You Beauty Discovery Box – July and August’s

Due to my pesky health issues I wasn’t able to put July’s box on my blog so in order to catch-up I will show you what I received in the July and August boxes.

With You Beauty Discovery boxes you get to choose two samples from a monthly selection of skincare and makeup goodies. The two products I opted for in my August box were Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner and Strivectin’s Intensive Illuminating Serum. The extra treats that every subscriber got in their boxes this month were a Sienna X Gradual Glowing Self-Tan sachet and an extract from a book entitled The Mortal Instruments 1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

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Stila is a brand that despite being around for quite a while I had never tried. I’m not sure how I managed not to try Stila but I was pleased to find their eyeliner as an option for August’s box. I received a full-size waterproof eyeliner in Black Amethyst. This is by far one of the easiest eyeliners I have ever applied. I don’t have the steadiest of hands and often have to smudge out my eyeliner to cover my mistakes, which this eyeliner can do, but its thin shape means you can apply small strokes at a time that can take away the fear of big mistakes. The fine tip means it gives definition with precision. As my eyes are often sore and sensitive due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome I can be fussy with eye products but Stila’s eyeliner is so gentle when it’s taken across the eyelid due to its cream-like softness. I have to use eyedrops a lot which can limit my use of eye makeup so I was happy that the liner is waterproof. The colour of the liner (Black Amethyst) is fab and comes out as a dark and sultry purple – great for an alternative take on a smokey eye.

I’ve always wanted to try something from the Strivectin brand as I have heard good things about its wrinkle erasing qualities but as its quite pricey I have had to avoid it. The Strivectin Serum that I received is about skin brightening and illumination. What I’ve heard about Strivectin is that its products are powerhouses when it comes to dramatic results but the first time I used it I was quite disappointed as I found it a little drying and couldn’t see much difference. The serum may need more time to create a significant effect but I don’t feel that motivated to keep going with it especially as Clinique’s Custom Repair Serum showed great results from first use and kept improving the skin the more you used it. I may be being a little hard on the Strivectin Serum as I’m in love with another serum -my new night serum, Dr Organics Snail Gel Facial Serum (my day serum is the Clinique one I mentioned above).

I wasn’t as impressed with the extra treats in this months box compared with July’s box. I don’t use fake tan and whilst I love books I don’t like part of books in beauty boxes but the Stila eyeliner alone makes the £6.99 box great value: http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

Below is July’s box and the two items that I chose were Lola Nail Polish in Stone Grey and Wild About Beauty Nutrilips Lipstick. There were bonus treats that every subscriber  was sent which included St Tropez’s In Shower Gradual Tan, a sachet of Emma Hardie’s Protect and Prime SPF30 and a sample of Muesli Breaks Oatcakes.

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The Wild About Beauty lipstick contains mango butter, argan oil and an SPF of 15.The lipstick is in a very wearable nude with light hues of pink and brown and gives a light to medium coverage with a glossy sheen. I have spoken before about my Sjogren’s Syndrome drying out my lips which has at times meant that wearing lipstick was impossible but with brands having started to fuse skincare with makeup I have started to try out lipsticks again. Wild About Beauty is a brand that has the fusion of skincare and makeup at the heart of its products and I found the lipstick to be gentle and extremely comfortable. I have become more and more interested with this brand after receiving a sample of its Rose Water Serum and an eyeshadow from previous beauty boxes.

I hadn’t heard of Lola before but I love nail polish so I gave it a go. It promises a high shine finish and uses Ultra Gel ingredients. I like to try new brands or effects on bare nails without the usual base and top coat sandwich just to see how it stands up on its own and this varnish faired well in living up to its promises. It dried quite quickly and had a very good glossy finish even without the aid of a top coat but I found the colour very dark when it was on the nail and was more black than grey.

The St. Tropez In Shower tanning lotion was a nice bonus as it was in a generous sample size but I don’t self-tan – I never have – so I will be passing it on to a friend although the concept of In Shower Tan does sound quite easy. I’m saving up my Emma Hardie sample for when I’m able to enjoy my skincare routine a little more (when the skin tenderness subsides). Oat cakes were quite pleasant.

You can find You Beauty Discovery Box here:

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

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GLOSSYBOX June Drop

This is a bit late. I have so much I want to write about but practically zero energy so everything is progressing in tiny steps – very frustrating! But here it is the contents of my June GLOSSYBOX.

