Glossybox: September 2014

I feel pretty good because I’m actually getting caught up on all of my beauty box reviews by the end of September.  Okay, just barely, but it still counts.  I’ve even had a chance to use most of the products in my September box.  I used some of my Glossydots (1,000) to get this box for free, which is always excellent.  As a result of that, my box came pretty early in the month, probably a week before it normally would have, I think.  Sadly, I got an email from Glossybox the other day saying that they were revamping some things, including how many Glossydots you get for filling in the surveys.  That is going from 50 points to a measly 20 points, but to get a free Glossybox you still need 1,000 Glossydots.  So, I feel a disappointed by that, since it more than doubles the amount of surveys you need to fill out to get a free box.

In honour of London Fashion Week, the September Glossybox was a partnership with Karen Millen.  The box featured a sketched version of the London skyline with all the iconic architectural highlights, like St. Paul’s and the Gherkin.  In addition, there was a voucher for £25.00 off a purchase from the Karen Millen Autum 2014 collection totalling more than £150.00, as long as you make your purchase by the end of September.  Aside from that, there were some nice products in this month’s Glossybox, but just two full sized ones (and one of those is pretty tiny and not great).  However, there were two decent sized samples too.  This wasn’t my favourite Glossybox I’ve ever received but it wasn’t a total loser either; somewhere in between.

Nails Inc Matte Top Coat
Nails Inc Matte Top Coat

Nails Inc Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat, full size 10ml bottle.  This is probably my favourite product in the September Glossybox.  This allows you to give any of your existing nail polishes a completely different non-glossy look with just one coat.  I’ve found that this not only gives your polish a matte finish but also does a good job at toning down really vibrant colours.  I have a couple of polishes that are just a little too bright for me, so this has worked really well to make them more wearable by just taking the brightness  down just a notch or two.  Plus, the matte finish is kind of cool.  I like the polishes from Nails Inc because they always go on very smoothly and dry super quick, and this one is no exception.  When you put it on initially, it looks shiny just like any other clear coat, but when it dries it turns matte, and is completely shine free.  It dries really quickly too, in less than a minute I’d say.  I’ve put this over OPI and Ciaté polishes and haven’t had any problems with bubbling or peeling or anything weird like that.  The other way this product works really well is as a single coat right on naked nails for a healthier, more finished look to your non-colour manicure.  It keeps your nails looking nice and healthy but without the shine or colour in other polishes.  This would be perfect for men who want to have decent looking nails but don’t want to have shiny “girlie” looking nails.  It could put the “man” in manicure, really.

You can buy your Matte Top Coat directly from Nails Inc for £12.00.  Even though they have Nails Inc products at FeelUnique, I couldn’t find the matte top coat.   I really like this and think that this is a a great way to add a little something different to your normal nail look.

ModelCo More Brows
ModelCo More Brows

ModelCo More Brows, full size 3.5ml tube.  This is an interesting brush on fibre gel that gives you the look of fuller brows with the sweep of a brush.  Well, that is how Glossybox describes it at least.  I would say that it isn’t as good as other brow gels that I have tried, like the ones from Anastasia Beverly Hills, because it is seems thick and glumpy rather than going on smoothly and adding to your brows in a natural way.  Plus, the Medium/Dark colour that I received way comically dark for my brows, which are quite dark actually.  I have dark brown hair naturally, and my brows are pretty full and pretty dark, so I just need something to add a bit of control and fill in a bit.  But the More Brows made my eyebrows look like they should be attached to my glasses and a funny nose.  Not good.  If you’re trying to use this to fill in where you have less hair than you would like, it totally doesn’t work at all.  It just kind of sits on skin and looks messy.  I haven’t been impressed.  I was going to give this to my mom because she is always looking for something to help fill in her brows that are thinning as she ages, but this will certainly not work for her.  Or for anyone else I know.  I think some of the problem might be the brush that they use.  The tube is like a mascara tube with the same type of brush, but it has very wide gaps in between the twists so I think that makes the gel go on clumpy and look less natural than if the brush had a finer bristle pattern.  But that’s a moot point, because it is what it is, and what it is isn’t very good.  Really, I looked like I was getting ready to do a Groucho Marx impersonation.

You can buy More Brows from ModelCo’s website for £14.95 for this quite small 3.5ml/0.12 ounce tube.  I’m just not impressed at all with this product though and I would suggest that a better use of your money would be to add a couple of Pounds and get the Anastasia Beverly Hills tinted gels at Net-A-Porter that are better quality and are even bigger tubes at 9 grams/0.32 ounces.  There’s just no reason to get a product this bad and overpay this much for it.

