The ultimate ‘to me, from me’ gift, Feel Unique are offering to their customers the opportunity to access the best in beauty with a DIY subscription for just £11.95 each month. The FU Beauty Box is a beauty subscription service that lets you have full reign of picking and playing with products that you actually want to try. No more silly doubles or products that you’ll never try, don’t want or like!
It’s been a while since I’ve been on here writing – been feeling a little underwhelmed and just not motivated to do anything. With Christmas a few weeks away, my mind and time’s been preoccupied on getting everything ready. Little man also came down with a cough last Friday which has disappeared now but in a panic, I ordered a Covid home test kit for the both of us. After all, I don’t want to go back to work without knowing I’m all clear and don’t want LO to cause his class to self-isolate so close to Christmas if he isn’t all clear.
My Curated Beauty Box Giveaway!
This month, I wanted to create a curated box that I could giveaway – especially with the festive mood it seemed like a good time to set a giveaway! I have to apologise for being a couple days overdue on this post, I should’ve scheduled it ages ago but not been at the best with my health since the end of last month. I’ve been having really bad eye-strain and can’t seem to sit in front of a screen or on my phone for too long. I’m going to have to get starter with my time keeping so I’m only getting about 2-3hrs screen time then that’s it.
Anyway… without further ado, here’s what you can get your hands on this December:
What curated goodies are you giving away?
What’s inside the curated box?
Inside this little box of goodies are the following products:
Palmers Coconut Oil deep conditioning protein pack (full size)
Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp shampoo
This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up 3-in-1 moisturiser
Holika Holika Pure Essence Damask Rose hydrating sheet mask (full size)
Coming out of a lockdown and back into tiered restrictions, London is lucky to be in Tier 2. We are able to go to the shops like normal, visit non-essential retail stores and eat out at restaurants again. My health has taken a slight turn (well, my eyesight mostly) but my physical health is not the best either. I haven’t done any exercise and I can feel that it’s taken a toll on my body. My mental health seems in tact for now but I can feel that mental-burnout is not a far away thought. I wouldn’t say I’m experiencing depression but I do feel sluggish all the time, not motivated or too tired to do anything and not wanting to work. The phrase “I can’t adult today” seems to be my favourite daily motto. Every now and then someone pulls me out and it’s usually by allowing myself some time to take care of myself and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the same.
This box was inspired by taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally.
Treat your hair and skin to wonderful goodies! Soothe a sensitive scalp with Philip Kingsley‘s shampoo and nourish your winter hair with Palmers deep conditioning protein mask. Treat your skin to Holika Holika‘s super-drenching hydrating face sheet mask. Damask rose softens and hydrates the skin, and improves skin cell regeneration – that’s why you’ll always find rose essential oil in many anti-ageing skincare products. Cut down on time with The Works‘ 3-in-1 mask, primer and moisturiser. The creamy texture is perfect for winter skin and suits all skin types.
On a more emotional and mental level, I wanted to include products that can help you create a calming mood for your self-care time. The pillow spray by This Works is amazing – it contains lavender, vetivert and chamomile to soothe and calm your mind so you can sleep better. Before you spray your pillow, light up the super-indulgent wax melt by Savour Candles. All you’ll need is a tealight and oil burner if you don’t already have one. You can get these from Poundland, Asda and other homeware stores as cheap as £1.
Savour Candles With my promise last month to deliver you a treat from one of my favourite black-owned small businesses, I’ve picked Savour Candles. They have THE BEST soy candles and wax melts I’ve ever experienced. The Caramel Vanilla Latte is f*ing AMAZING (not to mention constantly sold out!) but my second fave as to be the Tobacco & Vanilla – very musky and sensual. My candle’s burned well over 6hrs in total and I still have a decent amount of burn time left. Check out the official website and don’t forget the next Black Pound Day is January 2nd for exclusive discounted rates. Check their instagram page: @savourcandles for their 10% off discount code – order early as last dispatch for Christmas is December 18-22nd.
Ready to enter the giveaway?
If you’re ready to enter, simply hit the button below which will take you over to Rafflecopter which is where the giveaway will be hosted.
Terms & Conditions: UK entrants only. All mandatory entry fields must be completed to be eligible to win. A winner will be selected at random and contacted via email. Box will be sent via Royal Mail tracked 48. No cash prize alternatives. Closing date is midnight on Sunday 20th December!
A side note: this giveaway has not been sponsored or endorsed by any brands. They’ve either been bought exclusively or selected from previous beauty boxes for this blog giveaway.
Fancy ANOTHER giveaway?
Who doesn’t?! If this competition is not enough for you, I’ll be lining up another blog giveaway for the new year… YAY! We all love getting free goodies right? The New Years’ giveaway goodies will include three full-sized products; my favourite haircare, skincare and body care product. Ooh, I also have another Noughty revierw to complete and yes… there will be a NOUGHTY GIVEAWAY in the new year too! WOOP WOOP!
Keep a look out on my instagram: @manny.wandering for all the latest updates and new giveaways will be announced on January 1st! I’ll make sure I’ll schedule them ready from now LOL 🙂
I’m back with another beauty box review. Yay! I can’t believe my last review was in the summer.. oops. I’ve been loving the beauty boxes but just been so busy with other Real Life things (and a bit lazy with writing) that I never got round to writing up a review but I will be jumping back onto it and backdating the reviews so have a little look for them on here.
So let’s get to the review, I won’t hold you in suspense any longer… 🙂
I LOVE this month’s Birchbox packaging. It’s super cute! First off, the natural yet feminine tonal colours really captured my attention as it’s completely different from last month’s Birchbox which was a brighter pink tote bag. I loved last month’s box but never got round to writing a box review so I’ll do that soon and backdate the post for October.
The nude pink and earthy green colour works really well together and it may be because they share some nude or brown undertones. Super pretty and feminine. It’s also very calming to look at. Birchbox is all about women empowerment and the past few months I feel like the boxes have had a strong focus on self-love and affirmations.
