Review: Glamour Beauty Edit Box July 2014

For this particular beauty box I have enlisted the help of my bestie Jemi. She recently received the ‘Glamour Beauty Edit Box July 2014’ and has written a very thorough review for it. In fact it’s so amazing that it puts mine to shame! So feel free to let her know what you thought over on her Twitter or Instagram.

Beauty boxes are a big thing right now. I’d only known of them through bloggers, but they seem to be everywhere at the moment. I’d never bought one before, and then I stumbled upon Latest In Beauty, who are currently offering two kinds of boxes: a build your own beauty box, where you can mix and match products to create a custom box of your choice, or the Glamour Beauty Edit box, a box collaborated in conjunction with Alessandra Steinherr, Beauty Director of Glamour magazine, offering 9 pre-selected beauty products to set you up for the summer ahead. After seeing one particular item listed in the Glamour Beauty Edit box, I knew which one I was going to go for…

The box as it arrived was similar in size to other beauty box brands, with the title of the box and Glamour’s logo. The presentation is simple and clean, which I like. I was impressed at the presentation when I first opened the box, given that these are batch produced, I was pleased that everything was packed in neatly, elegantly wrapped, and sealed with a kiss.

Crabtree & Evelyn Nail Lacquer in Petal Pink, (£6.00 RRP, full size product)
Okay… hands up, who actually knew Crabtree & Evelyn did nail polishes? I certainly didn’t. There was a choice of either an apple red, or petal pink, both of which I’d classify as classic, and dare I say, safe colours. I will personally be gifting this as I’ve no need for yet another nude pink so I couldn’t possibly comment on the application, but it does look a little sheer upon inspection.

Bourjois Paris Cream Blush in Rose Tender, (£7.99 RRP, full size product)
I have recently just switched over to cream blusher, and whilst I’ve used Bourjois products in the past, I can’t say I’ve used theirs. Like their eyeshadows, it comes in a make-up bag friendly size and doubles up as a compact. I have to say, I’m impressed. It has a somewhat velvety consistency which glides on beautifully. It blends superbly and has good staying power. The colour is a lovely peachy pink, which when applied has a slight sheen, and feels very light on the skin. I have a quite rosy cheeks naturally so I don’t liked to be bogged down with a heavy blusher, but this is a nice, subtle blush that can be built up for a more dramatic look, should you want to. I’ve actually discontinued using my previous cream blush in favour of this one in the mean time, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to carry on paying £7.99 for this product, as lovely as it may be. I think that will be dictated on how long the product itself lasts.

DHC – Deep Cleansing Oil, (£4.50 RRP, travel size product)
DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil make up remover boasts to completely dissolve all traces of cosmetics and makeup (including waterproof mascara), whilst nourishing your complexion, regardless of your skin type. I’ll confess I was sceptical about using this product, as I do suffer from combination skin, preferring to use cleansers with salicilyic acid in them to keep the grease at bay. However after doing some reading about this online, it’s received rave reviews, both as a cleanser and for it’s moisturising properties. I’ll keep it with the intension of using it in winter, when my skin will be more in need of a hydration fix.

Hawaiian Tropic – Satin Protection Ultra Radiance SPF 30 (High), (£5.49 RRP, full size product)
This, along with the Velvotan mitt, were the least exciting products in the Glamour box. I understand that the theme is around summer essentials, and it is a good idea to promote looking after your skin in the sun… but really? Hawaiian Tropic is a well known brand, and I hear positive things about it, but at the end of the day it’s just a sun cream, and I can get larger (despite being full size, the bottle is no bigger than a teacup), higher factor sun creams for the same price or cheaper. I would have personally preferred to have received a more unique product.

Magnifibres – Brush-On False Lashes, (£21.00 RRP, full size product)
When I skimmed the contents of this box, I originally thought that these were just false eyelashes, and was going to gift them. I have a love hate relationship with falsies, I love how they look, but I just can’t be bothered with the faffing around that comes with applying them, to have them start peeling off a few hours after application (I will hold my hands up and admit at this point that the fault probably lies with me, rather than the lashes!). I have quite naturally dark eyelashes, but they are short and stubby, and I am forever on a search for the false lash effect without actually wearing them. All you need to do is apply your mascara as you would normally, and then whilst it’s still wet, apply a layer of Magnifibres, which claims to instantly lengthen your eyelashes by up to 5mm. I am very excited to try this product, but I hope that it thickens as well as lengthens. Given it’s recommended retail price I wouldn’t see myself using this for every day occasions, but I am impressed that a full size product was included.