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The contents are:

  • MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist
  • Halo Fragrance Free Facial Wipes
  • Kueshi Anti-Cellulite Booster
  • Essence The Gel Nail Polish
  • GLOSSYBOX Flash Tattoos

On first opening my box I confess that I felt a little disappointed as I have only heard of one of the brands that were included and that brand (Essence) is a very low budget brand. I tried not to be too despondent as part of the fun of these boxes is that it can introduce you to new brands. The MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist is lovely and contains essential oils of lemon, rosewood, sandalwood, petitgrain and geranium, so it manages to be both refreshing and comforting at the same time. I love face mists and although Liz Earle’s Skin Tonic is still my favourite the MONU Spa mist is still a pleasure to use and will be well-utilised during the summer. I love to use face mists to ‘set’ makeup by lightly spraying it over my face as the last-step in my makeup routine.

The Essence Gel Nail Polish is my favourite product in the box despite being the lowest priced (£1.71). It’s a really good nail polish and does give that smooth, shiny and slightly domed look associated with gel polish. It’s a great colour and lasted well – it performs far above its price bracket!

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I’ve not yet been convinced about anti-cellulite creams or gels as all of them rely on the product being well massaged in and I’m of the belief that it’s the massaging part that will have more of an effect than the actual product itself. I think as long as you massage the area a simple oil will have a similar effect for the fraction of the price but perhaps I just haven’t been exposed to the right product yet. The Kueshi Anti-Cellulite Booster, whilst being non-offensive, has don’t little to change my opinions of ant-cellulite creams. One useful thing about the Kueshi cream is that it doesn’t have much of a smell so it wouldn’t conflict with any fragranced body lotion or perfume.

The Halo Facial Wipes are handy and I do like the fact that they are un-fragranced. I also didn’t get any negative reactions to the product, other face wipes have left my skin red and stingy. Whilst I wouldn’t advocate using these everyday, for times when I am too tired or need to change/alter makeup quickly they will be useful.

I could quite frankly have done without the GLOSSYBOX Tattoos but I guess I might be in the minority as these types of tattoos are everywhere and they probably do look great if you’re at a festival but they just look a bit daft if you’re in your pyjamas (like I am most days).

Overall this is not the best GLOSSYBOX I have had but it was generally ok and that’s the way it goes sometimes with the beauty boxes.

YOU Beauty Discovery Box Review Featuring NUDE Rescue OIL

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I went to the YOU Beauty website solely to purchase the Limited Edition CEW Box that I reviewed in the previous post. I was pleased to pay £19.99 for the box and was expecting the standard £4.95 for postage but on reading the postage terms I saw that YOU Beauty Discovery Box members did not have to pay postage so I looked into the YOU Beauty Discovery Box. I really didn’t need another subscription but as the Discovery Box only costs £6.99 and also has free postage it seemed rude and imprudent not to sign-up! I saved myself the £4.95 p&p that I was prepared to pay for the Limited Edition Box and got for two pounds more another box (see how my brain works?).

The YOU Beauty Discovery Box is the cheapest subscription beauty box that I’ve come across and allows you to choose two beauty samples from a selection that changes each month. You also get some extra treats in your box. As this was my first box I don’t know if the extra treats are always food/beverage related but all but one were were on this occasion.

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The two samples I chose were:

  • Nude Progenius Rescue Oil (5ml)
  • Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish (15ml)

The Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish contains Papaya Enzyme and Glycolic Acid, which helps to explain why it smells like Elemis’ Papaya Enzyme Peel. Anything that involves the word acid always makes me shudder even though I know that many of these acids naturally occur in the skin and the fact that is says ‘triple’ dermabrasion also left me a little concerned. After testing it on the back of my hand the other day and finding that it was gentler than expected I gave it a go on the face the following day. The Polish is a little gritty but you are encouraged in the instructions not to scrub at your face, just gentle massage it over. You apply to a clean wet face and then wash off after two minutes. The Face Polish does rinse well and quickly as some other products I’ve used that contain those scrubbing grains can be nuisance to wash off gently. My skin felt clean afterwards and not at all dry or tight and it didn’t even make my skin blush let alone red-up. Skin felt politely prepped for the application of my next sample choice.