Origins Plantscriptions Anti-Aging Power Serum
Origins Plantscriptions Anti-Aging Power Serum

Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum, 15ml tube.  Even though this isn’t a full size tube, it is a half size sample and that is great because it means that I’ll have enough of this to really test out their claims.  Their claim is that in just two weeks, I’ll be able to see a visible reduction in lines and wrinkles.  So far I’ve only been using it for a couple of days and I don’t look like I’m 20 yet, but my skin does look nice and this isn’t causing me any issues. I’m hopeful.  The feeling is quite nice and leaves my skin feeling really soft and smooth, but so far it works as well as most of the other serums that I have tried without anything exceptional.  Origins is all about the natural stuff and this serum is made from several plant extracts, such as Anogeissus from Ghana, Africa, Bamboo and Pea Extract from Australia, Crithmum from France, and Commiphora from India.  When it first goes on it is more fragrant than my other serums that I use regularly, but that doesn’t really bother me because it isn’t a bad smell or even that strong.  I do like that just by itself my skin feels really nice, but of course, I always follow up with a moisturizer because I’m a good kid.  The other thing I really like is that it absorbs rather quickly and doesn’t leave behind a tacky feeling, just smooth skin.

If you want a full size tube of the Anti-Aging Power Serum, I’m sure you can find it anywhere Origins is sold or online at their store.  You can get two sizes, a 30ml size for £48.00 and a 50ml size for £62.00.  I’m not sure if I’ll see any visible changes to lines or wrinkles, but I am hoping that it at least makes my skin look great.  So, I’m not sure if I’ll buy it again yet because I haven’t had long enough to see any results that are going to sway me away from products that I already use.

L'Oreal Mythic Oil
L’Oreal Mythic Oil

L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil, 45ml bottle.  Mythic Oil sounds so grand for a hair oil, huh?  I might have liked this more if I hadn’t tried the Agave Healing Oil Hair Treatment in my September Birchbox.  The L’Oreal version is very lightweight, which is good, but something seems to have been lost in it because it doesn’t seem to leave my hair in as good shape as the Agave oil.  The Mythic Oil is made with a mixture of avocado and grape seed oil, which explains how they can make such a lightweight oil.  Both of those oils are great for your hair, and skin, because they contain a variety of vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and Omega 3, 6,and 9.  The bottle has a nice little pump on it that is good and bad.  Good because it dispenses the oil without a mess, but bad because it is almost impossible to just get a partial pump.  So, if you have short or very fine hair like I do, it is difficult to get the right amount without having too much in your hand.  The one bad thing with any hair oil treatment is that it is so imperative to remember to not get it on your roots and that is harder to do than I would have thought.  I think I’m just too used to adding products to my hair all over, so I always have to try really hard to remember not to get too carried away when applying the oil.  The L’Oreal Mythic Oil made my hair soft, but didn’t help combat any of the frizz the way the Agave oil seems to have been able to do.  But I’m still experimenting with the right amount to use.  The sample package is a good size and I like the pump bottle for the most part, but the lack of information or instructions on the bottle is annoying and obviously unhelpful.  At the FeelUnique site they talk about using it before you blow dry, so it might be that I would feel like I am getting better results if I use it when I am going to blow out my hair instead of when I’m leaving it curly and letting it air dry.  I’ll have to mess around with it more to figure out the right combination of amount of styling choice.

You can get the 125ml full size Mythic Oil at FeelUnique for £13.60.  That seems like a really big bottle since you don’t really use that much at a time.  Although, I guess how much you use depends on your hair.  Despite what I think about it not helping with my frizz, the Mythic Oil actually won the Your Hair Awards 2012 Winner – Best for Frizz Styling Product.  This gets great reviews, especially by people with curly hair, at FeelUnique, so I’m going to keep trying it because I feel like I must be missing a trick if everyone loves it and finds it useful in fighting frizz.  And that’s why instructions would have been super helpful, L’Oreal.

