Marie Claire The Parcel Winter Edit – Unboxing and Review, for the last time

Say goodbye to the last subscription box standing. I’m making a lot of progress with regards to cutting down amassing products, even with my continued devotion to all the pretty new things, so it came at a fitting time. I was considering dropping my last subscription – it’s been up and down in terms of quality, but always felt more substantial than other boxes – so when they announced this would be the last box, I was okay with it. The less work I need to do, the better. Subscription boxes seem to have passed their use-by date in the hype sphere. People are becoming more and more aware of the pros and cons now that the “new and shiny” factor has worn off. It’s all fine by me. What I’m saying is: let’s examine the very last Marie Claire The Parcel, at least for now.

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If you’ve read any of my subscription box posts, you’ll immediately spot a pet peeve of mine (hint: it starts with A and smells like everyone’s grandmother) and you might notice a couple of repeats. For posterity, the one by one.

Revlon Uniq One Hair Treatment (150mL full size; RRP $29.95) – I have received this before! In a box with some more goddamn Avon and a fitness guide that made me really angry. I just reread that review and man, I was seething. This stuff smells like a salon and gives me awful flashbacks to my days sweeping hairdresser floors and washing hair for cash in hand. Naturally, I gave it to my sister. She’ll get this as well, but I’m pretty sure she had no strong feelings for it.

Klorane Mango Butter Shampoo (200mL full size; RRP $13.95) – When I was getting Bellaboxes, I’m pretty sure I got thirty tiny little bottles of this. I hadn’t tried this one, though it does smell lovely. In a weird turn of events, Marie Claire sent a full size conditioner from the brand back in December. A strange break there. I wasn’t a fan of that one – it smells odd, and it isn’t quite enough for my ultra tangled hair – but shampoos need less specificity and this one smells good, so I’ll probably use it at the very least.

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Facial Mask (Sample sachet – full size is 75mL and RRP is $35) – This mask is the bane of my existence. Don’t get me wrong – it’s, by almost all accounts, a fantastic mask – but I can’t use it and people get wild over it, so much so that it will sell out for weeks and make my regular retail job way more of a pain than it should be. Good stuff if you’re very oily or very blemish-prone, but I absolutely would not recommend to those with sensitive skin. It’s got tea tree and menthol and charcoal and heavy manual exfoliation and it’s just…too much for my skin. I suppose most people go to masks for deep cleansing and charcoal is the ingredient of the minute, so a lot of people will be happy with this sample. So happy that they might not remember that we also received it in September.

QV Hand Cream (50g full size; RRP $6) – Thanks to subscription boxes and having worked in skincare since the tender age of 14, I have amassed more hand creams than I could ever possibly use. I do appreciate that this one contains SPF15+, though. My grandmother keeps booking us cruises together because she’s worked out that I’m an easy boring travel partner, and I feel like all additional SPF is welcome in that circumstance.

Nivea Cellular Anti Age Volume Filling Pearls (Sample sachet – full size is 30mL for $32.95) – I can’t find the box it was in, but I’ve definitely received a sample of the Q10 version of this in a box before. It was decidedly “eh”. I also remember this packaging being the worst.

The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Australia Jojoba (The full size is 30mL for $19.95; this is 15mL so just under $10) – This is nice. It’s an oil. It’s literally 100% jojoba oil, so $19.95 for 30mL seems pretty steep. Even at regular retailers, like a chemist, you can find cheaper reputable jojoba oils. Jojoba itself is a nice oil, because it isn’t overly thick and doesn’t clog the skin up like coconut oil would. I appreciate the total lack of scent and I will definitely use it, but if I’m paying more, I want to pay more for a more luxurious experience and this doesn’t seem to provide it. I do love oils for moisture, though. It’s definitely been a great asset in balancing my skin, now that it’s pretty firmly in the normal side of combination.

Avon True Color Perfectly Matte Lipsticks (RRP $19.99) – Even putting aside my feelings on Avon in subscription boxes (stop putting them in there), I got the colour “Electric Pink”, which is a typical candy yum yum bright pink clone. It is neither unique nor interesting to me. I feel like Avon has a place, but the place is not overcharging for mediocre product to capitalise on emotional manipulation or physical displacement, you know? I’ve definitely just had bad experiences.