I’m a huge fan of oils and use a range of different ones to suit the demands of my skin at the time. When all my vials of oils are lined up my dressing table looks like a Victorian apothecary and I do treat them as my skin’s medicine cabinet. The Nude Rescue Oil contains Omega and Bakuchiol which is described in the accompanying booklet as ‘nature’s answer to retinol’. The oil claims to ‘refine and clarify’ the skin. The oil is very liquidy and almost melts mid-air before it reaches your palm which means it can be a bit messy if you don’t get it from hands to face super-quick. The oil glides on easily because of it’s runniness and your skin feels instantly smooth and soft. The effect on the skin in the morning is of a rested and clear complexion which is tough for me to achieve at the moment as I’ve been really ill and unable sleep despite being doped up on a cocktail of drugs. I probably used too much the first-time I used the oil, a little really goes a long way, there is a pump dispenser on the bottle despite it being a sample. Whilst a 5ml sample doesn’t seem huge because you only use a tiny bit for the whole face it should last a significant time. One thing to note though is that it doesn’t have a lovely smell, it’s not horrible but I think because of the Omega it has a little hint of the fish oil about it. I think I’ve just made it sound worse than it is as it’s a very subtle smell and I only generally pick these things up as I’m super sensitive to smells but I thought I’d let you know as you might be disappointed if you’re used to oils with floral smells such as Rose and Lavender.

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Still struggling with nausea at the moment so not tried any of the extra treats but teas are always welcome and I love strawberries so I hope I’ll be able to try then soon. The box was a lovely treat and well worth the money.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

You Beauty Limited Edition Box

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Until recently I hadn’t heard of the You Beauty Discovery Box subscription but I am glad now that I looked them up. In addition to You Beauty Discovery Boxes they also do You Beauty Limited Edition Boxes and this month’s special edition box gathers up products from brands that have won CEW awards in 2015. The CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) awards are prestigious awards that acclaim the most effective products as chosen by industry experts. I was drawn immediately to this box as I quickly eyed one of my all-time favourite products Elemis’ Pro Collagen Marine Cream.

The Pro Collagen Marine cream is a premium product with a premium price point and I’ve only ever been able to afford it when it is a part of a set and at a special price. In slightly more comfortable times I would buy Elemis and Liz Earle when they were part of QVC Today Special Values and stock pile them for a later date. The 30ml Pro Collagen Marine Cream retails on QVC UK for £50. The size of the cream in the You Beauty box is also 30ml and the box contains many other products – so what on earth must this box cost? The answer is £19.99! I was slowly processing that if I buy Elemis’ Pro Collagen Marine Cream on its own I would pay £50 but if I buy a beauty box that has the same product in the same size I would pay £19.99 and get extra beauty goodies from established and up-and-coming brands? No brainer!

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I have been looking forward to getting this box as I am currently using my last Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream and now I feel relieved that I will have a spare. I love the Marine Cream and use it all year round; in winter I use it as a day cream and in summer I use it as a night cream. It has a gorgeous light, gel-like texture but looks and acts like a cream. It’s high on hydration and incredibly calming and boasts of high-powered anti-ageing benefits due it’s marine ingredient Padina Pavonica. I’ve used this for three years now and it’s made such a difference to it’s look and feel and I also like that it is light enough to use round the eye area as I can get eczema there and most other things can aggravate it.

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I was also intrigued at the dr. organic Snail Gel (also full-size) as dr. organics is a brand I’ve used before and you can get excellent natural ingredients for a fraction of the price that named brands charge. It’s a brand that can be found in Holland and Barrett stores. I think we’ve all heard about snail gel but most of us think ‘ucky!’ when we think snails but this gel (totally clear) contains the key extract that snails use for regeneration and repair and claim it will have the same effects on the skin of us humans (no live snails on the face required). The gel is quite dryer in texture than I first thought (probably still have snails quite prominent in my mind) and I didn’t feel a lot of moisturisation from the gel but did feel a slight tightening, though it wasn’t uncomfortable. I think it could be quite effective on areas on the body that could do with some TLC or areas on the face that you think could do with a little lift and pull.

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The box also includes:

  • Philip Kingsley Elasticizer 40ml
  • Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
  • Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner sample
  • Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser 30ml
  • Vita Liberata Luxury Tan 20ml
  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser sachet

I will review some of the other products at a later date as I’ve had a bad few days and my medication is affecting me quite a bit but I wanted to share what great value this box is. This limited edition box is available to non- You Beauty Discovery Box members but you will need to pay £4.95 p&p. However, if you join and buy the Discovery box for £6.99 and then order the Limited Edition box you get the postage for free!

