skincare

June 2017 Empties

Good morning all!

Have you ever had one of those times where everything seems to run out at once? That seems to be what’s happening to me at the minute… but it’s actually not so bad because it means I get to do one of these posts, which I have never done before!

So today, I’ll be looking at my empties that have accumulated over the past month, and reviewing what I liked, what I didn’t like, and whether I would repurchase.

Please note that there will probably be things on here I didn’t like but still used all of. This is because I am a cheapskate, and I like to get worth out of products 😉 I MEAN… I need to use it all to give a thorough and fair review. Yeah, that’s it. Let’s go with that one.

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Let’s go!

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Origins GinZing Eye Cream (£20.50 full size)

A little goes a hell of a long way with this little guy! This sample is only 5ml and it has lasted me ages: I think coming up for a year of using it once a day! Or maybe I wasn’t using enough product? I dunno. I only felt like I needed a tiny amount of this.

This eye cream is not as rich as other ones I have used, and it appears to have very very slight shimmer particles in it, which I didn’t notice on skin at all. I imagine that this is to combat the dark circles thing, however I fortunately don’t suffer with dark circles, so I can’t comment on the veracity of the claim that it helps with that problem.

In fact, for me, I mainly see eye cream as a preventative thing at this point in my life. I’m in my late twenties, and I have started noticing some fine lines underneath my eyes, but it’s nothing major. I don’t know if this has helped keep them at bay or not, really, but I prefer to use eye cream than not.

One of the comments I would make about this product is that when I had bad skin flare-ups I couldn’t use it because it stung the skin around my eyes, so it’s not always going to be the best product for people who have sensitive skin, particularly around the eye area.

The full size of this product is 15ml, three times the size of this sample, and I therefore think the price point is incredibly fair.

In terms of repurchasing, I would definitely do so if I had no issues with eye sensitivity, however because I do, I think it’s worthwhile looking for something that works a bit better with my skin.

 

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Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet (£23 full size)

I really liked this moisturiser. The texture was a little more “whipped” than usual moisturisers, which meant it didn’t feel heavy on the skin. It also absorbed quickly and was nice for morning skincare, as I could then put other products and makeup on top of it without feeling too heavy or greasy. It also smelt amazing.

This sample size was 10ml and lasted me less than a month using it once a day. The full size is 40ml and I estimate that’s probably gonna last about 3 months, so I think it’s a pretty high price point in terms of that. Obviously there are more expensive moisturisers out there on the market, but I also think there are comparable ones to this at lower price points.

I won’t be repurchasing this for the reasons I talked about when I received it in this post.

 

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Merci Handy Hand Cleansing Gel – New Wave (£2.90)

This is a nice little hand sanitiser. I always like to carry hang gel around in my bad just in case, and this one smells much nicer than other ones I’ve tried. Other than that, it seems to work in exactly the same way as other antibacterial hand gels.

It seems that literally the only thing that’s different about this compared to other antibac hand gels is the fact that it comes in different fragrances, and it charges you 3 times as much for the privilege. That’s not justifiable to me. I wouldn’t be unhappy to receive this again from someone else or to receive it in a beauty box, but I won’t purchase it.

 

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Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation – Vanille Clair (£10.99)

This foundation has lasted me a long time! I don’t use it everyday, but probably a couple of times a week. The reason it isn’t my go-to is because it is incredibly sheer: definitely not for you if you prefer foundation with good coverage, which I tend to prefer because of my acne and scarring. It is good to pick up though if you’re having a good skin day, or you really want a much lighter makeup look.

I have the lightest shade that this foundation comes in, and it’s still slightly too dark for me, but I do find that with almost all drugstore foundations. If you’re incredibly pale it might not work. It’s also quite yellow based instead of neutral, so that’s another thing to bear in mind.

The foundation itself smells nice, it blends well, and it does feel somewhat moisturising on the skin. It’s been a nice secondary option to have in my makeup kit, but I won’t be repurchasing.

 

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Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner (£48 full size)

This toner is unlike any other I’ve ever used. Firstly, it’s applied from one of those compression pumps, where the product is pushed up from the bottom (if you know what I mean). Secondly, it’s bright green. Thirdly, it smells strongly (an unusual but lovely combination of green tea and witch hazel). Fourthly, it has an unusual texture, going from a light gel to a very thin water-like consistency on skin.

At first, I didn’t like this at all.  I think it was simply because it was unlike any toner I had used before, which are usually very water products applied with cotton pads to me that don’t leave any residue on the skin or have other visible properties. This one does.
It’s created for acne prone and oily skin, and it dries very quickly after application and does have a mattifying quality to it, leaving your skin surface feeling more like after you’ve applied a primer.

I applied it once a day using a cotton pad during my morning skincare routine, and it didn’t take long for me to love it. I can’t say that I actively saw it do anything to my skin in terms of my acne, however it did make my skin less oily and I would say works great alone as a primer.

The only downside to this product is that the price point is very high. I would definitely repurchase this, should I have nearly 50 quid to drop on a toner, but unfortunately I do not.

 

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Paul & Joe Moisturising Foundation Primer – 3 Creme (£24 full size)

First off, I absolutely love the packaging of this product. This is just the sample, but it is so pretty, and the full size bottles are even prettier. I just really like the vintage style of it, looking like it wouldn’t go amiss on a 20s dresser.

The actual product itself is runnier than other primers I have used –  very much a liquid – but it feels very silky and applies smoothly to skin. It has a very faint but pleasant powdery perfume smell, and a very, very slight shimmer to it which is not very noticeable.

It’s a fantastic base for makeup, and has worked well as a primer for me in keeping my makeup in place for several hours at a time, however it is not one of those primers that have fantastic results by itself in terms of minimising pores or smoothing out skin.
On my skin, it works better as a base primer than the much raved about Smashbox one!

This sample was 10ml, and using it maybe a couple of times a week has lasted me a good eight months. The full size is 30ml, and with the price I think it’s entirely comparable to other primers out there, so I’d definitely repurchase this.

 

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Matthew Williamson Sheer Eau de Toilette

To be honest with you guys, I don’t even want to think about how old this perfume is, but I will tell you this much: Matthew Williamson doesn’t make perfume anymore. I’m actually incredibly sad about this, because I loved his brand when I was younger. I had his wallpaper on my wall, I had his handbags, I wore his perfumes, and I even had the incredibly expensive candles he used to sell because they smelt so good.

