Friday 3 April 2020

A Quick Update And Unboxing The 2019 Glossybox UK "It's The Season To Be Glossy" Advent Calendar - Days 13 - 25*

Hi Guys x I hope you're all well, since I last posted everything seems to have changed again - In the UK, we've pretty much gone into full lockdown, which is scary but at the same time in my opinion it was long overdue.

Thankfully before the new government restrictions were put in place I managed to get out and do a bit of shopping, and collect a prescription, and I also eventually got my foot sorted out, - after another trip to urgent care, a lovely nurse practitioner prodded and poked, and managed to remove a piece of glass or hard plastic from the wound on my foot - no wonder it wasn't healing properly and it hurt! thankfully though it's now on the mend.

Since I spend such a lot of time indoors anyways, I'm having no real problems adapting to this new normal, but I think I'm missing the fact that I can't go out even if I wanted to, my mam is classed as vulnerable, and it's safer for us just to stay put and to get our groceries delivered. I was lucky enough to grab a Tesco slot so we've had a shopping delivery this week, which to be honest is just as well as we're both feeling a little under the weather, I currently feel as though I've swallowed grit, and as a result we've have to self isolate again anyways. 

Anyways enough about me and mine, I'm sending lots of love to you and yours, it's not an easy time for any of us at the moment - so I'm sending big virtual hugs your way - we will get through this! As I said in my last post I'm going to do my best to try and carry on as normal, and try catch up on some long overdue unboxings and reviews before I move on to some reviews and some newer content, and today I'm sharing part 2 of my 2019 Glossybox UK Advent Calendar unboxing with you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy, as I transport you back to December 2019.

Day 13 - Dr Dennis Gross Professional Grade IPL Dark Spot Concentrated Serum - 7ml - Est. RRP £23

The first item in the second part of my advent calendar unboxing to be honest was a bit of a surprise. Whilst skincare items aren't unusual, a product designed for such a specific problem is perhaps a little bit strange.

This is a high end skincare product from New York dermatologist led brand Dr Dennis Gross. The aim of the brand is to produce professional level treatments only in easy to use at home formulations.

This particular product is designed to lessen the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation, whilst at the same time improving the skins radiance, and tone by removing dead skin cells, and protecting again environmental damage.

Containing liquorice root, ascorbic acid, and natural AHA's, it's a rusty, brown, orange in colour and it has a runny, serum type texture, and a slight herbal scent. All you do is apply it twice a day to clean, dry skin, and make sure that you apply sun screen on top, and you should see an improvement in dark patches, and skin discolouration.

This is one of the few products in the calendar that I haven't managed to try out properly, but looking in the mirror I am starting to see the odd darker area especially around my eyes, so I think I will be trying this serum out sooner rather than later. Glossybox quoted a value of £23 for this 7ml size. The full 30ml size retails at around £99 from various retailers including Cult Beauty, and Space NK. 

Day 14 - 3INA The Cream Eyeshadow - 313 - Light Brown - 2.5ml - Full Size - RRP £12.95

Next up a make up item from European, vegan and cruelty free brand 3INA, who claim to product high quality products at honest prices. I own a couple of things from the brand including the lip primer which I received in the 2018 version of the Glossybox Advent Calendar (read my thoughts here), and I've been pretty impressed, but as much as I love them, cream eyeshadows and me don't always mix, so I was a little bit wary about this one.

As well as being cruelty free, and vegan, this eye colour is also paraben free, and made in Italy. The shade that I received is officially called Light Brown, but I think that does it a disservice, it is so much nicer than that. I would describe it as a metallic nude, bronze, brown. It doesn't feel wet but it has a lightweight, super creamy texture. 3INA claim that it's very blendable and long lasting and it is, you can use it with a brush, a sponge or even with your fingers, and it just goes on really easily with no creasing or pilling, it dries really quickly and it stays put!

Heavily Swatched 

Blended Out 

As I say as much as I love them I don't have much look with cream eyeshadows, but this was without a doubt one of the best that I've ever tried. It went on really smoothly, it lasted for ages even on my oily eyelids, and it faded gradually. It didn't crease or flake, and it didn't disappear after a few blinks, it stayed there until I removed it. It was beautiful and wearable on its own, but you could also use it as a base, or as part of a multiple shadow look.

I'm definitely going to consider adding a few more colours to my make up collection. 3INA The Cream Eyeshadow retails at around £14.95 direct from 3INA, and from other retailers including Look Fantastic and Feel Unique.