Here’s a link to the You Beauty Discovery Box site.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/luxury-boxesWP_20150616_20_38_15_Pro      WP_20150616_20_39_06_Pro Keats is an Elemis fan and has to be kept away from the pot of cream as he has been known to lick the cream out of the pot on more than one occasion – that’s one reason why I need a stockpile! x

Birchbox Review – June Drop

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After my stresses and strains this week I’m pleased that I can share some of favourite things again. I have been receiving Birchbox beauty boxes for over six months but I have never shared their contents before as by the time I remembered to photograph it all I have already ripped apart the box and devoured the contents. Birchbox is a beauty box subscription service that sends out a box of beauty goodies every month. You receive five personalised beauty samples every month for the monthly subscription price of £10 (plus £2.95 postage). You can save more if you buy 3, 6 or 12 month packages but I do it monthly so I can cancel whenever.

I am a little addicted to beauty boxes and I also receive Glossybox at the moment and have just ordered the You Beauty discovery member’s box and their limited edition CEW 2015 box and I am also looking into the Latest In Beauty boxes. I know, it’s absurd to have so many and I am not going to be doing this every month! This is purely in the name of research (wink) and a bit of a tonic to get myself through this tricky month. I love parcels – even when I have to buy them myself – and when they are beauty parcels, even the better!

So here are the contents of this month’s Birchbox:

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  • Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain in Poppy
  • Cowshed Body Lotion in Gorgeous Cow
  • HIP Ultra Shine Shampoo
  • Penhaligon’s Iris Prima Eau de Parfum
  • Premae Mild Dermabrasion Face and Body Scrub

Also included as a bonus is STYLondon Temporary Metallic Tattoos amnd a Shoe Bag that is part of the French Sole and Birchbox collaboration that has inspired this month’s box. My Breton stripe design box is one design of three that you could choose. Some months you may be able to choose a shade of a product before the box is sent out but mostly the contents of the box are a complete surprise! Although Birchbox do try to match the products to your needs and wants if you fill in your beauty profile when you subscribe.

My favourite in this box has to be the Penhaligon’s Iris Prima eau de parfum and whilst it’s only 1.5 ml the starting price of the full size perfume is £85. It’s lovely for summer in that it has a gentle clean freshness in it’s bergamot top notes but holds as a sunkissed warmth and balminess in it’s sandalwood and vanilla base. It was apparently inspired by the English National Ballet. I much prefer this to Prada’s Infusion D’Iris. I have some Penhaligon’s miniatures but unfortunately no full sizes at the moment.

The Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Body Lotion is lovely but don’t go near this if you don’t like Rose – it is very heady in it’s fragrance. The consistency and moisture is pleasant but I wasn’t as wowed by this as I hoped but my skin is going for a bad patch at the moment due to the Sjogren’s flare-up.

The Cynthia Rowley Lip Stain is a gorgeous shade (Poppy) but is a little on the greasy side and only lasted a couple of hours and I usually expect more for something called ‘stain’.

The HIP Shampoo and the Premae scrub are two brands and two products I haven’t heard about before and as my skin is very sensitive at the moment I am going to wait a little before I test these fully. I did try the scrub on the back of my hand and is relatively gentle and the small patch I tested did feel soft. It does say that the Premae scrub 100% natural so it should be fine but I’ll still wait a bit. The scrub does not appear to have a fragrance and seems a little strange because of this (usually a product smells of something), maybe the tiniest hint of it’s natural coconut oil but it’s so non-descript it shouldn’t affect if you want a ‘clean’ base that won’t interfere with your favourite perfume.

As for the Temporary Metallic Tattoos? I must be getting old as I can not fathom the lure of such things. I know that they seem to be everywhere this festival season but I think I’ll let this mini-trend pass me by!

All in all a mixed bag but part of the fun of these boxes is the surprise element and in being prompted to try new brands and products and I always enjoy that!

If you were tempted to subscribe or just nose around their site the UK link is below. If you subscribe on this link you can get 50 Birchbox points to start you off (earn 100 points and get £10 to spend on beauty products in their shop).

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/snwj3

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