Special Delivery! June 2014 Birchbox

Wotcha! It’s time for another Birchbox review! This month’s box ended up coming up courier due to a cock up by Birchbox. This filled me with angst (rightly so, following previous debacles with Birchbox and a certain courier company) but this one came lickety split fast and without a hitch. So good job, said courier company, GG on stepping up.

This month’s box theme is the World Cup. I’m no great fan of football, so I’m not hugely interested in all that, but it did mean Birchbox got to play with a global theme. Ish. Let’s get on with the unboxing!!

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It was such a let down to go back to a plain box after the gorgeous Harper’s Bazaar box last month, but really that’s nothing. This month, randomly, the box came wrapped in an external mailing box like it used to, rather than the cardboard wrap as it has since I re-subscribed. Odd, but no real issue.

Inside the box was the usual inventory card, a flyer about networking, and a bunch of tips and tricks postcards. The canvas bag this month is stunning- Brazil themed for the world cup. I love this deep yet apply green. It more than makes up for going back to a plain box!

Right off the bat, there are some really big samples in the box, plus a full sized sample, and a lovely pillow pack full of secrets! Yay! Let’s go!

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This month’s lifestyle extra is a cute little keyring, again in the Brazil colours. It’s sweet, and it’s already on my keys. It’s also reminded me that I need to get some flip-flops. Hmm. Like the bag, this little treat is meant to represent World Cup host nation Brazil in the box.

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This sample is enormous. I have full sized products this size; not hair products, but still. Here to represent the UK comes Silk + Honey, a UK artisan start up company, focussing on 100% natural, do-it-yourself cosmetics. This sample is mixed up, and comes with a use by, but when you buy the full product, you get the fun of putting together the potion and/or lotion, to make a full size product. I really like this idea- it’d make a fab gift for any beauty nut, crafter and anyone interested in natural cosmetics. This has that same earth floral smell I love in the Beauty Protector products- a mix of Rose and Geranium essential oils, and in this case, oodles of shea butter, honey and silk protein. It feels really thick, and I can’t wait to try it. There’s probably enough for 1-2 uses in this sample, depending on how much hair you have. Since I can sit on mine, it’s more likely just the one.

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I was thrilled to find an OPI sample in the pillow pack. Teeny weeny though it is, nail polish lasts forever and this packaging is adorable. The colour is a cosmic, shimmery, iridescent mauve- the kind of shade that will go with anything. Considering it’s from OPI’s new summer line, The Brazil Collection, I am surprised at how, well, tame it is. This season’s colours are neons and brights, after all. There are plenty of outrageous shades in The Brazil Collection though; I just happened to get this beautiful and classy one instead.

I have to say, the formula on this is great. OPI polishes are famously high quality, but the pay off is drying time. This is strong and colour true as ever an OPI polish was (I only have one coat on in the picture above), but I had two coats completely dry in 5-8 minutes, which is UNHEARD OF. I’m not complaining- it’s fantastic! I can’t speak for the rest of the collection, but this polish, called ‘Next Stop… The Bikini Zone’, is brilliant.

Again, this product is meant to represent Brazil, but why not the USA, where OPI is based? It’s not as if the box doesn’t already have plenty of Brazil themed elements.

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This packaging is designed to make this teeny weeny sample look bigger and grander than it is. That annoys me. The sample size is fine- it’s a sample, after all. There’s no need to try and trick me with a 10ml box for a 5ml product.

Apparently this product can be used for everything and the kitchen sink- moisturising cream, make up remover, repairing mask, after shave cream and baby-care product. That seems somewhat boastful. However, it does seem highly moisturising, and absorbs into the skin pretty well. It’s got a milky consistency, a bit thicker than a true body milk. It makes me question its use as a face mask, but who knows? I’ll look forward to trying it out.

This product represents France in the box, naturellement.

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Naobay is a Spanish beauty company, so this generous sample of body lotion represents Spain in the box. This is another company I hadn’t heard of, which is great as that’s a big part of why I get a beauty box.

The lotion is purported to be ‘natural and organic’, with 98,86 % of the total ingredients being from natural origin, and 19,16 % being organic. Those luscious organic ingredients include olive oil (which is amazing for skin), avocado oil, shea butter and aloe vera, as well as some herbs. It absorbs really well, as doesn’t leave you greasy. Also, it smells really citrussy and delicious.

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I’m a packaging fan, and this really doesn’t work for me. It looks so dated and, dare I say it, cheap. Maybe they went for transparent plastic because it’s a sheer lipstick… whatever they did, it was a bad design choice, it’s ugly and I hate it.

Ehem.

This is another French product representing our chic near neighbour. The colour I got was Marron Glacé, which a) wasn’t a colour Birchbox seemed to know they were sending out when I got the questionnaire on the website, and b) isn’t really for me. I tend to wear baby pinks, corals, magentas, hot pinks and sometimes reds. It’s not a bad colour, but it’s not one I would wear.