Day 15 Curaprox [Be You.] Candy Lover All In One Toothpaste - Watermelon - 10ml - Est. RRP £3.10

Next up, a slightly controversial addition to the calendar, a tube of toothpaste. Every time a toothpaste appears in a calendar or a beauty box, people seem to complain. I guess I can understand why, after all toothpaste isn't the most exciting treat but if you think about it, maintaining good dental hygiene is one of the most important things that you can do when it comes to beauty.

This particular toothpaste is SLS free, and it contains Pro Vitamin B5, and a whole host of natural ingredients including echinacea, devils claw, penny work, and more common ingredients such as fluoride, xylitol, silica, as well as menthol pearls for extra freshness.

This particular toothpaste is from their Candy Lover range, and is watermelon scented and flavoured. It claims to be whitening, desensitising, gentle and breath freshening.

The toothpaste itself has a slightly, off white, opaque gel base, which contains a smattering of pink beads, which burst in your mouth. It has quite a sweet watermelon scent and it also tastes like watermelon flavoured candy, with just a hint of mint and menthol. 

It foamed up gently and it didn't sting like some toothpastes do, and it did leave my teeth feeling clean and fresh, but for me it just tasted a bit too sweet and candy like, call me a traditionalist but I prefer toothpastes that taste like mint, be it spearmint or peppermint.

I can only find this particular toothpaste on the Curaprox website. Glossybox quote a figure of £3.10 for toothpaste of this size. A pack of 6 mini toothpastes in this size, and a variety of different flavours with a toothbrush retails at around £14.95 from Curaprox, and a full size tube and a toothbrush retails at around £13.95, also direct from Curaprox.

Day 16 - Nude By Nature Touch Of Glow Highlight Stick - 01 Champagne - 5g - 1/2 Size - Est. RRP £9

I do love my make up, and this calendar was full of it, on day 16, I received another make up item, and this time it was a highlighter from a brand called Nude By Nature. Now as a beauty junkie I'd heard quite a lot about this Australian based, cruelty free, mineral make company but bar the odd sample this was the first time that I'd had the chance to properly try something from the brand.

Containing native Australian Kakadu Plum which is full of Vitamin C, and Desert Lime which is an antioxidant, and perfecting Vitamin E, this is a fragrance free, solid cream to powder highlighting stick.

Packaged in a gorgeous coppery, bronze, twist up stick, this stick actually feels quite dry to the touch, it isn't oily or sticky in anyway. It blends out quite easily but you need to be quite quick with it because it dries down quite quickly. I mainly used this on top of foundation, or powder or mineral make up and I did find that it pilled and went a little bit bitty on top of certain bases, so it might be better applied either onto bare skin or over a liquid.

If you like in your face, super sparkly, or obvious highlighters then this probably won't be for you. The champagne shade contains no glitter, or obvious sparkle, instead it just gives the skin, on me anyways, a really natural highlight and glow.

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With Flash

Although this is a good size, it's actually a half size, Glossybox value this size at £9, the full 10g size retails at around £18 direct from Nude By Nature, and from various other retailers including Debenhams, Boots, John Lewis and Feel Unique.

Day 17 - Rituals The Ritual Of Sakura Magic Touch Body Cream Organic Rice Milk & Cherry Blossom - 100ml - Est. RRP £8.41

Next, up a product from one of my favourite bath and body care brands, Rituals. I've largely discovered my love for this Far East inspired beauty brand thanks to various press events and subscription boxes. I've tried quite a few products from them now including a a gorgeous hand balm which I received in the November 2019 edition of Glossybox (read my post here) and whilst I love all of their scents that I've tried so far, my favourite by far has to be the scent of this body cream, The Ritual Of Sakura.

It has a beautiful fruity floral scent, and it contains natural rice milk, and cherry blossom extract. This body cream also contains Vitamin E, and Centella Asiatica. It has a lovely, rich and creamy texture but despite it's thickness it absorbs quite quickly leaving the skin feeling silky soft, and dewy looking.

The scent is quite strong and it does tend to linger on the skin, but I love it so I'm not complaining and I'll be using alongside the corresponding shower foam that I got in the NEXT Summer Beauty Box, for a full, immersive spa like experience.

