaskCARA.  She makes it seem so simple and tells you all of the products and the exact brushes that she uses to get the perfect look.

I love love the packaging though.  It comes in a compact, which is actually kind of large I will say.  However, this means that the mirror on the inside of the lid is big enough to actually be of some use.  But what I really like it the little interior “lid” that fits right over the bronzer, which keeps it from flaking all over the compact.  This design also provides a little indented area that is the perfect place to keep the sponge without it rubbing around in the bronzer the whole time.  It is the best compact design, even if it is a little bigger than most.  I will gladly trade off the larger size for the nice design.

HD Brows was created by makeup and brow artist to the stars, Nilam Patel.  They originally started out with just a line of brow makeup and styling products, but due to requests and demand from customers they have started to expand their product range.  They started with powder bases, bronzer, and blusher, as well as a range of brushes but early next year they are planning to unveil a much wider range of must-have cosmetics.  This bronzer, as well as their other products can be purchased through the HD Brows website for £19.96.  They have the best price that I found, so you might as well get it direct.  I also noticed at their online store that the blush and powder base both have the cool compact design.

That seems like a pretty good amount of stuff for £12.95.  I have to say, I wasn’t sure if the Glossybox subscription would really pay for itself, but it clearly has so far.  Everything in this month’s box was full size except for the Dr. Lipp lip balm.  The price for the four full sized products would have been £38.66 if I had had to purchase them all, and that’s even using the less expensive prices found at Amazon where applicable.  That is well over the subscription price, over by a very considerable £25.71 actually.  That difference pretty much pays for my next two boxes as well.  I feel like I am definitely getting the most out of my Glossybox subscription!