This past week, I've been so sick of my Project Pan products that I've dusted off a few old favourites to give myself a break from them. This is one of those products.

I received it when I nipped into Mecca one day to spend the last of my Christmas gift cards, and the staff member took pity on me (I was well into my third trimester then) and gave me a few samples to take home. This was one of them, and it's a decent little travel size that will last me a month of consistent use. Huzzah!

Nars claims/product details:
  • An oil-free primer that refines the look of pores and smooths the skin to give the skin a velvety matte finish
  • Aims to create a smooth, refined base and the perfect canvas for makeup application
  • Mineral powders help regulate shine while blurring the look of pores, fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Contains pure lentil seed extract to help diminish the appearance of dilated pores over time, natural bisabolol and butterbur root extract calm and soothe the skin, while vitamins A, C and E provide antioxidant protection from free radicals
  • An ultra-light gel that leaves the skin feeling fresh and hydrated throughout the day
  • RRP $46 for 30ml


I do like this little primer - it's smooth and feels lovely and velvety on, plus it hydrates well and definitely makes my skin look brighter and fresher. And it smells nice. 

I do think it creates a good base for makeup application and I'd be singing its praises more if I hadn't have tried the light optimising primer from Nars first. I also prefer Eve Lom's radiance primer, which I've recently tried.

As you may know, I haven't had a lot of luck in the primer department and it's only recently that I've started finding products that I like. Maybe that's because most of the primers I've wound up with have been silicone ones that don't quite work for my dry skin, and I don't normally notice a real difference in makeup longevity, which is one of the things one looks for in a primer.

As for its other claims, you can tell it's oil-free and my skin does look better after using it, although I'm not sure I see any major difference in terms of my pores (I rarely do). It's definitely ultra-light and it manages to hydrate without weighing my skin down or making it greasy.

Do note that this product hasn't received great reviews (see eg makeupalley) and I'm wondering whether that's because people were (validly) expecting it to do more in terms of hiding pores. Since I don't expect products to be able to do that, I've focused more on its other qualities (eg that it's a good base for makeup) and that might be why I like it better than others have.

So while I do think this is a decent product, I wouldn't recommend it if you're after something to manage pores - in that case you might want to try one of those pore-plugging silicone products (like L'Oreal's Base Magique).

And although I do like it and am enjoying using it, I'm more likely to buy the light-optimising version if I want a primer from Nars.

It was a good day for this box to turn up (last day of April - just made it!): we're not having a good day here. My 12-week-old daughter is very upset and has been crying lots. I hope she's not getting sick, the poor little thing : (

It took me a while to even open the box after it arrived - let alone take photos and even think about writing this post - but I'm glad that something exciting arrived today to break things up a bit.

I'd already seen the contents of the box on Facebook (couldn't help myself as usual) but it was still nice to open it and get a bit of a surprise because I didn't know what colour the eyeshadow was (I really like it!).

The only bad thing about this box was that two of my items - the Lipsi powder and the Evelyn Iona concealer - arrived with their lids almost off (as in, they were barely screwed on). This doesn't matter with the powder because it's sealed, but the concealer isn't so I'll have to see what others have to say about it and work out whether mine has gone off from either being opened or being in contact with air.

Above is the product card that came with the box, and below is a code for a discount off Doucce products in the Violet Box shop.

Do note that all the prices quoted on the card above are for the full size version of each product, and most of the products we received are trial sizes.

I quite liked the Doucce lipstick we received in last month's box, although I don't think I'll use the discount because I'm still on a low buy and can only buy one item a month, and I'd rather grab something from the new Shanghai Suzy range if I'm going to get another lipstick (which of course I don't need - not that this will stop me ; ) ).

Transformulas Eye Lifting Gel (RRP $49) and FaceContour & Tightening Créme (RRP $59)

I'm not a massive fan of sachets (who is) but at least I haven't heard of this brand. I've no idea how much is in each sachet because it's not marked on the pack, but they look even more tiny than your usual sachet so I doubt the size of either will be enough to decide how I feel about them. Which kind of defeats the purpose of sachets, at least from the company's perspective.

Anyhoo. The eye gel is apparently a revolutionary biotechnological eye care innovation (say that five times blotto) that's formulated with peptides and plant extracts. The face cream is meant to help lift and re-sculpt tired (not 'tried': watch your spelling VB ; ) ) skin so that bone structure is more defined. 

We'll see.

UPDATE: Despite the small samples, I can tell that I don't like these products. The eye gel is ok and feels quite rich/velvety for a gel, but it doesn't seem to hydrate or nourish and the skin around my eyes didn't like it. I had to add another eye product on top so that my eyes felt ok.