I really do wish he still made perfumes, because this one was gorgeous, but luckily I still have my parfum of his which is twice the size of this. I’ll definitely be sad when that one goes!

 

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Elgon Deliwash Cleansing Conditioner (£14)

I’m going to try to be brief with this one, as it’s the one I was talking about at the beginning when I mentioned not liking products but using them anyway.

It’s meant to be a cowash you use everyday. I’ve used 2-in-1 products before, and this does nothing. It’s a rubbish cowash, and it’s not even good as a conditioner in its own right. The reviews are amazing for it, which I’m totally shocked by, so give it a go if you must, but it did nothing for me.

Plus points for the packaging which is cute, and the smell which is amazing. Other than that: trash.

 

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Figs & Rouge Hydra-Activ Smart Nutrient Day Cream (£28 full size)

I absolutely love this cream. When I first received it, I wasn’t that into it, but having used it on my skin for a while now, I have grown to love it more and more.

It smells amazing and it makes my skin feel totally moisturised and silky. If you put slightly too much on, it will end up feeling heavy, so watch out for that, but in general it’s amazing.

This size is 20ml and it lasted me much, much longer than the Caudalie one, as I think it spread better and I needed less product. The full size is 50ml, and so I think £28 is a comparable price point, and if I had the funds I would definitely repurchase. I won’t be doing so right now, as I’m currently testing other skin creams, but we’ll see in the future.


 

So all in all, I’ve finished up a mixed bag of products this month. What do you guys think? Have you used any of these products before too, and what did you think of them?

Until next time folks 😉

kirsten-xo

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Trying Out Natural Scrubs!

Goooood morning, and today I have a post for you that I have been excited to write for a while now!

You probably have seen a lot of promos for coffee scrubs going around. They seem to be all the rage at the minute. People are taking selfies of themselves with the coffee scrubs on, and these are being reposted by the Instagrams of the companies which sell them (something I am guilty of myself…).

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(psssst! Don’t forget to follow my NEW INSTA!! ^__^)

But this new craze has spawned another range of similar scrubs following the same pattern in terms of packaging and natural ingredients, but using different bases. Having used a few of these scrubs from two different companies now, I thought I’d chat a little about the differences, and give you guys a review of each.

I don’t want this to be a comparative post of Frank Body and Scrub Love. They are separate companies with notable differences who just happen to have similar concepts. For that reason, I will review each product separately and split it out into different elements of the product.

I’ll also note that obviously I have mentioned one of these in my most recent GlossyBox review, but I’m going to expand on it a bit further here to attempt to give a fair review.


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Frank Body Original Body Scrub (£12.95 for 200g – this is the sample size)

Main base ingredient: Coffee
Texture: Loose, but binds and spreads easily on wet skin, and washes off easily.
Exfoliation: Labelled as “tough”, but works on my sensitive skin, and is actually gentler than most exfoliants I’ve tried. I can use it on my face which has acne and mild psoriasis.

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Ingredients: Natural (ground & roasted robusta coffee, sweet almond oil, water, sea salt, sucrose, orange oil, vitamin E, soybean oil, benzyl alcohol, limonene).
Vegan: Yes.
Cruelty-Free: Yes.
Packaging: Recycled paper outer, and plastic interior and label with resealable top on the pouch. It looks like the packaging used for lots of brands of ground coffee, which is maybe the point?

Overall impressions:
This was my first experience with a coffee scrub, and I adore it. If you don’t like the smell of coffee, then I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re not going to get along with this. It smells of coffee (obviously), oranges, and has a sweet undertone.
When using it, the water goes a little brown from the coffee, but I haven’t experienced any problems with staining on my skin, tiles or tub. It gets pretty messy, but this can be minimised by removing your shower head to rinse, and giving your tub/shower a rinse out afterwards, which I do whenever I have a shower anyway, so it hasn’t altered my routine.
After use, my skin feels super soft, likely as a result of the almond oil and vitamin E. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy, though. My skin then smells like coffee and oranges for ages afterward, which I personally love, and I can’t stop sniffing myself afterwards.
In terms of how much use I will get out of the product, it is amazing. Because it is mostly comprised of the loose coffee and not filled with gels to bind it like most other scrubs, you don’t need as much. I have had this sample size since January and have been using it once to twice a week, and I don’t even estimate that I’ve used half of it yet!


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Scrub Love Detoxifying Activated Charcoal Body Scrub in Cucumber and Bamboo (£13.95 for 200g – this is 100g)

Main base ingredient: Bamboo Charcoal
Texture: Almost like kinetic sand… it’s fairly loose but clumps together a bit. Will fall off unless skin thoroughly wet, but when wet spreads thickly and evenly.
Exfoliation: Really tough. It wasn’t too bad on my arm, however I wouldn’t recommend using near the face or other areas of sensitive skin. Felt and looked a bit like gravel.

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Ingredients: Natural, but contains natural based chemicals (powdered bamboo charcoal, bamboo powder, cucumber oil, polenta, white clay, linseed oil, decyl glucoside, bamboo extract, parfum, vitamin E, lactic acid).
Vegan:
Yes.
Cruelty-Free: Yes.
Packing: Plastic, again in a resealable pouch form.

Overall impressions:
Again, this was my first experience with a charcoal scrub. I have used charcoal soaps in the past, and although they did not clear it, they helped my acne as it is meant to be naturally detoxifying. Because of this, I was super excited to try this scrub.
As you may have read from my first impression of this though, I immediately thought there was a problem with this scrub because of the smell. To me, it smells rancid, like gone-off food. My husband and daughter agreed, and after a little research, I also discovered there were others who had used it who agree. Whether or not it is just a very dividing smell, where it smells good to some and bad to others, I can’t tell you. I knew I would not be able to use this product because the smell was so offputting, however I have put it to the test in the interests of giving a fair review.
At first, I tried it out on my face, but it was a) way too rough, and b) unbearable with the smell so close to my nose. So then, I just used it on my arm as above.
As you can see, the charcoal (and maybe the clay) causes your skin to go grey as you spread it. The exfoliant itself feels way too rough on my skin, and I was just looking forward to getting it off, to be honest.
After thorough rinsing, even though I had only used it for a few seconds (and not left it on “for as long as you can” as per the website’s instructions), my skin was tinged grey. I tried to get a photo of this, but it wasn’t showing up in my bathroom’s lighting. I have read other reviews online where people have claimed it stained their skin and their bathtubs, though.
In terms of use, I felt like I needed to pull out about double the amount of product as the coffee scrub, so it would potentially not last as long. However, because of the reasons outlined, I won’t be getting any further use out of this scrub.