Avon Magic Effects Matte Top Coat (Full Size 10mL; RRP $14.99) – Also, I don’t really wear nail polish. My friends do, though. One of them will probably love this.

La Roche-Posay Redermic C10 (Full size is 30mL for $69.95 – this is 5mL so a bit more than $11.50?) – Always keen to try a new Vitamin C serum! I’m just a skincare nerd and thankfully I’ve had generally good luck with La Roche-Posay as a brand on my skin. I’m always hit and miss with Vitamin C, so we’ll see.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser (Full size is 480mL for $50, this is 30mL so just over $3) – I used to love this cleanser because it didn’t dry my skin out immediately, even though it stung my eyes and left me a little squeaky clean. I hadn’t yet learnt that I could afford to be a bit fussy with face wash. It isn’t my favourite cleanser, but it’s not the kind of awful that a lot of face washes are for me, so I’ll keep this for travel.

If that was the last Parcel, then that was it. It wasn’t an awful box, but I’ve been finding it hard to get excited about 90% of things I don’t actively seek out anyway. My favourite thing in the box is the La Roche-Posay serum, by far, because it’s something I wouldn’t have noticed in Priceline but have a genuine interest in. I know I’ll use and enjoy the little bottle of Purity, if only for nostalgia, and the jojoba oil, but I have a lot of oils to work through. I can’t get excited about products I’ll work through out of utility – hand cream, shampoo. Someone else will love the charcoal mask, at least.

Subscription boxes are fun, but they’re a luxury that I no longer need or get the joy I should out of. I’m totally okay with this one ending, but it’s been a good run. I actually have a lot of really complex thoughts about my current consumerism journey and why I haven’t been posting very much (and some much more academic thoughts about “Why It’s A Shame That Lolita Is Seen As A Controversial Name for A Lipstick Because It’s Connoted With a Text that Glamourises Pedophilia When Nabakov Writes Humbert As A Terrible Person And An Unreliable Narrator: Lolita as a text about discomfort but not sympathising with pedophiles and a lipstick name in honour of the text shouldn’t trigger such extensive debate and honestly please centre your Kat Von D arguments around other, far more substantial issues”, but that’s a whole different thesis), and I’d love to go into them, but I’m not sure I’d be able to articulate myself. Until then, probably more empties. Maybe some reviews if I can kick myself into gear. I’d also love to compare the Kat Von D Alchemist palette with the Zoeva Spring Spectrum Strobe palette, because I now own both of them for an assortment of reasons and even I’m curious as to how they go side by side.

 

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Marie Claire The Parcel Autumn Edit 2017 – Unboxing and Review

With the death of Lust Have It, The Parcel is now the last makeup box I’m subscribed to. I’m actually really content with that. There are worse things in life than not receiving mail, it turns out. With the state that my health has been in, I’ve appreciated as few things to think about as possible. I do still really enjoy what Marie Claire bring to the subscription game. They offer actual value, in terms of receiving things that feel substantial and often items from higher end brands mixed in with the usuals. You get things that are currently being marketed, not stuff from the archives. It feels like more of an experience, rather than a few bits of crap in a bag. It’s still a mixed bag! There’s always an element of that, and some quarters are far more successful than others. Let’s look at this one.

