Author Archives: beautyboxobsessive

About beautyboxobsessive

I am 30 years old and based in the United Kingdom. Quite simply I love Beauty Box subscriptions and other Beauty products and once I have tried out each month's new arrivals for myself I blog about my thoughts on the goodies that I have received.

Look Fantastic 1st Birthday Edition Beauty Box: September 2015

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It’s Look Fantastic Beauty Box’s 1st Birthday and to celebrate they have treated their customers to a special box packed full of new discoveries. Not everything included here is to my personal taste and I have to admit I have been left slightly bemused by all of the OTT glowing box reviews that I have seen on social media but there are definitely some gems in here that I will enjoy using and as always the £15 price tag represents great value for money. Another plus point with Look Fantastic Beauty Boxes is the fact that they are available without a subscription so you can choose to order the boxes when the mood takes you if you have the money to spare, rather than having to fork out every single month.
The majority of the products included are either skincare or haircare so it was easy to combine them in order to try them all out! Below I have briefly explained a little about each product, and how I used them together:

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash

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As I mentioned in my Birchbox post, Bliss is a brand that I have always been mildly interested in, though I hadn’t actually purchased any products from their range. This foaming face wash exfoliates as well as cleanses and although it is suitable for all skin types, I have to say that I found using it quite an uncomfortable experience! It also didn’t seem to foam at all as the name suggested it would, but maybe I hadn’t left my skin quite wet enough (the instructions tell you to apply to ‘slightly damp’ skin.

Codage Crēme Gommante Scrubbing Cream

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I decided to follow the face wash with this scrubbing cream as the ‘toning’ element to my routine but in hindsight it was probably a mistake as it meant subjecting my already tender feeling face to yet more rough exfoliation! Again, the packaging stated that this product is suitable for all skin types but the angry red blotches that had by now appeared on my face suggested that my sometimes as end if I’ve skin was not enjoying this experience at all!

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum and Moisturizing Sorbet

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After all that exfoliation my skin was crying out for this next duo by Caudalie. I have sampled a few of the brand’s other products before and have been impressed not only by the products themselves, but by the company’s dedication to using natural and organic ingredients. I smoothed on the serum followed by the moisturiser and my skin felt instantly soothed, although the red blotches persisted for quite a while afterwards!
I certainly wouldn’t recommend this skincare routine when time is tight because the process is quite lengthy and I had to wait for my skin to calm down before I could apply my make up but I think that my skin did benefit from the thorough cleansing and exfoliating treatment in the long run because my skin did feel especially smooth and the surface looked more even afterwards. I will perhaps try this routine again once or twice a week (preferably on my days off!) in order to keep my skin in tip top condition but I certainly wouldn’t use all of these products daily.

Sebastian Penetraitt Strengthening and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

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This duo is great for ‘deep cleaning’ colour treated and over-processed hair, removing any product build up and leaving it feeling soft, shiny and manageable. I never use a lot of styling products in my hair but I do colour it relentlessly which often leaves it looking and feeling a little brittle and lacklustre. I enjoyed using this shampoo and conditioner and will continue to do so every so often when I notice my hair looking particularly ‘blah’ but I am not convinced enough to shell out for the full sized versions just yet.

Phyto Phytokératine Extreme Cream Conditioner

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This is an intensive, leave in conditioner to nourish and repair ultra-damaged, dry and brittle hair. Although I wouldn’t class my hair as being quite that badly in need of a deep conditioning treatment, this cream did leave it feeling really soft and luxurious, plus my fine, flyaway hair was a little easier to tame than usual when it came to styling it. I did like this product, but its not exactly an essential for me personally so I won’t be paying over £25 for the full sized version in a hurry.

TanWorx by Monu Tan Maintainer

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Somewhat the odd item out in this box, I was a little underwhelmed with the inclusion of this tan maintainer. Mainly because I have no tan whatsoever to maintain! However, it has been designed to be used in conjunction with the entire TanWorx range and I do own the TanWorx Self Tanning Lotion (courtesy of an earlier Look Fantastic Beauty Box!) so if I do get round to giving that a whirl anytime soon I will definitely be giving this product a go to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

So what did you guys think? I feel like I have become so obsessed with Make Up lately that any box I receive that doesn’t contain any feels like a bit of a disappointment but judging by the reviews and comments on Instagram and Twitter, most customers seem thrilled with this month’s products. The September highlight from me was actually the card within the box, giving me exclusive access to preorder the AMAZING looking Look Fantastic Advent Calendar before it goes on general sale! Needless to say, this was done immediately and I can’t wait for December so I can discover the delights within it!

