Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review: Benefit They're Real Mascara

After hearing a LOT of great things about Benefit's They're Real Mascara, I went for a look around the Benefit shop in the Trafford Centre with Chris.

I was stood reading the packaging, admiring, coveting, wishing it wasn't so damn expensive, and then Chris offered to buy it for me - I refused, he offered again, I refused again, he told me he'd only offer one more time, I accepted.

We came home and I immediately removed my mascara and applied this... Oh My God.

My eyelashes are naturally stumpy at best - I usually wear eyeliner along the base of my lashes, and then a couple of coats of mascara, to make them look a bit thicker and longer.  One coat of this and POW eyelashes everywhere.

I didn't believe the hype, but it's all true! Every word.  With the first coat, my eyelashes were longer, thicker and jet black, and with the second coat they practically touched my eyebrows.  Amazing!

I'm not sure if it's the mascara wand or the formula, but they're both different to any high-street mascara I've tried before.  The wand is plastic with little spikes all around, and longer spikes on the end - so you can actually get the eyelashes in the inner and outer corner of your eyes, and it makes all the difference!

The formula is wetter than most mascaras I've used before, and it doesn't dry super quickly, so you have time to apply a coat and fix your lashes into the right position to avoid clumping before you apply the second coat if you need it.

The instructions say to apply the mascara starting at the base of the lashes and slowly wiggle the wand toward the tips - it's definitely the only way I've found to apply it to avoid my lashes sticking together, just because the formula is so wet.

Ingredients - Paraben Free
I also find that I need to curl my lashes before I use it, because mine aren't very curly naturally - it's pretty lightweight, so it doesn't weigh down your lashes at all and holds the curl really well.

I've not had any issues with the mascara crumbling or flaking off, and it stays on until you wash it off.  It's definitely got the longest wear of any mascara I've tried before.  Whilst that is a major positive, the negative is that it is quite difficult to remove.  I've adapted my nightly face routine to include an oil based cleanser around the eyes - either Dermalogica's Precleanse or DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil, whichever is closest - followed by my usual Witch face wipes.

It is pricey, as I mentioned, at £18.50/8.5g, but it's DEFINITELY worth the money.  If you have stumpy lashes like mine, or if you're looking for a mascara that won't clump, or you simply want one that will stay put for as long as you need it to, this is the mascara for you - give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

I've included some photos below to show the comparison between my natural/usual/they're real lashes.

Natural lashes - No mascara or eyeliner
Lashes with  2 coats of Maybelline Colossal Volum'Express Mascara and eyeliner 
Lashes with 2 coats of Benefit They're Real Mascara and no eyeliner

Available to buy from Benefit (2 free samples with every online order) and Boots for £18.50.

Previous Post: Review: Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover

Next Post: My Miracle Product: Tamanu Oil

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review: Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover

So today, my new nail polish arrived (NYC Park Ave) and I was dying to try it, but I only had a tiny bit of a crappy (Cutex Acetone Free) nail polish remover left, so I had to make a Tesco run.  I'll give Tesco credit in the fact that they had a pretty good selection - Own brand, Cutex, Remover pads or Elegant Touch.

I picked up the Elegant Touch Super Strength because I've got their Rapid Dry Spray and I liked that, so I figured this would probably be pretty good quality too.

The one thing I absolutely HATE about doing my nails is taking my polish off.  I love putting it on, I love wearing it, but taking it off is a ball ache of epic proportions.  It usually involves 2-3 soaked cotton wool pads, a ton of nail polish remover, stinging, sore fingers and a room stinking of the stuff.

But this, this is the Holy Grail of removers.  This would come to a desert island with me (in a bag full of everlasting nail polish with an unlimited supply of cotton wool).  I won't use another nail polish, ever.  Never ever.

Why?  Because it removed my nail polish in one wipe.  Not a scrub, not a hold on your nail for a minute and wipe, INSTANTLY.  It must have some sort of dark magic behind it, because I've never seen anything like this.  The bottle says it contains Panthenol - maybe that's code for Voodoo, I'm not sure - all I know is that it works, my nails didn't go dry afterwards and my house doesn't stink.

