Friday, 21 November 2014

My Little Cosy Box - November 2014

Lately I've been getting excited about beauty boxes again and that is in part thanks to My Little Box which offers a mixture of beauty and lifestyle items every month. They have the best packaging I have ever seen, which means that every box feels like a specially put together gift box. And what better way to see in the weekend than a gorgeous little box of surprises?

This month's theme is "cosy", which is absolutely perfect for this time of year. As usual the box includes a copy of the "My Little World" magazine and a gorgeous little print by their in-house illustrator. As with last month's magazine I found that the translation from French was a tad wonky in parts, but overall it is a very well produced and executed magazine, which is incredibly impressive for something that comes as an extra with a subscription box.

The first item in the box was this tiny little mug for ants. Other than the illustration on one side, it has some writing on the back that says "How is your day gonna be?" and then at the bottom of the mug, for you to see when you've finished your coffee it says "Happy". I think this is such a cute idea to cheer up your morning. Sadly, I don't really drink espresso, so I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to use this cup for - it's literally about the size of the palm of my hand!

Next up is this little seed pillow that you can chuck in the microwave to heat up and keep you warm. It was actually wrapped up with a pretty bow originally, but I was too excited and tore it off before taking these pictures, sorry! These things are really great for when your body feels all stiff after a long day and the cute print won't make me feel incredibly old whenever I use it.

Their own brand beauty item included this month was this volumising mascara. Again, I adore the packaging and the brush on this looks really good - it's a decent size with good length bristles. I've not tried it yet, but I'm excited to give it a go soon!

Secondly, there was also a waterproof black eye liner from Arancil. I'm usually annoyed to get eye liners in beauty boxes, but I'm running very low on my current favourite liner, so it would be nice if this one could replace it. It glides on smoothly and staying power seems to be quite good as well, as it was a bit of a struggle to remove the swatch from my hand!

Lastly they also included a full sized Yves Rocher eye shadow in a deep, coffee brown. I dabbled in Yves Rocher a bit when I was a lot younger and never really got on with anything from the brand, but I'll happily give them another go. The pigmentation on this isn't too great, but I guess that makes the deep shade a bit more wearable and daytime appropriate, so I'm not complaining. You can see swatches of the liner and the shadow below:

Overall I'm a bit torn on this box. To be perfectly honest I don't think I'll get that much use out of anything included, but I really appreciate the amount of thought that has gone into this box. It really does feel like a very special treat each month. I have unsubscribed for now, but I'm starting to wonder if that was such a good decision after all...

Review: L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Gel

When it comes to make-up removers I thought I'd tried them all - oils, water based removers, creams, balms, duo-phase removers, micellars... but I can't say I've ever used a gel on my eyes to take off my make-up before - never mind a micellar gel. So, curiosity got the best of me and I had to give this one a go.

If you ever wondered what it feels like to rub gel on your eyelids, it's not a particularly nice feeling. It's cold, squidgy and slimy and though at least it doesn't seem to make my eyes too sticky, it just doesn't feel right if you know what I mean.

Sadly its effectiveness didn't exactly blow me away either and it took quite a bit of effort to get off eye liner and waterproof mascara - unlike my beloved micellar waters that make taking off my make-up an absolute breeze.

Unfortunately, this just didn't work for me at all. It was a bit of a novelty product, but it seems there's a good reason why you don't tend to find make-up remover in gel form. It's just wrong on every level. I think I'll stick to micellar waters from now onwards.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Super Facialist by Una Brennan Brighten & Refine Facial Scrub

The Super Facialist by Una Brennan range has been getting so much love from other beauty bloggers I couldn't help but treat myself to a few bits from it. And as soon as I saw that they had a rose range I was sold! While I never used to be a big fan of rose-scented anything, the last couple of months I've been really drawn to this scent and find it instantly relaxes me.

The Rose Hydrate Brighten & Refine Facial Scrub (what a mouthful) did not disappoint when it came to this scent. Light and floral it has just the right strength to smell soothing and relaxing, without being overpowering. But alas, scent isn't everything!
When it comes to texture I found it also pretty much hits the golden spot. Though I wouldn't recommend using it on dry skin, as it could be a bit rough, when used on wet skin it's just the perfect amount of grains to really get rid of any gunk sitting on top of the skin.

What I really like is that you only need the tiniest amount for each exfoliation, so this 150ml tube has lasted me absolute ages. I'm not sure how suitable it would be for really sensitive skin, though, as like I mentioned above it does feel a bit too harsh even on my skin when used dry. It's definitely not a scrub suitable for everyday use, but for a once-or-twice a week skincare pick-me-up it does the job pretty well.

Monday, 17 November 2014

When bargains are too good to be true: Sea Spa Salt Scrub

I admit that I am totally guilty of this: When browsing sales or bargain sites, I instantly sort my search by "highest discount". There's just something insanely satisfying about getting a huge discount, even if you still end up spending more than you would have on an alternative product. Well, there comes a time when you get your fingers burnt and for me it's this.

Not only was this reduced from £40 to £10 on Fragrance Direct, the description also promised that it would last for a year, as you only ever need a tiny amount of product. I was instantly sold and into my basket it went. Unfortunately, the minute I opened up the tub I knew something was wrong...

As you can see, the pot was completely sealed, but underneath all the oil had separated from the grains. Not really a problem, as I've had particularly oily scrubs do that in the past and you just need to give it a bit of a shake/stir to even things out again. But while I was expecting a sweet fruity scent of Tangerine Melon, I was instead hit by a wave of something smelling distinctly fishy... literally.

After tipping out the foul smelling oil on top, the rest of the product seemed kind of usable, but I may as well have not bothered. At least I can attest, that you really only need a tiny amount of this - the grains are sharp as nails and pretty much instantly irritated my skin (and that's coming from someone who likes their scrubs extremely, err scrubby). It was just completely unusable.

Sea Spa are no longer listed on Fragrance Direct's website and overall I can barely find anything on the brand, so I'm not sure if it even exists anymore. Truth be told, I'm not sure who to blame for this. Is it just a horrendous product or is it actually gone off stock being sold on a bargain cosmetic site? Hard to tell. The only thing I've taken away from this is that when a bargain seems too good to be true, there's probably a very good reason for that.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Review: Schwarzkopf Essensity Intense Repair Mask

My hunt for the perfect hair mask to quench my parched hair's thirst is somewhat of an ongoing adventure, though I gotta admit that this one's a pretty serious contender.

As far as texture goes, this hair mask is absolutely spot-on. It's got enough slip to massage into hair easily, but is also thick and creamy enough not to drip out of the hair while you leave it to sink in.
I used this every other wash instead of conditioner and it worked an absolute treat on my hair.

It does that wonderful thing of being really nourishing but without making the hair feel heavy afterwards. It adds shine and it even seems like my hair didn't take quite as long to blow dry afterwards.

The only downside? The pot is on the smaller side, so it really didn't last that long - about a month of using it 1-2 times a week and it was gone. It's definitely something I'd look to repurchase, though!