With face coverings being compulsory whenever wee step foot anywhere outside of the house, you’ll need a lipstick that can meet your expectations. That’s why I love this super highly-pigmented, ultra-matte liquid lipstick, it really delivers! Forget lipstick stains on the inside of your mask as this magical stuff is smudge-proof, thanks to the brand’s smear-resistant formulation. Once applied, the liquid lipstick dries matte in 30secs flat, is super easy to apply and goes on smoothly. The colour I got was the mauve colour, named ‘I decide my destiny’ but there are two other colours to choose from.
It’s definitely one of my BB Faves from this month’s box. I first heard of the Real Her brand from my previous Birchbox where I tried their Goddess highlighter which is AMAZING! Again, the highlighter is also super pigmented in a champagne gold colour, so beautiful. You can see my review of the highlighter here and on Youtube. 🙂
I’m really enjoying the range of highlighters I’ve been able to sample. Even though my fave highlighter is the baked powder one from Real Her, I had to give The Beauty Crop’s highlighter a try. This liquid highlighter has a silk, creamy texture that’s lightweight on the skin. It has this really beautiful, dewy sheen when I apply it onto my skin straight after moisturiser. Enriched with coconut and argan oils, the hydrating formula leaves the skin looking plumped and glowing.
The colour ‘Blind Date’ is a deep bronze hue but on my medium olive skintone, it blends in perfectly. There are two other shades available. I really love it and will definitely add it with my moisturiser or tinted moisturiser for a dewy day-to-day face or when I want a sheer, dewy look. You can also mix it into foundation for the same effect.
The Birchbox pocket mirror is super cute! It’s a BB Exclusive and even comes with a nude leather-effect pouch. This small, hand-sized pocket mirror is compact enough to fit in even the smallest vanity purses. The back of the mirror is printed with this month’s motto: “Pretty smart, Pretty kind, Pretty funny, Pretty strong” and the BB logo. It’s a great little affirmation which you can remind yourself of every time you reach for the mirror.
Spas and beauty salons are currently closed until early December (at time of writing, subject to Gov advice it could change) until further notice so your next beauty appointment might be a while yet. However, no need to fear as Vitamasques has our back with their 3-step facial mask. It’s said that this little pack can “deliver us professional salon results at home”… I will be the judge of that. I loved their pineapple serum which I got in the August box so I’m hoping I’ll love this mask too however I wish I got the hydrating mask as my skin is more dehydrated than combination. This is the green detox one, so ideally good for normal/combination/oily skin types whereas the pink hydrating mask which is better for dry/dehydrated/sensitive/mature skin types.
Update: I gave this mask a try yesterday and can say it is really good! I love the fact that it’s a 3 step facial – in the Detox one you get a scrub, the sheet mask and moisturiser. For the scrub, I wish there was more of it as it bubbles up which feels quite tickly on the face, when I washed it off my skin felt really cleansed but not stripped. Then I put on the sheet mask for the recommended 20mins – I loved the mask but the eye holes and mouth holes are too small even for me and my eyes aren’t big! I got some of the product in my eyes which wasn’t nice but good to know they load up on the serum in the face sheet.
Once 20mins was up, I massaged in the remaining serum and applied the lightweight moisturiser on top. It was a lovely Saturday treat and I enjoyed using it. I do still wish I was given the Hydrating mask instead as that’s more tailored for my skin but no biggie as I will purchase it after knowing how good Vitamasques are. 🙂
This silky formulated serum is said to leave your hair frizz-free and smoothed out which can make styling easy and hassle-free. It’ll will tame flyaway strands and split ends and suitable for all hair types. As it contains silicones and I’m still following my own modified version of the Curly Girl Method, I won’t be using this serum. Silicones are great at smoothing out the hair cuticles which leaves the hair looking shiny so if you’re partial to using silicones or use them in your current routine, the serum will be a nice treat for your hair. It’s packed with provitamin B5 and vitamin A which will also leave your hair feeling nourished.
P I N T H I S P O S T
I’m currently curating my own beauty box to GIVE AWAY THIS CHRISTMAS! If you want to be in with a chance of winning it, make sure you’re back on the blog on Sunday 6th December. Set your reminder and keep an eye out on social media too. More details to be revealed soon!you can enter the giveaway below!
I was slightly excited to open this box and boy was I in for a treat! This month’s box has one of the best selection of products inside (one of the main reasons why I subscribed this month) and I’m so glad I wasn’t left disappointed. I’ve also received my Birchbox this month and I’m a little underwhelmed with the products but that’s for another post!
Beautifully wrapped and sealed with a metallic foil sticker, Look Fantastic really go all out when it comes to their box presentation. Compared to other beauty boxes I’ve had, LF boxes are one of best wrapped and filled. If you open the box neatly enough, you could reuse the tissue paper and the shredded paper can definitely be reused for other presents or gifts.
The box (same size it’s always been) won’t fit in the letterbox so if you’re expecting your beauty box, make sure you’re in to open for the postman or have someone at home to accept your parcel.
A seriously good line-up right?! There are lots of good premium products to try in this box, and with the jade roller being a full-sized product that’s worth £9.99 alone, you’ve basically got everything else in the box for just £5.01 more!
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream
I really love the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream – it’s been one of my all-time faves for a while but because it’s so expensive it’s just completely out of my price range. The scent of the cream is great and this British brand is one of the leading spa skincare brands out there. What makes this moisturiser really special is the algae extract, Padina Pavonica that they use in their Pro-Collagen range, which is proven in their formulations to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles and firms up ageing skin. (No wonder it’s the brand’s number one bestselling product!)
ESPA Pink Hair & Scalp Mud
I was so pleasantly surprised that this ESPA pink mud mask is fully CG approved! Before using it, I was curious to see if there were any non-CG approved ingredients in the list and Curlsbot gave me the green light (literally!) so I was very happy about it. The product smells fresh and fab, like a mild citrus scent. It’s currently SOLD OUT on Look Fantastic and ESPA website so if you want to give it a try, you might have a hard time looking for it. But be aware, it’s not a cheap treatment mask – for a list of other hair treatment masks, check out my CG approved products list.
