Another month comes to a close and I've got another bundle of empties to send to the recycling bin. Woot woot!

I've finished off a good amount of full-sized products in April, and I'm happiest to see the end of the three Bodyography items. I love them all, but I've had them for ages now and they seemed to last forever, so I'm glad I can put them aside and play with something else for a while.

So without further ado, here's what I've finished this month:

Bodyography Natural Finish Foundations in 160 and 165

I've talked about these enough via Project Pan so I won't go on about them too much here, other than to say that these are so far the best foundations I've ever used. 

I prefer a lighter base so I tend to stick to tinted moisturisers and BB/CC creams, but these look so natural on the skin that you can believe you're not wearing anything. I've reviewed them here. Repurchase? Yes.

Bodyography Veil Foundation Primer in Tahitian Glow

Full review here. This is a great primer that smooths the skin and creates a good base for makeup, plus it gives you a natural glow that's extra nice in the warmer months. 

My only issue with the product is that it's quite silicone-y and I've recently realised that I prefer silicone-free primers that offer hydration more than anything else (maybe because my skin is dry), so I probably wouldn't buy it again. I do recommend it though if you're fine with silicone products and need something that performs. Repurchase? No.

Argo Naturals Rose Water Tonic

This became an HG face spray of mine almost from the first use: it plumps and hydrates my skin beautifully and the effect lasts for ages so I didn't get through it as fast as I do other sprays. I've reviewed it here.

The only bad thing about the product is the packaging (it's one of those sprays that's too directed and forceful), but I decanted mine into a different bottle straight away so that's an easy fix. I'll miss this now that it's gone and it's definitely one I'll look at buying in future. Purchase? Yes.

BareVitamins Skin Re-ver Upper

Full review here. I picked this up from strawberrynet for a song and I quite liked it, but not enough to buy it again.

It sinks beautifully into the skin and spreads well, plus it has a brightening effect and my skin looks fresher, cleaner and younger after use. I've used better serums however so I won't come back to it. Repurchase? No.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Wipes

These don't beat my HG facial wipes from Essenzza but they're still pretty good and I'm glad I've tried them. I've reviewed them here.

The texture of these wipes is different from any other wipe I've tried: they're quite thick, soft and silky, and they feel great against the skin. They also contain a good amount of moisture, but they only work well on 'easy' makeup like powders and don't do much for the harder stuff like eyeliner and mascara. Repurchase? No.

Glamourflage Mellow May Lip Balm

Full review here. This wasn't a great lip balm so I ended up using it on my tootsies after my nightly shower because it's clear and it worked well to keep those hydrated.

It's thin and slippery and doesn't stay put on the lips for long, plus I found it quite drying on my already dry lips so I didn't want to use it there. Happily the tin is cute so I'll be keeping that to store things like safety pins. Purchase? No.

Urban Skincare Co Infuse Body Balm

You've probably seen a bundle of empties of this product before because we scored a few of them when we stayed in a hotel last year. Full review here.

The cream smells good and it's super hydrating and nourishing without leaving a greasy residue. It also absorbs and spreads well, so a little goes a long way and this 35ml sample didn't vanish in a few uses, as some body creams tend to do. It's definitely one I would use again. Purchase? Yes.

Elucent Whitening Hand Cream

Full review here. Now this one I didn't like. It's quite a thick cream and it has a faint scent that reminds me of a product I've used in the past to bleach my teeth. The smell is rather off-putting, and it makes me wonder what's in there that gives the cream its claimed 'whitening' effect, and whether I should be using it on my skin.

Also, it doesn't absorb well and it leaves a residue, so I ended up getting through this by using it on my legs. Glad to see the back of it! Purchase? No.

Emite BB Highlighting Pen in Coco and Cream Pencil in Spir

I won't go on about these here because I've done that enough via Project Pan, though I will say that I wasn't a huge fan of either and wouldn't use them again. They're not bad products, it's just that I've used better ones and I'm glad I've finished them. Purchase? No to both.

In sum

Gosh, another month down. The best products in this lot are the three Bodyography products and the Argo Naturals face spray. I also like the Urban Skincare body cream, but everything else I can take or leave.

Have you finished anything amazing this month? I'd love to hear : )

I used to be a bit suspect when it came to micellar products because I'd used the fabled Bioderma version a bundle of times and never had any luck with it. 