As for the face lotion, my skin really didn't like this one: it's quite greasy and doesn't absorb well (I had to rub at it to get it to soak in), plus it has a weird chemical smell and a slight cooling/stinging effect. I wouldn't be surprised if it had alcohol in it. On top of that, it doesn't moisturise well and it's drying and uncomfortable on my skin. Indeed I hated the feel of it so much that I had to wash it off after half an hour. Not a fan.

Evelyn Iona Natural and Organic Concealer (Flawless) (RRP $24.99)

This is the product that might have been exposed to air because the lid was almost off. It smells ok (if a little odd - like lip balm). It kind of feels and looks like lip balm too, to be honest - I've swatched it below so you can see what I mean.

It contains vitamin E, cocoa seed butter, organic coconut, jojoba and castor seed oil (no wonder it feels like lip balm!). You never know, it might surprise me, but I don't think this is going to perform well: it's too sheer and looks like it's going to slip off.

UPDATE: Happily I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Full review here. It's a good colour match for me and if you set it with a powder, it loses the shine factor and looks natural while still delivering reasonable coverage and lasting well. It's quite sheer but you can build it for more coverage if you wish. I'm still not sure how I feel about putting something that looks and smells like lip balm under my eyes, but I've gotten over that because it's a good product.

Lipsi Cosmetics Aphrodite Powder (RRP $38)

This looks like a finishing powder. Apparently it's designed to absorb the excess oil on your skin, allowing it to glow. I have dry skin and very few powders work on me - they tend to accentuate lines - so I'll be interested to see how this one goes. If it's drying I'll pass it on to a better home. I do like that it's a travel size though so I hope that it's ok.

UPDATE: This is a sensational little powder and I'm loving it. Full review here. Face powders don't normally pair well with my dry skin but this one totally does and I can see why it's Lipsi's best-selling product. It has a blurring effect on fine lines and doesn't dry my skin out, which most powders do. Awesome!

Urban Skincare Co Daily Hand & Body Cleanser

This brand has shown up in LHI a couple of times, but at least we haven't received this product before. I need a little excitement in my life today so I might open this straight away. Apparently it's a gentle yet effective way of removing dirt without stripping your skin of its protective lipid barrier.

UPDATE: I didn't like this unfortunately. Full review here. It doesn't smell much and I prefer body products that smell amazing. Also, it doesn't foam well and also doesn't feel like it cleans well. It may be that this is just too gentle for me, because I do prefer harsher cleansers that leave my skin feeling refreshed, and this doesn't do that.

Lonvitalite C2 Collagen Protein Wrinkle Removing Mask (RRP $39.95)

I swear, if I see one more sheet mask from these guys turn up in a subscription box I'll tear my hair out. My golly. Like Wotnot wipes, these have done the rounds and then some, and I'm sick of them. If you love sheet masks (and this brand) that's fine, but I'm not a fan of either. Anyhoo. You can't win 'em all.

UPDATE: As predicted I didn't think much of this. I put it on, left it for 20 minutes, then took it off. Sure my skin looked like it had had a wet rag on it for a while (so a little plumped, at least temporarily) but that was about it. As usual there was an amazing amount of leftover fluid in the packet, and I used this (plus the leftover fluid from the mask) on my body, so at least I saved myself an application of body cream.

'Tini Beauty Eyeshadow (Pearl Fizz) by Rob Scheppy (RRP $16)

Now this one I'm excited about. What a great colour - it's a muted, wheat-like gold and I love it. As you can see below, it's very sheer and fortunately gives more of a sheen than a shimmer (you know how I feel about noticeable glitter!), and I think that most people would be able to find some use for this - whether as a highlighter or a stand-alone shadow. Straight away I can see myself loving this as an inner-corner highlight.

Apparently it's crease-resistant, and it's designed by one of Hollywood's premier makeup artists, Rob Sheppy. Can't wait to give this a good run!

UPDATE: This is my new favourite inner corner highlight and eye brightener. Full review here. I definitely need to grab a back-up at some point because I never want to run out of it! Amazingly, it performs better than many high-end shadows I own in terms of lasting power and its ability to stay put. Plus it's sheer and gives a sheen (rather than sparkles) so it offers a natural look if you want one, and you can also build it if you want more punch. Can't rave about this one enough!


This is a decent box and I'm glad to see a couple of brands I hadn't heard of before. I'll ignore the addition of yet another sheet mask and a couple of tiny sachets because, overall, it's a good box with a great mix of products. I think there's something in here for everyone to like.

It must be hard to produce quality and interesting boxes each month, but Violet Box almost always hits the mark and I still think it's the best beauty box available in Australia.

If you're interested in joining VB, click on the banner in the top right corner of this blog and use the code 'VIOLETBOX10' for $10 off your first box.

