Friday, 18 June 2021

Trimming My Stash - April 2021 Edition - Empties, Mini Reviews, And A Life Update*

Well, I'm playing some serious catch up now aren't I? When you're already ridiculously behind with something though, in the wider scheme of things, does another week or so really matter? In all seriousness though I had throughly prepped this post, and I'd planned to get it up last week, but if you follow me on any of my other social media channels, then you'll already know that my mam was rushed into hospital a week past Monday with an infection. Thankfully she was discharged on Saturday, but she took a turn for the worst again yesterday, she's feeling a little bit brighter today but all I can say is thank heavens for the NHS.


So that's where I'm at at the moment, I'm tired and more than a little bit stressed, and whilst I obviously have more important things on my mind than blogging - I need a distraction, I've already eaten pretty the contents of the fridge, and I may have placed a few online orders, so in order to protect my wallet and my waistline, I thought I'd try and play catch up, and share my April beauty empties post with you x 
 
The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Hand Cream - 30ml
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Tonic -100ml
The Body Shop Juicy Pear Shower Gel - 250ml
Rituals The Ritual Of Ayurveda Indian Rose & Sweet Almond Oil Soothing Hand Balm - 70ml
Essence Instant Matt Make-Up Setting Spray - 50ml
Balance Me Daily Essentials Pure Skin Face Wash - 125ml**
Cuccio Naturale Professional Manicure Cuticle Revitalising Oil With White Limetta & Aloe Vera - 75ml
Total - 7 Items

All is all, al least empties wise, 2021 hasn't started off too badly. In January, February, and March I finished a combined total of 18 items, and whilst it wasn't my best month of the year so far, in April I managed to add another 7 items to that total. Like so many of my empties posts lately this one is a bit of a cop out, as I seem to have talked about most of the products on it on the blog before. That's just the way it is sometimes though when you've been blogging as long as I have, and I still pretty happy to have finished another 7 skin and body care products

1. The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Hand Cream - 30ml


Whilst operation nail growth is still ongoing, I've suffered a bit of setback in my attempt to restore my natural nails to their former glory, but it was entirely my own fault. I decided that I wanted to have nice nails for my birthday back in May, so I bought a set of false nails from Poundland, and if you follow me on Instagram you'll know that they looked pretty fantastic. The only trouble with any type of fake nail is that you need to stick on them, and whilst these Poundland ones were pretty amazing and lasted nearly 3 weeks, the glue and the removal process didn't really do my natural nails any favours.

Despite that and a few cleaning related breakages I'm keeping at it, and I'm still going through hand creams and cuticle oils like they are going out of fashion, and way back in April I finished this hand cream from The Body Shop's popular Wild Argan range.

I originally got this product in the 2019 Glossybox Advent Calendar and you can read a full review of it here x I really enjoyed using this hand cream, and I loved the surprisingly floral scent, and I would definitely consider buying it again. This full 30ml sized cream now retails at £5.50.

2. Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Tonic -100ml


Next, on this list is a skincare product, and it goes without saying that it's another product that I've talked about before. Although it's never achieved the glory of having a post all to itself, it has appeared in numerous empties posts over the last few years.

Containing glycolic acid, and kiwi fruit and mulberry extracts, this slightly masculine / aftershave scented toner is perfect for smoothing the skin, drying out blemishes, and adding a bit of a glow to the skin. 

I've used countless bottles of this stuff (have a little search if you don't believe me ;) and it's something that I will continue to use and buy x 

The Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner comes in a 100ml bottle which retails at £6.99. It also comes in a 300ml bottle that retails at around £11.99. As with so many products in Superdrug though it tends to be on offer quite a lot so it worth stocking up when you can - at the time of writing the products in the range are on buy one, get one free.

3. The Body Shop Juicy Pear Shower Gel - 250ml


Now, although I'm not sure that I've talked about this next product before, I have talked at length about The Body Shop's Juicy Pear festive range in the past. I'm already a huge fan of The Body Shop's shower gel formulation, and teamed up with the sweet, yet tart, fruity scent which contained real Italian pear extract, it was another winner.

I have another couple of bottles to use up, but I'm really hoping that this scent makes another appearance in 2021's Christmas range.