Samples of the stuff kept showing up in sub boxes and I would dutifully use them and attempt to discover what all the fuss was about, but time and time again the product just didn't work for me. I've no idea why, but I found it useless as a makeup remover - to the point where using plain water felt like it was doing a better job.

Anyhoo. I've put that Bioderma version in the 'not for me' basket and have gotten over my suspicion when it comes to micellar cleansers because I've now found some wipes and two waters (this Garnier item being one of them) that do what they say they will do, which is all one can ever ask for from a beauty product. Plus this one's cheaper than Bioderma's offering, so it's all worked out in the end ; )

Garnier claims/product details:
  • Removes makeup, cleanses and soothes skin on the face, eyes and lips in one step without the need to rinse off
  • Micelles are an active cleansing ingredient that act as a magnet to capture impurities, makeup and sebum on the skin without vigorous rubbing
  • The result? Perfectly cleansed and refreshed skin without vigorous rubbing or rinsing
  • A soothing formula without perfume to suit all skin types, even sensitive
  • The 400ml format corresponds to 200 applications (on a cotton pad)
  • RRP $12.99 AUD for 400ml, but do shop around


I like this stuff. It does what it says it will do and it doesn't cost much, which makes it a great product in my books and one I would consider buying once I've finished the two I have (one came from The Parcel and the other from my beautyheaven beautorium haul).

It's a standard micellar water formula that looks and feels exactly like water, and it has no scent so it shouldn't bother people who don't like fragranced products. 

I use it as the first step in my evening cleansing routine and it removes makeup nicely, cleaning my skin enough that my cleansing oil can act as a skin cleanser and won't have to deal with makeup. It doesn't remove mascara, but I've come to realise that nothing besides a decent cleanser and a shower will do that for me - I wonder whether my lashes are super dry and 'cling' to makeup - so it may work better for others when it comes to mascara removal.

It's not my favourite micellar product - my favourite is the Unani Il-luminate Micellar Water (reviewed here) - but that one costs more and I'm not sure how easy it is to come by in Australia since we received it in LHI and I've not seen the brand before. 

I prefer the Unani because it has a thicker, more luxurious texture and it looks and feels more special so I enjoy using it more, but both products perform just as well and it's really only the experience of using the Unani that makes it a stand-out for me.

All in all, I can't fault this Garnier product and it's often on special somewhere so you can pick it up for a song. It does the job with a minimum of fuss and that's what I want from a makeup remover.

A great product.

The end of April crept up on me this month and I hadn't started giving thought to my monthly favourites until yesterday. 

Happily I only needed to scan my bathroom to know which products have been getting a serious work-out this month, and I've decided to just use the photos I have of each of my five picks: the MOR soap is unwrapped and doesn't look as fancy as it once did (it just looks like a white round of soap); and it's also dreary outside today so I don't fancy my chances of taking a fresh round of shots anyway.

Also, note that I don't have any makeup favourites this month, largely because I've been focusing on my Project Pan products and there's no particular makeup item that I've been reaching for more than anything else. So I don't want to just grab something randomly to make this list of favourites more 'balanced': I'd rather just talk about those things that I've been seriously loving this month.

So without further ado...

MOR Emporium Classics Blood Orange Triple-milled Soap

I've reviewed this here. As you may know, I'm not a soap person and I normally pass on any soaps I receive in sub boxes to my husband, but I had to keep this one because it smells so good and it's from MOR (one of my favourite bath & body brands).

It's just a beautiful product that screams luxe and it's also an effective cleanser: it lathers well and leaves my skin feeling fresh and soft without stripping or irritating it. I've been reaching for it instead of the body gels I have open because I'm loving it so much, so it had to get a mention because it's unusual that I'll reach for soap as a preference. Such a yum product.

Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser and Gentle Exfoliant

You're probably sick of hearing me go on about Alpha-H skincare, but I have to include this as a monthly favourite because I've been loving it throughout April and it's done great things for my skin. I've reviewed it here.

It's a moisturiser but it contains glycolic acid so it has an exfoliating effect too. What I love about it is that my skin just looks brighter and more radiant after use, plus it feels firmer and smoother too. It's designed for oily/combination skin, and while my skin is dry, this works wonders for me in terms of hydration, so don't discount it if your skin is like mine because it may work for you too.

