November/December Empties (Or: Too Much Junk)

I was away over the end of November and so this stack of garbage built up and my god, there’s a lot. I’m also in a pretty rubbish mood because New Year’s Eve is famously a trash night designed to be filled with disappointment and make me feel inferior, so let’s get this show on the road. Yikes.


Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Cream (Skin Cooling Effect) – This big tub lasted for an extraordinarily long time, because it’s mainly a cream I use when my skin is irritated in warmer weather. The cooling effect is quite nice, not too extreme, but definitely noticeable. It’s great when I’m amidst heat rash or other kinds of grossness. Repurchase? Maybe, when I have a few less moisturisers

Lush Bubbly Shower Gel – There’s usually one Christmas shower gel from Lush that I really gravitate towards (RIP Glogg, Hot Toddy, Ponche), but this year I was kind of underwhelmed. I also am starting to find the formula more and more drying? Maybe my skin is getting used to the time off. I bought Bubbly just to get it, and it was way too one-note for me, just straight up citrus. Also, Lush shower gels are…not cheap. I’ll still buy limited editions, but I’d rather they just brought back Glogg. Repurchase? No.

Bath and Body Works Pretty as a Peach Foaming Scrub – Loved the formula of this, am kind of hooked and wish I bought more because I feel like it’s really easy to go through quickly, which was a major downside. It’s also not super intense, and I do feel like I need a bit more sometimes. I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent – the peach was a bit perfumey – but I like the way it foamed and spread and exfoliated. Repurchase? In other scents, if the only Bath and Body Works wasn’t at the airport.

Bath and Body Works Frosted Coconut Snowball Shower Gel – I needed a little shower gel for Hawaii and this was the summeriest Christmas smell I’d ever come across. It’s a really lovely one and I’m definitely a fan. The bottle also lasted for a decent amount of time. Repurchase? If it were available to me in full size easily and I ever needed shower gel, sure.

Herbal Essences Moroccan My Shine Conditioner – I have no comments on this conditioner, which was fine and worked for travel. My hair eats up shampoo and conditioner, it turns out. Repurchase? Not particularly

OGX Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner – These were also fine and worked okay, but I similarly went through them very quickly in Hawaii where I was washing my hair very frequently. On the bright side, these smelt amazing. Repurchase? Maybe for shorter, less swimmy travel stints.

Bath and Body Works True Blue Mini Foot Butter – Needed some foot cream abroad, where my feet were garbage and dry and gross. This worked fine, nothing spectacular. Smelt nice. Repurchase? If it was necessary and the nearest available foot cream

Dermal Heel Balm Platinum – Another mini foot cream. I swear I have normal feet. This was from a subscription, and it was actually pretty good. I preferred this to the B&BW one. Still not a miracle worker for travel torn feet, but good. Purchase? Maybe

Ouai Treatment Masque – From the Sephora Favourites box of hair treatments, because my hair was another thing that took a real beating from sun and sea water and constant washing. This one was pretty nice, not my favourite that I used, but it smelt good and my hair felt soft afterwards. Purchase? No

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads – My skin just doesn’t like glycolic acid, it seems. This, pixi glow tonic, Paula’s Choice AHA…it’s just a recipe for breakouts, regardless of how consistently I use them. This was the closest we got to decent. Still, not a step I feel like my skin needs. Purchase? No


Bobbi Brown Smoky Eye Mascara – Wasn’t a huge fan of this one. It tended to flake a bit on me after a few hours, and it didn’t do anything of exception to my lashes. Purchase? No

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer – I was not a fan of the sample of this primer I tried long ago, but my decision to splurge on a travel size to take overseas with me was such a a good move and a different experience. I guess now my skin is less congested and covered in breakouts, I appreciate something that just smoothes the skin and boosts foundation. I don’t need the same leveling from a very siliconey primer that I do when I’m going for a full base and when breakouts are bad. Repurchase? Maybe, but I don’t know if I could bring myself to do the full size!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper – I’ve said this a million times, but I love this liner more than any other liner I’ve used. The Physician’s Formula one can’t hold a candle, the Stila one flakes right off – until the day someone else has a brush tip this precise with a formula this black and longlasting, I’ll be using this liner. It’s $30 in Australia, which pisses me off, but mine last for months. I picked up a replacement in a Sephora Favourites set in the US. Repurchase? Obviously.