SkinPep Brightening Peel & Dark Circle Eraser
SkinPep Brightening Peel & Dark Circle Eraser

SkinPep Brightening Enzyme & Acid Peel and Dark Circle Eraser Eye Cream, 2, 3.5ml sachets and 2ml sachet.  In my last Glossybox I received a bottle of the SkinPep C15 Serum and used it a number of times and thought it was great, so I was excited to see these two items from SkinPep in my box this month.  I use all kinds of masks and exfoliators but I will definitely admit that the term “acid peel” has me a little apprehensive about trying the Brightening Peel.  It just sounds so much deeper than a regular exfoliation product.  And we’ve all seen people with bright red faces from peels gone too far and too wrong.  I’m sure this isn’t going to do that to me, but I’m just going to have to get my courage up and try it out.  I received two sachets of this with what they say is the right amount for a single application for face, neck and décolletage.  The peel is made using pineapple and papaya extracts, which I’ve had in products before, as well as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Glycolic acid and Lactic acid, that they say will create a gentle exfoliation experience that will target dark spots and dead skin.  All you have to do is spread it on freshly washed, slightly wet face or skin, then massage it into your skin for a couple of minutes, then leave it on for a one to two minutes more, up to five if you want a deeper peel, before you remove it with water.  Simple.  So, I’m going to give this a try, but I have been putting it off.  I don’t have to go anywhere in public for a few days this week so I’ll probably try it out tonight.

I haven’t had a chance to try out the Dark Circle Eraser either.  This has all kinds of active ingredients, 38 to be exact, and is supposed to use the power of antioxidants to boost collagen in the delicate under eye area.  Here are just some of the ingredients in this eye cream: Red Ginseng, Witch-Hazel & Cucumber, Japanese Sea Algae, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Grape Seed Extract, Padina Pavonica Extract, Green Tea Extract, Ferulic Acid, Resveratrol, Vitamin E, C, K, B5 & Retinol.  All of this stuff combines to make the eye cream really effective at targeting puffiness and bags, while increasing moisture and activating healthy circulation for the under eye area.  You use this like any other eye cream, you just pat it on under the eye and hope that it works some magic.  If you have the full size bottle it has a special applicator tip that you are supposed to use to massage your eye area once you have put the cream on to increase the effects of the eye cream.  Unfortunately, the little sachet doesn’t have that, so I’ll just have to use my fingertips to lightly massage the area.  The SkinPep site has just five reviews of this and they are all really positive, so I’m expecting some good results.  I should probably try it today since I barely slept last night and my eyes are looking less than spectacular.

You can buy all of the SkinPep products through their website and you even get free samples and free shipping on orders over £10.00.  There are full size versions of the peel and the eye cream, but you can also buy the same little packets that I got in my Glossybox if you just want to try them out or maybe to take with you when you travel.  The Brightening Enzyme and Acid Peel comes in four different sizes, so you have plenty of options.  You can buy the 3.5ml sachet, like I received from Glossybox, for £3.99, you can buy a 15ml tube for £14.99, a 30ml tube for £29.99, or a big 180ml tube for £89.99.  If you absolutely love this and use it twice a week, then the big tube is definitely the best deal.  The Dark Circle Eraser Eye Cream can be purchased as a 2ml sachet, like I have, for £6.49.  Or, you can buy the full size 15ml bottle with the cool applicator for £44.99.  So, I need to give these both a try, but I’m hoping that they are as great as the C15 Serum that really did make my skin look lovely when I used it for several days in a row.

September Glossybox Value:

  • Nails Inc Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat, full size 10ml bottle: £12.00 value.
  • ModelCo More Brows, full size 3.5ml tube: £14.95 value.
  • Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum, 15ml tube: £24.00 value.
  • L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil, 45ml bottle: £4.90 value.
  • SkinPep Brightening Enzyme & Acid Peel, 2, 3.5ml sachets: £7.98 value.
  • SkinPep Dark Circle Eraser Eye Cream,  2ml sachet: £6.49 value.
  • Total Value: £70.32

That is an outstanding value for this month’s box and the best value I’ve gotten out of either my Birchbox or Glossybox subscriptions in the last couple of months.  Even if I discount the really lousy ModelCo More Brows, the value is still a nice £55.37.  Since I like, or think I’ll like, all of the other products this month I feel like I’ve gotten a really good deal on my Glossybox this month, even more so since it was free!

Glossybox: August 2014

I received my August Glossybox right as we were moving too.  I think I got it the day before we actually were moving all of our junk to our new flat.  It’s amazing that it didn’t get lost in the chaos of moving.  The August box marks the three year anniversary of Glossybox.  It is amazing to think that they’ve only been around three years but have already delivered 6 million Glossyboxes all around the world.  They have subscribers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Korea, and Japan.  And what is maybe even more amazing is that the founder and CEO is a man.  You’d totally think that a woman came up with this idea, wouldn’t you?

The actual box also had a bit of an update in August.  It’s still pink, but a slightly lighter shade, and isn’t actually glossy anymore.  The dimensions are slightly different as well, giving it a more compact size overall.  But there’s still plenty of space inside for big products, though the August box only had three full sized products and two good sized samples, and of course a tiny perfume sample too.  And to be honest, the full sized products were teeny tiny, so it’s not like we’re talking a full sized hair product or something that can be quite sizeable.  Overall, this seemed like a good box to me because I like all of the products in it and will definitely use them all.

