Birchbox UK March 2016

Birchbox // March 2016 // Review and Unboxing!

Hey guys

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’ve been getting the Birchbox beauty box subscription for quite a while now.  If you’re a new reader, firstly hi!  Secondly, here’s a little bit about how the subscription works.  Birchbox is a monthly subscription box, containing 5 beauty samples (and sometimes full sized products) delivered straight to your door.

Each month’s content is curated by them, so you do not choose any of the samples yourself.  The majority of products will be received by everyone, however you might get one or two different products every so often.  This is because you are asked to fill in a profile when you join up, giving details such as your skin and hair colour, your skin concerns and preferences for bodycare, skincare or makeup etc.  Although boxes aren’t totally personalised to you, it does steer them in the right direction.

Subscriptions cost £12.95 a month, which includes postage, for a monthly subscription where you can unsubscribe at any time.  If you can commit to 6 months or a year, you can save around £25.  If you’re tempted to sign up, and use this link, you will be credited £5 of points to be spent in the Birchbox online shop.  I will also be credited with points for referring you.  Of course there is no pressure to do this, you can just Google them and sign up that way, but of course you won’t get the £5 free points yourself.  Just wanted to be totally upfront about that! 🙂

So!  The bit you’re all actually here for – here’s what came in the March box:

The theme this month was ‘Word Up!’  The box design is a beauty-related word search as Birchbox want to help us search for, and find, our ultimate beauty discovery.

Birchbox Accessories Hair Ties

Birchbox Accessories Hair Ties

These two blue hair ties are from the Birchbox brand, which they seem to be expanding on a lot recently.  They are just soft, snag-free hair ties so although not that exciting, they’re definitely something I’ll get lots of use from.  I like the fact that these look slightly nicer on your wrist than a standard hair tie (come on, as if you don’t always end up walking around with an ’emergency’ hair tie on your wrist!)

ModelCo More Brows

ModelCo More Brows

Oh gosh I love this!  I’ve surprised myself as I’m not even that into brow products – I use them about half the time, and just leave my brows natural the rest of the time.  They’re naturally black and don’t really have sparse bits so I don’t always feel the need to use anything on them.  But this has probably changed all that!

This is a little tube of brow gel that contains hair-like particles, to give the illusion of thicker brows.  The tiny little brush is the perfect size for precision application.  What I like is that although the product is dark, the brush doesn’t over-apply it and leave you with crazy brows like a lot I’ve tried!  Although I’ve never tried it, it seems pretty similar to Benefit Gimme Brow.

Arrow Boost Color Enhancing Lip Balm

Arrow Boost Color Enhancing Lip Balm

This is the second Birchbox-own product in the box.  Arrow is the new paraben-free, cruelty-free, vegan brand from Birchbox!  I’m really pleased to hear they’ve launched a cruelty-free brand, as I know it’s something more and more people are looking for these days.  If this product is anything to go by, I’m going to like it!

The mango seed butter infused lip balm changes colour depending on your own skin’s PH level.  I thought that was a bit gimmicky, but it’s actually quite nice as it changes to a colour which suits each person (although it’s still very sheer and natural).  I tested it on my husband/guinea pig and I can confirm it definitely does change to different colours, as it was a lot lighter on him than me!  It’s also a great lip balm (and believe me, I’ve tried them all, as a dry lip sufferer!), it lasts a long time and is really smoothing.  Good job, Birchbox!

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion

I’ve had a few different products from the Beauty Protector brand and have always liked them, so I was pleased to see this (although a bit surprised as I thought they were a hair brand!)  It’s a rich moisturising cream which can be used on both the hands and body.  The booklet said it has their signature scent (which is a gorgeous, sweet toffee smell) but I don’t think it is as far as I can tell.  This one smells quite floral and a lot like a Lush bathbomb (which is always good!)

Crea-m Antiaging Serum

Crea-m Antiaging Serum

This serum is described as a ‘real-life Instagram filter in a bottle’… which can’t be bad, as we all know how much better they make us look! 😀  To use, just upload a photo to… wait, hang on, no… to use, just apply 2-3 drops to your face after cleansing and then follow with your usual moisturiser.  The serum should leave your skin illumiated and lifted!

I like that this serum is a gel texture, as I find the oil based ones leave my skin a bit too greasy (my skin is oily-combination).  It dries into the skin really quickly and has a fresh smell.  I like it!

Ok so this is the bit where I should be reviewing a hair mask, except for some reason I didn’t get one!  It’s in the booklet but not in my box.  This is the first time that’s ever happened so I don’t mind too much – I’ll get in touch with Birchbox and see if they can send me one out.


