REVIEW: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel foundation 30ml, £10.99

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We found this foundation when we trialled Chantecaille’s Future Skin gel foundation, but the price made us want to cry. We started looking for other oil-free gel formulas and the one that everyone was raving about was Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum. It’s almost a dupe for the Future Skin.

It was hard to work out which shade we were as there were never the right testers in store, but we’re glad we persisted. This has become our drugstore foundation of choice. It basically does everything you’d want a foundation to do – provides good medium coverage that lasts well. It didn’t produce a ‘luminous’ or ‘dewy’ finish and can’t say we noticed the ‘anti-fatigue’ claims but it did look natural and didn’t separate or go patchy as foundations often can with combination skin.

Best of all, whilst it’s not weightless (but it is fairly lightweight), it feels pretty good and lasts relatively well even in the T-Zone on combination skin (would need a touch up during a full day). Best of all, Bourjois cater relatively well for yellow-toned shades.

This went straight in as our Holy Grail drugstore foundation.

PROS: Inexpensive, breathable, lightweight, well suited to combination skin

CONS: No added radiance

4.5 out of 5

REVIEW: Collection Fast Stroke Eye Liner (black) 3.8g, £2.99

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We like the control of a pen, dislike the faff of gel liners with separate brushes. Our favourite liquid liners are definitely the dip style felt tip liquid liners. You get great control with these.

This Collection product was at a pretty good price but was very average. It stung our eyelids a little for the first couple of weeks, but the main issue was that the colour was not really as dense as we would usually like.

Not terrible/average in all. Our favourite so far is Rimmel Exaggerate (or the Clio Kill Black Eyeliner Pen, not available in the UK) which gives a really opaque line.

PROS: A good-quality tip for producing nice shapes/lines, relatively cheap

CONS: Colour bit watery

2 out of 5

REVIEW: Laura Mercier Primer 50ml, £29

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Basically the best primer we have yet tried!

It’s weightless, transparent, you can’t feel it on your skin and it helps your makeup perform better and ‘stick’ to your skin. Because it’s weightless, we particularly recommend this for combination skin as it doesn’t aggravate it or ‘sit’ on the skin like some primers can.

It’s our HG primer but because of the price, we keep this one for more special occasions or when we need our makeup to last particularly long.

Remember though, that for a primer to work well, your skincare regime needs to already be sorted.

PROS: Does everything a primer should and does it well

CONS: Pricey, but a little goes a long way

5 out of 5

REVIEW: NARS Kalahari Duo Eyeshadow 4g, £25

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This is just one of those products that we didn’t realise we needed until we tried it!

The shades are hard working, flattering and versatile – a pearly mid heather and a buttery, metallic mauve. The shades work really well on oriental skin for a made-up but natural appearance, that also works up really well with a black or grey for a super stylish smokey-eye

Highly-pigmented, these wear well especially when applied wet and basically do everthing you would want an eyeshadow to do.  This has become our go-to eyeshadow in combination with a matte black.

It has gone straight into our hall of fame.

PROS: Looks super stylish, wears well

CONS: A little pricey, packaging picks up finger prints and marks really easily.

4.5 out of 5

Raves: M&S Beauty

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M&S have languished for some years, trying to deliver what it is known for – high quality British goods whilst competing in a market at an ever lower pricepoint.

The food hall has long stood head and shoulders above the rest of its offering and now the beauty department is coming into line.

It was Stila that took me to M&S…it’s only otherwise available here in SpaceNK. The brands available were much better than I thought would be there…Ren, Skyn, Nuxe, Glamglow, Rituals etc alongside M&S ‘own’ premium brands – of which some products are great as well as a couple of high street brands like Bourjois (which I personally think are out of place). The ‘Advanced Formula’ Beauty Balm was the star of some products that I was given to review a while back.

Everything has testers and no annoying shop attendants following you round. It’s a really great opportunity to really get pitched in and test the products – a serious rival to the internet shopping experience.

Good work M & S, we look forward to even bigger and better things in time to come.

Thumbs up!

UNBOXING: Birchbox September 2014 – Happy Days…the one with the Benefit Eye Cream

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This month’s theme was Happy Days – the booklet inside was missing and the theme tenuous at best. But we hoped for something better that last month’s poor summer-themed offering.

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KORRES: Citrus Showergel, 50ml
Value: £1.60

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“This get-up-and-go citrus body wash helps ensure skin stays hydrated all day long.”

BT INITIAL OPINION: Fresh and modern-smelling. This will get used and Korres is a reliably good brand, but the inclusion of this hardly sets the world alight…reasonable at best.


AGAVE: Healing Oil Treatment, 4ml
Value: £1.07

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“A lightweight oil to smooth hair, build resiliency and boost shine and colour.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – Look forward to trying this as hair oils really suit oriental hair. We could do with a much, much larger sample though!