Now for my second empties post for the month! As mentioned in my first empties post, I got through more products this month than I thought I had. Many are travel sized so that's part of the reason why I've knocked quite a few off, but there are some full-sized items there too.

Mostly I'm excited about getting through my Bodyography tinted moisturiser: while it's a good product, I have far too many bases on hand and I'm always glad to move one out of circulation!

Happy Skincare Raindrops on Roses Hydrating Tonic

Full review here. As you may know I love Happy Skincare products and this one is no exception. I reckon it does smell exactly like raindrops on roses - so fresh and light - and feels wonderful on the skin. It's definitely hydrating and I like using it throughout the day to freshen my face, particularly in summer because it's cooling and refreshing too. Repurchase? Yes.

Happy Skincare Black Cumin Seed Oil

Full review here. This is my second favourite Happy oil and it's less expensive than the Tamanu oil that comes in at number one. It's everything an oil should be - hydrating, nourishing and soothing - and my skin always feels and looks better after using it. Do note that it smells quite strongly of cumin, so if you're not a fan of the scent (I am), you mightn't like it. Repurchase? Yes.

Essenzza Fuss Free Naturals Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes, Cleanse + Exfoliate

Full review here. As you may know, these are my HG facial wipes. They're textured on one side and smooth on the other (great for exfoliating and removing grime) and they contain plenty of moisture. I loved the pineapple scent of these green versions (they also come in pink and blue) and the green ones may well end up being my favourites of the three colours, due to the scent. Repurchase? Yes.

Biology Equilibrium Body Lotion No. 304

This was a Violet Box sample. Full review here. It was a decent, 30ml sized sample and I loved this as soon as I opened it and smelled its lemonade icy-pole goodness. It's moisturising and a little goes a long way, so the sample lasted longer than I'd thought it would. It doesn't feel like a heavy cream but it operates like one (it's super nourishing) and my dry skin loves it. Purchase? Yes.

Urban Skincare Co Infuse Body Balm

This was an LHI sample and I loved it too. Full review here. It smells rich and gingery, and like the Biology sample, it's super nourishing without being heavy or leaving a greasy residue. Also, both Urban Skincare and Biology are Australian brands and I do love supporting local companies. Purchase? Yes.

Migabee Hot Pore Peeling System and Cooling Mask Clean

I received a Migabee set from Memebox and these are two out of the three products included. Full review here. The scrub was ok (that's the red one) although I was a bit perplexed by it because it was meant to heat up and it didn't. But it did have some exfoliating action and I didn't mind it. The cleaning mask (the blue one) was the best product of the three and I quite liked it. It had a nice tightening effect on my skin and made it look brighter and smoother after use, although I have products I prefer that achieve the same thing. Purchase? No, on both counts.

Bodyography Flawless Finish Tinted Moisturiser in Medium

Full review here. In short, I really like this tinted moisturiser but I HATE the built-in brush applicator it comes with. Unfortunately you can't remove it, so I ended up pouring the product into a jar so I didn't have to use it. Also, I think $60 is too expensive for this (I paid half price, but still) so I won't be buying it again. Repurchase? No.

Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Makeup Remover

Full review here. This is definitely gentle and removes facial makeup well enough, but it doesn't remove mascara (or gel eyeliner) and considering it's a dedicated eye makeup remover, it should do both. It doesn't have great reviews online and I can see why. Purchase? No.

Mise En Scene 2x Curling Essence

This was a Memebox product and I didn't think much of it at all unfortunately. Full review here. It weighs my hair down and makes it look dull, and doesn't do anything in terms of adding moisture or shine (and it's meant to, according to the claims). It's probably one of the worst leave-in products I've come across. I used it as a hair mask after shampooing/conditioning just to get through it, but it wasn't amazing for that purpose either. Purchase? No.

Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate 

Full review here. I normally love Lancome skincare (and it used to be 'my' brand before I became a beauty junkie), but I didn't think much of this product at all. It seems too watery and thin to me and I just don't feel any goodness in it. My skin looks no different after application, nor have I seen any cumulative effect over time. Purchase? No.

Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash

Full review here. I expected to love this because the original Beauty Flash Balm (reviewed here) is one of my HG products, but this was pretty rubbish to be honest. For me it does nothing: it's not hydrating, has no effect on dark circles or wrinkles, and doesn't particularly revive my eye area either. I also don't think it moisturises properly. What a let-down! Purchase? No.

In sum

An interesting mix of products in this bunch: some I really loved and some I really didn't. The best from the lot would have to be the two Happy Skincare products, the Essenzza wipes and the two sample body lotions from Biology and Urban Skincare Co.

Looking forward to seeing what winds up in May's empties post : )

I received this product in Memebox Special #63 Skincare Elixir.