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No photos of the leaflet this time, because the lighting was just that awful. Marie Claire is always the worst for facilitating my bad maths, so ready yourself for that.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisture Rich Night Cream (Full size is 75g for $14.99; This is 15g so about $3 worth) – I enjoy Palmer’s products, even if they’re not necessarily exciting. This apparently has the added benefits of peptides, which are one of those skincare ingredients I understand to be a nebulous good thing for protecting the skin, and cocoa butter is generally a good thing, but I’m a little dubious as to how this formula will end up feeling on my face. It’s packed with a bunch of really nourishing ingredients, but also really heavy ones: cocoa butter, but also coconut oil and shea butter. My skin does get dry in winter but remains acne prone, so I do worry that in spite of how lovely this felt when I tested it to check for a reaction, it could break me out. I will definitely give it a go. I love the smell, and I’ve liked Palmer’s body products, but if this ends up not working for me I know it will find a happy home with my younger sister.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet (Full size is 30mL and the booklet says $140 while the Myer website says $95; this is 5mL and worth about $23 if you go off Marie Claire’s price) – Ah, ceramides. This box is strange in that it’s appearing to target about five different groups of people. I’m not on the ceramide train yet – I really don’t need to overload my skin with any more than I already am! – but it’s one of those things that’s really great on aging skin. Personally, I just find this serum is one of those really fancy serums that feels like nothing and smells like flowers, but I’m sure some people like that kind of thing. I’ll still try it out, I guess.

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner (30mL retails for $36.99; this is 15mL so about $18.5? That seems a lot but I’ll take it I guess) – So we’ve had ultra nourishing, anti-aging, and now super mattifying. See what I mean? Targeting lots of different age groups and skin types with this box. I was genuinely surprised by the powder finish of this in my little test of it. It does feel like it would lend itself towards longwear, but I feel like it would cling to anything going wrong on your skin. I’m curious as to how this goes in the long haul – it might have potential. We’ll see.

Jergens Hydrating Coconut Lotion (This is a full size at 250mL and retails for $6.99) – A pretty standard body lotion, but it smells nice and it’s lightweight and for once, it’s not tanning. It does smell like a tanning lotion, which is really nostalgic. I have more body lotions than one person could conceivably use.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent (Full size is 50mL for $95; this is a 1.5mL sample and I’m not giving it a value okay, perfume samples of this size do not get a value) – If you’re going to send us tiny little perfume vials, at least you aren’t sending us ones with terrible stopper tops. This is a spray, and it will only last a few uses. It smells pretty typically perfumey, but definitely a summer scent: I can pick up the mandarin and bergamot, but I get coconut where none is mentioned. They also mention amber, orange and lemon, and I get the general citrus vibes, but I also get coconut so strongly that I cannot believe it is not a selling point here. Should I be blaming the lotion from before?

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra (200mL retails for $25.95; this is 50mL so about $6.50) – I’ve spoken before about my absolute exhaustion with receiving micellar waters. I have my favourite, I’m loyal, and every time I get another one in the mail it’s just another obstacle between me being able to use the one I actually like (Bioderma, for the record. My eyes a delicate babies). This does seem promising, though, and it’s a good size for travel. It doesn’t leave my skin sticky and it isn’t heavily scented. If I liked it and it was cheaper than Bioderma, sure. But I’ve said that to everything and so far, no dice.

Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Niagara Overlook (RRP $16.95) – Real talk: I have one of these in Napa Vineyard, the darkest shade, and it’s a lovely dark red. The only problem I have with these is that they’re cheaply packaged and a pain to travel with – the lid falls off constantly. This colour is not my usual thing, a pretty warm pink, but it’s lovely on the lips. I’m not sure when I’d wear it, but lots of people would love this colour. Here’s a picture!

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Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub (This is a full size and 125mg for $10.99) – The name of this product set off alarm bells because baking soda, on its own, is highly basic (we’re talking like 8.5-9pH) and while in the short term might be okay, can seriously damage your skin’s acid mantle with any kind of prolonged use. This does claim to be pH balanced, and reviews seem to back that up. I’ll have to test this way more thoroughly on other areas before I’m comfortable using it on my face, and I’ve so far had very underwhelming results with other add-water-to-activate powder cleanser type products (Dermalogica Microfoliant, the Tatcha one). Still, a nice full size inclusion.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo and Conditioner (Full sizes are 250mL for $17.99 – each of these is 45mL and worth about $3.24 each, by my bad maths – just make them 50mL, damn it) – My hair is not nearly blonde but I do like products that aim to preserve colour, because my hair is…blue. So it’s definitely not a natural thing and I do like to keep the blue around. Don’t want anyone knowing it doesn’t just grow this way, you know? I am considering going lighter later in the year, so this might come in handy for travel at that point.