Glossybox quote a price of £8.41 for this 100ml size tube. The full 220ml tub retails at around £18.50 from a variety of retailers including Debenhams, John Lewis, Beauty Expert, Look Fantastic and direct from Rituals

Day 18 - Dr PawPaw Original Balm Multi Purpose Soothing Balm With Natural Paw Paw Extract - 10ml - RRP £3.95

In box number 18, I got a tube of the original Dr Paw Paw bam. Thanks to various beauty boxes I've tried a few different versions of this now, including the Hot Pink version from the April 2019 edition of Glossybox, and the Rich Mocha version which came in last years Next Summer Beauty Box, but this is the first time in a long while that I've owned the original.

Containing natural Paw Paw (Papaya) extract, aloe vera, and olive, this vegan and cruelty free product is a multi purpose balm that can be used on the face, the body, and the hair, to add extra moisture. Although I've used this particular product in the past on my heels, and as a cuticle treatment, I've mainly been using it on my lips.

It has quite a thick, almost waxy consistency, with barely any taste or scent. Just a tiny little blob or dot is more than enough for the lips. As well as adding hydration, and protection, it also gives the lips a nice glossy sheen. A lot of mineral oil based lip products and balms have a tendency to just sit on the surface of the lips but this actually seems to absorb into the lips, and it really makes a difference to sore and chapped skin.

This 10ml size has an estimated price of somewhere between £3.50 and £4.00 directly from Dr Paw Paw, and it's also available in this size from NEXT Beauty and Beauty Bay.

Day 19 - Avant Pro Intense Hyaluronic Acid Illuminating Day Cream - 50ml - RRP £98

Next up a product from high end skincare brand Avant. If it wasn't from beauty boxes, and subscription boxes, this pricey brand wouldn't be on my radar at all but I've managed to try a few things from them now including the Pro Perfecting Collagen Primer Touche Eclat from the June 2019 edition of Glossybox, the Supreme Hyaluronic Acid Antioxidising Duo Moisturiser from last September's edition of Pink Parcel, and the Deluxe Hyaluronic Acid Vivifying Face & Eye Night Cream from January's 2019's Glossybox, I've been pretty impressed with the things that I have tried, and since the products are way out of my price range, I was really pleased to get the opportunity to try something new.

Containing hyaluonric acid, sea water, jojoba, and soya lecithin, this moisture claims to hydrate the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, whilst at the same time evening the skin tone, and balancing sebum production.

Pale blue in colour, and with a fresh scent, it's very similar in texture and appearance to the Duo moisturiser. It feels cool to the touch and it massages into the skin very easily without any pulling or dragging.

It absorbs quite quickly and it leaves an almost matte finish to the skin. It works perfectly on my combination, skin and it really seemed to balance out my oilier t-zone. If your skin is on the dry side this might not be enough for you on its own, but if your skin is a little more topsy turvy like me then this could be something to try. It's the perfect base for make up, it balances and leaves the skin smooth, and hydrated, what's not to love bar maybe the retail price of £98!

I've checked online and the same product although in the slightly different packaging retails at around £98 direct from Avant, but I've also seen the same product on Fragrance Direct for £88 so it's work doing a web search before you buy.

Day 20 - Barry M Blusher Palette - BQ 1 - 4 x 2g - Full Size - RRP £5.99

Box number 20 contained another make item, and this time it was a palette from drugstore, and blogger favourite brand Barry M.

Now cruelty free, and suitable for vegans the box contained a Barry M blusher palette, which included four good sized matte and shimmer blushers in warm peach and coral tones.

Both the shimmery and matte shades all felt super smooth and silky, the pigmentation was excellent, all of the shades were really blendable, and they also lasted really well on my combination skin.

As much as I love blush I do tend to go for more pink toned, cooler shades, especially in the winter months, but as the weather warms up and the sun comes out hopefully I'll get more use out of some of these warmer shades. 

If you're a fan of peaches, and corals then this palette is an excellent bargain buy. It has an RRP of £5.99 and it's available from various retailers including direct from Barry M, as well as from Look Fantastic, Boots, and Superdrug.

Day 21 - Dermalogica Age Smart Daily Superfoliant 13g - Deluxe Mini - RRP £17.50

Next up a product from top salon skin care brand, Dermalogica. I've dabbled with the brand on and off for many years now but I've never used anything consistently, so box number 21 gave me the opportunity to try something new.

This is basically an exfoliator in a dry, powder like formulation. It contain activated Binochotan charcoal, to purify, smooth and cleanse the skin as well as absorbing toxins from deep with the pores which can lead to ageing, as well as red algae and tara fruit extract to guard against environmental pollution. It's gluten free, and paraben, and cruelty free, and it also contains no artificial fragrance or colourings.