 

Overall, this was another really good box.  My favourite item by far is the ModelCo More Brows (which is full sized and worth £13, so great value)!  What do you think of this month’s box?  Did you get anything different to me?  Or are you tempted to subscribe?  Let me know in the comments!

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The Vegan Kind // November 2015 // Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys

I’m back with another The Vegan Kind box review… but sadly it will be my last for now.  I am having to be more careful with money as I’m still on long-term sick leave so sadly most of my beauty boxes will have to go for now.  It is definitely no reflection on the company as they are great and I’ve really enjoyed the boxes!

Rather than being monthly, like most beauty box subscriptions, this box is quarterly.  You receive a box every 3 months, in February, May, August and November.  The box £15 plus P&P every 3 months (ie you only pay on the months you will be receiving a box).  You can find out more details on this post.

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This is actually November’s box but I haven’t got round to reviewing and blogging it until now… sorry!


 

Emani Vegan Cosmetics – Soulmate Lipshine (£11)

This is a new brand to me but their cosmetics are vegan and cruelty free, which is always good!  This is a lipgloss which contains Vitamin E, seed oil and jojoba, making it conditioning and hydrating.  I have not tested it out as I don’t really wear gloss at the moment, so I will probably gift it to a friend.  However it does look like a lovely product, it’s just my personal preference for matte liquid lipsticks at the moment!

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Spectrum Collections Concealer & Eyeshadow Brush (£4.99)

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I was so pleased when I saw this!  Not just because it’s pink and pretty but because I have a bit of a makeup brush obsession.  I didn’t realise until this year how much good brushes can improve the finish of your makeup.  You don’t receive them in beauty boxes often, so it’s always a treat when you do.  I haven’t heard of this brand before but it feels lovely – soft, but stiff enough to be effective.  Of course, it is made from synthetic fibres not animal hairs (you’d be surprised how many brushes are still made of animal hair).

Discount code: use VEGANKIND10 when purchasing online, for 10% off.


 

Green People – Intensive Repair Shampoo (30ml trial size)

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Another thing I was really pleased to receive!  I mostly stopped using hair products that contain SLS this year.  Not because I particularly had an issue with SLS, but I used shampoo and conditioner that didn’t contain it for a good few months (as it was a gift) and then realised how much healthier my hair looked and felt.  I am not saying everyone should avoid it, but my hair does seem happier!  This Green People shampoo is SLS free, and contains nutrients and proteins which strenghten and repair damaged hair.

This shampoo would also be good for you if you colour your hair, as it has an active ‘Colour Lock’ system.  It smells quite botanical and herbal but not unpleasant.

Discount code: VEGAN20 for 20% off online.


 

Cocoyou – Coconut Oil (£5.99)

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Unless you’ve been hiding on Mars, I’m sure you’ll have heard people raving about using coconut oil for beauty purposes – on the hair, as a cleanser, as a moisturiser…the list goes on!  I have used it before, but only to make a homemade body scrub and lip scrub.

This Cocoyou product is 100% virgin coconut oil which can be used however you choose.  They suggest using it as a face mask, cuticle softener, on the lips or through the ends of your hair to tame flyaways.  You can even use it to clean your teeth, although I think I might dodge that one personally!  Apparently it also has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties!  Is there nothing it can’t do?  I’m personally hoping it’s good at cleaning laptop keyboards, as I’ve just spilt it all over mine…. One thing to note is that if it’s warm in your house, it will go VERY runny!


 

Human + Kind – Hand, Elbow and Foot Cream (£6)

Isn’t this packaging gorgeous?  It will look so pretty on my bedside table.  The leaflet tells me that Human + Kind have “created a pared down approach to skincare, developing products capable of multi-functioning and benefiting all skin types and ages”.  This moisturising cream can be used on the hands, feet and elbows (if you hadn’t already guessed by the name..!)

It contains shea butter, seed butter and avocado oil, making it super nourishing.  It has a gentle, slightly menthol scent.  It genuinely does leave dry skin super soft – I’ve used it on my extremely dry elbows and even one use has left them feeling nicer!

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Vegan Compact Mirror

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The final item in November’s box is this cute, fuchsia pink Vegan bunny mirror.  As you can see, it has a design on one side – when you turn it over, it’s a handy compact mirror.  I love the colour, very me, but I’m not totally sure if I’ll keep it or give it away as a gift yet.  Although I like it, I’m personally not a vegan.  I’m a vegetarian (and prefer cruelty free products wherever possible), so it feels a bit wrong to use it!  I’ll have a think about it.