Note: I was concerned about how horrible this product smelled, so I actually emailed the company to see if something could potentially have gone wrong. This was the response:
“The scrubs are mixed in batches of 20,000 at a time, so in order for it to be a bad ‘batch’ there would literally be 10’s of thousands reporting a problem. We also batch test each mix to be safe too”.
Although shrugging off my concerns, they did offer me a code to order a brand new scrub absolutely free, which I happily accepted. I feel it was pretty nice of them to afford me this offer, especially as it gave me the chance to try something different to be able not to write off the company completely based on just one product. Props to them for that.


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Scrub Love Hydrating Coconut Oil Body Scrub in Coconut Mango (£12.95 for 200g)

Main base ingredient: Ground coconut shell
Texture: Clumpy, like wet sand or an unpressed cheesecake base! It clumps together, but doesn’t stick very easily to the skin when wet or dry until thoroughly rubbed in. It had the most fallout.
Exfoliation: Standard; somewhere in between the coffee and charcoal scrubs. It was quite rough, as most scrubs are on me because I have sensitive skin, but was perfectly fine for use, and the most like a standard scrub.

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Ingredients: Natural, but contains natural based chemicals (coconut powder, mango powder, coconut shell powder, macadamia oil, coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut sugar, parfum, glycerin, vitamin E, lactic acid).
Vegan: Yes.
Cruelty-Free: Yes.
Packing: Plastic, again in a resealable pouch form.

Overall impressions:
This was the first coconut-based scrub I had used, but it felt the most… familiar. This was probably because numerous other scrubs on the market I have tried use ground fruit seeds and shells as their bases. The difference with this one would be the lack of other harsh chemical ingredients, the gels and lotions that usually bind these exfoliants. In a way, this is great, because it’s often unnecessary, and means you get less of the core of the product. However, as stated, the fallout from this product was greater than others, so maybe those other ingredients are what usually help to keep it on your skin as you use it.
The smell of this scrub is very, very strong, but thankfully (unlike the charcoal one) it is lovely. I get the feeling it might be a bit too sickly sweet for many (my husband falls in this camp), but I think it’s beautiful. The reason I chose this as my replacement product is because coconut and mango are two of my favourite scents, and despite this being comprised of so many forms of coconut, the mango is the smell that overpowers it all. If you don’t like mango, you won’t like it! But I love mango.
It has a lot of fallout as you begin to use it, but spreads more evenly and works well the more you work it in, though gentler strokes are necessary as it can be a little rough. Unlike the others, there is absolutely no staining to worry about with this one.
There is a lot of oil in this, though. When I first rinse it off, my skin feels a bit greasy, but this absorbs after a little while to leave my skin feeling super soft and smelling amazing.
Despite having the largest bag out of the scrubs I’m talking about, I reckon this one will last the least amount of time, unfortunately.
Overall, I’m really really happy with this product, and I’m glad I chose this as my replacement.


IN CONCLUSION

I never used to like exfoliating, seeing it more as a necessary activity than an enjoyable one. In the past I have found it difficult to find scrubs that cater to my skin being sensitive, don’t have harsh chemicals, and are natural and cruelty-free, so this next generation of scrubs are a big win in my book.

If you like coffee, I definitely recommend giving a coffee scrub a go, and I definitely will not stop raving about Frank Body. They have four coffee-based scrubs in different combos (original, coconut, cacao and peppermint), and have just released a “shimmer” scrub, which is not coffee, but comprised of sugar, salt and “glow dust” (which I’m desperate to try!).
Scrub Love also do coffee scrubs in different combos too (original, mint and coconut), but I can’t comment of these ones as I haven’t tried them! The original one seems to have almost the exact same ingredients as Frank Bod’s.

If you don’t like coffee, I highly recommend the delicious-smelling coconut scrubs from Scrub Love (which come in original, coconut mango and coconut cranberry), but I will be steering clear of the charcoal ones. Scrub Love also have a cacoa range which sounds amazing (especially the chocolate orange one!).

And that’s it my lovelies!

I apologise that this post is running late today; I had an issue which meant I had to rewrite the entirety of this post!

What are your experiences with body scrubs? Love them? Hate them? Have you tried Frank Bod or Scrub Love? What did you think?

Until next time ❤

kirsten-xo

 

Never-Ending Summer (July Birchbox Review)

Hello, lovelies!

I know, I know. It’s been over a week since my last post. But I do have a very good excuse (and no, it’s not Pokémon Go):

See, we’re having a bit of a heatwave in the UK this week. Yes! Good old Blighty with a temperature above the teens! For anyone using Farenheit I’ll save you the hassle – it’s been up to 90. No, don’t start shouting at me! “But Kiiiiiirst, that’s not even that hot!”
It is for the UK! And it certainly is for a Scot with translucent skin! I went to Spain last month and the temperatures are HOTTER. The hottest we got in Spain was 27 degrees.

But anyway. My computer is in our bedroom and both the room and the computer get very hot. And sitting in that kind of environment does not a happy Kirsten make.

So today I’m up and dressed early (it’s currently 7:30am), it’s relatively cool at the minute (which is still hot for me by the way, at 23 degrees), and I’m gonna bang out some stuff I’ve been meaning to for a minute, and see how far I can get.

So let’s got on with it.


 

This is a bit late but I’m gonna do it anyway and hope you haven’t seen a bunch of them already, but this is my review for the July 2016 Birchbox!

The box this month is in collaboration with Millie Mackintosh, though I’m not really sure what that means, and it’s kinda pretty. I mean, I wish that they had kept the drawer thing going from the Paradise box, but I can deal. The pink watercolour stuff is nice.