The Look Fantastic Beauty Box is available at http://lookfantastic.com and costs £15 including P&P. There is also an offer on at the moment where you receive it for free if you spend over £55 on products across the site.

Birchbox: September 2015

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Happy Birthday Birchbox! This month the beauty box subscription service celebrates it’s 5th Birthday and have marked the occasion by putting together a special box to treat subscribers to a taste of the best that America has to offer in hair, beauty and make up brands. I am reasonably happy with my samples overall so I am trying not to succumb to box envy once again when I see pics of other peoples’ box contents on social media! Here’s what I received in mine:

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter

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I have always had a healthy interest in Bliss products but have only got round to actually trying one or two for myself so I was pleased to see this body butter in my box. Nothing beats the feeling of freshly cleansed and moisturised limbs but I often skip the moisturising part due to lack of time. I made a conscious effort to slow down and give this body butter a try post-shower and i’m certainly glad that I did. Slathering on a generous layer of this gorgeous smelling lotion left even the driest patches on my body feeling noticeably softer and smoother.

Laqa & Co Cheeky Lip Pencil in ‘Humble Brag’

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I’m rarely disappointed by the inclusion of a make up item in any of my boxes and this was no exception. This multitasking, easy to use pencil adds a flush of colour to both lips and cheeks. The shade is quite a bright pink and I was worried that it’d look a bit full on at first as I don’t usually go for such shades but once I got used to it I quite liked it. I own quite a few various lip pencils as they are great for adding a quick flash of colour when you are in a hurry or out and about but the formula rarely lasts very long so it constantly needs to be reapplied. If this isn’t really an issue for you then I would say that this is a good product, though I have tried others that are just as good and far cheaper (the rrp for this one is £17).

John Masters Organics Citrus Neroli Detangler

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Regular readers will know that hair products are not one of my passions, but since I have such short, fine hair I am grateful for anything that will help to protect what little I have to work with! I often fret about the amount of hair that I lose in the shower due to knotting and tangling and here is a product that promises to tackle that problem. It is applied to wet, clean hair and can either be rinsed away after 1-3 minutes or used as a leave-in treatment. I chose to rinse it out since my hair can sometimes look greasy quite quickly and I didn’t want to risk that. The product smells divine and really helped to keep my hair tangle free.

Beauty Protector Beauty Wash

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This exclusive-to-Birchbox brand has impressed me in the past with it’s Protect & Detangle Spray back in June, so I was interested to see if their body care was just as good. It has a rich, foaming texture and felt luxurious on the skin. The Birchbox leaflet also suggested adding a dollop to your bath, which I will definitely be trying next time!

Benefit the POREfessional: License to Blot

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I have been eyeing up this product since Benefit launched it but the price was putting me off buying so I was thrilled to receive this mini so I could try it out and see if it justified a little splurge. I’m pleased to report that it does! I often suffer from an oily t-zone and this ingenious little stick instantly mattifies shine right before your eyes! It can be worn alone or to touch up your trouble zones over makeup. I’m in love!

The Birchbrush

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This month’s beauty bonus is the ‘Birchbrush’, a cute ‘Tangle Teezer’ lookalike of Birchbox’s own design which works out knots, tames and smooths the hair’s surface. Its a nice useful addition to the box and although I already own two Tangle Teezers there’s no harm in having a brush for every room of the house, right?

Well that’s it for this month’s special Birthday Birchbox. I am pretty pleased with the box’s contents although they didn’t completely wow me when I first opened it up. As an added bonus, I participated in the Birchbox Bonanza promotion on the site and bagged myself an extra 100 points to spend on my next order from the Birchbox shop! License to Blot, i’m coming to get you!