So what did you think of my last Vegan Kind review?  Have I tempted you to give them a go?  Let me know in the comments!

Makeup of the Day (MUOTD) // W7 In The Nude // Jeffree Star Unicorn Blood!

Hey guys!

You’ve probably already heard of Jeffree Star –  American singer-songwriter, make-up artist, fashion designer and model, more recently also making YouTube videos (which is where I found him).  He is famed for his super-bright, multicoloured makeup looks, which shows in his makeup brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics.  You can buy gorgeous liquid lipsticks in all the colours of the rainbow, including navy, lilac and black!  Even better is that all his cosmetics are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben free and gluten-free.

unicorn blood

The one which caught my eye the most, mainly due to the awesome name, is Unicorn Blood; described as a ‘dark rusty red that looks like it’s straight from a unicorn’s veins!’  As it’s such a dark colour, I wasn’t sure whether it would suit me, but after intently googling swatches and photos of people wearing it, I decided I needed it.

The best place to buy Jeffree Star Cosmetics from in the UK is Cocktail Cosmetics.  They are a UK website but sell a lot of American beauty brands.  They charge a very reasonable £13 per liquid lipstick, unlike some sites which can be found selling them for over £20.  At the same time as ordering this, I ordered a set of Real Techniques brushes from them, which sadly went out of stock between my order being placed and filled.  I was really surprised when they emailed to say that as an apology, they were sending me a free Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, worth about £7!  How nice is that?

When trying the lippie for the first time, I decided to team it with a very natural, neutral eye given that it’s so dark.  I used the W7 In The Nude palette I got recently, using a matte mauvey-pink in the crease and a pale shimmery rose gold on the lids.

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I found it quite difficult to actually capture the eye makeup on camera but it looked really pretty in real life!  No missing the lips though is there?  Haha!  The formula of the liquid lipstick is very wet and it literally glides on, although you do have to be careful as the wand covers a lot of lip in one go, so go slowly and carefully.  Once dry, it is fairly touch-proof, although the very centre did need touching up after I ate a meal, which is pretty reasonable.  It didn’t flake and surprisingly left my lips really nice and soft once removed – other matte liquid lippies I’ve used have always left me with dry lips.

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Buy Unicorn Blood here and the W7 In The Nude palette here (half price at the time of writing!).

(Oh by the way, I should mention… my application is really wobbly and uneven because I get really bad shaky hands with my ME… so yes, I know it’s not even but it was the best I could do lol!)


What do you reckon to this look?  Would you wear such a bold lip?  Let me know in the comments or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Birchbox October 2015 // Beauty Subscription Box // Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys!

The months absolutely fly by don’t they?  I can never believe another month has passed when my new beauty subscription boxes drop through the letterbox!

If you’ve been reading these posts a while now, you’ll know the drill… I don’t want to bore regular readers with the nitty-gritty about prices and how the box works; but if you’re a new reader, you can find that here!

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This month’s Birchbox was done a little differently than normal.  All subscribers received an email telling them we had a choice between two boxes this month.  One box was curated by Stylist Magazine’s Associate Beauty Editor, Joanna McGarry, with each item having been chosen by her.  The other box was called ‘back to basics’, featuring cult beauty products that are already known and loved by many.  Unusually, we could actually see all the products we would be receiving, so I knew I would get more use out of the Stylist box than the back to basics.

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So without further ado, here is what the Stylist curated box contained:


100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze (Peach Bellini)

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Oh my!  The packaging on this product is beautiful.  It has an outer cardboard tube which is pretty in pink.  Inside the tube is …erm, how do I put this delicately?  You know Ann Summers bullet vibrators?  Yeah….  It has growing flower/vine patterns in white on the silver bullet and honestly does actually look really pretty!

The tube twists up to reveal a pink stick lipbalm, which has a very light, delicate pink pigment (which doesn’t show much on the lips, just enhances your natural lip colour).  The formula contains avocado and cocoa butters to nourish the lips and fruit pigments for the colour.  The only thing that surprised me is that it doesn’t really smell of anything – I was expecting it to smell fruity!  Great for those who don’t like fragranced products though.

This lipbalm is 100% natural, vegan and also gluten free!  It was made in France by Purity Cosmetics – a company I haven’t heard of before,  but who seem to sell a range of natural, cruelty-free skincare etc.  I’m really pleased with this full-sized product, and think it would actually make a nice gift, due to the lovely packaging!