It's one of those products that's taken me a while to review because my feelings about it changed almost daily - at least to start with - but I've been using it long enough now that I've gained a more concrete view.

To start with, it's quite clearly (literally ; ) ) more of a gel than a 'cream' - you can see that just by looking at it - and it also feels like one.

It was the most expensive item in the box and I'd hoped it would perform better based on its price, but it's definitely not the best product in that box. My favourite item from the bundle remains the ProYou Magic Silky Shiny Skin Essence (reviewed here).

Neogen claims/product details:
  • Enriched with Canadian glacial water, baobab tree extracts, hyaluronic acid, natural ferments and pore control EX complex
  • Aims to soothe and tighten back enlarged pores
  • Leaving skin feeling firm and supple
  • To use: apply over your clean face, massaging and patting it in with both hands
  • RRP $44USD for 120ml


As mentioned above, it took me a while to work out how I felt about this one. To start with I thought it was quite rich and decent, but I think that's only because I was using it in conjunction with a facial oil that my skin loves, and once I finished the oil, this product didn't perform as well so I think the oil itself was masking its actual performance.

Also as mentioned, I'm not sure why it's called a cream because it looks and feels like a gel. It's clear, cooling and slightly sticky, leaving behind a film that I'm not a fan of. I can't use this product alone because it's not moisturising enough, so it's really not adding anything to my skincare routine and I'm only using it because I have it, not because it's performing any particular function.

I've noticed that it contains alcohol, which might be why it doesn't feel hydrating, and while it feels and smells refreshing/cooling when I first put it on, it doesn't plump or freshen the look of my skin. If anything it enhances lines because it looks sticky and makes my skin appear shiny (which of course isn't what I want from a cream at all!).

For this reason I can't even use it as a 'refresher' product to chuck over makeup throughout the day (which is something I often do with creams that aren't super hydrating but have decent plumping action), so it's a product I can't see myself getting any enjoyment from.

As for product claims, anything that claims to 'tighten' pores makes me suspicious because your pores are your pores and there ain't much you can do about them. In any event, if it is possible to reduce the size of your pores with a cream, this product doesn't do that.

What I'll likely do is move it to the body cream section pretty soon, since I can get away with 'lesser' products on my body but not my face.

All in all, pretty disappointing. Hoh well! Maybe the next product from this box will fare better.

I bought four Allegra Rhodes products after trying a sample handcream in Bellabox last year, and this is the last one that I opened. I had so many body washes on the go (often cleansers from Memebox that I hadn't liked enough to use on my face) that it took me a while to get to this one.

It's been nice to switch over to a dedicated body wash this month, and one I'm enjoying using. While it's not my favourite body wash - I tend to prefer scrubs, and nothing compares to the self-foaming goodness of my HG shower gel from Rituals (reviewed here) - it's certainly better than most. This has a lot to do with the scent, and it's the gorgeous scent of all the Allegra Rhodes products I've tried that defines them.

Allegra Rhodes claims/product details:
  • Indulge your senses and treat yourself daily with this sensual body wash
  • An awakening blend of fresh bergamot and zesty lemon, rounded with a divine oceanic scent and layered with jasmine, rose and sandalwood, plus heart notes of violet and thyme
  • Invigorating and reviving
  • Contains only Australian ingredients
  • 100% sulphate and paraben free
  • Scented with eau de parfum
  • RRP $29.95 for 450ml


While the range of Allegra Rhodes hand and nail creams remains my favourite, I'm enjoying this body wash too. The fragrance is lovely - fresh, light and clean - and a few guests have commented on the smell of our Ocean Mist hand wash when they've visited (which of course smells the same as this product).

Available fragrances include this one, Sweet Apple & Grapefruit (which smells exactly like the original DKNY Be Delicious fragrance), Red Lychee and Cherry Blossom. I haven't tried the Cherry Blossom, but the other three are lovely. Ocean Mist and Sweet Apple & Grapefruit are my favourites. What I love about the fragrance of these products is that it's strong enough to linger on your skin without being overpowering.

Also, Allegra Rhodes is an Australian brand and I do like buying local products. For more information on the company, see its website here.

Aside from my love of the fragrances of these products, I also love the packaging and I've kept the boxes as display items because the design looks nice against the bathroom tiles. Packaging is hardly a reason to buy a product, but many of us are swayed by how things look - and these look good.

While this is a little expensive for a body wash, there's almost half a litre of the stuff so it will last you for ages. Plus Allegra Rhodes sometimes runs promotions, and you can always use up some points and grab one of the brand's products from the Bellabox shop.

