Why a blog?

Somewhere to jot down all things I am passionate about.
My little space to rant, rave and ramble on about this and that.
Most of all, just to share my thoughts with the world!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glossybox – Valentines Edition (Feb 2012)

Hello once again good people!  :-h  Tammerly from Spoilt sent me a Glossybox to test out so I could share my experience with the world.  This post is associated with the review I submitted for Spoilt, which is now linked through here.

Glossybox is one of numerous innovative new companies based on a ‘Sample Box’ concept, introduced to Australia toward the end of last year.  *-:)  A monthly Glossybox subscription entitles you to a medley of five, hand-selected, luxury beauty miniatures, ranging from high end to classic, drug store brands, all packaged in a beautiful ‘glossy’ box.  Delivered straight to your door for just $14.95 per month, Glossybox also features product information and application tips and tricks for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.  I received the February 2012 special ‘Valentines’ themed edition of Glossybox and here are my thoughts.

My postie delivered me a pink and grey postage box brandishing the Glossybox logo, which housed a delightful hot pink/bright fuchsia coloured inner box to coincide with the essence of Valentines Day.  :x  The suspense and excitement of opening the box was like unwrapping an elegant, mystery gift.  I love that the sturdy inner box is of exceptional quality, therefore reusable and will come in handy for all sorts of things, like makeup or nail polish storage.  (*)  As I lifted the lid, I noticed the white tissue paper, grey ribbon and a love heart sticker binding the contents of the box, all cushioned amongst shreds of crinkly white and pink paper to ensure protection during transit, whilst adding to the appeal of the gorgeous packaging.  

The products I snagged are not exactly what I would consider as being typically romantic or related to the ‘Valentines’ theme,  :-/  but the exceptional presentation tied in perfectly with the occasion, so the products were just a bonus.  Four out of the five products were actually full-sized, (based on the mini nail files being a full-size product) so I think, in this instance, the value of the goods exceeded the subscription cost, making it a worthwhile investment.  =D>  The only disappointment was that after reading through various feedback and reviews from other subscribers online, I discovered some people were lucky enough to score a selection of salon/high end brands, such as Bobby Brown and Jane Iredale, in their box, while many of us got less expensive, everyday-type brands that are readily available from most pharmacies.  :-S   Such a considerable variation of products in the boxes is something I have noticed sparks jealousy, which of course could be avoidable if all boxes contained the same products or at least products of a similar quality.  :-<

Here is a rundown of the products I received in my box:

CARMEX Moisture Plus Lip Balm – Packaged in a slimline, wind-up tube, the sleek design is ideal to pop into my handbag for application on the go. Enriched with nourishing vitamins, it keeps my lips baby soft and hydrated for hours, while the additional SPF properties protects my kissers from sun damage.  This stylish lip balm provides a clear pearlescent sheen on my lips for a chic glossy finish and boasts a hint of vanilla fragrance that smells divine.  @};-

PROACTIVE Deep Cleansing Wash  - I was nervous to try Proactive, as I have heard a few horror stories surrounding the brand,  :-SS  but on the same note all the positive advertising spotlights numerous success stories, even from well-known celebrities, so I wanted to try it myself to see what it was like.  I am glad I did too,  #:-S  because with just two uses on my face it cleared up the stress related cystic acne spots I have been suffering for the past couple of weeks.  \:D/   I also like that it perfect for the body as well, because this time of the year body breakouts are not uncommon.  The thick, nicely textured formula contains super fine exfoliating beads, which supply a gentle deep pore cleanse, to clear congestion and reduce oiliness.  It effectively sloughs away dead, dulling skin cells and prevents future breakouts without drying the skin to promote a clearer, brighter, healthier-looking complexion.  This multi-purpose exfoliating cleanser was a surprisingly impressive addition to the Glossybox:)>-

FACE OF AUSTRALIA Mineral Lip Shine – One of my favourite Aussie cosmetics brands delivers a lip product that claims to impart the nourishing hydration of a lip balm and the shine of a gloss, with plenty of pigment like a longwearing lipstick.  I got this in 'Beach House', a flattering neutral hue with a golden shimmer, which glides on smooth and doesn’t cause stickiness.  ;;)  It comes in a silver wind-up tube, much like a lipstick, however I find the sheer, lightweight formula isn’t very moisturising and although the colour lasts for ages my lips are left feeling rather dry afterward.  :-/  It's a shame really coz I'm finding the shade very complimentary to my skin tone, but from what I can gather, from previous/ongoing scrutiny, to achieve lasting colour any decent hydrating properties are bereft.  :-<   (Well I've yet to find a good long lasting lip colour with a conditioning formula  [-O<   Is there even such a thing  :-/ )    