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So let’s get right to what was inside:

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Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Anti-Frizz Primer (RRP £9.99)

So this month you got the choice of a full-sized John Frieda product in the box, but unfortunately I didn’t see this in time to actually make a choice as I’m rubbish at checking my emails. It was this stuff or a 7 day volume thing. Either would have been fine with me to be honest, but in this household we’re always looking for things to tame hair so was happy with this. That was, until I used it. I should rephrase that: all of my family have used it. And it does fuck all. (Please pardon my language). I don’t actually know what this stuff is even supposed to be. You use it exactly the same way as the ordinary Frizz Ease stuff, and it supposedly gives “immediate frizz elimination” and “sets the foundation for long-lasting, smooth, uniform style”. Yeah, no.
I will note here that Elliot and I have both not gotten on with Frizz Ease as it is. I just think that these products aren’t very effective, and are way overpriced. We started using the Aussie 3 Miracle Oil a little while back, and let me tell you, it is the way. to. go. Especially as they’re the same price. So yeah, a product fail for me here.

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Caudalié Micellar Cleansing Water (RRP £4 – for this size; bigger sizes available)

From a product fail to a shining star from this box. If you have been reading my blog for the past few months of its existence, then you may know that I am relatively new to micellar water in general as I only started using it back in April. Since that review, I’m still on the micellar water bandwagon, and I’ve been using my Garnier stuff everyday. I still recommend it to people, and actually encouraged my sister to buy it the other day, too.
Enter Caudalié. I love this stuff. Now you may be thinking, “how is it different? They’re still practically just water?” –  a fair assessment, however, this seems to have properties that the Garnier stuff does not. First up, it smells beautiful and fresh. Now this may be a negative to a lot of people as you might think it’s less natural if it’s scented, and I don’t deny that. But there is something nice about cleansing yourself and having the scent of watermelon and mint… it just kinda makes you feel… relaxed? Secondly – and this is just personal assessment – but this makes my skin feel toned as well as cleansed. I have problems with big pores that I am becoming more aware of as I age, and they seem better since I’ve been using this stuff. That might just be me, and of course there are numerous other factors that could play into that, but either way, this product I have latched on to. It is pricey, but with my skin being as rubbish as it is, when I see results I want to continue getting them.

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Nails Inc Nail Polish in Old Park Lane (RRP £15; approx £4.30 for this size)

Warning: this colour is no longer Old Park Lane. This is. I received a Nails Inc polish with my GlossyBox before and spoke there about their rebrand, hence the confusion in name changes and price points. Anyway.
This colour is deceiving. In the bottle it looks a gold-bronze, but on your nails it has a metallic pink look. I’m loathe to say rose gold, as I don’t think the colour is as warm as that. I don’t know if there’s such a colour as silver rose, but that’s what I’d call it. I don’t have any pics of it on my nails as my nails are currently hideous so have a look at some other peoples’. Obviously it’s not the new coral shade, but the one 4-5 images in.
I was surprised by this polish, as metallic polishes are usually really thin and need several coats, but this one I only needed to use one coat of. This means I can’t really describe the wear to you, as on me it started chipping off in a day, but like I say, I only used one coat with no base or top. Either way, I think it’s a really gorgeous colour, and I’m a little bit disappointed that I can’t actually share that with you guys because of their rebrand. Going from their website, I would say King’s Road looks similar but lighter, but given that that isn’t the product I actually used, I can’t vouch for that. Sorry. Mayfair Market looks like a true rose gold if that’s what you would go for!

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Elemis Hydra-Boost Day Cream (RRP £39 full size, approx. £11.70 for this size)

I don’t have much to say here as I don’t have any overwhelming feelings about Elemis. I know lots of people adore them, and I have been to a couple of spas where these are the products that were used, but I’m just kinda meh about them. Do I think this is a decent moisturiser? Yeah. Do I think it’s a great moisturiser? I dunno.
I’ve used Elemis products in the past actually, including their raved-about marine cream, and felt exactly the same way. They’re fine. They smell nice. I don’t find them particularly hydrating, but I wouldn’t say they dry my skin out either. I dunno, maybe that makes it a great moisturiser. Maybe the fact that it just goes on my face fine is what’s good. But I don’t have a huge deal to report on it. Am I weird? Do you guys love it? Let me know.

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LOC x Millie Lip Pencil in Bohemian Rose

So this is the lip pencil designed by Birchbox and Millie Mackintosh which is exclusive to this box (meaning you can’t get it elsewhere). And as the standout product from this box I… am a bit disappointed really.
Sorry guys, but there’s just not much to this. It’s a pretty standard lip pencil, chubby stick, kinda deal in a shade I’m not particularly liking. It’s called Bohemian Rose which makes me think of a tea rose kind of colour like this, but really it’s more of a candy pink in the colour and texture you would choose from a cheap lipstick in your first forays into makeup as a teenager. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a lipstick just like this from one of those big makeup sets from Argos.
I’m sorry Birchbox, I’m sorry Millie Mackintosh, it just feels and looks cheap to me.

 

Total Worth of Products: £29.99*

Never-Ending Summer Overall Impressions:
First up I wanna question something: what about this box suggests “never-ending summer”?  The products in it don’t fit the name at all. If you’re gonna pick a theme, at lease make it work. I didn’t like all the products in the Paradise Found box, but they were certainly to theme.
Overall, I’m pretty disappointed with this box. I thought it would be nice, but out of it I’m getting use out of 2 products, and I’ll probably keep the Elemis stuff as an “in case I run out of my usual moisturiser” deal. But look at that total worth. That’s not impressing me. Especially when you figure that out of that the products I will use value is £8.30, which is less than I paid for this box.

Thumbs down.

Kirsten xo

*price of the products is calculated by the price I can find it for either on the products’ website, or at a popular retailer such as Boots. If I cannot find the item/price, I will use Birchbox’s RRP from the leaflet. The amount calculated is the full price for fullsize products, and calculated down by amount for trial sizes.

BARCELONA SEPHORA HAUL

As you may have seen from my last post, last week I spent my week sunning myself (or rather, cowering in the shade) in Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava in Spain. Elliot, Emmie and I headed there with 7 more family members to celebrate my Mum’s 50th birthday, as it is her favourite place in the world.