Having said that, the colour density in this product is so naff it doesn’t really matter. I could wear it and no one would notice. Yes, I know it’s a sheer lip colour, but this is so ‘sheer’ that it’s barely there- sheer lipsticks should give similar coverage to a lip tint, but often with a shiny, glossy finish. This product fails on both fronts. The swatch on my hand is 5-10 layers. On my lips that much barely shows up.

Calling this a lipstick isn’t really right. It’s more a tinted balm. The product has natural oils to condition lips, so why not market it as that? Then again, there are cheaper and better balms, and tinted balms, than this, in very similar shades. The moisturising is nice though- my lips do feel softer than they did before I put it on.

 

This box promises ‘samples from far-flung destinations as well as discoveries from closer to home.’ I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a lie… There are three Brazil THEMED products, only one of which was an actual cosmetic, and that was from an American company. Beyond that, there are two French products, one Spanish one and British. Forgive me if I don’t consider any of these destinations all that ‘far-flung’ or exotic. Why didn’t they find something from the AMAZING range of products coming out of the far east? Or something genuinely South American? It’s a bit feeble to be honest- if you’re going to theme a box, go all out or go home. Anyway, here’s the maths.

  • Birchbox Flip Flop Keyring: It’s hard to place a value on this, but lets for argument’s sake say £1.50
  • Silk + Honey Shea Butter Hair Mask: The full set goes for a whopping £55 and makes 200g. The kit does come with a bunch of spatulas and little bottles you could theoretically reuse, but for ease’s sake, I’m going to say that the end product is the valued part. So, this generous 50g sample is worth £13.75
  • OPI Nail Lacquer: Full sized 15ml bottles are £11.95, so this 3.75ml sample is worth £2.99
  • Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré: The full 75ml product is £20, so this 5ml sample is worth £1.33
  • Naobay Body Radiance Lotion: This is £14 for 250ml (full size) so this 30ml sample is worth £1.68
  • Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick: Full sized, and worth £9.90

Grand Total: £31.65

This box may not have driven me wild, and I may think that they could have pushed their theme so, so much further, but the value is excellent, and with a full sized product and several excellent sized samples, I really can’t complain. And even though I have received my third nail polish in 3 months, it’s OPI (which is my favourite brand) and it’s gorgeous. So I’m cool with that. For now.

That being said, I feel like I complained all post long. Hmm. I think it’s the heat getting to me. Don’t expect many posts in August, kids. If this is how it’s going to be, I’ll be hiding in my chest freezer until autumn.

Later Days!

sigdraft

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Special Delivery! May 2014 Birchbox unboxing

This month, or rather last month, Birchbox teamed up with Harper’s Bazaar, probably one of the glossiest of the glossy magazines, to create a box full of on trend, high quality samples. So, let’s get on with it!P1000694

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P1000697I love, love LOVE the packaging this month. The box is sumptuously printed, celebrating the chicness of Harper’s Bazaar perfectly. It’s really summery and on point for the season, and yeah… I like it a lot. I also love the mint accent on this month’s freebie canvas bag. Good job, guys.

This month, as well as the usual contents postcard, there is a mini magazine full of tips and tricks, courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar, as well as a special subscription offer for both companies. Nice, but you know me- I’m here for the products, not the paper work.

P1000700The first item in the box is something I already own, already love, have already recommended to you guys… They’re Real by Benefit is a great mascara. Hyper black and long lasting, though not waterproof, it comes with one of the best mascara wands around at the moment- perfect to reach every single lash, corner to corner and root to tip. I’m thrilled to have another handbag size of this product, and it will so get used.

P1000702The box smelt great when I opened it, reminding me of a previous box that smelt awesome too, and it’s these little beauties that are responsible. Many boxes ago, Birchbox launched their own in-house brand, Beauty Protector, with a deluxe sample of their detangler. It smelt phenomenal and worked a charm, and I nearly cried when it ran out. These shampoo and conditioner samples have the same heady fragrance (somewhat floral but not too girly, yet almost musky, and feminine), so I really look forward to trying them.

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P1000709This full sized nail polish is by Soigné, a brand I’d never heard of, which is apparently ‘so hot right now’. This is an unforgiving orange shade called Persimmon. I swatched it on a nail, and it’s fine- it didn’t blow me away. The colour is really pigmented though, which is ace, but otherwise it’s a fairly standard formula, 2 coats to opacity and average drying time.

What got me most about this product is how much packaging there is. The box is twice the size of the polish, and it’s packed in this toxic smelling rubber mould, like a gun or something. It’s weird, and seems really unnecessary. And stinky.

P1000703Aromatherapy Associates make some really tasty smelling stuff, and this bath and shower oil is no exception. It’s an ok sized sample, given the type of product it is. Made with bright and citrussy grapefruit, aromatic rosemary and punchy juniper, this is designed to invigorate you and bring you to life of a morning- something I likely need. As an oil, it also has some moisturising qualities too. The packaging is super cute too.

