Saturday, 8 December 2012

GlossyBox - November Edition




After the bland appearance of last month's GlossyBox I was keen to see if we were back on track for November. Once I'd got the box out of its shipping packaging, there was a slight flutter when I realised how heavy it was. Now heavy must be a good sign, or so I figured. I eagerly opened it up and was met with.... blah.... Oh, no not again?! Well we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover should we? So I took a closer look and actually this box was far more promising than I first thought....

Ayuuri Sandalwood Face Cream - full size 200ml £4.99
Now I'll start with the least favourite item of mine this month, Ayuuri's Sandalwood face cream. This big ol' tube was the culprit of the heavy issue. Now I assumed it was a body cream or wash at first look but then I realised it was a face cream. Bloody hell! That's one massive tube of moisturiser! I have to admit, I knew instantly that I was unlikely to use it, you guys know how careful I am with my oily skin, but I thought I'd give it a sniff. And woah! that's one strong scent! I'm not sure why someone decided Sandalwood would be a suitable fragrance for a facial product but it gave me an instant ache of the head. There's no way I can bear to use this on my face but as a general body moisturiser I'll give it a go.

Burberry Body Eau de Parfum - 4.5ml sample size - full size 85ml £75
Oooh, this me like very much! I was very impressed with the Burberry lipstick in the special edition Harrods box so when I saw a perfume sample this month, you can bet it was the first thing to be yanked from the box for sampling! I am most pleased that it isn't a dribble of fragrance either, Burberry have gifted us with quite a sizeable 4.5ml glass vial of Burberry Body. The scent is actually really very nice and very me - the contents card says that it is an effortlessly sensual, feminine fragrance with an eclectic combination of green absinthe, rose and cashmeran - now I don't claim to know anything about perfumes, except that I love it! You're best bet is to pop to Boots and try it out, each to their own and all that, but this is definitely a winner for me.

Alison Claire Natural Beauty Mango Body Butter - 50ml sample size - full size 200ml £15
This is a new brand on the market and is part of the reason these beauty boxes exist - to bring us brands that we otherwise wouldn't have heard of. The Alison Claire range consists of products that are irritant free, over 70% organic and not tested on animals. So far so good. At first I thought it was a face product, but opposite to the Ayuuri assumption, I soon found it was actually a body product. Now this mango body butter smells amazing, skin-licking sort of amazing-ness to be exact, but my favourite aspect has to be the easy pump dispenser. I like body butters but I loathe using them - I just can't cope with the mess of scooping it from a tub and getting it all under my nails. Fussy I know. If I'm to compare this another well known body butter tub (Body Shop's) it is a tad more expensive for the 200ml size but the 200ml is in a tub and I like the pump. So my interest would lie in the smaller 50ml travel size. However £7.99 for 50ml is a tad pricey for a body butter don't you think?

Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Top Coat - 4ml sample size - full size 10ml £11-12
You can't go wrong with a bit of Nails Inc., fact. Other bloggers were disappointed to not get a colour but out of the three options available the Caviar Top Coat would be the one I would have chosen. I have a few favourite Nails Inc. polishes in my collection so was keen to see how their top coat fared to my favoured Seche Vite or Jessica Brilliance. It is most similar to the Jessica - it dries fairly quickly but doesn't leave the finish all that glossy. A nice little product to receive and try out.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - 13g sample size - full size 75g £38.50
Dermalogica is a brand I've been recommended by so many but have yet to dip into to. So when I saw this little shaker of brilliance I was very excited. Of all the types of products to try, an exfoliant is probably the most suitable for me. And Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant is no ordinary scrub. It is a very fine rice-based powder that you dispense into wet hands and lather into a creamy paste. You then massage this paste onto the face and rinse off after about a minute. It left my skin feeling soft, smooth and very clean. The large sized sample will take me a little while to work through, which is good, but if I am to repurchase nearly £40 seems quite steep for an exfoliator. We'll see how this goes I guess and how hooked I get will ultimately depend on whether there will be a small Dermologica sized hole in my purse...

In all, a fab month from GlossyBox don't you think? I can't wait to see what samples they accumulate for December and especially because I've got enough GlossyDots to redeem the Christmas edition for free :) yay, freebies!


If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

SheSaidBeauty Box - November Edition



I'm finally catching up... onto my November beauty boxes now, then I can finally get stuck into December's. Phew!

So November's box from SheSaidBeauty felt like a little beauty prep box, ready for the festive season. And I have to admit, they did a pretty good job of covering all bases. A bit of haircare, fragrance, make-up, skincare and nail care

So...? Brit Body Spray - 50ml full size worth £1.99
Oh my God I instantly feel 12 years old again! This was certainly a blast from the past to find in this month's box. I don't think I've bought a body spray for well over 10 years and after a quick sniff of this patriotic edition of So...? I remembered why. They just smell of 'girl' don't they? You know what I mean, there's nothing woman or lady about it, body spray's literally scream teenager. It's every girl's introduction to perfume before she can afford the decent stuff in glass bottles. I like my current fragrance collection just fine thank you, so this just wasn't really for me... just a nice, but brief, wander down memory lane.

Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream - 5ml sample size - full size 30ml £14.95
Uh, bloody Weleda. I got the Iris day cream in a past GlossyBox and really wasn't that fussed about it. The fact that this is a night cream *sigh* and a Wild Rose one at that *double sigh* really didn't spark my interest. As I've moaned many a time before, I just don't do night creams and Rose scents seems to give me a thick head. So I already anticipate that this will end up in my 'samples to give away' box, along with the Iris Day Cream and Pomegranate body wash from an old Carmine Box. Sorry Weleda, I'm just not that into you.