Rimmel Colour Precise White – This liner dried out after one use. Get absolutely wrecked. Repurchase? Go to hell.

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation – Such a good lightweight foundation for medium coverage, easy makeup days. So expensive, such a splurge, and really not a neccessity but…Purchase? If you can justify it? Sure. I bought it for $45USD on a fluke and I do not regret it at all.

Mac Pro Longwear Waterproof Foundation – This stuff sucks on my skin. It never sets and feels sticky and gross and looks inorganic and weird. Purchase? No

This Works Deep Sleep Plus Pillow Spray – This stuff was a little too strong, but I like having something soothing to spray on my pillow before I go to sleep, and the scent blend here is definitely soothing. I prefer the original version, which I’m using right now, because it’s less  intense. Repurchase? Not this version

Sunday Riley Good Genes – This stuff doesn’t smell great and logically, it’s not the most amazing based on ingredients, but my skin is really loves it. Purchase? Already have.


Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – These are the cleansing wipes that I use when I use wipes, and they are good. They don’t hurt and they get stuff off, though I need extra to get off heavy duty eye makeup and I would avoid overusing makeup wipes where possible because they rarely get it all off. Repurchase? Always

Lush Fireside Soap – Where I hated the last Lush Christmas soap I had, this one smells much more my style. Very spicy, wintery, clovey. I love it. I don’t use these soaps for much other than my hands, but my family complain that they don’t lather much. Repurchase? Probably

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque – Really liked how this one from the Sephora set made my hair feel, but it was a pain to use and difficult to saturate my hair with, considering how much hair I have. Purchase? No

Those are just some cotton rounds from rite aid and I didn’t like them at all, one side didn’t absorb any product and the other was “exfoliating” but actually crap.

Daiso Cotton Puff – I liked these but I went through them pretty quickly. You get 180 for about $2.80, though, which is a great price. Repurchase? Sure

CLab &  Co Coffee Scrub with Coconut – I actually really liked this, in spite of the coffee smell – I hate coffee. That said, it made my skin really smooth. It was incredibly messy, though, which was irritating – because it has no real oil base to it or any kind of viscosity, it just falls around everywhere. Purchase? No, but I did enjoy it.

And now, Body Shop stuff. Yeah.


The Body Shop Aloe Vera Calming Cream Cleanser – This is my go to cleanser, and I’ve been using it for years. I go through it quicker now, because my sister has decided that she loves it as well. It’s non irritating, doesn’t dry out my skin (I use it in the shower, even though it’s designed to be used on dry skin), doesn’t sting my eyes. I use a more intense cleanser if I’m following up an oil makeup remover to double cleanse, but this is my everyday go to. Repurchase? Constantly.

The Body Shop Papaya Shower Gel – A really lovely summery smell. Some places still have it in their sale stock, and while it isn’t my favourite Body Shop smell of all time, it’s definitely a great one. Repurchase? If it comes around again as a limited edition, sure.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream (sample) – This stuff is fine, but I just so much prefer the aloe vera creams. They’re much more soothing. My absolute moisturiser is the Drops of Youth moisturiser, weirdly, which I also finished a tub of but forget to take a photo of – much lighter, but still as moisturising and makes my skin look lovely and feel great. Purchase? No

The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash (sample) – This used to be my jam as a young teenager, but it’s way too intense for me now. Just dries me out. It was nostalgic to revisit it, though. Purchase? No

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in 024 Hawaiian Macadamia – Man, look at this beat up foundation.  I thought I was developing a form of stockholm syndrome for it when I started to wear it all the time, but it turns out my preferences in foundation have just changed quite a lot in the second half of this year. I really like how natural this is, with medium coverage and a really natural weardown over the day. Repurchase? I already have a new bottle on the go.