Unlike eg the hand and nail creams from this range, there's probably not a lot to say about the quality of this body wash itself (other than the amazing smell) - I reckon it's pretty hard to bugger up a body wash. It cleans well and smells nice and isn't drying. What else is there?

Ticks from me.

I first discovered these Essenzza wipes via Lust Have It. We received the blue ones (above) and, as soon as I used the little blue travel wipes included with the big pack, I knew I'd struck gold.

Now I'll just repeat most of the intro from the last post I did on the green cleansing wipes, in case you haven't seen that one (and the rest of the post is very similar to that earlier post because I can't add anything that hasn't already been said):

You would think that cleansing wipes would be much-of-a-muchness - kind of like, I dunno, make up pads - but turns out they're not. These hit HG status straight away; they're truly sensational and I'm so glad I've found them! (Can you believe I'm saying that about cleansing wipes?! Ha. How sad.)

Once I'd tried the blue wipes, I went out to source the pink and green ones, which I happily got for 20 per cent off.

In this post I'll be reviewing the green version, which I'm using now, but eventually I'll get through all three packs and give you an overall review, letting you know which ones I like best.

The pink ones are the 'cleanse and refresh' variety and they contain green tea and vitamin C enzymes. Sounds refreshing, but the slight green tea scent isn't as refreshing to me as the pineapple enzymes were in the green version of these wipes (see review here) so I'd chose those over these ones every time.

Essenzza claims/product details:
  • Experience the superior cleansing action 
  • Textured on one side to remove dirt and makeup with ease, and smooth on the other side for a perfect finish to your daily facial cleansing
  • Removes makeup (including waterproof mascara) and gently exfoliates skin
  • Deep cleansing action will leave your skin feeling clean and smooth, and looking bright
  • No parabens or sulphates 
  • Non greasy and non drying 
  • Suitable for all skin types 
  • 25 large wipes per pack 
  • RRP $6.99 for 25 wipes, but do shop around


I love these! They're the first face wipes I've been impressed by - all the others I've just used because I've received them in eg sub boxes - I'd never gone out and bought my own. Now I have!

They're nicely wet (I hate ones that don't have enough moisture in them), soft and do the job well when it comes to removing dirt and makeup. They don't always remove all my mascara on their own - I really need warm water for that because some mascaras I use are too heavy duty - but they fare better on that front than any other wipes I've used.

The textured side is pure genius: you feel like it's really cleansing and also helps with exfoliation, leaving your skin brighter and fresher afterwards. It's also nice to finish off on the smooth side, really making sure you've removed everything.

As mentioned above, the green tea scent is fine but I don't love it as much as the pineapple one in the green versions so I mightn't buy this one and just stick to either or both of the blue and green version. I also like the packaging, not that this really matters that much.

I can't recommend these enough. Yes, they live up to their claims, and they've become something I can't live without. I'll be interested to see which of the three colours I like most. Maybe the green ones?

I've decided belatedly to break my monthly empties post into two again, so I'll write this one today and do another in the next day or two.

As you may know I love writing empties posts because it shows me that I am managing to get through the bundles of products I wound up with via subscription boxes, although it's taking me quite a while and I needed to go on a spending ban to stop the flow of products coming in - otherwise I'd have been swimming in the stuff by now.

This month I've managed to get through more products than I thought I had, so that's a plus. I really hate having too many things, which doesn't sit well for someone who's become something of a collector when it comes to beauty products...

Project Pan products

I'll kick off with these and I won't give you another run down of them because I've already talked about them quite a bit via my Project Pan posts (where you'll also find links to reviews of each of the products).

It's enough to say here that I would buy the Bodyography primer and I might buy the Mememe illuminator if I were after a decent, cheaper option.

The Benefit Push Up Liner I wouldn't touch with a barge pole and while I loved the colour of the Bourjois lipstick, it didn't last well at all so I probably wouldn't repurchase it.

Ariul Spa Water 24hrs Detox Mask

A Memebox product. Full review here. The packaging of this product was broken (product kept spewing into the lid - and it's a big lid) so unfortunately I had to hurry through it and I think this affected my enjoyment of the product.

While this cleanser was ok, it got sent to the body wash department about halfway through the container. It felt nice enough on the skin - at least to start with - and foamed as it says it would. Problem is, I don't think it's a particularly great cleanser. It doesn't seem to remove much dirt or feel refreshing, and it leaves behind a sticky residue that I then have to remove with another product when I double-cleanse (and with this product, I definitely recommend double-cleansing because it doesn't do too much in one hit). Purchase? No.