Value: £19.  Find it here.


Bioderma – Sensibio H20 (Micellar Water)

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Most people will have heard of Bioderma – used by many makeup artists, this is the original Parisian micellar water.  A few years ago, most of us in the UK hadn’t heard of micellar water.  Now, it’s a staple in a lot of people’s skincare arsenal!

To use, simply squeeze a small amount onto a cotton pad and wipe gently across the face.  You can repeat the process if required, as it’s a very gentle product.  A lot of people use micellar water to clean off their makeup, which is totally fine.  I personally tend to remove my eye makeup with a separate remover, then cleanse with micellar water and then hot cloth cleanse.  Sounds like overkill, but honestly, even when I think I’ve removed all my makeup, hot cloth cleansing still seems to find more!  If you don’t really wear makeup, micellar water would be totally sufficient for your cleansing routine.

This product is paraben-free and hypoallergenic, so should be suitable for most people with sensitive skin.  I really like this sample and will definitely use it – the only downside for me is how small it is (20ml).  It won’t last long but at least I’ll get a feel for the brand and whether I want to repurchase in future.

Value: £10.20 for 250ml (meaning ours is worth around 80p).  Buy it here.


PARLOR by Jeff Chastain – Smoothing Blow Out Spray

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Subscribers have received a product by Jeff Chastain in a past box (a sea salt spray I believe).  This one is described as a ‘cult miracle tonic for blotting out frizz, protecting against heat damage, making hair more manageable and helping hair to hold a style for longer’.

To use, simply spray 4 to 6 times through the lengths and ends of the hair and blow dry as usual.  I don’t ‘style’ my hair as such because it’s naturally totally straight, but I do blow dry it to almost dress each time I wash it.  I will give this product a go, but I tend not to like having products in my hair as they don’t feel very nice.

Value: £17 or 147ml (we received a deluxe sample size of 30ml, worth around £3.40).  Buy it here.


Rituals – Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel

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We received a Rituals Fortune body scrub in the August Birchbox, which I love, so I was fairly confident I would like this shower gel!  The product begins as a gel but transforms into foam on contact with the water.  This is a very luxurious feeling body wash (a bit like the Imperial Leather Foambursts), with the scent of rose and almond oil.

I actually find the scent a bit disappointing – it smells like those generic mini hotel soaps you get!  However it feels lovely to use and leaves your skin feeling really soft after your shower.  A little also goes a very long way!

Value: £8.50 for 200ml (we received 50ml, around £2.10 worth).  Buy here.


When – Travelmate Sheet Mask

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I was pleased to receive a sheet face mask, as I only tried them recently for the first time and found them quite fun to use!  For those who don’t already know, a sheet mask is basically a cotton or fibre mask in the shape of a face, that has been pre-soaked with the mask.  You literally just take it out of the packet, place it carefully on your face and then remove as per the instructions (in this case, after 30 mins).  They will leave a little bit of residue on your face which you need to wash off, but are generally much ‘tidier’ than normal face masks.

This ‘Travelmate’ mask is designed for when you are on the road and can just take it with you (their website suggests using it after a flight or after you’ve been in the sun.  Chance would be a fine thing haha!)  It contains gentle, moisturising ingredients such as chamomile and arnica, to  help your skin recover from sun, wind and dry air.  I have a few tubes of face mask on the go at the moment so I haven’t yet used this one, but I’m sure I will enjoy it!

Value: £25 for a 4-pack (we received one, at a value of £6… which is actually really expensive for a face mask!!)  Find it here.


English Laundry – No7 Signature For Her (Bonus Item)

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I already received this sample in the June Birchbox, so I will just repeat what I said then, as my opinion hasn’t changed!

I’m not a huge fan of getting fragrance samples in beauty boxes – perfume is such an individual thing and there will never be a scent that everyone receiving the box likes, but I suppose that is the gamble you take with a subscription box.

This sample is apparently tweaked from the original No.7 blend for men.  It is described as bright, fruity, flirty and fun with hints of musk.  Now I’m not a big fan of anything with musk in it – it always just reminds me of using Body Shop Musk body spray when I was a tween!  It always smells a bit old and musty to me – a sort of powdery scent.  I won’t be using this perfume as it’s not to my taste but I’m sure I can find someone who will like it.

Buy it here.


Overall I’m pretty pleased with this month’s box (and would only have myself to blame if I wasn’t… I did choose it after all!)  It was a nice broad range of cosmetics, toiletries and skincare.  Obviously I’m not keen on the perfume sample but I’m sure I’ll find someone who will like it.