 

BENEFIT: It’s Potent! Eye Cream, 3g
Value: £2.03

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“Banish dark circles, smooth fine lines and protect against free radicals with this light peptide-packed formula.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – We get along better with eye gels and serums for our combination skin, but always happy to get to sample Benefit.


SKIN & CO: Truffle Therapy Serum, 5ml
Value: £7.00

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“A natural shade-adjusting CC cream with SPF to smooth fine lines and even out skin tones.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – This is interesting! Luxe price, but non-luxe packaging. Will see whether the serum has luxe results or not. Probably the most interesting thing in the box this month..


MODELCO: Lip Lacquer in “Morocco”, volume unknown
Value: estimated £5.00

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“A sumptuous lip gloss that provides long-lasting colour and hydration – plus, plenty of shine.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – Nice. We will use. That is all.


LIFESTYLE EXTRAS:

URBAN FRUIT: Magnificent Mango 35g
Value: £0.80

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“A yummy 100% fruit snack to add to your work lunch and keep you feeling virtuous.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – Love Urban fruit and have yet to try the mango. Great lifestyle extra!

BIRCHBOX: Happy Days Photo Clip
Value: N/A

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“Brighten up your desk or bedroom with this colourful photo holder!”

BT INITIAL OPINION – as a second lifestyle extra, receiving something not-too-obviously-Birchbox-branded is not too bad.


 

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OVERALL VERDICT:

All in all, this was a very mediocre box. It suffered hugely from the the samples being weeny, the value of the box on the low side and (surprisingly for Birchbox) they didn’t curate a very exciting or creative box, nor was there a ‘star product’. However, they have still chosen a variety of items combining higher-end luxe brands as well as new brands to discover.  This is just about passable – I know other versions of this month’s box have been better..If we hadn’t got this on the LivingSocial deal, then we would have been pretty miffed.

Box price: £10.00 plus £2.95 shipping (rolling month by month subscription) – although we got this on a discount offer
Total value: £17.50

Note: We paid for this Birchbox with our own hard-earnt pennies

Like the look of Birchbox? Subscribe at www.birchbox.co.uk and you’ll get £5 worth of points! You’re welcome 😉

UNBOXING: You Beauty Discovery September 2014 – Birthday Special

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The theme of this box was Birthday Special. We weren’t sure why until we realised that YBD is one year old! As our favourite subscription beauty box, we’re happy that its made it to this anniversary!

For their birthday, YBD offered a cracking selection, but we were actually away so had to choose from the leftovers. But no fear! YBD had included a birthday bonusload of extras, including a full size Toni & Guy Volumising Whip. How generous!

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EYEKO: Hydrogel Eyepatch, 3g x 2
Value: £3.75
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“For radiant bright eyes. Botanically infused eye patches that instantly brighten and revivie eyes for a wide-awake look. Concentrated anti-stress and anti-fatigue ingredients treat the delicate eye area visibly diminishing dark shadows and puffiness, leaving skin hydrated and firm. Revitalise tired eyes in just 20 minutes.”

OFFER: Thanks to YBD, you can get 20% off all products at Eyeko.com using the voucher YOU20 (valid until 31st Oct 2014)

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: We love to try out fun things like this.  Although this would have been better suited as an extra rather than an option, it’s a good brand, we’re optimistic!


 

Mavala: Mavadry Manicure Time-Save Fast Drying Nail Polish Finish, 5ml
Value: £5.00
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“Mavadry dries nail polish in 60 seconds, prevents flaking, enhances nail colour and leaves a brilliant sheen.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – We only selected this because we missed the boat with ordering items for the box. Nevertheless, we’ve heard great things about this product and it’s a useful thing to have in our arsenal. We don’t imagine that it will get used all that often, but will come into its own when needed. Imagine that we’ll be super grateful to have it when we’re in a rush!


 

EXTRA TREATS:

TONI & GUY: Glamour Volume Plumping Whip, 90ml
Value: £6.99
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“The ultimate hair treat to give your locks all-day body and bounce from the roots. The non-sticky formulation slifts hair for glamorous, voluptuous volume without any fl y-aways. Just apply a walnut-sized amount at the roots and blow dry to unleash beautiful sleek body throuhout the hair – the perfect prep for creating a volumised up-do.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – We would never have chosen this ourselves, but what a fun product! How can anyone not be happy to receive it? We look forward to trying this!


 

CRABTREE & EVELYN: Teabags x 2 – Blackberry Tea & Afternoon Tea
Value: £0.28
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BT INITIAL OPINION – Who knew Crabtree and Evelyn did tea? We love teas. All teas.


 

UNBRANDED: Face Sponge
Value: Unknown, estimate £1
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“Cute, handy – perfect for a post-summer make-up bag refresh.”