Another thing I absolutely love about it is the bottle - the opening isn't just your normal open top, it has a teeny little hole in the middle of what would usually be the circle of spillage.  You can tip it onto your cotton wool pad and give it a gentle squeeze, and you get a tiny bit out.  One 2cm circle of remover did all my nails and touched them up after I'd re-painted them.

All the awards go to this nail polish remover.

So it must be super expensive, right? Wrong.  £2.10/200ml in Tesco.  Very affordable, will last a long time, works really well and is easy to apply.

I love it.

Available to buy from Tesco Stores or from (£2.99/200ml)

Previous Post: Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer
Next Post: Review: Benefit They're Real Mascara

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer

Following on from my Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation review, it seemed only fitting to talk about the concealer from the range.

Truth be told, I actually bought this concealer first, in  an attempt to win the battle against my under-eye circles.  Now, I haven't quite won yet, but this has taken me a good way into the lead.

I bought the lightest shade (of course I did, I'm a ghost), and it's just a bit lighter than the Ivory foundation shade, which is perfect for making those eye bags disappear.

The concealer claims an anti-fatigue effect and radiant glow, as does the foundation, and they both deliver on these points.  This might not 100% disguise my under eye circles, but it gets 90% of the way, and with a bit of help from the slightly lighter colouring of Benefit's Erase Paste, they're gone, and this makes sure that a glowing, healthy-skin look is left in their place.

It's a liquid concealer, so I use it underneath my foundation and then I'll touch up a bit on top if needed - it blends really well, so I don't tend to worry about it caking up on me if I use too much - I've never had an issue with it gathering in creases or drying out in the month that I've been using it.

The packaging matches the foundation, with a bright orange cap, making it super easy to find in my make up box - thank you, Rimmel.  It also has an applicator - one of those sponge tips, and it's actually pretty good for getting the right amount of concealer - one 'dip' into the tube is enough concealer to do both eyes and any blemishes/redness too - so it'll last ages, I hope!

It's a high-street concealer, so it doesn't cost the earth - it retails at £5.49.  Boots currently have a 3 for 2 offer, so you could grab the concealer, the foundation and get something else free.  Bonus.

Here's a quick 'before/after' of my eyes using this concealer:

Before - No Makeup

After - Using Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer

Overall, I do really recommend this concealer - it's light-medium coverage, but works perfectly to disguise redness and minor blemishes, used under foundation it can be built to cover under eye circles/more prominent blemishes.

I'd also suggest, if your under-eye area is quite dark, apply a bit more concealer over your foundation (either the same concealer, or a more creamy-based, slightly lighter shade concealer) and set with a translucent powder.

Previous Post: Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation
Next Post: Review: Elegant Touch Nail Polish Remover

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I've recently changed my foundation routine, replacing a couple of products, and my previous foundation (ELF Studio Flawless Finish Foundation) was one that didn't make the cut.

After looking into a few different foundations, I initially decided to go and buy Bourjois HealthyMix Serum Foundation, but when I got to Superdrug and tested it, it did NOT live up to my expectations, and so I tested a few others and bought Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation.

The bottle states that it has an anti-fatigue effect, radiant glow and SPF 15.  And for once, I can say that I have a foundation that lives up to it's claims!

This foundation works miracles on my skin - no uneven skin tone, no dry, flaky patches, no slipping off the oily bits of my face, it's amazing.  It gives my skin a soft, dewy finish (which still shows through my mattifying powder a bit, as just a glow) and it just makes my face feel more 'pumped up' and healthy, thanks to the peptides, which increase elasticity and help skin to recover more quickly.

I have it in the lightest shade, 100 Ivory, and it fits my skin really well.  It blends super easily., meaning no dirty marks around my neck, and doesn't crease or cake up.  It provides a light-medium coverage, but builds well for heavier coverage.

Wearing Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation
I love the packaging, The glass bottle looks a lot less cheap than the usual plastic ones, and it has RIMMEL embossed on the side, which is a nice touch.  The orange cap gives it a bit of a twist and it does stand out against the others on the shelf, and was part of the reason I was drawn to try it.