Redken Smooth Lock Shampoo & Conditioner - 2x 10ml sample sachets - full size 300ml shampoo £11.85 250ml conditioner £13.40
Ooh yes, I love me some Redken. Now I know I like to hate upon repeated brands across beauty boxes, let alone within the same brand beauty box but I can forgive SheSaidBeauty for this one (Redken also appeared in the August edition here). My hair salon uses Redken and I have used/currently use a few of their products for well over a year or two. My usual hair washing duo is the red colour protect formulae but the Smooth Lock sachets sound appealing as my ends look a bit unruly at the moment! I can't say how effective these are long term, as I got at most two trials out of these samples. But the after effect was smooth, frizz free and shiny. I think for now I will stick with my colour protection bottles though as I'd fear the repercussions of the almond oil in these on my greasy roots. It's nice to try other ranges though from time to time.

Makebelieve enhance Sunbeam Bronzer and Brush - full size 6g worth £15.00
What a beautifully boxed bronzer and it comes with it's own kabuki brush! I've heard good things about the Makebelieve self tan range so was very pleased to see this bronzer in my box. I don't currently have any bronzer loyalty, I've tried a few on the market and none of them have wowed me yet, so I'm open to influence! On closer inspection, the brush is just a soft as I'd hoped and the perfect little travel size, but the inner packaging, holding the brush and bronzer itself, is not ideal. It's big and clumsy, and looks quite shoddily made. I was hoping for more of an HD brows kind of quality but ah well, I'll try it out regardless. The bronzer isn't shimmery and gives a nice golden glow that blends well. It's doesn't wow me, but I will definitely use it up. It's just a pity that it's not really makeup bag sized, so this will have to remain on the dressing table.

Yardley Royal English Daisy Eau de Toilette - 1ml sample size - full size 50ml £9.99 125ml £14.95
Oh for pity sake! SheSaidBeauty... Yardley? Again? Really?! I wasn't all that impressed after Yardley was inlcuded in the June box and now we have it again in November. That's three times I've got one of these fragrance samples in the last year, including the one in the February Carmine box. On the plus side, this one is the nicest scent of them all - fresh and slightly sweet but not overpowering - but I'm just not a Yardley sort of gal I'm afraid.

Murray's Manicure Matchbook Nail Files - full size worth £1.99
Mini nail files, what a nice little bonus. There's not much I can say about these really; it's a match book, of 15 mini emery boards in a candy stripe pink design. Perfect for the handbag and those little nail emergencies.

So an interesting bunch for November, kind of average in my opinion, I hope they pull out all the stops for December's box. It is Christmas after all :)

If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

GlossyBox - October Edition



Oh GlossyBox I believe you have lost your mojo.... October's box really doesn't look up to much on first sight, it's missing that instant "Ooooh!" when you prise the box open but at least on closer inspection it promises some goodies.

A nice little added extra is that some of the proceeds from October's box will go towards Breast Cancer Care as October was of course Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a shame that they didn't go to town with that though - think pink box, pink products, pink, pink, more pink....

Anyway, October did offer some 'DIY Beauty' treats as GlossyBox put it, to 'help make the transition into winter that little bit easier' - hmmm we'll see if that really is the case:

Anatomicals - Don't Just Clean It Woman, Scrub It Body Scrub - 75ml sample - full size 200ml £3.49
Can you believe it? This is my first Anatomicals product! I often see this brand on ASOS.com and am always intrigued by their quirky names for products but have, until now, yet to try out any of them. So 'Don't just clean it woman, scrub it' seems like the perfect start - I received a pretty hefty sample size too at 75ml which will make for a great travel size. This body scrub is a clear gel that has the most delicious scent of pink grapefruit (should I be embarrassed to admit that I was salivating whilst using this?!) and uses apricot seed for the exfoliating particles. It lathers up a little and leaves skin smooth after use, I would like it to have a bit more 'grit' to it though as I don't feel I get quite a full enough exfoliation.

Olay - Regenerist 3-point Treatment Cream Fragrance Free - 7ml sample - full size 50ml £29.99
Oh. That's pretty much my reaction to any Olay product. Is it just me or is the brand a bit of a bore? Oil of Ulay, Oil of Olay, Olay... whatever it's called, it just screams old and dated to me. I don't think my skin is in need of much (if any) anti-ageing products right now so I guess I'm just not enthused by what they offer. I tried the cream out however, to be a good sport and all that, but it was as I suspected - too thick and creamy on my oily skin and left me feeling to 'sticky'. Just not one for me I'm afraid.

Skinetica - Anti-Blemish Solution - sample size - full size 100ml £6.99
Two spot treatments in October beauty boxes??? What are they trying to tell us?! Well Skinetica is not a brand I've heard of before but this medicinal looking bottle intrigued me. The packaging is not all that attractive but the statement on the front that claims to quickly clear skin of blemishes without side effects, left me grabbling to try it out. Now I'm no spotty oik, but my chin area in recent months has become more problematic, hence my excitement over the B.liv in the Ocotober SheSaidBeauty Box and now my curiosity for this solution. It's best described as a clear water like product - in fact it has only four ingredients - purified water, ethyl alcohol, fragrance and quaternary ammonium chloride. The best comparison I can think of is that it is a lot like the Clinique Clarifying Lotions, but with less noticeable alcohol. So I used it instead of my Clarifying lotion on my chin area twice a day. So far, so good, a repurchase may well be on the horizon.

