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Beauty Review – March and April Birchboxes

I’m not sure how I managed to miss a month’s review but I thought I would do a condensed double-whammy of beauty products that I received over the past two months plus an extra purchase I made.

March’s Box

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This box was rather plain and uninspiring when I opened it but there were some gems hidden inside.

First up is the Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner. This seems like a great idea but I just don’t use dry shampoos. I will however pass this onto my husband who does.

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I was surprised to see an inclusion from Bobbi Brown. Although the product sizes are quite tiny, it is still quite a high-end brand and I am really looking forward to trying out these three mini face masks.

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Next, a Balance Me Instant Lift Primer which I was pleased with as I love the brand and am always keen on testing out new primers. This smells nice and isn’t too silicone-y upon first use.

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Given that summer is fast-approaching, it was good to include a tanning lotion. This one from Vita Liberata is their Ten Minute Tan and I will use this as soon as it gets warm enough to contemplate getting my bare legs out!

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Finally, from Benefit I received a Double The Lip in the shade Pink Thrills. This is a lipstick and lipliner in one and although I can see the idea behind it, I just don’t think it quite works. Firstly, the two colours don’t really complement each other – I just wouldn’t use a dark purple lip liner with a bright pink lipstick! Secondly, it doesn’t really blend out very well and is quite a dry formula. With enough priming and blending I can just about make this work for me but for a product that was created to speed up application, it seems to have done the opposite!

April’s Box

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This was a much prettier offering in collaboration with Boden who included a £10 voucher.

The first item I received was a Baïja Paris body lotion in Fleur De Tiaré. I know some people moan that these products are ‘filler’ but I take these mini moisturisers with me whenever I go away and this one will be coming with me to Croatia in June.

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I also received Polaar’s face scrub with Arctic Cotton – an ingredient I don’t think I have used before. It’s meant to be moisturising but I’m usually quite wary of scrubs being too harsh on my skin.

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Next, a bronzer and highlighter duo from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I haven’t heard of this brand before and on first impressions, the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy. However, the formula of the products aren’t bad. The bronzer is too dark for my skin tone so I will probably try using this as an eyeshadow but the highlighter is a nice peachy colour and looks quite natural.

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I think ModelCo are quite an underrated brand and I have really liked everything I’ve tried from them and use their brow gel and bronzer on a daily basis. This black eyeliner is another great product. My only niggle would be that it feels like I’ve received quite a few black eyeliners from Birchbox now so a different colour would have been nice.

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Finally, a Keratin conditioner from Luseta Beauty. This looks right up my street and will be going straight in my travel make-up bag to use on holiday.

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If you are a Birchbox customer, you will know they are making a few changes to their membership (free delivery, money off your orders, more opportunities to personalise your monthly box) and I realised some of my Birchbox points were about to expire so I put in an emergency order so I didn’t lose them!

An old faithful, Seche Vite, which I use on a weekly basis to give that gel finish to a manicure.

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My absolute favourite foaming shower gel from Rituals. This is quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a shower gel but it really is amazing stuff.

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I also bought a mini nail varnish remover pot from Ciate which is chocolate orange scented. These are so handy for removing nail varnish and I was in need of a new one too.

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Phew – that was a mammoth post but it has left me feeling really excited about testing out all these new products!

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Latest Purchases #109 – A Huge Sephora Haul

This is a really long time coming but these are some of my favourite posts to read and watch online so I didn’t want my photos to go to waste.

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This little haul is from October when we went to Boston. I sent Ian back to the hotel and told him I would be some time and spent a lovely hour or so pottering around Sephora, testing things on the back of my hand, blagging some freebies and eventually making a few choice purchases.

First up, a set of the Sephora Cream Lip Stains. These are mini versions of their bestselling matte lip creams and I think you get a really nice selection of shades. I got Always Red, Infinite Rose, Blackberry Sorbet and Cherry Blossom (it’s fairly easy to work out which is which) and I think I have all bases covered from a deep, vampy berry, to a bright red, to a casual nude. I have a few other shades in full size and I really like them. They are slightly drying but the staying power is worth it.

I bought a Sephora Highlight Lowlight Face Contour Duo which is a chunky crayon, in the shade Light. I know contouring seems to have had its day now but, done with a light hand, is a great way to bring some subtle definition to your face…no crazy Kim K sculpting going on here. These shades really suit my skin tone too.