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P1000706I’m pretty excited about this product, and it’s between this and the mascara for my top product of the box. This Liz Earle cleansing system comes with instructions, and a reusable lovely muslin cloth to use the product with. The cleanser is designed to not only cleanse, but to provide, with the aid of the cloth, gentle and mild exfoliation and ‘polishing’, for smooth and lovely skin. I can’t wait to try it, as my skin sure does need a pick me up, and with my recent birthday shunting me out of my mid and speedily towards my late twenties, I’ll take all the help I can get to stave off the oncoming and inevitable ageing process. Yes, I know I have bags and wrinkles- let a girl dream she’s still a fresh faced girl, alright?

I also have to mention the little tissue package- a cheap and easy way to keep all the gubbins together, sure, but it made the product feel like a surprise within a surprise, a present within a present, and I appreciate that.

So, here’s the value tally. The box, as with all Birchboxes, cost me a total of £12.95.

  • Benefit They’re Real Mascara: Full size 8.5g product costs £19.50, so this 3g sample is worth £6.88
  • Beauty Protector Shampoo: Full size 250ml product costs £14, so this 30ml sample is worth £1.68
  • Beauty Protect Conditioner: Same as for the shampoo, this 30ml sample is worth £1.68
  • Soigné Nail Polish: Full sized, worth£11
  • Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil: Full sized 55ml product is worth £39, so this 3ml sample is worth £2.13
  • Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser: Full size 180ml product costs £13.25, so this 30ml sample is worth £2.20

Total: £25.57

This has been a really great box. I’d always prefer more makeup and less bath and skin products, but this box had great variety and lots of fun new brands to try. The value was good, and the theme was spot on. I would question including two nail polishes in a row however- I think they can do better than that, and I look forward to seeing if they do come the June box.

Later days!

sigdraft

Special Delivery! April 2014 Birchbox Unboxing

Yay! It finally arrived! If you aren’t a regular reader, you might not know of the palava with getting this delivered, but I am trying to put that behind me. Let’s get on with the unboxing! This post will be very picture heavy. You have been warned!

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P1000613Birchbox have changed their shipping packaging since I last ordered. Now, instead of a box enveloping the box, it’s just a perfectly fitted and taped sheet of cardboard. Effective, and less packaging. I approve! The box itself looks just the same, with the natural coloured lid, and inside things were as expected too. On top of the reusable drawstring bag of goodies was a stack of cards. This month’s theme was Good Enough to Eat, so Birchbox had created a set of postcards with product info, tips and tricks and a recipe on the back, which you can see in the picture above. They also had their regular contents card and some other promotional material. All cute, but I’m not here for the postcards. I’m here for the samples!

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P1000617Inside the box this month were 5 beauty samples and the Lifestyle Extra, for a total of six items. Although the variety seemed really good, with plenty of cosmetics rather than loads of skin and haircare, the samples were pretty small. Still, let’s have a look at them one by one.

P1000619Face wipes are a make up user’s best friend. I also always keep a pack in my bag for emergency freshening up if I’m commuting or have a long day or journey. These Yesto Cucumbers wipes are a brand I’m not familiar with, but they look pretty good- 95% natural, with aloe and cucumbers which are cooling and skin kind. This pack of 10 is perfectly handbag sized, and is already in my handbag. Not what I was expecting in my box, but definitely useful.

P1000620I have only ever seen Colour Club nail polishes in Birchboxes for some reason, but I really like them. The last one I got is one of my favourite polishes.

This is not.

I like green a lot, but this colour is so drab in the bottle. And it’s pearlescent. I HATE pearl polishes. For me, it needs to be shimmery, glittery, or creme colour. Supposedly being pearly is on trend for this season… if so, then I will happily be off trend. And if I want to wear pastel green, I’ll wear OPI’s Gargantuan Green Grape.

To be fair, I swatched this product on a nail. It’s opaque in one coat, and completely dry in about ten minutes. It does look brighter out of the bottle than in, but it’s still pearly. Ew.

P1000623Spanish A Level, engage! This is ‘hydrating almond milk’ by Campos de Ibiza, a skin product. It smells lovely. The texture reminds me of old school suntan lotion, but it smells better and absorbs less greasily.

I’ll definitely try this and see how I get on. It’s very cooling, and I bet would feel great after a long hot day.

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P1000627I love the packaging of The Balm Cosmetics. It’s always on point. This sample from their new cheek and lip palette ‘How ’bout Them Apples?’ is no different. And hey there, Tasty Mr Pie. You can hang around on my blush products any day.

The packaging is magnetised and a great travel/handbag size. It’s a really melty creamy formula which goes on and blends perfectly. I love the colour and I’ve actually tried it on my cheeks and lips for a night out. It’s beautiful, and on the cheeks lasted all night, leaving me with a pretty flush. On the lips, eh, not so much. Not like a stain, anyway. But I really look forward to trying and using this more, and now I really want the palette!

This is definitely my star product from this box. It makes me want to put on a full fact of makeup so I can try it out again.

