Over the last few months, I subscribed to four different beauty boxes from four of the most popular subscription box companies – Birchbox, Love Lula, My Littlebox and Glossybox. My plan was to find one or two that’s worth subscribing to long term. Naturally, I want a box that offers good value for money, a good range of products to try on, and most importantly, products that actually fit my profile. Having compared all the four boxes, I’ve finally decided to go with Love Lula. If you’re interested to know what I think of any (or all) of the boxes, please do click on the appropriate link(s) above. Otherwise, let’s go see what’s inside my May 2015 Love Lula beauty box:
What’s in the box:
1. Ren V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream, 15ml
I’ve always wanted to try Ren products; I’ve only ever heard good things about them. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t actually tried them – I just kept putting off buying them for some reasons. So when I saw this in my box, I was really happy, and I’m not disappointed with the cream either. I love the fruity smell and the texture – it’s creamy yet it absorbs so quickly into the skin I can almost apply my make-up instantly. It’s also very moisturising but not at all oily; in fact, it leaves the skin feeling soft and rather silky. I can’t comment on whether it really reduces fine lines and wrinkles or not – I haven’t used it long enough to find out, but overall, I think it’s a good cream.
2. Salcura Skin Repair Moisturiser, full size, 50 ml
I’ve never heard of this product before, but it’s a moisturiser and I’m always up to give moisturiser a try. The cream is formulated specifically for people who are prone to eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dry and itchy skin, and contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and itch relief properties. It’s perfect for me as I suffer from very dry and sometimes itchy skin! Again, I really like the texture – it’s fast absorbing, it’s not oily but I do find that if you applied too much, it feels rather sticky – so, a little goes along the way.
3. John Masters Exfoliating Body Bar, full size
I love natural bar soap and sometimes, I prefer it over shower gel. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s easier to wash off and it makes me feel cleaner; not to mention that bar soaps are also generally cheaper than shower gels. Anyway, this one is really nice – it’s got amazing smell, it doesn’t dry my skin out (unlike a lot of other bar soaps out there) and it’s grainy so it does have an exfoliating effect. So as you can probably tell, I’m really glad I got this.
4. Teatox Skinny Detox Morning Tea
This tea contains lemon grass, dandelion herbs, yerba mate, goji berries, sencha green tea, ginger root, birch leaves, nettle leaves, goldenrod herbs and horsetail herbs. Sounds delicious. I haven’t actually tried it but can’t wait to do so.
5. Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose Balm, full size, 17ml
Again, I’ve never heard of this product before, but I love this balm. It smells wonderful and very nourishing. It says it’s multitasking – so you can apply it on your lips, body and face, but I’m using it as a lip balm mainly and also around my cuticles sometimes.
Verdict: I love this month’s box as I love my first Love Lula box. It always contain products that I actually like and would buy again. That’s why I chose Love Lula over the others, and so far, I’m very happy with my choice, and I’m really looking forward to receiving next month’s box.
I know… I missed posting on ‘discoveries’ in February and March, but I’ve got a very good reason – I gave birth to my baby girl last month and as you can probably guessed, she’s been keeping me really busy! Seriously! But now that she’s almost 2 months old, things do get better, and I hope it will continue to get better so that I can go back to blogging regularly. Anyway, enough about that… after all, this post is supposed to be about the things that have caught my attention this month; so, here they are:
1. Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer
I got a sample of this foundation from one of the magazines I subscribed to and I took a liking to it immediately. That’s saying a lot considering that I’m not fond of liquid foundations – they always look greasy on my face and they never last all day (not on me at least). But this one is different. The texture is lovely – very easy to blend; it provides great coverage (medium to full) but it doesn’t feel at all heavy on the skin – in fact, for the level of coverage it offers, it gives you a surprisingly natural matte finish with a subtle glow; it also lasts all day without caking-up or making your face looks like a greaseball. That said, if you’re after a foundation that offers sheer coverage, then this one is probably not for you, but otherwise, I’d say, go grab one for yourself.
2. bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation SPF 20
Another new foundation on the market and this one is from one of my favourite brands, bareMinerals. It’s a mineral foundation and skincare serum in one – now we’re talking… whoever said make-up can’t be good for the skin, right?! It’s lighter than the Clinique one above, very natural looking and it also gives you a soft, silky finish, but coverage-wise, not as good in my opinion – which could be a good thing (or not) depending on what you want out of your foundation really. But it also doesn’t last as long, which is quite disappointing (but that could be just me and my problem with liquid foundations in general). To be fair, you’re supposed to apply the foundation with their special brush and I didn’t, I just use my fingers, and maybe that’s why. I might just give it another try because I really like bareMinerals products, and I do like how this foundation feels on my skin.
3. Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate
I’m obsessed with aromatherapy and organic products, especially when it comes to skincare – the power of plants on your skin… what could be better than that? And I love Neal’s Yard Remedies’ products – sure, they’re quite pricey but they actually work (and they smell amazing). I’ve been using their almond moisturiser for quite a while now and it’s one of the best moisturisers I’ve ever tried. So when I wanted to buy a new night cream, I looked no further than their website and decided to get one of these. Again, it’s one my best beauty buy so far. It’s thicker than your average moisturiser, but then again, it’s a night cream so I do want something heavier. Neal’s Yard claims that it supports your skin’s night time recovery and helps prevent premature skin ageing. Is it true? Hey, I’m no expert, but I can certainly say that my skin feels more hydrated and actually looks plumper in the morning, and that’s good enough for me. And because it’s packed with a lot of essential oils, it smells amazing and I find that it also helps me sleep better (although, this might just be psychological).
4. Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz
Yes, we’re still talking about the power of plants and this time it’s about flower water – I love flower water; I always use it no matter what the season, wherever I am, wherever I go. And most mornings, I ‘wash’ my face with it (after all, your face doesn’t get dirty when you sleep at night so I don’t see the need to cleanse it with cleanser and/or water in the morning). Anyway, one of my favourites is Kats Kalma’s Geranium flower water, which you can get online or at Greenwich market. Unfortunately, she doesn’t produce flower water in winter, so I had to shop around for an alternative. I never realised how much people charge for flower water – some carry a price tag of more than £20! Needless to say, I decided to wait, until I saw one of these in Boots. It costs £3.99 for 150ml and it’s 100% organic. Perfect!
5. Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
This is a mask from another one of my favourite brands, Balance Me. Their Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm is divine (hands to heart!), and this mask doesn’t disappoint either. They claim that it’s quick to boost tired, lack-lustre, dry skin and not only that, it also gives you instant pick-me-up visible results thanks to a bespoke blend of purifying kaolin clay and a skin-brightening fruit acid complex. And they’re right – the first time I used it, my skin instantly looked brighter, felt smoother, fresher and more hydrated. Also, unlike most clay-based masks, it doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils (so you don’t end up with skin that feels awfully tight and looks awfully dry), plus it doesn’t ‘cling’ to the skin, so it’s really easy to wash off – I don’t know about you but I really dislike having to rub my skin raw just to remove my mask.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Uber. In fact I think almost everyone has, including me – I’ve heard of it for quite sometime now but only fairly recently I had the opportunity to use its service. In a nutshell, Uber is a private cab company, but unlike the conventional cab companies, you can’t hail Uber drivers on the street nor can you order your cab by calling the cab company with your phone. Instead, you have to download the Uber app from the App Store, Google Play or Windows Phone Store and request your cab through one of those apps. Don’t let that turn you off though – the apps are really simple and easy to use, and once you’ve set up an account, you can request a cab with literally one click. What more… you get an estimate of how much your trip is going to cost before hand (so no surprises when it comes to paying), you can link your credit card / PayPal account details to your Uber account (so no stumbling around for cash when you reach your destination), it’s much cheaper than the competition, and you can track where your driver is and his route on the map. That said, Uber is not perfect, and its drivers certainly do not know London as well as London Black Cab drivers who, after all, have to spend 3 years mastering its streets. In fact, the last time I ride with Uber, I had to use my Google Map and navigate along with my driver! Not ideal really. But it’s no secret that black cabs are expensive – of course, being a Londoner, I still use them; I think it’s the safest and most convenient way to get around London when you’re already out and need a cab (you simply need to hail down one) or if you don’t have a map of some sort and don’t know where you’re going. But otherwise, I’d say Uber is a winner. Plus, when you refer your friend to Uber, both of you will each get £10 Uber credit – refer enough friends and you could potentially ride for free everytime! Of course, if you’re thinking of signing up to Uber, please do use my code to get your free credit: e2qoc!