Toni & Guy – Volume Plumping Whip, (£7.00 RRP, full size product)
How devvo’d are you when you spend ages styling your hair, to have it fall flat before the day is done? I have very fine hair, and whilst I have lots of it, volume of any kind is absolutely out of the question. I’ve used root boosting products in the past, to find they have made absolutely no difference to my hair in the slightest. But Toni & Guy, despite being a well known and trusted hair brand, is one I’ve not tried, so again I’m looking forward to trying this. I’ve seen mixed reviews online; the positives seeming to focus on the smell (which I actually didn’t care for that much), and the negatives being that it weighs the hair down, giving a greasy appearance (the texture doesn’t feel particularly sticky though, I will add). Toni & Guy suggest applying a walnut sized amount, but this to me seems extreme on the roots so I will be trying a smaller portion.

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan BB Skin Perfector in Light, (£6.99 RRP, full size product)
This is Rimmel’s first instant tan, with ’skin perfector powers’ and 9-in-1 results: softens, smoothes, moisturises, gives an instant tan, creates a healthy looking glow, evens skin tone, covers, perfects, and lasts for up to 24 hours. It supposedly blends easily and can be easily removed with soap and water. As somebody who isn’t a fan of summer, and is a bit of a sun dodger, I am permanently pale, but I did discover fake tan this year, and I love it a little more than I probably should. It comes as a light or medium, with Glamour shipping out both shades so there was a 50/50 chance I’d be gifting this product to friends that can get away with a darker tan, but I’ve lucked out and received the light shade, so I will be using this for my own personal use. I tested out a little on my hands just to check the shade, and oh my days, it smells gorgeous, I can’t stop smelling my hands! I genuinely believe it ticks all 9 boxes. I plan on keeping this for my weekend away in Liverpool next month, which is the only time I really make an effort with my appearance when I go out (and can justify being a bronze goddess for 24 hours).

Velvotan – The Original Tanning Mitt, (£2.99 RRP, full size product)
There’s not a lot I can say about this product really. It’s a tanning mitt. We sell them where I work. I don’t plan on using this. I’ll be giving it to a friend who uses fake tan more than I do. This feels like a filler item to me, very disappointing.

Now for the product I am most excited about….
Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick in Naked, (£18.50 RRP, full size product)
Can I just start by saying I absolutely love Illamasqua, I could wax lyrical about them all day (don’t even get me started on their perfume, which is my signature scent) and their lipsticks are phenomenal. They don’t give up without a fight! I won’t wear any other brand of lipstick now. However, when I saw their latest collection of lipsticks were nudes, I had an ‘..oh’, moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good nude lipstick, however, they do not love me. Brand is absolutely irrelevant, whether it’s MAC or MUA, nudes are a no no. My lips are naturally quite darkly pigmented, and nudes are, quite frankly, out of the question. They have absolutely no staying power on me whatsoever, and if I even so much as look at food and drink, it’s off. Foundation and primer’s don’t help either (if anything they’re a hindrance), so I had resigned myself to a life without nude lipsticks. However, if anyone was going to convert me, it was going to be Illamasqua!

“The Glamore Nude lipsticks offer seven versatile shades that work well with every complexion. However if you need a little guidance, it’s very simple to find out what is the best match for you.
For those with a cooler skin tone, the right nude lipstick will have a high percentage of pink – this is normally found in nudes that include a rosy tone (Rosepout, Starkers). Those with warmer skin tones would suit a higher percentage of browns and this is found in earthy rose shades (Tease, Naked, Buff).
If you are after nudes with a kick of colour to it, nude coral colours would be the best match as you still get the balance of warm and cool tones with a slight pop of colour (Minx, Cherub)”

As great as it is that Illamasqua offer a shade selector, it is absolutely lost on me. I still struggle to find a foundation that matches my skin tone. My skin tone is quite troublesome; it’s a warm skin tone, but I have very rosy cheeks, and am prone to flushing on my face and neck. Combine that with being pale, and you have a nightmare on your hands. Sadly there is no Illamasqua counter in Norwich, meaning I only get my fix when I’m in London (and I didn’t really fancy doing the trip JUST for a lipstick) or up north, and I wasn’t prepared to blind buy one of their nudes given my bad luck in the past. Then when I saw that Glamour box were not only offering full size nudes, but that it was cheaper than the RRP. It’d be silly not to take the gamble.

