Beauty advent calendars 2018 -what has got my attention so far?

I know, I know, it’s way too early to be talking about anything Christmas-related, but when one of my readers mentioned that they didn’t know beauty advent calendars were a thing, I thought I’d do a quick post about them, and which ones have caught my eye so far this year. The other reason for doing this now is that they can sell out really quickly, so it pays to be on the company’s mailing list if you want to know when something is going to become available.

I’m not planning to do a comprehensive guide – other people do really comprehensive ones, and they are usually the bigger bloggers who have been sent a bunch of them to unbox on their YouTube channels so you can see what’s inside.

I don’t have people beating down my door to give me advent calendars, but I am super-nosey and do watch this kind of videos to find out which one I want to get each year.

Which ones have I had so far?

It all started in December 2016, when I got the Body Shop’s calendar . I’d just got interested in the Body Shop’s products, and thought this would be a really good way to test out a bunch of them. There were a few things that I didn’t use, but overall there was a good selection of skincare, a few make-up bits, and a couple of tools.

Then later in 2017 I came across a Sanctuary Spa one that was being sold at a discount because it hadn’t been sold the previous year. This was shortly after my stay in hospital and I thought it would be a nice treat to do in the summer, especially as there was a good selection of bath products in there for pamper night. There were a couple of random fillers too, such as a pastry cutter, but there were plenty of lotions and body washes, and this one wasn’t as expensive.

In December 2017 I was really lucky and had two – one that I got myself and one that was a gift from my Mum. The L’Occitane one was full of fairly small samples, but then the price of the actual products meant that larger samples of them would have made the calendar even more expensive. I love these products and I had got them hoping that there would be Braille on the packaging, as there is with the full-size ones, but this unfortunately wasn’t the case. Still, I think I’ve used just about everything that was in there and having a one-brand calendar is a good way to check out a lot of products from different lines. L’Occitane usually does multiple calendars, so you can choose your price point. Whenever people are talking about this brand they seem to say “this would be good for your Gran!” but there are some lovely scents in there and I don’t think you have to be a grandma to appreciate them! I’m in my 30s!

The gift that I got was the M&S calendar – really reasonably priced, although you do have to buy a bunch of stuff from M&S to qualify to buy it. My Mum helped out with that! The lovely thing about this was that it had a range of brands in there, and introduced me to skincare brands such as Gatineau and Rodial. I also loved the fragrance in there and kept about 75% of the products for myself.

So what’s available?

Of course you can still get the traditional chocolate calendars. I’ve seen ones for wine, gin or other alcoholic drinks, food ones, ones with toys or other things to collect. Some only have 12 doors, but most have 24 or 25.

In terms of beauty, there is a lot out there, so it’s really important to think about what’s important to you. For example, I do wear make-up, but I go for the ones that are more skincare-heavy, because I know I won’t use the powder eye shadows or baked highlighters. If nails are your thing, there are some specifically for just nail varnishes. There are also ones that lean more towards make-up, with no skincare at all. Good if you have sensitive skin or don’t like to try out a lot of new skincare products. There are other calendars that focus more on bathtime, and I know there are ones for candles too.

They also cover all price points, from £10 to over £300! Obviously if they’re really cheap, like a tenner, the quality isn’t going to be amazing, but you certainly don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds to get a good deal. It can be a lot of money to pay out in advance, but even if you look at one around the £100 mark, it works at around £2.50 for products that would usually cost a lot more, so if you can save the money and would use the products, it’s a good investment.

Some people try to avoid the spoilers all together, but I’d rather forfeit the element of surprise and gain the satisfaction of knowing that I want and would use the things inside.

The other thing to consider is what you want in the end – do you want to really get to know one brand, or do you want something from a beauty subscription or department store that will introduce you to a range of brands?

What has caught my eye this year?

To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the Body Shop® calendar last year, but I like what they’ve done this year. There are three calendars available at different price points, and they include new products, as well as ones that will be coming out for Christmas 2018. The most expensive one has 14 full-size products, and the most affordable one still contains a lot of the most popular products, such as the body butters and hand creams. You can find all three of the advent calendars here and if you want to see what’s inside, just click on each one to see the list of products.