This month’s beauty box is from Glossybox – it’s my fourth box after Birchbox, Love Lula and My Little Box, and it’s probably going to be my last ‘trial’ box before deciding which one I’m going to subscribe to regularly. So, without further ado, here’s what’s inside my Glossybox:
Price: £10.00 + £3.25 P+P per month
First impression: I like the box. I think it’s really pretty. But never judge a book by its cover! Honestly, when I opened my box and saw what’s inside, I was (still am) very disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, all of the products seem to be of good value and they’re all full size products! But they’re just not for me – I don’t know why because I filled up my beauty profile before subscribing and they promised that my box will be “full of products that fit” my “desired needs and lifestyle”. Erm… not very true. Also, I guess my expectations were higher having had 3 other boxes to compare it with. As you can see, there’s nothing much inside and this is supposed to be their special love edition box! Not very amorous in my opinion. I’m not sure what they usually put inside their normal box, but I don’t think I’m going to stick around to find out.
What’s in the box:
1. Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk, full size, £9.99
A shaver… oh well… why not… at least it’s useful. I’ve tested it out actually and it’s pretty good – it glides easily on the skin and does give a close shave, and although I’m not too sure about the hydrating effect it claims to give, I honestly think that it’s a good shaver and I’d happily buy it again.
2. Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow – Fifty Shades, full size, £14.49
Fifty Shades eyeshadow! Fitting, considering that the movie will be released on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I have very sensitive eyes that get red and irritated really easily so I tend to avoid eye make-up. So no, I wasn’t very excited to receive this eyeshadow. But I do like the fact that it’s 100% natural, so I will give it a try if only to see how it’ll fare with my eyes.
3. Royal Apothic Tinties, full size, $14
It’s a lip tint and I think it’s okay. It’s a bit too sticky for me and it doesn’t seem to be very hydrating. I’m also not too sure about the colour – the one I got is really orangey and it really doesn’t match my skin tone. I think they should have given something more neutral. At least then I would actually use it and who knows, I might change my mind after a while. But sadly, this one is just going to sit on my dresser.
4. So Susan Rose Quartet Lip & Cheek Palette, full size, £8
I would have loved this lip and cheek cream if not for its colour (again!). It’s too pink for my liking. I’m starting to think why did I bother filling up my ‘beauty profile’ if I wasn’t going to receive products that actually fit my profile? Anyway…
5. B. Cosmetics Mascara, full size, £9.99
Yes, every woman needs the perfect mascara in her life. And most companies promise that their mascaras would give you longer, fuller, more luscious, etc etc lashes. But unless you’re one of the blessed ones who already has that kind of lashes to start with, chances are, you’d be disappointed. This mascara promises the same thing, and guess what… just like any other mascaras out there, it doesn’t really deliver. But hey, that doesn’t mean that it’s not useful. Mascaras are always useful, aren’t they? So I’m glad I got this. Would I buy it again in the future? Perhaps. But I’m just not sure that I’d pick this one on purpose instead of any of its competitions.
So, my search for that perfect beauty box continues… If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that so far, I’ve received one from Birchbox and one from Love Lula, and so far, I’m quite happy with Love Lula. But I thought I’d give a few more a try before deciding on which one to stick to. Yesterday, My Little Box arrived from Paris. It’s a January box – I know it’s a bit late, but hey, better late than never. Let’s go see what’s inside:
Price: £11.00 + £3.95 P+P per month
Got my January box for: £11.00 (using the code: MYFIRSTBOX)
First impression: I like the presentation – the box, the ribbon, the bag, etc. I think it’s chic (as you can see). But that’s not the most important thing – it’s what’s inside that counts, right? So, first impression when I opened the box was… that’s it? 3 samples, 1 bag, 1 calendar and a small magazine? Although, to be fair, the samples are of a much bigger size than those I received from Birchbox and Love Lula. I suppose, at the end of the day, it’s down to preference – do you prefer to receive fewer but almost full-size products, or more but true sample-size products? I would prefer a mix of both (obviously), but if I had to choose, I think I’d choose the latter. I mean, the idea of a subscription box is so that you can try as many products as you can before deciding whether to buy the full size version or not. Anyway, I’m not entirely disappointed because I kind of like my box. I also like the fact that you can ‘tailor’ what you’ll receive in your box by completing your ‘beauty profile’ online (just like Birchbox).
What’s in the box:
1. 2015 Calendar, £10
The calendar is nice, but does it really worth £10? I don’t know. Of course, it’s a neat idea to include a calendar – this being a January box and all; some people might like it, some people might not… I’m quite indifference really.
2. Sports bag, £20
Again, the bag is nice. It might or might not worth £20. The material is a bit thin, so I’m not sure if I’d use it as a sports bag. But I like the design and the size, so why not.
3. Nailsinc Nail Polish, full size, £11
I don’t really varnish my nails, only once in a while, but I’m quite happy that I got this, just because I’ve heard of the brand for quite sometime now but I haven’t got the chance to try it yet. So, yeah, happy.