The total worth of this box was over £30, so at just £12.95 for the box, I think that’s really good value.  It was fun choosing between the boxes as a one-off, but I like the usual surprise element of not knowing what we will get each month.


Want to Subscribe?

If you fancy subscribing, you can use this link, which will give me 100 Birchbox points – there is no pressure at all to use my link and you can just google the website yourself, but I would be very grateful if you did choose to use my link!  As a bonus, you will also receive £5 worth of points yourself!


What did you think of this month’s box?  Fancy trying any of the products?  Let me know in the comments or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

The VeganKind Beauty Box – August 2015: Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys,

This box actually arrived about two weeks ago now.  I usually try to post beauty box reviews as quickly as possible, so that people can decide from my posts whether or not they want to sign up for a box that month.  Unfortunately though, life got in the way this time as I have been making arrangements for my upcoming house move.  But better late than never, hey?

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In case you haven’t read my previous box review, I will tell you a little about this service.  Rather than being monthly, like most beauty box subscriptions, this box is quarterly.  You receive a box every 3 months, in February, May, August and November.  This is quite nice as it stops too many products building up and not being used.  I think they also chose to do it because they are still relatively new to doing beauty boxes and are still building up the brands etc. The box is £15 plus P&P every 3 months (ie you only pay on the months you will be receiving a box).  They also offer a vegan lifestyle box which is monthly, containing things like food and cleaning products, but I have never tried it.

As you can tell from the name, this beauty box provides only vegan, cruelty-free products. I’m vegetarian and love to discover new cruelty-free beauty brands as animal welfare is important to me.  20p from each box is also donated to Dr Hadwen Trust, the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity.  They fund and promote the development of techniques to replace animal testing.

Here’s what came in the August 2015 box:


Dr Organic – Dead Sea Mineral Mud Mask

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This is a big tube of oil-regulating, detoxifying and anti-ageing face mask.  It claims that on the surface, it is an organic pore cleansing face mask, but deep down it is also a bioactive, replenishing face lift.  Big claims for a face mask!  It contains Dead Sea mud, aloe vera leaf juice, bladderwrack extract (eek, that sounds… interesting!), bitter orange leaf oil, wild mind herb oil and a few more natural sounding ingredients.  It is free from parabens, SLS, DEA, phthalates, petrolatum, BHT, mineral oil and silicones.

This mask sounds great for my as it is meant to remove excess oil from the face – I have combination skin, so it can get oily in the T-zone.  It is also a really good size – 100ml will go a long way.  The directions are to apply a thin layer up to twice a week, leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off.  It smells fairly neutral and is a very browny-grey colour (due to the Dead Sea mud).  I use face masks fairly frequently, so it’s definitely something I will get use from.  Although I’m familiar with the Dr Organic brand, I think this may be the first product I have tried by them.  This tube is worth £7.99.

Find it here.


B is for Beautiful – All Lengthening, Defining, Volumising Mascara (Black)

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Sorry about the stock photo – I had a brain fog moment and forgot to take a photo of this one for some reason!  B is a brand I have used quite frequently before.  All the makeup from them (which I have purchased at Superdrug) has been good.  I am drawn to this brand as their whole range is cruelty-free, and easy to find in Superdrug stores.

This mascara boldly claims to lengthen, define AND volumise!  Most mascaras stick to one claim, so it’s quite unusual to see a mascara which claims to do all three.  This is a full-sized 8ml tube, which retails at £4.99 according to the box insert, although on the Superdrug website it currently says £9.99.  It is black, which should suit most people receiving the box.  I’m pleased to have received it, as mascara is something I use all the time.

I really, really like this mascara!  It definitely gives good length and also really separates your lashes, for that fanned out look.  I wouldn’t say it volumises hugely, but enough to look good.  It also gives a little curl to my lashes.  I used three coats, as I like dramatic lashes, and there was no clumping at all.  You could definitely just use one or two coats for a less dramatic look.

I will definitely repurchase this (especially if it is £4.99 not £9.99!), as it is cruelty-free and just a really good mascara!

Find it here.


Faith in Nature – 3 in 1 Facial Wipes

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This was another product I was happy to receive.  I don’t use face wipes often, as I have quite a decent skincare routine.  However I always have a pack of them around, in case I am too tired or unwell to do my full routine.  Sometimes it’s better to use a face wipe than not cleanse at all.