Yves Rocher France - Moisturising Cream Lipstick 106 Mauve - full size 3.7g £14.50
Oh this was not a good shade for my skin tone! I can't even bear to post a photo of what it looks like when applied, I'm just not a solid lip colour sort of gal. The first thing that springs to mind is Halloween so from that little hint, I won't be wearing this very often, probably only ever for fancy dress - that gothic sort of look - and I doubt that will be anytime soon, if ever!

Dr. Jart+ - Premium Beauty Balm - 15ml sample - full size 40ml £24.00
Ah Dr Jart+ is a brand that I've seen on many beauty blogs but have yet to take the plunge and try out. It's not the cheapest of brands so I have been hesitant at making any purchases. I was both happy and a little frustrated to get the Dr.Jart+ Beauty Balm - happy as I seem to have an obsession with BB creams and will try out any that I can get my hands on, frustrated because I have too many BB creams and they just don't suit my skin type at all, no matter how hard I try to convince myself. I dutifully tried this one out though and I had mixed thoughts on whether I loved or hated it. Firstly the shade is a little too grey-ing on me, hopefully it may be better in the Summer with a bit of a tan. Secondly it has SPF40, excellent for my pale skin but bad for shine which leads me onto thirdly, shine seeped through after only 1-2 hours. Lastly, it applied really well, smoothed into the skin and didn't look like foundation (which many cheap BB creams do). It was one of the best beauty balms I've tried but without powder, it's just impossible to wear on my skin type.

So, GlossyBox, October was not a great month really for me. Everything was just a bit 'blah'. The only slight exception is the Skinetica, which still intrigues me and will probably be my one and only repurchase. Here's to (hopefully!) better offerings in the lead up to Christmas!


If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

SheSaidBeauty Box - October Edition



Oh sweet Jesus! I MUST get my butt in gear! Right, new pact to myself - get all my beauty box reviews done before the end of 2012 or scrap them completely. Deal! I have toyed with bothering to do my October, November and December reviews but in the end decided that I have too much I want to share with you from them so I'm going to plod on regardless.

Anyways, let's get back to it, SheSaidBeauty's October box so what did we get here?....

Amy Child's Fragrance by Jigsaw ESL - sample size - full size 30ml £14.99 50ml £19.99
Oh there's nothing quite like a tacky celebrity fragrance sample is there?! Sorry, I sound like a right snob! But I'm just not a fan. Amy Child's contribution to the world of perfumery is pleasant but far from elegant - it's sweet and fruity but doesn't last particularly long on the skin. Repurchase? I think I'll give this one a miss...

Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque - 3g sample - 50g full size $51.00
Now Cellnique is not a brand I've heard of before and after looking through my contents card for this month's box, I notice a few products with an RRP in $ - including this masque. I wish it had been a bigger sample size, but I made use of every drop in the sample pot - all in one go of course! This is best described as a cross between a clay mask and scrub. I applied it like a clay mask, let it dry and then rinsed it off with warm water and by rubbing my fingertips in a circular motion to get the exfoliant benefits. I have to point out that this masque smells A-MAZ-ING it's probably the fruit acids and enzymes and if I could, I would have tried licking my face clean! It left my face feeling smooth and soft and I'm seriously considering a repurchase.

B.liv Off With Those Heads - 3ml sample - full size 30ml $49.00 45ml $63.00
B.liv is actually part of the Cellnique brand and this little sample tube was the big winner in the October box for me. And don't you just the love the slightly gross but catchy name? It's a clear blackhead sebum gel that you apply daily to areas with blemishes and it promises to clear up skin and keep it blemish free in 14 days. I applied this at night and definitely started to notice my skin clearing - but alas the sample was not enough to see the benefits past two weeks. This gel really reminded me of something too and it took me a long while, racking my brain, to try and work out what it was - and then it hit me one night - Bonjela! this gel has a scent and texture not unlike the ulcer treatment product. Weird, but not enough to put me off. Repurchase? hell yes!

Biao Beauty Rejuvenating Night Crème 2x 2g sample sachet - 118ml full size $24.50
Nope. Didn't like this one at all! I'm not a fan of night creams, preferring instead to just use a little blob of Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair, but I thought I'd try it out. And yep, I'm more convinced I don't like night creams! It was heavy on my skin, had a strong floral (rose maybe?) scent that went straight to my head and my face felt very greasy on the morning. I daren't use it a second time for fear of overloading my skin and breaking out. It's a no from me I'm afraid.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Travel Size Lotion - full size 50ml £1.19 - 250ml £3.85
Ah, good old Palmer's Cocoa Butter. My sister swears by this stuff and I have many friends attesting to it's smoothing properties for helping to avoid/reduce the appearance of stretch marks. I have tried out the brand before and I like the product but haven't used it since my teens. I'm tempted to keep hold of this little sample size for holidays but will look to pick up a bigger bottle on my next trip to Boots.

Myvitamins Total Green Tea Extract - 30 tablets full size £2.49
Hmmm, I wasn't quite sure what to do when I saw that we got some vitamins to try out. I think my initial thought was Ooo, these will be nice to try quickly followed by Who are you kidding? You'll never take them! And of course, I tried out one and they have sat on my side table ever since. Damn! I'm not a huge lover of vitamin supplements and instead prefer to try and eat a balanced diet. So as for effectiveness? I haven't the foggiest! But if you're into these health kick diet thingys then I guess a new brand would be interesting to try out.