PALMER’S Skin Therapy Oil with Rosehip – While this oil is for both face and body, I find it too rich and greasy for my face because I have a naturally oily complexion anyway,  :">  but I love it slathered on my body after a shower in place of a moisturiser.  :D  It boasts the typical heavy fragrance associated with Palmer’s and while the floral scent is quite pleasant, I find it slightly overbearing,  :-&  but thankfully, it fades quickly after application.  #:-S   The formula is lightweight and it sinks into my skin fast, leaving it feeling soft, supple and silky smooth.  It’s a good value, multi-tasking oil that has many uses; it’s great as a massage oil, perfect for adding to bathwater and it also works a treat on reducing the appearance of newly formed scars and stretchmarks.  :)

STAR AND ROSE Floral Wonderland Emergency Nail Files  -  This little pack of miniature cushioned nail files is super cute and definitely ideal to slip into my purse in case of nail emergencies.  Adorning a stunning star and rose design, they almost look too pretty to use.  Maybe a tad too tiny and awkward for frequent use, but handy all the same and the chic design is something I would be proud to be seen using.  :-*

I also received a $15 discount voucher for the activeskin.com.au online store, a $20 discount voucher for a monthly supply of the Proactive 3-Step System and a packet of Swizzels Matlow's Love Hearts!  :x  These are hard, fizzy, lollies in a variety of fruity flavours with a short love message on one side of the sweet!  I’m not much of a candy girl these days so the kids ended up claiming these, lol.  :))

Love how the cute design extends to the files as well as the packaging

My online research has led me to the conclusion that consumers feel that Glossybox is somewhat inconsistent because the contents vary from person to person, as well as on a monthly basis.  It seems the problem is that some boxes accent mostly high-end products; leaving others feeling ripped off, especially if they’ve received a box with all drug store type brands.  =((  Glossybox claims that they try and make each box as even and fair as possible and if that is not possible they try and ensure they even out month to month.  Another issue that needs ironing out is customers have reported receiving the same products they had already received in previous boxes.  /:)  Glossybox have admitted that these manual errors do occur and they will kindly replace any duplicate products if notified. <:-P   Hopefully these are issues that will improve as time goes on, after all this is a fairly new service and generally you can expect a few hiccups to begin with.  :-"

FOA Mineral Lip Shine in 'Beach House' is a flattering hue

So, Glossybox is basically a ‘lucky-dip’ and it comes down to ‘luck of the draw’ as to the value and quality of products contained in each box.  %%-   Despite subscribers filling in a beauty profile, Glossybox are not always able to supply products that suit.  #-o   One thing they can guarantee though is that you will always receive $14.95 worth of beauty booty, if not a whole lot more.  =D>  I love the idea of opening up a ‘surprise’  :-O   beauty package when it arrives in the mail and it gives me the opportunity to try products that I might not have considered buying or trying otherwise.  Personally, I enjoyed my Glossybox experience and while I don’t think I could justify ordering a monthly subscription, I would definitely consider the occasional box as a special pampering treat whenever I feel like a ‘pick-me-up’.  I also think a Glossybox would make an awesome gift idea for someone special; well I know I would be more than happy to receive one of these as a present.  ;)  I rate Glossybox with 3.5/5 stars overall,  (*)  (*)  (*)  1/2 (*)  with the decadent presentation and the anticipation of wondering what is going to be inside as the biggest draw-cards for me.  \:D/  It’s a fantastic concept that just needs a bit more time for any dilemmas to get sorted so it’s all smooth sailing and perfectly polished. 

FOA Mineral Lip Shine in 'Beach House' lip swatch

Have you tried any of the various ‘Sample Box’ subscriptions at all?  Or maybe you have tried them all, if so please fill us in on your thoughts and recommendations.  :)  I’d love to hear from any beauties who have received more than just the one month subscription of these boxes.  Do you think they are worthwhile and you would consider the contents as money well spent every month?  :-?  Anyone been disappointed?  :|  Any feedback would be great peeps ;)

All images in this post are my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revitanail Ridge Filler

Howdy again Guys!  :-h  This is yet another review coinciding with my current trial team work for Spolit.  Cheers to Tammerly aka Pink Diva, who on behalf of Spoilt kindly sent me this product to trial and review.  This is my experience with the Revitanail Ridge Filler.