Based on their shade collector, I was secretly hoping I’d get either Minx or Cherub. Okay, they’re not a true nude, but it’s okay, I wasn’t expecting to be able to ever wear a real nude anyway. C’mon, Minx or Cherub… Minx or Cherub…I got Naked. Oh. It’s the second darkest nude in the collection. Ah Crap. I swatched, I winced. I’d already mentally decided I was going to keep this lipstick. It’s Illamasqua. I love my friends, but I don’t love them enough to give them my Illamasqua products (I’m kidding! Kind of.) On the plus side, it wasn’t going to look like I’ve rubbed foundation all over my lips. But on the downside, I was possibly going to look like a 90’s throwback, and not in the good way…

Well blow me down with a feather. I actually really like it. With my discovery of instant tan came a discovery of bronzer, so I think I can just about pull off the shade. I’ve been wearing it at work for the last week and have received nothing but compliments, and does it stay in place? Of course it does, it’s Illamasqua. I apply it in the morning and it lasts all day, no problem. It doesn’t transfer when I eat or drink, and my natural lip colour doesn’t show through either. I am thoroughly impressed, and most importantly, I have discovered that I can indeed wear nudes. I’m thrilled I took the gamble, and discovered a shade I may not have dared tried had it not been chosen for me at random.

My Verdict: If you hadn’t worked it out already, I’ll admit I was bias and I did buy this box solely for the Illamasqua lipstick. Anything else was just an added bonus. However it’s only fair I look at the box overall.

Pros: Overall I’m pleased with the Glamour Beauty Edit box, there are a few products I am looking forward to trying out. I think there is a good mix of products, from hair care to make up, to skin care, and brands, from well known to the not so known.
I also can’t fault this box for value for money. LatestInBeauty bills the contents at £86.15, and at £16.95 for the whole box, including delivery, that’s an incredible saving. It’s also worth pointing out that out of the 9 items in the box, 8 of them were full size, which is a fantastic selling point and something I was very impressed with. It serves as a great introduction to beauty boxes.

Cons: I am still disappointed with a few choices. I really can’t overlook the Velvomitt in there. Is it really a summer essential? Personally, I’d have preferred to have seen a fragrance sample instead, especially if you like to switch up your perfumes depending on the season, like I do. I do think that the box does spell out summer though. Some other reviews of this box have mentioned that they received beauty offers for discount on products/brands that were featured in the box, though I didn’t get that. Hmm…

Conclusion: Would I buy a Glamour Beauty Edit box again? Absolutely, but only if the products grabbed me enough.

Kawaii at Hyper Japan 2014

The kawaii life is a tough life. You constantly find yourself clasping your cheeks and screeching at the top of your lungs, all because something features a loveable mascot, or is fluffier than usual (etc etc). Yes, kawaii really is a lifestyle choice in Japan, and it’s everywhere. Whereas the term doesn’t really have a literal translation, the closest we can come to understanding it in English is: cute or adorable. The concept has become so big that recently Western cultures have picked up on the phenomenon – you’ll even find it in the Oxford dictionary. So I was pretty impressed when I saw just how well Hyper Japan embraced the idea this year. 
‘Hyper Kawaii’ was a special section of the exhibition that probably took up half of the venue. It featured a variety of British and Japanese fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, as well as live performances and activities. The rise of kawaii in London was showcased by brands such as: Tofu Cute (snacks and lifestyle goods), Dreamy Bows (clothes, plushies and accessories), Doki (Japanese tableware), Glitterbomb (jewellery)Artbox (stationary and goods), Cutesykink (clothing) and so much more. 
Fashion and beauty are big parts of the kawaii lifestyle, but I plan to feature those separately in upcoming posts as I just couldn’t fit all of the photos and content into one post. ちょっと待って下さい!

Review: Canmake Stay-On Balm Rouge Lip Colour #3

Canmake Stay On Balm Rouge Lip Colour in #3 Tiny Sweetpea
Canmake is a brand you may have seen me mention before on the blog. Hailing from Japan, they offer quality cosmetics at high street prices, which has made them one of Japan’s leading make-up brands. I have been using their products for almost 5 years, but I still get excited when I see a new launch. Their Stay-On Balm Rouge intrigued me as it claims to be a moisturising lip balm with a rouge tint and UV protection. Now I don’t know about you, but that ticks all the boxes in what I’m looking for in a lip product. It comes in 8 shades, ranging from pinks, to corals and reds. I have shade #3 Tiny Sweetpea.
+ Moisturisng
+ Noticeable tint
+ Applies easily
+ Cute packaging
+ Gloss-like finish

– Doesn’t stay on when eating/drinking

First off I have to say how impressed I am with the packaging. Canmake’s products are usually packaged nicely, but this one feels as if they’ve put in extra effort. The twist function makes the product seem more expensive, and it gives easy access to the balm. As for the balm itself, I was expecting something slightly sheer as that’s how it looked when swatched. However I found the colour to be quite pigmented and noticeable when I applied it to my lips. It felt very moisturising and not sticky at all. I’ve had dry lips recently, and this didn’t irritate them like some of my other tinted balms. My only complaint would be that it doesn’t stay on long when drinking or eating, but then not many lip products do. Priced at 580円 (around £3.35) I would definitely repurchase it, and I’d even buy more shades to add to my collection. As for being able to purchase it in Europe/US, the price has been hiked up, as is the usual with Japanese beauty products. If you managed to grab this in Asia then go for it! Still, if you’d like to buy it online it averages at around £8 (with shipping), which I would still pay for a replacement, once I’ve used this one. 
You can purchase Canmake’s Stay-On Balm Rouge Lip Colour at Alpha Beauty Store.

