Lookfantastic Beauty Box Review – February & March 2018:
So, if you’ve read my lengthy Birchbox review post from a couple of weeks ago, you’ll know that I’ve recently dumped that subscription in favour of the Lookfantastic Beauty Box – I’ve now received the first two months worth of boxes and had enough time to play around with the products inside, so I’m ready to give an opinion:
Trifle Cosmetics – Sugar Pear – Sublime Lib Scrub (Full size)
Firstly, this smells so good that I want to eat it! More cupcake than pear in fragrance, this sugar-based lip scrub is Vegan, cruelty-free and doesn’t contain parabens or mineral oil. I suffer badly with dry & flaky lips, particularly during the winter so this showed up at just the right time. A tiny squeeze of product from the tube left my lips feeling soft and free of any dead skin without being too abrasive. While the tube is small, a little goes a long way and I’d definitely consider buying more in the future. I wasn’t aware of Trifle Cosmetics prior to receiving the scrub but I’m always happy to discover new ethical cosmetic brands. Bizarrely, this product isn’t available for purchase at LookFantastic or any other UK retailer. Trifle Cosmetics’ own site does offer free shipping to the UK for orders over $75 (not including customs fees) and after browsing there are several other items I’d like to give a go, particularly the Atlantis Cookie Prismatic Highlighter – so perhaps down the line I’ll go for it when I need to replenish my lip scrub stock.
Bellapierre – Shimmer Roll in ‘Champagne’ (Sample)
This bills itself as a product for both the body and the face – as a highlighter, which is a lovely idea in theory but doesn’t work well in practice. The ball applicator isn’t reliable in its delivery, so there is either no product coming through or a big clump of powder. As the shimmer is so dry & fine, it ends up transferring everywhere, leaving you with an all over sparkly face rather than just highlighting the areas you want. That said, it is easy to remove with a little water and cotton wool. The Shimmer Roll is safe to use as an eyeshadow but I would recommend a good primer on underneath to hold it on the eyelids. The champagne colour is super pretty but I would save this one for body use only where you don’t need any precision. It will look lovely in the summer sunshine.
Elemis – Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (Sample)
I’ve been hearing great things about this for years so was excited to finally check it out. Containing Padina Pavonica, aka brown algae from the Mediterranean, this cream is meant to reduce fine lines, plump up the skin and improve overall hydration. While I may have some crater-sized frown lines on my forehead, I don’t have too many fine ones on my face, yet, but prevention is better than cure, right? The cream has a lightweight texture and is meant to be applied to a freshly cleansed face in the morning after a serum. It is fragranced but with a fresh floral scent which isn’t overpowering when applied. After trying for a few days, my skin did feel well hydrated without being oily. My complexion also seemed overall brighter than before use. I haven’t had any breakout or congestion issues so while pricy this is a cream I would consider for the future. I believe there is a version which contains an SPF which would be my preference rather than having to layer a separate one under a day cream.
Dr Pawpaw – Original Multi-purpose Clear Balm (Sample)
A product I wrote about in my Birchbox review and again I wasn’t disappointed to receive some more! I’ve been smothering this on my dry, chapped lips frequently in the past few months so my full-size tube has run down to nearly empty. The Original Dr PawPaw balm is fragrance-free, thick and hydrating. It can sometimes take a little effort to squeeze from the tube but with this one, a small amount goes a long way. Most multi-tasking products end up being average at everything they’re billed to do but master of none. This really is an excellent lip salve, cuticle balm and very effective at smoothing down frizzy fly-away hair. I wouldn’t use it as my main product for the latter but when you are on the go and not wanting to carry a gazillion items in your bag, it’s a great on-the-go solution.
Filorga – Meso-Mask Smoothing Radiance Mask (Sample)
This was my second time trying out this mask, the same sample was included in the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar in 2017. I had only just finished that initial tube when this one arrived. My preferred way of using the mask is 2x per week, after cleansing, I apply for 20 minutes while taking a bath before rinsing off. The mask seems to protect my skin and keep it hydrated during the drying heat of the bath but you could just as easily put it on and sit and watch Netflix for a while. The product itself comes out of the tube as a thick white cream, you don’t have to layer it on too heavily, a thin coat seems to be just as effective. My skin really drinks this up so by the time it comes to rinse off there isn’t much residue to remove. The Meso-Mask contains an ingredient called rhamnose polysaccharide which helps to prevent skin irritation and helps to brighten the complexion. It’s a success on dampening down redness but I haven’t noticed any great brightening effect.
Caudalie – Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum (Sample)
I’ve had several good experiences with Caudalie products before so was pleased to see this sample in February’s box. Recommended use of this serum is post-cleansing, pre-moisturising and it aims to tackle dehydrated skin without leaving you oily in the process. Vinosource SOS is stuffed with grape-seed polyphenols, with their antioxidant properties protecting the skin against UV rays, free radicals and pollution – very much needed when you live in a city. There’s also some hyaluronic acid in there too to help the cells attract and hang on to moisture. The serum itself is lightweight and quite watery in texture, it glides over the skin and absorbs quickly. I have been having a lot of issues with dry patches this winter, particularly around my nose and this cleared them right up. My overall skin tone felt better and brighter and makeup applies nicely over the top. As this is reasonably inexpensive, I may well invest in a full bottle for next winter.