This was an okay box! I’ve had better, I’ve had worse. I’m excited to use that Bioderma Pore Refiner under a primer and see how it impacts my makeup’s wear time or oil breakthrough, but perhaps in warmer weather, and the Burt’s Bees crayon is a beautiful formula in a pretty colour. Who knows? I might discover some other good stuff in here. I’m still content with this subscription for $25AUD per quarter (this month works out at about $92 value, but the actual usable value is less, as something that I end up not being able to use will have no value to me), and there’s less fatigue with it.

Marie Claire The Parcel Summer Edit 2016 – Unboxing/Review

I’m officially back from vacation! I have three subscription boxes to unpack and chat about and I will be doing a big post with all of the stuff I bought abroad, or the dangers of consumerism. Lots of lipsticks in that to chat about, not to mention way too much other junk, and a whole lot of telling myself off.

Still, let’s talk about the Parcel, which just got delivered this morning! It’s always a fun box to talk about (I have done so here and here as well as many times on my old blog) because it’s a higher cost/value box with a lower frequency, so anticipation is higher and items tend to be slightly easier to form thoughts on. Whether those thoughts are good or bad is another issue – my last parcel really just ticked me off. For something that costs a bit and builds quite a bit of prestige, I’ve ended up using and getting value from one thing (the coffee scrub). Everything else, so far, has fulfilled my initial impression of being very disappointing and not worth my time. Thankfully even just opening this box, I can tell I’m going to have more positive feelings here.

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Lots of great sized items, nice curation to a summer theme, good heft. As to value, I’ll be doing my usual blend of estimation, rounding and Bad Maths.

Let’s discuss the contents.

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Nude By Nature Sheer Glow BB Cream (15mL deluxe sample size approx $15 value) – Base products are tough to include, and last box contained a Nude By Nature foundation powder that was cakey, the wrong shade and broke me out. I’m hoping for better things from this nice sized BB cream, but the fact that it’s on 04 Natural Tan (this might differ from box to box or it might not) is not encouraging. That said, having swatched it, it is incredibly sheer – as per the name – so while it will not give me the coverage I go for in a base, but I can see people going for it in summer. Let’s push limits, right? It has a glowy, almost greasy sort of look to it. Not my thing generally, but hey, it’s a nice inclusion, and it’s a good size. I hope this one doesn’t break me out.

Moroccanoil Treatment (10mL which they say is $59.95, but the internet would indicate that 100mL is $59.95, so let’s call it a generous $6) – I don’t usually do the oil thing, but I’ve been treating my hair pretty nicely recently and I know this is a bit of a cult thing. I’ll give it a go but it might not be my type. My sister loves all this stuff, though, so it’s probably more her thing.

Banana Boat New Suncomfort Lotion SPF50+ (59mL and I can’t handle computer calculators so I’m coming up with like $5.50 and that could be totally off base) – I love getting sunscreen, especially when it’s in packaging I can travel with and reuse. This is a really good size to take to the beach for reapplication during the day, that sort of thing. I needed something like that when I was in Hawaii.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (5 pads worth about $2.50) – I’m discovering that I’m more into BHA exfoliation than AHA, but I am super keen to try these pads which get loads of hype online. I had been looking at them in the US where they were cheaper, but it’s not something I wanted to try badly enough. Now I get to try it, but I didn’t have to pay for it individually.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturiser, Fair-Medium (221mL, $10.99) – Jergens are decently priced and though I have tried their body “BB” cream, that wasn’t for me at all. Given that I am quite tan at the moment purely by virtue of having been in Hawaii and my skin being delicate enough for SPF 50 to not do enough work, something like this might be a thing I use at this time of year to keep everything even. Until my face goes back to its fair autumn self, at which point I cannot ever be bothered. I am quite sensitive with body moisturiser, though, so hopefully it doesn’t set off anything.

