Birchbox: September 2014

I hadn’t even had a chance to really open my August Birchbox when I received my September box because I got it early in September.  I am hoping that I will warm to the Birchboxes with the next couple of boxes, because so far I feel kind of ‘meh’ about it. Though I do like that they include some “lifestyle” items each month too because it’s nice to get the other little treats and to sample things over than beauty products.

The September Birchbox was all about reminiscing about happy times and memories in honour of back to school time.  It’s funny that even when it has been years and years since starting school in September was a thing I worried about, I still feel like it is the start of something new.  Since obviously, I’m not headed back to school (thankfully), Birchbox is looking more towards the “you’re never too old to learn” end of things.  The one thing that really got me excited in this month’s box is the Beauty Blender sponge.  I’ve been hearing about this makeup sponge for a while now but I’ve been too cheap to buy one to try.  The other items in the box were just okay, other than the sponge there was nothing that made me really thrilled.  Unfortunately, I’ve only had a chance to try a couple of these out so far, and neither of those was the Beauty Blender.

Beauty Blender & Solkid Cleanser
Beauty Blender & Solkid Cleanser

Beauty Blender and BlenderCleanser Solid, full size sponge and 0.558 ounce cleanser.  I guess I’ll start with the best item first.  Seriously, I think I did a little dance when I saw this in my box this month.  I have been hearing about this sponge and how wonderful it is for a long time now but the steep price put me off buying one.  I don’t use a makeup sponge to apply my foundation now, so I was reluctant to splash out more than £15.00 on trying something out that I didn’t even sort of know if I would like or not.  So I’m thrilled that now I get to try it out for no additional money out of my pocket.  I would have felt better paying that if I used sponges and loved them but wanted something that would last longer.  Apparently, the beauty of the Beauty Blender is that it has this cool elliptical shape (patent pending) which is supposed to make applying your foundation effortless and so easy that even I can do it with spectacular results.  To use this you just wet the sponge, then squeeze it out so it is damp but not soaking wet, dot on your foundation and then use the sponge to stipple your foundation across your face, then once you’re done rinse and clean the sponge.  For the full information on how to use this, you can check out the Beauty Blender website.  I’m not sure if this really works all that differently than a regular makeup sponge but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.  I normally use either my fingers or a brush to apply my foundation, and can get really good results that way.  But I’m always open to trying something new, especially if it could give my foundation a better finish.  The reviews for the Beauty Blender are fantastic, everyone seems to love it and think that it works miracles.  There are 98 reviews for it at Amazon UK and 76 of them are five star reviews and 10 are four star reviews.  Plus, it is always being mentioned as the miracle tool on makeup blogs and videos and in magazines.  This little sponge has a lot to live up to, so I’ll be interested to see the results for myself.

In the Birchbox you get not just the Beauty Blender but also a 0.558 ounce solid round of cleanser to use with your sponge.  The has a super clean, lavender scent and is about half the size of the full sized bar that you can buy for £11.50.  You can buy the same package with the sponge and cleanser for £26.00 at Beauty Blender’s website.  On the Beauty Blender website their kit includes a full sized solid cleanser, so it’s a bit better than the kit that I received from Birchbox.  Of course, for just a wee bit more, you can buy the two separately at Amazon UK; the sponge is £15.50 and the cleanser is £11.50, so £27.00 total.  I’m guessing the cleanser is not really worth that price, so I think I would be tempted to buy just the sponge and use any type of decent soap to clean it.  But you’ve definitely got to use something to clean it because there’s a lot of icky stuff that hangs around on stuff like this and you don’t want that to be transferred to your skin and give you a nasty breakout.

Korres Citrus Shower Gel
Korres Citrus Shower Gel

Korres Citrus Shower Gel, 50ml bottle.  This has a great deep citrusy lemon scent that will definitely give you a wake up during your morning shower.  I’ve tried a bunch of Korres bath and shower products not too long ago during a hotel stay and found the shower gel to be quite nice.  The hotel had the citrus shower gel, but when they replenished they gave us the basil lemon shower gel that I think I liked even better.  There are a bunch of different scents, so whatever kind of mood you are in, they probably have a scent for you.  Korres is a Greek brand that was developed by a homeopathic pharmacy with the goal of using their knowledge and research to create formulations using natural ingredients.  The Korres shower gels are good because they do a little more than just clean your skin because they leave it nicely moisturized throughout the day.  Here’s a bit about the ingredients that leave your skin feeling great:

Wheat proteins form a protective film on the skin, thus maintaining its natural moisture levels. Active aloe juice, rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and antioxidant enzymes, enhances the immune system of the skin. Furthermore, due to its ability to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, aloe vera gel retards skin ageing.

I’ll be honest, when I first tried these products at the hotel I didn’t know anything about the brand and figured it was just some hotel thing.  The soaps and gels were so lovely smelling though that I’m glad to find out that you can actually buy them and I don’t have to keep staying at hotels and collecting the little bottles.  The full sized 250ml shower gels can be found at Amazon UK for varying prices ranging from £6.00 to £8.00 depending on the scent.  The citrus shower gel is just £6.49 at Amazon, which seems a reasonable price since it isn’t just your average run of the mill shower gel or soap.  Alternatively, you can get any of the 250ml shower gels for £8.00 at FeelUnique.