The best bit about this foundation is that you hardly need to use any to get great coverage - I find that a small pump (about 1/3 pump) does my whole face, and lasts all day.  With 30ml in a bottle, it'll last a good few months, and I will definitely be repurchasing it, as I haven't broken out once in the week I've been using it.  Result!

At £8.99/30ml, it's a pretty standard price high-street foundation, and it's definitely worth the money.  I'd recommend this for any skin type, and there's a good range of shades, too.

Available to buy from

Previous Post: Review: Elf Mineral Blush
Next Post: Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: ELF Mineral Blush

ELF Mineral Blush in Peachy is by far my favourite blusher of all time.  It's a 100% mineral based shimmery deep pinky-red, which complements my pale skin perfectly.

Its mineral based formula contains no parabens, no preservatives and no chemical dyes.  The colour comes from natural pigments, and Titanium Dioxide provides UVA/UVB protection, so you have that extra SPF where the sun would hit your cheeks.

The Mica in the product creates a kind of soft-focus blurring effect, so any wrinkles or uneven-ness underneath the product will be diffused and disguised very subtly.

The product comes as a loose powder in a plastic pot, and is dispensed through larger-than-usual holes.  It is incredibly pigmented, so a little goes a very very very long way.  My usual blush routine is as follows: 

1. Open pot  
2. Tip excess from lid back into pot, leaving a light dust in the lid  
3. Use blusher brush to pick up small amount from lid  
4. Tap excess into pot  
5. Blow brush 
6. Apply very lightly  
7. Use small fan brush to remove excess from face.

So, obviously, it will last me forever. 

It does stay on my face all day, not budging even a smidge.  Not a bit.  Even just using the tiny amount I do, my cheeks have a slightly flushed look until I go to bed.  The colour is hard to describe - it's more red than pink on the skin, but it's so sheer that it looks like you're... well... blushing a bit.  It has a slight shimmer to it which act like a bit of a highlight, so they're more defined.

I love it.  And for £5/3.4g, it's a bargain too.  I would recommend this to anyone with a face.

Available from

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review: Elf Studio Flawless Finish Foundation

This has been my go-to foundation for well over a year now, for one simple reason - it doesn't break me out.  There are many other plus points to this, but that is the main one for me - the oil free formula is great on my skin.

I started buying this back when it was about £3.75, and the price has jumped up to £6.75/29g now, which is why I chose not to repurchase - why not try something new for the same price?  It'll still be here if I decide it's the only one I can ever love.

Now it's not got the best coverage, and it doesn't last long, but it has SPF15 UVA/UVB coverage, and that's a must (you should try to get SPF in as many of your face products as you can manage, but if you can't get SPF foundation, opt for SPF moisturiser.  Make sure you have that protection there, or you're risking your skin looking old and tired too soon, as well as skin cancer.  Bad times.)

This foundation comes in a glass bottle with a black plastic lid, and a pump dispenser.  The down side to this is that, once the product is out of reach of the pump, it stops working.  For the past 2 months I've been unscrewing my bottle and applying it via the back of my hand.  Now, for people who don't know there's product left and don't unscrew the pump, that's a massive waste of money - about 1/3-1/2 of the bottle.  Not a small amount.

As I said, I've been scraping it out for about 2 months now, and a bottle lasts me around 3-4 months at most.  One pump/small pea sized amount is enough to do my whole face, and build it up in the areas where I need the most coverage (blemishes, redness).  It is buildable, but to an extent.  I wouldn't buy this if I needed heavy coverage, but it's perfect for light-medium coverage.

The texture is really silky, and it goes on really light.  It doesn't feel like it's sitting on your skin, it feels like it's soaking in like a moisturiser would.  It blends out really well, too, and I've never been left with a dirty line around my face/neck, so I'm pleased with that.

It comes in 6 shades - Porcelain, Sand, Buff, Caramel, Almond and Coco.  I use porcelain, which fits my light skin tone really well.  I do usually use the lightest/second lightest foundation shade available, but this is one of the best fits I've found for my skin colour.

