Last week I was feeling a little morose so I decided to sign up to a monthly beauty box. If you haven't heard of them they are, in short, a box of beauty and makeup samples sent to you in a pretty box once a month. The idea is that you get to try out new things, whilst the companies involved advertise their products to a whole new market. The items are "high end" so you're getting amazing value for money. You complete a beauty profile so that they know your hair colour and type, skin type, beauty favourites and your "areas of concern". You can even let them know if you have sensitive skin so you can be sent products tailored for you. (Update May 2014: this is so untrue it's unbelievable!)
The two most popular boxes are produced by Glossybox and Birchbox, so feeling flush and more than a little confused, I ordered both. You can order them on a monthly rolling contract that you can cancel at any time. Glossybox is £10 per month with £2.99 postage. Birchbox is £12.95 with free postage.
The October Glossybox arrived after a somewhat stressful day at work, and it was a joy to behold.
As you can see, the box itself is pink and the items are wrapped in thick black tissue paper and tied with a ribbon. The box is filled with black shredded paper amongst which the goodies nestle snugly. I will admit that I didn't think the box would be as petite as it is. Upon reflection I realise that there is no need for it to be shoe box sized because the samples are all quite small. Silly Simone!
So, here is a photo of the contents of my first Glossybox.
I have read a few reviews of the contents and the general consensus is that this month's box isn't as good as previous boxes. We shall see...
The first item in the box was MeMeMe Cherub's Blush - Cheek & Lip Tint. My first thought was " oh, it's like Benefit's Benetint." The item is descried as a long lasting and multi-functional lip and cheek stain.
The retail price is £5.50 for 12ml. I wasn't really looking forward to trying this because I've tried Benetint in the past and it dried my lips. I wasn't wrong. Upon first application to my lips I could feel them drying. My lips looked cracked and I had to take it off. However, the colour was lovely and not at all as dark as it appears in the bottle. I tried it on my cheeks and just like Benetint it was very difficult to smudge because it dries too quickly. I ended up looking like a clown. I gave this item away after one use because I like my lips to feel moisturised not tight.
The second item is a sample of Katy Perry's Killer Queen Fragrance. Apparently the perfume "shows her rebellious spirit through throwing convention to the wind!" Hmmm. I'm not a fan of pop music, celebrity culture or indeed many perfumes, and I don't see anything particularly rebellious about yet another pop star releasing their own fragrance. Aren't they rich enough?!
I love perfume on other people, but when I put it on myself I am always disappointed. My favourite perfume is Valentino Rock & Rose but it has been discontinued so I'm still on the lookout for a new favourite scent! Anyway, back to the Killer Queen. It was pleasant enough. It lasted a couple of hours. A colleague said it was nice. Sorry if I seem disinterested, but I am not the right person to be testing perfume samples. I quickly changed my profile at the Glossybox website to say I am not interested in testing perfumes in the future. I hope they take note!
The third product was Monu Illuminating Primer. It retails for £24.95 for 50ml so it has quite a hefty price tag. The packaging was, in my opinion, quite bland. It sort of looks like a supermarket own brand product. Just saying...
The formula is paraben free and has Mila particles (whatever they are!), vitamin E and Cassia Leaf Extract. I love natural products so the fact that this is paraben free is a major plus for me, and quite rare in the cosmetic industry. The word "illuminating" always makes me think "greasy". I found that a little of the product went a long way, which is good given the price. I left it to sink in for about twenty minutes before applying my makeup and my skin still felt slightly greasy to the touch and looked shiny. I had hoped it would mattify but I think a product that is aimed at all skin types is never going to have that effect. I wouldn't buy this product because I need something that will mattify my oily skin.
Moving on, Premae Multi-Vit Smoothie Serum is, according to the blurb, the world's first allergen-free brand, which means whatever they produce is kind to all skin types. The packaging is quite boring, but the full size version is much more appealing. This small plastic bottle is very fragile and my sample arrived with a broken lid. The full size version is £22.50 for 50ml and comes in a pretty round, glass container.
I applied this serum after cleansing and it made my cheeks sting a little. I do have sensitive skin and very very mild rosacea but since the product claims to be more than kind to skin I was somewhat disappointed. I persevered however and I've been using it for three days now. WOW! My skin is so soft and supple. My cheeks can be quite tight after cleansing but this really helps. I have noticed that you have to use quite a bit to cover your whole face, so I have only been using it on my cheeks for now. The scent is very lemony, which I love because citrus is my favourite smell.
Now on to the final, and definitely the best product in the haul. Gamila Secret Cleaning Bar. It's 100% natural and provides gentle and deep cleansing of the skin. It is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.
The packaging is very inviting to me. The story behind the manufacturer is endearing and the whole look and feel screams "natural" which as I've said, is a major plus point for me. I used this on my face and body in the shower and it lathers exceptionally well. The sample is very small but I've been using it twice a day and it has hardly reduced at all. The full size product is £21 and available in the UK at House of Fraser. My skin feels so clean after using it, but not at all tight. It leaves my face feeling really refreshed and oh-so-soft. It is an absolute joy to use. I would highly recommend this product!
So there we have it. Four items I wouldn't buy again and one that I would. I have to admit that aside from Katy Perry, I had never heard of any of the brands featured, but I would not class myself as someone who keeps up to date with what's hot and what's not in the world of cosmetics and beauty. I think with my subscriptions to Glossybox and Bitchbox that this is all about to change!