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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

Lust Have It February 2017 – Unboxing and Review

Any progress is progress. Compared to the subscription-ending, final-straw Bellabox I just got, I think my reviewing matrix is skewed.


Before I go into the products, can I comment on the bag? It’s barely relevant, but it’s so cute. Take the “lust have it!” off it, and it’s the platonic ideal of a makeup bag.


Lots of options in here! I got the lesser option of most of them, but that’s okay.

Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel (RRP $9.95 but this is an older formula and I found it for $3.95 and it seems to sell for around $5 most places; this is the shade 030 Calla Lily) – Honestly, this is a lovely formula. I’m a big fan of the current iteration – the Colorstay Gel Envy – but this is quite nice, considering it’s discontinued. I thought this was the Gel Envy, so this discovery has kind of harshed my vibe. What a shame I got a semi-sheer opal shade called Calla Lily, rather than an opaque shade I might actually wear. Someone will use this, though. It’s surprisingly pretty at two coats, but it picks up blue from my hair really easily.

ETC Lipstick (RRP $2; I think they’re phasing this brand out overseas? The shade I got is called”True mango”) – I’m over getting this brand. The eyeliner last time was alright, and at least shows up on the Gosh Copenhagen website, but this lipstick seems to be untraceable online and it’s one of those typical cheap greasy lipsticks, in a weird coral neon orange lipsticks.

Anatomicals Lilac Body Lotion (100mL; 200mL full size retails for $8 apparently) – I like this brand and it’s a good size for a body lotion. Those a good comments! I’m not so into the smell of lilacs, but it’s not horribly offensive.

Hola Sheet Masks – DuWhite Masque and Honey Anti Wrinkle Masque (RRP $25.95 for five packs of each, these are just one of each) – Neither of these specific needs are mine, “whitening” or anti-wrinkle, but face masks are good to have around. I mostly just give them to friends who like using them, because I’m more of a full on face mask gal. I wish we could have had one normal product to try rather than two sheet masks, but whatever. This is decent, and these are actually still available for sale.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream (15mL Sample – 50mL is $24.95) – This is a good size sample of a decent product, and it’s not too old either – the batch code is a fairly recent one. If you got one of the Oils of Life minis, you’re one of the lucky ones – that stuff is beautiful, and I use it all through winter, so a little one for travel would have been lovely. This cream isn’t one that agrees with my skin, for some reason, but I know a lot of people who adore it and I’ll pass it on to one of them.

Sasy n Savy SPF Skin Firming Creme (Part of the “Bath and Body mixed samples, but it’s not listed as an option? It appears to be worth $6 on the website) – I find it hard to get past the strong smell of peppermint – why do people put peppermint in day creams? – and it’s got that weird texture I’m not into, where it’s heavy but too fast absorbing. I also tend to be wary of anything that claims to be firming, honestly. This brand has some okay products that I’ve tried, but this isn’t for me. I’ll try it? We’ll see.

Reading those individually, this seems not great. It’s compared to past experiences that I’m excited at the improvement, and I’m willing to give Lust Have It…another month. Let’s see. I’m still disappointed in the lack of availability of certain products and the seeming outdatedness, the occasional clumsiness in curation, but I do appreciate the mix of things.

Bellabox Feburary 2017 – Unboxing, Review and The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back – Unsubscribing

Bellabox. We had a fun time together. We’ve been on the rocks for a while. This box was…it was the last straw. I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.


I was greeted by pink powder everywhere, even before I’d taken off the tissue paper. They’d spoiler-ed the NYX blush, which I’d been slightly interested in. Not interested enough to ask for a replacement. Here’s the overall damage:


I’m sure you can guess some of my feelings here.

Eye Majic swipe on eyeshadow? I thought we gave up on this gimmick at least ten years ago. I had an old Chi Chi version of these and they didn’t work. They were a muddy mess that I got in a sale bin. The NYX blush seems like a pretty colour? I can’t really tell. It’s in the bin. I’ve received plenty of samples of the Klorane shampoo and the little tubes of Neutrogena sunscreen (it’s a nice idea, but it breaks me out).  There’s some tea, I guess. At least it’s Twinings and not some godforsaken detox weightloss tea brand. There are Avon samples, which I’ve complained about before. I salvaged the Bath and Body Works spray, because my sister likes to have something like that in her bag for school, and these are a good size. I have a Twisted Peppermint one – I’m not into Japanese Cherry Blossom, but it’s not a bad scent.

Guys, this is a mess. If I hadn’t been long disengaged with Bellabox, I’d have contacted them to try and get the blush replaced at the very least. The point where I realised I needed to unsubscribe was the point where I realised that I just didn’t care enough. I didn’t want to get involved.

I haven’t got this month’s Lust Have It bag, so I’m yet to see how that relationship will pan out. Honestly, I’m okay with ending it. Subscriptions are fun, but so is spending that money on things I’m interested in.

Bellabox January 2017 – Unboxing and Review

I feel like I start all of these reviews with disappointment. Sad trombone noises, womp womp womp, you know the drill. I thought I’d give Lust Have It the axe, especially if Bellabox had themselves together this month, but I’m thoroughly underwhelmed. Let’s discuss.