4. Rituals The Ritual Of Ayurveda Indian Rose & Sweet Almond Oil Soothing Hand Balm - 70ml


Next up another hand cream, and it's something else that you've seen before back in 2019. This gorgeous hand balm from Rituals, came in the November 2019 edition of Glossybox UK. You can read a full review here, but it is safe to say that I really liked this product. It was lovely and rich, yet it absorbed really quickly into the skin, leaving the hands super smooth and protected. The smell was a bit strong and it did linger quite a bit, but personally I loved it. This full sized hand balm retails at around £9.90 direct from Rituals, Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, NEXT Beauty and John Lewis.

5. Essence Instant Matt Make-Up Setting Spray - 50ml


Is it a skincare product or is it a make up item - I have no idea really but since it's something I only use when I'm wearing a full face of make up, I'm checking this product off as a make up item :)

Whatever you term it as, I received this particular product in the March 2019 edition of, you've guessed it Glossybox UK. What it is, is basically a mattifying and setting spray, that's designed to eradicate shine, and to help your make up last longer, and look better for longer.

I often question whether these sprays actually do anything, but as someone with a very shiny t-zone, who has trouble keeping make up in place, this certainly seemed to do something. Like all facial / setting sprays, it initially felt quite cool on the skin. It felt quite wet but the spray quickly absorbed or evaporated? leaving a visible matte finish.

I don't think that I am ever going to find a product that helps my make up stay completely put, and shine free but this certainly made a difference all be it in the short term. Despite a couple of drawbacks (the plasticy scent and the small sized bottle) I would definitely consider buying this again.

The Essence Instant Matt Make Up Setting Spray comes in 50ml bottle and retails between £2.99 - £3 from various retails including Feel Unique, Just My Look, and Wilko.

6. Balance Me Daily Essentials Pure Skin Face Wash - 125ml **


I'm almost embarrassed to talk about this next product because it's so old! I first used this back in 2014 when I was sent it to review from natural beauty store My Pure. I used the majority of it and then it got pushed to the back of the drawer, until I rediscovered it early this year and decided to finish up the dregs in the bottom of the tube.

You can read a full review of it here x Alas My Pure don't seem to stock this particular product any more, and it no longer seems to exist in this format and in this packaging. Balance Me still produce a Pure Skin Face Wash that sounds very similar and retails at around £16 for a 125ml tube from various retailers including direct from Balance Me, NEXT Beauty, and Look Fantastic

7. Cuccio Naturale Professional Manicure Cuticle Revitalising Oil With White Limetta & Aloe Vera - 75ml


The final item on April's list is another hand and nail based product, and it's a cuticle oil from Cuccio. I've already talked about this product in the wee 3.7ml baby size in my August 2020 empties, but this is the big daddy, 75ml salon size, which comes in an angled glass bottle, so you can get ever last drop out with the rubber and glass dropper.

It is a really nice cuticle oil and I love the almost mojito like mint, and citrus scent. I'm currently using this particular oil, and size in another scent but I will definitely buy this particular scent again.

So there you have it, my late April empties post! Apologies again for the delay and as per usual if you have any questions please leave me a comment below x Next up, I've got a little Primark haul for you, and then I'll be playing catch up again, with my May empties post and some more Glossybox unboxings, so don't forget to follow and keep subscribing x 

*This Post Contains Added Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links
** Press Sample 

Sunday, 6 June 2021

A Very Late Unboxing Of Glossybox UK - January 2021 Edition - The Power Of Beauty*

I hope you'll excuse the mini absence but summer appears to have arrived quite early in my little corner of County Durham, and I've been taking full advantage of the sunshine! Today though as rain is forecast, I'm going to take a little bit of a step back to one of the coldest months of the year, January, to share my thoughts on the products inside the January edition of Glossybox UK.


Packaged in the familiar black and pink colour way and style, the theme of January's box was 'The Power Of Beauty', and it was specially curated to help us start 2021 by bringing us range of powerful yet gentle products.


Daily Concepts Daily Reusable Rounds - 2 Pack - Full Size - Est. RRP £6.80


The first item in the box was I guess, a beauty tool. that perfectly sums up the gentle, yet powerful theme. I've had a couple of things from cruelty free beauty care brand Daily Concepts now (you can read my thoughts here and here), and so far so good, I've been impressed with both the brands innovation and the product quality.

