Thursday, 2 February 2017

Subscribing and Unsubscribing from Birchbox

I think you would have guessed by now that I'm not normally one for subscription beauty boxes. I always figured that I'd be better off buying products that I really want, rather than spending £10-£15 on samples. However, around Christmas I noticed that they had £5 off for all new subscribers at Birchbox and the samples being shown looked pretty decent (Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks and Bobbi Brown Mascaras? Yes please!), so I decided to put in an order.

I was quite excited to receive my first box, I already knew that all the December boxes would include a Ciate eyeliner and I couldn't wait to see what else there would be. When I received my box in the post, my first thoughts were 'Wow that's some pretty cool packaging'. I've seen people using their Birchboxes to store brushes in, but my Sister's an avid stationary collector so I knew she would like the box. The lid comes off to reveal the drawstring bag underneath, and the box is the perfect height to store brushes/makeup upright, or pens and so on.

However, this is where I was left slightly underwhelmed. There was the Ciate eyeliner as expected, however I wasn't too keen on the other samples. I think the Bene-tint sample has been done far too often, I personally don't think the product offers much and I still have my (much larger) sample that I got in Glamour ages ago for £2. I wasn't impressed with the Anatomicals body lotion either, I feel like I could have got something similar in Superdrug, and I guess I was expecting more beauty products instead. I also got a small sample of the Elemis day cream. Lastly, I got a Percy and Reed Wonder balm (which I also received in my M&S advent calendar), and whilst I have heard good things about it, I'm not sure if it's a good match for my 'beauty profile' that you set up in order to get beauty products personalised to you. I've also seen these last two samples in magazines quite often, so it really made me think about whether I was actually getting 'luxury' beauty samples, or samples that couldn't be shifted elsewhere.

I was also quite gutted that there were no Bobbi Brown/Laura Mercier samples to be found in my box (oh well).

At this point I was really contemplating unsubscribing, but then I checked out their website and saw that the January box looked like it had products better suited to my beauty profile, e.g. the eye cream for my dark circles, or the Nuxe oil. So I decided to give the January box a go. Again, the packaging was fantastic, a printed box with a drawer that slides out, a really multi-use product! However, I opened the drawer and was left underwhelmed again. On their website they promised to have two full size products, but my samples were tiny! Also, with me not being familiar with Birchbox, I didn't realise I had been short changed until the next day. My box only included 4 samples, instead of 5. I had to email customer services and they realised the hand cream wasn't included, so they sent that out later.

This time I got the Lord and Berry Concealer stick. I think this may well be a new product as I can't find much on it online, but the reviews on Birchbox are a bit of a hit and miss. I also got a Nails Inc sample in Richmond Terrace, the shade does look pretty nice but the sample size is only 4ml! Even with the Nails Inc samples in Glamour you get 10ml. I also got a sample Clarifying shampoo by Kebelo, which I wasn't really expecting as I wrote that my hair was dry on my beauty profile so obviously I wouldn't want to use anything that might strip it further. I then got a Whish shave cream, which again didn't match my profile. Lastly, I got the Merci Handy Cherie Cherry hand cream. This does look like a really cool product, but I do already have plenty of hand creams lying about.

Overall, personally I wouldn't really recommend the Birchbox subscription service. I found that there was a lack of beauty products, the samples weren't really personalised to my profile, and I've seen the same/even better samples in magazines, so I wouldn't say it was value for money! Although this isn't to say that someone else might not have a better experience, but it just wasn't for me. The main perk for me was the packaging really!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you ever taken out a beauty subscription, and what were your experiences?

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Friday, 20 January 2017

By Nature Rejuvenating Eye Creme Review

I've been looking for a good eye cream for what feels like ages, and I'm relieved to say that I've found it! After spending ages researching various brands I had decided to try out the Khiel's creamy treatment but they didn't have any samples for me to try. I then decided to pop into TK Maxx to see if I could find anything to tide me over for the time bring. I came across this By Nature Rejuvinating Eye Creme and decided to give it a go (for blogging purposes of course).

First impression wise, this eye cream sounds perfect. The brand 'By Nature from New Zealand' try to incorporate nature's best gifts into their skincare products. This eye cream is jam packed with ingredients such as collagen to plump up the skin, aloe vera for it's hydrating properties, organic rosehip oil which is easily absorbed into the delicate eye area, and also hyaluronic acid and argan oil.

The texture is the main thing that I focus on when looking at an eye cream. I don't suffer from puffiness under my eyes, but my under eye area gets quite dry and dehydrated. That's why I tend to favour eye creams over eye gels. The texture of this is just right for me, the cream is really light and absorbs easily. It's very hydrating without being on the rich side, and you only need the teeniest amount to smooth over under the eyes. I could actually see results the first time I used it! Dark circles can be a heredity thing (I can sleep for up to 12 hours so it's not that!) but keeping the under eye area well hydrated can lessen the look of them, and it has definitely helped me with mine. My under eye area also felt less tight and looked hydrated for once.

The packaging is sort of your bog standard eye cream, a plastic squeeze tube with a nib that's also hygienic and stops too much product coming out. It contains 15g of product, which is again close to your standard 15ml available in most eye creams.

It's now been about five months months since I've started using it both morning and night alongside my other skin care products and I'm really pleased with it. It ticks all the boxes for me, and I'll definitely repurchase it, if I can find it again that is. It's only available in TK Maxx in the UK, and that's the only downside, as I haven't spotted it since. I got it for a RRP of £5.99 which is quite inexpensive considering the high quality, and the emphasis on natural ingredients. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for some of their other products.