Benefit It's Potent Eye Cream
Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream

Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream, 0.1 ounce pot.  This is part of Benefit’s Radiant Skincare collection.  I’ve tried a couple of the other products in the lineup before and wasn’t overwhelmed with the results.  The packaging is cute though, but there’s only so far that can get a product.  The It’s Potent Eye Cream is supposed to be good for fading dark circles, as well as smoothing fine lines because it contains a peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness, as well as a blend of hydrating botanical extracts and loquat extract, known to help protect the skin from free radical damage.  I like a lot of Benefit products, but I’m not that impressed with their skin care and this isn’t an exception.  I’ve used this a couple of times and it hasn’t stunned me with fabulous results at this point.  Not to mention, the little sample jar is so small that I find it annoying to try to use it.  I’ve been using a cotton bud instead (more hygienic that way too) so that I can actually get some out reasonably easily now.  My eyes seem to find this a bit irritating but that might just be in comparison to the Vichy Liftactiv product that I use now that is completely eye friendly.  The Benefit eye cream takes a minute or so to absorb after you apply it, but once it does you’re not left with a sticky feeling or anything bad like that, you can’t really tell it’s there at all.  It has made my eyes feel a little stingy or irritated though, but they were at least well hydrated while being irritated.  It hydrates well but doesn’t seem to have much impact on dark circles or lines, at least not after a few days of use.  I might just need to use it for a bit longer though to get the full results.

You can buy the full 0.5 ounce pot at Benefit for £25.50 through their website, or at their stores or in department stores I’m guessing.  The price is probably about average for eye creams from a decent skin care brand.  I wouldn’t buy this because I don’t think it is as good or as effective as other eye creams that I’ve used though.

Agave Hair Oil Treatment
Agave Hair Oil Treatment

Agave Healing Oil Hair Treatment, 4ml vial.  I’m planning to try this sometime this week, but haven’t had a chance to do so yet.  I should have taken this with me on our holiday this weekend because the shampoo at the hotel was horrible.  As a result of using lousy shampoo for the last four days my hair is in need of some love, and I think this agave oil could be just the thing.  This is a very lightweight oil that is supposed to smooth and hydrate your hair while boosting colour and shine.  I think it is especially good for those with colour treated or processed hair resulting in dry, damaged hair, as well as those of us with a tendency towards frizzy hair (like me).  At this time of year when the amount of rain we’re having seems to be on the rise, I really need something that can keep my frizziness in check so that I don’t look like a human version of a chia pet.  I’ve used hair oils before to varying results.  My hair texture is very fine so it can get weighed down with things like this, but I’m hoping that from my very quick test on a little bit of hair that I won’t have that problem with this oil.  Here’s a bit about how the Agave oil does its thing:

Unlike heavy nut oils, Agave oil with it’s plant extract conditions hair without the weight, building strength and resiliency, while helping boost vibrancy and color. Amino sugars lock moisture inside of the hair, adding strength, resiliency and elasticity. Beneficial botanicals coconut, vanilla, sunflower, and safflower are blended with Madagascar baobab seed oil to nourish and transform hair’s outer layer. Ideal for all types of hair: fine, medium and course textures.  And it’s free of the stuff that’s not so good for your locks: parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

I’m really looking forward to trying this out and seeing if it can tame my frizzy hair while still leaving it shiny.  The good thing is that you can use this on either damp or dry hair, so you don’t have to decide when your hair is still wet if you want to use it or not.  I like products that give me the opportunity to style my hair before I determine if I need a little help.  The only place I’ve found to purchase this in the UK is through Birchbox, but you can at least get this in two different sizes from them.  You can get a 120ml pump bottle for £27.00 or a 60ml pump for £16.00.  Since a little bit of this (or any oil) goes a long, long way, the 60 ml bottle is probably a size that can keep your hair soft and lovely for a very long time.

 

ModelCo Power Lash Mascara
ModelCo Power Lash Mascara

ModelCo Power Lash Mascara, 5ml tube. I believe this is a a sample size product, though I can’t verify that because they don’t list the product amounts on the ModelCo website, which is annoying and less than helpful.  I had heard of this brand before but I’ve never tried any of the products though.  I had actually thought it was a cheap, low end brand, if I’m honest.  With all of that negative stuff said, I will say that this mascara is really nice if you’re going for a long lashed but natural look.  The formula is nice and goes on without clumping or sticking together.  And that, combined with the brush that has rather a lot of thick, chunky looking bristles means that each lash gets a nice coating of mascara that separates the lashes but adds a lot of length.  You could easily put this on and not look like you were wearing mascara at all, just like you have enviably long lashes.  The brush also works well for the very small, delicate lower lashes too.  I’m impressed that they look so natural and long.  It is really like your lashes have just grown.  The only place I have found does get clumpy is the lip of the tube when you pull the brush out or push it back in.  For some reason when you do that it makes a huge mess and you end up having a build up of mascara around the lip of the tube which is wasteful.

And you are going to be worried about the waste because this isn’t a very big tube since it is just 5 grams, which is smaller than any other mascara that I have right now (from a variety of brands from L’Oreal to Lancome).  And at £24.00 for a tube of this, I want to not waste a smidgen of it!  I think the price is pretty steep considering that you’re not getting as much as you would from other mascaras that are about the same price.  Of course, that is all predicated on this 5ml tube being full sized.  If this is indeed a half size sample, then it is pretty much the same price as other quality mascaras and a fair value considering how nicely it goes on and how super it makes your lashes look.  The only place I could find this was at the ModelCo website where it sells for £24.00 for a tube of unknown size.

Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango
Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango

Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango Snack Pack, 35 gram bag.  I love mango anything.  I love mango nectar or ice cream or drinks or just the fruit or mango scented lotions.  Really, mango is my favourite fruit and I eat it all the time dried or fresh or as nectar or juice.  I’m a big fan, as you can probably tell.  What I’m not a big fan of was what the Urban Fruit people did to this mango.  They say it is “just fruit, gently baked”.  But I’m not sure about that gently part.  The fruit was really tough and had lost any semblance of moisture or juiciness and as a result, good flavour.  And I know that just because you dry fruit doesn’t mean it needs to turn into something resembling wood.  I eat dried mango all the time and it still has a lot of softness and moisture to it.  So, that made me very sad.  What is good though is that they don’t use preservatives or added sugars when they make this.  If they could just get down how to bake it without killing the flavour and goodness of it, I think they’d be on to something.