I'm already a big fan of reusable cotton / make up remover pads, so I was really pleased to have the opportunity to add to my collection with this pack of 2 pads.

The majority of the pads that I already own are made of either towelling, or a short pile microfibre, these Daily Concepts pads however are made of 100% polyester, and are a little bit bigger, softer and fluffier then any of the other pads that I'd previously used.


I usually find that I use less product with reusable pads and these ones were no different. As they aren't quite as absorbent as regular cotton wool I tend to fold the pads in half to stop either my toner or my eye make up remover dripping everywhere.

I've used these particular pads with toner, eye make up remover, and micellar water, and they work exactly how you'd expect them too. Given the softness and fluffiness of these pads they are particularly good for removing eye make up.


I know it isn't that clear in the picture what I'm wearing on my eyes, but here I've used these pads and a micellar water to remove a combination of foundation, concealer, face powder, eye shadow, mascara and a brow product. I used one pad per eye and whilst the micellar water did its thing the rounds really played their part.


Obviously their big selling point is that they are reusable so what I tend to do is give them an initial rinse through under the tap, before leaving them to dry before popping them into a lingerie bag. Then when I have enough pads to wash I stick them into the washing machine (don't use fabric conditioner if you're washing anything made of microfibre!), and then I leave them to air dry, before popping them into a glass jar, until I'm ready to use them again.

There are lots of different textures of reusable rounds out there, but the softness of these ones in particular makes them ideal for the eye area or for more sensitive skins. Yes they are a little bit more expensive than a bog standard pack of cotton wool, but they are so much more eco friendly, and they last for ages and ages and just get softer, the more you use and wash them.

Alas these particular rounds aren't that widely available; Glossybox place a price of around £6.80 on this 2 pack. You can be them direct from the Daily Concepts EU store for around €5.95, and from a website called Time For Beauty for around £9.99.

Ecooking Moisturizing Serum - 10ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £22.50


From cleansing and toning to moisturiser, and the next product in this New Years edition was a skincare product from a relatively new brand to me Ecooking. Founded in Denmark in 2015, Ecooking have a range of around 40 products, that have been specifically designed to simplify skincare, and to tackle a large range of real concerns.

All of the products are ethical and transparent, the packaging is recyclable and the products are all cruelty free, and a lot of them are also suitable for vegans. They are also paraben free and they are made of 100% organic oils.


The product that Glossybox subscribers received was a half, 10ml size of their Moisturizing Serum, which was useful in the cold of January as it is now!

Both vegan and dermatologically tested, this hyaluronic acid based serum is designed for all ages, and all skin types, and it has been created to give the skin a huge moisture boost without leaving it feeling greasy.

Packaged in a brown glass, pump action bottle, the serum itself is clear in colour, and it has a thin, slightly sticky, gel like texture. It is labelled as fragrance free, but it has a slight 'product' scent.


Like with most hyaluronic acid based products I've been applying this onto damp skin, straight after cleansing and toning. It spreads quite easily onto the skin, and it absorbs quite quickly. I did find that it felt quite sticky at first, but I quickly realised that I was actually applying too much product -Applying it to damp skin means that you really don't need to be quite as generous with it. 

I think with central heating and just being indoors more, my skin has been a bit drier than usual, and the skin on my cheeks and forehead especially just seemed to suck this serum in.


As tempting as it is just to apply a serum if your skin is more oily, or if you're pushed for time, serums are really designed to be used as booster underneath your moisturiser, so I tried using this during the day and at the night, underneath various different moisturisers and overall it performed pretty well. There was no pulling or pilling, and more skin didn't feel overloaded or greasy. 

There wasn't a huge difference visually after adding this serum into my skincare regime but my skin felt a bit smoother, and plumper and it didn't feel quite as tight, and strangely enough it doesn't seem quite oily, which I guess feeds into the belief that oily skin can actually be caused by dehydration.

Over the last 12 months or so, I've tried to tackle my oiliness by adding more hydration to my skin, both through drinking more water, and by embracing hyaluronic acid based skincare products, and I've really seen a difference, so I'm definitely going to keep doing what I'm doing. Whilst this was a little bit stickier that some of the other hyaluronic acid based products that I've used, once I worked out the right amount to use, I did end up really liking it and I'll definitely use it up, that said though, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, is my current lover, and it's going to take a lot to drag me away from it.