Birchbox is a monthly Beauty Box subscription service costing £12.95 per month. For more information or to subscribe visit http://birchbox.co.uk

Glossybox: August 2015

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Ever made a difficult decision only for something to happen which immediately makes you question it? That’s how I felt when I unwrapped August’s Glossybox after deciding to cancel my subscription last month! I had been less than thrilled with the product offerings over the past few months but boy, did they make it up to me with this box! Its an exciting and varied line up which is really making me question my decision to give up my subscription (the email offering a 20% discount if I decide to reconsider is threatening to sway me as well!). Here’s a closer look at the products in the familiar pink box:

Naobay Calming Face Toner

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The first thing that appealed to me with this product was the gorgeous packaging. I love the Eco look of the sturdy wooden lid! It is thanks to Glossybox that I have already experienced Naobay products, having received a cleanser in one of my earlier boxes, and I am similarly impressed with this offering. Made with over 99% natural ingredients, this lotion provides 4-in-1 skincare action, removing traces of make up and impurities, cleansing, toning and soothing. I loved the calming feel of this lotion on the skin, and it left my face feeling soft and smooth. 

Emite Artist Colour Powder Blush

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Another box, another blush! Thankfully this one is really nice, although for pale girls like me it should be used sparingly as it is quite a dark shade) It was certainly good to see a full sized make up product too! I had never heard of Emite make up before but a bit of research showed that other products from the brand have appeared in previous Glossyboxes, and with a RRP of £20.59 it certainly makes this month’s box a bargain!

Sass Intimate Purifying Cleanser

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The partnership between Glossybox and Sass is a match made in heaven. I love the fact that feminine hygiene products have been provided, eliminating any of the potential embarrassment that may be caused by buying such products at a store. This cleanser is suitable for daily use and is specially formulated to maintain intimate harmony and ensure everyday freshness.

Me Me Me Lip Glide in ‘Playful Peach’

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I have definitely become a bit of a lipstick junkie lately so I was thrilled to see this velvet finish lip colour in the box. It’s a lovely flattering shade which gives a long-lasting matte finish. I was definitely impressed with this, as I was with the eye pencil from the same brand which I received in a Glossybox a few months ago.

Manna Kadar Lash Primer

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Over the past few months my make up evolution has gone from barely even knowing what a primer was, to trying out face, lip, eye and now lash primers for myself. This beauty can be used regularly in order to leave your lashes feeling conditioned and voluminous. You can even layer it under mascara to enhance the final effect. It’s nice to think that I’m working to keep my lashes in tip top condition so I will continue to use this product for the foreseeable future.

So that’s it for my August Glossybox review. Stay tuned to see whether I relent and resubscribe for September!

Glossybox subscription costs £13.25 per month. Visit http://glossybox.co.uk for more information.

Birchbox: August 2015

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Oops I’ve been slacking with my posts again this month! They’ll be coming thick and fast over the next few days as I scramble to get all of the August box reviews in before my September goodies start arriving!
I was eagerly anticipating this month’s special #BeautyJunkie Birchbox, which promised each subscriber 2 make up items in addition to their other treats. I can’t deny that I was pretty disappointed that both said make up items were teeny tiny samples rather than full sized products (i’m sure my boxes seemed much better value for money when I first started subscribing!) but I will try not to let that sour my review of the products in question!

theBalm cosmetics Balm Desert Bronzer

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I have come across a few theBalm products before and I think that its a quirky and interesting little brand. The sample is nicely presented, even for a miniature and the bronzer seemed nice enough when applied to the areas of my face that would usually catch the sun: my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Unfortunately I feel that the size of this sample hampered my ability to accurately test it, as well as being generally disappointing. The useage instructions recommend applying with a fluffy brush but it was difficult to fit any decent sized brush near the powder to apply it. I settled on a Crown blending brush in the end but I usually apply my bronzer with a nice big Kabuki brush for even and natural coverage and this just wasn’t possible to do. A big shame because I couldn’t really get a proper feel for the bronzer, therefore cannot assess whether or not I would be interested in buying the £15 full sized item.

Lord & Berry Blush in ‘Lotus’

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I love Lord & Berry cosmetics and judging by the size of this box I expected a full sized blusher so I was pretty disappointed when I opened it up and found just a little pan encased in plastic packaging. I understand that the full sized versions of these products are pricey and that the main aim of these Beauty Boxes is to introduce subscribers to a wide range of samples from various brands but when a box is hyped up as being make up focused as this one was, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect at least one of the products inside to be full sized. Is that just me?
Moaning aside, the shade of the brush is flattering and the Lord & Berry quality shines through but i’m generally not a huge fan of blush so I doubt that I’ll be purchasing the £17 full sized product.

Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo

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I received this ‘Ultimate Detox for Hair’ in a previous Look Fantastic box and I still hadn’t got round to trying it. At least receiving a second sample has reminded me of it’s existence! I did give it a go this time around and the results were pleasing. I don’t use many products on my hair other than occasional colourant and the usual shampoo and conditioner so there wasn’t much to ‘deep clean’ but I do love the idea of using a product like this once or twice monthly to give your hair the same sort of TLC as you do your face with regular face masks and treatments. After using this my hair felt moisturised and was shiny and more manageable. Better keep this tube somewhere close by in the bathroom so I don’t forget about it again!

Rituals Organic Rice Milk & Cherry Blossom Calming Body Scrub

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I really like Rituals bath and shower products and was pleased to find this in my box. It smells lovely and is nice and gentle considering its exfoliating properties. It transforms into a rich creamy foam upon contact with water and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.

BioNike Defence Tolerance Essential Cleansing Water

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As a loyal devotee of Garnier’s Micellar Water I have no real urge to find a new cleansing water, especially one that costs 3 times as much as my favourite, but I gamely gave this one a go. It is suitable for all skin types, is soothing and left my skin feeling clean and soft but i’m afraid that I couldn’t find anything that set it apart to justify the £12.20 price tag.

L. Erickson Grab & Go Ponytail Holder

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I am already a Popband devotee so I haven’t let a run-of-the-mill elastic and metal hair tie anywhere near my hair for months but this makes an attractive alternative to my usual no-snag hair ties. It is sturdy, flexible and metal free so it secures without damaging your hair and it’s a pretty silvery grey colour. I love my popbands but they sometimes slip out of my very fine hair unless I secure them tightly (thus rendering their ‘no kink’ characteristic useless) and I found that this tie held my hair more securely. I am sure to get some use out of this and it was nice to see something a bit different in a box for a change.

So that’s my verdict on this month’s Birchbox. What do you guys think? I may have been extra critical because I should probably pick another of my subscriptions to dump in order to save a bit of money, but I just wasn’t blown away like I hoped I would be. I am not a big blush user and I have plenty of bronzers already so I don’t think I could get over the disappointment of not finding a make up gem that I was really excited about nestling inside that familiar drawstring bag. Anyone else a subscriber? What did you guys get? I’d love to see some more reactions/posts.

Birchbox is available as a subscription service costing £12.95 per month. Check it out at http://birchbox.co.uk

My Little Box: July 2015

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July brought another My Little Box packed with charm and useful products. The theme for the month was Road Trips and the box contained cute additions of a travel organiser and a diary and pen as well as some road trip essentials stowed away in the familiar little pouch. Here’s a closer look at the products:

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

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You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have seen this product around before! Micellar waters and gels are popping up all over the place at the moment, but this one by Garnier is one of the original products and remains a really popular choice. I’m already a religious user of this stuff but the usual 400ml bottle is quite cumbersome to cart around with you on holidays or weekend breaks so I was delighted to find this mini format in the box. Micellar water is a quick and easy way to cleanse and remove make up using just a cosmetic pad, so it is an ideal product to take on overnight stays or to festivals. It lifts away the day’s make up, dirt and grease without the need to rub, and it is gentle enough to use on all skin types including sensitive skin.

Essie Nail Polish in ‘Haute in the Heat’

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I was slightly disappointed to receive the same shade of this Essie polish that I got in my Cohorted Beauty Box a couple of months back, but after reading other reviews online from subscribers who had received a nasty brown shade, I am grateful that I have at least got a shade that I like! Essie is a quality nail polish brand and when you apply two coats of this along with a top coat for extra protection, it is pretty durable.

My Little Beauty Summer Sorbet After Sun Body Gelēe

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What is a road trip essential that is often overlooked? After Sun Cream! I am definitely guilty of heading out for the day and underestimating the power of the sun’s rays, particularly on overcast days, so having an after sun product to hand if you do get caught out is a godsend. Even if you have used adequate sun protection during the day, UV rays can still dry your skin out so this light and cooling gel is great for adding some much needed hydration to your skin. It smells lovely too. Bonus!

Travel Organiser

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Diary

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The added extras in this month’s box are this useful little travel organiser and diary and pen. The travel organiser has sections inside for you to keep your passport and tickets safe and in one place, and the little pad and Bic pen (complete with stylus; how very modern!) will allow you to jot down any observations or musings you may have whilst you are off on your travels. As with most months, I am not sure whether I will actually use these extra items much, but they all add to the overall charm and presentation of the box. I am in awe of how much thought goes into creating the whole package every month and that is definitely what keeps me hooked, even on months when the products aren’t all to my taste.

