I mentioned last month in my Lookfantastic April box review that I’d had a second box of goodies to play with in April.
Latest in Beauty provide subscription boxes where you choose which items you want to receive monthly, opposed to waiting to see what shows up, as with Lookfantastic or Birchbox. On a normal month, you get to pick either 3, 6 or 9 products to try out from a large selection and can purchase the box as a one-off or rolling subscription.
In early April, Latest in Beauty announced a collaboration with The Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards offering samples, or in some cases, full sizes of all 60 of the nominated skincare and make-up items. You could pick 6 for £25 plus P+P
By the time I made it to the site, a couple of the makeup items that I’d been hoping to try out – Suqqu Eyebrow Framing Liquid Pen & Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow were out of stock so I focused primarily on skincare items.
Latest in Beauty x Sunday Times Style Awards 2018 Box
Philip Kingsley – Elasticizer Intensive Hair Treatment (Sample)
Elasticizer is a product that I’ve heard lauded as a hair holy grail. It was originally developed by Philip Kingsley for Audrey Hepburn after she came to him in the 1970s, concerned with how constant hairstyle & colour changes for roles were affecting her locks.
I’m not kind to my own hair. While I’ve abandoned the use of the GHDs on all but the rarest of occasions, I still colour and curl frequently. I’m prone to frizz as my follicles can’t seem to work out whether they want to be wavy or straight, usually settling for something in between. While I’m diligent about conditioning and raking oil through the ends, (I like The Ordinary’s Squalane at the moment) they need as much support as they can get to prevent breakage and splits.
Elasticizer is meant to be used pre-shampoo once a week. After moistening the hair, I apply a coin size squeeze of product through the strands from just below the root and leave it on for at least 20 minutes – the longer the better. You can even use this overnight with a shower cap over the top to lock in the heat. I haven’t tried this yet as the weather has been so warm but I’m going to give it a try after my next dye session as my hair texture doesn’t feel great right after and this should provide the extra hydration to alleviate the issue.
The difference after just a few uses of Elasticizer is enormous, the individual strands of hair felt thicker, stronger and smoother than before. I’ve been experiencing less breakage and overall it’s more manageable to style and less prone to frizziness. My hair is feeling in better condition than it has for years.
I’m going to continue to use Elasticizer long-term to see how it holds up, occasionally my hair seems to get used to products and they stop being as effective as they were during early use. Hoping that won’t be the case with this because I like it so much!
Lancome – Monsieur Big Brow in ‘Ebony’ (Full size)
My only make-up pick in the box. I went for this because I have little recent experience with Lancome’s cosmetics and over the past couple of years I’ve taken a lot more care with keeping my brows groomed. I’m always on the hunt for products which leave them defined yet natural looking.
Monsieur Big Brow is a thick waxy crayon with a kabuki brush on the end which can be used to buff and soften out the strokes so the brows don’t have a ‘drawn on’ appearance. When applying, I tend to stipple then blend, rather than use long strokes. I find this better for filling in the gaps and making the brows look full. Along with having an easy to work with formula, this product is long-wearing. A few times I have put this on in the morning then headed to yoga in the eve, gotten a serious sweat on and it doesn’t run or budge at all.
When the box arrived and I tried this for the first time, I initially wasn’t sure that the product was usable because the ‘ebony’ shade was too dark to work with my natural brow colour. However, just before my trip to NY, I went for a tint and suddenly it became perfect for me.
Until it runs out, this is going to be my go-to post-tint brow product. However, Lancome sells in China & therefore isn’t cruelty-free so it’s unlikely I’ll repurchase.
Paula’s Choice – Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (Sample)
Another ‘cult’ product that I’ve heard people raving about for years. As I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m obsessed with the whole process of exfoliation be it via a scrub or acid so I was excited to try this.
The BHA in the product encourages the skin to shed the dead top layers, preventing dullness, unclogging pores and promoting radiance.
When it comes to acid exfoliation, skin irritation is always a concern of mine. BHA (Beta-hydroxy acid) is also known as Salicylic Acid – I’d tried out The Ordinary’s formulation and ended up with my cheeks covered in small red bumps which then became dry and itchy. Not a pretty sight! I proceeded with caution with this product and did a patch test. After that was trouble free I moved on to a full application.
The Liquid Exfoliant can be applied twice daily, (avoid using Retinoid products at the same time as they can reduce each other’s efficacy,) but I went for a morning only application to keep things gentle.