I really wanted to try the CC Cream from IT Cosmetics but they didn’t have my colour. I did however pick up the Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination, a brightening concealer for the under eye area.

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I am yet to try anything by Sunday Riley (it may have something to do with the price of some of the products!) but I picked up a miniature of Martian Mattifying Melting After-Gel Toner. This is an ‘essence’, a product currently taking the beauty world by storm, and looks a great post-cleansing boost which prepares your skin for foundation.

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I was relatively restrained with nail varnish and just picked up one bottle from Formula X. This monochrome nail topper in Chaotic is similar to a L’Oreal one I have almost used up and looks great over a variety of bases.

I bought a set from one of my favourite brands: First Aid Beauty. I have tried all three products inside this set and loved them all. The Ultra Repair Cream is wonderfully hydrating, the Face Cleanser is gentle yet effective in removing make-up and the Facial Radiance Pads tone and brighten with a wash of glycolic acid.

My two final products are both from the ‘Sephora Favourites’ set which I get really excited about! These are boxes filled with a collection of themed products and allow you to try a variety of brands and items for a really good price.

The first box I picked up was called Beauty Sleep and all the products were designed to be applied before bed and left to work their magic overnight. Inside was: Blue Moon Cleansing Balm from Sunday Riley, Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm from Farmacy, Splash Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Mask from Algenist, a Sephora Pearl Sleeping Mask, Cell Renewal Night Cream from Caudalie, a Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial by Korres and an Anti-aging Power Eye CreamAnti-aging Power Eye Cream from Origins. Phew!

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I am really excited to try the Sunday Riley balm as well as working my way through the various night creams and masks. Bought individually, these items would cost almost $120 but this box was just $30 which I think is excellent value.

Finally, I bought the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted box which contains all the products currently being raved about on beauty blogs and websites. A lot of these products are quite high-end and expensive so this was a great way to try them out for a fraction of the price.

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I received: a nude BeautyBlender, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in the shade Moonstone, Ka-Brow from Benefit, a Luna Play from Foreo (a facial cleansing brush in case you were wondering!), an Urban Decay lipstick in the shade 714, a GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment, a NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Custard, a bottle of Tarte’s Rainforest of the Seas Marine Boosting 4-in-1 Mist, The Edgiest Kohl Shadowstick in Black Viper by The Estee Edit, another of the Kat Von D Tattoo Liners in Trooper, a Cover FX highlighter stick in the shade Bubbly, and a pot of Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (plus  powder puff).

The sample sizes are really good and I can’t describe how excited I am to try some of these products! I have been wanting to try the Becca highlighter, the NARS concealer and the Laura Mercier powder for such a long time but never seemed to get around to buying them.

I had no idea what the Luna Play was beforehand but am intrigued to give that a go too as well as trying out the GlamGlow mask which I have only heard amazing things about.

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The only downside to one of these sets is the colour selection. Both the Benefit brow product and the NARS concealer are a touch too dark for me. I can still use them both (maybe with a tan!) but they wouldn’t be my first choice of shades.

So, I did get a bit spend-happy but I am so pleased with everything I bought, especially the two ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes. Now to start trying everything out and hopefully finding a few new favourites!

Beauty Review – January Birchbox

Hello and happy Saturday. I have had a relaxed yet productive weekend so far (the best type in my opinion) and am now sat with a bowl of sweet and salty popcorn, candles are lit and we have lined up a film to watch later on.

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My first Birchbox of the year arrived this week full of products meant to get 2017 off to a great start. I like the design on the box and was keen to see what was inside.

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The first item was a Nails Inc polish in a pretty pale pastel blue. Now, I love Nails Inc as a brand and would normally be chuffed to receive something for my nails but I already have this exact colour! I have seen on social media that there were a range of colours included so I obviously was a bit unlucky with the one I received.

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Next was a handcream from French brand Merci Handy. I received the scent Flower Power and it is a sweet-smelling, rich cream that I will use to try and counteract this harsh weather.

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An interesting product next from Lord and Berry. I own a couple of lip items from this brand and at first thought this was another nude shade. However, I received their Conceal-It Crayon in the shade Beige. It is a pencil concealer which, at first, I really wasn’t sure of. I thought it would be too dry to blend well and almost made my mind up not to like it. After testing it out, I was impressed to see it was a great colour match for me and was actually quite creamy when applied and blended with my fingertips. I have put it with my current foundation to test out a bit more next week but I actually quite like this.