During our holiday, the girls decided to get together and organise a day trip to Barcelona for some shopping. Now, Barcelona with my Mum is a terrifying prospect, as you will get dragged into and around every shoe shop she spies… however, I also know that there is a big Sephora in Barcelona, so I made a pact with my Mum that I would walk around any shoe shops she wanted so long as I could go in there.

If you’re reading this in America my excitement may not make much sense to you, but we actually have no Sephora stores in the UK. Nada. And shipping from Sephora is prettty pricey, so it’s not somewhere I have the option of spending money in.

Anyway, I’ll get on with it and show you what I got:

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Am I allowed to call it a haul if I only got 5 products? I don’t care, that’s what I’m calling it.

There’s a good reason there’s only a few products here. Let me set the scene for you:

Four women in Barcelona, mooching the shops. They stop for tapas and share a litre of Sangria. They then go in to the beautiful shoe shop next door and browse for what feels like an eternity (at least to one of them!), with two of them buying shoes and one buying a handbag to match. They then leave at the behest of the youngest member of the party, who’s desperate to get into a rather large, well-known makeup shop before they leave the city. They exit the store, walk down the lovely side street, up Las Ramblas and into Sephora. Three of the ladies mill about looking at perfumes, while one strides up and down the shop in her element, her basket containing sheet masks within 30 seconds of entering the store. She spends some time testing Kat Von D products and decides on Lock-It Foundation and cult favourite liquid lipstick in Lolita. She has wandered over to palettes and is browsing Too Faced palettes and trying to decide on a favourite when her Mum comes over in a panic, asking if she has her phone. She doesn’t. The three ladies then have to try and calm the manic 4th, trying to decide where it was left, how it can be retrieved, etc. Lady with the basket then has to begrudgingly head over to the tills (picking up an Urban Decay eyeshadow primer in retaliation of not having much in her basket, on the way), where she receives a free Rituals shower gel. All of the ladies then leave Sephora, 2 of them running ahead down Las Ramblas in search of the missing phone.
20 minutes later the phone has been located and retrieved, but there is no time for any more time in Sephora :[

So there we have it. That little scenario probably helped out my wallet a bit, but I would have happily trebled what I bought in there just for the opportunity (and then felt guilty about it later). What I don’t doubt is that I saved money generally just by shopping in store, so what I’m going to do here is tell you how much they’re retailing at online, and how much I paid for them. So let’s detail what I did get:

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TonyMoly I’m Real Sheet Masks

Online: $4 | £2.97 each
I paid: €1.50 | £1.24 each

Barcelona Sephora is set out like this: it’s inside of a small shopping mall. You enter the store and walk down a long striped corridor before reaching a small shopping section, which usually has featured products and stuff. Then there are escalators to the right which take you down to the main large area of the store.

These were in the first section of the store before going downstairs. They had lots of Korean and Korean-inspired beauty products there, with lots of sheet masks and fruit and animal shaped packagings catching my attention. Sheet masks have obviously been around for a long, long time (my Mum used to use them regularly when I was young), but they have made a roaring comeback recently, with celebrities donning expensive gold ones before award shows, and youtubers and beauty bloggers favouring the fun animal printed ones making their way over from Asia.

I have always favoured a mud mask. don’t really like face masks that just kind of sit on your face, or the peel-off ones. Unless I can feel that mask drying and tightening on my face I’m not really about it. However, sheet masks are something that I’ve been thinking of trying again now that they are becoming popularised again, and so Sephora seemed like a good place to pick these up.
They had a massive variety in store, from these amazingly packaged TonyMoly ones which focus on effect rather than look, to Sephora’s own brand, and also some animal printed ones too. I decided to go with the TonyMoly ones, as I really liked the bold coloured and illustrated packaging. I haven’t tried them out yet, but I’ll be sure to let you guys know how they fare.

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Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation in 42 Light

Online: $35 | £25.95
I paid: €34.50 | £28.45

My Revlon Colorstay has run out. I milked it for all it was worth but it’s gone, and left me without a heavier coverage foundation. As I’ve probably mentioned, I have been trying to steer clear of heavier foundations during the day recently, as I want my skin to get better. However, when I’m going out somewhere really nice or meeting up with friends I want my foundation to work a little bit harder and make me look a little bit more flawless. I believe I have found the one.

This was the first shade I tested. I always gravitate to the very lightest shades as that is what I need, and I never find that drugstore brands quite cut it in terms of matching my skintone, but they serve their purpose. I swatched this one on my hand and it melted into my skin and disappeared… I couldn’t see it at all. [I know swatches for foundation should be on the jawline but I was sunburnt]. I decided pretty quickly I wanted to buy it, but I can’t remember the last time I bought a foundation that expensive, so spent a while convincing myself I wasn’t going to. But I did, and boy am I glad.

I’ve only used it once so far, on my Mum’s birthday night out, but the coverage was beautiful. My face was sunburnt, but the coverage of this actually managed to make my skin look like my own AND match my neck (something that does not often happen)!

[Me just before applying, wearing Lock-It foundation, and on another day wearing a different foundation which you will note doesn’t match my neck.]

Overall, super pleased with this buy.

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Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita (Original)

Online: $20 | £14.86
I Paid: €20 | £16.56

Come on: who can resist a new lipstick?
I don’t own any Kat Von D lipsticks, and I knew if I were to buy one it would have to be cult favourite Lolita. So that’s what I got. But there’s something very deceiving about Lolita: she is not as she seems. This is what she looks like swatched on my hand:

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A lovely dark-nude, dusky pink. And here’s what she looks like on my face:

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A dark brown, barely pink shade.

At first, I didn’t like her. The shade was way darker than expected and I thought, “oh fuck, I had an opportunity to buy all this beautiful makeup and I’ve come away with something I don’t like!”, but now, she’s growing on me. The shade definitely looked way better once I had on the makeup I paired with it specifically, as opposed to testing it out with completely different makeup directly after buying. I now feel pretty stupid: of course it’s going to look different on me to most people I’ve seen it on because I’m pale as fuck.

Anyway, the shade I am learning to love. I haven’t fallen for it yet but I’m sure I will in time. Probably particularly in Autumn and Winter. But the wear, the wear is incredible. It really is the longest wearing liquid lipstick I’ve used, and as it wears off it doesn’t patch but kind of fades off subtly. All in all, fantastic product, but maybe make sure you’re 100 on the shade you’re buying before buying it… unlike me.