You can get a 100 gram bag of this at your favourite local supermarket like Tesco, Ocado, Waitrose, or ASDA for £1.97 regularly, though right now everyone but Waitrose has it on sale for two bags for £3.50 or £1.75 for a 100 gram bag.  If mango isn’t your obsession like me, then you’ll be glad to hear that Urban Fruit is made with a number of different fruit options, including strawberries and pineapple.

Birchbox Photo Clip
Birchbox Photo Clip

Birchbox Happy Days Photo Clip.  This is a cute little way to hold a photo, or even just notes or cards, on your desk, table or mantle.  And what’s nice is this means that you don’t have to worry about getting a frame that is the right size or anything like that.  I’ve been using this to hold notes to myself on my desk because otherwise I tend to not notice them.  I don’t usually print out pictures now because I have them all on my computer.  However, since getting this cute little photo clip I’ve thought I should get a nice picture of Dave and me to put on my desk.  Maybe I should make a note about that.

How does this Birchbox stack up on value:

  • Beauty Blender and BlenderCleanser Solid, full size sponge and 0.558 ounce cleanser: £26.00 value.
  • Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream, 0.1 ounce pot:  £5.10 value.
  • Korres Citrus Shower Gel, 50ml bottle:  £1.30 value.
  • ModelCo Power Lash Mascara, 5ml tube: £12.00 value.
  • Agave Healing Oil Hair Treatment, 4ml vial: £0.90 value.
  • Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango Snack Pack, 35 gram bag: £0.61 value.
  • Birchbox Happy Days Photo Clip: £1.00 value.
  • Total Value: £46.91

Thanks to the value of the Beauty Blender, the value of the September Birchbox more than covered the subscription fee.  I am most surprised by the value of that little teeny tiny pot of Benefit It’s Potent Eye cream.  I look at that little tub and can’t imagine it is worth that amount because it just seems so so small.  I feel like the value of the box was good, but for some reason I’ve just not been that enthused overall by my Birchboxes.  Maybe it was just the craziness of moving and all of that leaving feeling not that energetic about anything in a box.  I’m hoping that by the time my October box gets here I’m able to get excited by unpacking a box full of little treats.

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: May 2014

The theme for the May Glossybox was a celebration of 50 years of Superdrug.  I don’t shop at Superdrug all that often, but they did put together a nice box, so I certainly like that.  The Glossy magazine this month, has teamed up with Superdrug’s DARE magazine to present the history of Superdrug, complete with lots of interesting pictures of previous ad campaigns (what was going on in the 80s?).  The most amazing fact, I think, is that Superdrug serves 4.5 million customers each week.  Go Superdrug!

The box this month was specially decorated for Superdrug with a big 5-0 on it and was cute for the occasion but this isn’t one of them that I will end up keeping.  The box was curated with Superdrug so it is filled with things that you can find in their stores or at their website.  They included five full sized products and two additional samples.  I love getting the full sized items because it definitely means that you will have enough of a chance to really try something out and find out if you love it or hate it.  Unfortunately for me, one of the full sized items in my box was something I will never, ever end up using as it was a facial self tan bronzing cream.  I’m super pale and I wear it proudly.  So, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with that because I’m not even sure I know anyone that would want it.  If anyone wants it, let me know!  Overall though, I’d say this was a really good selection of items.

Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask
Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask

Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask for Feet, 60 ml full size tube.  Summer can be really hard on your feet because you want to wear sandals and walk around barefoot inside and out or at the beach or pool, and that can be really drying on your feet.  But, of course, you still want them to look sandal worthy, right?  I’ve tried a lot of different masks and lotions for feet because my feet are really dry as a result of a medication I take (all of my skin is actually).  So far I think the best things I’ve tried are Bliss Foot Patrol and Palmer’s Foot Magic.  I’ve not tried the Scholl product before so I am very interested to see how it turns out.  I put a bit on this morning, so it is too soon to tell about the results yet.  I do like that the consistency is just like a really concentrated, heavy cream or lotion, with no stickiness and it absorbs into the skin really easily.  That’s the one thing I don’t like about the Bliss or Palmer’s stuff that I use now, both of them require you to put socks on and keep them on for quite some time because they are kind of sticky and don’t absorb quickly enough.  But even though the Scholl’s Night Mask, as you can guess from the name, is supposed to be put on at bedtime, I think it absorbs so well that you could probably put it on your feet during the day too.  My feet don’t feel sticky or weird now but the skin does look well moisturized and that is definitely a better look than dry skin.  The other nice thing is that this has almost no scent at all, there is a very, very faint smell but not really noticeable at all and not bad in any case.   This Velvet Smooth Night Mask is perfect to keep feet soft and pretty for Summer.  I find that the feet creams or masks are really great for applying to the cuticle area on your hands to keep them looking their best too.  Since the foot creams are so thick they really do a good job moisturizing and you only need a tiny bit on your cuticles to keep them from looking dry, plus I swear my nails are in better shape when I do this too.

Obviously, you can find the Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask at Superdrug, and I’m sure you can get it from all of their competitors too.  At Superdrug the 60 ml tube is £7.99 normally, but right now they have it on sale for £5.99; all of the other retailers have it for £7.99.  Or, you can get it for slightly less, £5.99, at Amazon UK.  If you end up really liking this, they have a whole lineup of Velvet Smooth products for your feet: a soak, a serum, and a cream.  Surely, all of that can keep your feet looking gorgeous for Summer.

Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser
Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser

Vaseline Spray & Go Coco Body Moisturiser, 190 ml full size can.  Believe it or not, this is actually a body lotion that you can spray on.  You just spray it on, rub it into your skin, and you are good to go.  I have the cocoa radiant version, but there’s one with aloe and they call essential moisture which is made with oat extract.  I like that they say it won’t leave you feeling sticky or greasy.  And when I tried it out, I liked it even more because it doesn’t leave you feeling anything but moisturized.  As you might expect, because it is a spray lotion, the texture is super light even before you rub it in, but after doing that, it’s like you just have nice skin without a trace of lotion on it.  It absorbs very well but does leave your skin feeling really soft and lovely.  I’m impressed.  The formula I have is made with cocoa butter and the Vaseline Stratys 3 multi-layer moisture (whatever that is) and does seem really effective for leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth but not sticky like a regular lotion.  The only other spray product like a lotion that I have tried was sunscreen and that was an unmitigated disaster.  It seemed to go everywhere but on my skin and left with my a very low level of protection, and a great burn as a result.  But this seems to have just enough weight to make it actually end up on your skin and not just flying around on the air.  Since the one I have has cocoa butter, it has that nice smell too, which seems super appropriate for Summer.   The can is easy to hold in your hand and has a matt finish for better grip.  The spray function is nice because it is continuous, like hair spray, which means this is easier to apply than if it were a pump and allows you to put a thin layer on all over before you rub it in.  The other nice thing about the bottle is that you can really easily lock the sprayer so that if you put it in your bag or a suitcase, you’re not going to have to worry about it spritzing everything inside.  One word of warning though, be careful about where you spray it just in case it gets on the floor and turns it into a scary slick deathtrap.

At Superdrug you can get the full 190ml spray can for £4.99, as you can at every other retailer I checked, including Amazon.  As I mentioned, they have three versions of this Spray & Go moisturizer if cocoa scent isn’t your thing.  No matter what key ingredient – cocoa, aloe, oat extract – that you choose, they all are the same price.  I don’t know how long this will last but if it doesn’t break me out I think I will definitely be getting this again.  I like something light but moisturizing in Summer and this seems the best thing I’ve tried so far.

Garnier Oil Beauty Lotion
Garnier Oil Beauty Lotion

Garnier Oil Beauty Lotion, 10 ml sample.  Keeping with the moisturizing theme, they’ve also included a sample of the new Garnier Body Oil Beauty Lotion that contains argan, macadamia, almond, and rose oil.  I haven’t tried this at all since it is a little sample envelope.  However, I really like the mix of oils as those are all of the big players in skin care right now because they all have such great properties for keeping your skin healthy and moisturized.  This isn’t an oil though, but rather an oil infused lotion.  So, it goes on like a cream or lotion, but has all of the nourishing capabilities of an oil.  They say it absorbs quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft and looking radiant, not sticky or greasy.  I’ve had hit or miss results with Garnier products, though generally I do like their lotions and body products.  I’m looking forward to trying this because with Summer here, my skin could definitely use a little something to perk it up and make it look radiant.

You can buy the full sized 250 ml bottle, with a pump dispenser, for £4.99 at Superdrug or the retailer of your choice (Tesco, Boots, or Sainsbury’s).  I’ve been looking for a good lotion, so hopefully either this one from Garnier or the Vaseline Spray & Go will do the trick.

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes
L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes

L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes, Black, 10.5 ml full size tube.  I think this is the first L’Oreal mascara that I have ever used, and I really like it.  Well, I think what I really like are the new brush and the anti-clump wiper that they have which means that you can get really great length but not that weird clumpy look.  I like to have my lashes look longer and thicker than normal, but still very separated, because that makes them look great but natural.  The brush, which they say on the tube is a new design, is a bunch of little spiky ends that really keep your lashes separated.  I think the brush seems like it is plastic and not actually bristles too, so they are maybe stiffer.  Plus, the wiper at the mouth of the tube really works well to get off all of the excess mascara, except at the small end of the brush, and means you don’t have an excess of mascara coming off on your lashes and causing them to stick together.  It doesn’t say anything about being waterproof, so I’m going to guess that this formula isn’t, though I know they do have one.  I haven’t taken it for a full day trial but I do like the initial results.  The brush is fabulous, so hopefully the actual mascara formula is as good.  I usually use Benefit, Lancome, and Ellis Faas mascaras and love the formulas and find them to last well without flaking or smudging, so I’m hoping this one will work as well.  It would be nice to find a cheaper mascara that worked well too.  I was thinking this might work well for layer with another mascara too because of how nice and separated the lashes stay.  Since I put it on before my workout today, I guess that will be a good test of its staying power.

L’Oreal is a pretty popular high street brand, so you can find it at lots and lots of places.  At Superdrug this mascara is £10.99, and that seems to be the same price as Ocado and Boots. It looks like you can find it for around £1 – 1.50 less at Amazon though.

B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick
B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick

B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick 033 Coral, full size tube.  The Sheer Conditioning Lipstick is enriched with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, and Aloe Vera to keep your lips looking healthy, well moisturized, and pretty. They have several different colours available but I got the Coral colour in my Glossybox.  This colour is fairly good for me with just a bit more of an orange tint to it than my usual choices, but luckily it still works nicely with my skintone though does have a bit of an old lady look to it.  They have seven different colours of this available on the Superdrug website, so you can definitely find one that will work for you.  They have everything from a bright red to a nude colour.  Normally, I would have probably gone for the Petal, which is a rose colour, but the Coral is an okay choice for Summer.  As the name implies, it is a sheer coverage.  It is somewhere between lipstick and gloss or balm, I think, as far as the depth of coverage goes.  The colour is fairly deep, with just the tiniest bit of sparkle or sheen, but there is still a sheerness to it overall which makes it a nice choice for Summer.  It has a smooth texture going on and doesn’t feel sticky after application.  The downside to the sheerness is that if you’re lips are even a bit chapped or flaky looking this just emphasises that and makes it look not so great.  My lips were a bit dry this morning when I put it on to try it out and it just really points out all the dry areas.  I had thought that it felt really moisturizing on my lips initially, but after about 45 minutes they started to feel dry and after about an hour, they looked pretty bad.  So, if you’re lips are in good shape to start with great, otherwise, you might want to use something else.  I always feel like some added moisture for my lips is really important in Summer because it can be a really drying time of year with all of the heat and sun.  I do wish that this had an SPF of 15 at least though.  Not enough lip products have sun protection in them, but it is just as important for your lips to be protected as any of your other skin.  The one thing that I do not like about this product, isn’t the product itself, but rather the applicator or tube.  The tube feel really cheaply made and loose and flimsy.  It kind of feels like the next twist could be the one that breaks it, or like the lipstick itself might break off or get damaged.  My lipstick already has a big scrape up one side from the twisting/raising mechanism, I’m guessing.  Of course, for the price, it’s not bad at all.