Avene Micellar Lotion (200mL, $30.95) – I like receiving micellar waters so that unless I’m buying bioderma, I don’t have to buy any others. I’m always looking for a cheaper one I can use on my eyes – at the moment bioderma is the only one that doesn’t sting them – but this isn’t more affordable, so it doesn’t fulfill that. It’s quite heavily perfumed, which does give me cause for alarm, but I’ll give it a shot and worst comes to worst, use it for swatches or pass it on.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Oil Body Lotion (50mL worth about $1.50) – I like Palmer’s lotions, so I’ll give this a go. It’s a nice size for travel – I’m going on a short trip with my grandmother later in the summer, so it might be nice for that.

Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask (foil sachet which I won’t price) – I’ve used this mask before, and it’s nice enough but not my favourite. It’s not overly drying or overly hydrating, but I found it didn’t really do much of anything for my skin.

Schick Hydro Silk Razor ($14.25) – I’m one of those people who gets weirdly excited by the inclusions of razors, because it means one less razor I have to buy. I usually use these ones to take away with me.

Klorane Conditioner with Quinine and B Vitamins (150mL for $13.95) – A full sized conditioner with no shampoo, but I’ll take it, because it’s another thing I’m too lazy to buy and I go through shampoo and conditioner incredibly quickly because I have ridiculously thick hair.

I’m really into this month’s box. It’s a bunch of exciting or at least incredibly useful products that I’ll get actual use from, unlike last time.

I’d give it a solid 4.5/5. Nice one, Marie Claire. You can stick around.

 

Marie Claire The Parcel – Spring Edit 2016

Sad trombone noises.

Look, with the Marie Claire subscription box, one thing you will rarely feel is ripped off. Every item feels substantial, and the sizes are great, and there’s a really good variation in items. It’s probably the best box for getting excited as you open it up and go through it. It’s a sad fact of certain boxes that they just won’t click for you, and this box did not click for me. At all. Let’s go through it, complete with bad maths!

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St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse and Applicator Mitt (Mitt is $11.99; Full size bronzing mousse is $59.99 for 240mL and this is 50mL so worth, what, $12.50?) – I don’t self tan. If I were to start self tanning, this is probably not the best beginner product. I’m sure my sister will appreciate this.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Purpose Dry Oil for Face, Body and Hair  (The full size is 50mL for $26.99; this is 10mL so about $5.40) – Again, I don’t really use dry oils. This is a well loved product, though, and I love the camellia/jasmine smell, but I would definitely not want to put this on my face. I might use this on my legs in summer, because at least it is a nice oil and it is dry? This might get used up. That’s something.

C-Lab & Co Coffee & Coconut Scrub (100g travel pack; RRP $9.95) – I love body scrubs, but I’m a bad Australian who hates coffee.  Thankfully the coconut is pretty heavy in this, but it’s still a pretty hefty coffee smell. If I can’t handle this, my sister – the Frank body enthusiast – will get it.

Essano Argan Oil of Morocco Duo-Pack (50mL x 2; RRP $15.99) – I appreciate it when it’s not just a lone shampoo or conditioner, and this is sulfate free as well. I usually use these up in hospital, or to start a holiday before I give up and buy full sizes.

Mor Mon Amie Adele Luminous Body Milk (80mL; RRP $16.95) – Nowhere on the bottle or in the description does it say HOW FUCKING GLITTERY this lotion is. At first, I was like “Great, another Mor product” and then “this smells ok, so I guess I could use it even though I totally won’t use it” but now I have glitter fucking everywhere.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau De Toilette (50mL is $125; this is 4mL so supposedly like $10) – Not only is this fragrance, despite its fancy box, just a big fuckin vial – guys, give me a damn rollerball or a spray if you’re going to stick it in a box – it’s also not a nice fragrance. Okay, that’s entirely subjective, but to me it just smells like every other fragrance by a designer in that it’s kind of boring and generic and floral and musky. I put it on and I’m getting a bit of a headache.

Sunsense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50+ (Full size is 75g for $10.95; this is 10g so under $1.50) – This is entirely boring, but I will use it because I am boring and like protecting my skin from the sun. I do wish this was resealable? Even though it’s a body sunscreen and it’s not going to do a full body. Just for travel.

Nude By Nature Natural Mineral Cover (15g for $39.95; this is 2g so about $5? Around there?) – Foundation (even powder foundation) is really risky, because of the whole “shade” thing , but I’ll happily try this out because it’ll last me forever as loose powders tend to do. I don’t know. This is boring, but it’s something I’ll probably try out. I like base adjacent stuff.