O&M No Knott Conditioning Detangler

This was one of those rare surprise finds and I only bought it because it was on clearance at one of Australia's cheaper online retailers: I added it to my cart to bring up my total so I could get free shipping. So glad I did! I've reviewed it here.

It smells great and leaves my hair feeling beautifully soft, nourished and manageable, and looking shinier and healthier too. It's one of those products that does exactly what it claims to do, and it's made the whole combing process so much easier than it used to be. I have a feeling that I'll repurchase it when my bottle is done, because I've never used anything like it that works this well.

Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Full review here. This is an amazing product and I'll be really surprised if I ever find something better. It's a cult-favourite mask for good reason: it works with a minimum of fuss and it seems to work on a variety of different skin types.

So many masks are flooding the market these days but few I've tried do exactly what they say they will do. This does. It refreshes and renews the complexion, plus it reduces fine lines and improves skintone, firmness and radiance. My skin always looks good after using it, and I really can't fault the product - other than to say it ain't cheap, but if it works then I can overlook that.

Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

Ren has quickly become one of my favourite brands for 'treatment' products (as opposed to standard moisturisers/cleansers) and this is another item that tops my skincare list. I've reviewed it here.

I really don't know how to describe the results I get from this product, other than to say that it absolutely meets all its claims. Yes it instantly revitalises and visibly rejuvenates the skin; yes it smooths, firms and tones; yes it reduces signs of fatigue and imperfections; and yes it evens out the complexion and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I definitely need to buy a back-up of this because my tube is looking well-loved!

In sum

Just looking at all these goodies makes me want to use them right now, and I reckon it's a great sign when you've been using something for a while and you still get just as excited as you did when you first discovered it. I feel that way about all of these items so this tells me that they're clear winners.

Let me know what you've been loving this month!

You may remember that the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask has been on my wishlist for ages after seeing Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends give it a rave review. I trust her skincare reviews because she seems to like a lot of the products that I do, so when I saw her gush about the pumpkin mask, it went straight to the wishlist.

I'd been keeping an eye out for it but it had vanished from Beauty Bay's Peter Thomas Roth collection (it's back in stock now) and Mecca doesn't carry it either. However, Beauty Bay had a sale over the Easter period and I came across this little kit, which retails for around $70 AUD but I did get $20 off the total of my order - which included the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, another item from my wishlist - and the two products just crossed me over the line to qualify for the discount.

Fresh out of my three-month spending ban, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab both!

The kit contains five of Peter Thomas Roth's masks, in decent 50ml sizes:
  • Cucumber Gel Mask
  • Rose Stem Cell Mask
  • Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
  • Irish Moor Mud Mask
  • 24K Gold Mask

I only have two face masks on the go at the moment and I've been in the market for another one. I'd had my eye on some items from Glamglow but I've recently tested those and they didn't grab me - plus they're super expensive. Most of the masks in this kit retail for around $46 AUD each (less than half of what a Glamglow product will set you back), so if I love any of them, it won't break the bank if I want to pick up a full size.

I'll comment briefly on each mask now and then I'll review them separately as I open them, following up with a round-up post on the kit as a whole in case anyone's interested in grabbing the set, as opposed to any individual product.

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask

This is an anti-ageing treatment that aims to minimise the ageing effects of stress and help re-energise dull skin. It's infused with pure 24K gold, which locks in moisture and keeps the skin firm, and the mask is designed to deliver intense hydration, revealing plump, firmer looking skin. 

I'll probably open this first because it's exactly what my dry skin needs right now!

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask

This aims to purify, refine and decongest. It contains ingredients that have been used for centuries in Ireland and Asia, and it should draw out dirt, oil and impurities and leave me with smaller-looking pores and glowing skin. Sounds good! 

I do have a purifying mud mask open at the moment so I'll finish that first before opening this one. I've never found a mud mask that beats my HG Cellilux Glacial Mineral Gel (which is unfortunately really hard to come by everywhere else but Singapore), so fingers crossed this one's just as good.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask 

Ah, the mask I can blame for the purchase! It's apparently a highly effective exfoliating treatment that addresses dull, ageing and congested complexions. It should peel away dull surface skin cells to reveal a fresh and youthful radiance, and it contains crystals used in microdermabrasion treatments to completely polish the skin.

I do have a microdermabrasion product open at the moment, but it's a few uses away from being finished so I've been on the look-out for a replacement product for a while (one of the reasons why this mask was on my wishlist). Can't wait to finish it and start using this one!