The Body Shop Moisture Foundation in 06 – This is too dark except in summer, but it’s also a formula that my skin hates. It looks so good on so many people, but on me or on people who – in my experience applying it – have any kind of combination, flakiness or oiliness to their skin, it picks up on those things and amplifies them. I also find that instead of wearing down naturally, it gets patchy and cakes over the course of the day. Repurchase? No

The Body Shop Calming Aloe Toner – Even this tiny bottle – no longer available – took several holidays and hospital stays to finish up. It’s a good toner, very basic but soothing. Nice after a non-cream cleanser especially. Repurchase? Can’t get this size any more, but I have a bottle on the go and a backup ready. After that I’ve got a Muji generic toner to try out, which is super affordable and in a huge bottle that would enable me to not buy for months. If that works for me, it would be nice.

The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Shower Gel – This smell from Christmas is incredible, and naturally it sold out almost immediately. If you can find any of this in the remains of the boxing day sale stuff, I’d definitely recommend picking it up, because it smells flat out like a vanilla chai latte and I am the whitest girl that ever did live. I did manage to snag a full size of this, which I’m excited to use up later on in the year. Repurchase? Hey Body Shop, listen to the sales statistics, bring back Vanilla Chai.

The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara – My go to work mascara, does the volume and the curl for me. A little clumpier than some others, like the Divide & Lengthen, but I like the volume and I’ve been enjoying layering it with Benefit’s Roller Lash for separation. Repurchase? Have done.

The Body Shop Skinny Felt Tip Liner – Nice for filling in the line and for day to day stuff, but I wish it was a little more flexible and god, I love brush tips for the wing. I’m so spoilt by the Kat Von D tattoo liner. I still use this liner for everyday stuff, but it dries out quite quickly and it could be blacker and easier to work with, despite being better than a lot of the options I’ve tried. Repurchase? Have done.

Alright! Now I’m off to go and wallow in some misery and loneliness and maybe put some more turquoise in my hair so that my laziness induced regrowth looks more like an intentional balyage.


Lust Have It November/December 2016 – Unboxing and Review

While Bellabox tends to be middling even with its hits and misses, Lust Have It is good at sourcing spectacular fails and really great highlights. I’m not sure any of those are present here, necessarily, which is sad, but it has been an interesting two months with the service on a probation period for me.


Some truly great photography here. Blame travel exhaustion.


There’s usually at least one thing I can get excited about in a Lust Have It bag. In this bag, there was exactly one thing. I don’t have the products with me, so I won’t bother with values.


Foreo Day Cleanser – Having just posted my feelings on my little Foreo Luna Play, it was cool to get to try it out with their official cleanser. It doesn’t really foam, contrary to the statement on the card, but it does smell pleasant and leave the skin nice and soft. I like getting interesting skincare, and the discount card for Foreo is something I would have been genuinely interested in, seeing as I purchased from the brand anyway.

Cougar Face and Body Shimmer (RRP $30.50) – I have no use for a shimmery powder, although I guess I could…dust it on my…chest? For summer parties? I guess? It appears to be a UK brand with an amateurish website.

Cougar Mineral 5-in-1 Foundation (This says it’s a full size and RRP $56.25, but I would argue that this product comes in two sizes, and this looks to definitely be the smaller one which is not currently available on the website but is also not valued at $56.25)  – I don’t really do the mineral foundation thing. Quite aside from that, this powder is teeny tiny and far darker than my actual skintone. That’s a theme with Lust Have It.

Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Shower Foam – I haven’t used this yet, but the smell seems pleasant and it’s a good size, so it’s getting saved for travel.