Make-up from Muji, Japan

Last week my lovely friend Renka sent me some Muji goodies all the way from Tokyo, Japan.
Admittedly I went a little Muji crazy after I attended the press event for their new Islington store, and I ended up on their Japanese site. I only visited Muji a couple of times in Japan, but it’s safe to say that the UK stores still have a lot to live up to. The Japanese stores boast snacks, skincare, plants and even make-up (amongst other things). Yes, make-up! As a dedicated beauty blogger I knew that I had to get my hands on some of the products. Renka was amazing and sent me a small parcel before I’d even got the chance to see her enthusiastic reply (to my cry for help)
I really wanted to try out the basics first, and so I asked for the highlighter (in my experience Japanese highlighters are the best), an eye colour base (to use before applying eyeshadow), and one of their foundations (in light natural, with spf). Everything I would need for a simple base. The packaging is also simple, fitting in perfectly with Muji’s ‘no brand’ aesthetic. The addition of helpful application tips on the back allow you to get the best out of your product. I would have loved to try some of their skincare/hair products but I’m a bit cautious when it comes to liquids/creams, due to the Royal Mail suddenly deciding that we’re not allowed to send or receive anything of interest anymore (slight dramatisation).
All 3 products came to just under £11.50, with the foundation being the most expensive product at 900円 (£5.20). Comparing it to UK prices, that’s more than reasonable. Muji may not be a well known beauty brand in Europe, but they’re a trusted company with a loyal fan base in Japan, so I’m really looking forward to trying these and reviewing them on the blog.
Browse Muji Japan‘s make-up section, or take a peek at Muji UK (sadly, sans make-up).

Review: 3 Concept Eyes Lipstick #204

I was introduced to 3 Concept Eyes lip markers recently, so I was eager to try their lipsticks also. I was sent an orange shade, which I’m sure will be very popular this Spring/Summer. It was my first time using this kind of shade, so I had my serious review hat on.
Swatched on hand in natural light, and on lips in artificial light.

+ Creamy texture
+ Didn’t dry my lips out
+ Highly pigmented
+ Easy to apply

– Transfers when eating/drinking
– Not long lasting
– Creamy but not moisturising

I was a little unsure about this colour because I’m actually quite scared of orange shades. Still, I thought I’d give it a try and see what all the fuss was about with these lipsticks. Luckily I was impressed from the moment I laid eyes on it. Although the poorly applied manicure on the packaging (done on purpose or not?) bugs me, the lipstick itself comes in a classic black tube. The formula is very creamy, so it applies easily, but doesn’t bleed at all. When applied, the colour was pretty much the same as that in the tube – highly pigmented and very orange. It was slightly intimidating. Whereas the lipstick didn’t dry my lips out, it also didn’t stay on my lips after eating/drinking, so it wasn’t exactly long lasting. I love the texture and pigmentation these lipsticks offer, and although this shade isn’t exactly to my taste I’d happily purchase another. For £13.25 this isn’t ‘drugstore’ prices, but if you fancy splurging it’s well worth it. 
You can purchase 3 Concept Eyes Lipstick in Come to Me at Lunatu.

Review: 3 Concept Eyes Lip Marker

3 Concept Eyes is a Korean beauty brand I was introduced to recently. To be honest I’ve used a lot of Korean skincare products, but not much makeup. I love the appeal of lip markers, so when I was sent this one I was eager to try something new. You know I love my red lipsticks too, so this shade was also something I’d pick up myself.
Swatched on hand in natural light, and on lips in artificial light.

+ Long lasting
+ Doesn’t transfer/rub off
+ Didn’t dry my lips out
+ Nice shade

– More orange than red
– Not pigmented, so colour needs to be built up

I have such mixed feelings about this product. On the one hand, it’s an amazing lip product that doesn’t transfer or rub off during wear. It can last a good 8 hours without you having to re-apply it, and it doesn’t dry your lips out. Yet on the other hand this really isn’t the shade I was expecting. As you can see by the hand swatch above, it’s more of an orange than a red. I’m a bit confused as to why it’s sold as a red. The colour does need to be built up with this, like a lot of lip markers, so application takes a little bit longer. I like the product but I feel a little let down by the difference in the shade. However I do like the shade and I will be wearing it again. For £11.25 it’s a bit more than I would usually pay for a brand I’m not familiar with, and due to the shade problem I probably wouldn’t buy this product.
You can purchase 3 Concept Eyes Lip Marker in Red at Lunatu.