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Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Online: £16
I Paid: £9.93

This was an impulse buy. By this time, my Mum was running around like a headless chicken crying over her phone, and I was still trying to swallow down my disappointment from not being able to find and buy a palette I liked in time, so I grabbed this and thought “well I’ll give that a bash”. I haven’t used it yet, but isn’t that packaging pretty? I know, I’m a martyr for nice looking things.

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Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Shower Foam

Online: £8.50
I Paid: nothing!

This was a free gift I got at checkout and was very excited and surprised to see. I have heard of and wanted to try Rituals products for a while, and so now I get to.

This is a full size product, not a sample size, which I think is particularly generous. I used this for the first time in the shower this morning, and it is just lovely. First off, it smells fantastic: a really flowery, sweet fragrance to it, but the real surprise is its application.
It applies just like a shaving foam. As in, you squirt it out and it’s a gel, and as you lather it in it turns into a foam.

Because I wasn’t expecting this, I used far too much of it. But I’m really rather surprised because it feels like this will last a long time, and it is lovely. I definitely would be encouraged to try more of their products after this.

 

Overall:

So, how did my value comparisons turn out?

Total Value of Products: £71.25
I Paid: £57.42

So, I saved myself roughly about £12. However, I am doing these calculations as of today, writing this blog post. These products were bought 2 days before the Brexit vote, which has obviously changed conversion rates vastly, so I would have saved even more as of the day I bought them.

I’m very happy that I managed to visit the beautiful city of Barcelona again anyway, but also pleased that I managed to visit Sephora as a now fully-fledged makeup addict. My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to get more, however I’m certain that I have not seen the last of it.

Barcelona Sephora, I shall see you again, my love.

Kirsten xo

No, I didn’t disappear off the face of the Earth!

I’m back after a lovely week in Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava in Spain. Do you ever feel when you come back from holiday that you have spent the time you were away in some sort of parallel universe and have then been thrust suddenly back into normality?
That.

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I will share some more holiday snaps with you soon but first I’m gonna talk about something we all need to remember to take on holiday: toiletries. Holiday toiletries is something that I think divides quite a few people: some people pop into Boots or Superdrug, will pick up a few trial sizes then go; but some will take their whole bathroom cabinet and more.

I went from being the former to the latter.

In the past year I have invested a lot more time and money into makeup, skincare and haircare. This is obviously what has caused me to start this little hobby blog, but perhaps unlucky for me this has also transferred itself over to my holiday packing this year.

So now I’m gonna go through some of the things I took for my week long holiday this year, and let you know what I needed, and what I definitely didn’t (some aren’t pictured). I’m actually going to include a few other bits and bobs in this list that I found particularly useful as well as toiletries.

The Full Rundown

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Aussie Beach Mate Shampoo | Aussie Beach Mate 3 Minute Miracle | Aussie 3 Miracle Oil | Sure Invisible Deodorant | Boots Soltan Once Kids Water Play SPF50 | Boots Zingy Zest Lemon Shower Gel | Garnier Micellar Water | Ladival Sun Protection SPF15 | Parlour by Jeff Chastain Shampoo | Benefit Dream Screen SPF45 | The Body Shop Oils of Life Facial Oil | De Bruyère Monoï After Sun | Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Daily Mattifying Fluid | Origins GinZing Eye Cream | Vasanti Brighten Up | Wet Ones | Swiss Smile Whitening Toothpaste| Hydrocortisone Cream | Garnier Ultralift Day Cream | Garner Ultralift Night Cream | Ibuprofen | Combination Case Locks | Euro Travel Adaptor | Wilkinson Sword Razors | Blistex Lip Brilliance SPF15 | Carmex | Lacura Cotton Wool Pads | Cotton Wool Buds | Plasters | Primark Hair Bobbles | Kids Paracetamol Sachets | Tampax Compak Pearl Tampons | Primark Watermelon Bag

Holiday Toiletries- (1)

Aussie Beach Mate Shampoo & Aussie Beach Mate 3 Minute Miracle

These were definite necessary buys for my holiday. I knew I was going to buy full size products as I think trial sizes are one of those things that only last a couple of days, or are maybe okay for a week if you have short hair and only wash your hair every other day.

My hair is extremely dry and damaged, and I knew I would be in sunshine, sea water and pool water which would exacerbate it completely. The Beach Mate products are apparently the same formula as the Miracle Moist ones, which I have used several times in the past and smell divine. These were definitely a good choice, and they kept my hair really, really moisturised under such weathered conditions. A must have for holidays from now on.

Aussie 3 Miracle Oil

This is probably my new favourite product. I started using hair serums and oils around the same time as my husband Ell. He has really curly hair with a slight afro texture to it and used to get it relaxed, but once he cut it and started wearing it naturally he had to start using serums to keep his curls in place, and I found some of the stuff he used helped my damaged, over-dyed hair too. We have used quite a few products, but we have both fallen in love with this.

As with all Aussie products, it smells fantastic and is made with 3 different types of oil to help keep hair nourished. I use it on wet hair after washing and I can honestly say it’s amazing, especially after being in a pool and sunshine all day. Perfect.

Sure Invisible Deodorant

No explanation necessary. Deodorant is a necessity in heat, and a roll on is not only kinder to the environment, but saves you the space an aerosol takes up.

Boots Soltan Once Kids Water Play SPF50

This was bought not just on behalf of my daughter, but for myself too. My skin literally burns in heat about 22 degrees C + without an SPF of 50. I’m very pale and Scottish, and the closest I get to a tan is a pale pink that blends into my freckles. This sunscreen was a good choice as you get prolonged water protection and sun protection. I didn’t have to apply it as much as others I have used in the past, and it works. It is a little sticky, but I can live with that for the protection it provides.

Boots Zingy Zest Lemon Shower Gel

A cheap alternative to Natural Source, and a good one. Lemon scents are always fresher smelling and feeling, which is particularly good after being covered in sunscreen and sand and water all day.

Garnier Micellar Water

Still my go-to cleanser and makeup remover.