Glossybox place a value of around £22.50 on this 10ml Deluxe Mini 1/2 size. The full 20ml size is available for around €52 direct from Ecooking, and for around £43 from Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, The Fragrance Shop and Beauty Expert.

Saint Luxe Beauty Brow Gel - 5.8ml - Full Size - RRP £16/  $16

Whilst all of the other products in the box were skin and I guess body care related, this next item is more of make up / cosmetic product.

Although my first experience of black female owned, luxury beauty brand Saint Luxe was a little bit hit and miss (read my thoughts here), I was really pleased to get the opportunity to try something else from the range.

Known for their sleek packaging, and catering for all skin types, and tones, this cruelty free brow gel is designed to leave brows looking fuller, and perfect without leaving any residue.

The gel comes boxed and is packaged in a sleek, black, mascara style, tube with clear white text.


The wand inside is quite short and stubby but that makes application precise and easy. It took a few pumps and wiggles to actually see any gel on the brush. It was clear, and it didn't feel too wet, or sticky. It was really easy to brush through my very fluffy lockdown brows, and unlike a lot of thicker brow gels there was no pilling, or gel or white residue, and they didn't feel sticky or stiff.

Before

After 


In a way though the soft feel was a little bit of a double edged sword, if your brow hairs are relatively tame, and tend to stay put, then this product is great for you for just a little bit of grooming and extra security, if you have wild brows though with a lot of flyaways, and thicker hairs, or if you haven't had a brow was for around 4 months then this may not have quite the hold that you need.

Glossybox placed a value of around £16 on this full sized tube. If you fancy trying it for yourself the only stockist that I can find is direct from Saint Luxe, who ship worldwide, where it retails at around $16.

Mudmasky Serum-Infused Eye Mask - 30ml - Full Size - RRP £42


Now, according to the information booklet that came in January's box, I should now be sharing my thoughts on the Glow On 5th Rose Gua Sha facial tool with you, but apparently thanks to COVID and Brexit, the stock hadn't arrived with Glossybox in time for January's box, so instead subscription box favourite brand Mudmasky stepped in with one of their newest products.

Given my recent complaints over the amount of eye products in recent editions of Glossybox, you would think that I wouldn't have been that excited over this particular product - well you'd be wrong because this particular product was quite unlike anything that I'd used before. Famous for their face masks, this particular mask from Mudmasky as you may have guess is specially designed for the eye area.

Cruelty free, PETA certified, paraben and sulfate free, this mask contains golden kiwi seeds, premium Japanese Matcha tea, blueberries, carrot root, fig extract and goji berries, and is designed to to firm the skin, as well as reducing dark circles, puffiness, swelling, dry skin and fine lines.


When I first squeezed a little bit out I was pretty apprehensive, this khaki, brown gel filled with various sizes of brown and black particles, looked a little bit scary for something that is meant to go so close to the eyes, but in for a penny in for a pound, I gave it a go and do you know what? I'm glad that I did.

    
All you do is apply a thin layer on to clean, dry skin, on your under eye area. It felt a little bit gloopy but it was fairly easy to spread out. It felt slightly cool at first and I experienced a slight, very subtle tingling sensation, but that quickly disappeared as the mask warmed up to body temperature.

Before


Although I'd expected the mask to feel tighter the longer it was on, it just themed to thicken up slightly but it didn't really set or feel tight.

On Application


After about 7 to 8 minutes you wash off the mask with cool water before gently patting the skin dry. My under eye are initially felt a little bit tacky but that quickly disappeared leaving my skin feeling a touch smoother, brighter and more refreshed, and some of the finer lines under my eyes didn't look quite as obvious.

After 


You can used this mask once or twice a week, leaving at least 2 days between each application, and in my experience with every use the results just keep getting better.

Despite all of the eye creams, gels and serums that I own, I'm still pretty lazy when it comes to eye products, luckily I don't have a lot of issues at the moment with my eye area, but this mask really is a quick fix and leaves my eyes like more hydrated and alive with just 1 use.