AHC Hollogram Collection Whitening Serum

Another Memebox product. Full review here. While this product looks fancy and awesome, it unfortunately reminds me in every way of the White Glo stuff that I use occasionally to bleach my teeth: the smell, look, texture and feel are all the same. Which begs the question: am I putting bleach on my face and do I really want to be doing that? After some research I discovered that this product contains a large amount of alcohol, which can be irritating to sensitive skin, so I quickly moved it to the body cream section and mixed it with my regular body cream to make the latter last a little longer. Purchase? No.

Natio Rosewater and Chamomile Gentle Skin Toner

Full review here. I didn't love this as much as I thought I would unfortunately. It didn't seem to tone that well and it stung my skin if eg my nose was a bit red or I had a dry patch on my face. I'm surprised because Natio is a decent brand and I've generally had a good experience with its products. I do wonder whether it might have been a little old because I bought it from the clearance bin at Priceline, but in any event, I won't be buying it again to find out. So repurchase? No.

Milk & Co Body Scrub

Full review here. Man am I glad to see the back of this one. It took so long to get through, in part because there's so much of it, and in part because I much preferred reaching for other scrubs over this one. It's an ok product but not great - it doesn't feel harsh/scrubby enough for me, nor does it foam up and feel like it cleans well. Lasses with sensitive skin who prefer gentle scrubs might love this, but for me, the experience of using it was all a bit meh. Repurchase? No.

Happy Skincare Good Vibes Omega Facial Oil

Full review here. As you may know, I love Happy's products and this one is no exception. It's officially the last Happy oil I had on the go and I'm sad to see the back of it, but I'll definitely be restocking once I get through the oils I have on hand (and only two are left now, thank god!). This remains my favourite facial oil and I love it for so many reasons. The smell is so calming and beautifully herbal without being overpowering. The oil hydrates, nourishes and plumps without leaving your face looking greasy. I not only use it as part of my skincare routine, but also to 'un-dry' my skin (eg if I've applied a makeup setting powder that has enhanced my wrinkles, I'll pat a bit of this over the top and take a few years back off my face). Repurchase? Yes.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Plus

Full review here. My journey with this product was a long one. It took me a while, but I did find a way to make it work for me. I have dry skin and I can't use this in winter (when my skin's drier), plus I can only use it once a day, rather than twice - otherwise my skin dries out and I get wrinkles I never knew I had. But if I stick within those limits, I'm happy with the results. My skin cleared up after using this and I'll need to repurchase it (or something similar) if I get more breakouts because I don't have any products on hand to manage that. Repurchase? Yes.

Neutrogena Makeup Removing Cleansing Towelettes

Full review here. In short, these are decent face wipes but they don't hold a candle to Essenzza Fuss Free Naturals (review here), so I won't be buying them. These came in Marie Claire's The Parcel and while I'm glad I've tried them, I'm also glad this was only a small pack so I can go back to using my Essenzzas. Purchase? No.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Full review here. This is one of those products that I really loved (such a wonderful smell!) but I just wasn't using. I use rich handcreams and I don't feel I need this extra step for my cuticles, so in the end I used it as a foot balm and it was wonderful for that purpose. While I love this product, I wouldn't buy it because I won't use it. So purchase? No.

Revlon Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment

Full review here. I didn't love this one and ended up using it as a hair mask on the ends of my hair in the shower, just to make sure it got used. It worked well for that purpose. The reason I didn't like it as a leave-in treatment is that it weighed my hair down and left a film over it, making it look dull and reducing the time between washes. Purchase? No.

In sum

A mix of products in here - some I loved and some I didn't. My favourites would have to be the Bodyography primer, the product from La Roche-Posay and the Happy oil.

I'll check back in soon with my second empties post for the month : )

We received this hair treatment in August 2014's Lust Have It Women's Box, which has to go down as one of my favourite boxes ever purely because it contained my HG face wipes (Essenzza Fuss Free Naturals, reviewed here), and I wouldn't have discovered those otherwise.

That box was a pretty decent one overall and it also contained this product, which was the sneak peek item and it caused a lot of excitement at the time. I'd never heard of it but plenty of lasses had and raved about it, so I was excited to try it.

I opened it at the time but then set it aside to get through some older products, but in the last two months I've dusted it off and started using it again. Even then it's taken me a while to feel able to write this review, because this is one of those products that hasn't felt that consistent: some days I love it and others I don't. I think it performs better or worse depending on what shampoo/conditioner I'm using and what kind of condition my hair is in overall.

Eleven claims/product details:
  • Suited to all hair types, this lightweight leave-in treatment delivers eleven benefits your hair will love
  • This unique all-in-one miracle hair treatment works to:
  • 1. Add shine, smoothness and softness 
  • 2. Control frizz and flyaways 
  • 3. Moisturise 
  • 4. Strengthen fragile hair 
  • 5. Prevent split ends 
  • 6. Detangle and create manageability 
  • 7. Protect against heat styling 
  • 8. Enhance natural body 
  • 9. Repair dry damaged hair 
  • 10 Protect hair colour with UVA and UVB filters 
  • 11. Prevent chlorine and sun damage
  • To use: pump and apply to damp hair
  • RRP $24.95 for 125ml


This smells quite strong - I'm sniffing piña colada - and the smell lingers a little on your hair and hands, so do be aware of that if you're not a fan of fragranced products.