SkinChemists – Rose Quartz Youth Defence Lip Plump (Full Size)
The aim of the Rose Quartz Lip Plump is to boost your lips non-invasively and to be a substitute for collagen fillers. Using something called Volulip to increase hyaluronic acid synthesis & peppermint oil to stimulate blood circulation, this product is meant to give a slightly swollen effect. Honestly, I’m not sure that this had any real effect on my lip size but I did enjoy the tingling sensation and refreshing scent of the peppermint oil – very invigorating in the AM and helped me to wake up! It goes on clear with a very slight pink shimmer and does a good job of hydrating the skin due to containing vitamin E oil. Basically, this is just a really great clear lip gloss, nothing more. It’s out of stock on Lookfantastic’s site but the price is listed as £44.99 which seems very steep for what this is. I probably would have considered re-purchasing as a lip balm alternative if it was under £15 but definitely not at that price.
Skimono – Total Conditioning + Foot Mask (1 x pair)
So I’ve not actually tried these yet but I’ll come back and give an update when I do. I wanted to save them for a time where I’ve walked a lot and my feet are exhausted and in need of help, a time a bit like when I went on a 4-hour walking tour of Berlin (see here for that post!) On that occasion, I had a pair of STAR SKIN Magic Hour Exfoliating Double-Layer Foot Mask Socks waiting back at the hotel which I spilt with Sara so we both had one cool & soothed foot each. So I’m waiting for a time like that to be able to fully test these out.
STYLONDON – Oval Face Brush
This is the second oval brush which I’ve tried out, I also have a Cohorted Ovali Base Foundation Brush but this one is a lot smaller in size. I’ve personally used this to blend my tinted moisturiser and concealer, but I feel, despite its small size, that it could be used for all over foundation/is a good shape for contouring if you’re into that. The bristles are ultra soft and the positioning of the handle makes it easier to control than a standard handled brush. Despite being plastic everything feels sturdy. While I probably won’t use it all the time, it’s still a useful addition to my collection.
Doucce – Freematic Eye Shadow Duo in ‘Kate’ & ‘Tenley’ (1.4g)
This is another brand which first hit my radar when I was a Birchbox subscriber – I was a fan of their Punk Voluminizer Mascara. Firstly, I’m not the biggest lover of single eyeshadows, I prefer the simplicity of having everything contained within a palette. That said these particular shadows are designed to be placed inside a customisable palette also sold by Doucce as part of their Freematic system. If I were to receive any more or a blush, I’d consider investing. The shadows themselves are nice quality and usable neutral colours which blend well together. Wearing them over Urban Decay Primer Potion they lasted for 8 hours without creasing or flaking. While not NARS or Urban Decay quality, these do a solid job for the $10 a piece. I suspect I won’t get much use out of these as I’m always going to prefer to whip out Naked 2.
Renu – Advanced Anti-Ageing Flash Relax Mask (Sample)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this mask, not being previously aware of the brand. The packaging is a little bland and uninspiring but I was happy to see that Renu (also known as Monu) is cruelty-free and committed to utilising natural ingredient sources in their products, this one is paraben free. As for the mask, per the instructions on the back of the tube, they recommend using it twice a week on cleansed skin. The product comes out as a clear gel and is easy to smooth across the skin and absorbs quickly. I had a cup of tea and browsed Instagram while it did its work before rinsing with warm water. This mask is suggested for mature skin, while it might not have smoothed out any fine lines on my behalf, my face felt hydrated and smooth afterwards. There was a suggestion on the tube that it could cause some tingling after application but I didn’t experience that but could be something to watch out for if you have particularly sensitive skin.
Omorovicza – Balancing Moisturiser (Sample)
The star of the show for me, I was thrilled when I opened up the box to see this peeping out. Omorovicza is a premium Hungarian skincare brand & trying out their products had long been on my agenda. The Balancing Moisturiser included here comes in a 30ml sample, generous considering that the full size is only 20ml more. The packaging – glass bottle with pump is attractive and feels high quality. As for the product itself, it aims to both regulate oil production while brightening the complexion and diffusing large pores. My skin isn’t terribly oily, especially at this time of year, so I can’t attest as to how well it does the job in this area; however, my face felt calm, hydrated, brighter and there was indeed some slight blurring of the pores. The moisturiser has more of a gel-like consistency than a cream and is thin without being runny. On application, it feels cooling on the skin before absorbing quickly without leaving any residue. I also enjoyed the refreshing botanical scent and was happy to see that it’s vegan, (Omorovicza has also pulled out of the Chinese market returning them to cruelty-free status.) While this product isn’t specifically tailored to my skincare needs, it still does a good job, so while pricey, I’ll be looking into checking out some other Omorovicza products in the near future.
Overall, at this stage, I’m happier with the Lookfantastic beauty box than I was with Birchbox. It has a more premium feel with a good balance of new & well-known brands and is better value with 6 items for £13 (incl. P+P) vs the 5 items for £12.95 at Birchbox with postage. Sample sizes so far seem more generous.
The box quality itself is better & solid compared to the slightly flimsy Birchbox packaging, although the latter, with the drawer pull outs, turned into convenient stacking storage.
I love that the Lookfantastic beauty box comes with a travel size (but complete edition) of ELLE UK. In my late teens, I used to be a fashion magazine addict, a habit which I’ve weaned myself off. I still enjoy a flip through every now and then, and this is perfect to put in my handbag for perusal on the train or bus.
I was quite vocal about my irritation with the Birchbox delivery. Due to Hermes’ ineptitude, it was often the 14th or 15th of the month before I was able to get my box. No such problems with Lookfantastic, both of these showed up within the first 3 days of their respective months, delivered without incident by the Royal Mail.
So far a good start to the subscription. I’m not sure that I’ve found any ‘holy grail’ products so far, but everything was usable and good quality. Looking forward to seeing what April will bring!