Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bellabox Unboxing + Product Reviews:

The other day I received my first Bellabox in the mail. In case you're unaware, Bellabox is a monthly subscription beauty box service. The company website allows you to tailor orders to your skin type/beauty needs with a quick quiz, and subscription only costs $15.00AUD per month.

I'd heard about beauty boxes through both the blogosphere and my sister, who runs Youtube channel Jocelyn Patricia and the beauty blog JPW Beauty.

I was really excited to open my first Bellabox and review the products, especially after spying a sneak peak on the Bellabox website which showed subscribers they would be receiving a new Model Co mascara, Fatlash.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Bellabox packaging; it was cute and no-nonsense. I was a little bit wary of this purchase at first, knowing the company sometimes sends out products owned by Estee Lauder and LO'real (huge animal testing corporations) however the products in the January box came from natural, mosly eco-friendly brands, some of which I had been itching to try for months!

I loved the plain box, easy to recycle cardboard with a cute polka-dot print and tissue paper inside.

But enough about that, let's get down to the nitty gritty:

This month subscribers of Bellabox received the following products; Model Co Fat Lash Volumising Mascara, Sukin Facial Moisturiser, Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturising Oil, Avene Soothing Moisture Mask, Vaseline Aloe Fresh Daily Body Lotion SPF 15, Tuscan Tan Wash-Off Bronzing Mousse, Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream. 


Product #1:

The first product I tried was the Model Co Fat Lash Volumising Mascara. I'm actually an avid fan of Model Co, having been partial to their extension mascara (which contains lash fibres to lengthen stubby lashes!) for quite a while. I slicked this mascara on immediately to test it out and I was quite pleased with the results. It certainly made my eyes perk up, and I only applied two coats! I have some not-so-great pictures below (it's hard to take selfies with bulky cameras, okay) detailing what the mascara looks like on.

As you can see, my pores are huge. But seriously, I really like how neat and clump-free this formula is. You apply it with a THICK brush, so I was initially thinking 'hmm, maybe this won't be that good' - boy was I mistaken! I think this will be my new go-to mascara: My lashes don't look spidery, and the brush/wand/whatever your preference spreads them out evenly. Plus, this product tends to curl them a little bit, giving me a whole face-lift (kinda-ish). I'm very pleased with the quality of this, it's a great day-time mascara, and an awesome product for girls like me who live in 40-degree heat and don't want to put anything thick and heavy on.

Product #2:

The next thing I decided to slather myself with was the Tuscan Tan Wash-Off Bronzing Mouse. I'll admit, this product it kind of wasted on me. I come from a very anglo (Irish and Welsh) background and with green eyes, freckles and red hair, I like to keep my skin looking as white as I can. I'm terribly afraid of sun-cancer and refuse to go to the beach without a hat (usually a sombrero, I'm not joking either; practicality trumps style when the possibility of sun-burn hangs in the air), shirt and sun-block. In high-school I was teased quite a bit for being pale, but I never really understood why. Anyway, I have always embraced my alabastor skin-tone but I thought I'd do a patch test with this product for those of you who do like to fake tan. 

I spread a little bit on one of my legs and, well I was disappointed. Okay, I wasn't disappointed but if you want a real change in skin tone you might be. My skin bronzed up, sure, but nothing very noticeable (lucky me). This could be due to me being a novice when it comes to self-tanner or because this product just didn't work for me. Swing and a miss it seems! It does smell quite nice, and the mousse is a pretty cool dark bronze colour with some kind of iridescent sheen added in there, but all in all for something claiming to be 'salon' quality I don't know...I would expect to look like I'd actually got a tan I suppose, haha.

Product #3:

Next up was the Avene Soothing Moisture Mask: The sample I received has enough for 1-2 applications of this weekly hydrating mask. Basic instructions are as follows; cleanse and exfoliate your face as usual, pat dry with a towel and then apply a thin film of this mask over the top. Leave for 10-15, wipe excess off with a cotton bud and then apply your usual moisturiser to 'lock in moisture'. As the irritated owner of very dry skin I was really excited how much all this month's Bellabox products boasted moisture. So at about 7.30pm I slathered the Avene Mask over my face and sat down to wait. The product is really light and smooth, slides on nicely and doesn't feel too cakey or dry after the first few minutes (like most face masks I've tried, they crack in seconds!), however this product DOES contain palm oil. If you're unaware of the dangers the palm oil industry places on our environment please click here. I'm hoping Avene soon work out an alternative to palm oil as this product was great.