This product is like a foundation for my nails that preps them prior to polishing by filling in any flaws, like ridges and rough patches to level out the nail surface to achieve a smooth and uniform canvas.  By promoting polish adhesion, it allows nail polish to apply evenly, while enhancing the staying power.  By enveloping my nail with this protective layer staining of the nail is prevented, one of the few setbacks when constantly rocking a punchy bold or bright nail colour.  Infused with beneficial conditioning ingredients such as Essential Oils, Vitamins and Calcium, along with nourishing Pearl Powder, all integrated to provide supplementary nail care; it’s ultimately a clever multi-tasking nail product.  *-:) It brandishes the usual, stylish Revitanail packaging, representing upmarket quality, with an appropriate price tag to match;  :-S  however, in this case, it’s no more costly than similar, high-end brands, if not slightly cheaper.  #:-S  But, how does it compare with the likes of those common, very popular, top-shelf nail labels?  :-/  Well, in my opinion, it’s on par, so I believe it’s actually better value for money.  <:-P

Housed in a glass bottle, featuring a good-sized brush attached to a screw-on lid, the formula itself looks white and opaque, but when applied to the nail, it’s completely transparent.  The consistency is exactly as I prefer, not to thick and gloopy, yet not too thin and runny, instead, it’s perfectly textured, therefore it’s easy to spread from nail to tip.  Most importantly, it dries rapidly, which impresses me the most, as I tend to get impatient at the best of times when waiting for nail polish to dry.  The biggest downside of this product, which is not at all different to an average nail polish anyway, is the strong chemical scent.  :-&  Fortunately, it’s not headache inducing, but still quite potent all the same, especially as I’m occasionally affected by fragrance sensitivity, so I was relieved when it disappeared just as fast as it dried.  B-)  Like all Revitanail lacquers though, it’s void of three of the most toxic, potentially harmful chemicals, Formaldehyde, Toluene and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP).  My nails don’t suffer too badly of ridges, hence the need to use only one coat in lieu of my normal base, although two coats may be necessary for those who have notably deeper ridges.  I have taken to often using it alone, without polish, as I’m partial to the effect it creates, prominently adorning my natural nails with a beautiful, well-groomed appearance.  :x  Even after I remove my manicure, it’s appeasing to reveal that my nails are not dried out any further! This, I suspect, is due to the remarkably hydrating ingredients and the fact that it is Big-3-free, minus the likes of Formaldehyde that has been extremely damaging to my nails in the past.  :-O  ;)

Overall, I am thrilled with the performance of the Revitanail Ridge Filler for prolonging the life of my manicure when used to prime my nails.  =D>  Not only does it bond the enamel better to my nail, it helps my manicures withstand the daily abuse my hands are subject to (during a typical day in the life of a stay-at-home mum) by delivering greater longevity that keeps my polish looking flawless longer.  I’m positive it’s effectually safeguarding my nails against staining as well, because they no longer bear any unsightly discolouration or yellowing associated with frequent nail polish use, so it does its job reliably in that respect too.  I can also vouch that it strengthens my nails upon application, making them feel much harder than normal.  I’m not sure if strengthening is one of it’s claims, but it’s definitely a bonus, which I personally appreciate, considering my nails are not in the best shape ATM,  :">  brittle and prone to peeling and breaking, thus the extra fortifying support sustains even greater durability.  \:D/  I wouldn’t hesitate in using this product on a regular basis, either as a base coat to erase imperfections before a manicure, or on its own, when I wish to adopt an elegantly smooth, polished finish to my natural nails, without needing to rely on buffing.  I would certainly recommend and suggest it to anyone who is serious about DIY manicures, because it’s the perfect investment for those wanting salon-worthy results from the comfort and convenience of your own home.  I am awarding it with 4.5 out of 5 stars, (*)  (*)  (*)  (*)  1/2(*)  only losing a half star because of the unpleasant fragrance. :P

How are you nails?  Do you think a ridge filler would be something that would be of use for you?  Do you use a base coat prior to applying colour nail polish?  What is your favourite, please share?  :)

Image in this post is generic.