My Little Box is a subscription service costing £14.95 per month. For more information visit http://mylittlebox.co.uk

Glossybox: July 2015

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Life seems to have got in the way of my blogging a bit this month and I have been quite lax with my posts, so over the next few days I will be blogging like crazy to squeeze the last few July box reviews in before my August deliveries start arriving! I think one of the reasons why I wasn’t particularly eager to write this Glossybox review was that it didn’t really excite me that much. I find this strange considering I have mostly read glowing reviews from other subscribers online. Each to their own I guess. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t know much about any of the brands featured which meant that nothing really stood out to me at first. I have now decided to cancel my subscription and the upcoming August Glossybox will be the last one that I will receive and review. I need to cut costs somewhere and after looking back at the contents of the last few boxes, Glossybox stood out as the box that I could stand to do without.

Well let’s not let negativity completely cloud this post, here’s a closer look at the boxes contents…

The July box has a French theme, so the brands showcased all hail from France and are presented in the very cute wash bag that you can see in the picture above. If I’m honest, this was probably my favourite part of the box this month. The items inside are nice, but they failed to really wow me. Here they are:

Noxidoxi Enhanced Serum Base

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I am yet to be won over by any serum enough for it to make its way into my regular skincare routine, but admittedly this one does sound useful. Applied underneath moisturiser, the serum claims to hydrate both the skin’s surface and the deeper layers, and provide a cocktail of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to protect the skin. It did leave my skin feeling smooth and soft, but my moisturiser does that anyway and at £33.46 for the full-sized product, this is not a purchase to be made lightly. I am currently using the Clinique Super Defense Moisturiser which provides a similar level of protection for your skin with an added SPF so I don’t feel that a serum such as this is needed personally.

Lollipops Lip Balm Délicieuse

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This is a nice creamy lip balm with the added bonus of protecting the lips from UV damage. It comes in an easy to apply squeezy tube and has a lovely light cupcake-like scent to it. I’ll definitely toss this into my handbag to use over the summer months.

Teoxane Cosmeceuticals Perfect Skin Refiner

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I am partial to a specialist, skin perfecting treatment such as an intense face mask or exfoliating product, so this skin refiner appealed to me. It contains hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate the skin, and glycolic acid to help resurface it. The instructions on the accompanying card suggest beginning by using it every other night due to it’s potent ingredients and warned that you will feel a mild tingling at first. All in all, the instructions made the product sound a bit daunting and since I have reasonably good skin anyway, I have yet to try it out. The fact that my skin is also quite sensitive to certain products put me off as well. I feel that something like this may end up doing more harm than good so I think I will steer clear of it. At £70 for the full-sized product I can’t really afford to like it anyway!

Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence Eau De Parfum

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Next to the travel pouch, this was my favourite box addition this month. The scent is light, floral and slightly musky which is my preferred kind of perfume anyway. It was quite long lasting and I kept getting whiffs of the different notes in it as the day progressed which was lovely. The bottle has no spray top so the perfume is a little tricky to apply, but i’m still really impressed. This is the only one of these products that I would be tempted to purchase the full sized version of, (the lip balm is full sized anyway) and since it is currently priced at £17.90 for 50ml or £25.50 for 100ml at http://yves-rocher.co.uk it is a bargain for an Eau de Parfum.

Well that’s my thoughts on the July Glossybox. I will be sad to give up any of my subscription boxes but my spending is becoming a little out of control at the moment and I need to trim the fat somewhere!

Glossybox is a subscription service costing £13.25 per month. For more information visit http://glossybox.co.uk

You Beauty Discovery: July 2015

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This is the second offering from my newest Beauty Box subscription, You Beauty Discovery. You Beauty is an affordable £6.95 per month and is different to other subscription boxes because you get to choose 2 products to sample from a shortlist which is available at the beginning of each month, meaning you get to sample products that you are really interested in. You Beauty also throw in a couple of bonus treats, one of which usually being some sort of food item, which I seem to get unnaturally excited about! Here are my two picks for July, and what I thought of them:

Nip + Fab Body Slim Fix

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I have seen Nip + Fab products around before and have always been interested in them, but reluctant to part with my money since I was unsure whether they would really work. When I saw this sample of their 2-in-1 Body Moisturiser and Toning Gel it seemed the perfect opportunity to see whether it would work for me before committing to buy. The tube advises applying the gel post workout or after a hot shower but since I have been slacking on the fitness front lately I can only comment on my post shower impressions! The gel has a pleasant scent and absorbs well into the skin. I particularly focused on my thighs and upper arms since they are my main problem areas and I really can see a little improvement in my skin tone and texture. I have been using this alongside the Balance Me Super Toning Body Polish which I received in my Glamour Summer Edit box so it is impossible to say whether one is doing a better job than the other, but for now I am happy with the effect that I am achieving using both items and I will continue doing so. The full sized 200ml version of this product retails at £14.95 but is currently on offer at http://superdrug.com for just £7.45 so I think its definitely worth purchasing!

Lola Nail Polish in ‘Stone Grey’

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Perhaps a strange choice of shade for mid summer, yet this deep Stone Grey varnish really appealed to me. Two coats provide a high gloss, gel-like effect and it is pretty fast drying. I am building up quite a collection of nail polishes at the moment and though I don’t actually get much chance to wear them, I find myself regularly lusting after new shades and brands. Unfortunately I can’t comment on how hard wearing this polish is since I had to remove it again quite quickly before work, but I am more than happy with both of my choices this month and feel that my subscription fee was well spent.

The box also contained a sample sachet of Emma Hardie Protect & Prime, a pack of Nairns Muesli Breaks Oatcakes and a 50ml tube of St Tropez’s new In Shower Gradual Tanning Lotion.
I am on a constant mission to find the holy grail of skin correcting, priming face creams so I welcomed the opportunity to try this one, and the Oatcakes were quickly devoured and found to be delicious but the real star here was the amazing In Shower Tanning Lotion.

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I prefer a gradual tanning product since my skin is prone to dry patches and I sometimes have trouble with products going on unevenly so its nice to be able to start subtly and build up a nice colour. Also, disasters are easier to get rid of! You know you are getting a quality product with the St Tropez brand and it’s so easy just to tack on an extra few minutes to your daily shower routine in order to build up a natural looking golden tan. I have been applying it to my legs and it works really well.

So, another impressive box from You Beauty Discovery. I look forward to receiving my August Shortlist email!

You Beauty Discovery is a monthly subscription service costing £6.95 per month. Find out more at http://youbeautydiscovery.co.uk

So Susan Lip Love Bag: July 2015

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The So Susan Lip Love bag is definitely one of my top subscriptions and this month’s bag was a particularly good one. I love that this subscription is all about the make up, and So Susan and Jelly Pong Pong are great quality, cruelty free brands so these bags always represent great value. Here’s a closer look at the goodies that I received in July’s bag:

So Susan Lip Dome in ‘Mango’

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I received one of these plumping lip tints in a darker shade last month and I was pleased to see another one this month. This is a lovely orangey red shade that really brightens up your face. It can be layered for a more intense colour, feels comfortable on the lips and smells lovely too! As I have mentioned in previous posts, these lip tints aren’t that long lasting, but the crayon-like design allows for easy application of touch ups.

Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 Eyeliner & Shadow

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This is a great time saving 2-in-1 eye pencil in a universally suitable shade of brown. Application is smooth without dragging and it can be used to create bold lines, or easily smudged for an all over wash of colour. A nice staple to have in your make up bag!

So Susan Liquid Powder Shadow Palette in ‘Radiant Glow’

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I received another of these cute little palettes in a previous bag and it has become one of my go-to products. This one is just as impressive. The shadow colours are quite muted and subtle, yet most of them contain a bit of shimmer and look really pretty when applied. I particularly love the shimmery white shadow, which looks amazing when applied to the tear duct and blended on top of any of the other shades on the lid.

Jelly Pong Pong Glow Getter Luminizer Gel

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I love the nail varnish style presentation of this highlighting gel! The dinky little bottle can be easily stowed away yet it will last you for quite a while because you only need to use a little of the product in order to achieve a healthy glow on your cheek and brow bones. This would look great paired with a good bronzer to give your skin a really healthy, sunkissed glow.

The bag also contained the usual bonus gift, this month’s being a ‘stay connected’ ring, which you can see in the main image. Unfortunately the ring is a bit cheap looking and isn’t really my style of jewellery anyway so I will probably end up binning it but the bonus items are certainly not a main draw of the bags so I am not really bothered that I won’t be getting any use out of it. Other than that, I thought that this month’s line up of products was stellar, and they will definitely all become regular features in my make up bag!