The Body Shop Oils of Life Facial Oil

Along with the Aussie oil, this has been my favourite summer product. My skin is very dry anyway, so I knew it would be worse on holiday, but this was my saviour.
I applied a few drops to my face and to my décolletage as soon as I got out the shower when my skin was still soft and warm, and it made the biggest difference to my skin. I will definitely be buying this in full size as soon as my trial runs out.

De Bruyère Monoï After Sun

I spoke about this product when I received it, but disappointingly I still can’t access the site where I should be able to buy this :[
I’m still raving about this, even more so now that I’ve used it properly. It smells amazing, and made my skin super soft after being in the sun all day. I love it and would buy it again, if I could.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream

Eye creams are one of those things that take a while to see the results of, but this one is feeling great so far, and I do think it is working after a fair bit of travelling this past week. Stay tuned.

Wet Ones

Handbag must-have. Should have bought two packs.

Swiss Smile Whitening Toothpaste

Still smiling using this toothpaste from Swiss Smile. It works fantastically but as stated before, it’s way too expensive so I won’t be buying it again. Still, it was good to have with me when I needed to take a lot of pics on holiday.

Hydrocortisone Cream

This might be a bit of a weird one to chuck in there, but the best thing I did on this holiday was create a little makeup bag of essentials for my handbag, which included hydrocortisone, lipbalm, plasters, medicine, cotton buds and bobbles. Hydrocortisone might not be something you think to take, but it’s great for bug bites, and also good for if your skin gets dry or sensitive after being in chlorine or salt water.

Ibuprofen

Just good sense. You never know what could happen on holiday and what you might need, and I did end up having a couple of headaches after so much sun, so was glad to have these with me.

Combination Case Locks

These locks cost me only £1 from Poundland! They were great little locks for putting on our cases and just made me feel a little safer. They’re probably not as safe as metal locks but they did their job.

Euro Travel Adaptor

Another Poundland super buy. I saw adaptors in the airport being sold for up to £10 so felt really good for being able to get them so cheap elsewhere. Essential for charging your phones and if you need heated hair tools.

Wilkinson Sword Razors

Obviously if you don’t shave these won’t be a necessary for you, but I always pop a razor in my bag on holiday for keeping my leg hair and bikini line in place.

Carmex

This is my favourite lipbalm. My only problem with original Carmex is that it doesn’t have SPF, which I definitely recommend on holiday, but the lipbalm I took with SPF didn’t work very well on me, so this worked in keeping my lips moisturised, but maybe not protected.

Lacura Cotton Wool Pads | Cotton Wool Buds | Plasters | Primark Hair Bobbles | Kids Paracetamol Sachets | Tampax Compak Pearl

Putting all of these in one because they are all just great products for popping in your hand luggage and remembering to take (except the kids’ paracetamol if you don’t have kids!). They’re all functional products which you may not necessarily use, but you’d miss them if you didn’t have them with you.

Primark Watermelon Bag

I got this as a last minute from Primark and it was actually just a bag for life, but I used it as my handbag all holiday. I don’t have a beachbag because I couldn’t find one I like, and didn’t want to use a handbag in case it got ruined with beach towels and sunscreens and whatnot, so I was glad to have something I could just shove stuff in and looked cute and holiday-y.

Holiday Toiletries- (2)

Ladival Sun Protection SPF15

This was a GlossyBox product which I was excited to receive. It’s non-sticky, non-smelly, non-working. Boo. This was one for my husband to try because the SPF was way too low for me, and he switched to ours half way through the week.

Parlour by Jeff Chastain Shampoo

I did say to you all that I would take this to try it out, but unfortunately I didn’t even end up trying this because my Beach Mate products were just working so well. I promise I will be using this soon, but just didn’t end up being necessary on this trip.

Benefit Dream Screen SPF45

I had such high hopes for this product, I really did… but it obviously wasn’t for me. The good: applies beautifully. Is completely non-sticky and doesn’t feel like an SPF at all. The bad: even though it’s an SPF of 45, it’s clearly not enough for me as I still got burnt.

Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Daily Mattifying Fluid

This just doesn’t seem to work at all. At all. It’s really, really runny and doesn’t seem to do anything.

Vasanti Brighten Up

Don’t get it twisted, I still love this product, but I just couldn’t use it on holiday. My face is already sensitive, but it got more sensitive in the sun and it meant that I couldn’t use this even as a gentle exfoliant. I’m happy to be able to use it again now I’m back :]

Garnier Ultralift Day Cream | Garner Ultralift Night Cream

These are my favourite day and night creams, but they just ended up not being useful to me because my facial oil was soooo hydrating and worked so well that I used that a few times a day in lieu of moisturiser. I wouldn’t recommend doing that all the time, but it just felt right for my skin on holiday.

Blistex Lip Brilliance SPF15

I just don’t like this stuff. I don’t feel like it’s very moisturising, and the colour and shimmer that’s in it actually feels a bit grating on my lips.

 

Overall:

I’m happy that I took so many products on holiday and I think I chose mostly the right stuff. Sensible options like medications and creams are particularly helpful on a family holiday and when you’re a Mum, and despite overpacking on my toiletries I was still way under my case limit!

As with all my posts, all opinions are my own and you need to work out what’s right for you and your skin. And if you’re off on holiday this summer: have an amazing time and enjoy shopping and packing – weirdly, one of my favourite bits!

Kirsten xo

 

June GlossyBox Review

Are you tired of these beauty subscription reviews yet?

Lol. This will be my 4th in the last week I think, but I promise you it’s a good ‘un. And after this one you won’t be hearing from me on this subject again for about a month :]

Today we are going to be looking at my June Glossy review, which I received literally as I was writing up my previous Birchbox review. For the uninitiated, GlossyBox is a beauty subscription box which costs £10 a month + P&P and includes 5 either trial or fullsize products, and sometimes even has a bonus product thrown in. Always worth it as the cost of the products exceeds the cost of the box, so you end up paying £2 per product, often for items which are £10+!

This is the 3rd box I have received from Glossy, including the free one I got for signing up, and it is my favourite so far.

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Lookeeee! Literally packed with goodies!