I currently use Faith in Nature’s Chocolate Shampoo and Conditioner, which I absolutely love.  It has actually helped my hair get into better condition.  I also have their bar soap, but have never tried their skincare.  Apparently they have been going as a company for over 40 years, offering vegan products!

These wipes have a pH balanced blend of natural essential oils which help to cleanse and remove makeup, whilst also moisturising, refreshing and toning.  They have a pleasant citrus smell and you get 25 wipes per pack.  Having tested these, I really like them for no-makeup days but personally wouldn’t use them to remove a full face of makeup.  I would remove eye makeup first and then wipe over with these (and then probably hot-cloth cleanse after, but that might just be me!)  I enjoy using these though, and would definitely consider repurchasing them in the future.

Buy them here.


PHB Ethical Beauty – Natural and Organic Black Eyeliner

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I have never heard of the brand PHB before, but a quick Google search shows me they are based in the UK and are a family run business.  They donate 15% of net profits to charities that help improve the lives of people and animals across the world – definitely a quality in a brand that really appeals to me!  I love businesses that genuinely care about charity work.

This black pencil eyeliner is enriched with a gentle nourishing formula of plant oils and waxes whilst being richly pigmented.  It has a long-lasting formula that is water-resistant and gentle on the eyes.  It is really easy to use, and definitely does glide on smoothly.  It can give a fairly sharp line, or blends out quite well for a smokier look.  I really like this eyeliner.  I would probably not repurchase it due to the price (£10.95), as I think that’s quite expensive for a kohl liner; otherwise though it’s really nice.

Find it here.


Teabox – Detox Complexion Tea (Bonus Gift)

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As a bonus gift, we received three teabags in this box.  This flowery, aromatic tea blend consists of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to support healthy skin, remove toxins and cleanse the body.  It it specifically designed to help with acne, eczema, hormonal skin, calming irritated skin, hydrating and repairing skin cells, and delaying signs of ageing.

The tea has a fairly mild taste, and can be left in the cup the whole time you are drinking.  I don’t imagine it would give much flavour if removed after a minute or so, like a regular tea bag.  Obviously I can’t say whether it has helped my complexion at all, after only 3 bags.  I like the idea though, and always like to try new teas out.  I don’t think I would purchase this, as a full box is £15!

Find it here.


This has been another successful box as far as I’m concerned.  I like the mixture of skincare, cosmetics and a food (well, drink!) item.  I will use all of the products I received, and have enjoyed discovering some new brands.


What do you think of this box?  Are you familiar with any of the products or brands?  Let me know in the comments box!

May 2015 Favourites (What I’ve Been Loving This Month!)

Hi guys

As I mentioned in my April 2015 favourites was that one of my favourite things to read on blogs or watch on YouTube is monthly favourites.  It’s a great way to find out about products that people genuinely love and use day-to-day.  I can’t believe it has come around so quickly – it’s the end of the month already!  Here are my May favourites.


Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (Shell)

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I procrastinated over buying this for such a long time, as I generally buy more budget makeup.  I was really put off by the price, and wondered whether it was really so good as to justify it.  After being given a sample and using it for a few days, sadly I concluded that yes… it really was that good!  I finally invested in it towards the end of April and have been using it all month.

You can see what I love about it over on my Foundation Fight review post but basically it is the perfect colour match, provides great coverage whilst still managing to look natural and lasts all day.  It is also quite matte, which I really like (yes, I know the dewy-look is in fashion but it just doesn’t do it for me!)  Find it here.

DUPE ALERT: I have found a very close dupe to this foundation, which I have actually bought as well.  I think I will use the dupe for work/daytime and the Estee Lauder Double Wear for going out/occasions (not that I really go out any more haha!)

The dupe is Revlon Colorstay foundation.  It has a really similar shade, application and skin finish.  It also lasts really well.  Overall it’s a great dupe if you need something more purse-friendly, and retails at just £8.49.  You can find it here.


Miss Budget Beauty – YouTuber

This is something I haven’t mentioned on my blog yet, but I watch a (and I mean A LOT) of YouTube. It started off with the usual more well-known YouTubers like Zoella, Tanya Burr etc but I have discovered some lesser known gems on there too.

Miss Budget Beauty (real name Mikhaila) is from nearby Sheffield and has several YouTube channels and also a blog.  I tend to mainly watch her Miss Budget Beauty channel, which focuses on budget and affordable beauty.  She does product reviews, tutorials, makeup and outfit looks etc.  She is really down to earth, with a dry sense of humour. She makes no claims to be an expert, she just talks about what she does and doesn’t like and I have come to trust her opinion over the last few months.