Figs & Rouge Rose Berry Hand Cream
Figs & Rouge Rose Berry Hand Cream

Figs & Rouge Mini Rose Berry Hand Cream, 20ml tube.  This isn’t full sized, but is the perfect size for travel, in your desk at work, or in your bag.  The scent is rose and berry and smells great with a fresh and slightly fruit scent.  If you don’t like the smell at all, you’ll be happy to know that it fades to nothingness after you’ve had it on about 30 minutes maybe.  What is really great about this hand cream is the unique light texture that absorbs pretty quickly into the skin.  Once it is absorbed fully, like 30 seconds probably but feels like maybe a minute, your skin feels silky smooth and soft.  And best of all, there’s no greasy residue or feeling left on your skin.  This hand cream is made with shea butter which is really great at hydrating and nourishing your skin, without greasiness and without using a large amount.  I like that it feels so nice and lasts really well too, not like some hand lotions that absorb and then totally vanish leaving your hands feeling just as dry.  The shea butter in this will also help keep your cuticles in good shape and looking pretty.  All of which is great for this time of year when the weather is transitioning and your skin is often left paying the price.

I really love L’Occitane’s shea butter hand cream, but this little tube is making me think about trying a big tube of this when I run out.  And I will definitely be buying the small tubes of Figs & Rouge hand cream to keep in my handbag, travel kit, and anywhere else I want a small sized tube of hand cream.  The 20ml sized tubes are just £3.95 at FeelUnique (they claim that is a FeelUnique exclusive), which is a rather good deal for something that works so well with just a little amount.  If you want the full sized 80ml tube instead, those are £6.95 at FeelUnique, unfortunately they don’t have the same Rose Berry in the big tube, but do have lots of other nice sounding scent options.

Yves Rocher Nail Polish
Yves Rocher Nail Polish

Yves Rocher Pink Mini Nail Polish in Rose, full sized 3 ml bottle.  To look at this little, itty bitty bottle you would not, even for a second, entertain the thought that this was a full sized product.  It is petite.  Minute, really.  But it is full sized.  I kind of like the small bottles because it lets you try lots of different colours without feeling like you’ll need to use it for the next three years before the bottle is even near finished.  The colour that I received was “Rose” and it is a nice neutral pink colour that would work for day or night or with any colour of clothing.  If you were justing wanting a quick polish, not something to last for several days, you could probably get by with just a single coat because it covers really well.  Plus, you can apply it quickly right before you go out because it dries super quick, like within a minute my single coat was dry enough that I could touch things without any fear of it smudging or getting ruined.  However, if you want it to be durable and look its best, you need two coats for sure.  The quick drying, single coat ability of this polish teamed with the baby bottle make it perfect for your bag.  The only problem I have with this little bottle of polish is that it is a bit more difficult to hold the brush because there’s just not that much handle on the applicator, also it is a really slippery plastic so can slip around a bit while you are trying to apply polish.

You can buy your teeny bottles of nail polish on the Yves Rocher site.  Currently, the little 3ml bottles run from £1.95 to £3.60 because they are having some sales.  If you buy from the selection of polishes that are £3.60, you get a free one, so they really end up being £1.80 per bottle then.  They have a pretty wide selection of colours too with everything from clear to bright to neutral to dark choices.

Kryolan Highlighter Cashmere
Kryolan Highlighter Cashmere

Kryolan Highlighter Cashmere, 4.5 gram full sized pot.  I believe this is the same formulation as Kryolan’s Illusion highlighter, which has a similar looking colour called “Cashmere”.  It’s a bit hard to tell though because the Glossybox card says this is “Kryolan for Glossybox” but I think that is just because the little pot has the Glossybox logo on the lid.  In any case, the highlighter is terrific.  The creamy texture is light which means that you can put it on just where you want it.  The creaminess also makes it very effortless to blend in to your skin to give you a very subtle highlighting.  I’m used to either powder or liquid highlighters that can be tricky to blend or go on to heavily and then look too obvious.  I like the colour of this too which is a kind of a pinkish champagne colour with a subtle hint of shimmer.  All of that means that if you are really pale, like me, this blends and looks natural, giving you that lit from within appearance.  The little pot is really nicely compact too which makes it easy to take with you on a trip or on a night out.