So in summary... well October's box is not as 'wow' as September's but SheSaidBeauty have really impressed me by looking further afield to find some alternative brands. The Cellnique and B.liv products have impressed me the most and well, I'll leave you to guess which one I could have done without!

If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

GlossyBox - September - The Maggie Li Edition




So back in September, GlossyBox teamed up with Maggie Li for a limited edition illustrated box and provided us with some samples of new product launches all in time for London Fashion Week. Let's see what GlossyBox have spoilt us with this time....

Lady Gaga Fame Fragrance - 1.2ml sample size - full size 30ml £25 50ml £32 100ml £61
This was an exclusive preview of Gaga's new fragrance, something that I was actually glad to receive as I doubt I'd get round to sniffing it in Boots anytime soon. Normally I'm a big hater of perfume samples but this one I can forgive. 'Fame' is a little bit special because it's actually a black liquid that turns transparent once airborne- not that you'd notice. As for smell, well this ticks all the boxes in floral and fruity, in fact it smells quite blackcurrant like to me. I love it, but not sure if I'll make a purchase yet.

Rodial 5 Minute Facial - 2 x 1ml sample sachets - full size 10 x 1ml £10.95
1ml sample size?? Really?! It was almost impossible to try out this facial because there was so little of the product available. I had to use both sachets in order to cover more of my face than not! Having said that, it was effective in leaving my skin soft, smooth and looking brighter. I like the way that it dries tight like a clay mask, but then you rub off the residue in an exfoliating action. Reminds me of the Clinique Turnaround 15-Minute Facial mask....

Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum - 2 x 1ml sample sachets - full size 10 x 1ml £29
Bloody hell, more minuscule sample sizes. Unlike the facial, at least I could get two uses out of this one. I applied the snake serum to clean skin and it sunk in really well. My skin felt smooth and refreshed after application but I didn't notice any of the instant wrinkle-filling/plumping effects. I'll stick to my Estee Lauder concentrates I think.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream - 7ml sample size - full size 15ml £20
Oh my God! Will the beauty boxes quit it with the Balance Me samples already!!! This is the now the fifth or sixth sample I've received from the brand - and I'm getting quite bored now. I tried it out nonetheless and what can I say, it's an eye cream. It certainly doesn't rival my La Prairie but it will make a perfect little travel size I suppose.

Vichy Idealia Day Care Cream Normal to Combination Skin - 15ml sample size - full size 50ml £25
Ah, Vichy has creeped into a couple of the GlossyBoxes now and I have to say this French brand intrigues me. I was very pleased to see a cream for normal to combination skin too - normally I end up with dry skin formulations that I daren't try out on my greaseball face for fear of breaking out. This cream is quite thick like most pot moisturisers can be, but it sank in very well and left my skin soft without residue. After a few hours though, my face felt quite greasy so I'll probably save this for skin saviour days in the winter, not every day wear.

Maghrabian Hair Oil - 10ml sample size - full size 50ml £13 100ml £24
I've tried and tried to get into hair oils but I'm just so scared of overloading and just looking greasy. This Argan oil from Maghrabian is very similar to most others out there. It smells and feels very similar and has the same effect. I know for a fact that after trying this once I'm unlikely to ever use it again. Oh well, I'm just not a  hair oil type of girl I guess!

In all, a fairly average GlossyBox for me. Dare I say it, this month SheSaidBeauty box (here) was actually more appealing, a first I think for me! Of course, it's not going to stop me subscribing anytime soon :)


If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

SheSaidBeauty Box - September Edition



Ah, the mysterious case of the missing beauty box! Apologies for the late posting of this beauty box review, but as some may be aware, there was an admin error in the address labels of the SheSaidBeauty September boxes. This eventually resulted in mine not being delivered until this month, following a couple of emails to chase it up. Well at least it's here now so I can move on and get my little stash of beauty boxes cleared!

So what did September offer us? A mixed bag on first inspection, of some good and some bad - yep, you guessed it, another bloody repeat product!! Damn SheSaidBeauty, can someone please liaise with GlossyBox so you don't keep picking up their discarded seconds??!

Ginvera Green Tea Whitening Marvel Gel - 10g sample - full size 60ml £22.00
Now this was the first thing to draw my attention in the box. Having read Fiona's review on Makeup Savvy I was keen to try this out, but at over £20 the sensible me decided it was too much money to spend on something that may not do as it claimed. Now I've had the chance to try the sample I am so far pleased with the results - my skin is soft, looks clear and my, ahem, 'dirty pores' are looking more cleansed and less visible. It really is a strange product to use as the gel almost absorbs into the skin like a moisturiser and you can really feel the little balls of dead skin cells being collected up under your fingertips. I'm now getting low on my sample and am desperately hoping that someone spots the underlining/asterisked/highlighted hints on my Christmas list!

Collection Primed and Ready Smoothing Make-Up Primer - 18ml full size £5.99
So the old Collection 2000 is now simply Collection... I'm not normally a fan of rebranding but I think this has been a wise move for the company which had started to become quite dated. The products still have a somewhat 'teen' look about them but then that is their target market after all. Anyway, onto the primer. Well I was a little dubious to start with as so many cheaper end cosmetics really aren't ideal for my oily skin but I thought I'd give it a go. The primer comes out as a thick clear gel and the first thought that popped into my mind was a cheaper alternative to Lancôme's La Base. I used a very small pea-sized amount and applied it to cleansed skin before foundation. It certainly made my makeup application smoother and I have to say, shine was almost but not completely kept at bay. So far, I'm impressed but will continue to try this out before deciding if I really want to buy another. 