BT INITIAL OPINION – As a freebie, we can’t really complain. Can’t remember the last time we used a sponge like this though! With some incoming air cushions, could be a good backup for that?


 

HELLO FRESH: £25 discount card
Value: N/A
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“Hello Fresh’s unique service delivers great healthy recipes and fresh ingredients to your doorstep each week.”

BT INITIAL OPINION: We always feel a bit conflicted about things like this – it is a generous discount, but at the end of the day is just advertising. It’s pretty relevant though and does further compliment the rest of this month’s offering, so we’ll let it pass 😉


 

OTHER OPTIONS:
Germaine de Capuccini: Excel Therapy O2 Continuous Defense Cream & Multi-Regenerating Rose Hip Oil
Pixi: Endless Silky Eye Pen
Pixi: Tinted Brilliance Balm
Perricone MD: No Foundation Foundation
Wild About Beauty: Nutrilips Colour Lipstick SPF15
John Frieda: Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Moisturising Shampoo & Conditioner
ARK: Body Butter & Shower Gel Duo
Sanctuary Spa: White Lily & Damask Rose Body Lotion


 

OVERALL VERDICT:

We were a bit gutted to have missed out on the Pixi and Perricone products, but this actually turned out to be a super fun box. It’s nice to try out products that aren’t the standard ones we’d usually go for and YBD had really outdone themselves with their birthday offering of extras. We look forward to YBD going from strength to strength this year!

Box price: £6.95 inc shipping
Total value: £17.02

Note: We paid for this You Beauty Discovery Box with our own hard-earnt pennies

Like the look of You Beauty Discovery? Sign up here http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk

UNBOXING: Glossybox July 2013 – Seaside Splash

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We got this box free with our gorgeous September 2014 Karen Millen Glossybox. Using the code LUCKYDIP, Glossybox were offering a free past box with minimum 3 month subscriptions.

This is a sun/holiday themed box.  Upon opening, we were pretty excited as this box is stunning. With the matching tissue and ribbon, Glossybox really excel with their presentation.

This is an unboxing, we’ll list the items and come back and review them later 🙂

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INECTO: Pure Coconut Refreshing Dry Shampoo, 150ml
Value: £2.49
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“Looking for a quick pick-me-up on your way from the beach to the bar? Inecto’s Coconut Dry Shampoo instantly refreshes hair between washes, adding body and texture and – most importantly – leaving your hair smelling irresistably fresh and exotic”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: Blah. The inevitable dry shampoo that comes with summer-themed boxes. Whilst this will be used, this is terribly un-exciting. The irony is that a sample-size would be more useful than the full-size product.


ALTERNA HAIRCARE: Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist, 25ml
Value: £4.60
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“Your perfect “Seaside Splash” summer companion! FOrget perfectly primed hair, and instead opt for effortlessly tousled, “just-back-from-the-beach” waves with this weightless mist. Adds texture, volume and healthy shine to all hair types.

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: We look forward to trying this as we love beach and salt sprays, and this is a handy purse size – will be interesting to see how this performs for the money.


CIATÉ: Paint Pot, 13.5ml
Value: £9.50 (full size product)
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“We’re excited to feature one of our all-time favourite nail brands, Ciaté. WIth a range of on-trend summer shades, you’ll be hitting the beach in style. Ciaté‘s wide range of amazingly pigmented and long=lasting shades guarantees a flawless, even finish every tme. The cherry on top? We can’t get enough of the iconic satin bow gracing each beautifully designed bottle.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: Wut? Who wrote this copy? Glossybox cannot get enough of the ribbon on the bottle?!! Well we do actually love Ciaté, but this metallic orange-red-coral colour is pretty hideous.


COOLA ORGANIC: Mineral Face SPF20 Unscented, 7ml
Value: £0.92
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“We love this tough but gentle multi-tasker. Coola Organic’s Suncare Collection is hypoallergenic, free of parabens and packed with antioxidants. It provides complete UVA/UVB protection and fights free radicals, while soothing, toning and minimizing pores. Organic Acai Oil delivers powerful anti-ageing benefits, while organice Evening Primrose And Linseed Oils reduce inflammation and balance moisture. We’ve truly fallen for this suncare hero.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS:  Hard to get excited about this one – this sample is too small to really test a sunscreen. A waste of space, even if the product might be good.


ILA SPA: Face Oil for Glowing Radiance, 1.75ml
Value: £1.50

“Winner of Harper’s Bazaar Hot 100, ila’s Face Oil for Glowing Radiance has become a cult product worldwide and has been named ‘a little miracle’ by celebrity make-up artists. It’s easy to see why!” Argan oil and rosehip seed oil are high in anti-oxidants, repairing skin cells while combatting premature ageing. You will soon notice a healthy glow to your face with visibly improved texture and radiance.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: This is a product we’re pretty happy to try to see how it compares to Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery and the like. However, the sample is very tiny!