Aveda Color Conserve Treatment – The added bonuses are usually just useless throwaway items, and this was one I just threw into my box of hair mask tubes. I don’t necessarily trust all the things sitting in the Lust Have It sample stash – you get some good stuff, but also some major duds.

Not a great bag. I enjoy that there are makeup items in it, but they’re not ones that are practical for me. 2/5 – I’ll use the cleanser and the shower gel.

This month’s came today.



At least it’s cropped vaguely decently, even if the colour balance is off? I’m a bad blogger, we all know that.


Kueshi Ultra Stem Cell – Rejuvenating Cream With Stem Cells SPF 15 (RRP $29.50, allegedly, though I can’t source that price) – While initially I was kind of into the fact that this product is a little left of field, my usual surface research introduced some concern. Not just in regards to the product – I’ve seen plant stem cells used in products before, like The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth, though usually not boasted about so obliquely and never with any actual science to back up their buzzword soup. Also, I suspect it would be quite irritating – it’s strongly citrusy, and contains “proven effectiveness of orange stem cells”. Sure, Kueshi. More of my issue – I can’t find this product anywhere online. The closest approximation, which is on many third party retailers, is in a jar. The card also claims it contains SPF15, but that’s not mentioned anywhere on the packaging. No version of this cream currently retails on the Kueshi site. It does give me minor cause for concern over whether or not the active ingredients in this product are still any good, particularly if it does contain SPF.

ModelCo Illusion Lip Enhancer (RRP $20) – ModelCo is one of those brands that’s notoriously overpriced for what it is (cheap packaging, inconsistent products, etc) but this lip liner feels quite nice. It’s very peachy for a nude, but it feels semi-soft with a good level of waxiness. I suspect it will have decent wear time.

Naobay Orange Juice Hand Cream (RRP $19, but it was around $13 on Beauty Bay) – I don’t enjoy the smell of orange juice and I don’t like the uneven wood texture of the lid on this hand cream. Other than that, I don’t know. Hand cream. It’s all the same.

Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion (This is 30mL; the full size is 400mL for $7.99) – I mean, it’s a body lotion and it’s pretty boring. I don’t even know if I’d take this for travel?

Flormar Perfect Coverage Liquid Concealer in 01 (RRP varies based on country) – Flormar is a Turkish brand sold around Europe – I own a few of their lipsticks from my 2014 trip to Europe, and they’re actually phenomenal.  This was my “encore” item, and while it’s probably a shade lighter and pinker than I’d go right now – I’m at my darkest – it’s workable for the under eye area, and with foundation would be fine. It’s got really nice coverage and a texture that I enjoy working with, but it does settle into lines and cracks a little, so I can already say that it will need prepped skin.

Your Tea Her Tea – This was apparently supposed to be a pack of tea, but instead we only received a bag. They assured us that we’ll receive the box next month. It’s a bonus item, but I hate receiving tea, so I’d honestly prefer they just kept the box. We’ve had tea from this brand before, and even my sister wasn’t into it. She loves her detox (etc) teas, so if I can’t offload it to her, my options get limited.

So a couple of hits in that box – I’m into the liner and the concealer, particularly. 3.5/5 – I’m feeling it, if it allows for skepticism and my usual request that Lust Have It endeavor a little deeper into sources and makes sure that they are more thorough with their information cards. I do love that they’ve started doing feedback surveys!

Bellabox November/December 2016 – Unboxing and Review (The Good, the Bad and the Bellabox)

Being away, I missed my chance to post about my November subscription boxes. Because life is stressful, I hadn’t had a chance to catch up on posts about them, so instead I’ve decided to condense each box into its own post. I haven’t received my December Lust Have It, but Bellabox is here, so it’s time for post that really highlights the highs and lows of this particular subscription service.