It isn't cheap but at this moment in time I would definitely consider buying this again. Oh and don't listen to Mudmasky's warning that this doesn't smell great, I got slight hints of greenness, and milk, but I could barely smell a thing.

The Mudmasky Serum - Infused Eye Mask comes in a 30ml tube and retails at around £42 direct from Mudmasky.

Beauty Pro Avocado Infused Sheet Mask - 1 x 22ml Sheet Mask - Full Size - RRP £4.95


From an eye mask to a face mask, and the next product in January's box was a sheet mask from one of my favourite mask brands Beauty Pro. I've tried quite a few of their masks now (check out which ones via my Beauty Product Directory) but this one was a new one.

Perfect for combating the effects of the January cold, and for drier skin types, this mask is from their Plant Based Range, which is vegan, 100% plant based and water free. Containing New Zealand avocado, chia and wild yam, this mask is designed to hydrate and nourish the skin, leaving a healthy and glowing complexion.
Before

Made of biodegradable bamboo fibre, this was a very wet mask that was a little bit awkward to unfold. It was saturated in a fresh smelling, slightly oily serum like liquid. Like most sheet masks it initially felt cool on the skin, but it quickly warmed up to body temperature

On Application


I removed it after around 15 minutes and it was still very wet, and there was still a lot of the serum left upon my skin, so alongside the excess liquid that was in the packet I massaged it into my face, neck and chest.

Obviously my face felt a little bit tacky at first but the excess liquid quickly absorbed into my skin leaving it noticeably softer, smoother and more hydrated. I'm not sure how well it's showing up on screen but in the before picture my skin was actually pretty red, where as in the after picture and more so in real life, the redness had definitely subsided slightly after using this mask. I also felt that my skin looked a little bit plumper.

After 


I'm a huge fan of all of the Beauty Pro masks that I've tried and this one is no exception, I would definitely consider buying it again and in fact I've just bought one for a friend.

The price can vary but these masks usually retail at around £4.95 from various retailers including Look Fantastic, NEXT Beauty, Feel Unique, Fragrance Direct, Superdrug and of course direct from Beauty Pro.

Your Sanitiser Hand Sanitiser Gel - 60ml - Full Size - Est. RRP £2.72

Now, normally this would be where I would sum up my thoughts on this box, well that's coming , but whether it was because this was the first box of 2021 or because of the pandemic, instead of the usual 5 items all subscribers in January received a 6th product.

Like most of us I can safely say that over the last 15 months or so I've probably used more hand sanitiser than I've ever used before, I was already a regular used but thanks to COVID I literally have tubes and bottles everywhere!

From a specialist company called Your Sanitiser, this is a luxurious, moisturising hand sanitiser that's dermatologically tested, and suitable for sensitive skin. Containing 75% ethanol, aloe vera, vitamin E, and natural chamomile fragrance, as well as eliminating viruses and bacteria, it also apparently improves hands moisturiser by 34%.

Taking the form of a clear, translucent, gel, it quickly melts on contact with the skin, and turns into a cooling water like like that disappears quite quickly without the leaving the skin sticky, dry or sore.


When it comes to scent, hand sanitisers seem to go one of 2 ways - they either leave your skin reeking of alcohol, or they have a really strong lingering scent to try and hide the alcohol, but here Your Sanitiser have got it pretty much spot on, at first you get the strong alcohol hit but that quickly evaporates leaving  gentle, clean, green, bearable floral scent.

As I say I have so many bottle of sanitiser floating around but I have to say that this is one of the best that I've used. It's effective without being too strong, harsh, drying or overpowering.

Glossybox place a value of around £2.72 on this full 60ml sized tube, however it only appears to be available in a bulk 12 tube pack direct from Your Sanitiser that retails at around £24, that makes it around £2 a tube.

Whilst on paper, the January 2021 edition of Glossybox wasn't the most exciting box that you'll ever see, it actually ended up being one of the most useful boxes that I've had. All of the products were really hard workers, and they all did exactly what they promised. The stand out for me was a product that really surprised me, the Mudmasky Serum-Infused Eye Mask - it looked scary but I was really impressed with the results.

Don't forget to let me know your thoughts on the products that I've talked about in the comments, and don't forget to check out Glossybox for yourself x Thanks as always for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post x 

*This Post Contains Added Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links