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A brand I have been wanting to try out for a while now – Yes To. I got the Yes to Carrots Moisturising Eye Cream and I was really impressed that this was a full-sized product. This is a nourishing eye cream that I have swatched and am looking forward to using. I was just coming to the end of my Benefit eye cream so this was perfect timing.

Finally, I received a good-sized sample of Monu’s Rosewood Reviving Mist. I love rose-scents and I enjoy a good facial spritz so this was a good inclusion for me. It is refreshing and smells great but I probably wouldn’t spend the £20 to repurchase it.

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Overall, this was actually quite a good box but I can’t help but feel a bit ‘over’ beauty boxes. I have so many samples now, I struggle to use them all and I just don’t get as excited anymore when my Birchbox arrives. Saying that, I think I would miss it if I cancelled my subscription as it pushes you out of your make-up comfort zone and almost forces you to try products you might not try but end up loving.

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Beauty Review – December Birchbox

An early Christmas present arrived in the form of the latest Birchbox. I had just got used to the new little trays the products were coming in and Birchbox have changed things up again with this new style box. The colours are festive and the idea is that the box can be used a desk tidy afterwards which is handy.

 

The ‘Merry and Bright’ box contains a selection of beauty treats to use over the Christmas period and up to New Year’s Eve.

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Firstly, I received a full size Ciaté Fierce Flicks Eyeliner, worth £15. I love these types of eyeliners – my favourite being the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – so I cannot wait to try this out for some serious flicks. I have tested it out on the back of my hand and my first impression are good – it is a true black, very pigmented and applies beautifully. I hope it has good longevity too.

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Next, a Benefit POREfessional: Matte Rescue. This is a mattifying gel to minimise pores and create a smooth base for make-up. I used to love the original POREfessional primer but kind of went off silicone-based primers. However, I am keen to try this gel version and see if it works any better.

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I received a hair product from Percy and Reed. The Wonder Balm is a leave-in hair primer that claims to do an awful lot of things with one application! I am so fussy with hair products but will give this a go and see if it does anything for my curls.

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Next, a New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish from Amie Skincare. This is a good sized sample and smells amazing – like peaches. I try not to use harsh exfoliators on my skin too often so I will try this one with caution.

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Finally, the product I was most excited about receiving – a Caviar Stick in the shade Amethyst by Laura Mercier. These creamy eye shadow sticks are fab. I have one other colour already and find the product to be well-pigmented and it really does last with minimal creasing. This colour is beautiful and exactly what I would have chosen myself. It is a mauve/ taupe shade with a touch of sparkle making it perfect for Christmas and New Year parties.

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I read a blog post this week about how beauty boxes need to up their game if they want to survive in 2017. I agree with this and I think this month’s Birchbox is definitely a step in the right direction after a few average boxes. I think the inclusion of Ciaté and Laura Mercier products are great and it is higher end products like these which will keep me subscribing.

Beauty Review – April Birchbox

I think this month’s Birchbox may be the prettiest yet! Partnering with Rifle Paper Company was always going to produce something lovely, but I adore the beautiful floral design on this box and I even used some of my Birchbox points to get two notebooks in equally pretty prints. I just can’t resist attractive stationary!

I was hoping the inside of the box would be as good…

First up is this foot cream by Kueshi. This is a new brand to me  but it smells good and I do use foot cream most nights.

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Next, a cult product in the form of a mini bottle of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. This is meant to be good stuff, adding hydration and a glow to face, body and hair – I cannot wait to try this as a full-size bottle is quite pricy.

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I have received a couple Parlor products via Birchbox and this Detangling Leave-in Conditioner sounds lovely. I use leave-in conditioners regularly but they can weigh my curls down so a spray version sounds perfect!

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Next, a black eyeliner from Cynthia Rowley. This is a creamy formula that gives a true black line and it has excellent staying power. I’m a liquid eyeliner gal so I may pass this one onto my Mum.