It looks like a pretty sparsely packed box, but the contents are actually pretty objectively good. I ended up having small problems with certain things, but in general I can really appreciate this. I don’t have the products on hand, so I’m not going to calculate value.


Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mask – I have actually had the chance to use this twice now, and I genuinely really enjoy it. I love that it’s a clay mask that doesn’t go all out on the exfoliation, because it means it’s not too intense for my skin, and I don’t find it too cooling or drying. I do avoid the more sensitive areas of my face, and find this works best on my nose, where my pores are most visible. It leaves the area feeling matte for an extended period.

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum – I find this a little stickier than I generally like for a serum, especially compared to something like the Baimeni Eye and Face Hyaluronic Serum. I have actually been using some more actives in my routine to really help with the smoothing that has been the one niggling issue – reintroducing BHA exfoliation and also trying for AHAs that don’t include Glycolic Acid, which seems to irritate my skin – so serum products really do become those extra steps and I really do have to love them to want to integrate them.

Innisfree Orchid Enriched Cream – I like the consistency of this cream, somewhere between light and rich, but it’s pretty heavily scented and I’m wary of using it without my skin being in prime condition. I think I’ll just leave it alone, honestly. Someone else will probably appreciate it.

Luma Cosmetics Lipgloss Wand (RRP $16.95)I wouldn’t have been as irritated by this if it hadn’t dangled the possibility of a sheer lipstick right in my face on the card. Come on guys. I don’t even like sheer lipsticks, but I’d take them in a heartbeat over a gloss. At least mine wasn’t a tube – eugh. I see that other people got other Luma products, and I would have loved to try something else from the range, but I have indicated that I’m a lip product fanatic, so…fine (my kingdom to try a highlighter or one of their eye products). Though the packaging is nice, this has zero pigment on the lips, and while I know some people are into that, it’s definitely not for me.

Tilley Australia Exfolating Soap Bar (RRP $7.95) – Another product where I wish I would have received the other option, because while I dig exfoliation,  I famously loathe coffee. I’m a poor excuse for a Sydney-sider. I do appreciate recieving soaps, because it means I don’t have to buy them, and I will put this in the shower at some point, but on initial smell this bar of soap made me feel so ill that I genuinely did throw up. Granted, I had just got off of a 10.5 hour flight where my intestines had decided to rebel and the entire thing had been spent throwing up, so it wouldn’t have taken much. I haven’t gone back and smelt it since then and I’m sure it’s absolutely fine, but I feel a little scarred.

I’d say my ranking for this box would be a 3.5/5 – some strong items, a few that are harder to come across in Australia (Innisfree is a fun inclusion that I’m lucky to have access to as someone who spends a great deal of time adjacent to some great k-beauty stockists, but not all subscribers will be in that position), a good mix of samples and full size. Just a shame that the two variable items weren’t the ones I would have picked. I guess that’s the beauty box risk!


From a totally decent box to a box full of promise but ultimately a let down. Bellabox, you’re a cruel mistress.


Filled to the brim! Full sizes!! Good sample sizes! A good mix of face and body! If you’ve read any of my reviews on boxes before, though, you might be able to spot a few key warning signs.


Gilded Cage Charisma Lip Gloss in 81 (RRP $28 for 13mL so although this is full sized, you can get absolutely fucked Gilded Cage. $28 for a lip gloss tube? To be fair, this is listed as on sale for $21 on their website, the only stockist – STILL EXPENSIVE) – I got a Gilded Cage lipstick in a Marie Claire Parcel, and I whinged about it then. Any natural forgiveness I had towards the lipstick I do NOT harbour for a lipgloss tube. Gilded Cage are a confusing online brand with hardly any presence who charge solidly mid range prices – lipsticks at a higher price than Mac or Kat Von D (although it looks like they’re currently marked down from $40AUD to $30AUD, which is STILL ridiculous). They have three kinds of products in weirdly cheap packaging and I do not understand their branding whatsoever. Subscribers did have the opportunity to choose which product they would receive, but naturally I was in America and the choice had expired by the time I woke up in the morning. It was between their cream eyeshadows and their lipgloss tubes and as soon as I saw that, I knew a lipgloss tube was coming my way. The lipgloss itself has the tiniest hint of pigment that would only show when layered and a light – pleasant – berry scent. I’m just irritated at this whole thing, and I’m irritated at the idea of paying $28 for something that feels exactly the same as 90% of the lipglosses I could get at priceline, including the goddamn one they sent me for November. This is just bitterness coming through. I’ll dial it down.