Something else that I’ll be keeping an eye on is the first calendar from Glossybox, with £300 worth of full-sized products. I’d like to know a bit more about what’s in there, but it will feature products from NARS, Crabtree and Evelyn, Bare Minerals and Real Techniques. It will cost £99, but £75 for subscribers, who receive a monthly beauty box. It’s not available yet, but if you are interested in signing up to become a subscriber and getting 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Finally, there’s the Feelunique calendar. I’m not actually sure whether they did one last year, but I’ve been using this site more and more because of the good range of products on there, the fact that it’s accessible to me as a screenreader user, and the big sales that they have. The calendar will be worth £250, cost £75, and include brands such as Caudalie, Makeup Forever, and REN. Possibly more of a skincare one? Not sure, but if you’re interested, it’s worth getting on the mailing list to find out when it goes on sale in October.

Also, if you find anything you like before then, you can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30.

So, will you be getting an advent calendar this year? If so, which one? Do you have a favourite one from previous years? Let me know in the comments!

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Latest in Beauty subscription box review May 2018

I thought I’d do another Latest in Beauty post. I know it’s August, so three months ago since I got these products, but I like to try them out fully first, rather than just saying “hey this is what I got!” Because I can’t give an honest opinion if I start talking about them as soon as they arrive. Also, things sell out quite quickly on the site, so I’ve linked to the full size products on other sites. But this should give you an idea of what you can put in a Latest in Beauty build-your-own box. There was a lot of haircare this month, but that was also because I keep away from some of the more traditional Summer products like tanning items. I paid £18 for this box, which works out at £2 per item. At the time of writing, you can also get 3 products for £9, or 6 products for £15.

So here’s what I got!

  1. Youth Enhancing Hydrate, Smooth & Prime Serum (Amazon) – This was a travel size, whereas I’ve linked to the full-size product. This is a lovely, non-oily serum that uses ingredients from British bees, and every sale helps to protect the bees. Contains honey and anti-oxidant rich propolis. If you buy the full size, you get it in a pump container, which keeps it fresher for longer and reduces waste.
  2. Soften glove masks (Amazon) Something I’ve mentioned before on here, and a good product to use after you’ve applied nail varnish remover or had your hands in water that dries them out. The only slight problem is that these masks are a little big, but I guess they need to make them suitable for all size of hand, and mine are on the small side. There’s no mess with these because all the product is inside the glove.
  3. Ooharr single use face mask (Amazon) I’m usually a sheet mask kind of girl, but I like these fruity masks that are packed with natural ingredients, such as orange, lime and cucumber. This is a revitalising mask with vitamin C, intended to nourish and hydrate the face. I don’t use these all the time, but think that they make a nice change.
  4. Yes to tomatoes detoxifying charcoal mask (Boots) This is a sheet mask and it’s great for those times when you want to pamper your skin and clean out your pores. My face is more prone to blemishes at certain times and I like something like this as an alternative to my exfoliating toner. I was a bit worried about using this because the yes to cucumber one made my face red and sore, but this one was fine. It contains tomatoes, aloe vera, ginger, witch hazel, and green tea.
  5. Sweet as cherry pie handcream (Amazon) I like Patisserie de Bain products and although they feel slightly sticky when you apply them, these handcreams soon absorb and leave your hands really soft. There are a range of scents, but my favourites are the lemon and cherry ones.
  6. Bois d’Orange Lait Sorbet Body Lotion (M&S) This was actually quite a small lotion, but I saw it as a way to try something new, and I’m a fan of all citrusy things. This orange fragrance from Roger & Gallet didn’t disappoint!
  7. Tigi Bed head beach bound sun protection spray (Feelunique) I already raved about this in my July favourites and I think it was my favourite product in the box. It smells amazing and I care about protecting my hair from sun damage. It does say specifically formulated for coloured hair, but any protection is good – surely – even if you don’t have coloured hair. And mango scent!
  8. Tigi Bed Head totally Beachin’ conditioner (Lookfantastic) I liked this conditioner, and I got it because I really enjoyed the other Tigi Bed Head samples that I got a couple of months ago. We had hot weather when I used it, but I’m probably not the ideal target audience, because I don’t spend a long time in the sun, and the beach is definitely not my happy place! So I can’t really say how well it worked in terms of nourishing sun-damaged hair, but it was a good conditioner and left my hair feeling soft and silky.
  9. Tigi Bed Head totally beachin’ shampoo (Lookfantastic) Again, I wasn’t really the target audience for this, because it’s meant to remove debris like sand from your hair, but it’s also good for when you’ve been out in the sun generally, and who doesn’t love the smell of mango and tangerine? Not something I would buy, but definitely something I was happy to try.