This brand, B.,  is exclusive to Superdrug, so there’s only really no price comparison here.  A tube of this is normally £6.99 but right now they have it on sale for £3.49. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a size on the tube or the Superdrug website but it doesn’t seem too big, certainly smaller/less than my regular lipsticks or balms.  That price makes it perfect for getting a couple of your favourite colour or more than one colour even.  Certainly at that price, you wouldn’t be gutted if you took it with you on holiday or to the beach and it got damaged or lost either.

GHOST Eclipse Perfume
GHOST Eclipse Perfume

GHOST Frangrances Eclipse, 2 ml sample sprayer.  Despite the fact that I did just get some perfume from Connock London, perfume really isn’t something I wear all the time.  I have a really excellent sense of smell, which means that mostly I find perfumes to be too overwhelming.  This one has a nice smell, but is a bit strong for me.  I will reiterate though, it does smell nice.  Here’s what they say about it:

A fresh fruity floral with a sensual amber base. Romantic Top: lemon, bergamot, mandarin, blackcurrant, apple.  Captivating Heart: freesia, lotus blossom, rose wood and blond wood.  Sensual base: Amber crystals and powdery musk.

I think maybe the musk base is what I’m smelling a lot of and while it doesn’t work for me or my nose, it isn’t bad just a bit strong to me.  You can buy this, and hopefully try before you do so, at Superdrug.  The full size bottle is 50 ml for £33.00.

Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream
Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream

Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream, 100 ml full size tub.  Yeah, I’m not into self tan or “bronzers” like this, it just isn’t my thing.  I’m really quite pale and it just never looks right on my.  And definitely something that is just for my face would be a real problem because my Casper the Friendly Ghost neck and body would definitely not match it.  Not to mention, I just don’t want to hassle with the whole ordeal of putting on a self tan product with the mitt and the worry about it being streaky or looking gross around my hairline or eyebrows.  Nope, just not worth it to me.  It does say that you develop an intensified natural colour over a 2 to 4 hour timespan, so at least it doesn’t sound like you’re full on TOWIE orange or brown but still not really for me. This is why I have powder bronzers, so I can decide to have a sun-kissed glow one day and then be back to my normal pale colour the next.  This has a kind of strong scent too that smells a bit like fresh paint to me.  I really don’t know what I’m going to do with this, but I’m glad that I got plenty of other good stuff in my Glossybox this month or I would have been really disappointed and annoyed.

You can find Solait only at Superdrug and the 100 ml tub of this will be £2.99 there.  If this works and gives you a nice colour, and you like that sort of thing, then the price is really great.  And a self-tanned face is better than really tanning your face which just isn’t worth the long-term damage done to your skin.

How do the numbers stack up for the box this month?  Here is the breakdown:

  • Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask for Feet, 60 ml full size tube: £5.99 value
  • Vaseline Spray & Go Coco Body Moisturiser, 190 ml full size can: £4.99 value
  • Garnier Oil Beauty Lotion, 10 ml sample: £0.20 value.
  • L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes, Black, 10.5 ml full size tube: £10.99 value.
  • B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick 033 Coral, full size tube: £3.49 value.
  • Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream, 100 ml full size tub: £2.99 value.
  • GHOST Frangrances Eclipse, 2 ml sample sprayer: £1.32 value.
  • Total Value: £29.97

Overall this was a pretty good Glossybox, like every month there are some hits and some misses.  Luckily, this month was more hit than miss I would say.  Even if I discount the value of the items that I won’t use, the value of the products was still enough to pay for the cost of the box this month.  The L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara was enough to cover the cost of the box, though not with the shipping.

Great Product Suggestions from FeelUnique and PopSugar

It’s getting to be that time of year when you might be looking to try some new products, or you’ve got to get into the Spring and Summer swing of things with different needs for your skin and look.  Or, maybe you’re going on a trip for Easter, Spring Break, or just your yearly Summer holiday.  Well, I’ve got a couple of good articles for you to check out today for advice on what travel sized items to take on your next trip, as well as some recommendations from the FeelUnique staff on self tanner, mascara, and face peels.

FeelUnique’s Beauty All Access “We’ve Been Testing” Feature

I buy quite a bit of my makeup, hair and skin care products from FeelUnique.  I like how quickly they deliver – for free – and what a wide selection they have on their site.  And they are always adding new brands to choose from too, just recently they added Urban Decay and coming soon is Aveda.  The other thing I like about them is that they have a lot of resources for tips on how to do makeup and hair, or what products to buy for what need, they also host a lot of Facebook question and answer chats with top stylists, designers, doctors, and the names behind a lot of excellent brands. Recently, they’ve started to include a section in their Beauty All Access area about products they have been trying out, which I find super helpful.  First off though, I have to say that the Beauty All Access ezine (or whatever you want to call it), is full of great tips and has all of the latest seasonal style updates to keep you up to date and looking great in all areas, from makeup and hair, to fitness and nutrition.  It’s one of my top beauty reads each month.  They have a feature called “This Works for Me” that is nice because they interview celebs and stylists about their beauty product essentials and tips, as well as fashion looks.  I always find them interesting and it’s a good place to get suggestions for new products too.