Luxie 209 Large Shader Brush
As I mentioned in a previous post, I really love the Luxie brushes. They are super soft and super pretty to look at. The pink handle is very girly but it’s a nice shade that would suit anyone. I received my first Luxie brush from a different beauty box and loved the way it applied my highlighter and this shader brush is perfect for applying my eye-shadow. I’m not a big eye-shadow fan but I have a few I like using so now I actually have a tool to apply with than just my fingers. Also, this is a beauty brand with a conscience – their synthetic brushes are cruelty-free and entirely vegan so all you plant-based peeps out there you can be rest assured your beauty tools are as animal-friendly as you are. 🙂
BrushWorks Jade Roller (full sized product)
Facial rollers are a new one for me. I’ve seen them about and highly recommended by beauty bloggers and editors but never tried them myself. This roller from BrushWorks is only £9.99 which is the cheapest one I’ve seen around and if I hadn’t had gotten in this box, I would’ve never thought about getting one before. It’s super cooling on the skin and would really soothe any irritated skin. It can also be used as a tool to help you massage in your serums or moisturisers. I like applying a slightly firmer pressure with it around my jawline and cheekbones to alleviate facial tension (did you know we unknowingly clench our jaws more when stressed!) and I use the smaller end gently around the eyes and browns to encourage lymph drainage which helps to reduce puffiness around the eyes.
Illamasqua Beyond Powder Highlighter (shade OMG)
This Illamasqua highlighter is extremely pigmented – and if I must say – it’s even more pigmented than my previous highlighter from REAL HER and I seriously love that highlighter. I also used this highlighter as an eye-shadow and its silky powder stayed on really well and was a lovely champagne colour on my eyelids. You can also use it as a body highlighter on collarbones for a beautiful light-reflecting sheen. Its versatility means that I can definitely make the most out of it, especially as I’m now starting to build up a little mini collection of beauty products!
Diego Della Palma Lip Pencil (Shade 80, Antique Pink)
This lip pencil is a really pretty colour and suits light-medium to deep-medium skin tones. The dusky pink is a great for wearing as a natural lip colour as it’s a muted, dark beige-pink and it’s one of my favourite shades to wear. It pretty much goes with everything. I like using this lip pencil as an all-over colour on my lips but it can also be used as just a lip liner. Either way, it glides on really well and has a matte look. If matte isn’t your thing and you prefer a glossy or sheen effect, you can wear a lip gloss or lip balm on top for the desired look.
LF Beauty Box pop socket
I’ll tell you the truth… I had NO IDEA what the hell this thing was and had to google other LF beauty box reviews to figure it out LOL! There’s no mention of it in the LF Beauty Box magazine that the box comes with and there’s no instructions or labels on what it is inside the box! So now we’re clear it’s a pop socket, these little bad boys go on the back of your phone to make it easier to hold your device and prevent slips of the hand. Not sure how reliable it can be with most iphones weighing a ton but apparently it works! Unfortunately for me, Little Miss got to it before I managed to get it on my phone and she’s peeled off the adhesive side completely so I can’t use it at all. Bummer!
NB. this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission on qualifying transactions.
That was the theme of this month’s beauty subscription box. I actually really like the packaging, I found it very women empowering if that’s the right word to use. Perfectly aligned with my birthday month, I’m all for women empowerment and strong women.
The colourful flyer had some interesting stats around some of the taboos associated with women’s sexuality, these include:
44% find it easier to orgasm alone than with a partner
67% stated that external stimulation is the easiest way to reach an orgasm
52% said ‘yes’ to masturbating regularly (at least once a week)
For me, I don’t find those stats surprising but instead quite accurate. As women, I think we know our bodies well and we definitely know what we like/don’t like when it comes to bedroom antics. But because female sexuality is such a taboo subject, many of us find it really hard to talk about it but really, we should be owning it as part of self-love. How can we expect others to love our bodies if we ourselves don’t love our bodies?
Birchbox Beauty Box review
So back to the point of this review (the products!) let’s take a look at what’s inside the box. Everything looked pretty much like a full-sized product this month which is really nice. For once, I was excited to try out everything in there.
I also had a little look on the Birchbox website to see what I could’ve had in my box and was actually disappointed I didn’t get the AVEDA shampure composition oil! That stuff is AMAZING! I love the scent of that oil and it works so well on my skin. Aveda’s composition oils are multi-purpose so you can use it on hair, skin and nails. I would’ve rather that than the minty body shimmer. Bummer.
So along with a leaflet of what’s inside and a little flyer about the orgasm survey, we have:
Don’t Forget! Students get 50% off their first box (verified on UniDays)
Palmers Coconut Oil conditioning protein pack
Summer hair can be quite tricky to manage as we can all end up with dry, parched hair if we’re not protecting it enough from moisture or hydration loss. This Palmers Coconut oil protein treatment helps to strengthen and nourish dry and damaged hair. Ingredients include coconut oil, monoi oils and keratin protein keeps the hair smooth and shiny.
My only peeve with this conditioning protein pack was that it contains silicones – if you are a strict Curly Girl Method follower you will want to avoid this one. You can give it away to friends or family, or save it as a Christmas stocking filler as it looks really good to use. Otherwise if you don’t mind, go ahead and use it. My waves have become really stringy in the heat and silicones are actually an anti-humectant like castor oil so I’m going to give it a try and see what happens! Will update once I’ve given it a go.
VQ Pineapple glow serum (my fave!)
I love fruit enzyme exfoliators but have not really tried fruit enzyme serums – the closest I got to that is a vitamin C serum (from Balance Me which was fab!) so I was really thrilled to give this one a try. Just at the right time too as my go-to serum has almost finished. The serum is very lightweight and glides on the skin perfectly. It’s really easy to spread and sinks into the skin super fast. I LOVE using a serum and it’s really changed my skincare game. I recommend a serum to all of my clients at the spa and definitely feel all skin types can benefit from using one.
The VQ pineapple extract serum contains antioxidants, hylauronic acid to plump up the skin and gold reflectors to give skin that dewy, hydrated look without the heavy or greasy feeling.
Lord & Berry Line/Shade Glam eye pencil in Antique Bronze (my fave!)
In my younger days, you’d rarely find me without eyeliner on however I always stuck to classic black and never bothered to venture into other colours. Now I’m a bit older, I love the coloured alternatives – plum really brings out brown and hazel eyes, khaki is a wonderful shade on grey, green, and blue eyes, blue makes brown eyes pop and brown/copper looks fab on all eye colours. Saying that I do prefer to use liquid eyeliner over pencil.