I've used a few dry, powder exfoliators in the past from the likes of ELF and Alpha-H, and who didn't use Japanese Washing Grains from The Body Shop, back in the day! I've always loved the concept and since this is one of Dermalogica's best sellers I couldn't wait to give it a try.

After cleansing the skin, pour out about 1/2 tsp of this earthy, green, almost tea tree scented, gritty grey powder into wet hands, and rub it together to form a paste.

Then massage into the skin and leave it for a minute or two before rinsing with warm water. I personally found it a little bit scratchy, and it did leave my skin looking slightly pink, but I did notice a definite difference in the the smoothness and clarity of my face.

As the name suggests you can use it daily, but I think that would be a bit too much for my skin, so I've just been using it a couple of times a week. I'm not 100% sure that I would repurchase this but I do like how clean and smooth that it left my skin, and after receiving one is a recent NEXT Beauty Box I'm definitely going to continue using it at least in the short term.

This 13g size retails at £17.50 direct from Dermalogica and also from John Lewis. You can also be a larger 57g size which you can buy from various retailers including Look Fantastic and NEXT.

Day 22 - Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner - Trooper - Black - 0.2ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £6.18

Box number 22 contained another make up item, and this time it was a product from Kat Von D, or KVD Vegan Beauty as the brand is now known after the Ms Von D left the company. This eyeliner is one of the brands best selling products, and it's actually a product that I already own, and as someone who struggles with liner, there is no doubt that this product lives up to its cult reputation.

It's a basically a felt tip style, liquid liner, which is matte black and is designed to be waterproof and smudge resistant. The felt tip style applicator makes it ideal for drawing both thick and thin lines and the pigmentation and coverage is you can see in these swatches is excellent.

As I've said on many occasions I am a total noob when it comes to eyeliner but even I can achieve a vaguely passable finish with this liner. If your technique is a little off you need to be quick though with your clean up as this stuff dries really quickly, and once it sets it says put! Having oily, hooded eyelids, I don't really get on with eyeliner it just doesn't last, but this stuff stays pretty much put on me until I take it off, it doesn't smudge, it doesn't smear and it doesn't disappear.

If you're looking for an eyeliner that stays on no matter what you throw at it, then this is it, and it is something that I will continue to use, and live in hope that practise really does make perfect, and that my eyeliner technique will improve in time.

Glossybox give an estimated price of £6.18 for this mini size, Debenhams currently sell what they call a mini for £10 but they don't give any indication of the size. They also sell the full 0.55ml size for around £17.

Day 23 - Steve Laurant Lip Tint / Lip Gloss - Cherry - 3.5g - Full Size - RRP $22 / £17.33

Next up yet another make up item, and this time it's a product from subscription box favourite brand , Steve Laurant. The 2018 version of the Glossybox advent contained a lip gloss (read my thoughts here) and the 2019 calendar also contained a lip product from this cruelty free company.

Beautifully packaged in a pink / copper toned cardboard box, the glass pot inside comes with a gorgeous, designer looking rose gold / copper twist off lid.

The product inside is a semi solid, cherry red / pink balm, it doesn't the creamiest of textures but it's smooth and whilst it's only meant as a tint rather than a solid colour, the pigmentation is decent.

Despite the fact that it's not the creamiest or most moisturising balm it feels comfortable on the lips, and the fact that it is a bit drier really helps with the wear time. I got a hour or so out of it before it gradually started to fade away.

This lip tint only seems to be available directly from Steve Laurant, where it retails at around $22, Glossybox give this item an estimated retail price of £17.33

Day 24 - Nails Inc - Be Your Incredible Self With Nails Inc Nail Polish - Golden Days Ahead - 14ml - Full Size - Est. RRP £11

Although it seems like a lifetime ago now, we're finally at that magical and some would stay stressful day that is Christmas Eve. Box number 24 contained a full sized nail polish from leading British nail bar brand, Nails Inc.

I'm a huge fan of Nails Inc and I probably own enough of their polishes to stock my own nail bar! so I was really excited to find an exclusive shade in the calendar. Golden Days Ahead is a gorgeous rich, slightly shimmery, yellow gold.

I don't know whether it's down the weather or the sheer amount of washing and sanitising that we're all doing at the moment but my nails have been rubbish for months now, which is typical when I got a gel manicure system, and about a dozen regular polish for Christmas - grrr! so I am afraid nail wheel swatches will have to do.