The section I really wanted to point out though, was the “This Month We’ve Been Testing…” feature.  They have three different product types that they are testing this month: self tanner, lengthening mascara, and facial peels.  Self tanner and facial peels are a the perfect way to get a head start on your Spring and Summer skin.  Definitely after winter, we could all use a bit of a boost for our skin, so these might work for you.  They have a little bit of reasoning behind each product on the list, as well as a tip for each of the three product types.  I also like that everything they test isn’t crazy expensive, they have stuff that should be good for just about any budget. Also, each category they have broken down the products into things that are best for a particular situation or desired result as well as the best overall, for instance they self tan is broken down into best for light skin, best for deep skin, and best all around.  It’s nice that they don’t just act like one product will be great for everyone in every situation.  But definitely give it a quick look.  It’s very short and sweet with just like a bullet point for the nine products that they suggest and the three tips.

PopSugar’s “10 Travel-Sized Essentials Under $10” Article

Obviously, this one is geared toward US readers because all of the product prices are listed in dollars, but even if you’re not in the US, the suggestions are great for getting the most out of your travel beauty kit.  There is nothing worse than going on holiday and having your skin and hair suffer because you don’t want/can’t bring your full-sized products with you and don’t really have great substitutes.  Or, worse yet, you just totally let your standards slip and end up with horrible hair and skin as a result.  I will also point out that there are great travel sized containers for just about every type of product now too that you can get at places like Boots or Walgreen’s.  I even use these little miniature zip top bags that you can find in craft stores for a lot of my travel things now because they are flat and resalable, but do work pretty well for semi-liquid things moisturizer or hair conditioner.  Also, you can sometimes get sample sizes of your favourite brands and products from department stores, but this is definitely hit or miss.  I really wish that everyone would let you buy small sizes of their products so you’d know that you can have the same great products on holiday that you do every other day.  I’m sure everyone’s hair and skin would be very happy with that.

The PopSugar article covers ten travel sized necessities for the important travel issues of keeping your hair and skin happy, from dry shampoo to a body exfoliator.  And the best part is that they are all things that you can easily fit in your allowed Ziploc of liquids and they won’t break the bank because they are all under $10.00 too.  It’s nice that so many good things can be found, for reasonable prices, that fit the requirement of being less than 100 ml/3 oz for all of us that like to have decent products when we travel. They even have a travel sized hairbrush that it wouldn’t be too much of a space hog in comparison to your regular, full-sized one.  The Klorane Oat Milk Dry Shampoo ($9.00 for 50 ml can) is on their list and I think I’m going to have to try this, even if not on a trip, because it gets mentioned all over the place and people just rave about it.  Much like the FeelUnique article, this one is short and sweet with just a brief description of the product, as well as pricing information, so there’s no excuse to not at least give it is quick perusal.

Glossybox: Net-A-Porter.com Limited Edition Beauty Box

I was so excited to see this special edition luxury beauty box from Glossybox and Net-A-Porter, that I just had to have it!  It was more than the regular Glossybox at £20.00 plus an additional £5.00 in shipping.  So, my real worry was that it completely wouldn’t be worth it.  And to be honest, I’m not sure it was.  There were only two full sized products in the box, so that was a bit of a let down, but I do really love one of those and it is certainly something I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

The box came really quickly, which is great since I had to pay £5.00 for shipping, and was beautifully presented in true Net-A-Porter style in a sleek black box with their black and white ribbon.  Very stylish and lovely.  Inside it held six different products, two of which were full size, and and four that were small or miniscule samples.  Again there was a fragrance sample which isn’t necessarily something I was overjoyed by, but at least they had it in a clever roll-on bottle which seems much better than the normal little tubes they send for perfume samples.

ilā Bath Salts for Inner Peace
ilā Bath Salts for Inner Peace

ilā Bath Salts for Inner Peace; 50 gram sample size.  I’m really more of a shower girl, especially since the flat we are renting now would require me to fold myself quite a bit to take an actual bath.  However, if I were to ever take one, I would love to add these bath salts.  I’m not sure how they work in the water but they smell divine.  The package in the Net-A-Porter box is in a pretty little sachet (it came lovingly swathed in bubble wrap and a zip top bag), so you can easily smell the salts and enjoy the scent without needing to put them in your bath water.  I currently have mine in one of my drawers and it absolutely wonderful every time I open my drawer.  It does actually make me wish that I had a decent sized bath (or that I was a few inches shorter).  The remarkable thing is that the scent is truly relaxing.  It is hard to believe that a scent can have such an immediate impact on you, but they really can instantly make you feel some specific emotion.  It’s pretty impressive really.  Here’s what they have to say about them on the ila website:

These pampering Bath Salts are a light in the dark for those in need of greater serenity.

  • Himalayan salt crystals are rich in ionic minerals and trace minerals for easy absorption
  • Promotes well-being and restores and strengthens the bio-energy field
  • Softens and nourishes the skin
  • Sandalwood is meditative and soothing to the nervous system
  • Jasmine is deeply relaxing yet uplifting to the whole system
  • Beneficial for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis

Imbued with rich healing minerals, they restore balance to body and mind, strengthen wellbeing and revealing skin’s soft youthful glow.

Reading all of that really makes me want to try them out fully.  Maybe I’ll have to try to fold myself in half to give them a true test.  Since you use a tablespoon or so per bath, I think I would have enough for at least 3 baths with these wonderful bath salts, which is a reasonable sample size I think.  The full sized 500 gram container can be purchased through the ila website for £49.00.  Their prices can seem quite expensive, but I think they seem to make really high quality products that are worth the higher prices.  If you could smell this, you would definitely know what I mean.

Joya Âmes Sœurs (Scent of Soul Mates) Roll-On Parfum
Joya Âmes Sœurs (Scent of Soul Mates) Roll-On Parfum

Joya Âmes Sœurs (Scent of Soul Mates) Roll-On Parfum; 1.5 ml sample size.  I do like the smart roll-on style applicator for this scent.  And it isn’t just the sample that has that format, but the regular size does as well.  The reason I don’t like or wear a lot of fragrances is because they often seem to heavy and usually have at least some hint of something that I don’t like.  However, I must say that this Joya scent has a really lovely fragrance that makes me feel like I’m on some exotic island holiday.  Here’s what they have to say about it on Net-A-Porter.com:

Evoking memories of exotic destinations, Joya captures the delights of rich Orange Blossom and Cedarwood in a convenient travel size. This perfumed oil features a roll-on design for easy application during globe-trotting adventures.