As for longevity, it doesn't score a 10, that's for sure.  It lasts a few hours, and then seems to come off my skin, which is strange considering I don't have oily skin at all.  It just seems to wear away and my blush is left sitting on a naked face, and whilst that isn't so bad if you're using it for light coverage, anything more than that and you're not really getting any use from the product.

Overall, this is great for everyday wear if you have clear skin and want something lightweight on your face, but if you don't want your spots to be revealed half way through your day, this probably isn't for you.

Previous Post: Bourjois HealthyMix Serum Foundation - First Impressions
Next Post: Review: ELF Mineral Blush

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation - First Impressions

I've been waiting to try this foundation for about two months now, and finally ran out of my Elf Studio Finish Foundation today, so I made a quick trip to Superdrug to pick this up.

I tested a few colours, and oh my holy Jesus this is a bad product.  I tested on my hand, and it CREATED wrinkles.  I'm only 22, I don't have hand wrinkles, I do now.

I'm so disappointed, it caked up into every little crease in my skin and then caked up on itself.  Not only that, but it looked flaky, like I had dry patches all over my skin.  Not a good look! For a smooth gel foundation this is really a let down for me.

Needless to say, I didn't make the purchase.  But I'm just so upset that it was so bad - for one, because of all the claims it makes, and the ingredients are all pretty good, and secondly, because it's on sale at the moment for £7.99 down from over £10.

Sadface.  Bourjois, please make a healthy mix foundation that doesn't make me look like I'm decaying, and I will love you forever.

UPDATE:  I have since tried and reviewed the Bourjois Healthy Mix Radiance Reveal Foundation, and you can read it here

Previous Post:  Review: Glossybox January 2013
Next Post: Review: ELF Studio Flawless Finish Foundation

Friday, 18 January 2013

Review: Glossybox January 2013

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p+p)

You can Glossydots by reviewing the products in a quick survey, or by inviting friends, and redeem points for a free box.  Each survey is worth 50 points, so if you review 5 products a month, every 5th Glossybox should be free.  You get 200 Glossydots for every friend that signs up and places an order (1000 Glossydots = 1 free box)

The January Glossybox has a Detox theme, and the products I received were mainly organic, natural and paraben free, which I love!

The first product in the 01/13 Glossybox was the Skin Glow Facial Exfoliator by Elemis, from their Teens To Twenties Freshskin range.  The key ingredients are aniseed, bitter cherry, glycerine, jojoba beads, mandarin and sweet almond oil.  The Elemis Freshskin range is also free from Parabens, SLS, SLES, Mineral Oils, Artificial Colours & Silicones.  They use active plant extracts to provide fresh, natural skincare.

The Skin Glow Facial Exfoliator works really well, you massage it into wet skin using 'gentle but fast' circular motions all over your face, and then rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with a towel.  

It smells amazing, and it gets all that dead skin off your face whilst boosting the circulation, so you get a nice tingly-clean feeling after using it.  It cleans right down into your pores and mine looked visibly reduced after use.  My skin felt soft and fresh and I would definitely recommend this product.

(RRP. £12/100ml, Available from ASOS with free delivery)

The second product in the box was a Warming Aromatic Mask from Monu, which claims to help increase vitamin and mineral absorption.  Again, this product uses all natural ingredients - with Attapulgite Clay, Beeswax, Camphor (Rosemary) Essential Oil, Coconut Oil and Lavander Essential Oil.  The clay deep cleans your face whilst stimulating and renewing cell health, leaving the skin 'clear, boosted and radiant looking', and the Beeswax and Coconut oil 'soften, nourish and hydrate skin.'

Used once or twice a week after cleansing, it is applied to the face and neck with fingertips and left for 10-15 minutes.  It won't dry so keep your hair back and don't go headbutting people, it'll make a mess.  Your face instantly starts to warm up, but not too hot, just a soothing sensation - like a hug for your face - it's really relaxing. 

