Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The big skincare review (January Glossybox products)

Hello lovelies! Sophie here. Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately but I’ve had loads of uni deadlines to keep me busy. They’re all out of the way now (for another few weeks anyway) so I’m finally getting round to doing some product reviews!

I will be reviewing: 
(From left to right:) Elemis Fresh Skin, Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash; Monu Aromatic Mask; Duck Island Limited Body Lotion; Premae Skincare Balance Rescue Face Tonique; and Jason Lips Bee Healthier Lip Balm.

All of these arrived as samples in my Glossybox last month. They’re all skincare type products as the theme of January’s Glossy was cleansing and rejuvenation. I got them in mid Jan so I’ve had them for a good few weeks now, plenty of time to give them a good try.

Premae Skincare Balance Rescue Face Tonique.                                                                      

What does it do? As a toner, this little guy wants to deep clean your skin. It promises to get rid of all that congestion and product build up in your skin, hydrate it, free it of dirt and unwanted oils and close up your pores, all whilst leaving your nice natural oils alone and leave you all fresh and plump and loving life.

What’s in it? You know that I’m a great believer in natural ingredients, so I was highly impressed with Premae’s ingredients list: rose water, lemongrass oil, and sandlewood oil. That’s it. No fragrances, no alcohol, no other nasties and nothing I can’t pronounce.

What does it smell like? My initial impression of the smell was that it was fresh and light and clean: that hasn’t changed. I know smell isn’t the primary concern of a toner but it’s an important factor for me. It smells quite floral, almost musky (maybe the sandlewood?) and the lemongrass freshens it all up and gives it that lovely clean smell, but without smelling clinical.

What's it like? I like to use a cotton pad to apply the toner to my face after cleansing, it spreads across the face really well so you don’t end up using too much. It feels really really lovely to apply, really deeply cleansing.  You can feel it getting to work, but not in the same way as most toners, there’s no harsh, chemical, almost burning sensation that makes you wonder how this could possibly be any good for your skin. But then, there are no harsh chemicals. Instead you get a kind of cool freshness that makes your skin rejoice.

Does it work? Yes! This toner will get rid of any stubborn makeup that stuck it out through your cleansing routine, any dirt, grease, and other things you generally don’t associate with nice faces. I don’t really struggle with blackheads or oilyness (touch wood) so I can’t comment on how it works with those. My nose does get a little dry sometimes, and cheaper toners can sometimes worsen the problem. This one, however, made my whole face, nose included, feel super soft, smooth, and hydrated- so much so that I felt I could have gotten away without moisturising afterwards. (I did anyway, force of habit.) I struggle with my pores as they’re quite large and open and visible, this product actually really helped, my skin feels tighter after using it and my pores seem considerably less visible after a good few uses.

How much? £17.50 for 100ml, click!

All in all: Overall, I really am a fan of this product. At £17.50 it’s a tad on the pricey side, but I do think you get what you pay for and good skin is always a good investment. If you have sensitive skin and find cheaper toners too harsh then it’s definitely worth giving this one a try, the natural ingredients mean it’s gentle to skin but still deeply cleansing. I would also recommend this if, like me, you suffer from visible pores. I'm very on-again, off-again with my current (cheaper) toner as it's cleansing but so harsh, but I think Balance Rescue Face Tonique and I will have a long and happy relationship. 

Elemis Fresh Skin, Skin Glow Exfoliating Facial Cleanser                                               

It was impossible to make these swatch type pictures look
pretty, sorry!
What does it do? As an exfoliator, this product’s aim in life is to scrub off dead skin cells and give the skin a nice deep clean. Getting rid of those dead cells should leave the skin underneath looking brighter and fresher, and it also promises to soften and condition. 

What’s in it? The main ingredients this product boasts are cherry powder and jojoba beads (these do the exfoliating), mandarin and aniseed. What's not in it? Elemis promises that this product is free from nasties such as parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colours and silicones.

How does it smell? I love the smell of this product. It smells really fresh and clean. Of all the ingredients, to me the mandarin stands out the most and smells lovely.

What's it like? I’ve been using this product in the shower as it recommends massaging it into damp skin. I usually exfoliate while I shower, so as usual I step out from under the water, apply the product to my face then step back under to rinse it off. This product has a creamy consistency and isn’t too thick, it spread across my damp skin really easily so I didn’t need to use much. You can really feel the jojoba beads, they’re small but there’s plenty of them which is ideal for a facial exfoliator: using big grains such as sea salts can carry a risk of scratching your lovely face, and they wouldn’t be as effective if they were too scarce. I love using this, you can really smell it which is lovely and it does feel like it’s making a difference to your face. It wasn’t scratchy at all like some exfoliators can be, but my face does feel like it has had a good scrub afterwards.