Maybe I was being too harsh in my opening statement. There’s dollops of potential here, and my sighs don’t necessarily indicate that. Sadly, potential doesn’t always equate to a good box.


BB Summer Shimmer Trio (I got the Unicorn trio, RRP $9.95) – I love highlighters, especially pastel tones, so this is a nice item in theory. I did get the shade I would prefer as opposed to the golden trio, not that the name is mentioned anywhere on the actual packaging.  Where the theory falls down is that in Bellabox’s foray into cosmetic manufacturing, they’ve entirely prioritised hitting a trend over creating a usable, quality product. They have that distinct kiddy makeup texture, really greasy with lots of glitter, not to mention the accompanying toy makeup smell. The lightest shade, a pearl, is all glitter and has no base in pigment (the other two are slightly better). They blend out to indistinct glitter and disrupt base makeup so really only work on bare skin. I wish this had been a powder formula, where even the worst are easier to repurpose, or a little more thought had been given to the actual texture and workability of the product.

Cetaphil Suntivity SPF50+ Liposomal Lotion (100mL retails for $19.05 and this is 10mL so around $1.90) – I love getting sunscreen in boxes. I like how this is packaged – it’s got a proper lid for multiple uses – and I appreciate that it’s SPF50. The only dampener on it is that I’ve actually received this sunscreen in a Bellabox before, and that one was a full size. I imagine this is a convenient size for short term travel – I might take it away with me at the end of the month – but I have a lot of sunscreen, because I live in Australia.

Skinny Tan Gradual Tanner (Full size 150mL; RRP $29.95) – This is a high value item, but I’m always automatically irritated by things that use “skinny” in their marketing. Like…this is a gradual tanner. All that’s “skinny” about it is the inclusion of guarana, so you’ve got a bit of caffeine I guess, and that a tan does help to smooth over the appearance of cellulite. As someone with plenty of cellulite, I don’t care, and I’m not won over by marketing that targets a fear of being overweight to make money (see: skinny teas) or the implications of my my body being awful and wrong. I have, however, been looking for a gradual tanner to help even out all the pigmentation on my legs, and this one smells like coconut. Hopefully it won’t work out a streaky mess on me the way the Jergens did.

Klorane Shampoo with Camomile (I am no longer placing values on these but they are 25mL and the full size is 200mL for $13.95) – You lose value with omnipresence. The more of these I acquire, the less likely I am to use them. A shampoo without a conditioner is a weird thing to send, they’re too small for travel, and they’re basically just things that overrun my drawers.

EyePro Eye Makeup Pad (a ten pack is $14.95; this is one set so around $1.50) – I’m vaguely interested in the idea of a product that gets me a straight wing without me having to hold something to my face, but also protects from fallout. Would I pay for it? Absolutely not.

Maybe I was too harsh. I feel like it was better than I made out initially. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just cancel them both? One more month? Why am I doing this to myself?

Lust Have It January 2017 – Unboxing and Review

I don’t really know how to feel.


I mean, the elements are all there, but now I’ve been receiving subscriptions for over a year, I’ve just become a little jaded. Now I’m at a point where I’ve reached saturation for bits and bobs, and the money I feel I could put elsewhere. It’s not just Lust Have It, it’s just bits-and-bobs in general. I want the fun of choice back with my money, especially when I’m consistently ending up with things that I’m using to use. My usual whining will commence below. Colour swatches at the bottom of the list of products.


Your Tea Her Tea – We only got one bag last month, and so they compensated with…a plastic bag full of tea. I don’t drink tea, so I don’t care, but I’m glad they went through with it.

Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Blush (RRP $19.95) – This was the big spoiler item, and I love getting lipsticks, so I was tentatively keen to get this. Sadly, I have swatched most of these, and none have great pigmentation, nor do they wear particularly well. This shade is a peachy my-lips-but-better colour, which is not my thing at all. At least it feels nice on the lips.

Ofra Pressed Eyeshadow Pan in Bohemian (4g full size; RRP $12USD so approx $16AUD) – This is a very pretty shimmer shade, an antique gold with a bit of bronze to it. I don’t have a palette to store it in, which is annoying, but I have been considering getting one. I don’t reach for single shadows often, but this does have nice payoff and applies smoothly.

Unani Dermo Defense Face Mask (100mL, roughly $24AUD) – Naturally, this has changed packaging (I frequently ding Lust Have It for their inclusion of old stock, like a sample of a foundation that changed packaging more than 2 years prior), but it seems like an interesting mask and I like receiving this kind of thing. It’s a gel mask – I’ll give it a go at some point.

OPI Shatter Nail Lacquer in Super Bass Shatter (RRP $13.85) – although, let’s be honest, shatter nail polish hasn’t been a thing for years and they’re just trying to get rid of this however they can. This colour is beautiful and I wish it was solid rather than – cringe – shatter.