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With Flash

I've applied two coats here but I probably could have got away with one on such a smooth surface, the coverage and the pigmentation really is that good.

This shade seems to be exclusive to the calendar but comparable Nails Inc polishes retail at around £11.

Day 24 - Tarte Cosmetics Park Ave Princess Chisel Palette - Full Size - RRP $45 / £40

So we've opened 24 boxes and there is only one left, and on day 25 Christmas Day it was the biggie, a highlighting and bronzing contour palette from top US brand Tarte Cosmetics.

Despite pretty limited access to the brand in the UK I'm a huge, huge fan of Tarte Cosmetics, I love their ethics (all of the brands products are cruelty free, paraben, SLS, nasty and gluten free and dermatologist tested) and I love their products, so I was really excited to get the chance to try 6 different products in one.

The palette itself comes beautifully boxed and packaged in gold and copper tone snakeskin / crocodile embossed plastic. The palette contains a large mirror, and 6 powders. It contains 2 highlighting powders, and four shades of bronzer / contour powder, in a mixture of matte, semi matte and barely there shimmers. All of the powders contain Tarte Cosmetics famous Amazonian Clay, mineral pigments, vanilla extract and Vitamin E.

The palette and the powders have a slight vanilla scent, but it isn't strong, irritating or overpowering. All of the powders feel silky soft and almost creamy to the touch, and the pigmentation as you can is excellent even on the paler highlighting shades that don't look or feel chalky in any way.

Unfortunately I haven't managed to take any pictures of this palette on my face yet, but I have been playing with and whilst I'd be the first to admit that I'm quite a clueless contourer, (I'm a 3 and E girl) the leaflet that comes with the palette, is really useful and gives you lots of tips on how to contour and use the palette depending on your face shape.

This palette isn't just for a full face contour though, you can also use it for basic bronzing and highlighting, and I've also been using a few of the colours on my eyes for a neutral day look.

The quality of this palette is excellent, the packaging is beauty, and it's something that I will definitely use one way or another, and I felt that it was a really nice item to bring the calendar to a close.

Glossybox put a value of £40 on this palette, It was a limited edition I can't find it on QVC UK, or on its own on the ship to the UK version of the Tarte Cosmetics website where it's only available in the Park Avenue Princess Vault kit for £140, but it still available on its own on the US version of the Tarte Cosmetics website for around $45.

Well we got there in the end, didn't we? That was what I got in the 2019 Glossybox UK "It's The Season To Be Glossy" Advent Calendar (don't forget to read days 1 - 12 here) and despite hearing all of the usual complains that you always get like there were too many drugstore items, there weren't enough full sizes, and why weren't there more high products? I don't think you can with the quality of the products in the calendar or the overall value for money.The value of the products included in the calendar easily reached and even surpassed the £70 that the majority of people paid for it.

It goes without saying that you aren't going to like every single product, and that there is always the risk that somethings won't work for you, but that is the chance that you take. I've passed a few bits on that I won't or can't use and I'm fine with that and I sill feel as though that the calendar represented good value for money.

The 2019 calendar definitely seemed to be a bit more make up heavy compared to the 2018 version but again that's something that I'm okay with. I wouldn't have minded a few more body and hair care items but I'm not complaining and overall I was pretty happy with the contents.

The packaging as I said in the first post was pretty similar to 2018's calendar, and again as much as I liked the design, the questions still remains what do you do with all of the packaging. Yes, you can reuse the individual boxes, and shred for packing things like Christmas decorations away but unlike the Look Fantastic calendar from a few years ago (read my post here) there is no obvious use for the outer box.

I'm debating on whether to use this one and the 2018 calendar, either as mini shelves for say displaying something like nail polish, or whether to remove the shelves and use them as storage boxes, or whether to cover them and use them as gift boxes. If you have any ideas about how you would, or you have reused them, then I would love to hear them.

I definitely think the packaging element is something that Glossybox and some of the other manufacturers and retailers of especially beauty related advent calendars need to consider. In fact that's possibly the only thing that making me consider trying a different calendar in 2020 - Christmas seems an awfully long way away at the moment so I guess I'll have to wait and see.

As I said I'm so sorry that all of these posts are going up so late, but I hope they are still useful in one way or another. If you have any questions or comments on any of the items that I've mentioned then please leave me a comment below, drop me an email or send me a message via any of my other social media channels x 

*This Post Contained Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links

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