Collection Fix Me Up Long Lasting Make-Up Fixer - 18ml full size £5.99
Now I don't normally like receiving multiple products from the same brand in my beauty boxes, but I thought that this was a nice little pairing to match the primer. I already own the Urban Decay De-Slick spray so was keen to see how this would compare. After application the spray leaves the skin feeling a little tight - a fact that I like although drier skin types may not, but I'm not overly keen on the scent which is a bit too 'rose' for my taste. I have used it around three or four times and my main conclusion so far is that this felt like it had no effect when used without the primer as a base. With the primer, my makeup seemed to hold well and shine wasn't a huge issue but without the primer, my makeup didn't stay put long enough and the inevitable reflection appeared on my forehead by lunch time. Repurchase? With the primer, yes, otherwise I'll stick to my Urban Decay.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - 30ml full size £3.50
Damn bloody repeat products!!! Aaaahh!! I literally only just received this in the (disappointing) International GlossyBox so was miffed to see it nestled amongst the straw. However, once I'd calmed, I figured that I probably should give it a proper trial, and oh how surprised I was! In the past cleansing oils haven't really sparked my interest and a couple that I tried didn't wow me at all, but this little beauty was different. Applying to dry skin, you massage the oil all over the face - even over heavy/waterproof eye makeup - and it gently lifts your makeup off whilst deep cleaning the skin. Once rinsed away it left my skin soft, smooth and without any trace of oily residue at all. There was a little hint of panda eye after, but nothing a quick bit of Chanel Démaquillant Yeux Intense couldn't sort out. I think this dinky bottle of oil may have completely reformed by cleansing routine!

Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask - 15ml full size sachet £4.95
I probably should have split this into two applications and decanted some into a pot, but in my haste to try out a new clay mask, my overeager self decided to plaster the whole lot on at once! Well I am a massive fan of clay masks and was due a little pamper so I thought, what the heck. This one in particular was thicker that ones I've tried before, was green in colour and had a menthol/cooling effect on the skin. After the first minute of application, my cheeks felt hot and started to burn - I wasn't sure if I was reacting to the mask or if the menthol effect just didn't agree with me. I went with the latter and figured that I'd ride it out hoping it would subside. After another 3 or 4 minutes it did and so the mask remained for the full 10 minutes recommended. After I rinsed it off with warm water (and it was a little difficult to remove so a flannel was essential) my skin felt thoroughly cleansed and very smooth. Overall I liked the effect of the mask but I'm not sure I can withstand the menthol.

Popchips Barbeque - 23g full size bag £0.79 
Ooh I love a little edible goody treat! I passed these to the boyfriend to sample. He liked them but then again there's not many crisps/savoury snacks he doesn't. He seemed most intrigued with how they were made - not fried or baked - a bit like popcorn. I like that they are less than 100 calories per bag, but as I don't eat crisps much anyway I doubt they'll get added to the weekly shopping list.

So September's box became a real turn up for the books in the end, it completely overtook GlossyBox which is a first for me! Some fantastic products, some OK ones and all seemed very suitable for my oily skin! I can even forgive the repeat DHC product as I found a new cleansing love as a result. Roll on October SheSaidBeauty :)


If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

GlossyBox - August - International Edition



So August was International month for GlossyBox and they changed up the normal selection of samples to bring us some "hero products from around the world". What did I get? Well, not very exciting on first look but lets see them in a bit more detail:

Alessandro Pro White Nail Polish - sample size (roughly 3ml??) - full size 10ml £7.85
This nail brightening polish comes from Germany. It has a slight blue/purple tinge to the clear polish that gives it a slight UV look and it claims to be an anti-yellowing formula. Well, it's a clear polish, there's not much more to say. It does brighten the nails and makes them look a little healthier but too many applications will make your talons look a little blue so be careful. I have used a similar product by Seche in the past so wasn't overly 'wowed' by this and doubt I'll repurchase.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - 30ml sample size - full size 200ml £18.50
Over to Japan now, for this water-soluble cleanser. Much like many of the oil cleansers on the market now, apply to dry skin and then rinse off. It dissolves makeup effortlessly but I can't seem to rid my mental block of using a cleansing oil on my oily skin. It just doesn't seem right and thus I prefer a cleansing wash instead. I don't think it's particularly "revolutionary" but I guess that the idea of a cleansing oil may have originated in Japan before we saw them over here.

All For Eve for the Eve Appeal Eve's Balm - full size 7g £4.95
Now this doesn't seem to have a particular country associated with it but this balm has been created in support of 'The Eve Appeal' - a gynaecology cancer research fund founded in the UK. Eve's balm is a great all purpose skin balm that nourishes dry or chapped skin. It seems to absorb well and has a pleasant scent, a perfect handbag essential.

Vera Valenti L'Ombre à Paupière Margarita - full size palette 8.5g £3.85
Next is an eyeshadow palette of 10 different colours from the Spanish brand Vera Valenti. I've never heard of the brand before and I have to say, the packaging and presentation hasn't done much to spark my interest either. The colours are bland, the packaging looks cheap and generally unappealing. The colours aren't particularly flattering on my skin tone so will probably give this to my friend's little girl for her 'dressing up' box.

Lipcote - full size 7ml £3.99
The original lipstick sealer. So this is the UK offering for international products. Iconic yes, but relevant nowadays, less so I would guess. In an age of lipgloss I personally have no need for a lipstick sealer anymore. I will most likely try it out when I next wear a bright red lip, but as that's once in a blue moon I doubt it will be any time soon.