4. My Little Beauty Energising Mist, full size, £7.5
I’ve always liked mist… facial mist, body mist, room mist, you name it. So I’m glad I got this. It’s a face and body mist combined and it smells really nice. One thing is sure: it’s definitely going into my ‘hospital bag’ – I think it’ll come in handy during my labour, which is not in a long time now!
5. Talika Photo-Hydra Day, 30ml
This product is expensive! But it claims to be “much more than a moisturiser“; “it’s the first cream to use energy from natural light to delve deep into skin and moisturise it.” Whatever that means… doesn’t matter… it’s a moisturiser (or much more), and it’s an expensive one, so I can’t wait to give it a try.
1. Micellar Water
I’ve heard of micellar (in French, pronounced “me-sellaire”) water for a while now, but (I don’t know why), I’ve only just tried it this month. “MODELS swear by them, every make-up artist has one in his or her kit and with their no-rinse, three-in-one formulas they’re perfect for travelling and late nights.” (Vogue). So what exactly is micellar water? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a soap free product that removes make-up and cleanses the skin without the need for rinsing, and also tones and moisturises it. It gets its name from micelles, that is, tiny balls of molecules that are made of fatty acid esters, which according to Bioderma, “are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.” Sounds complicated, I know. I suppose, what’s important is that, I gave it a try and I absolutely love it. It’s very gentle yet very efficient in everything it claims it can do. It’s also really easy to use – I just have to soak a cotton pad with it and sweep it across my whole face, that’s it; I don’t have to rinse it off with water, I don’t have to tone my face after – perfect for lazy old me. Okay, I won’t replace my main cleanser with it; I still like to properly cleanse my face (especially at night) with my natural and organic product, but I use it most mornings and as a second cleanser (in place of toner) to wipe away any residue / dirt / make-up left by my first cleanser. So yeah, it’s definitely a product that I will continue using. I’m using Bioderma – a celebrity favourite and one of the first companies that came up with micellar water, but there are plenty of other brands out there you can try.
2. Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser
This was one of the samples I received from my Love Lula January 2015 Beauty Box. I was (still am) really glad that I got this – it’s definitely one of the best cleansers I’ve tried so far. It’s 81% organic, which is a good start, and I absolutely love the smell – it’s very fresh – and the way my skin feels after using it. I like the fact that it’s multitasking – you can use it as a gentle cleanser, a daily exfoliating mask or a weekly revitalising facial mask. I’ve tried them all and I love them all, but I particularly like using it in the morning because, as I’ve said before, it’s very refreshing.
3. James Read Sleep Mask Tan
I first saw this product on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines and I thought… hmm… that’s interesting – tan whilst you sleep and wake up to a golden glow in the morning. I almost bought it but a few things stopped me: (1) I was worried that it would have a strong smell (from my personal experience, self tan products can have an overpowering smell); (2) I was worried that it would stain my linen; and (3) I was worried that it would clogged my pores (I mean, we all know that skin cells do their repair work most effectively at night, and so I really don’t want to load my face with chemical-laden cream before going to sleep). However, on their website, they say that the formula is infused with skincare essentials, like aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid, red algae, etc. Sounds comforting enough. They then go on to say that you can also apply it in the morning to build a healthy glow throughout the day. Now that might actually sway me towards buying the product.
4. Priv: The On-Call Beauty and Wellness Professionals
Elle calls it “the beauty app equivalent of the taxi service Uber.” It’s an app that allows you to bring a trained professionals of your choice (be it hairdresser, make-up artists, masseuse, manicurist, etc) to wherever you are. I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t tried it out yet, or rather, I couldn’t, because there isn’t a single registered trained professionals within my area. I suppose the success of this app will depend on how many trained professionals they can recruit, but it’s still early days, so let’s see what happens. Priv is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.
5. Daisy Chakra Bracelet
Again, I saw this bracelet on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines. It’s designed by London jewellery label Daisy and it’s worn by a number of celebrities, including Katy Perry, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kanye West, etc. According to Daisy, “the Chakras are the manifestations of spiritual energies on the physical level, responsible for well-being and a happy, healthy life.”; and “The Chakra bracelets are designed to balance your Chakras and ensure your life force and vital energy.” Well, that’s lovely, but for me, I just think it’s pretty, and if it really balances my Chakras, then that’s a plus. Regardless, I’d love to have one.
Of course, the superfood extractor! Which my husband and I received as a gift from a very good friend this month. I love it, we love it, and we highly recommend it! Enough said. I wrote a review here if you’re interested.