Maybelline The Nudes Palette ($25.95) – I appreciate getting a full size palette, but it appears all the stuff you’ve heard about this palette is true. It’s not the WORST PALETTE EVER OMG but it’s pretty muddy and unpigmented and would require a lot of work to get something pretty out of. It might be a nice palette for beginners, but when you’ve got something like a Naked palette or the Zoeva Cocoa Blend/Naturally Yours palette, you just don’t need this.

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask – This is a sample I’d enjoy if a) it suited my skin type – give me the ginseng and rice or the acai or the rose or the honey masks any day and b) if I didn’t work at The Body Shop. I acknowledge that this is far and away the best seller of the mask collection, so I’ll give this sample to someone who’ll appreciate it more, but it’s also a mask we are perpetually sold out of and I want people to stop falling in love with it.

There are also two not-entirely-pointless discount cards – 40% off your next Nude By Nature website purchase (will not use; for reference, it is THEPARCEL) and 25% off all skincare at The Body Shop when you buy one of the face masks (a one use voucher; obviously this is not useable for employees but I will definitely pass this on to someone else because it’s a pretty sweet deal).

So. Marie Claire. A lot of “I don’t use this kind of product”. I guess they can’t all be wins. Will definitely be giving goes to the Nude by Nature powder, Essano shampoo and conditioner and the sunscreen because I’m boring, but the only one I’m actually keen to try is the powder. I will also attempt to make the scrub and the dry oil work, and would do the same with the mask if I didn’t already know it sucked on my skin.

Womp Womp. Here’s hoping the summer edit kills it.

 

Marie Claire The Parcel – Winter Edit Unboxing/Review

The Parcel is the box with which I have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s on the pricier side of boxes I am subscribed to – a single box costs $30, although there are significant discounts as you subscribe either seasonally for $25 a  box or $99 for a year’s worth like I have, and you can pair it with the magazine should you choose to – and given I have it for a year, I’m not really here to be disappointed overall. Last season left a really sour taste in my mouth.

I’m in hospital at the moment, so I was set up to really enjoy this box. Thankfully it delivered on being the bright spot I needed, and also provided a few weirdly useful things that would have ordinarily been boring, but came at the perfect time.

As per usual, the parcel is presented beautifully. In terms of straight out value, you never have to worry about getting $30 worth – it’s whether or not the items are of usable quality and perceived value. The box is shrink wrapped and nothing is broken, and unlike last month, it doesn’t smell ridiculously intense and overpowering. There’s also a great little booklet explaining what everything is, what is costs and how to use it.

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Atrocious hospital lighting does not make for good photo quality

Colgate Optic White High Impact White (full size is 85G for $9.99; this is 21G so approximately $2.50 and I’m not using a calculator so let’s go with my rounded up maths) – Toothpaste would ordinarily be a super boring thing to put in a box, but I’m in hospital and I made the mistake of grabbing the first travel sized toothpaste I could find, and it is HORRIBLE. I generally use Colgate, so I am incredibly grateful for this. I wouldn’t say no to whiter teeth, so hey.

MOR Rosa Noir Hand & Body Milk (full size is 500mL for $39.95,  my box is no longer with me but I believe it’s around 50mL or $4) – I’m on record of not being a fan of how heavily scented MOR’s products are, but this one surprised me by being actually quite subtle. It’s a lovely lightweight formula that seems to still do a decent job of moisturising, so even though it’s still heavier on scent than I generally reach for, I’ll definitely use it up. Once I finish one of my other three million body lotion samples.

Garnier Wake Up Cream (full size; 50mL for $19.95) – A full size face cream is a nice inclusion, and this is actually a really interesting one that I think will please a lot of different skin types. Again, heavier on scent than most creams I go for, but a really interesting thick cream formula that feels light and almost whipped on the skin. It claims to be “fatigue fighting”, and I’m about to undergo a change in medication that will mess with my sleep cycle, so I’m definitely willing to give it a go and work it into my skincare rotation.