GlossyBox Lipstick in Glossy Pink - full size 4g £9.50
Ah, I wondered how long it would take before another 'GlossyBox' special slipped into a box. Unfortuantely my lipstick arrived broken so I had to fix it back into it's holder. A nice enough soft pink tone that's not too strong when on but as a I said before, I'm more of a gloss girl so not sure I'll get much wear out of this one.

So in summary, how did the International box fair in comparison to others? Well, pretty poor in my opinion. There were only three products from other countries, I'd like to have seen all 5 from somewhere other that the UK. Something like Bioderma from France would have been an absolute winner. Here's to hoping September's box is a better offering of goodies!

If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

SheSaidBeauty Box - August Edition

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.... I feel I have neglected Brush up and Make-up! somewhat over the last couple of months for all the nail posts over at Brush up and Polish up! - it's November for heaven's sake and I've yet to post about some August beauty boxes!

Well anyways, the next few posts will be a little boring I'm afraid with all the boxes, but I still have some other stuff in store so stay posted.



July's box was a very much love-hate thing with repeated brands and that ridiculous Debenhams Beauty Card as a bonus (it still riles me every time I think about it.. grrr!) but the Freeze 24-7 was a turn up for the books. So I dreaded August's box for fear of more disappointment and if I'm honest it was much the same as the last.

White Glo Professional Choice toothpaste - 2.4g sample - full size 150g £4.07
Uh oh, SheSaidBeauty are at it again! Another repeat product from another beauty box - I received this exact product sample back in February in a Carmine box (link). Now I can forgive this a little, because I was really impressed with the toothpaste when I tried it out before. But still, SheSaidBeauty you are letting us down! More original ideas for samples please and soon!!

Papier Poudré Rachel Powdered Paper - 1 booklet of 20 sheets - 6 pack of booklets £7.95
Wow, this was a different sample to receive. These absorbent powdered sheets remind me of the oil blotting sheets that Clearasil used to do. If I'm honest, I love the idea of these products for my oily skin but in reality I never get round to using them. The powdered finish on the sheets help to give an instantly mattified appearance to the skin and don't seem to cake it on too heavily. Here's hoping they don't sit in my handbag for months on end unused!

Redken Color Extend Radiant-10 - 30ml sample - full size 170ml £19.99 introductory price
Now this made the box really feel like it was meant for me?! I LOVE Redken products and currently use the Color Extend Shampoo and Conditioner, so this treatment spray was a great product to get. It smells amazing and can be used on both damp or dry hair. It is supposed to make the hair... (deep breath)... stronger, protected, moisturised, detangled, softened, nourished, vibrant, manageable, frizz-free and shiny. It does make my hair feel soft and smooth without the added heaviness of a styling cream so it will be a definite repurchase for me I think.

Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve - 10ml full size worth £12.00
Oh I do love a lip balm. Balance me is a brand that was first introduced to me by Carmine (here) and then again in the June SheSaidBeauty box (here) so it's starting to get a little repetitive. But I do like the brand and it's paraben/sulphate etc. free ingredients that are sourced from natural origins. This balm feels lovely on and softens my lips well but I'm just not overly keen on the Rose scent. It gives me a bit of a headache I'm afraid, aside from that, a lovely product.

Absolutely Flawless Nail Foils in SNF021  - 16 foil sample pack - full size 32 foils £1.90
Oh how I dislike nail foils! Having said that, I hadn't actually tried any out until this sample but I have decided as a result, that these are definitley not for me. Ok so there's no drying time but easy to apply they are not. No chipping perhaps not, but peeling edges are bloody annoying and the designs aren't the best. But for £1.90 a pack, I'm not sure if I should expect anything better. I won't let these rule out nail foils compeltely for me but hand me a nail art brush any day!

4711 Eau de Cologne - 3ml sample - full size 100ml £17.00
The wonder water. Classic it may be but for me it is not. I did not like this at all, too chemically smelling (is that even a word??) for my liking.

So, what do we think of August's box? Well, I have to admit, some of the products were very me indeed - Redken spray, Lip balm and Powder Sheets. Even the naff nail foils were something I'd been wanting to try, even if they were utterly useless. A slight turn up for the books in my eyes, well done SheSaidBeauty :)

If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TK Maxx Treasures and a sneak peek at me


It's been a little while since I last posted a recent shopping haul and as any that follows my instagram (@brushupmakeup if you want to follow me) will know, a recent trip to TK Maxx was very successful indeed.

Okay, I was meant to be "window shopping" but what's a girl to do when she spots a pair of Zara beige contrast heels for £19.99.... yes, I know! And then hoards upon hoards of make-up - believe me when I say that this little shop was actually quite restrained given what was on offer down the make-up aisle.

Clockwise from Top - Nails Inc. polishes £14.99 Ardell Lashes £2.99 Calvin Klein Make-up £4.99 New CID Powder £7.99

Zara Platform Court with Contrast Heel £19.99
It feels important to point out that all the above beauties were from the TK Maxx store in Truro, Cornwall. I know how TK Maxx can differ from town to city, so if you're in the area, similar items might still be available. It's spurred me into needing to raid the Norwich stores sometime soon to see if I can pick up any other equally as good finds.

So what did I pick up? Well, whilst waiting for my sister to return something, I wandered over to the shoe aisles and immediately spotted the Zara courts - in my size and in perfect condition! I held onto them for dear life, as if another shopper may spot them and try to snatch them, and went in search of the make-up aisle.