If you’re into watching YouTube videos, definitely check her out here.


Number 4 Lumiere d’Hiver Hair Masque

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I received a sample of this luxurious hair mask (or masque, as they like to call it) in my first ever Birchbox.  It lasted for three uses and by the end of the sachet, I knew I wanted to buy it.  The price is pretty extortionate, and I’m not someone who spends a lot on hair products.  I literally use nothing day-to-day, a bit of hairspray every so often if I style my hair for an occasion.  I use Superdrug own shampoo and conditioner as it’s cruelty-free and does the job.  You get the picture… I’m just not that into hair products.  But this mask left my hair feeling amazing – so soft and silky.

Since it was almost my 30th birthday, I justified buying it by telling myself it was a birthday present!  I will probably never spend this much on a hair mask again but I am really going to enjoy this whilst I have it!  If you have some money to spare, or like to invest in hair products, I’m pretty confident you’ll like this.  You only have to leave it on between 2 and 5 minutes for it to work, and can use it every shower, or just once a week if you prefer.  You can buy it here.


Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner and Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Night Cream

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I booked some Elemis facials whilst there was a good offer on (another birthday present from me, to me!)  As a result of that, I received a free gift of Elemis products.  I have been using both the toner and the night cream for the last month and I absolutely LOVE them.  Not just because they are pleasant to use, but because of the amazing effect they’ve had on my skin!

I recently heard about and researched into acid toners (not as scary as it sounds!) because apparently exfoliators alone won’t get rid of all your dead skin.  Acid toners dissolve the skin gently and leave it much smoother and clearer.  I bought the Boots Botanics Toner (made from plant extracts), which I use twice a day.  I follow this up with the Elemis Rehydrating Toner… this may seem like overkill using two toners, but they both perform really different duties.  I use the Elemis toner to add some moisture back to the skin after the exfoliating acid toner.  This has really, really made a difference.  My skin has been clearer than it has been for years in the past few weeks.

The night cream contains enzymes which also do a similar thing to the acid toner I mentioned.  In full size, it is actually around £60, so it was a great free sample to receive and has lasted about a month.  I feel like the combination of the two toners and this night cream have been really beneficial to my skin!  My mum even commented on how nice it looked and was convinced I had foundation on one day, when I had nothing at all on my face.  Result!

You can find the Boots Botanics Toner here, the Elemis Toner here and the night cream here.


Barry M Sunset Gel Nails

Barry M Sunset Nails

I won’t write too much about these gel-effect nail polishes, as I recently did a full review of them which you can find here.

All I will say is that I have been playing around with the shades I bought all month and am really impressed with the application, the colours, how well they last (mostly) and how good they look!  I think they are a really reasonable price for how well they work.  They’ll never last three weeks like a real gel manicure, but if I can get 5 or 6 days out of my nail varnish then I’m happy with that, as most of them chip after a couple of days!  Well worth checking out.  You can get them at Boots or Superdrug.


Crazy Rumors- HibisKiss Lipbalm

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I received this tinted lipbalm in my The VeganKind quarterly beauty subscription box.  You can see my initial impressions in this post.  As I mentioned, I wasn’t initially too excited about this product as I prefer to wear lipstick or gloss.  But then I thought about it and realised I actually spend most of my time at home in bed, where I wouldn’t wear lipstick or gloss, and I do actually use a lot of lipbalm.  I have been using it all month and I still stick to my initial impression that it is one of the best balms I have ever had for sorting out dry lips.  It has left my lips in much better condition than they were.  It also smells gorgeous – winner all round!


What have been your favourite products this month?  Have you tried any of my favourites?  Let me know in the comments box or follow me on social media!

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box – May 2015: Unboxing and Review!

Happy Saturday guys – hooray, it’s the weekend!

This is another beauty subscription box review, but it is a little different to the ones I’ve done so far.  I have subscribed to The Vegan Kind since mid-2014 and absolutely love their product.  Rather than being monthly, like most beauty box subscriptions, this box is quarterly.  You receive a box every 3 months, in February, May, August and November.  This is quite nice as it stops too many products building up and not being used.  I think they chose to do it because they are still relatively new to doing beauty boxes and are still building up the brands etc. The box £15 plus P&P every 3 months (ie you only pay on the months you will be receiving a box).

They also offer a vegan lifestyle box which is monthly, containing things like food and cleaning products, but I have never tried it.