Revitanail Nourishing Oil

Hi Guys!  :-h  This review coincides with my current trial team work for Spolit.  A big shout out to Tammerly aka Pink Diva, who on behalf of Spoilt, kindly sent me this product to trial and review.  This post is a reflection on my experience with the Revitanail Nourishing Oil that is reviewed and published here.  :)

This high quality revitalising cuticle treatment oil contains a blend of botanicals, antioxidants, multi-vitamins, nourishing oils and UV filters to condition and protect the cuticles, whilst assisting in the maintenance of optimal nail health.  It comes in the signature, classy packaging that I have come to expect from Revitanail, presenting a 14ml glass bottle with a screw-on lid attached with an applicator brush, exactly like a regular nail polish.  The incredibly lightweight oil has a thin fluid-like consistency that boasts a mild floral, herbal-based aroma that is refreshingly crisp and a formulation that is ultra soothing, without being greasy.  It appears a translucent yellow colour in the bottle but goes on crystal clear and absorbs rapidly, transforming the skin surrounding the nail instantly, so it feels soft and moisturised, less any sticky residue and I love how shiny and smooth it makes my nails look.  :x  The brush applicator can sometimes transfer too much oil, but to avoid wastage, I wipe the brush well on the inside of the bottle to remove any excess then aim to apply just a small dot on each nail, which is sufficient to glide over my nails with ease, permitting for even distribution.  ;)

This cuticle treatment oil is ideal to keep handy for frequent use, which I try to apply whenever I remember; lately it’s averaging twice daily.  I simply paint each nail with a small quantity of this luxurious oil and then relax as I spend some quality ‘ME’ time massaging it gently into each nail, cuticle and the surrounding skin.  :D  The directions suggest that you continue massaging for one minute, leaving me confused as to weather that means one minute per nail or one minute all up?  :-/  Either way, I am confident that by the time I indulge in my mini nail pampering session, (i.e. finished massaging) that adequate time would have past.  #:-S  In terms of being cost effective, I consider this product to be reasonably priced, conceding it is enriched with a line-up of superior nurturing ingredients such as Vitamins A and E and the cocktail of oils, more prominently Sweet Almond, Jojoba and Apricot Oils to stimulate total rejuvenation and promote active nail growth.  ;;)

I am rather smitten with the Revitanail Nourishing Oil and considered it veritably worthwhile in conditioning my recently shunned nails.  \:D/   It has worked to revamp my dry, ragged, dishpan hands into a more presentable appearance, prompting better hydration and softer cuticles, whilst providing my natural nails with a polished finish and a gorgeous, external sheen to epitomise a more healthy-looking nail plate in general.  Because I unfortunately let my nails go of late (due to my own laziness) they were quite neglected,  :">  but since I’ve been religiously using this oil to aide in the repair of my damaged nail beds, the new growth, emerging below my existing weak, brittle nail tips, is evidently beginning to gain strength. =D>  Over time, I am hoping it will continue to help my nails grow through longer, stronger and more flexible, with fewer symptoms, like peeling and splitting.  It is very promising, although at this stage, due to a short trial period, I am rating it with 4 stars out of 5,  (*) (*)  (*)  (*) but time will tell if I successfully procure the results I am after, in which case perhaps, I could award it with an extra star!  ;)

Do you use a cuticle oil and do you find them to be a necessary step in your nail care routine?  How do you keep your cuticles in tip-top shape?  :-?  Have you tried any Revitanail products yet, if so share your experience in the comments below :) 

Image in this post is generic.

Goldwell Style Sign Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum

Howdy peeps!  :-h   I’d like to apologise for being MIA this month and to let you know I am still with y'all, not going anywhere, it's just that I’m just having a few technical issues, d’oh!  #-o   and due to this I am having trouble uploading any of my own images right now. Grr! :-L  On the bright side though, I have been busy, busy, busy  :-*  because the gorgeous Tammerly from Spoilt, asked me to join her trial team and write reviews for her super, fantastic, Ah-mazing blog, of which I have been a loyal supporter now for a number of years.  I am, naturally, stoked  \:D/  especially as she said I could also publish my work, here on my own blog as well, which I will then link to the original’s featured on her blog as soon as they become available.  Anyway, without further ado, here is my take on the Goldwell Style Sign Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum, which is a detailed journey of my experience, based on the initial review published on the Spoilt website. (now linked)   :)