When I washed it off, my skin felt tighter and softer, but I don't think this justifies the price tag.  However, if you feel you can spend the money, by all means try this mask.

(RRP. £24.95, available for £22.95 from

Third in the box was a Mandarin and Bergamot body lotion from Duck Island - a range of skincare products used in hotels.  

It smells citrus-y and floral at the same time, and is extremely moisturising.  It doesn't soak in to skin too quickly so you have to stand around for a bit once you've used it, waiting for it to dry.

Whilst it's a really nice body lotion, I'm confused as to why it was included in the Glossybox - It's available to buy in cases of 200 30ml bottles for £166.78 each - what?

(The cheapest I've found it is £3.32/250ml with £4.99 shipping, from DW Supplies)

Next was a Balance Rescue Face Tonique from Premae - a mattifying and rejuvinating toner, which claims to 'cut through dirt and excess oil, and close clogged pores.'  It does all of those from my experience, and I really like it.

It uses a paraben free, alcohol free, fragrance free, 100% Allergy UK Certified formula of Sandalwood Oil, Rose Water and Lemongrass Oil to nourish and revitalise skin cells.

It is applied with a cotton wool pad, and left on the face (just a thin layer, so it can soak in).  Excess can be removed with another cotton wool pad.

So far, I really like this, and I've been looking for a toner with Rose Water, so I'm very happy about that, too.  The only down side is the price - you could make this yourself for hardly anything, yet Premae are charging £21.50/100ml, and that seems extortionate to me.

The final product in the box is my favourite, and I love it, and I will never stop using it.

It's a Lips Bee Healthier from Jason, a lip balm stick made with 70% organic ingredients.  It's a mass of moisturising miracle ingredients which started to help heal my chapped, dry lips instantly.

Its ingredients include Beeswax, Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract, Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Seed Butter, Aloe Vera, Marigold Extract and Peppermint Oil.  

The peppermint oil gives the lip balm its fantastic minty smell, and gives a slight tingle to your lips as the mint boosts blood flow.  My chapped lips healed in about 2 days with multiple applications of this balm, and I could not be happier with it. 

It has no lanolin, no GMOs, no petrolium, no mineral oils and no parabens, is water resistant and non-greasy, has UVA and UVB protection and stays on even when I'm eating.

Another thing I love is the packaging - the twist-up bit that's usually on the bottom (and gets caught on everyhting and anything and gradually works its way up and smushes your lip balm all over the lid...) is at the top - by the lid.  I love that. 

I hadn't actually looked at the price until just now, as I was scared it'd be something stupidly high and I'd never be able to buy it again, but it's only £1.99!!  For this miracle balm! I'm now in love with this company and want to try ALL their products.

(RRP. £1.99/4.6g, available from

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

How To: DIY Ombre Hair

After seeing hundreds of photos of people with their lovely ombre hair, I got super jealous and  started googling how to DIY ombre my hair.  

It didn't look too difficult, and it wasn't - and it cost practically nothing!

I was more than happy with my results, and my hair wasn't badly damaged as I used a conditioning masque immediately after dying and then at least once a week thereafter.

What you need:

Jerome Russell bblonde Permanent Hair Lightener
Jerome Russell bblonde Peroxide Cream 9% 30vol.
Mixing bowl and tinting brush
Tin foil
Piece of cardboard cut into a long rectangle (about 10" x 5")

What to do:
Jerome Russell Bblonde
Hair Lightener
Around £4

1 - Take your tin foil and cut into sections approximately the same size as your cardboard.

2 - Wrap the top end of your first piece of tin foil over your cardboard, to hold it in place.

3 - Mix 1 sachet of the lightener powder with 1 bottle of peroxide cream in the mixing bowl, until it has a smooth consistency

4 - Decide which sections of your hair you want to lighten, I'd suggest the bottom layer of your hair (by your neck), chunks of the layer above (middle layer) and small, thin pieces of the top layer.
Tinting bowls & brushes
Usually around £1.99

5 - You will be working from the bottom layer up - bottom, middle, top.  So clip up all your hair other than the bottom layer.