There was so much stuff! Some pretty naff, but lots of great brands as well, like Benefit, Essie, Nails Inc., Calvin Klein, CID, Bourjois, Revlon... I could go on. I couldn't decide between the many multi-packs of Nails Inc. colours, so in the end, opted for some classic brights that I didn't already own similar colours to. I then spotted the Ardell lashes - a bargain at £2.99 - and the Calvin Klein make-up. Having just ran out of Touché Eclat, I thought I'd try out CK's version instead and with a lip gloss too at £4.99 that's a damn sight cheaper than YSL!! I didn't really need the New CID powder, but with the trademark 'light-up' feature of CID cosmetics I figured it would be a handy night out clutch bag essential. And thus, a few more things had made their way into my clutches.

Left - Tommy Hilfiger Denim Dress £29.99 Right - Influence Dress £16.99


On making my way to the till point, I spotted two dresses on the ends of the clothing aisles. I hate browsing the aisles of TK Maxx - it's such a jumble sale that I normally don't bother - but as these two lovelies were presented to me away from the clutter, they caught my eye and I had to try them on. And what-do-you-know... perfect fit of course!

The Hilfiger Denim dress is so cute, with a little cream bow that ties around the middle, three buttons down the front and pockets (I'm a sucker for pockets in a dress). I love the dotty almost bird-like print and it goes with so many things in my wardrobe. The print of the Influence dress was what really caught my eye - it makes me think of flamingos but the birds clearly aren't flamingos at all! The belt is pretty rubbish, but it is easily changed and I like the higher neckline on this with a slightly deeper cut at the shoulders. Influence is not a brand I've heard of before, but after a little research I've found that it is often stocked as a concession in New Look.

What do they look like on? Cue some pretty bad quality iPhone pictures..... but you get the idea! Oh, and I suppose this is your first glimpse of what I look like? Hopefully you'll get to see some better snaps of me in the future :)

Hilfiger dress worn with MissSelfridge Cream Sheer Jacket and ASOS wedge heels.

Influence dress

Disclaimer - All items featured in this post were purchased by myself, on a whim of course, but with my own monies. I have not been compensated in anyway for featuring these items or TK Maxx I just wanted to enthuse about my new purchases with you all...

Sunday, 5 August 2012

GlossyBox - July Edition

"Ooooooo...!" was pretty much my reaction when I opened last month's GlossyBox. After a slightly disappointing contents from June - did you feel like you were left wanting more? - this month has completely met my expectations.

GlossyBox went with a slight 'festival theme' this time, with products to get you through the nights of long hard partying. And is it just me or did your July box feel like it was tailored to your preferences? If not, mine must just be sheer luck but I have never opened a box and felt that it's products were picked specifically for me before...





HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette in Foxy - full size worth £19.95

Oh yes, thank you GlossyBox! I couldn't believe it when I saw that I had the HD Brows palette and instantly gone was my hesitation of a repeated brand two months in a row - fickle I know! I was gutted when I missed this in the September box so hopefully this isn't a repeated item for any of the old-time subscribers. It is a bit naughty of GlossyBox really, as this is now the 4th or 5th time they've featured the brand and 2nd time of giving out this exact product... but I wanted this palette so much, I couldn't care less! I got the Foxy shade for brunettes - perfect or what???! Can't wait to give it a go...

Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics Lip Frosting in Irish Cream Pavlova - full size 15ml worth £15.00

Mmm scented lip frosting... this smells good enough to eat! I have not tried any jelly pong pong products before but I have in the past tried many of Nicola Robert's Dainty Doll range which was by Jelly Pong Pong originally (not sure if it still is though). So far, so good. This is a lip balm/gloss hybrid in my eyes, not sticky enough to be a gloss but too liquid to be a balm. It gives a subtle pink shimmer and isn't sticky at all. The scent is meant to be Irish Cream Pavlova but all I can think is bubblegum! It says this can be multi-purpose too and used for cheeks to add a little cheekbone shimmer, I'll be sticking to lips though.

Monu Spa Golden Glow Face and Body Bronzer - 30ml sample - full size 200ml £23.00

Uh oh, another repeat brand offender! Monu appeared back in the November and April boxes but at least this exact product has not been featured before. Initially I wasn't impressed that I had received another Monu product but when I realised it was fake tan, I changed my mind. As many of you know, I rely on fake tan to not look dead in the Summer months. Yes, I am freakishly pale! But as I am currently sporting a Fake Bake session from last week, I cannot try this out properly until that has worn off so I'm looking forward to giving it a go in the next couple of weeks.

Clynol Salon Exclusive Enrich Colour Shampoo - 50ml sample size - full size 300ml £9.95

Wow, GlossyBox do know me well! A shampoo and it's for coloured hair. Bonus! I hate getting haircare samples that aren't designed for colour treated hair as when I use anything not remotely suitable for my colour, it fades and it fades fast. Clynol is not a brand I've come across before so I'm keen to see how it fairs against my Redken. It contains liquid jewel extract (whatever that means) and UV filters to give "diamond-like shine" and prevent against fading. This sounds exactly like what I need but I am a little dubious to see if it'll live up to it's claim of "30 washes later, you've still got 90% colour intensity" hmmm, we'll see!

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF15 - 5ml sample size - full size 50ml £32.00

Now Elizabeth Arden is a brand I have most definitely heard of, but apart from their make-up, I have tried very little of what else they have on offer. Believe it or not, 8-hour cream has still yet to appear in my skincare collection! I am once again impressed at GlossyBox's ability (or accidental luck) to provide me with a skin product suitable for oily skin. Yay! I am so far really impressed with this lightweight lotion that is oil-free, contains SPF 15 and UVA/UVB protection. It feels really cooling on application and smells of cucumber. That's better protection than my current Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturisung Gel...