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask 

This is an ultra-gel, non-stinging, anti-irritant gel masque for all skin types - even the most sensitive skin. It's recommended for daily use as a hydrating and calming masque, and may also be used under the eye area to reduce puffiness.

Now this sounds interesting. I'm not sure I've ever used anything like it. I hadn't looked into this one until now (the top three products were enough to make me want the kit and I didn't bother researching the other two), but I may well open it soon because I could use it on 'non mask' days if my skin needs something extra. Fingers crossed that it's good.

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask 

This is a cooling facial mask that rejuvenates mature, sensitive and lacklustre complexions. It aims to repair the skin, promote surface regeneration and restore suppleness while rebuilding the moisture barrier for healthier hydration levels. It also heals irritation and soothes and tones the skin.

On second thoughts, I might open this before the 24K gold one: my skin is dry and irritated at the moment so I do need something to help with that and nothing else I've been using has addressed it completely. Hopefully this will do the job.

In sum

I can't tell you how excited I am about this little set! I love the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Mask I'm using at the moment but I have no other mask (aside from the aforementioned Cellilux product) that really works for me, so I hope that at least one of these products is a winner. Plus $46 for the full-sized masks is less than I'm used to paying for the really good ones, so it'd be awesome if I could find a gem or two in this lot.

I'll let you know how I go : )

Happily it's been a pretty big Project Pan month for me and I've managed to finish a Lime Crime lipstick (included in a mini update recently), and in the past few days I've also knocked off my two Bodyography Foundations, plus my Emite Highlighting Pen. Woot woot! Now that's what I call a good month : )

So here's my list as it now stands:
  • Nella Fantasia Pore Control Astringent Gel
  • Bloom Eye Definer Pencil in Dark Brown
  • Dd'ell Stay Forever Gel Eye Pencil 04 in Espresso
  • Teeez Mysterious Crystal Eyeliner
  • Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Nudist
  • 'Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Eyeshadow + Base 
  • 'Tini Beauty Pearl Fizz Eyeshadow
  • Evelyn Iona Concealer in Flawless
  • Australis AC ON Tour kit
  • The Cosmetic Kitchen Pressed Mineral Blush in Raw Cacao
  • Lust Have It Sunset Strobe Natural Highlighter
  • Mememe Cosmetics Goddess Rocks 
  • Shanghai Suzy Lipstick in Miss Sarah Jane Neon Coral
  • Lime Crime Lipstick in Coquette
  • Bodyography Natural Finish Foundation in 160 and 165
  • Emite BB Highlighting Pen in Coco

Above are my finished items. You can see that the Emite product is so dead that I've had to scrape the last bits out, and the Bodyography foundations are looking nicely empty: made possible because I used these almost every day throughout April (I was determined!).

Do note that I've reserved around five pumps each of the foundations (enough for five applications, mixed together at one pump each) because the formula is my HG liquid foundation and I wanted to save the last little bits so I could compare it to new products as I open them in the next month or two. I thought it was wise to do this so I know if anything else I use beats the formula (doubtful ; )).

Now let's have a look at where my other products are at:

My Evelyn Iona Concealer is a great product but it doesn't offer enough coverage for me at the moment under my eyes because I'm so sleep-deprived, so I've been using it more for concealing redness on my face than anything else. I have a back-up for this so I don't mind getting through it.

The Be a Bombshell Eye Base is really starting to look dented now, which I'm happy about because it's such a bad product. It looks nice on the collarbones but it's rubbish on the eyes, so I'll be thrilled to see the end of that one. 

The 'Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial is getting so close to finished now; I'll be interested to see how long it lasts though, because I only need a little each time. It's a great product but it's seen better days so I'm looking forward to opening my back-up (in another colour) when this one's done.

There's some nice pan showing on my 'Tini Beauty eyeshadow! Another product I have a back-up for, so I'm more than happy to get through it. I use this every day as either an eyeshadow or face highlighter, and there's still plenty left. I find powders so hard to get through but I'm determined.

My Shanghai Suzy Lipstick in Miss Sarah Jane Neon Coral started out looking pretty well-loved and it's looking more and more so as the days pass. Not long to go on this one: two months at the most? I tend to finish lip products the fastest because my lips are so dry that I'm forever applying something to them.