I don’t straighten my hair religiously (well, lets face it, my hair is practically as straight as an arrow anyway, without even the slightest kink  :p  ), however, considering it’s also baby fine, the pesky frizzies are a constant cause for concern.  :-S  So, rather than strutting my stuff in public, looking like a bit of a clown who's just put my finger in a electrical socket, you know, sporting unruly, static flyaways, :O)  whenever I wear my medium length hair down, I need to rely on the support of a heated hair styler.  Implementing a straightening iron guarantees a super sleek, smooth, polished look and assures me it will stay looking that way for the entire duration of the day/night.  #:-S

A hot iron alone though, doesn’t seem to cut it when I’m out to achieve perfectly slick, straight hair and my mane reverts back to its former state within hours of styling.  :-O  Not to mention, over time, direct heat also damages the general condition of my hair.  #-o   Enter thermal protectant!  ;)  I consider this styling accessary a ‘must-have’ for using in conjunction with my straightener, helping to preserve the finished results for long lasting, well-groomed tresses.  In my case, not just any thermal protectant will do, as I prefer additional product features, like support for coloured hair (yes, I’m a self-confessed hair dye junkie too, LOL!  :))  ) and the ability to resist humidity (residing in the exceptionally humid, tropical FNQ humidity reeks havoc on my hair  ~X(  ), both important factors.  As I discovered, using a straightening iron without a thermal protectant is a big ‘no-no’  [-X  causing my mop to look dull and lifeless, so it’s imperative that while my hair is protected, a  heat styling solution that additionally encourages a lustrous sheen with a durable, flexible finish is vital.  :)>-

Upon first glance, I noticed the Goldwell Style Sign Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum, boasts all of my desired qualities and more!  :x Presented in a 100ml non-aerosol, pump-action, spray bottle, this serum is actually a weightless, fine mist, applied directly onto dry hair prior to straightening.  The waterless formula doesn’t produce moisture as such, in lieu, two to three pumps sufficiently delivers a non-stick vapour-like substance that instantly softens and nurtures my hair, evoking more-manageable locks in preparation for heat styling.  Distributing the spritz evenly throughout my lengths encourages an accelerated straightening process, therefore my hair only requires a few quick strokes of the hot iron before…Presto!  Desired effects promptly achieved.  I’ve always been fond of the prominent fragrance characterised in the Goldwell family of products and this particular spray, laced with a delightfully, fruity scent, envelopes my strands with a decadent aroma, reminiscent of just stepping out of the salon.  ;;)

Combining UVA/UVB filters and conditioning agents, the Goldwell Style Sign Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum proffers the ultimate in protection, not only from the damage caused by heat styling, but also acts as a barrier to defend against external aggressors.  It efficiently smooths out any imperfections on a bad-hair-day, tames frizzy, flyaway emergencies and is even handy for unexpected touch-ups on the go.  Transforming my mop in an instant, it yields lasting style that can survive through the hottest of days, resisting the vast humidity or other extreme weather conditions.  Unlike previous thermal protectors I’ve tried, this spray doesn’t weigh down my tresses or contribute to product build-up, usually resulting in flat, limp and excessively oily locks.  Instead, it boosts the colour vibrancy, imparting an all-over brilliantly glossy, shine, for hair that feels healthy, silky soft and naturally moveable/touchable (as in not at all stiff).  This is ideal weapon to target to my scraggly mane, ensuring a sleek, smooth, pencil-straight, finish every time.  =D>

I am so impressed with the Goldwell Style Sign Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum and it’s remarkable results-orientated performance that I am awarding it with a honourable 5 star rating. (*)  (*)  (*)  (*)  (*)  Based on my own experience, I would have to say, it’s absolutely the most capable thermal protector I’ve personally used. The complimentary lightweight, non-greasy formulation addresses my styling woes, enhancing my straight tresses and coloured-treated hair whilst stamping out frizz to establish a beautifully straight style that promotes optimum hair heath.  :D

What is your favourite straightening serum?  Do you use a thermal protectant when heat styling your hair?  :-?  Please share your experience with any styling serums or sprays you consider to be worthwhile of a mention :)

Thanks to Tammerly and Spoilt for sending me this product to trial and review.  The image is generic until I can upload some of my own photos at a later stage.  (Please bare with me during this time  ^:)^ )