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So as you can tell from the name, this beauty box provides only vegan, cruelty-free products.  I am not vegan, I’m vegetarian, but I love to discover new cruelty-free beauty brands as animal welfare is important to me.  20p from each box is also donated to Dr Hadwen Trust, the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity.  They fund and promote the development of techniques to replace animal testing.


I received a nice mixture of cosmetics and skincare as follows:


Greenfrog Botanic Geranium & Peppermint Body Wash

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This smells beautiful!!  Geranium and mint seem like a strange pairing, but they actually work really well together.  The smell reminds me of being in a garden surrounded by fragrant flowers and mint plants!

This body wash is suitable for sensitive skin, containing organic aloe vera, geranium and peppermint essential oils.  It is a really decent (full) size at 320g and should last quite a long time in the shower.  I really like using this body wash!

Price: £7.40 (we received the full-sized product).

Discount code: VG25 for a 25% discount here.


Sophyto Total Protection Serum

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This face serum contains organic green and white tea extracts, which you can tell from the smell!  It does smell slightly like over-steeped tea… a little bit off-putting but the scent disappears once you’ve applied it.  You just need to use 2 – 4 drops (although measuring this is difficult as it has a pump dispenser… is one pump one drop?!  I don’t know… I just used my judgement and ended up using about 3 pumps for my face).

I love serums and have tried a lot of them over the years.  This is definitely not one of my favourite as it didn’t make my skin feel really nice straight after application like a lot of them do.  However with skincare, you need to use something for at least 4-6 weeks before you can really judge its performance, so once I’m ready for my next serum, I’ll use this daily and see how it goes.

Again, this is a very generous full-sized product.

Price: £28 – full-sized product received.  Find it here.


Crazy Rumors HibisKiss Tinted Lip Balm

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This is a tinted lip balm made with jojoba oil and shea butter.  I received the Tropical scent, and it smells and tastes gorgeous (yes, I tasted it on my lips, don’t pretend you don’t do that too!)

I kind of wrote this off before I tried it as I prefer wearing lipstick, but I do use a lot of lip balm at home and during the day when my lips get dry.  I thought that this would be more about the colour but in fact it’s so moisturising and really helped my dry lips.  I would say it has worked the best for sorting out my dry lips of anything I’ve tried so far – big claim!  The tint is subtle but pretty and this is something I can see me popping in my bag and using throughout the day.  I’m really pleased with this product.

Price: £4.75 (we received full-size).  You can find this and other flavours here.


The Wild Witchery Gold Highlighter

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This is a shimmery highlighter stick that can be used on the cheeks, eyes and body.  I have never used a stick highlighter before, only powder ones (and the little cream pot Lush one) so this was new to me.

It is a very golden shimmer and a smooth, creamy texture on application.  The company claim it smells “good enough to eat” and they’re not wrong.  Although the packaging doesn’t state any ingredients, it smells very much like chocolatey cocoa butter to me.

I’m a bit rubbish at applying highlighter, so it’s a step I miss out quite often, but I’ll definitely give this a try and make it work.  Again, another really nice vegan product.  The packaging would be really handy for travelling or touch-ups on the go too.

Price: £3.50 (we received full-size).  You can buy this from Etsy, here.


Zk’in Skincare Deluxe Sample Pack (x4 sachets)

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The final product was a cardboard pouch containing four sachets:

  • relief moisturiser
  • line smoothing serum
  • brightening & hydrating serum; and
  • calming cream cleanser (missing from this photo as I’d already used it, oops!)

Zk’in (which I have no idea how to pronounce out loud!) use no parabens, no sulphates, no petrochemicals and no unnatural ingredients.

The cream cleanser was a nice, gentle cleanser.  Nothing outstanding but very pleasant to use.  The relief moisturiser sooths dry, itchy skin and contains hemp and evening primrose oil.  I haven’t tried the serum yet as it would be useful for taking away with me, due to the small size.  I haven’t used the brightening masque yet either but it contains seaweed extract to support collagen production.

The sachets are a nice introduction to a brand I had never heard of.

Price: not stated.

Discount code: 20% off with code TVK on orders placed at zkinorganics.co.uk


Overall, I was really pleased with this box; like I have been with all the previous boxes I have received.  I found it good value for money.  I love what The Vegan Kind are doing, in promoting vegan and cruelty free brands which are small and probably cannot afford to pay for prominent advertising and compete with large companies (who often test on animals…)  I always really look forward to it arriving.

If you want to see what the box is like for yourself, you can subscribe here.


Let me know what you think of the products in the comments below, or follow me on social media!