  • Top notes: Tamarind, Grapefruit, Cypress
  • Heart notes: Rose Bulgar, Ginger, Orange Blossom
  • Dry down notes: Cedarwood, Incense, Amber, Sweet Musk

I would not have thought that this would have suited me at all but the citrusy notes are something that really does appeal to me.  There is just a lightness to the fragrance that is gorgeous and relaxing.  I am actually considering buying the full size product even.  And for me, that is really saying a lot since I haven’t bought a fragrance in I don’t even know how long.  It seems a little more oil based than most fragrances I’ve tried and that gives it a bit of a lasting power that I don’t always get from perfume; obviously my body chemistry wants to resist all attempts to make me smell like a flower.  The fact that it is a roll on would also make this really great for travel.  Though it would still need to go in your baggie of liquids, it is far less likely to spill or spray everything else.

You can buy the full sized 10 ml size at Net-A-Porter in the UK for £20.00.  Or, you can purchase it through the Joya website in the US for $28.00.  I don’t know how long that 10 ml would last, though it doesn’t seem to take very much to have a lovely scent all day, but I think £20.00 seems pretty reasonable for something this lovely.

Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50 Oil Free Sun Protection
Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50 Oil Free Sun Protection

Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50 Oil Free Sun Protection; 10 ml sample size.  Okay, I called this sun protection but Natura Bissé refers to it as “Brightening Shield Treatment Cream” which sounds so much more upscale.  But basically, it is a sunscreen that also will work to moisturize your skin, minimize dark spots and improve skin tone while protecting you from the nasty UVA and UVB rays as well.  So that all sounds like one heck of a multi-tasking product.  I haven’t tried this out yet because I am trying to use up my current moisturizer so that I can find something else that works better for me, but I’m also trying out the Lancome DreamTone, so I didn’t want there to be any chance of getting my dark spot correction products entangled.  However, I am looking forward to trying this out.  I like that it is oil free and from what I have read elsewhere gives your skin a more matte finish.  Usually with these types of creams that have a high SPF you get that greasy or sweaty look, either way it is unattractive and not the way most of like to look.  Plus, the oil free formulation probably means you are less likely to get clogged pores that will lead to a breakout and/or a sweaty face.  Here’s what they say about it on Net-A-Porter.com:

Harnessing the power of depigmenting agent Ellagic Acid – a component of Pomegranate Extract – it fights the signs of premature aging by preventing the appearance of dark spots and minimizing existing marks. This brightening formula improves skin tone and maintains hydration levels, too.

  • Oil-free formula suitable for all skin types
  • Lightweight texture
  • Contains antioxidant Vitamin E

So, you can see that it does actually have some good stuff in it that should really work.  I’m just always skeptical of these grand claims as to brightening and correcting dark spots.   As you might have guessed, this is not an inexpensive product and you are really going to have to want to splash out to purchase it.  The full size 30 ml product can be purchased through Net-A-Porter in the UK for £75.00.  If you’re in the US, you can get it from Natura Bissé directly for $97.00, but clearly you’d be better off getting it from Amazon for $85.20 for the same 30 ml/1.0 ounce tube.  I’m really going to have to love it and think that it is a miracle product to pay that much for that little bit of product though.

Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist
Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist

Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist; 150 ml full size.  I have curly hair already thanks to nature and genetics, which means that I wouldn’t normally even consider buying these texturizing type of sprays.  So, I’m quite glad that I got this one in my Net-A-Porter box.  I usually just use a dab of Aveda’s Be Curly to get lots and lots of nice curling from my hair, but every once in a while it is nice to change things up and get a bit of a different look.  With the Philip B mist I get a softer curl that really does look like I’ve been at the beach all day.  Clearly, this isn’t a look for all the time, but when I’m going for that casual oh-I-just-woke-up-and-look-this-great look, this is perfect.  The times I have tried it I have used the Philip Kingsley Maximiser spray because I MUST have it with my super fine hair to get a little oomph.  And the combination of the two gives me really great volume.  I think I’m going to pick a day when I will try just the Philip B mist to see if that gives me lots of volume by itself too.  Since my hair is so fine in texture, it is great when I can use just a single product and not take the chance of weighing down my hair or having it end up looking crazy; bit of a double edged sword to have fine hair that is also really curly.  I wonder what it would do when I straighten my hair.  I might have to try that to see if it would give it a nice super soft wave but not really full on curl; that’s a look I like but have a hard time achieving.  This is what they have to say about it on the Net-A-Porter website:

Gorgeous tousled beach hair is only a spritz away thanks to Philip B’s texturizing formula. Scented with fresh Coconut and Tahitian Gardenia and infused with thickening Sea Salt, this spray creates body and waves while Aloe Vera, Marine Extracts, pure Orchid and Kukui nourish your tresses. A vacation in a bottle.