The full sized 4.5 gram pot is £12.95 at the Kryolan website.  You might think that’s a bit dear but since you’re not using that much of this at a time, it will take you a while to work through even this small amount.  I find a little smidge of highlighter on my cheekbones and across my brow bone make for a fresh look that doesn’t look shiny, just healthy.  I also occasionally put a dab at the inner corner of my eye to brighten the whole area up a bit.  That’s a trick that works especially well if I haven’t slept so well or I’m feeling less than chipper.  I think you could probably also use this to add a bit of shimmer to a matt eye shadow since the colour of the highlighter is so light.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, 40ml tube.  Elasticizer makes me think of a styling product, though I can’t put my finger on exactly what I think it would be doing.  But in reality, Elasticizer is a pre-shampoo treatment to make your hair more bouncy by improving its elasticity while leaving it shiny, all without weighing it down.  I didn’t know my hair was elastic, honestly.  Basically, this is a hair mask that you use before you shampoo to help your hair be stronger and look better, which of course is even more important if your hair is colour treated or damaged from styling or whatever.  I colour my hair so I try to use a few different products to keep my hair looking healthy and I’m certainly looking forward to trying this out.  However, the Elasticizer gets fabulous reviews everywhere I look, plus it is an InStyle Best Beauty Buys winner for 2013 for Best Deep Conditioning Mask.  Here’s what they say about it at FeelUnique, where incidentally it has a 5 star rating from 163 reviews:

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer was originally created by Philip Kingsley specifically for Audrey Hepburn, who wanted a super-moisturising treatment that would repair her hair and keep it in great condition throughout the frequent colouring and styling done to her hair on movie sets. This is a pre-shampoo intensive moisturising treatment that delivers elasticity, bounce and shine to hair. Also provides UV protection even after washing, helping prolong the life of colour treated hair.

To apply this you just dampen your hair and then get a bit of this and work it through your hair from roots to tips and then let it do its magic for about 20 minutes.  If you’ve got fine hair that is coloured, like I do, the suggestion is to only use this once per week and to go light on the middle and end sections of your hair.  If you’ve got a coarse texture or heavier hair, you can use it twice per week.  And you shouldn’t use this for a few days before or after chemical processing.

This isn’t a full sized product, however, the sample size is big enough that you’ll be able to use it a number of times probably (depending on how much hair you have) and get a feel for how well the product works for you.  There are a number of different sizes available at FeelUnique, a 75ml tube for £15.00, a 150ml tub for £27.50, and even a giant 1000ml bottle for £74.00.  I have generally had very good luck with the Philip Kingsley products that I’ve used, and have several of them in my bathroom right now, so I’m sure I will like this too.

SkinPep Super C15 Serum
SkinPep Super C15 Serum

SkinPep Cosmeceuticals Super C15 Serum, full sized 7ml bottle.  This is a Vitamin C based serum, along with a few other things, that will work to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. So, it sounds like a bit of magic in a little tiny bottle.  This is a really hard working serum though because it has a lot of science behind it and isn’t just sitting there doing nothing much.  The serum is made up of (15%) L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid (0.5%), Alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) (1%), and Matrixyl (Palmitoyl-Pentapepde-3); you’ll need a chemistry degree to get through some of those words.  But all of these have a proven benefit to your skin and can help to improve how it looks.  To get the full story on what all this serum can do for you, you’ll have to check out the SkinPep website.  This has a lot of good stuff in it and doesn’t have any of the stuff we all try to avoid: alcohol, artificial dyes, paraben, and perfume.

I haven’t had a chance to give this a big try, just tried it enough to know that it has a nice lightweight texture that feels nice on and doesn’t make my skin feel greasy or like I’ve got something heavy on.  You only need about 3 drops of this to cover your face and neck, which means even a seemingly small 7ml bottle will last a while.  Also, once absorbed, Super C15 can’t be washed or rubbed off and will remain effective for a minimum of 72 hours.  At the SkinPep website you can get two different sizes of the Super C15 serum, either the 7ml bottle for £13.99 or a big 30ml bottle for £49.99.  That big size seems like it would last you a long time since you don’t need to use very much of it.  After reading about this, I’m really looking forward to giving it a good try because who wouldn’t want their skin to look this improved.

Lalique L'Amour Perfume
Lalique L’Amour Perfume

Lalique L’Amour Perfume, 2ml vial.  This perfume has a big floral scent with a bit of a musky note too.  I definitely cannot put it into words as fancily as the description the Boots website:

The fragrance offers an olfactory declaration of love. It targets a woman with a radiant personality, eager to discover the world and enchanting people around her.The citrus freshness of bergamot, the elegant tenderness of a rosebud and the softness of neroli deliciously burst forth at the top. The heart, crucial in a love story, enriches the fragrance with a bouquet of sumptuous white flowers: tuberose, gardenia and jasmine petals. The base highlights dry, warm cedar. The creamy softness of luscious sandalwood rests on a bed of addictive musks.