Subscription to So Susan Lip Love costs £14.95 a month. For more information on the subscription or on any of the individual products featured, visit http://sosusan.com

Birchbox ‘Birchbag’: July 2015

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There’s nothing like some fresh new make up and skincare products to shake up your routine during the warmer months and with Birchbox’s latest offering they’ve gone one step further and even given their traditional box a revamp! July sees your samples displayed in a lovely bright ‘Birchbag’, perfect for toting around your holiday essentials. Overall I am quite happy with my samples this month, although I am envious of a couple of things that I have missed out on after looking at pics of other peoples’ bags on Instagram! Oh well, here’s a closer look at what I received:

Soigné Nail Lacquer in ‘Menthe’

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I have been receiving a lot of nail polishes in my boxes lately, though most have been bright shades so I was pleased to see this dreamy pastel one in the bag. At first glance it looked blue but when applied it looks more of a duck egg bluey green. This may be the perfect shade to complement my dress at my friend’s Lake Garda wedding next month! The polish itself is easy to apply due to a quite large, quite flat brush, although you definitely need two coats to build up a decent colour and even coverage. It really is a pretty shade though!

Unani Aloe Vera Gel

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Aloe Vera gel in it’s purest form is known for it’s soothing properties and while I suspect this is far from it’s purest form, there are still benefits of using products such as this one. Great as an after sun treatment to soothe and moisturise skin after a little too much UV exposure, it can also be used to alleviate the itching caused from eczema or as an after shave balm. I have a big tube of pure Aloe Vera Jelly which I use for these things so I don’t see myself needing this product as an essential part of my life, but the tube is much more portable so I will keep it around for when I go on my travels.

Benefit Cosmetics Dream Screen

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Quite honestly I didn’t want to like this product as much as I did. Sun Protection is essential, especially on your face, and Benefit have come up with a lightweight but heavy duty sunscreen formula with SPF 45 that also manages to look and feel invisible on your skin! This means no waiting around for ages for your cream to sink in and no walking around with a greasy looking face for the sake of protecting your delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays! Although the product is excellent, I have to pick and choose what I spend significant money on and where I can cut costs and in this case I don’t feel like I can justify £25 on a 45ml bottle of this stuff when the Eucerin cream that I received in the Glamour Summer Edit box was great and costs £10 less for 50ml.

POP Beauty Eyeshadow Trio in ‘Peach Parfait’

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Summer is definitely a great time to experiment with a lighter make up look, particularly when your go-to smokey eye will more than likely end up halfway down your face if you attempt to stick with it whilst abroad! These three shades are perfect for creating a softer and more subtle look, whilst really opening up and brightening your eyes. They have a slight shimmer but are not too full on so they are great for both daytime and evening wear. The dinky little pallette is very portable too so you can sneak it in anywhere, even if you are short on space. All in all, a nice little product.

Indemne Eau de Genie Spritz

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This spritz is intended to be used alongside your usual cleanser to give it an extra boost and leave your skin clean, soft and glowing. A facial spritz certainly helps to leave your skin feeling soothed and refreshed, although if you are using a good cleanser and moisturiser anyway, I’m not completely sold on the fact that you would need this product as well. It is suitable for all skin types and I always welcome the opportunity to try things that I wouldn’t usually, but on this occasion it hasn’t really left a lasting impression on me and I won’t be rushing out to spend £11.20 on the full sized product!

Spa to You Nail Buffer

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Here is where my bag envy comes in, having seen countless pictures of people displaying the beauty sponges that they received in place of this nail buffer. Don’t get me wrong, these are useful little things, but so much so doesn’t everyone already own one? They can be picked up in just about any budget chemist for a couple of pounds so it just didn’t feel very special to me. I have been wanting to try out a beauty sponge for applying my make up for some time but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to splash out on an original Beauty Blender so receiving an alternative in my bag would’ve been great. Oh well I’ll just have to keep an eye out for a cheaper alternative to purchase myself!