So all in all, a bit more haircare this time. Nothing I dislike this month, which was great! Also a few things that I would buy again. So all in all I think this was a successful month!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? Do you get Latest in Beauty? If you’ve done any reviews or Youtube videos, you’re welcome to drop your links in the comments.

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

You can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20. This is an affiliate link, so I also get a reward – in this case it’s £10 worth of products, which I will use to buy new things to test out on Unseen Beauty.

Latest in Beauty – 3 month review

In this post, I review 3 months worth of Latest in Beauty products (21 in total).

No, this is not a really late post. I wait till I’ve had the chance to use up, or at least use my products so that I can give an honest review about them and whether I would buy them again.

Latest in Beauty is a subscription box with a difference – you can choose your own products, which means you don’t end up with things you won’t ever use, or which are the wrong colour for you. You can choose 3, 6 or 9 products, and the more products you buy, the better value they are.

I get the 9 product box (only the first one comes with a bag, but that is ok for me, because I don’t want hundreds of make-up bags!)

You can’t buy individual products on Latest in Beauty, and in any event most of these will no longer be available because they switch out products all the time. Therefore I’ve included links to other places where you can buy the products online so you can read more about them, see what they look like, and of course buy if you’re interested!

June

1. Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask by Indeed laboritories
This sheet mask contains hyaluronic acid and is intended to moisturise and make your skin feel smoother. I was happy with the mask, but it didn’t make me want to run out and buy more or replace my other sheet masks. Still, I use sheet masks once or twice a week and it was good to get the chance to try something new.

2. Sanctuary spa luxurious body balm
I was already a fan of Sanctuary Spa, and I was pleased with this new discovery. A decent sized sample pot, I believe the same size as the one from the Sanctuary Advent Calendar. I like it particularly for dry areas after a shower and it smells good too! I was glad I had another one from the calendar and have since got a 3rd one from Latest in Beauty – so this went down well!

3. White Company – Seychelles hand cream
It’s back again! Anyone who read my first Latest in Beauty review will know that this was already a firm favourite! It’s back in stock on the White Company website now, but for a long time it wasn’t, so I kept stocking up on these minis. I do like the product in its own right, but now that I associate it with my wolf weekend, I think I like the memories that it brings back too, which is probably why I keep going back for more. It contains coconut without being overpowering, is creamy without being greasy, and leaves your hands soft and smooth for a long time.

4. Thé Vert & Bigarade perfume from L’Occitane

This was the first scent that I’d tried from L’Occitane. I already liked some of their skincare and shower products, and this was an interesting change to what I normally wear. It’s always a bit of a gamble with perfume, but this one contains orange and fits in with my usual citrus vibe. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be on the L’Occitane site at the moment.

5. Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Finger Masques
To be honest I prefer the glove masks in this range because they stay on better and you don’t have to keep your fingers really still, but if you’re a cuticle biter (no I don’t do this at all!) it’s a good way to get some moisture to the cuticles, and the product is already inside the finger holes, so there’s no fuss or mess.

6. Jackson D-Shape Bangles
These are fine if you have the hands of a 6-year-old! They came nicely presented in a box, and the bangles themselves are nice enough, but they are tiny! I found that having the flat part of the D on the same side as my wrist and with a bit of shoving, I could get them on, but I don’t have particularly large hands, and I also saw a few Youtubers having the same struggles as I did.