Rituals Cosmetics Fortune Oil (full size is 200mL for $18; this is 20mL so $1.80 in value) – I actually used this tonight! I had never used a shower oil before and I was all out of tiny Lush shower gels for travel/hospital, so this was a much nicer alternative to the antibacterial generic hospital stuff. It smells orangey and woody, makes a really sparse foam but spreads beautifully, and leaves the skin super soft. I don’t think I’ll get many uses from it – it pours out pretty quickly – but it’ll make this hospitalization a lot nicer.

Klorane Shampoo with Quinine and B Vitamins (full size is 400mL for $20.95; this is 25mL so like…$1.30) – This Klorane creation is for adding thickness and strength, which isn’t really something I go for in my haircare – my hair is weirdly thick, although I do lose a lot of it from meds. I use mostly colour haircare at the moment, so this will get put in the sample bag to get used eventually.

Nivea Sensitive Caring Micellar Water (full size; 200mL for $9.97) – Another full size. A while back I declared I had reached micellar saturation (unless it’s tiny bottles of Bioderma). Another bottle was literally the last thing I needed. At least I’ll never have to buy it again? I haven’t tried this one, so it’s something new. Maybe it’ll blow me away and I’ll prefer it to Bioderma, or at the very least prefer it to the Garnier.

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector (foil sachet – the full size is $13.95)  – I actually love the oil free version of this for beach days, but I was never a fan of the original. I’ll try it again, because why not?

John Frieda Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Anti-Frizz Primer (full size; 100mL for $16.99) – I feel like we could just call this a leave in treatment and not need to be buzzwordy and call it a primer. I’ve mentioned that I don’t really do much with my hair, so this will probably go to my sister, but I appreciate the full size and I do have very frizzy hair and I’ll probably give it a go.

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate (full size is 50mL for $69.95; this is about 7mL so it’s worth around $9? Maths, man) – I spoke about this briefly in my most recent empties post, because I work at the Body Shop and I’ve been using it for about six months. I don’t personally necessarily go for the latest advances in stem cell technology, because I’m not really about gimmicky skincare (fun as it may be), but all I know is that this stuff makes my skin feel amazing. It gives the kind of hydration my skin needs without any kind of heaviness or stickiness (the kind of things that deter me from using serums), and seems to have creams absorbing faster on top of it. I find that when I’m using it I get a lot more compliments on my skin, and it’s one of the only products I can say that for. It’s definitely not cheap, but I accidentally got hooked on it. I’ve already got a big bottle of it, so this little one has gone straight to my mother.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm (full size; 4.25g for $12.95) – I got mine in “Sweet Violet” and ordinarily I’d  insert a swatch but there is literally no pigment to these tinted lip balms so I will not bother. It’s a little waxy but softer than most stick balms, and it smells nice. I’ve been addicted to the Epically Epic lip balms which come in amazing scents and melt beautifully into the lips, but the one I brought to hospital (Snow Angel) has a strong peppermint flavour that I can’t use around meal times, so it’s nice to have something simpler on hand. As a lipstick girl, I don’t often do the lip balm thing, but I’ll never say no to them.

 

Overall, the box had about $75 of my badly calculated value, which is probably actually lower than most of the parcels I’ve received. There were no big ticket fancy Estee Lauder serums or severely underwhelming $40 lipsticks (god damn it Gilded Cage). That said, I am way happier with its perceived value than the last box because there are no $40 lipsticks with formulas that I hate in colours I won’t wear or $20 soaps that give me migraines or $20 nail polishes that I won’t use. Nearly everything in this box is something I’ll use, except maybe the hair stuff, and the Drops of Youth that just so happens to be something I’m already into. I’ll get around to some things eventually, but I was surprised by my enjoyment of the lotion and the face cream. I’ll give the micellar water a go.

It’s not as overwhelming of a success as my first box (Zoeva brush! Paula’s Choice Vitamin C serum! Trilogy Cleansing Balm! Swisse Deep Sea Toner Spray! Man, what a box), but it’s definitely not making me regret my subscription. Let’s give it a 3.5/5.