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I might be being picky, but this stub of a pencil looks really stingy. To be honest, there’s probably more product here than, for example, in the blush sample, but it looks so miserly!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m definitely up for trying eyeliner products, so this will get used. However, I’m not all that excited about it, looking at the swatches I did on my hand. The formula is very hard, so getting colour payoff took a lot of layering and pressing, which I don’t really want to do on my eyes! It’s definitely a subtle shade from what I can see rather than a bold colour, which might be great for me starting out. We shall see!

P1000630I can’t believe this packet is only 8g, but of course popcorn is very light. I pied this perfectly snack sized sample while I was pricing up the contents of the box, and this size is definitely the right size for a snack or lunchbox, so not a stingy sample by any means! It’s so tasty and smells awesome, and I’ll definitely be buying it IRL.

Ok, number crunching time. Just exactly how much did my £10 plus £2.95 shipping get me?

  • TheBalm Cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples Cheek and Lip cream: The full 20g palette is £26, this 0.57g sample is worth £0.74
  • Lord and Berry Couture Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil: The full sized pencil (4g) retails at £10, this sample (0.6g) is worth £1.50
  • Color Club Gala’s Gems Nail Polish: A set of four is £15, so this one pot is worth £3.75
  • Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes: A pack of 30 retails at £4.99!!! This sample (10) is worth £1.66
  • Campos De Ibiza Almond Body Milk: A full sized bottle (200ml) goes for £16.55, so this sample (38ml) is worth £3.14
  • Propercorn Sweet Coconut and Vanilla: A full sized 20g bag is £0.90, so the 8g sample is worth £0.36

Grand total: £11.15

I was pretty shocked at how low this was. I have never had a Birchbox skim so close to the mark on cost to the consumer before. This box is only worth £1.15 more than I paid for it, and a couple of quid under the full price of the box including shipping. That’s really, REALLY disappointing.

Having said that, apart from the nail polish, I like everything in the box, I would have paid a lot more for the sample sized cheek cream. Looking at other blogger’s boxes, because the contents do vary a little based on your preferences, I wonder if I would have gotten a different, more valuable box if it hadn’t been ‘lost’ by the courier and had to be replaced. Who can say? Either way, I will keep monitoring the box values going forward, because for me the value for money aspect is one of my favourite things about subscription boxes.

Roll on the May box!

sigdraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Delivery! All about Latest in Beauty, and Glamour Beauty Edit Box unboxing.

When I first came across Latest in Beauty around the time I decided to order a subscription box for the first time (so, a year back), it wasn’t much to shout about. You could order small samples for free, and only pay the shipping. It was a great option for those on a tight budget, but not very exciting.

Things are pretty different now. When I logged on to the LIB site a couple of weeks back, the “Little Beauty Box’ option linked to a page saying they were reworking this product. Now the link is gone entirely. However, there’s been a big change in the company. Now they offer a shop where you can sort of put together your own collection of deluxe size samples (for example a Modelco mascara for £6 instead of £10, or a deluxe Mirenesse lipgloss sample for £3 instead of its value of £6.57), or their LIB Collections.

LIB collections are sample boxes containing a mixture of big samples and full size products. However, they aren’t on a subscription and they aren’t secret. If you click on to a box you can see exactly what you are getting in advance. The boxes are themed, often based on a body part, type of product, season or a collaboration between LIB and another company or brand. You can order these at any time, basically until they are discontinued or stock runs out. They also vary in price, with some offering free shipping, others charging for it. This approach is being offered by several other companies now, and I can see the appeal- shipping is pretty quick because there’s no mass ship date like with Birchbox or Glossybox. I do like a good subscription though- if I wanted to order again with LIB, I’d have to reorder items as from an online shop.

LIB are currently offering the ‘Glamour Beauty Edit‘ box, which is a collaboration between them and Glamour magazine. They describe it as a ‘get pretty, feel happy’ collection full of ‘must-haves for Spring’. Priced at £14.99 with free shipping (hooray), I decided to give it a go. Just a warning guys- from here on out, this post gets REALLY picture heavy.

So, the box arrived with a freebie- John Frieda Frizz Ease. It’s a good product and good sized sample, lord knows I need it and will use it, and it was free! The box was a little bashed up- LIB ship their boxes in post bags rather than anything padded or protective. Still, it was pretty much unscathed, and it looks really good. I love the blue.

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Inside, the box looked really bright and spring like, with sky blue tissue sealing in the goodies like a gift. Inside the products were nestled in, well, a nest of pastel yellow, straw like shredded paper. I loved it- perfect for a spring box. It looked like a grown-up easter nest.

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So lets actually look at the products, of which there were seven, which right off the bat smacks of good value. It works out at a little over £2 a product, which is cheaper even than ‘drugstore’ prices. The first product I looked at was the Invisibobble.

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Yeah… so this looks pretty odd. It’s a set of three bright blue rings of coiled plastic. Straight off, I’m thinking, how the heck is this invisible?! Further reading (not on the packaging mind you) educates me that the ‘invisible’ part relates to the fact that the product is supposedly ‘traceless’. Due to to its material and design, it doesn’t crimp hair like a standard elastic band will, damages less, and holds the hair securely without having to be pulled tight. Pulling your hair back tight can lead to dryness and imperfections on the forehead and tension headaches.