6 - Choose your first section to lighten, and place your board to the root of your hair, with your hair sitting on the foil. 

7 - Take your tinting brush and spread a light layer of dye down the hair on the bottom 1/3.

8 - Wrap the foil around the section of hair, so the dye won't get on any of the hair you don't want dyed.

9 - Repeat, taking smaller sections as you move up the hair.

How to apply bleach to hair using foil
10 - After around 10 minutes, remove the foil from the first section and check the colour.  If it's the right colour for you, wash it off, if not, check every 10 minutes.

11 - Wash with shampoo and conditioner, leaving the conditioner on for 5 minutes.

12 - Dry hair and check colour.  

If you prefer a more subtle ombre, only leave the first lot of bleach on for 10-15 minutes, wash and dry and then re-apply bleach to the bottom 1/5 of the hair.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Review: Glossybox December 2012

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p&p.

You can earn GlossyDots by reviewing the products sent to you in a quick survey, and redeem points for a free box. (1000 GlossyDots = 1 free box) 

'Tried and tested by the Glossybox Pros, Glossybox does the hard work for you'

The theme for the December box was 'Bejewelled' - festive treats that would make perfect gifts.

The first product in the box was Conditioning Whipped Cream by Milk_Shake, which I reviewed separately, you can read that review here.

'It's different to the other leave-in conditioners I've tried, as it's a mousse.  I was expecting it to leave my hair crunchy or dry, but it just leaves it super soft and bouncy.'
(RRP. £14.30/200ml, available for £10.76 from

The second product in the box was a Nail Lacquer by Seche, which I also reviewed separately, and you can read that review here!

'On average, this nail polish lasts me between 5-10 days, whereas every other one I try chips within about 5 minutes - my nails just repel any colour that comes near them!'
(RRP. £9.95/14ml, available from Nails By Mail)

Third in the December box was the What A Complete And Utter Glosser. I Never Fake Strawberry Milkshake lipgloss from Anatomicals. 

I used it a couple of times before I checked the ingredients, the smell isn't super fruity, it's quite a plastic-y smell, and the texture was a bit too sticky for my liking.

it contains propylparaben, which you can read about here, and so I won't continue to use it.  
(RRP. £3.49/10ml)

Next in the box was Magic Touch by Rituals - 'An ultra rich, whipped body cream based on nourishing rice milk and the flowery fragrance of cherry blossom.'  

It has a great texture, is very light and fluffy, and hardly has a smell.  It goes on super smooth, and barely needs rubbing in, and the softness lasts all day.  

With a combination of Organic Cherry and Rice Milk, Antioxidants and vitamin E, alongside the anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and a whole host of other positive effects of Centella Asiatica, this is the ultimate in moisturisation.

It doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy or clogged, and hasn't caused me any breakouts, whereas other body creams usually do.

I definitely recommend trying this cream, and at £5/70ml, it's pretty affordable, too.  Available from (also available for £15/200ml)

Fifth in the 12/12 box was the Oh So Special i-Divine True Palette from Sleek.

It is a collection of 12 highly pigmented eye shadows, in fairly neutral colours and a couple of darker shades.

The packaging is really nice, a matte finish palette with 'Sleek' across the front.  The one thing I am disappointed with is the applicator.  I would have thought that companies would have stopped putting sponge applicators in with their products by now, in favour of a mini brush, but no luck.

The applicator barely picks up anything, giving the impression that it's a bad product, whereas if you use a brush, it works really well and you can create some great looks from this palette.

It does contain Propylparaben and Methylparaben, so I'm not comfortable using this on a daily basis (but I don't feel as bad about using this as I do body creams/moisturisers etc, that sink into the skin - when I use this it will be over a primer, to create a barrier)

RRP. £7.99, available from

Previous Post: Review: Glossybox November 2012
Next Post: Coming Soon...

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Review: Glossybox November 2012

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p&p.