P.S. It is available online here, but shipping will cost you quite a bit.

Update: I manged to find another eye cream from the same brand in TK Maxx, which I'll be trialling when this runs out, as well as a day and night cream.

Also, I'm sorry about the long absence! I was bogged down with coursework at the end of last year, then I had a horrible two week cold, and then I had my January exams to revise for (which are now over yay!).

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your favourite eye creams?

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Monday, 17 October 2016

A First Impressions Post

Hi everyone! I'm really sorry about the lack of posts and interaction recently. A few weeks ago I got a chest infection, and even now after being on antibiotics I still feel like rubbish really. I've still got an awful hacking cough aswell, and that's after trying all the remedies and decongestants you can think of! As you can imagine, I am so behind with everything so I've got my hands full!

Anyway, I had a few skincare bits and other products I was trialling so I thought I'd sum them out and let you know what I think of them so far.

FABY Nail Lacquer in Via Montenapoleone*
I recently came across FABY polishes and their Autumn/Winter range 2016 called POSH which looks amazing! As you know, I have plenty of Winter polishes but I still found myself lusting over these. Each of their shades puts a fresh twist on the classic Winter shades we're used to, be it the burnt oranges or the deep burgundies. I was really glad when I got to try Via Montenapoleone* as I don't normally go for greys but I was keen to give this one a go, and I'm glad I did, because I love it! The formula of the polish is great, it's fully opaque in two coats (at the most) and it gives a lovely, incredibly glossy finish. The shade is perfect, it's a cool toned, medium steel grey that would suit everybody and I can see it being hugely popular!

You can see the shade here, each polish contains 15ml and costs £11.75.

Aloe Clear*
I think the main annoyance with hair removal is the horrible after effects, especially with sensitive skin. However, Aloe Clear* is designed to minimise ingrown hairs and reduce the discomfort of hair removal. I'm already a keen fan of aloe vera in it's gel format, so I was really keen to give this roll on a go too. It comes in a few formats, including a bigger roll on (which looks a bit like a deodorant), and also some smaller roll ones. The roll on includes the ingredients: glycolic acid, willow bark extract, aloe vera, multifruit acids and mentha piperita oil. This format is really convenient to apply, and it sinks in almost instantly so you can go and apply your moisturiser straight afterwards. You can really feel the cooling sensation it has too, which is probably down to the cooling mentha. However, I did find it hard to monitor whether it really did minimise the ingrown hairs (unless you kept count!). Also, exfoliation plays a part here too so it's hard to attribute it to one product. However, I would still carry on using this just to see the results in the long term.

You can shop the full range here.

Puriskin Resurfacing Cream*
The Puriskin resurfacing cream* is designed for normal to dry skin, and is marketed as a soothing therapy to help with a range of skin conditions, such as acne scars, blemishes, burns, cracks, split skin etc. I was a bit apprehensive at first as those are a lot of claims for one cream, but at the same time I was intrigued as well. My skin's not too bad at the moment, so I've mainly been using this on the skin between my fingers. The cream comes in a really small screw pot, so it's really convenient for carrying around but there's only 15ml of product in it. At first, the cream does look quite thick, but once you scoop some up it feels like more of a jelly hybrid, more like an emollient. It also doesn't feel thick or greasy when you apply it, it just massages into the skin right away. I do feel like this will be super useful in Winter, but I'm not too sure that it's a miracle product in itself, as there are a lot of moisturisers and lotions on the market that might also have the same effect.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do any of these products catch your eye?

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Friday, 30 September 2016

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

In the blogosphere I've heard a lot about Essence and their very affordable but great products. There's a small stand in my local Wilkinsons where you can buy their products but nothing had caught my eye, until now! Anyway, for the first time I'm actually looking forward to the return of Autumn for those delightful red, burgundy and berry hues (just not the cold weather!). So when I saw this blush in 20 berry me up! I thought it looked like an affordable dupe of my favourite Bare Minerals blush (here) which is slightly more on the dusky pink side. For £1 I had to give it a try!

The Essence blushers are matte, however they're supposed to have a 'super-soft' finish that gives them more of a freshly, pinched look, rather than in your face matte. I can see this when I swatch them, the formula feels light and airy, although this means it also kicks some of the powder up.

The packaging for £1 is not too bad at all. It's a basic plastic tub with a flip up lid, I don't think it looks too cheap. Although, to be fair, if the product is really good and super affordable, then what's some packaging!

The Matt touch blushers are also available in 10 peach me up! and 30 rose me up! However, I was so preoccupied with this blush that I didn't really take a look at the other shades.

As you can see in the picture above, 20 berry me up! is more on the muted side of the berry scale. However, when swatched it is a lot brighter than expected and there is a bit of fallout. It's not really a dupe for the Bare Minerals Ready Blush in The One as this is a slightly more on the pinky side and it's also a lot more vivid compared to the Bare Minerals blush.

The blush applies really smoothly, and the one thing I didn't expect is that it in infact much more pigmented than the Bare Minerals blush, which for £1 is pretty amazing! It gives a lovely soft berry glow, and the formula just sort of melts into your skin so it all becomes one. They really do live up to their 'super-soft' claims giving a lovely result without a powdery look. I like to apply this quite high on my cheeks to give a sculpted look, and I use it with a dense angled blush brush to blend as I go along.

Overall, for £1 you are getting WAY more than your money's worth! I would recommend this wholeheartedly, the shade is also universally flattering.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you have any Essence recommendation for me?

P.S To view more in this Budget Beauty series, click on the logo in the sidebar!

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