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Ladival Sun Protection Spray SPF 15 (RRP £13.50)

This came at a fantastic time for us, as we go on holiday on Saturday. Unfortunately 15 is far too low an SPF for myself and my 3 year old daughter’s pale Scottish skin, however it will be perfect for my biracial husband.
Ladival are a brand I had not heard of before, however the packaging looks relatively fancy (I’m sorry, this book is getting judged a little by its cover) and it claims to protect against 4 types of standard sun rays as opposed to the standard 2 (who knew?). The reviews on the Boots website are very mixed, with some claiming it is awful and some claiming fantastic, so we’ll be taking it on holiday with us and I’ll let the condition of my husband when we come back speak for itself! haha

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Emité Makeup Lip and Cheek Tint (RRP £12.50)

The second lip and cheek tint I have received this week from a beauty subscription, this time by Swedish company Emité. This is a decent sized product and the tube is gorgeous. I’ll be using both this one and Stainiac this summer, as a lip tint is perfect for applying for a bit of colour underneath an SPF lip balm to keep lips protected.
This shade is a bit deeper than Stainiac, more of a deep raspberry. The colour applies thinly as with most cheek and lip tints, however is buildable.

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Spa to You Konjac Sponge (RRP £7.99)

Well, this is a new one. Konjac sponges are cleansing sponges made from the porous Konjac root, which I had never even heard of. According to the Glossy leaflet, “More gentle than a scrub but with skin-buffing capabilities, this rubbery textured sponge leaves skin clean and unbelievably soft”.
I’m interested to use this as it seems incredibly environment friendly, and it is intriguing to me that this can be gathered from a root rather than harvesting from our coral reefs, or creating non-biodegradable synthetic sponges.

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Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (RRP £20)

How excited was I to get this, even in a tiny tube? I don’t use eye creams as I’m one of those lucky people who don’t usually get puffiness or dark circles around my eyes. I have been noticing as I get older however, that my skin goes a light purple colour round the inner and outer corners which can make me look tired.
This is apparently the go-to product in terms of eye creams. It has rave reviews everywhere, and I have seen so, so many bloggers use it in their daily routines. I am really looking forward to trying this, as I am with any product which will slow things down a bit as I head into my late 20s!

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De Bruyère Paris After Sun Lotion (RRP £9.48)

Sorry for the absence of a hyperlink, but my Chrome is just not liking that website at all.
Anyway, this is the beautifully packaged De Bruyère after sun and something intriguing happened with this, to me. It is scented with Monoï, which I had never heard of before. Apparently it is Gardenia petals soaked in coconut oil -even sounds amazing, no?
Have you ever had a scent before where when it hits you it is just ~ the one ~ ? You know, like when you’re picking out perfumes and you smell so many that are just nice, and then you pick one up and you know it’s the one you have to buy? Yeah, that.
I’ve had that before with scents (I once fell in love with a Woodwick candle that I knew I couldn’t buy because it would just be too expensive a habit), however this sent me a bit crazy. I only had a tester on my arm, and I could not stop smelling it, and soon I was googling perfumes and oils to see if I could get it so I could smell that way all the time.
My best bet – I thought – would be a Monoï oil sold by the Body Shop, however it didn’t smell very strong and not quite like this. So I will use this for now, but if anyone else can advise on how I can smell like this all the time I am 100% open.

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Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner (RRP £1.09)

DING DING DING Bonus product!!! And boy, am I glad to see you.
My hair is DA-MAGED. D-A-M-A-G-E-D. My hair has been every colour under the sun, and it was only a few months ago I decided to ditch the peroxide and go back to my natural dark blonde, however I can feel the awfulness right down to the ends still.
Do you guys get a little funny about opening products you bought for holiday before you go? Because I certainly do. And I coincidentally had just purchased Aussie 3 Minute Miracle in Beach Mate, but I don’t want to use it before I go, so now I can use this to get my hair looking and feeling great the day before I go, ya know, for all those airport photos >___>

Total Worth of Products: £51.23*

Overall Review:
The best box I have received thus far from Glossy. I will use all the products here, and not just because they’ve been received, but because I am excited to.

Kirsten xo

*price of the products is calculated by the price I can find it for either on the products’ website, or at a popular retailer such as Boots. If I cannot find the item/price, I will use Glossy’s RRP from the leaflet. The amount calculated is the full price for fullsize products, and calculated down by amount for trial sizes.

Listening to:

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The XX – XX

Quick Review: Garnier Micellar Water

I know, I know, 2 posts in one day! I just had to tell everybody about this after I picked it up today.

This product is hardly new. It’s been on the blogosphere for a while now with plenty of rave reviews, and let me tell you, they don’t sell this stuff short.

  
I don’t spend a lot of money on skincare. I have a routine that works for me and I usually get the same products gifted to me on my birthday and Christmas, so I never sought this out before. However, today I was in Boots and saw it was on sale, and thought I’d try it.

My skin is super sensitive. I have a lot of redness and dryness, am prone to breakouts, and have psoriasis which appears on my eyes and around my hairline when I’m stressed. Even with sensitive skincare products, I am used to a little bit of a side effect with them. Let me tell you, I did not have that with this. Like, at all.

  
Here’s me before usage, still rocking the same makeup from my post earlier today, though a little worn from being out and about.

When I opened the Micellar water the first thing that struck me was that it does not have a scent. Like, at all. It really is just like water. I wasn’t sure how much of it I would need, but it soon became apparent that I put a bit too much on my cotton pad. You really need hardly any of it, so I can definitely see it getting the 200 uses it promises on the bottle!

I started working it into my eye makeup first, as I usually do when removing my makeup, and it was just swiping away!

  
I use three different products on my eyebrows, and I found that they started “gunking” up a bit as I rubbed them, but it still came off perfectly with a little bit of rubbing.

It ended up taking me just 2 cotton pads to do my whole face!

  
You can see from this photo how problematic my skin can be, but right now it feels super clean and fresh: something which I never would have expected to achieve with one product!

I didn’t wear any primer today and was wearing a light foundation, so I’m not sure how well it would work with them, or maybe a waterproof mascara. It may be that for heavier eye makeup I stick to my usual oil-based no7 eye makeup remover, however this is an amazing every day cleanser, especially for its price.

Usually I get some tingling in my psoriasis in my eye when removing products, but I didn’t feel this at all, even when rubbing that little bit harder to remove my mascara and brows, which is fantastic.

All in all, well worth it for the money!

K xo