Boxing Clever

When a collection of subscription based beauty boxes began popping up last year, my initial reaction was to jump all over them. I didn’t sign up. I was working a little less at the time and I suppose I decided that I should spend my (still reasonable but more careful) beauty budget on products I knew I wanted, rather than samples of things I might buy later.

I also noticed that people who had signed up from the beginning were becoming disheartened with the products they were receiving. It must be a tricky thing, trying to select beauty products that a majority of people will enjoy.

Still, I always loved the idea of beauty boxes, because I love trialling new products. I’m especially keen on the next generation of subscription boxes taking hold in the U.S. at the moment. Little Black Bag, for example, is a subscription service in which beauty products, fashion pieces and accessories are sent to you on a monthly basis. The most interesting thing is that you get to pick one item yourself and trade anything you’re not keen on with other users within a few days of being told what you’re being sent. It follows a ‘mystery bag’ style shopping experience popular in parts of Asia. I’m really looking forward to LBB hopefully going international.

I signed up to Glossybox in June to see whether either the hype or the reputation was true and patiently waited for my first box. I was pleasantly surprised. I could genuinely use everything in the box. The HD Brows tweezers have replaced my own and I love the mineral bronzer. It’s got a gold shimmer through it that looks beautiful on tanned skin. A full list of June products can be found here. 

My July box arrived yesterday and I was even happier with it. Here’s what I got:

1) Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15 

I haven’t used this on my face yet but I rubbed some into the back of my hand this morning and it’s incredibly light, which is just what I look for in a daytime moisturiser. It’s got a fresh cucumber scent and sank into my skin without leaving any oiliness. If it performs as well on my face it’s an almost certain purchase once my current day cream runs out.

2) Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics Lip Frosting

This is a sweet tasting, shiny lip gloss in a super girly pink shade. The brightness sheers out on the lips, but still looks pretty. The write up suggests it can also be used on the the cheeks, but I’m not sure that much shine would stick as a blush. Still, have a go if you’re into mega glossy cheeks.

3) Triple Elizabeth Arden sample pack, including Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15, Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser and Visible Difference Optimising Skin Serum.

The lotion is the same as the larger sample in the box, so it hasn’t been used properly yet. I used the cleanser this morning and loved it. I generally use a cream cleanser at night to make sure all make-up is removed and then something more clarifying in the morning. The exfoliating beads in this cleanser are practically useless, but the cleanser itself is hard working. It reminds me of Clarins’ Gentle Foaming Wash, but less drying and without the detergent scent. I also used the serum this morning. I usually prefer more liquid serums, but this melted into the skin and dried within a minute or so without any tacky residue.

4) Clynol Enrich Colour Shampoo 

A couple of weeks ago I found some large Fekkai Shea sample sachets just sitting in an old Space NK box I had lying around. They must have been there for months. Just sitting there. Waiting. As soon as I used the shampoo and conditioner I was in love with how they made my hair feel. Not to mention the gorgeous perfume it left in my hair all day. I’ve been trying to talk myself out of buying some, hoping something better (and cheaper) might come along and change my mind. I hoped it would be this Clynol shampoo, but it wasn’t. I used it this morning and it didn’t seem any more special than any high street shampoo. Nice freebie but not worth a tenner.

5) MONU Golden Glow Self Tanner for Face and Body 

When it looked like summer had landed back in May I invested in some large bottles of Garnier gradual tanner to leapfrog waiting around to get a natural tan. When the winter returned within a few weeks I felt a little silly being so orange, so I stopped. Now that summer appears to have reared its head again I’m eager to bump my skintone up a few shades. I used this on my face this morning and it’s turned into a surprisingly natural colour. You just need to get past the bizarre custard colour and texture of the cream and the £23 price tag. I’ll try it on my body when I recover from an allergic reaction to, ironically, sun block.

6) HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette 

I’ve been wondering whether to buy a brow palette for a while. I’ve been trying to fill my brows in with a combination of my long loved Clinique Superfine Liner and various matte eyeshadows, but the shadows never seem to sit right. These powders are more finely milled and so brush through much easier than a standard eyeshadow. They can also be used as neutral shadows, and a perfectly matte brown shadow is worth its weight in gold! Definitely my favourite thing in this box.

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