7. Bubble Bath

I threw the bottle away before I decided to do these review posts and it doesn’t say on my order exactly what kind of bubble bath it was! I think it smelled of lavender or something – nice enough, but not something I dashed out to buy again.

8. Essential Micellar Face and Eye Makeup Remover from Katherine Daniels

This was lovely – so lovely in fact that it is now out of stock! To be honest, I only used it as a micellar water because I have a separate eye make-up remover, but it felt good on the skin, smelled good (I can’t stand micellar waters that don’t smell of anything now) and probably most importantly, got the job done. This was a nice travel size too, so ideal for going away.

9. MUA highlight Shimmer Stick
I’m a big fan of the cream make-up products – you don’t see that many on Latest in Beauty, but I snapped this one up to go in my highlighter collection. It’s nice an creamy, which means it blends in well.I believe there are different shades, so make sure you get the right one for you!

So no real disasters here, apart from maybe the bangles. The shimmer stick was a generous size, so will keep going for ages. I still have some of the perfume left. I replaced the balm and would buy the make-up remover again.

Jul

1. Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Hibiscus (860)

I’m fine with drugstore lipsticks, and I’d already got a couple from this range. If you get the 9 product box, it works out at £2 per item, so if you find a colour that you want, £2 for a lipstick is not bad!

2. Hydrating Face Spray
I’m not sure I’d pay £24 for a water-based product (I’m not sure how many ml), but £2 is ok!

I didn’t get that much use out of this because I bought it for really hot weather, and we didn’t have much really hot weather. Oh well, I have it for next year!

3. Green tea sheet mask from Masque Bar

To be honest I was struggling a bit to find things I wanted in the July edit. However, I’d had these ggreen tea masks before, and I pick them up if I’m lacking in inspiration, because I know that they are good and they are a nice change to go in my sheet mask collection.

4. Soften Glove Masques
This is similar to the finger masks that I got in June, but they cover the whole hand. My hands are quite small, so I have to wriggle the fingers down, but this is so easy to do with no mess because all the product is already inside the gloves. After my previous experience with gloves sopping with product, I appreciate these even more! I have already got another pair since I got these.

5. Seychelles Hand & Nail Cream
Yep, it’s back!

6. AA Skincare Green Tea & Aloe Vera Soothing Cleansing Wipes

I didn’t really need these because I like my Yes To cucumber ones, but as I couldn’t find anything that really excited me, I decided to be practical.I rarely use these for make-up, so can’t tell you how good they are for that, but if you just want to freshen up a bit, they’re fine.

7. Shave Foam Gel from the Refinery

I was still on my “let’s be practical” train of thought. Shaving foam in itself would have been fine – I did use it up in the end – but why oh why put peppermint oil in it? Peppermint is for ice-cream or polos – not for legs! I can’t get on board with the whole mint in the bathroom thing unless it’s for toothpaste!

8. Luxe Vivid Lipstick in Hot Chili
I couldn’t actually find a link for this, but it’s an MUA lipstick and I didn’t have any of those, so I decided to give it a go.

9. Lime Twist Lip Balm
I thought the first Carmex product I tried was nasty, but decided to give the brand another go with this one. But unfortunately, although I usually like lime products, I didn’t like this one either!

So, July wasn’t quite as good as June, partly I think because there was a lot of tanning stuff in the edit, and I don’t do tanning, as well as a lot of nail varnish, wich I didn’t want. This limited my choices a bit.

So, one product I didn’t like, a couple that I wasn’t fussed about, some new lipsticks and some old favourits. I was a bit underwhelmed, but I think that most of the things I got were still good value for money.

How about you?

Have you tried any of these products? If so, what did you think of them? If you do Latest in Beauty reviews, either as blog posts or Youtube videos, feel free to leave a link!

Don’t forget the giveaway is still open

My September giveaway is still open, so if you’d like to be in with a chance to win some skincare goodies from brands such as the Body Shop and Sanctuary Spa, this is where you can enter.

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March favourites

Hi everyone and welcome to my March favourites!

My first favourite is a beauty subscription box. You may remember from my previous review that I was not too impressed with the accessibility of Lovemebeauty. I decided to cancel that subscription and sign up for Latest in Beauty instead.