Does it work? As promised, my face feels really soft and smooth after use, and definitely very clean. I’m not entirely sure that it makes a noticeable difference to the way my skin looks, but it definitely makes it feel lovely.

How much? £12 for 100ml (Superdrug are currently offering 100ml for £9.99 - Click!)

All in all: I probably wouldn't have bought this product on my own just because I’m not massive on skincare, but I was really pleased it came in my Glossybox. £12 for 100ml isn't cheap as chips but I think the quality definitely justifies the price, the smell is really lovely to enjoy while you’re using it and the texture of the product itself is creamy and soft. It feels good on your face and my skin felt lovely and clean afterwards. Although it didn’t make a hugely visible difference, I feel like it could improve the look and feel of my skin over time with continued use and it’s a definite improvement on my current (cheaper) exfoliator. 

Monu Aromatic Mask                                                                                                                 

What does it do? This is a clay facial mask with a warming effect, designed to ‘renew and invigorate’ the skin whilst giving it a nice deep clean. The problem with this product is the packaging, I know it’s only a sample but if the normal size product is anything like this then it’s so so difficult to read! The font is a really thin, pale blue and almost impossible to read against the pale beige-grey of the product inside!

What’s in it? The mask is natural clay based, and also contains Lavender (which you can really smell), Rosemary, beeswax and coconut oil designed to leave you with hydrated, softened and nourished skin. It’s recommended for normal to combination skin: I wouldn't recommend this if you have particularly dry skin due to the clay, and the oils probably aren't a great idea if you’re particularly oily.

How does it smell? Lovely! There’s a very slight clay-ey smell (not at all unpleasant), and you can definitely pick up the rosemary, but for me the Lavender stands out the most. The smell is strong enough to be picked up when it’s on your skin without being overpowering, and I find the lavender so relaxing, so this is lovely to use at night before bed.

What's it like? The texture of this is quite thick like clay, but not overly so. Just the right consistency to spread across your face easily. You’re supposed to leave this on for 10-15 minutes after cleansing and toning then remove with warm water, so that’s what I’ve been doing. To be brutally honest, I was a little disappointed with this product. I love warming face masks so I couldn't wait to try it, but it didn't warm up at all! The first time I used it I completely forgot that it was supposed to warm up as nothing at all happened, and in subsequent uses the most I’ve noticed is a very very slight sensation that I’ve attributed to wishful thinking. I managed to hold my boyfriend down for long enough to get some onto his face and he noticed no warming sensation either, so it’s not just me!

Does it work? Well it doesn’t warm up (maybe give it a try and let me know if it warms up for you!) but it does feel very nice on the skin. It doesn’t feel too heavy like some masks do, despite the clay, it felt very light and kind to my skin. Again I’m not entirely sure whether there’s any visible difference to my skin after using this, but it makes it feel tighter and very soft.

How much? 100ml of the Monu mask will set you back £24.95. (or £22.95 from FeelUnique with free delivery, click!

All in all: Overall, I do like this product. It’s a huge shame that it didn’t have the warming effect as promised as I’m such a fan of warming masks: it’s like you can feel them getting to work on your skin! I love love love the smell, it’s lovely and relaxing, and it feels nice on my skin and makes my skin feel nice afterwards. I’ll definitely finish off my sample, and I think if it did warm up then I would adore it, but as it doesn’t I won’t be paying the £24.95 to replace it I’m afraid! Saying that, it is worth giving it a go if you’re a face mask lover and not too bothered about whether it warms up or not (it may work for you, who knows) because it does have a lovely effect on the skin and the smell, oh the smell. I’m smelling it right now and mmm. Mmmmm mmmm mmmm mmmmmmm.

Duck Island Limited Body Lotion                                                                                               

Another less than glamorous swatch!
What does it do? Pretty much what it says on the tin (bottle). This is a body lotion, so needs to be applied after you bathe. There isn’t much on the bottle by way of instructions or promises, but body lotions are generally designed to soften your skin and moisturise you, whilst making your skin smell like angels.

What’s in it? Mandarin and bergamot, apparently, though I’m not entirely convinced that there’s any actual mandarin or bergamot in there as I can neither pronounce nor comprehend the majority of the ingredients list! I’m not a chemist so I may be wrong but it all sounds rather more chemical than natural to me, it is free of parabens though.