It's a white, light-feeling cream that spreads well, so a little goes a long way and one pump of the bottle is enough for my long hair (I focus mainly on the ends and put just a bit on the flyaways around my face). The bottle will last for ages and for that reason I think it's good value. 

I use it on my damp hair after washing and also between washes when my hair is looking a bit dry and frizzy. I do notice a difference but it's not the best comparable product that I've used: I still prefer John Frieda's Frizz Ease and will be returning to that once I've finished the hair products I've received from subscription boxes (if that ever happens ; ) ).

It's definitely moisturising and detangling, but it doesn't deal with my flyaways well and I can also 'feel' it on my hair to start with (so it seems a bit heavy), but the heaviness mostly disappears after a while and no greasy residue is left behind, although I can feel that I've put something on my hair and it therefore reduces the time between washes.

As for the other claims, I don't think it adds shine but it does help with smoothness. It does feel like it adds some protection again heat styling, and it coats your hair so it probably helps prevent split ends and strengthens fragile hair. I don't think it helps enhance natural body but it may well protect your hair against damage due to the coating it offers. 

Really, how well it works depends I think on your hair type. I have noticed that this works better when my hair is straightened: it doesn't fare as well when it isn't (it's naturally wavy). I've no idea why that's the case but I wonder whether curly-haired lasses might prefer other products.

In sum, I like this and I'll use it, but it's not Frizz Ease.

I picked this up in the Violet Box shop a while back because I needed to add a bit to my cart total in order to get free shipping, and since this only cost $12 (and it's ORANGE), I threw it in and paid very little for it because it removed the shipping cost and I also had some points to spend.

I also chose it because it's supposed to be matte and I don't like wearing glitter/shimmer on my upper eye area because it's puffy and I don't want to highlight it, so I tend to choose matte colours (which retract the area) and save the shimmer for the lid and lash-line (to bring that area forward).

Unfortunately I could only find one (tiny and unclear) swatch for this product online, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it because, as you'll see, it does contain sparkles even though it's called 'matte' and it's definitely not what I was expecting. FOO.

Adorn claims/product details:
  • Every day glamour is no longer bland with these shadows 
  • Create a mood with our range of toxic free, natural and versatile matte colours
  • Change your look with a light or heavier, wet or dry coverage
  • To use: best applied while using a tissue under the eye to catch any fall-out (I do like that Adorn admits here that these shadows might have some fall-out, which loose powders almost invariably do)
  • Can also be used as eyeliner 
  • Available in four shades
  • For ingredients and further details see Adorn's website
  • RRP $12 for 2g
  • Shelf-life after opening: 24 months

See swatch above, taken indoors with flash, and swatch below, taken outside in natural light. This product is definitely not matte so do be aware of that if you're wanting something that's sparkle-free, as I did.

Below I've blended it out and taken the photo indoors, with flash:

And below is blended out, outside in natural light:

Below I'm wearing just a little on my lids, which is the only place I can wear it if I want to avoid highlighting my puffy upper eye area: I wouldn't even apply it in the crease due to the sparkles.


Obviously I'm not impressed with this product because it's not what I was expecting. I wanted a matte shade and this isn't one, even though it's labelled as such. While it's not shimmer-city, the finish is more satin and you can definitely notice the sparkles when you apply it.

If I'd bought this shadow directly from Adorn and paid full price for it, I would have sent it back. As it was, it didn't seem worth the hassle for the sake of a few dollars so I let it go.

As for the colour, I was expecting something less bright, slightly darker and much more muted, as it appears on Adorn's website: there it looks more dusty in tone while in reality it's paler and brighter. The image in the Violet Box shop was the same one, so I can't blame VB for the colour/finish issues - that this product wasn't at all what I was expecting is an issue that comes from Adorn.

On that, this isn't the first time that I've had a 'surprise' from Adorn: I ordered a sample pack of Adorn products from Happy Skincare a while back, and the light/medium mineral powder foundation had glitter in it.

Noticeable glitter in a foundation?! 

I did get in touch with Happy Skincare/Adorn about it and, yes, that particular shade does contain 'shimmer' but none of the others do apparently. I personally wouldn't be ordering any to confirm that either way.