You can earn Glossydots by reviewing the products sent to you in a quick survey, and redeem points for a free box. (1000 GlossyDots = 1 free box)

 'Tried and tested by the Glossybox Pros, Glossybox does the hard work for you'

The November 2012 box was themed around 'Stocking Fillers' - for all your Christmas shopping needs.  I did like all the products in this box, for once!  Well, except one ;)

The first product was Mango Body Butter by Alison Claire, made with organic mango and cocoa butters.  It has both anti-ageing properties from the Retinol, anti-oxidant properties from the Mango, Green Tea and Vitamin E, antimicrobial properties from White Willow and Citric Acid and calming properties from the Aloe Vera and Comfrey.  It has over 70% organic ingredients and is not tested on animals.

The body butter is available in both a tub and an airless pump bottle.  I have the pump bottle, and I think it's the future of body butter application, it makes it so easy - you get less out, so you don't make a mess or over-apply, and there's no dropping lids on the floor and stepping in a gloopy mango puddle.

The best thing about it is that it smells like mango ice cream - not a harsh, super fruity smell, it's more creamy and smooth, and it lasts ages on your skin.  The texture is light and silky, and it doesn't make you greasy if you apply it properly (massage into skin well).

I love it, and I would recommend buying it.  The only problem is that the pump is only available in 50ml (would be £31.96/200ml), and you get effectively twice as much for your money if you get the 200ml tub.

(RRP. £7.99/50ml or £15/200ml, available from

The second product in the box was an Indian Rose Face Cream by Ayuuri.  It has Indian Rose, Jasmine, Aloe Vera, and 5 different parabens, so I won't use it.

For my blog on parabens and their harmful effects, click here.

The next product was a sample bottle of Body Perfume from Burberry, and unlike the regular samples, this one came in a cute little glass bottle with a screw top lid.

It has topnotes of Absinthe, Peach and Freesia, with a heart of Rose and Sandalwood, and basenotes of Vanilla, Amber and Musk.  The smell is a bit powerful for my everyday wear, but for special occasions I will dab a bit of this on my neck.  

The smell fades off after a few hours, but a creamy vanilla smell lingers for a while longer.  It's really nice and not what I'd typically expect from the Burberry brand, so if you want to try something a bit more sophisticated smelling, go for this.

(RRP. £75/85ml, available from for £40.55/85ml)

Fourth in the box was the Kensington Caviar Top Coat from Nails Inc - 'a must have product' that will 'give your nails a wet shine whilst nourishing the nails with added caviar extract'.  I got a tiny sample bottle, but it's lasted me well so far.  The bottle is exactly the same as the other Nails Inc products, with its large lid making application a bit harder as you can't get a grip around it.

The colour is slightly pink in-bottle, but dries perfectly clear, and actually does make my nail colour last a lot longer.  I've used it over normal nail colours along with glitter polish and nail wraps.  It held up well with all of them, and didn't smudge the colour underneath, which was great.  It claims to dry in 45 seconds, but mine usually dries in 30 - even better.

With an RRP of £11/10ml, it's quite pricey, but it can be bought in a duo with the Kensington Caviar Base Coat from for £14.95, or alone from for £10.80/10ml

The final product in the box deserves its own review - and will get one very soon! It was already mentioned in my Skincare Routine blog, and is the Daily Microfoliant from Dermalogica.

I currently own 3 travel size and one full size of this as I received the full size for Christmas, and then bought 2 more travel size with my Christmas money.  I love it. It's my hero product and it's helped clear my skin so well over the past 2 months.  

It's a very fine rice bran based exfoliating powder, it's so gentle that you can't feel its effects until you dry your face and it feels brand new.  You use 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon a day, mixed into a paste on very wet hands and applied to a dry face, making the 13g travel size last a couple of months (my first 13g is still 1/2 full after 2 months), and the 75g a lot longer. 

I would recommend this product to everyone, it's great for all skin types and cleans your face to perfection.

(RRP. £38.50/75g, available from many websites at a very reduced price - details in my Dermalogica Deals blog post)

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Friday, 11 January 2013

Review: Glossybox October 2012

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p&p.