 

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OVERALL VERDICT: Whilst we absolutely LOVE the design of this box, we would have been sorely disappointed if we had paid any money for it. Whilst the selection of the products is pretty good, the two premium products being absolutely tiny samples (one being useless) really makes the box redundant. We were unlucky with the nailpolish colour, but this is a prime example of why we left Glossybox in the first place. We got this free with the Sept 2014 Karen Millen box – which is a million times better, hopefully a sign of good things yet to come.

Box price: Free with the Luckydip promotion (usually £9.50 on a 3-month subscription + £3.75 shipping)
Total value: £17.97

Note: We received this Glossybox free as part of a promotion

Interested in trying out Glossybox UK? Click this link or the banner below.

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UNBOXING: Glossybox September 2014 – the Karen Millen one with the Mythic Oil

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We’ve not been fans of Glossybox UK in the past. The reason for this was tri-fold…the focus on makeup rather than skin/haircare, the poorly curated selection of low-value products, the wildly varying boxes (some people getting very poor, low-value boxes and others getting superb high-value boxes). In the past, You Beauty Discovery and Birchbox have reigned as our UK subscription boxes of choice.

Other than the gorgeous box design (we think we would actually pay just for empty Glossyboxes!!) However, we have been wanting to try Mythic Oil for a long time. This box came with the guarantee that you’d get Mythic Oil or Mythic Oil Mask to try. This would pay for a good proportion of the box and we’d heard that Glossyboxes had started to improve recently, so we decided to take the plunge.

We took up a Glossybox offer for a free past box by entering LUCKYDIP at the checkout (valid on 3-month+ subscriptions). Ours turned out to be the not-very-good-but-gorgeously-boxed-Seaside-Splash-Box (click to see the unboxing)

This is an unboxing, we’ll list the items and come back and review them later 🙂


 

L’ORÉAL PROFESSIONNEL: Mythic Oil, 45ml
Value: £5.75

“This lightweight oil cares for and pampers all hair types. The formula leaves your hair looking shiny while feeling nourised and supple.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: Available from salons only, we’d been wanting to try this oil for a while as our skin and hair responds better to oil and serums. We’d heard really good things about this oil. This is a generous sample that should last a while. We had taken a bit of a gamble, hoping to get it so we were delighted to see it in my box!


 

MODELCO: MORE BROWS Fibre Gel, 3.5ml
Value: £14.95 (full size product)
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“This innovative brush-on fibre gel gives the appearance of fuller, thicker browns instantly.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: We’re not really into the HD brows looks, so whilst we’re curious to see how well this product works, we’re glad we don’t have to pay for the privilege! A decent inclusion for the box though.


 

NAILS INC: Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat, 10ml
Value: £12 (full size product)

“This matte effect top coat gives you two very different looks for every one of your nail polishes. The perfect way to add a unique twist to your favourite shade.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: We’re super excited to try this out! This is bang on matte trend and can be used with our existing nail polishes. Plus we’re Nails Inc fans…what’s not to like?


 

GOSH COSMETICS: Silky Cream Blusher
Value: £6.99 (full size product)

“The texture of this smooth cream blusher leaves the surface of the skin with a flush of soft colour and a comfortable silky feeling.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS:  Whilst we rarely wear blusher day-to-day and this is not a brand that excites us to much, this is a useful inclusion that we will put to use. Full size, great for popping in your handbag – we’ll see if the colour suits. Nothing to complain about.


 

SKINPEP: Enzyme and Acid Peel + Peeling Gel, 7ml + 2ml
Value: £9.50 (£3.50 + £6)
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“This highly effective peeling gel uses Pineapple and Papaya extracts to create gently exfoliated, soft and bright skin.”

“This powerful dark circle eraser uses anti-oxidant ingredients to boost collagen in the delicate undereye area.”

BT INITIAL THOUGHTS: What incredibly expensive tiny sachets! Nice to try some high end products, however we are sceptical whether a sachet can ever give you enough product to really know if it performs well.


 


OVERALL VERDICT: This box was a strong all-rounder. With hair, skincare, nail, eye and face makeup products that we REALLY want to try and can probably afford (bar the sachets) to incorporate into our regular routines. We like that these products are all on trend and do not rely on being gimmicky. The products fitted with the ‘classy highstreet’ Karen Millen brand too.  This is probably our best ever Glossybox – well done guys! If Glossybox are able to maintain this kind of standard, then we will consider extending our subscription past the initial 3 months.

Box price: £9.50 (on a 3-month subscription) + £3.75 shipping
Total value: £49.19

Note: We paid for this Glossybox with our own hard-earnt pennies

Interested in trying out Glossybox UK? Click this link or the banner below.

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