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Finally, Dew the Hoola from Benefit. I admit I had no idea what this was when I opened the box but have since discovered it is the liquid version of the Hoola bronzer. I’m not sure about this product. It doesn’t have a shimmer and is creamy to apply but I just don’t find it really does anything. It is meant to leave a sun-kissed glow but it doesn’t really show up on my pale skin. I may use this instead of foundation on holiday or when I have a bit more colour to me, but at the moment, it won’t make my daily make-up bag.

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Quite an interesting Birchbox this month – I don’t love all the items but then again, one of the reasons I subscribe to this is because it makes me try things I wouldn’t normally buy and for every item I don’t like, I find a couple of real gems.

I’m signing off for a few days now as I am off to France for the long weekend on one of my best friend’s hen weekends – expect lots of wine and cheese photos if you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, then you should!) x

Beauty Review – My Last Three Birchboxes

Due to end-of-year laziness on my part, I never managed to share my November and December Birchboxes but, seeing as I did take some photos, I thought I’d do a 3-in-1 post so grab a cuppa and prepare for some beauty goodies!

November

Arriving with the most cringe-worthy theme of ‘#squadgoals’, November’s Birchbox was a collaboration with Skinnydip, known for lovely mobile phone covers. Inside the rather beautiful box were these goodies:

  • Acquaconfort Cream from Delarom – a rejuvenating moisturising cream for the face

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  • Featherlash Mascara from So Susan – a great black mascara promising thicker, fuller lashes

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  • La Crème de Teint from Absolution – a lovely tinted moisturiser

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  • A body lotion from Beauty Protector – I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really get that excited by body creams in Birchbox but this smells pleasant enough

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  • A Lord and Berry neutral lip liner in the shade Silhouette – I am intrigued by this translucent lip pencil that is meant to be used to line the outside of your lips to prevent lipstick bleeding

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  • Finally, my favourite item…a pack of nail wraps from Thumbs Up. I received the Rosa design and love this graphic floral print that can be worn alone or over nail varnish.

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Overall, a decent box – I love the nail wraps and thought the Lord and Berry item was very original.

December

 

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I was expecting something glitzy for the Christmas box and Birchbox didn’t disappoint! This month’s box arrived in a cute clutch bag that would be great for a night out. Inside there was:

  • A foaming shower gel from Rituals in the scent T’ai Chi – I already own a rose-scented version of this and love it. It is so luxurious to use and this also smells amazing.

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  • A face mask from Roloxin – I hadn’t heard of this brand but do enjoy a good face mask

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  • A firming moisturiser from Monu – this contains lavender which is sadly a smell I just can’t stand…one for my Mum I think!

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  • A mini Ciaté nail varnish in the shade Mistress – I really didn’t need another one of these polishes but this is a stunning bright red shade.

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  • A full-sized Lord and Berry crayon lipstick in the shade Fire – a gorgeous orange-red lip pencil that feels very moisturising on the lips with a slight glossy finish. This alone is worth £10, making this box such good value.

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  • Finally, a fabulously-packaged kit from Benefit designed for pre and post partying. This little set contains mini versions of They’re Real eye-liner and Puff Off eye gel. I haven’t tried either yet but the packaging alone won me over!

I think this was a great box and definitely felt very Christmassy!

January

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January’s box arrived earlier this week, full of New Year enthusiasm with a Pinterest collaboration.

  • The first item I picked up was this set of 5 postcards, illustrated by Victoria Semjonova – I especially love the nail varnish one!
  • Cowshed body lotion – this is a really decent sized sample and I love Cowshed products. This is rose-scented so it’s right up my street.

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  • Cleansing Water from Absolution – I think this is akin to a micellar water but smells amazing. I look forward to trying this to take off my eye make-up.

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  • Benefit Tinted Primer – a primer for your mascara? I can’t say this is something I feel I am in great need of but am always open to trying new products.
  • Birchbox compact mirror – nothing special but always handy.

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  • A ‘Moisturising and Repairing’ shampoo and conditioner set from Parlor – I really like that Birchbox have sent both the shampoo and conditioner to try so you can really get a feel for the products together. I’m looking forward to using these peach-scented items.
  • A ‘Waterliner’ from Jelly Pong Pong – a brightening eyeliner to be used along the waterline to give you a wide-eyed, more awake look. This is very creamy and can also be blended and used as a highlighter.

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Overall, a fab start to the year from Birchbox with a good mix of brands…and well done if you made it to the end of this product-heavy post! x