I got the bronze shade in my box and it is a beautiful colour. I would love to see what the gold looks like but I’m happy with what I got. It’s easy to apply and glides on my lids very easily. It’s said to be blendable so you can create a smoky eye with it but I’m not great at doing smokey eye. I do however like to blend it in so it looks like a creamy eye shadow – as I said, the colour is amazing! Defo my fave to the classic black.
Real Her Goddess highlighter
This powder highlighter is the stuff of wonders. The packaging is actually the most classiest I’ve seen for a highlighter and I really like it. I’m not usually a fan of powder highlighters anymore as I prefer my Fenty Beauty cream to powder formulation as it’s more easy to apply but this is a really good alternative as it’s super smooth on the skin and man the pigment!
It’s seriously rich in pigment, I swiped a bit on my cheekbones and damn! It looked so good when the sun light fell on my face. I will be using this one again, especially when I rather a dry formula compared to my Fenty Beauty highlighter. This Real Her Goddess Highlighter would also work a treat as an eyeshadow – I will definitely use it for this too!
Brave New Care Minty Twinkle Twinkle hair & body shimmer
Super shimmery like a lot of the products in this month’s beauty box however when I opened the tub, the heavy menthol smell took over me. Wooo! It’s heavily menthol scented that I’m actually a little scared to use it. It’s definitely not a sweet minty smell like peppermint, it’s hardcore menthol like Vicks rub or Menthol cigarettes. The golden bronze colour looks fabulous though so it might have to be a product I carry with me on a beach day to apply post-aftersun for a beautiful golden glow. *update*Okay, I finally decided to use this product and you know what… I actually really like it haha! The strong menthol is replaced with a yummy vanilla scent once it’s rubbed into the skin – alcohol smell none! Definitely a winner. It leaves the skin looking slightly sun-kissed, smooth and would prob feel really refreshing on a sunny day.
Get your hands on your very own August 2020 Birchbox beauty box! Lucky for me, I received TWO Birchboxes this month (not sure if I was charged twice! I better check) but as it’s my birthday I’m feeling very generous so will be giving away my second box totally FREE! It contains the exact same products I have in my box above.
This giveaway is now closed.
NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.
It’s been so long since I last reviewed a beauty box. I still subscribe every now and then but either I have been too lazy/busy/not great enough to publish a review or I just lost interest in writing it. However since the lockdown, I have had more time to myself and able to show some love on the blog again… especially now that I have had a big influx of people passing by since quarantine, it’s nice to keep busy whilst I’m off work. I also purchased March’s Birchbox which you can read here.
Watch the video review:
(click CC for subtitles/closed captions)
April’s Birchbox Review
First of all, I have to give a huge kudos points for Birchbox’s packaging for April’s box. It’s stunning. Photos actually do not do it any justice, it’s really amazing. This May’s box packaging is also fantastic and totally unique so check that out too.
The design was created in collaboration with Anthropologie – a lifestyle-fashion brand that sells everything from clothing and jewellery to homeware, beauty and gifts. Their designs are funky, unique and fun. I’m a big fan of their homeware and gifts section, I really like their fun and colourful prints. It’s one of the reasons why I really wanted to try out this April’s box.
Can I just say… I am really excited to try all of the products in this box! Apart from This Works and Percy & Reed, I’ve not heard of the other brands before. It might just be because I’ve been away from beauty boxes for a while but it’s a nice treat for me.
KNDR Mood Balm
I received this lip balm in Positivity Pink which is actually a bright purple colour. Once you apply the mood lip balm, the colour changes according to your lip’s natural pH level and adjusts to your very own tone of pink. Mine came out a light, bright pink. When Little Miss put hers on more, she came out with a subtle fuchsia colour. Very pretty and fun to use. It glides on smoothly and left my lips feeling soft. It’s also very hydrating, I got a few hour’s wear out of it before needing to re-apply. This was one of my fave products.
My new fave lip balm
We love the colour-changing lip balm
KNDR mood balm in positivity pink
I really love the packaging of the mood balm – the feminine design is super cute! The outer packaging is made from card and the inside packaging is card with a plastic applicator. It seems like a good idea but if water gets onto the balm, I’m not sure it’ll last! I’m also not the neatest with lip colours and you can see from the image, I already smudged the colour onto the white bit of the packaging already! I also chipped the top of the lip balm but let’s pretend you don’t see that. 🙂
Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash
During summer my skin tends to produce a little more oil than normal so I usually swap out my creamy cleanser for a gel cleanser or wash. I will be trying this one out and let you know how it goes. The face wash states that cleanses effectively without stripping essential moisture from the skin and is suitable for all skin types. Containing a blend of tea-tree (anti-bacterial), aloe vera (skin repairing) and glycerine (hydrating), this purifying face wash looks like it will re-balance skin types and leaves skin cleansed and clear. It does remove makeup but I’m not sure if it’s suitable for eyes.
**update 30/07** I LOVE this face wash, it really exceeded my expectations. I thought I would still feel some kind of tightness especially as it’s very cool, almost tingly upon use due to the teat tree and witch hazel but man! This gel wash is one of the best I’ve used so far.
Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad
This is a Birchbox exclusive product and one of the products I was really looking forward to use. Made from ultra-hygienic, flexible silicone with tiny bristles, it’s designed to lift away impurities and makeup whilst gently exfoliate the skin. Definitely gentle enough to use every day. Again, another product great for all skin types especially dull and dehydrated skin. I’ll be using this in conjunction with my Huygens face wash but also with my Aromatherapy Associations creamy rose cleanser. This is one of my favourite items from this box too.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
This stuff smells super-calming. The relaxing scent of lavender, chamomile and vetivert will definitely help to soothe your senses. It’s also been clinically proven to help you sleep quicker than usual and wake up feeling more refreshed. I already have a product which I use when I’m feeling restless (Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax roller ball) which is amazing and works well – I find that this pillow spray compared to mine is much milder in terms of scent strength but good enough to help soothe you to sleep. It’s the sedative aroma of vetivert that always seems to do the trick!
Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo
This dry shampoo unfortunately is not CG-friendly as it contains alcohol denat but I might give it a try near to the next time I’m doing a clarifying wash just to see how it works on my hair. I’m not usually a fan of dry shampoo but they do come in handy if you’re spending a night out or away from home ie on a city break, camping, glamping or on a trip where you aren’t able to take all your haircare with you.
So.. yay or nay?
I am so glad that Birchbox’s April beauty box was a hit with me. I remember a time when I loved beauty boxes so much but then what happens is the products start accumulating and I also end up receiving a lot of doubles from the boxes. I love the fact that with the beauty boxes you can subscribe/unsubscribe whenever you want – there’s no contract to tie you down.. if you don’t want to be! 🙂
Since London went into lockdown, a lot of us have been able to slow down in our busy lives and take things at a slower pace. For me that means being able to jump back onto this blog and show it some good love! I’ve missed writing and it has been a while since I could sit down and type it all out, especially where we’ve been needing the PC for Little Man to do his home school work.
I’ve been able to FINALLY review my Birchbox boxes for March and April 2020. You can find a link to the April box review at the end of this post. March’s beauty box design was inspired by International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8th this year. Women around the world celebrated, empowered and paid homage to each other.
This was my first re-subscribed box of 2020 and the main reason why I had to get it was because of the cute packaging AND the beautiful Elizabeth Scarlett palm beauty bag. It was too beautiful to be without it.
The box packaging is super sweet! I love the diversity of women on the cover – a perfect theme for IWD; it encompasses all ages, ethnicity, hair type and even fashion styles. My Birchbox arrived on time as it was slightly just before COVID-19 had everything on lockdown. My April box was late and I’m sure subsequent boxes will also be slightly delayed as the BB team are hard at work making sure that all boxes are packed safely and arrive to us safely.
Elizabeth Scarlett Palmier make-up bag (BONUS gift!)
Forgive Me Suzie Liquid Eyeshadow**fave product** This creamy, lightweight eyeshadow out easily with a brush or fingers (I use fingers!) and stays put without creasing or smudging. I got the shade ‘Fairy Dust’ which is a bright colour colour that looks fabulous on my skin tone, which is light olive/medium colour. In the summer I usually get a bit of a glow and I’m sure I’ll still be able to carry this colour off well on tanned skin. It’s a beautiful matte-shimmer tone. With a dewy makeup face, this eyeshadow will stand out nicely.
Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum**fave product** Brighten up your beauty routine with a daily dose of vitamin C in the form of this innovative serum. Vitamin C helps to combat signs of ageing and minimise fine lines. My skin feels super hydrated after using this, thanks to the hyaluronic acid ingredient. I love layering my skincare and after cleansing, I’ll always use a toner, serum and moisturiser, oil (sometimes both if skin is really dry) on top. Eye cream is an added step I sometimes do if I’m bothered as I don’t really have bags, dark circles or puffiness. The vitamin C serum sinks in fast and has a refreshing citrus smell – like orange zest. The serum leaves my skin so smooth I can go without moisturiser or oil on top but because my skin is quite dehydrated I always make sure I layer-up.
Daily Concepts Multi-Functional Soap Sponge Charcoal This 2-in-1 soap-sponge-hybrid tool combines detoxifying charcoal body wash with a mild, exfoliating scrubber to really cleanse your skin. Slough off those dead skin cells and leave your skin looking brighter and more radiant. The charcoal soap is sooo gorgeous – somewhat reminds me of the African black soap smell which is really nice. This soap does contain SLES but not SLS so not great for really sensitive or very dry skin. I was using it regularly but then stopped as my skin’s a little drier than normal now. You can’t see it in my photo above as I’ve been using it and it’s been well used haha!
BOD Everyday Body Boosting Sorbet Petite This hydrating body lotion contains moisturising ingredients such as sweet almond oil and shea butter. It melts into skin quickly and delivers intense hydration. It’s said to have a tightening effect on the body (formulated with natural sugars) but I’m not convinced with the whole skin-tightening effect from a bottle… no matter how great the marketing is. Sure it can ‘feel’ tighter and toned but that feeling is gone once it wears off or you wash it off. IMO, the best way to a tighter and toned body? Exercise, plenty of water and healthy eating.
The Beauty Crop Wing Woman Liquid Eyeliner No matter the look you’re going for, “the deep black formula will help you define your eyes without flaking or smudging”. I am a big fan of liquid eyeliner since my early twenties and I have not gone back to kohl pencil since. As much as I love the colour intensity of kohl pencils, I could never get the lines neat however I would still prefer to use pencil on my lower eyeliner and if I wanted to do smokey eye but for an everyday look, I choose liquid liner all the time. This Beauty Crop liquid liner lasts well on my eyes and is easy to use. It’s a medium-thickness brush, not too fat nor thin.
BONUS GIFT: Elizabeth Scarlett Palmier make-up bag**fave product** I LOVE LOVE this bonus gift from Birchbox. It’s sooo beautiful the photos do not do it any justice. The pink velvet is super soft and a pretty shade of pink. The cute palm tree print is embroidered and finished with glitter-gold thread to make it look really magical. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Scarlett before so it’s really nice to be introduced to a new brand. All of her designs are just as gorgeous as each other, with prices starting from £14 you can treat yourself to a bit of affordable luxury. 🙂
With the lead-up to Christmas, I always end up taking forever to write up my Black Friday beauty box. You may remember a few years ago I finally wrote my 2016 Black Friday box review… a year later! LOL It’s a mix between procrastination, being busy with family and the children (I had Little Miss in April 2016) and then being sleep-deprived meant that anything I did, I took like a million years to do so. I’m a little faster this year, only a month out! Haha! 🙂
The Black Friday Edit box: first impressions…
On first impressions, the box looks pretty fancy!