I did stick this in my mad barnet, and it did hold my hair securely without being as tight as I usually pull my scrunchie. Does it look as good? Probably not. But I got three in the box, and I’ll enjoy trying them out. I wish them luck taming my lion’s mane.

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Next was a full sized Burt’s Bees lipbalm. I tried it straight away and I really like it. It’s very waxy, so it doesn’t budge or smear as much as some other balms. It’s all natural and packed full of oils and skin-kind goodies which is awesome, and it’s got peppermint in it. One, yum- it smells awesome. Two, it makes my lips tingle, and I love that feeling. So yeah, super happy with this item- it went straight in my handbag.

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I’ve never heard of these guys before, but the lacquer is a really pretty colour. The LIB website describes this as coral, which makes me wonder what coral they’ve been looking at. It’s in the coral spectrum, sure- a bright and warm orange-pink, but this is so deep it is nearly red. This is really big bottle, and I opened it up to look at the brush, and it seems pretty good- wide enough to coat my nails in a maximum of 3 swipes. I popped some on my thumbnail, and it dried quickly (5-10 mins) and was opaque in two coats. I can definitely see myself wearing this colour, and the quality seems pretty good. The simple but flirty packaging, with that sassy font, really appeals too.

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I’m terrible at eyeliner, and I don’t wear it because of that. However, I really want to, so I’m darn pleased this Daniel Sandler pencil made it into the box. I love the colour too- black eyeliner is classic and great, but bright hues are where it is at. As you can see, I decided to swatch it, and the colour is a  really bright aqua. The pencil itself is a pigment core within a plastic applicator, not a traditional pencil. The formula is very creamy, so you could smudge it out for a smokier look if you got in there quick. Once dry, it’s not budging- I washed my hands with soap and water and rubbed it dry with a towel, and it was still true. I’m really looking forward to trying this on my eyes. It’s also a brand I’ve not heard of.

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I’m fairly sure I’ve tried L’Oréal mascara before, and it’s been pretty good. I love the packaging and name of this one though, and according to LIB its the hottest new release. Inside, the formula is blacker-than-black. The brush is a bristled spooli, which is ok, and has this… bendy bit in the middle. Apparently it can rotate on 360 degrees, though I’m not sure quite why I need that. I’ve had a brief play with it, and it’s ok- hasn’t revolutionised my life yet, but I need to have a proper go with it to see what I really think. It is really, really black though, and it didn’t smudge off my bottom lashes, which is almost unheard of, so kudos.

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Shower gel! It smells really good, and I can always use shower gel. I’m not familiar with the brand, so I’m looking forward to trying it out. If it does have a good amount of rice milk in it, it should be nice on my skin. We shall see.

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Another brand I don’t know, and ADORABLE packaging. I really don’t do much with my hair. It’s really long and really curly and kind of bananas, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to. I’m not sure I need volumising mousse with how much hair I have, but it might bump up my roots? I don’t know, I’ll certainly try it out!

So, that was the box. All in all, I’m rather excited about almost all of the products. If I had to pick a ‘Star Product’, i.e. the one I am most excited about trying, it would be the eyeliner. The colour is lovely, and applicator seems tidy and easy to use, and the formula seems to deliver. Now, if you’ve read my roundup in my previous experiences with boxes, you’ll know I’m not afraid to get down and dirty with the maths to work out what exactly I’m getting for my money. The Glamour Beauty Edit box isn’t going to get off any more lightly than the others.

  • Invisibobble: £3.75
  • Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lipbalm: £3.69
  • Cheeky Chat Me Up Nail Paint in ‘Tongue n’ Cheek’: £7
  • Daniel Sandler Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner in ‘Aqua Velvet’: £9.25
  • L’Oréal Mega Volume Miss Manga Mascara: £8.99
  • Rituals Zensation Organic Rice Milk and Cherry Blossom Foaming Shower Gel Sensation 50ml: £2.13 (200ml full size = £8.50)
  • Percy & Reed Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Hair Mousse: £3 (200ml full size = £12)

Total: £37.81

Of course, I also got a 25ml sized John Frieda Frizz Ease free with my purchase, so…

  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Original 6 Effects Serum: £3.15 (50ml full size = £6.29)

Grand total: £40.96

If you remember, the box cost me £14.99 with free shipping. Even before the free gift I got, you are getting well over twice your money’s worth. Also, the coloured cosmetic products are pretty much universal. Blue eyeliner can go with any eye colour, black mascara is well, black mascara, and nearly red nail polish suits all skin tones. So, good job LIB. I look forward to playing with my products in more detail. It’s a bit lame however that they can’t incorporate a contents card, like other boxes I received.

If you remember my Glossybox review, I was a little miffed by the inclusion of so many easy-to-find brands. That was because the expectations I went into the process with was very different to the expectations I had with LIB- for Glossybox I was expecting to try all sorts of new brands AND new products, not just new products. On ordering this box from LIB, I briefly flicked my gaze over the products before I ordered, so I sort of knew what I was getting. In terms of make up of the box, I would say the common vs uncommon or new brand build of the box was very similar to Glossybox, but my expectations so far have been met, unlike the Glossybox experience for me.