I was a bit hot/greasy when I applied it and a little did drip off the end of my nose, but when I wiped the excess off and applied my sukin moisturiser I noticed quite an AWESOME change in everything from the texture of my skin (it was SO smoothy-smooth the next morn') to the evenness of my skin tone! I was very pleased, really the only thing that would prevent me buying this is the palm oil agenda.

Product #4:

Sukin Facial Moisturiser: Okay, here's what I was most excited to try in my January Bellabox. A friend of mine recommended Sukin products to me a while ago, but I was quite happy with my skincare regimen of natural soap and coconut oil moisturiser so I thought, 'maybe I'll give it a go when I run out of this.' Luckily my Bellabox ordered right after I'd used the last of my super-special soap and was running low on coconut oil. I figured I'd give this incredibly eco-friendly, carbon-NEUTRAL (yes, CARBON NEUTRAL) product a go right after using my Avena sample. Y'know, lock in 'dat moisture and stuff.
Sukin is an organic, Australian brand which creates its products using naturally derived ingredients; this moisturiser contains all the good stuff, such as Aloe Vera, horsetail, nettle, burdock, rosehip, wheatgerm, jojoba and avocado oils, and claims to aid in soothing and healing skin as well as promoting healthy skin renewal.

This product smells like a chocolate orange. Oh dear golly gosh. I almost died when I opened it. It's a light, non-greasy formula that I felt instantly brightened my skin up, and let's be honest; I'll be buying this purely for the smell. It's incredible. My bone-dry cheeks drank this little lass straight up and the delicious, natural scent hung around for a while which kind of made me want a chocolate orange and I did consider trekking up to the shops to buy one. This product should come with a warning; may cause intense chocolate orange cravings.

Product #5:

Vaseline Total Moisture in Aloe Fresh with SPF 15: I could write a review on Vaseline products without even using half of them - generally, they do the job. I used to have a HUGE bottle of  this product, my favourite part about this is that it contains SPF. Seriously, if your moisturiser or make-up doesn't have SPF, what are you playing at? The holes in the atmosphere are only getting bigger, which means skin-cancer rates will be on the rise. Get onto it STAT. I popped the cap on my sample and took a big whiff, damn! This stuff smells good; like Aloe Vera and cucumber. Slightly artificial aloe and cucumber, but still. It's a light, non-greasy formula that soaks into the skin quickly and leaves it smelling nice and, yes, aloe fresh. It made my hands feel really nice and soft and soaked in super-fast like the label claimed. Although, being sans glasses meant I had to google the ingredients, which yielded little results. I couldn't work out what was in this moisturiser aside from what I could make out from the little bottle I had. If anyone wants to leave a comment below, letting me know whether it contains parabens, silicones or palm oil let me know as I do like to be aware of what exactly goes on my skin. All in all, however, I would recommend this product. BUT if you live in Australia grab SPF30+ PLEASE.

Product #6:

Woo hair care! I was pretty keen to try this Aveda product, having heard great things about the brand but never having tried it. This is a daily oil treatment for dry hair, and I am a self-confessed dye-aholic. I think I've dyed my hair at LEAST twenty times this year; blue, purple, lavender, red, blonde, dip-dyed, you name it I've done it. If you don't believe me check out my 'Last Few Years in Hair' post from 2013 for evidence!

Surprisingly my hair returns to it's previous state of health quite easily a few weeks after dyeing it, but the most damaging colour I use is Krazy Colour's Vermillion Red, my current colour. I adore the vibrancy of this hair dye, but like I said - it's damaging. Normally I rub some coconut oil into the ends of my hair and it helps INSANELY, coconut oil has awesome regenerative properties, but I'm always up for trying something new. So, I figured let's pump this baby out and see what she's got!

I left my oil treatment in overnight, and if your hair is quite damaged I'd recommend doing the same. I washed it out the next morning & found a very noticeable difference in the softness of my hair, i.e. it was softer. A lot softer.

Product #7:

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream:
I slathered quite a bit of this delicious-smelling cream on before bed, and when I woke up I was a little shocked. I haven't had a beauty product take to my skin this well since the first time I tried using coconut oil as a night time moisturiser. The package boasts that this formula is based on a healing recipe used for thousands of years by shamans and contains beeswax, jojoba oil and myriad other natural and awesome ingredients. While not at the cream absorbed into my skin, what did get in there did an amazing job at evening out my skin tone, healing blemishes and pink spots from scars, and shrinking my pores.
I would highly recommend this product to anyone with blemishes, burns, cuts or dryness in their skin that they would like to correct.
Xo, Ellen