It’s not my kind of fragrance.  It’s got a lot of floral that makes it have a kind of overwhelming scent that I don’t really enjoy.  I like a very light scent and this is definitely not fitting into that at all.  I do like the little sample vial that the perfume came in though.  Instead of it just having a spray or being open on the end, there’s a little series of holes that allows you to dab it on quite precisely.  I think that’s great for any perfume, but especially with something so potent.  You can buy the 50ml size of this for £67.00 at Boots, but clearly, I won’t be rushing out to buy it.

August Glossybox Value:

  • Figs & Rouge Mini Rose Berry Hand Cream, 20ml tube: £3.95 value.
  • Yves Rocher Pink Mini Nail Polish in Rose, full sized 3 ml bottle: £1.95 value.
  • Kryolan Highlighter Cashmere, 4.5 gram full sized pot: £12.95 value.
  • Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, 40ml tube: £7.33 value.
  • SkinPep Cosmeceuticals Super C15 Serum, full sized 7ml bottle: £13.99 value.
  • Lalique L’Amour Perfume, 2ml vial: £2.68 value.
  • Total Value: £42.85

That is a whole lot of value in one little box and definitely is way more than the monthly subscription fee.  I feel like I got a lot of great products this month that I’m really going to enjoy using, aside from the perfume which is going in the bin.  I would definitely say that Glossybox sent out a great box to celebrate their third birthday.  So, happy birthday, Glossybox and thanks for all the goodies!

Glossybox: July 2014

The July box is a celebration of American beauty brands.  You might have guessed that it had something to do with the US given the stars and stripes box.  The items in the box are all from American beauty brands, and not really the big ones that you might expect, which is nice.   This was the first month without a printed magazine included, which I must admit I do somewhat miss.  However, the switch to an online-only magazine means they can do videos and things and update it too.

My July box had four full sized products and the other product was a decent sized sample too. I love it when they include the full sized stuff because I really feel like I’m getting good value for my Glossybox, plus, there’s enough of something to see if it works and you like it.  I like or at least can use all of the items this month, so this seemed like a decent box to me.  As usual, the lipstick and nail polish colours aren’t necessarily ones that I would have picked for myself, but it’s fun to be forced to try some new things.  The box though, is adorable with the stars and stripes theme and definitely one I’ll be keeping.

Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick
Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick

Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube.  This is definitely one of those lipstick colours that I never would have chosen for myself because it is bright, very bright.  It seems such a huge departure from my normal rose coloured selection of gloss and lipsticks, that I was thinking I would really hate it.  However, I gave it a try and found that it actually doesn’t look too bad on me and that I can handle the bright colour, occasionally.  I’m not saying this is going to be my new go-to colour, but it certainly makes for a nice change.  It also kind of brightens up my whole face, which is great for those days when you are feeling kind of blah.  The formulation is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and doesn’t feel at all drying.  There’s a lot of pigmentation too, it seems, so the colour is very rich looking.  It lasts quite well too, even if you are eating and drinking.  Since this is a mineral lipstick it’s got nice things like Vitamin C and E in it too.  Along with natural waxes and mineral pigments, the vitamins will keep your lips in great shape, as well as give you a bit of sun protection.  Despite the colour freaking me out initially, I actually really like this lipstick because the formulation feels so nice on your lips and doesn’t make them get that dry, caked on feeling you get from so many lipsticks.  I’ve also found that I can tone down the colour a bit if I blot it after I put it on, which makes it a bit more like a lip stain.

While you can find some Bellapierre cosmetics at Amazon, for the full range of colours and products, it is best to just go directly to the source via the Bellapierre website.  They have six different colours of the mineral lipstick: Ruby, Catwalk, Envy, Fierce, Luminous, and Mandarina.  But no matter what colour you get it is going to be £20.00 per tube, though the shipping is £5.00 for FedEx next day.

Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer
Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer

Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube.  I like the texture of this quite a bit because it is very creamy and smooth feeling.  It goes on feeling totally silky smooth and glides across the very delicate skin around your eyes without even the slightest bit of pulling or drag.  And of course, that is so important when dealing with your eye area.  The primer is a light flesh tone, so it can even out your skin tone and brighten the eye area a bit, while giving you the perfect base for your eye shadow.  I’ve tried it a couple of times now and have to say that I find it easy to apply and it does make my eye area look a bit better even.  I don’t have a huge problem with my eye shadow creasing anyway, but this did seem to make my eyeshadow go on better and stay on longer; it was like the shadow colours seemed better/richer really.  This being Summer, and kind of humid recently, I’ve also tried this without eye shadow over it just to even out my eye lid area for a really super light makeup look and it worked perfectly.  It just gave my eyes that more even and finished look without needing anything else, plus the light formula feels like you are wearing absolutely nothing which is perfect for a hot, humid day.