So would I order another box from LIB? Yes, definitely. Would I order every box from LIB. No, definitely not. Which I suppose is the beauty of the scheme. Also, this would make an excellent gift. Just saying’.

Until next time, kittens!

sigdraft

 

 

 

BEDA: The Prettification Wishlist

Alternate title: My Birthday list.

The best thing about make up: ZOMG PRETTIES 😀 ❤

The worst thing about make up: ZOMG PRETTIES THAT I CAN NEVER AFFORD ;_; </3

This season, the big cosmetic companies are making me weep with longing about their new products (and some older ones I’ve been hankering for for AGES), particularly as so many of the new items have turned up the pigment content. This season is all about colour, it seems, and I am all about that.

1. Nails Inc Floral Collection

I love nail polish, if you hadn’t already twigged that. And I love Nails Inc- their product very rarely lets me down, and they are a British company. I do so like to shop local. Their SS14 mini collection this year hasn’t inspired me that much- looking nearly identical to the previous year’s offering. Pastel brights are in this year again, but some different tones might have been more fun. That being said, their new Floral collection of polishes is right on the mark. Perfect pastel spring time shades meet kitsch, adorable flowery glitters to give you an artsy manicure in seconds.

I love glitter and confetti polishes, particularly those that step beyond the basic dot shapes. The lovely little flowers and pollen like specks do this perfectly. The ‘glitter’ is also matte rather than, err, glittery, which is perfect for a daytime-y, sunshiny look. *squeal* I NEED this polish in my life. Don’t get me started on the adorable packaging either. Argh.

This collection is available in 5 shades from nude through to blues and pinks. Each shade is £12, so for the full set you are looking at a £60 spend. My tip, if you are thinking of this collection, is to go for Floral Street Mews and Richmond Gardens. The former is a blossomy pink with hint of turquoise, nude and blue. The latter is turquoise with hints of pastel pink and meadowy, limey green. Between the two of these, you will probably be able to match most spring time outfits, and for me, they are the prettiest shades.

2. Lime Crime Velvetines

Oh lord. I have wanted a velveteen or two since the launch of Red Velvet and Suedeberry back in the day. If I think too hard about Pink Velvet I get the ‘need’ shakes. The latest colours (The Clueless Witch Collection- basically dark red, black and brown) don’t set my heart aflutter as much, but that’s just me.

Now readily availiable in the UK via several online boutiques, I really don’t have much excuse for not snapping one of these beauties up ASAP. If you don’t know about Velvetines, let me lay it down for you. The formula applies like a lipgloss, sets matte like a matte finish lipstick and lasts like a lip stain. They are insanely pigmented and dry to a velvety, rose petal finish. They’re also Vegan and cruelty free.

When I do pull my finger out/find the cash (Approximately £11.50 each) for one of these, I will be going for the gorgeous Red Velvet and the pretty Pink Velvet. Red Velvet is a sexy classic pin up red on the cool side, and Pink Velvet is pretty much the same tone in pink- deeper and bluer than fuchsia.

HNGH.

3. Urban Decay Naked 3

This time last year, I was making the same noises about the Naked 2 palette. I needed a good nude palette for work and play, and this one was the real deal.

I’ve had my Naked 2 palette for nearly 9 months now, and I still use it every time I put on makeup. I love the shadows, particularly Half Baked and Chopper, though there are a few I simply don’t use, I love the big mirror and I love love LOVE the brush. And the primer potion and lipgloss it came with were nothing to sniff at.

Naked 3 had me making whale noises when I saw it in the shop. It’s everything I LOVE about Naked 2, but warmer and pinker. It’s like a hug for your eyes. The 12 shades are all brand new, with the same lovely mix of pearls, shimmers and mattes. They’ve thrown in another of those awesome brushes, plus 4 resealable samples of their range of primer potions (which are awesome, I must add).

Without owning it, the shades I am most excited about are Dust (a pretty shimmery light pink), Buzz (an antique rose pink and likely perfect contour for Dust) and Blackheart (an incredible warm black with floating, shimmery pink glimmers. It’s like bonfire smoke.)

Basically, come hell or high water, I WILL get this palette. Theres no reason not to. It is, for me, a better version of the Naked 2, and therefore perfect. It’s available for around £37 now- I’ve linked above to Debenhams simply because thats where I saw it in the flesh for the first time, and the UK Urban Decay website is SHOCKINGLY AWFUL.

4. Urban Decay Electric Palette or Sugar Pill Electro Cute Neon Pigments

I have bundled these two products together because they perform a similar function: they provide wild, super pigmented neon-bright colour for your eyes. Eee!