As for the shadow itself, it's neither great nor terrible but just ok. It's not particularly pigmented but I don't mind that because it makes for easier application and you're less likely to wind up with a patchy look if you're not careful. I haven't tried applying it wet because it's brighter than I'd hoped as it is, but if you wanted a serious orange punch, I imagine that applying it wet would deliver this.

The product is finely milled and I didn't notice too much fall-out on application, but there's almost always some with loose shadows so that's expected. It adhered well enough to my lid to start with but also transferred to the upper eye area straight away (that's the puffy eye thing), which is one of the reasons why I haven't reached for this shadow much at all and only did in the past week so I could review it.

Because it transfers so easily, it goes from being a stronger colour to a barely visible one very quickly because it spreads itself and also falls off. This also means that I wind up with glitter on my under eye area and cheeks, so I have to keep removing and it's annoying. I think if you didn't have puffy eyes it would last better, but do be aware that it's not the most adherent shade and is one of those that needs a primer.

On that, I personally think a primer should only be needed for eyeshadows if you're hoping for a look that lasts throughout the day without touch ups: you shouldn't need one if you're only eg going out for dinner for a couple of hours. So this product loses points on that front too because it doesn't fare well on its own - at least on me.

When I bought it, I'd hoped it could double as a blush shade but I won't use it for that due to the shimmer and also because the colour isn't quite what I'd expected (it's too 'tinny' for a blush shade but the picture on Adorn's website made me think it could be a workable shade on the cheeks).

Trying to be objective here, if you want a bright orange eyeshadow, don't have puffy eyes (or eg oily eyelids) and don't mind the sparkles, this isn't too expensive and Adorn is an Australian brand that's cruelty free and uses natural ingredients, so if that's what you're after, it might be worth a look-in. But after my bad experiences with the company's products (I didn't think much of the rest of the items in the sample pack mentioned earlier either), I won't be going near Adorn products again.

Let me know if you've tried any Adorn products and, if so, what you think of them.

We received one of these lip tints in Memebox Superbox #70 Thumbs Up! Bloggers' Picks.

You could have received either the CC Sorbet Melting Tint, the Exciting Snow Cooling Tint or the Sorbet Tint, and I'm glad I got the CC Sorbet Melting Tint because it's orange: I'm a total orange junkie and the pink or red versions wouldn't have suited me.

N.S.M claims/product details:
  • Creates a bio-film over lips to protect and maintain moisture and nutrition within
  • The texture distinguishes these products: the moment you apply them, they will instantly melt into your lips with a soothing and cooling feeling without being too glossy or sticky
  • Glides smoothly and vividly onto your lips
  • Holds the colourful radiance in place with a cooled, refreshing feeling that lasts for up to 30 minutes after tint application
  • Colour won't fade even under water and will last all day long 
  • To use: apply the tint along your lip contours and pat it on with your fingers for a natural gradation effect
  • RRP $18 for 5g

My oh my, I think we can definitely call that orange.

There's one swipe of product below:

Below I've done a double coat:

And below I've added a sheer, shimmery gloss over the top to add some moisture:


I do like this product and I'll wear it, albeit not very often because it's super bright and isn't something I'd use for an everyday look.

On the brightness, the colour mightn't be for everyone but I'm sure you could dumb it down with a pale gloss/lipstick over the top, so it's worth playing around before discarding it based on the bright colour alone. It also works as a stain if you apply the tiniest amount, so you can manage the bold colour issue if you want to.

Note the product has a bit of a weird, plastic-y scent that I'm not a fan of at all, but fortunately the smell doesn't linger so I can get over it.

In terms of formula, I personally need to apply a gloss over the top because it's a very drying product. You can see that from the above photos: it gives my lips lines I never knew I had. For this reason, I definitely recommend buffing your lips well beforehand because it sticks to flaky bits and highlights dry patches.

As for texture, it's very thin/runny before it dries down, so it spreads well before drying and you can apply a very fine layer if you want (bonus) and also build it to your preferred intensity (another bonus). Once dried, it kind of feels/looks like you've coloured in your lips with texta (not that I've ever done that but hopefully you know what I mean (!)), but the benefit of that is: it stays put. So the long-lasting claim is true.

On the glossy/sticky claim: it's not glossy at all but very matte and it is a little sticky but not terribly so. And I'm not even sure what a 'bio-film' is, but this product certainly doesn't feel like it protects and retains moisture in your lips: as I said, it's pretty drying.

As for the other claims, I really wish that brands would stop coming out with random 'features' to 'distinguish' their products. I wouldn't choose a lip product because it 'melts' and 'cools' and, quite frankly, it doesn't do either of those things in my experience so I'm not sure what that's all about. The product applies and feels like any other comparable tint, and all I really care about is that I like the colour and that it lasts reasonably well: both of which it does.

'Nuff said.

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