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Skincare for Combination Skin x3 sachets - bonus sample

And GlossyBox have treated us with a sample this month - nice! Trying to contend with SheSaidBeauty by any chance? Anywho, I liked this little extra as it gave me a quick tryout of the full range from Elizabeth Arden. The cleanser left my skin clean, soft and didn't leave a residue. The serum felt a little too heavy for my liking but maybe 'less is more' is the key here. And of course, the lotion as I mentioned above, is a winner for me.


Well GlossyBox, you have surpassed yourselves this month! I'm still amazed at how much the products were suitable for me - for brunettes, coloured hair, a fake-tan lover and oily skin! I can't pretend that they knew I was lusting for the HD Brows palette, but I did receive it in the right shade. The lip frosting fits in less so but it is a product that I really like and I'm a big fan of lip balms/glosses more than lipstick, so it's still a win for me.

In spite of the negativity GlossyBox has received from subscribers recently, I am still very pleased with their service and boxes that they have provided. Now I cannot wait for August's box to arrive...

 If you love the idea of the GlossyBox beauty box and want to sign up too, then use this referral link to subscribe now.
 
And if you also enter the code RAF20OFF before 15/08/12 you can get 20% off your first box.

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

SheSaidBeauty Box - July Edition

August's box arrived promptly on my doormat this morning - yikes, SheSaidBeauty are on the ball with delivery! And it spurred me into realising that I had still to post about July's box... ooops!

So for my second beauty box review today, I give you the July box from SheSaidBeauty:



Freeze 24-7 Ice Crystals Anti-Aging Prep & Polish Exfoliator - 1.2ml sample - full size 70g £35.00

One use sachets really bug me because you just can't get enough to decide if you'll buy the product. Saying that, this one sure packs a punch in one use! The consistency is a bit like toothpaste and you have to be quite gentle when you apply it to damp skin, because this has some serious exfoliating action! Normally, I scrub my face hard with exfoliators and they never seem enough, but this is AMAZING! Sensitive skins be careful though as it might feel quite strong. It left a menthol-type tingle and my face was really soft after use. Repurchase? I think so!

LaylaD Honey Moisturiser - 15ml sample size - full size 50ml £12.99

Now this is a gorgeous smelling cream that contains pure organic honey and coconut oil - it made me want to eat it! It sank into my skin well and a little goes quite a long way, but I avoided using this on my face during the day because I felt it left a slight residue on my skin after use. So I've reserved it for night time use only which actually suits its design to "soothe and restore dry or blemish prone skin". Dry skin and blemishes? Sounds contradictory doesn't it? Well only time will tell if it really works. For now, it just feels and smells goooood!

Miners Cosmetics Love Phat Liner in Bandit - full size pencil £3.99

Who doesn't love a good old eyeliner?! And what a blast from the past with Miners Cosmetics! I quite like this thick creamy pencil as it applied smoothly without dragging across the eye. It was also easy to smudge - to soften the line and create the "smokey eye" look. But I found that this didn't last particularly well on me and transferred a little to my eye socket from my upper lid throughout the day - but to be honest, most creamy liners do this on me anyway. Damn greasy skin!

Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser - full size 30ml £5.50 (200ml £29.00)

Murad... Murad... where have we had this before? Ah yes, GlossyBox back in January. For some reason, I find it a bit annoying that SheSaid Beauty have begun repeating brands that GlossyBox have already covered but at least it's a different product I suppose. I've tried this out a couple of times, and it's OK but nothing much to rave about. It cleans the skin but I haven't noticed any other major benefits. I think I'll stick to my Clinique Liquid Facial Soap as I prefer a cleanser that will lather up - something to do with feeling more 'clean' I guess.

Stylfile S-file - full size nail file £4.49

Now this is a product that has grown on me. I have to be honest, when I first opened the box, I initially thought 'What the heck is this?' and I don't think Tom Pellereau's face on the packaging does much to sell it to me as a product that I need because he invented it??! But now I've tried it out my mind is starting to change. It is surprisingly easy to use - especially for your non-dominant hand. Other than that, there's not much to say, it's only a  nail file after all!
Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover - unsure of sample size - full size 50ml £12.00

I LOVE the idea of a natural nail polish remover and really hoped that this product would deliver. On smell it certainly ticked the boxes - no strong acetone scent, just a citrus lime aroma. But there wasn't enough in the sample to try out on a full manicure and with what was there, it wasn't as effective as acetone. I'd love to stop using normal chemical based nail polish removers, but for ease of use, they do the job so much better. Sorry Eden!


 
Debenhams Beauty Club Card - free in Debenhams Department Stores!!!!

Now this seriously fooked me off! I don't mind things like this being included in beauty boxes, as part of the leaflets/offers/advertising but DON'T pass it off as a 'bonus' sample! I can pick one of these up in my local department store, and in fact, I did a long while back and have reaped it's benefits ever since! This unfortunately put a dampener on the whole box for me this month. I still can't quite believe the cheek of it being included as a bonus sample.... OK... rant over.



So in all, a similar feeling to last month for me. Some of July's box was great and other parts less so. The stand out product for me (and actually the smallest sample!) was the Freeze 24-7 exfoliator - I cannot get over how soft it left my skin... and I'm sure you can guess my biggest frustration - the damn beauty club card! I do still think however, that I have got great value for money at £9 per month plus P&P and will of course be continuing my subscription.

If you like the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start your subscription now!


Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!
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