Urban Decay’s new Electric Palette gets me weak at the knees. The colours here are pressed pigments, not just ‘eyeshadows’. This means that have a rich, crazily high pigment load- the bright colours on the palette are what you will get on your face, and they won’t fade. Some of the shades are more brights than neons, and there’s even a glittery silver to add some robo-chic to your look. With an audaciously enormous mirror and double ended crease/blending brush, this has to be the palette of the summer.

My top shade picks from this palette are Thrash, a true neon lime/yellow with a touch of gold, Urban, a deep violet, Chaos, a true bold unapologetic blue, and Slowburn, a fiercely bright orangey red. Since this palette contains purn pigments, they should blend together easily into new shades, or so I hope. I look forward to being a neon peacock. At £38, it’s a fair price too.

If you want loose colour, and even more neon-ness, and from a guaranteed cruelty free company, look no further than the wonderful Sugar Pill Cosmetics. Their Electro Cute Neon Pigments look like coloured sugar, full of multifaceted sparkle, but with the same high pigment load and staying power of the other sugar pill products. They’re also Vegan.

The plus side of the loose powders is generally pot size (you will never run out) and ease of brush loading for mind-blowing colour from the first brush stroke. They do like primer or creme shadow to stick to though- the afore mentioned Primer Potion is a good call. The downside is the price. Each shade is $16 (approximately £9.50), or £10.95 with a UK stockist. For all five, you could pay nigh on £55, plus P&P. If this is a bit steep but you are interested, look out for Sugar Pill’s occasional sales, and bear in mind that international shipping from their site is free for purchases over $100. Going in with a friend, this is really easy to achieve.

My favourite Electro Cutes are Hellatronic, a nigh prussian shade of colour excellence, Love Buzz, because it’s piiiiiink, and Sparkage, because neon green is so fun, and green looks awesome with brown eyes, like mine.

 

5: OCC Colour Cosmetic Pencils

Ladies and Gentlemen, they’re vegan and cruelty free. They’re multi functional. They’re endorsed by my favourite Drag Diva, Willam Belli. The Colour Cosmetic Pencils match up with OCC lip tar shades perfectly, to provide the perfect line for the your tarred lips. They can also be used as eye popping eyeliners.

Anti-Feathered is a little different from the rest of the bunch, being clear. It acts as an invisible liner- perfect for use with any rich lip colour, as a lip balm/primer for lip colour wear, and can even be used as a primer for eye colour to keep in in place. This is my top pick of the lot for its extra versatility.

OCC is famous for its pure pigments and colour intensity, and they don’t skimp on these pencils. I can’t wait to get my paws on NSFW, a true rich red, Anime, a perky bright pink and Pool Boy, A luscious swimming-pool blue. If you’re looking for a more pedestrian eyeliner shade, there are several browns and tans, and a true black, but why not go wild with Grandma’s coral goodness, or Black Dahlia’s vampy plummy tones?

$16 (£9.50) on the official website and £11 via a UK stockist, these are my defining pick of the season. D’ya get it? Ha!

 

Which new products are you dying to smear all over your face?

 

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BEDA: 5 is the magic number!

So here’s that post that was supposed to go up a couple of nights back…

When it comes to make up, I insist on quality. If it doesn’t do what I want it to do, and as well as I want it to do, it goes in the bin. I also prefer to buy something which is so integral to my self esteem some days in places I can try with a consultant before I buy. Generally, this means make up counters in department stores, rather than displays in chemists shops. This also generally means I pay a premium for my warpaint, but frankly, what I buy is good sh*t, so I’m not complaining. It also means I can often pick and choose brands that match my ethics, or my look. For example, I love to rock a flawless and skin-kind pale canvas for bold eye and lip colours, so while I wear Benefit and Bare Minerals for foundations etc, I slap Urban Decay and Sugarpill everywhere else. Pricey, but fabulous.

However.

Sometimes even the most hardened counter-shopper and online boutiquer succumbs to a product on a stand in the supermarket. And sometimes, that’s a really good thing, because some of my favourite, wouldn’t be without products have found their way to me this way. These are also perfect products for those on tight budgets, or people starting out in makeup. Here are five of my favourite products that you can pick up for around a fiver, or less.

5. Lush Cosmetics Lip Balm in ‘Honey Trap’- £5.75- Lush

This is the most expensive product on my list, and whilst it would have been tidier to included products that came in UNDER £5 only, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to recommend more. High ethics, low price, fab product. This balm is perfect to ‘prime’ for lipstick with, or wear on its own to lavish love on those lips. The rich natural butters melt at a touch and go on clear. This product not only works, it smells and tastes AMAZING, like honey and white chocolate had a dirty little love child. Mmm. Scandal.

In this price bracket at Lush, you can pick and choose your favourite ‘flavour’ of balm, and, if you want to go a little bolder, you can try their lip tints- shimmery nude ‘Latte’, or rosy ‘It Started With A Kiss’. Both are all natural and nourishing, and have staying power to boot.

 

4. Rimmel London I Love Lasting Finish Nail Polish in ‘Black Cab’- £2.99- Boots

This is the best black nail polish I have ever owned. Hands down. Opaque in one coat, fast drying, highly glossy and long wearing, this product has the mojo. It’s also only £2.99 and available in most supermarkets and chemists. If you want to go dark any time soon, go and buy this polish.