The product comes out as a clear liquid which is slightly thicker than water, (it isn’t artificially perfumed but there is a light natural scent which I find inoffensive.) To apply, I saturate a cotton pad and rub the liquid gently over my skin avoiding the eyes. At first there is a light tingling sensation – I love this, it feels refreshing and you always get a sense that the product is actually doing something. It absorbs swiftly leaving the skin slightly tight feeling and tacky to the touch – I usually moisturise swiftly afterwards which alleviates this.
As for results, my skin has been remarkably clear and blemish free recently. While I’m not prone to major zit eruptions anymore, I can have monthly hormonal outbreaks of tiny whiteheads on my chin, these were greatly reduced last month. I’ve been using several pore minimising products over the past few months but this one seems to have helped tighten them up even further.
As the BHA Liquid Exfoliant is reasonably priced at full size, I’m strongly considering buying a full bottle and continuing.
Sisley – Black Rose Cream Mask (Sample)
I’ve been reticent to try another Sisley mask after a poor experience with the Express Flower Gel – it did nothing for my skin at all, positive or negative – disappointing considering the hefty price tag. While the aforementioned product is thin and watery, the Black Rose Mask is a thick and luxurious cream. If any product can be called decadent it would be this one. The rose scent is gorgeous, not synthetic or cloying.
Designed to fight the signs of ageing, plump up the skin and promote radiance, I found the mask delivered on all of these promises. After applying a layer onto clean skin, I left the product for 15 minutes before wiping off the excess (there wasn’t much, my face drank this up) My skin felt soft, smooth and completely hydrated like I’d had a high-quality facial. This is an amazing product to use after a long haul flight – I applied when I arrived home from New York.
I will be hoarding the sample for post-travel application as again, the full size doesn’t come cheap.
Dr Sebagh – Serum Repair (Full size)
My first Dr Sebagh product and the second hyaluronic acid serum I’ve tried. I’m bringing up The Ordinary a lot in this post, as their products are so inexpensive I used them as my first foray into testing out different acids. I didn’t see any real effects from their 2% + B5. I fared a little better with this one.
Hyaluronic acid helps the cells to attract and retain water, enabling the skin to stay hydrated for longer. This serum also contains collagen for plumping and regeneration. I applied this product morning and evening before moisturising – alternating between the Omorovicza Balancing Moisturiser & another hyaluronic acid containing product – the final one in today’s review, the Dr Dennis Gross Moisture Cushion.
The product itself is a clear liquid dispensed via a dropper. A little goes a long way, a couple of drops are enough to cover my face and neck.
I can’t say that I saw any dramatic effects, my skin tone seemed more even but the main difference I noticed was that I needed to use less moisturiser than I would usually apply when this was layered underneath. It seemed at it’s best in combination with the Moisture Cushion, my skin felt hydrated without a hint of oiliness.
As this is a full-size product, I will continue to apply regularly to see if long-term use yields greater rewards. At present, I’m not inclined to re-purchase and will seek another hyaluronic serum from a cruelty-free brand.
Dr Dennis Gross – Hyaluronic Marine Oil-free Moisture Cushion (Sample)
I apparently can’t get enough of hyaluronic acid! Here it is again but in a cream form this time.
This moisturiser aims to bring high levels of hydration without the heaviness & greasiness which can come with heavier products designed for the same purpose. Designed to be used morning and evening, the cream is super lightweight, almost gel like in texture, with a gentle refreshing smell – I like it so much that I usually have a sniff of the jar before application!
When applied, the Moisture Cushion sinks in quickly without leaving an oily residue on the surface. My skin looks plumper, feels soft and my pores seem to be smaller and diffused. Primer glides right over & a couple of times I’ve put make-up straight over the top without incident.
This might well be my perfect summer cream.
Because I got to pick my own products, this ended up being my favourite beauty box so far. I genuinely enjoyed testing out each and every one of these items and have discovered 2 which I suspect will end up being long-term favourites: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer & Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion.
At £25 it was the most expensive box that I’ve purchased but with the Dr Sebagh serum costing £69 by itself, it worked out to be good value. With skincare, it’s all too easy to make an expensive mistake so I really appreciate the opportunity to try before I buy.
At present, I’m happy with my Lookfantastic subscription but I will check Latest In Beauty from month to month to see if they have anything fun available.
Talking of Lookfantastic, a review of May’s box is on my agenda and coming soon!