Revlon Professional Uniq One Hair Treatment (RRP $29.95 for 150mL) – I don’t really use spray in treatments like this, particularly when they smell so strongly like salon – it evokes bad memories of my first job as a general workhorse at a salon as a twelve year old – so I guess this will get offered to my sister.

Sunsense Daily Face SPF50+ Invisible Tint Finish (Full size retails for $26.95 for 200mL; this is 10g – sunscreen and water don’t weigh the same, but let’s call it $1.30 value) – I love getting sunscreen, but I have received this in full size before and sadly know that it breaks me out. Otherwise this would be a great, usable item in the box for me! I’d still be kind of annoyed at the lack of resealable bottle – come on, you don’t use this much on your face in one go, and then it’s just messy – but a tinted 50+ sunscreen is a great summer inclusion.

Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil-Control Foam Wash (Full  size is a weird 236mL for $15.99, and this is 50mL so my bad maths works it out as about $3.40) – While I’m wary of foam washes in general, because my skin dries out really easily from anything too stripping, I’m always keen to try something new as a second step cleanser? It’s also a great size, so if it doesn’t mess my skin up, it would be great for travel.

Pure Paw Paw Ointment in Passionfruit (RRP $4.95 for 25g) – At least I guess I’ll use this? It smells really lovely – I like the scent of passionfruit, though not really the fruit itself. I’ve never really been a fan of the texture of paw paw ointment, but I can always use a new addition to the lip balm bed time line up.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion (Bonus Item – sachet) – I just got a little bottle of this in my Marie Claire Parcel, so I guess I’ll try the sachet and see if I like the product enough to take the bottle away on a cruise with me as my sole body moisturiser?

Body Boss Training Booklet (Bonus item) – Go fuck yourself. Here’s an extract from the first page of this bullshit booklet: “No time to work out? Too broke? Too cold outside? Sorry babe, we don’t want your lame excuses. Give us 100% and we’ll give you an awesome body.” Literally get bent. Negative value. I’m back to Gilded Cage levels of seething. More. It’s insubstantial and insulting and I shouldn’t have to receive this shit if I don’t actively want it. Also their whole trial program is just basic circuit stuff peppered with cutesy name calling. I’m not really understanding the innovation here.

Avon Life for Her EDP sample (Bonus item) – I think I’ve gone off about Avon enough for everyone to be aware of my feelings, but let’s just say that they aren’t super positive and also this perfume smells incredibly generic and I don’t have the energy for it.

I’d generously give this box a 1.5/5. I’ll use the paw paw ointment eventually and I like that it’s passionfruit scented instead of smelling like petrol, and I might end up liking the face wash – who knows? If I didn’t know that the sunscreen was a disaster on my skin, that might be nice too. Everything else was not great.

Ups and downs. It’s how subscription boxes work.

I’m definitely thinking about cutting back one box, either Lust Have It or Bellabox – having already nixed Fortune Cookie Soap – but the choice is pretty tough. While Lust Have It have more of a makeup emphasis and can occasionally product bigger hits (Paula’s Choice BHA! Great blush!), they also tend to send out things that haven’t been in circulation for forever, which makes me pretty uncomfortable. On the flipside, Bellabox have professionalism on their side, and get bigger names involved with better consistency, but they’re so hit and miss. They’re both on probation. I’m figuring it out.