You can earn Glossydots by reviewing the products sent to you in a quick survey, and redeem points for a free box. (1000 GlossyDots = 1 free box)

 'Tried and tested by the Glossybox Pros, Glossybox does the hard work for you'

The theme of the October Glossybox was 'DIY Beauty', and the first item was the Don't Just Clean It Woman, Scrub It body scrub by Anatomicals. It's a grapefruit exfoliating scrub, it has a strong smell but really nice and not at all harsh, it's refreshing and excellent for waking me up in the morning - and the smell lasts on my skin for a couple of hours after use. 

The exfoliating beads are big, but very gentle.  It doesn't make me feel like I'm scraping my skin off, which is a bonus. It's not at all drying or irritating to my super sensitive skin.  

The packaging is bright pink with a yellow cap, with a typographic narrative design which makes it stand out from other products you might find it with - not your typical pictures of fruit and flowers.  A 200ml tube lasts a while - mine's still going after 3 months of using it 3-4 times a week, and it's free from DEA's, sulphates, parabens and SLS's.

(RRP. £3.49/200ml, available for £2.99 from

The next product in the 10/12 box was Anti Blemish by Skinetica, a topical solution to reduce and clear spots and pimples.  

It's ingredients are deionised (purified) water, ethyl alcohol, fragrance and organosilane quaternary ammonium chloride.  Ethyl alcohol is very drying to the skin, but used in moderation can help with acne - although I don't recommend it's use.  

Fragrance is very non-specific, and companies only need to list the word 'fragrance' to cover the dozens of chemicals which could make up the smell of a product - it could contain allergens, hormone disrupting phthalates, neurotoxins, and synthetic musks - which can also disrupt hormones, similar to the effects of parabens.  The ammonium chloride acts as an antimicrobial agent, and the water is deionised so that the sulphates etc. usually found in water don't disrupt the balance of the product.  

Considering all of the above, I wouldn't use this product.

Next is the Premium Beauty Balm by Dr Jart+.  I don't really buy into the beauty balm hype, to me they seem like glorified tinted moisturisers.  A lot of them make a lot of incredible claims, and this one is no different - *deep breath* a brightening, tightening, anti-ageing, hydrating, firming, pore-minimising, skin-tone perfecting, imperfection minimising, UV protecting, need-for-foundation lessening super miracle product.  

I used it once because I heard good things about the brand, but it was way too dark for my skin.  I decided to look up the ingredients for this review and have picked out just 4 of it's 37 ingredients at random:

Dimethicone - found in McDonald's Chicken McNuggets and head lice treatments.
Propylparaben and Methlyparaben
CI 77492 - Irritating to eyes, respiratory system and skin

I wouldn't use this product knowing this.

Fourth in the box was the Instant Anti-Wrinkle Mousturiser Hydra Vegetal from Yves-Rocher.  It contains 100% botanical based ingredients, including different types of tree sap, and witch hazel.  It comes in a long tube with a thin applicator, making it easy to get the small amount you need.  

It smells fresh, the most accurate description I can think of is that it smells like trees in the rain.  I love it.  It's very hydrating and not at all heavy.  I use it on days where my skin is feeling extra-dry or bland, and it keeps my face feeling brighter and smoother all day.  

This is a product I would absolutely recommend

(RRP £18/30ml, available from for £9.25)

The final product in the October 2012 box was the Complete Salon Manicure from Sally Hansen.  It's a 5-in-1 base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, colour and top coat.  It uses patented Vita-Care technology for long-lasting care, wear and shine.

I have it in the colour Midnight In NY - black with a subtle sparkle.  The instructions recommend 2 coats, I'd recommend that you make the coats very thin, as even though the first layer goes on sort of grey, the second coat gives it a perfect finish.  Anything more than the minimum you can use to cover the nail, and it would be far too thick to dry without smudging and getting dents and bumps in it.

This nail varnish usually stays on my nails for a good 4 days to a week before I've picked it all off and have to re-paint.  Those with more self-control would probably find it lasts over a week.  It's not a small bottle either, at 14.7ml, and the price isn't sky high at £6.99 - It's well worth the money and I'd recommend this 100% for fuss-free nails.

(RRP. £6.99/14.7ml available from

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