I really like the black and gold marble design and the gold text ‘The Black Friday Edit‘ adds modernity to the box. I can’t seem to find the 2017 design however the ‘Back for Black’ 2018 was super sleek and was actually my favourite design but I never bought the box. I’m happy with the design of this year’s box and the products look really good. I can see one repeat product (the eyeliner) from last year but the others are new. I think for 2020 I would love to see a new design however something similar to this year’s or last year’s would be fantastic. Now let’s get on to the products…
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser*
Eve Lom Cleanser including facial cloth
Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter
We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir
Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm (Scarlet Sorbet)*
Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner
Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask
Naobay Radiance Body Lotion*
Crystal Clear 10-minute Glow mask
The majority of the items are full-sized products. I’ve added a star (*) next to my favourites which I am still using now. I’ll write a little more below about why I love them so much…
Luxie 504 Large Angled Brush *my fave!
I absolutely ADORE this brush! I’m not sure if it’s because of the pretty pink handle or the softness of the synthetic bristles, but I do know it’s a really good brush. One of my favourite angled brushes and currently my go-to for when I need to apply my bronzer or highlighter across cheeks and hollow for contouring. It’s super soft and so easy to use whether you have powder or cream textures.
I can’t seem to find the brush for sale on the LF website, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because it’s sold out. There is the Luxie 741 angled contour brush which would be a good alternative.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser *my fave!
For a long time I really thought I had combination skin with an oily t-zone. Turned out that my skin isn’t actually oily but dehydrated. When the skin is severely dehydrated (lacking in water, tight-feeling skin) it will start producing excess sebum. To re-balance the skin, I introduced serums and facial oils into my skincare routine which has helped a lot.
Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta exfoliating moisturiser is a product that really works. I love this moisturiser so much and was actually sad when it finished. The ingredients list checks out and even though this product does contain silicones (dimethicone! there are other cones too) which I am not keen on but they are nearer to the end of the ingredients list which is a little more forgiving. The creamy texture is lightweight but hydrating and once applied, my skin feels super smooth and matte soft. It never clogged up my skin or left that horrible feeling I get when silicones are higher up on the list.
Packed with a cocktail alpha-beta acids and fruit actives, this moisturiser not only hydrates and brightens the skin, it also improves radiance (ginger) and re-balances the sebum production (lavender). When I’m using this moisturiser, I avoid using my usual peeling exfoliator (The Ordinary AHA/BHA peeling solution) on the same day. I’d use my facial oil and day cream in the morning then use the peel in the evening before my night routine.
Remember to use a sunscreen during the day when using skincare products with AHA acids (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids; Glycloic, Lactic, Tartaric and Citric). Also be aware that excessive exfoliation can over-stimulate the skin which can cause uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, sensitivity and redness. So use with caution – you’re using two or more exfoliating products daily or regularly, you could be over-exfoliating.
Eve Lom Cleanser
I’ve heard so much about this Eve Lom cleanser. It’s a trending product and so many beauty magazines rave about it so I was very intrigued to see it in my box. I haven’t tried it out because when I look at the ingredients, the first ingredient is Paraffinum Liquidum… also known as Mineral Oil – same stuff baby oil is made from. Not bad, but it doesn’t scream out luxury to me like how the brand markets itself. They also use lanolin which is a great emollient for dry skin (it’s used in nipple creams) but again, I expect more from Eve Lom. Where’s the high quality oils like rosehip oil, jojoba oil or evening primrose? There’s none.
I’m not impressed… and the 8ml sample size pot is even more laughable.
If you love rich balm cleansers, you’d be better off with the Elemis Pro-Collagen cleansing balm which is only £43.00 for 5g/5ml more (1ml = 1g) and contains skin nourishing oils however you can’t use this product to remove eye makeup. Another great value-for-money alternative is the Trilogy Makeup Be Gone cleansing balm 80ml for £20.50 (more than half the Eve Lom price!) which is on my to-buy list and can be used for both face and eyes. Winner!
Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter (shade: Celestial)
The packaging of this highlighter is so pretty. The Ciaté Glow-To highlighter is a powder texture, almost baked-like. The Celestial shade is beautiful (an iridescent peach/gold shade) and perfect for my medium olive skin tone. Little Miss likes putting this stuff on herself too and it also looks beautiful on her caramel complexion. The shimmer is very strong so you really only need a light sweep and you’ll be good to go! I liked brushing it over the top of my nose, under the brow bone and lightly dab over cheekbones. The little mirror is really helpful and a useful tool for anyone who likes doing their makeup/touch-ups as they go. Be careful as it does crumble easily, well… mine did anyway.
We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir Free from parabens, PEGs, sulphates, perfume, mineral oil and toxins.
I’ve not used this leave-in hair treatment just yet but will get round to trying it once I’ve washed my hair. I’m glad that Look Fantastic are including more vegan-friendly products in their beauty boxes. The We Are Paradoxx hair elixir contains silica and alcohol which is also why I am a little hesitant to try out the product. It does says that the alcohol content comes from the Irish whiskey and the silica (natural quartz, absorbs moisture) – which is different from silicone (a synthetic plastic). The hair elixir isn’t exactly CG-friendly but if you decide to give it a go, see how your hair reacts then make sure you give your hair a good cleanse the next wash day with a low-poo cleanser or an ACV (apple cider vinegar) or rice water rinse.
Infused with shea butter, this Pixi lip balm keeps my lips soft and hydrated throughout the day. I do find that I have to re-apply but no more than my usual lip balm. The Scarlet Sorbet is really pretty like a bitten lip red colour but because it’s a lip balm, it’s more of a subtle tint than full on pigment.
It’s one of my favourite product because it’s something I can use daily and it does the job very well at keeping my lips moist. I also like using it in-between top-ups with my Doucce liquid lipstick (fave shades are rusty red and red velvet). It’s one of the best tinted lip balms that I’ve tried and is a staple item in my beauty bag.
Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner
So this eyeliner is the only product that made it into both last year and this year’s box. Perhaps people just really love the Eyeko Eye Do eyeliner! I think I had this product from another beauty box before and did enjoy using it. I never got the chance to use it this time round as Little Miss got her hands on my box when I was at work one day and decided to use it like a marker pen… then left the lid off. Yep, it died that same day which is sad times as it seems like a really good eyeliner.
I love pens as they give the user much more control when drawing the line. Liquid brushes create the best thin lines but are so tricky to get right and when you’re short on time, it’s way to fiddly. If you like doing your makeup on the go, I’d recommend using a pen like this one by Eyeko.
Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask Free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and artificial colours.
Seoulista is a Korean skincare brand and everybody knows how amazing Korean skincare is so what’s not to love about this natural purifying face mask? Get a thorough deep-cleanse without stripping the skin thanks to the charcoal and volcanic ash extract. Unfortunately my skin is too dehydrated to use this mask so I’ve given it a miss.
Seoulista offer a few other types: super-hydration (hydration) version as well as a gold glow (anti-ageing) and brightening (radiance) so I’ll have to get my hands on one of these instead!
Naobay Radiance Body Lotion *my fave!
I love this body lotion so much. It’s lightweight but totally hydrating on the skin… no wonder why it’s completely sold out on Look Fantastic! Hopefully they will restock this item soon as I’m sure many people will be chomping at the ankles for this.
Naobay is a natural skincare and body care brand hailing from Australia. I do love my Aussie natural skincare brands! Enriched with olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil, Naobay’s radiance body lotion is going to leave your body feeling super soft and nourished. The soothing aloe vera extract helps to calm and protect the skin, this lotion would be gorgeous in the summer.. better stock up now!
Crystal Clear 10 Minute Glow
Another sold out product on Look Fantastic! This peel-off mask is said to work its magic on your skin in just 10 minutes, leaving you with a radiant glow. Again, it’s another deep cleansing product so a pass from me but lots of people seem to love it. You can choose to apply this Crystal Clear 10mins glow mask over the whole face or just on targeted areas ie nose, forehead, chin.
With alcohol denat present, I would assume that this product will leave your skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’ and matte soft. Just be careful if you have skin that’s a little on the dehydrated side as it will make it drier.
…and that’s a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed this beauty unboxed review – I really love reviewing beauty boxes but I get so lazy to write it all up! I guess one of my new year’s resolution can be to make sure I always review my unboxing. I need to find a better way putting up the content because I can never get those beautifully curated shots like other beauty bloggers. When you have two messy-wild kids to manage, the house is always a state and I’d be lucky to find a corner of peace where I can shoot from… however, there is a little co-working space next door to me so I might have to take a look and see what they can offer. 🙂
So it’s been a long while since I last did a Birchbox review on my blog and when I saw the May 2018 edition, I couldn’t resist but to order it… the decadent palm print was calling me!
I was pleasantly surprised with the products I received in this box and THANK THE LORD there were no samples I’d previously received before. This was one of the reason why I stopped subscribing as I had so many products in the end and a lot of them were doubles of what I’d had before.
The products I got in my May Birchbox 2018 were:
Doucce luscious lip stain in steaming red
Greenfrog Botanic geranium and peppermint body wash *fave product*
Smith & Cult the shining lip lacquer (EXTRA bonus gift!)
Native Unearthed natural deodorant balm
Greenfrog Botanics body wash
My May 2018 Birchbox unboxed
Smith & Cult lipgloss
Baby Girl and I love the Smith & Cult lipgloss
Baby Girl is a big fan of lip glosses!
My views on the products…
Smith & Cult
Baby Girl Ams and I really enjoyed playing about with the lip gloss, we also had a go at the lip stain but it wasn’t as fun. The glossy look on Ams looked very natural and I quite liked the glossy effect on my lips too. It’s been donkeys years since I’ve worn lip gloss so wasn’t too sure of what to make of it. The Smith & Cult lip gloss smelt really nice and sweet but was quite thick to spread across the lip but as much as I hated the heavy feeling, it definitely made my then-dry lips look more moisturised and hydrated. It’s also a full size product and the packaging is gorgeous so it was a really nice free gift.
Native Unearthed My ultimate favourite product from this box has to be 100% the Native Unearthed natural deodorant balm! It’s a really amazing product and I can tell you for a fact, IT REALLY WORKS! I am not normally a stinker but every now and then I would notice that occasionally one underarm tends to whiff a little more than the other… but since using this deodorant balm – nothing! I’m definitely a convert and natural deo balms have now changed my life. I really don’t think I’ll ever go back to using standard roll-ons and definitely not sprays. Apparently the toxin-slaying activated charcoal combined with the sweat-absorbing arrowroot and antibacterial coconut oil and lavender oil makes this deo-balm the s**t! 🙂 A little really goes a long way with this product.
I’ve been looking for a “grown-up” botanic body wash other than the lovely Liz Earle range and this one by Greenfrog Botanic wash seems to have done the trick. To me, the scent is amazing!! It smells so fresh and natural but that’s really appealing to me. You can really smell the geranium and a bit of the peppermint in this wash, mind you though – it’s not really a lathering type so if you love your bubbles this one will have to be a miss.
The body wash is also vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and free from all those chemical nasties so it’s a major winner for me.
I really like this lip stain. It definitely stayed on well for a couple of hours but once I started eating and wiped my lips with a tissue (I forgot I had lip colour on) the lip stain was near enough gone. A little disappointing as some other high street brands would have better staying power. The colour is gorgeous though but I wouldn’t really call it a red. The steaming red shade which I had was more of a “natural lip” pinkish red colour. The matte effect was lovely and I would continue using it but I wouldn’t decide to repurchase once it’s all used up.
Unfortunately I stayed away from this serum, it looks great and all but it has some silicones in it and my skin doesn’t agree with silicones. I’m sure the cones would really help to create a brilliant base like a primer but I’ve used skincare products with silicones before and I am not a big fan. I’ll be adding this product to my box of unused/unwanted products which I will be giving away so keep your eyes peeled! 🙂
I’m a big fan of eyeliner but not yet had the chance to try this one out simply because I have so many eyeliners already on the go and they’re nowhere near finished so once again I will have to pass on this product. It’s said to be very easy to use and the fine tip means you can really get more precise lines with this skinny liquid eyeliner. It’s also fade resistant so you should be able to wear it all day without needing a top-up.
I’ve not been a GlossyBox subscriber in a little while so last month I decided to give it a try again and have fallen in love with the beauty box once again. The December box was fantastic and had a different packaging from its standard pretty pink shade.