Unfortunately it seems like you can only get this from US sites, and the international shipping rates might not prove worth it.  Glossybox lists Nicka.com as the place to get the Absolute New York primer for $4.99, which is a great price.  Since they don’t list international shipping rates, and their website quotes for shipping rates doesn’t seem to actually work, I’m reluctant to think of this as a viable source.  I haven’t found a place in the UK that sells this, so I don’t have any suggestions on where to get this product.

Carmex Lip Balm
Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot.  Carmex has been around since 1937 probably because it works so well.  I remember this from being a kid when it was pretty much either this or Chapstick to soothe your chapped lips.  It’s got a really distinctive vanilla with a hint of camphor smell about it too that every time I smell it, it just magically transports me back to being a kid.  Carmex is made with menthol, camphor, and lanolin to keep your lips moist and healthy, no matter what time of year it is.  It has a fairly thin consistency but it reallyprotects your lips to keep them moisturized and chap-free.  You can also use it on any rough or dry patches, like elbows.  Presumably you could use it on minor cuts or scrapes too because the camphor would act as an antimicrobial.  It’s great on lips though and really will get them feeling better fast, even when they are super chapped and dry.  I tend to go for thicker lip balms because I feel like they work a bit better, but they are usually more pricey than this.  So I guess you could just keep reapplying it and probably still come out ahead money-wise.  The only other problem I have with Carmex is the little pot that it comes in which has just always seemed unsanitary to me.  You have to put it on with your fingers and that means germs in the pot and then on your lips, all of which seems a bit too germy for me.

You can find the original little pot of Carmex at Graftons Beauty for £2.60.  If the original pot creeps you out like it does me, they also have a variety other lip balm products now too, like flavoured balms, like cherry and green tea, plus they even have tinted lip balms now all of which are in sticks or tubes.

Color Club Glossy Seal Polish
Color Club Glossy Seal Polish

Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle.  Color Club is a New York-based company and this deep blue colour, Glossy Seal, was created solely for the July Glossybox. Though it does look quite similar to their Chelsea Girl polish colour.   The nice thing about Color Club is that their polish is made with only non-toxic, cruelty-free ingredients, so you can have pretty, guilt and worry-free nails.  This colour fits in with the latest nail polish trend for darker colours and blues in particular, so that’s nice.  It’s definitely not something I would have picked up for myself, but I actually think it is a fun change.  I was worried it would look weird against my paleness but it doesn’t.  The polish is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and dries pretty fast.  I also was impressed with how long it lasted without chipping or peeling or anything bad.  I was impressed that even with all of the typing that I do during the week it lasted for a week without looking ratty by the end of seven days.

This is another item that I can’t seem to locate in the UK, just the US.  I’ve read a couple of places that there is a Color Club website in the UK, but I can’t get it to work for me.  Glossybox directs me to buy this at the Color Club site in the US, unfortunately, they don’t ship internationally.  So, the $8.50 price in the US is great, but you have to live in the US to get it apparently.

Dr. Bronner's Lavender Bar Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar.  I love the smell of lavender and find it immediately relaxing and destressing.  The smell of this soap is really nice too because it is a gentle lavender, not too potent or over the top.  Aside from the gorgeous smell, it is actually good for your hands and skin too.  The soap is made with organic coconut, palm, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils to leave your skin feeling lovely and soft.  The soap is great and I actually think I might get the big bar for my shower.  This would be so great to shower with right before bed to just get a head start on relaxing and resting.  The soap is nice and so is the company.  Dr. Bronner’s soaps are made with organic and fair trade ingredients, plus they use a lot of recycled materials to create their packaging too.  For instance, the lavender soap comes wrapped in 10% hemp-flax / 90% post-consumer recycled paper from Living Tree Paper Co.

The full sized bar is 140 grams/5 ounces and you can get it at the Dr. Bronner’s website for £3.99.  It’s certainly a bit more than regular bar soaps, but the ingredients and overall quality of the soap warrant it, I think.  If you like lavender, they have a whole range of cleansers and lotions that are made with the same types of organic, fair trade ingredients.  I might get some of the liquid hand soap next time I run out after enjoying the bar soap so much.