The first order comes with a make-up bag as you can see on the picture. Subsequent orders don’t, and I think this is better than getting a new bag every time as you do with Lovemebeauty. After all, how many make-up bags does a girl need? Anyway, you can choose 3 products for £9, 6 for £15 or 9 for £19. I started with 6, but I am a bit tempted to go to the next level. We’ll see. I certainly didn’t find it difficult to fill my basket. I’m not going to do separate posts for this, but the products will show up in my favourites and empties, and if you’re looking for a build-your-own box with a decent variety of products and an accessible site, I’d advise you to check this out. Another plus point is that new products are being added and rotated all the time, so there isn’t a massive scramble at the beginning of the month with the potential of losing out if you’re not quick enough.

Make-up

I’ve got a number of make-up products this month. First of all, I discovered via Youtube that Charlotte Tilbury makes cream shadows, so I decided that my first Charlotte Tilbury product should be one of them. I decided to go for eyes to mesmorise cream shadow in Jean and I was definitely not disappointed. This is a cream shadow that is more like a cream than a firm body butter, so it’s super-easy to apply, it doesn’t crease and it’s a nice addition to my cream shadow collection.

Next to some lipsticks. These are from different brands, but one thing they have in common is the moisturising effect – I hate lipsticks that dry your lips out and, where possible, I like to go for the satin or silk ones, or ones which say they add moisture.

People kept raving about the new Burt’s Bees lipsticks, so I decided to get myself one. I went for the Burt’s Bees Blush basin lipstick. It glides on nicely and comes in recyclable packaging with an indented honeycomb design on it, which makes it easy to identify!

Next is the Kat von Dee studded kiss lipstick which I got as a mini in a beauty box. I don’t have any other products from Kat von Dee, so I don’t know if they all have such creative packaging, but I love the unusual packaging on this and the lipstick has staying power!

My Makeup Forever face primer ran out, and getting hold of a new one was proving to be a pain – they don’t stock it in my local Debinems. However, I discovered the ELF hydrating face primer, which comes in a handy pump dispenser and is about half the price! I still like the Makeup Forever one, but the ELF one does the job just as well, so I see it as a bargain!

As I was happy with the primer, when I discovered that ELF were doing moisturising lipsticks, I decided to get one of those as well! I went for the red carpet one, which took a while to come as I think it came from the US, but was worth the wait.

Skincare

I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Body Shop mango range, but no. I have only just discovered the mango whip body lotion. It’s described as lightweight, but incredibly moisturising,and I would agree. I’m only just learning that some of the more lightweight milks and lotions can be as effective as the heavier butters because they absorb so well.

The first product that I got from Burt’s Bees was their intense hydration night cream. It was inspired by Clary sage, a plant which keeps its moisture, despite growing in a harsh environment where moisture is hard to come by. The Burt’s Bees range uses natural ingredients and I like this rich but non-greasy formula. One of my friends didn’t like the smell – I think it’s fine, it just smells like being outside in the nature in a non-floral kind of way!

One of the products in my first Latest in Beauty box was the Seychelles hand cream from the White Company. Now I understand what all the hype about the White Company is about! For me, hand creams have to smell good, have a good consistency (not oily or sticky) and produce good results (soft, smooth hands). This handcream ticks all three boxes and with its blend of almond oil and coconut among other things, it smells wonderful!

Food and drink

Seriously, who knew that cherry M&Ms were a thing? I didn’t – until a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never really been interested in M&Ms because I thought there were just the peanut ones – but cherry chocolate is soooo good! Seems that they have gone out of stock now though.

Owls, dogs and wolves

You know by now that I love wolves. I found this stirling silver howling wolf pendant on Amazon and decided to add it to my collection. The pendant is well-made and you can easily feel the wolf’s outline. The only thing is that this doesn’t come with a chain – I didn’t read it properly – so you’ll either need to find one at home or purchase one separately.

How about you?

Do you like any of these products? What are you enjoying this month? Have you tried out Latest in Beauty? Let me know in the comments!

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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