ETC Eye Liner Pencil in Silver (RRP “$15” but really who knows) – I don’t think too  much of this international drugstore brand, but I will say that this at least had a decent amount of pigment and felt soft enough to use around the lower lash line.


If this gets another month, it’s because I’m lazy and haven’t cancelled it in time. It’s not so much a problem with the bag, but a problem with disillusionment and subscription boxes in general. I suspect the case will be similar with Bellabox. I am intending on keeping around the Marie Claire box for a little while, though.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Fortune Cookie Soap Box Winter 2016 – Unboxing, Review and Why I’m (Sadly) Unsubscribing

Once upon a time, the Fortune Cookie Soap box was my most anticipated subscription service. It is, for what it’s worth, so beautifully curated, and unboxing it was always such a fun experience. Perhaps at the same time as I stopped being excited by the world of indie cosmetics and started being exhausted by them, the box lost its spark for me.

It’s still a fun box, but my judgement is less clouded by blind enthusiasm now and I am more clear with my pros and cons. I’ll elaborate on those after I’ve spoken about each item in this particular box, so jump to below if you’d like an overall  review on my feelings about the Fortune Cookie Soap Box.

This quarter’s theme is “Through the Wardrobe”, referencing the Chronicles of Narnia, and I would assume specifically The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I have a broad enough knowledge of popular culture to know that, but as per usual most of the references in each of the products fly right over my head.


I can’t recall receiving the $10 voucher I’m supposed to get with each box, but I’ll dig around for it. If I can’t find it, hopefully it comes soon?


“Always Winter” OCD Hand Sanitizer – This is supposed to smell like fir needles, cinnamon, cranberries, apple curls and cedar, and I mostly get apple and cinnamon with a bit of a sourness to it. I usually really like the hand sanitisers, and it’s really convenient to have them around, but this one is packed with literal chunks of glitter. It leaves them all over your hands? It’s bizarre.

“Father Christmas” Whipped Cream – I don’t get any of the suggested snow or juniper, just the vanilla cupcakes and a bunch of unmentioned cinnamon. I don’t love the formula of these, it’s way too thick for me and it leaves me sticky. God, it smells good though. I might take it with me on the plane.

“Sweeties” Fortune Cookie Soap – Turkish delight scented, this is too sweet for me, and these soaps melt really easily so I keep them by the sink.

“Dream of a Dream” Dusting Powder – My grandma was always a fan of dusting powders, but I’ve never been keen on them. I’ll give it a go. Lavender, vanilla and soft musk, but I do definitely pick up the patchouli. Perhaps it will be good between my thighs in summer – I’ve heard a lot of people use dusting powders to aid in preventing chafing.

“Lion’s Breath” Perfume Oil – I do quite like this perfume, but it smells a little strange on my skin. It’s sweet with a blast of fresh woodiness – frost, fir, pomegranate – but there’s something off about it that I just can’t place.

“Hide and Seek” Whipped Soap – Another thing that might come away with me, although I do tend to go through whipped soaps pretty quickly compared to liquids. It smells lovely – the coconut and allspice and chocolate balance out the coffee so that I can enjoy it instead of being overwhelmed by coffee.

“Deep Magic” Shampoo Bar – No matter how much better people claim they are, I just can’t get behind shampoo bars. They’re just a pain to store, and I have so much hair that using them isn’t as economical as it should be. This smells nice and herbal, and I will use it, but it’ll only get a few uses before it gets way too grotty.

“Small Favors” Pedi-Bomb – One of many references I don’t get, I love the smell of this pedi bomb but it’s also a product I will not use because my feet do not get the TLC they deserve. The honey/tobacco blend is really nice and unusual, but it’s not my kind of product.

With this box, there is one product I flat out will not use (the pedi bomb), three I will begrudgingly use for the sake of using (shampoo bar, fortune cookie soap, dusting powder), three products with imperfect formulas but lovely scents (perfume oil, hand sanitiser and whipped cream) and one I’m excited about (whipped soap). It’s the second box in a row that has been, on balance, not great for my personal tastes. If I can get my arse into gear, I will most likely unsubscribe before the next one.

It is not to say that I don’t enjoy the company, or that the box is not great. It’s an expensive box (it costs me around $40AUD per season) and the products inside are sample sized, which would be fine, but a $10 voucher becomes largely useless in the international scale when you can’t use it towards shipping. The actual products the company makes are great – I love the foaming hand soaps, lip scrubs, hand sanitisers and shower steamers – but while the balance in the box tends to vary, you have no control over the kind of products. For instance, I constantly receive bath products, which I have no use for. You tend to also start to get product fatigue – if you don’t like the formula of, say, the whipped creams, there’s only so many times you can receive them and care. But again: always well curated, if you like the theme there’s a lot of care given to it. The scents are simple, but they’re nice, generally. They tend to be love it or leave it.

I’d give this box a 2/10, and my Fortune Cookie Soap experience has been a lot of fun, but it’s time for it to come to an end. Unless they want to send it to me. Hear that, Fortune Cookie Soap? You should do that, instead. Send your boxes to the worst person.