How does it smell? When I first had a sniff of this I really liked the smell, I described in my first Glossy post as indulgent and expensive smelling: it mainly smells like mandarin. I’m sorry to say that my opinion of this smell has drastically changed! The more I’ve smelt it over the past few weeks, and after smelling it on my skin, I just don’t like it at all anymore. I mean it’s not a bad smell, but it does smell quite chemical to me and not like actual mandarin.

What's it like? The lotion is quite creamy, not too thick. You don’t need much and it spreads across the skin quite well. It sinks in quickly and won’t leave you feeling damp or sticky, which is a plus.

Does it work? I desperately wanted to love this product, but I just don’t. I wouldn’t really say it makes my skin any softer or feel any more moisturised or hydrated. The smell is usually one of the biggest selling points of a body lotion, and as I said I’m not a fan of it. You also want the smell to last on your skin and leave you smelling good all day, but this doesn’t last incredibly well. You do catch a few whiffs of it now and again just after you’ve applied it, but it doesn’t last longer than an hour or so on me.

How much? £24.95 for 2 x 250ml bottles. (Not entirely sure where to purchase this from, but for the Duck Island website click here)

All in all: I wanted to love it but I don’t. Sorry. The smell is the major thing for me, I love things that smell fresh and natural and I really can’t stand even vaguely chemical smells. The ingredients list really put me off as well – as I said I’m not a chemist but I can’t imagine that all those long words can be doing my skin much good! I definitely won’t be repurchasing, for that price I’d expect a body lotion that made my skin look and feel amazing, and that had a nice, lasting smell. I doubt I’ll even finish off my sampleL.

Jason Lips Bee Healthier Lip Balm                                                                                       

What does it do? I had never heard of the Jason brand of lip products before. This balm is designed to moisturise and hydrate the lips, soothe them if they’re chapped, and leave them feeling softer.

What’s in it? This lip balm boasts plenty of lovely natural ingredients, including: organic cocoa seed butter, beeswax, organic coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, organic Aloe Vera leaf gel, organic peppermint leaf oil, natural vitamin E.; organic green tea leaf extract, organic marigold flower extract, and organic peppermint leaf oil. Genius!

How does it smell? To me, this smells just like mint chocolate! Very very minty fresh, but not in a clinical way, in a sweet and delicious and making-me-hungry way.

What’s it like? It’s like heaven in balm form. The stick itself looks quite rough and ready, not in a bad way, it’s very natural looking. It’s very soft to touch and melts into soft creamy loveliness upon contact with your lips. It feels kind of buttery, probably due to the shea butter and cocoa seed butter, and has that same thick, indulgent, really-good-for-you feeling that cocoa butter has. Once it’s on, you can feel it on your lips but it’s not sticky at all. There’s a slight shine to it but it doesn’t really change the look of your lips, definitely not colour-wise which is ideal for me. Over the course of a few hours it feels like it’s sinking into your lips and working it’s magic, but you can reapply (every 5 minutes like an obsessive-compulsive) as often as you like.

Does it work? It works miracles, that’s what it does. Even though my skin isn’t dry, my lips really really really really are. Terribly so. They’re dry and chapped when I wake up and get worse throughout the day, making it near impossible for me to apply anything to my lips, balms included. This is one of the only balms that mends all my woes. My lips are so dry that even balms dry them out and I’ve tried everything: vasseline, balms, moisturisers, the lot. But this really helps, I love it. It feels lovely on, it gets rid of dry skin and really hydrates my lips, preventing them from getting drier or more chapped throughout the day. I even use this as a base for lipsticks and glosses and it makes an excellent lip primer. It’s not too wet or sticky so it makes a really good base for the colours to stick to, and most of all it stops them from drying out my lips and looking awful (which, in case I didn’t myself clear, they always always do).

How much? £1.99!!! (4.5g) Click!

All in all: Okay so I’m not sure how well this came across but I am head over heels in love with this lip balm. It’s easily one of the best I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot), it hydrates my dry lips, it smells amazing, makes an excellent lip primer and is full of lovely natural ingredients that do your lips worlds of good. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s only £1.99. Will I repurchase this product? Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. God yes. I will repurchase this product all day long. If you suffer from chronically dry and chapped lips like me then you’ll understand my enthusiasm for a good balm. I fully recommend this, especially to those of us that suffer from dry lips, but for everyone else as well – all lips need a little tlc and they’ll love you for it!

I know this has been a long one so well done for sticking with me! Even if you just skimmed the ones you were interested in, I'd love you to let me know what you thought of the review! Did any of you get these products in your January Glossybox? If you did then let me know what you thought, or if you're thinking of trying any.

Lots of love and sunshine
Sophie xxxxxxx


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    1. Thanks Andie I'll check it out :)

      Sophie xxx

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