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

  • Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube: £20.00 value.
  • Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube: £2.95 value.
  • Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot: £2.60 value.
  • Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle: £5.03 value.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar: £0.97 value.
  • Total Value: £31.55

The mineral lipstick more than covers the cost of the Glossybox, which is great.  I think the box this month was quite good because I like pretty much all of the products.  I’m a little on the fence about the Carmex but it will work great for keeping next to my bed.

Dior Vernis Cherie Bow Nail Glow

While I was writing my post the other day about the Dior Addict Lip Glow, I realized that I have had the Nail Glow for a year and haven’t written about it yet.  And I LOVE IT, so it’s weird that I forgot to write about it.  So, today I am going to rectify my past oversight.

I’m not a big manicure person.  I like to have nice looking nails but I don’t go overboard with it.  I have a range of nail polish but truthfully it is all for my toes, except for the divine Dior Nail Glow.  As soon as I saw the first announcement of this, I knew I had to have it and that it would be perfect for me.  Luckily, it did not fail to live up to all of the hype.  Nail Glow is the same concept as the Dior Lip Glow, except for nails instead of lips (as I said in my post the other day).  It gives your nails a polished, shiny look with just a hint of pink that somehow, as if by magic, makes the white part whiter and the rest healthy and pink looking.  It just exacerbates the natural colour of your nail area, I would say.  Here’s what FeelUnique has to say about it:

To reveal the natural beauty of your nails, Dior has invented Nail Glow. A treatment nail varnish that makes pink pinker, and brightens nail tips for an instant French manicure look.

Dior Vernis Cherie Bow Nail Glow
Dior Vernis Cherie Bow Nail Glow

I just absolutely love the Dior Nail Glow!  With just one quick coat you can transform your nails.  You will really look like you just had a manicure because your nails will have this lovely shine to them and the colour will make your nails look healthy and your tips look white.  It’s not quite up to the whiteness level of a true French manicure, but is likely the best solution for an at home manicure.  I’ve also tried this on my feet to get a similar elegant finish to my toe nails.  While I still like some colour on my toes, this has definitely become my go-to polish for my finger nails.

It’s the quickness of it that is really impressive too because all you need is just a single coat.  You don’t even need two, but if you choose to do two coats the pink and white areas will be even brighter.  I have found that sometimes with two coats though my pink part starts to look a little violet in colour.  That could just be due to the natural colouring of my nail area though.  The pink/purple colour can also be intensified if you are wearing clothing of that colour.  So now I just do a single coat because it doesn’t seem to be affected as much by what I’m wearing.

It is quite durable, even with just a single coat.  I find that it looks good still after five to seven days, depending on what I’ve been doing with my hands, but definitely at the end of a week it needs a refresh.  Of course, since it is so quick and easy, you don’t mind taking the few minutes to re-paint your nails.  Plus, the bottle is small enough that taking it with you on a trip isn’t a big problem either, even with the restrictions on flights.  For what it’s worth, I tried putting a clear coat over the Nail Glow and wasn’t impressed with the results.  It didn’t make it any more durable, which was my hope, but seemed like it just make it flake off faster.  I don’t think my top coat was with a Dior product, so maybe that would make a difference.  However, since the Nail Glow works so nicely all on its own, it hardly seems worth the added hassle of putting a different clear coat on top.

Part of the ease of applying the polish comes from the really nice brush design that Dior have come up with for all of their nail polish.  It’s kind of wider and slightly curved at the end, but flat.  The whole shape of it makes it very easy to cover your nails almost perfectly with just three strokes of the brush.  Plus, it doesn’t seem to veer towards having too much polish on the brush and thus making a mess of your nails.  It applies a nice coat of polish that isn’t glumpy and will dry pretty quickly.  I’ve never timed how quickly it dries, but it’s just a few minutes before I can resume normal activities without the fear of smudges or damage to the polish.  I think the little chubby bottle for Dior polish also makes it easier to handle but that could just be me and my preferences.

I use my Nail Glow all the time and the current bottle has lasted for almost a year, so it seems well worth the price of £18.00 (at FeelUnique.com).  I’m actually in need of a new bottle, finally.  I think since you need just a single coat, it seems to last and last and last.  This is the perfect polish if you like your hands to have a finished look but don’t want to pay for a weekly manicure and want something that looks better than just a slap of clear polish.  Also, unlike some colours, this looks great on nails of any length.  You can get excellent results in just five minutes and I really don’t know any other polish that can match it.  I would highly recommend everyone have a bottle of this because it works so well.  There’s no excuse now for not having very lovely looking nails all of the time now.

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.