There was also a promo on for December; two boxes for the price of one so of course I couldn’t miss out on subscribing! I really need to write a review for those boxes too so will post those up soon. Blogging has become a little tricky again with everything else going on in life but I guess that is life – it doesn’t always run as smoothly as you want it to.
I really felt like GlossyBox UK have stepped up their game in these past couple of months. The products in December’s box were fantastic and the same with January’s box too.
Here’s what I got in mine:
Evelyn Iona Cosmetics green tea primer
Dr. Botanicals Moroccan rose superfood facial oil (my fave product)
Nail Medic nail and cuticle energizer
Apicia cream blush
Boots beauty beneath supplements (60 capsules)
My favourite product out of all these has to be the Dr. Botanicals Moroccan rose facial oil followed closely by the Evelyn Iona cosmetics primer.
The facial oil is nothing like I’ve used before – it’s really light and more of a liquid texture and consistency than oil. This superfood product is packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin C (helps to make the skin look more radiant), vitamin A (an antioxidant that helps reduce the signs of ageing) and almond oil (nourishing to the skin).
I think this facial oil would suit combination to oily skin types a little more than other skin types as it’s so light. My skin type is combination and dehydrated and I found the product went on really well and felt very nice on the skin. It also left my skin feeling hydrated for the rest of the day. It smells absolutely gorgeous too. Like almond sweets. 🙂 I did think that if my skin was more drier like it usually is during the colder seasons, this product probably wouldn’t be able to provide me with enough moisture to be used alone without moisturiser on top.
I used the Evelyn green tea primer on top of the facial oil and my skin felt really soft, moisturised and oh so smooth. The primer has a lot of natural ingredients which is a bonus for me as I am really loving the natural/organic/free-from-chemicals hair and beauty products that are on the market. They always smell amazing and feel amazing on the skin! So back to the primer, it’s paraben-free and also contains aloe vera, avocado oil, jojoba seed oil – all of which are nourishing for the skin.
However, I did notice something naughty at the top of their ingredients list… dimethicone. A well-known silicone that’s neither natural, organic nor good for our skin. According to the brand’s website, Evelyn Iona states that they will be removing this ‘cone from their formulas in “early 2018″… we’ll see if they stick to their word. Ever since embarking on my natural hair journey I’ve been more conscious about checking the labels to see what goes into my skincare products.
The cuticle oil energizer was really nice to use and also smelled like sweets. It sinked into my cuticles fast and didn’t leave any oily residue behind. The cream blusher was nice to use but I’m not a big fan of blusher so not used it apart from testing it once and therefore can’t really comment on it. The food supplement I’ve not used at all so can’t comment on that either.
Beauty box giveaway? I’ve also realised that I’ve accumulated a LOT of samples over the year – there’s so many that haven’t been opened. Once I even ordered a box by mistake and ended up with two! So I decided I will be giving away some of these products – either as a giveaway or something… any ideas?
I’m a big Birchbox fan and have been for a little while. Unfortunately, I’ve just ended up hoarding all of my beauty products so therefore had to pause my subscription for a while. When April’s box was announced and they mentioned that we could choose our box design I had to re-subscribe just for that box and write a Birchbox review for you guys.
April 2016’s Blooming Marvellous edition was designed by Birchbox in collaboration with the luxury stationary brand, Rifle Paper Co. Out of the two designs, I opted for the Jardin de Paris.
It took absolutely forever to come as I ordered it at the end of the month so received March’s box in April then April’s box didn’t come until near the end of the month. I was a little upset but can understand they probably have thousands of orders to post as it was nearly time to get the May box out.
Once the box came though all of my disappointment had disappeared. I completely fell in love with my Birchbox – it looked beautiful! Usually, I think I would’ve chosen the botanical ‘Herb Garden’ design but this time I wanted a box that was a bit more pink. 🙂
Inside my little box was a Rifle Paper Co card offering an exclusive discount off your next purchase with them and five really good sized beauty products. Every box content varies slightly as the BB team try to tailor the boxes to your preferences. Here’s why I got in mine:
Benefit ‘Dew The Hoola’ liquid bronzer
I think this is one of my favourite items in this month’s box. I love a good bronzer but don’t like to use it too much because I tend to only find the pressed powder or powder ones however this semi-matte liquid bronzer by Benefit is great for enhancing that glowing look without looking shimmery or shiny. Benefit Cosmetics is also a well-known beauty brand. Many people I know have been raving about their (pressed) bronzers so I’m sure this liquid bronzer will become a popular one.
Cynthia Rowley eyeliner in black
I love a good black khol eyeliner and this fabulous eyeliner by Cynthia Rowley is lovely to use. It goes on really well and smoothly which is nice. I wore it all day and it did last however I still found that my eyeliner smudged slightly at the outer edges of my eyes. Maybe this is because my skin is quite oily around that area and I am Vietnamese so I think my eyes being smaller with a shallow lid crease probably causes it to smudge more than usual.
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse (dry oil)
I really love this NUXE multi-purpose dry oil for face, skin and body. It smells absolutely divine! This multi-purpose oil is made from a luxurious blend of six essential oils, vitamin E and plant oils to keep the skin hydrated and nourished. This lovely oil can also be used on the hair. I might use it my ends but my scalp is too oily for it however I will definitely continue using this dry oil on my body. I’m also planning to invest in the large 100ml bottle so I don’t run out. There’s also a shimmer version which would be perfect for sunny holidays or nights out.
Parlor detangling leave-in conditioner
This Parlor leave-in conditioner has a lightweight consistency and is lovely to use. It’s suitable for all hair types whether you’ve got curly hair, straight hair or hair in-between the two. It smells lovely and fresh. Personally, I still prefer my all-time favourite spray which I also bought from Birchbox called Beauty Protector (it’s also a heat protector and smells like chocolate!).
Kueshi foot care cream
I love a good foot cream. What I like most about the Kueshi foot cream is that it’s rich and creamy but not greasy. The lovely properties of sweet almond oil and royal jelly really does lend a hand in keeping my feet nourished and soft. They’ve been so neglected throughout the pregnancy so I went for a pedicure to get a good scrub and cuticle work done and it was the best thing ever. Now I just maintain the pedi’s good work with this lovely thing.