So there you have it, my July ‘Birchbag’. I love both make up products and the bag itself and I welcomed the opportunity to try the Benefit Dream Screen so all in all I’m still a happy bunny! I am also excited that once I complete my reviews for this month’s offerings on the Birchbox site, I will have amassed points worth £20 to spend in the Birchbox shop! Maybe I could treat myself to the Dream Screen after all…

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service which costs £12.95 per month. For more information or to subscribe yourself visit http://birchbox.co.uk

Look Fantastic Beauty Box: July 2015

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After failing to be wowed by the last couple of Look Fantastic Beauty Boxes, I was beginning to think that I had found a definite contender to ditch so I could try to curb my expensive Beauty Box habit…then I unwrapped these little treasures! With a great mix of face, body, hair and make up products there is sure to be something that appeals to everyone, with some new brands to explore alongside some more established ones. Here’s a closer look at the box contents:

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil for Face, Body and Hair

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Regular blog readers will know two things about me. Firstly, I adore Nuxe products. Secondly, I received the gold shimmery version of this oil in the May Look Fantastic box and I loved it. I mentioned in that review that this standard oil version was also available and I would consider buying it as it is cheaper. Well I didn’t get round to buying it but now I won’t have to for a while! The oil is great for nourishing and softening the skin, so I plan to use this non-shimmery one on tough areas such as my elbows, as well as applying a layer to my face whenever my skin is feeling particularly tired, dry and stressed out.

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash

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Balance Me is a regular brand on the Beauty Box circuit and that is fine by me. I have had the opportunity to try several great products from their range without ever having to buy any of them individually! This face wash is suitable for normal to combination skin. I usually err on the side of caution when trying new face products and go for ones for sensitive skin, but since Balance Me use 98% natural ingredients in their products and because I have tried other products from the brand before, I felt safe using this. It’s a no-nonsense, water based cleanser that is simply applied with your hands and removed with warm water so it is great for chucking in your wash bag for overnight trips or for using to quickly remove make up and grime when it’s late and all you want to do is get to bed. The sample is a generous 50ml size so it will last you quite a while too.

Monu Skincare Firming Fiji Facial Treatment Oil

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This firming facial oil looked great and I was really excited to try it until I read the usage instructions and they said that it was unsuitable for nut allergy sufferers! I have used products containing nut derivatives before and been fine, but I have also suffered a reaction before so I am always wary. The fact that the product expressly advised against me using it was enough to convince me not to which is a shame. For those of you not cursed with a nut allergy though, this oil claims to be all you need to firm and tone tired or dehydrated skin, and is suitable for dry or sensitive skin types. Sounds great!

Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo

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Now here’s a novel idea! This shampoo is billed as the ‘ultimate detox’ for your hair and should be used once or twice a month to deep cleanse, rejuvenate and revive your locks. I often think that my hair suffers from the fact that it is almost constantly up in a ponytail for work, only being let down to be quickly brushed then scraped back again! Every so often it’s nice to feel like I am giving it a little treat, which is why I am a fan of occasional hair masks. The idea of a shampoo which will work in a similar way to revive and restore tired hair is a new concept for me but one that I am excited to try! Unfortunately the shampoo advises that it may lift colour slightly and I am planning on dying my hair tonight, so I will be waiting a couple of weeks before I give it a go.

Trilogy Everything Balm

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Coincidentally, I was actually considering purchasing a pot of this from Naturisimo when I was browsing the site a couple of weeks ago! This soft balm melts on contact with the skin and can be used anywhere on the face or body that needs a bit of a moisture boost. It is particularly good on chapped lips, dry, cracked heels and the rough skin on elbows. I have been using it on the dry patches on my knees to try and smooth them before attempting to apply some fake tan at the weekend and it is working like a dream! At £12.50 for a 45ml pot it’s great value if you are in the market for a multitasking product like this, but this 10ml pot should last me quite a while anyway.

Lord and Berry Nude Lip Liner

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Make up products have been depressingly thin on the ground in some of my latest boxes so I practically jumped for joy when I saw this offering from a brand that I really like, Lord & Berry. I was in the market for a new lip liner and the fact that this is a nude shade means that it’ll work with a number of lipsticks from my collection. The pencil doesn’t drag and the formula is creamy and smooth. I used it alongside my Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick in ‘Beau Brun’ and it complemented it perfectly, making the end result much neater and long lasting than it would be had I not used the liner.

Well that rounds off what was largely a very impressive offering from Look Fantastic. Just as I began to doubt them, they managed to reel me back in!

Look Fantastic Beauty Boxes are available at the beginning of each month and can be purchased as and when you want them, without the need to subscribe. They are £15.00 including P&P. Get yours at http://lookfantastic.com