  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Leaves hair bouncy and soft
  • For fine hair creates lift, volume, and texture; for thick hair creates definition, texture, fullness and bounce

Reading that reminds me that I should mention the gorgeous smell.  I’m sure it is the gardenia and coconut but it really reminds me of being on the beach in Hawaii.  They have definitely gotten the scent of Maui down perfectly.  I almost felt like I should put on some sunscreen!  Aside from evoking such memories, it just really has a nice pleasant smell that was even around by the end of the day.  You can find this at Net-A-Porter for £22.00 for the same 150 ml bottle.  It is a bit cheaper at Amazon where it is only £19.57, plus they don’t charge for shipping so that is the better way to go.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum, 5 ml sample size.  Okay, I should probably start off by saying that I want to try this because after looking at the price for the full size 50 ml bottle, it is highly unlikely that I am going to actually buy it for myself.  However, if I use it and start to look so much younger and fresh faced, well, I might be forced to change my tune.  When I first started to use serums I thought it seemed like something beauty companies had dreamed up to make us all pay even more money for the elusive promise of looking younger.  However, I’ve been using the Lancome serum for a year now and I have to say that there really is something to it.  I can tell when I don’t use it and it definitely does make my moisturizers work better.  I’ve also tried a couple of other serums along the way and I’ve softened my cynical attitude towards them as a result.  The Elizabeth Arden Prevage serum is, much like others, designed to protect your skin against damage and signs of aging.  Here’s what they have to say at Net-A-Porter.com:

Guard your skin from environmental damage and signs of aging with Elizabeth Arden’s serum. Powerful antioxidants including Idebenone protect against free radicals while dramatically improving the look of your complexion.

  • Infused with a soothing blend of Green, White and Yellow Tea
  • Lightly scented
  • Dries to a matte finish

I don’t know what Idebenone is but they act like everyone should know it, so I feel a little uneducated.  So, naturally I looked it up but there’s no real evidence to suggest that it does anything when applied topically for anti-aging.  Interestingly, it was originally formulated as something to fight against Alzheimer’s and also for neuromuscular conditions.  That’s quite an interesting range of uses.  In any case, I haven’t tried it so I can’t really judge it at this point.  What I can judge is the price.  For the full size 50 ml bottle you will pay a shockingly high £160.00 at Net-A-Porter or £136.00 at FeelUnique.  Either way, that is way more than the Lancome Génifique that I like, so it is going to have to be stupendous whenI try it for me to want to pay that much more.  Skin care is one of the few ares that I will spend a bit more because without good skin care your makeup, no matter how expensive and expertly applied, won’t look its best.   We shall see.

Ellis Faas Mascara E401
Ellis Faas Mascara E401

Ellis Faas Mascara E401; 8.2 ml full size.  Mascara can make such a huge difference in your appearance, even if you practically have no makeup on it can give you a pulled together look.  If it is good mascara at least and doesn’t get all clumpy and make you look ridiculous instead of polished.  I like Lancome’s Définicils mascara for a light coverage that looks very natural and just accentuates your lashes without getting them too over the top.  For that more over the top super lash look, I like Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara.  Those are the two mascaras that I buy regularly and keep coming back to, no matter what else I try.  But now there’s a new mascara in town and it has won a spot in my makeup kit.  If you want a subtle look it can do that but if you want the big lash look it can also do that too.  It looks sort of unassuming because it doesn’t have anything that super special with the brush.  In fact, the brush, which seems to be where most mascaras differentiate themselves, appears to be nothing special at all and looks like what we’ve all been using for years and years and years.  Though when you really look at it, you can see that there is a bit more to it because it has a spiral design and seems to have more bristles (I’m not really sure what to call them) that are very tightly packed together.  I think this is probably what allows it to give your lashes such great volume and curl.  Though, the formulation of the mascara also seems a bit different to me too.  I can’t really put my finger on it, it is maybe thinner.  I think it seems like it could be a creamier mascara because it glides on and layers beautifully and doesn’t seem as prone to clumps as some mascaras that I have used.  It definitely looks more moist when compared to the mascara from either Benefit or Lancome.   Here’s what they say at Net-A-Porter:

Fuller, longer, more voluminous lashes are just a stroke away with Ellis Faas’ versatile mascara. The slim, pointed brush lifts and separates, while the creamy pitch-black formula glides on smoothly and evenly. One sweep creates a natural, wide-eyed look while two or more coats offer a glamorous finish worthy of any red carpet – or important date.

  • Elongated wand for easy, precise application
  • Formulated with natural Carnauba Wax

Maybe it is the carnauba wax that makes it so nice.  I don’t know exactly but I do like it.  I also like that I can pretty much get two different looks out of this one mascara too, which is definitely not possible with the Lancome and is only possible with Benefit if you have a super light touch.  The other nice thing about the Ellis Faas mascara is that it gives you great curl, even without the eyelash curler.  I often forget to curl my lashes before I put on my mascara but this makes it far less necessary.  It really seems to give that perfect curl to your lashes that will have your eyes looking fabulously open and glamorous.  This is definitely something that I will be buying again when I run out.  I think it will replace my Benefit mascara probably because this does the same thing only better, I think.  I’m going to give it a bit more time testing it out though before I decide.  I will have to see how it stands up to my long party on Friday night here in NYC.  You can buy this at Net-A-Porter for £20.00.  If you are in the US, you can find it at Sephora for $34.00.  I like this so much I might try some of the other Ellis Faas products, I especially like the look of the foundation pens.

So, all in all, I think that despite the higher price of £25.00 for the Net-A-Porter special edition box that I have come out okay on it.  But as always we’ll have to see how the numbers stack up:

  • Ellis Faas Mascara, full size: £20.00 value
  • Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist, full size: £22.00 value
  • Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Serum, 5 ml sample: £16.00 value
  • Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50, 10 ml sample: £25.00 value
  • Joya Âmes Sœurs Roll-On Parfum, 1.5 ml sample: £3.00 value
  • ila Bath Salts for Inner Peace; 50 gram sample: £4.90 value
  • Total Value: £90.90

Wow!  I definitely got my money’s worth out of this box.  The crazy expensive sample values for the the Elizabeth Arden and Natura Bissé seem shocking, don’t they?  I did my math more than once on those because I just couldn’t believe that those little tiny products were worth so much.  But the two full sized products, that I do actually like, really made this box a great value.  And I’ve found a wonderful new mascara that is so good I’ll certainly be getting it again.

If you are interested in getting this special edition Glossybox, you can still order it at Net-A-Porter.com for £20.00 plus £5.00 shipping.