 

3. Collection Lasting Colour Lipstick in ‘Pink Shock’- £2.99- Boots

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This is the cheapest lipstick I own, from probably the ‘cheapest’ brand I have ever allowed near my face. Collection is  ‘drug store brand’ even by drug store standards. And yet, this lipstick is the business. I bought it for a craft project, and now it lives in my make up bag and is never going back. Once this highly pigmented wonder product is on, it’s on, for good. You can eat, drink, talk for hours, and you will still have hot pink lips to go home in. I often wear this lipstick for conventions or all day events where I want to be a colourful dream, and I don’t need to reapply it at any point in the day. Sure, you blot your coffee cup with it, but hey, what lip product doesn’t get everywhere?  I recommend balming up your lips first, as the product is quite dry, but even so- I have lipsticks that cost four times the price of this one, and simply don’t compare. I also have this product in Mango Tango, a neon coral, and Queen of Hearts, an obnoxious red, and they all perform.

 

2. L’Oreal Paris Super Liner Brow Artist in ‘Blonde’- £5.49- Superdrug

This product is theoretically available at all L’Oreal stands throughout the country. However, because it’s so useful, and great gateway brow product, it is often sold out. Persevere! It’s worth it!

In the same way that hair frames the face, brows frame the eyes. If you like to wear bold eye makeup and you don’t already fill in your brows then one of these two statements must be true for you:

a) you have insanely perfect brows already and I hate you.

b) you should try this product.

This pencil is very easy to use. It comes with a pigment end, a wax end, and a brush. First, use the pigment end to define you brows: quick strokes to simulate hairs work best, with perhaps a little filling in the middle for shape. Secondly, use the brush to even out of lighten tone in any areas you’ve been a bit heavy handed, and to comb the hair into place. This is very useful if you have crazy brows like me. Finally, and this is optional, you can use the wax end to set your brows into perfectly pigmented arches.

This was my first brow product, and so far, my favourite. The pencil makes it a friendly a familiar product for those new to brow makeup, and it works perfectly for a good price. The option to set the brows with wax is one of my favourite features of this product, and sets it apart from other brow pencils on the market.

Now, I have chestnut-auburn hair, but my brows are fair in comparison, hence the blonde colour choice. I’m lucky because I can use this product for a lighter finish, or the darker ‘Brunette’ shade for a bolder look. Also, if you have coloration like me, then the paler choice of colour is a good first step into brows. It always feels/looks odd the first time you do it, but trust me- you’ll look great, and your eyes will pop all the more for it.

 

1. Rimmel London Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balm in ‘I Want Candy!’ £5- Asda

I bought this product this week, and it is already living permanently in my handbag. As previous entries on this list probably tell you, I love a bright, obnoxiously pink lip, and this product delivers. It also stays- you can eat and drink with this on, and yes, it will fade, but only to matte. You’ll still have bright pink and moisturised lips for the rest of the day or night, and probably beyond. Even after removing my makeup, some of the pink colour remains.

The buttery formula is soft and smooth on application and  smells fantastic. Whilst it is soft enough to nourish, this funky chunky pencil (much like my much beloved LAQA & CO pencils) is robust enough to let you really build your coverage. The pencil shape also makes it child’s play to apply, even on the go. It also makes a great blush- that same moisturising formula blends out perfectly on cheeks.

The swatches on the Rimmel website are wrong. This shade isn’t as eye-popping as the Collection lipstick I mentioned earlier, this is a bright and fun hot pink perfect for sunny weather. I love it.

 

This post wasn’t sponsored- these are simply thrifty treats you deserve. Enjoy!

 

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Black and Gold

When I got into doing my nails, I treated myself to the Ciaté Mini Mani Month. For over the half the month I did a manicure a day based on the colours that came out, ranging from basic to somewhat elaborate. This is one of them.

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I used the following polishes:

  • Ciaté ‘Ladylike Luxe’: a metallic shimmery gold that blows warm and cool depending on what you wear it with. A versatile shade.
  • Ciaté ‘Bumblebee’: a bold, striking caviar mix of hot gold and black pearls, this manicure leaves you feeling like a Bond girl.
  • Ciaté ‘Twilight’: a black polish teeming with golden sparkle, like sparks from a bonfire. A new favourite!

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Combined, these colours are pure luxury. Really, I was tired when I did this manicure, and I wasn’t that adventurous, but you could go wild with these and revel in their sparkly chiaroscuro. The formula for the polishes is lovely, they need 1-3 coats for full opacity and colour depth, but as per most Ciaté polishes, the colour is eye-popping intense and luxurious. Finish all but the caviar with a high gloss top coat to protect and intensify the sparkle.

This look is awesome for swanky nights out, or any time you want to feel like a glamazon 🙂

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I’ll do a Caviar tutorial soon, as they are easy but require method for ultimate coverage and wear. Until then, I hope you enjoy this look, and try your own version at home!

Later days,

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