Now I hope you can tell that there's a little dent in each of these products from The Cosmetic Kitchen and Lust Have It

They started out barely used so they'll be here for ages, but I really wanted to get some pan showing in one of my blushes and highlighters, and I picked these two since I don't mind carting them around in my handbag (I don't care if they get damaged). I like them both well enough so I'm happy to use them as 'top up' products as the day wears on and my makeup fades.

Those Mememe Goddess Rocks are finally starting to look a little thinner on the ground. It's slow going with these but I'll eventually get through them: I'm using them to make a shimmery body cream since I hate how they look on my face. I'm not showing as much skin of course now that the weather is cooling down, but who cares: I know that my pins are looking bronzed and glowy beneath my trackies, and that counts for something ; )

The Nella Fantasia Pore Control Astringent Gel is a newer inclusion and it still feels like one of those products that I'll never see the back of. It's 180ml in size, which is part of the problem, but even with twice-daily applications I can't seem to get through it! Maybe it will feel lighter next month.

Considering how much I didn't like this Australis contour kit, I've still managed to get some good use from it : )

The highlighter shades are fine for setting my base because I use so little of them (I have dry skin and need to go super lightly with powders) and they're quite finely milled so they work fine for that. The middle contour shade is good for my brows and the other two I'm using as dry shampoo. Here's to re-purposing products that don't work for you!

Ach, the never-ending pencils ; ) The Bloom pencil is looking quite a bit smaller, and the Dd'ell product is also starting to shrink a touch. The Teeez liner is a twist-top product so you can't see how much is gone (about half) and I probably use the least amount of that one each time because it's so pigmented. Slow and steady wins the race...

That's it! Now that's thirteen products and I wanted to keep my list at around fifteen, so I've decided to include two more for now and I've got a couple waiting in the wings for when I've finished other stuff from my list.

Revlon Age Defying CC Cream in 030 Medium

I've reviewed this here. It's a fantastic product but I wound up with two (one came in a sub box after I'd already purchased mine) and I'd like to finish this second tube so I can focus on trying new things. 

Now that the Bodyography foundations are gone, it's also my oldest base product so I'd like to use it while the sunscreen it contains is still effective: it's been open for around ten months so it's definitely time to get cracking. There's still a lot left and I don't expect it to be gone for a few months because I probably won't be using it every day: I want to mix things up now that those Bodyography products are gone.

GHD Straight & Tame Cream

This is my oldest haircare product and I really want to get through it so I can move on to other things. I've reviewed it here. It's not a bad product but I prefer John Frieda's Frizz Ease, which is what I'd be replacing it with if I didn't still have it. 

I've no idea how much is left because the container is black and I can't see through it, but I suspect there's still heaps in here because hair products last me centuries: I don't use things like this every day and I only use a little each time when I do use them. Fingers crossed I'll be through it by the end of the year so I can buy myself some Frizz Ease for Christmas : )

In sum

Phew! These full updates always take it out of me so I'm glad to have this month's one done. The end of April has snuck up on me a bit so I'll have to get the empties and favourites posts happening in the next couple of days too.

Until next month!

It feels like a while since I did a sachet city post, and since I had so many face mask samples to get through (only half are in here), I thought I'd better use those while I only have a couple of face masks open.

I've been in the market for a face mask and there's room in my collection for one more, so I did go out and grab a few samples from GlamGlow because I'd heard great things about the brand's offerings. Unfortunately they didn't wow me as much as I'd hoped - at least, not all of them did - but more on that below.

GlamGlow Flashmud Brightening Treatment

This one's a brightening treatment that aims to instantly give the look of radiant, luminous skin. It was my favourite of the three GlamGlow products I sampled and the only one I might consider buying.

It contains some really fine particles that have a microdermabrasion effect, and they're so fine that I don't find them to be too scratchy (unlike the bits in the Youthmud mask below). My skin looks bright and feels so smooth after using this, and I'd have put it on the wishlist already if it didn't cost almost $100. I might look for a similar product to see if there's something cheaper that delivers the same results.

GlamGlow Thirstymud

This is apparently an innovative, multitasking mud mask that moisturises, replenishes and soothes the skin for a radiant complexion.

I didn't mind this and it smells wonderful and feels beautifully silky and creamy on the skin. I did find that it hydrated quite well and left my face looking more glowy, but I'm glad I tried Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Mask first because I prefer that, and I already own it (and it's cheaper) so I don't need this one.

GlamGlow Youthmud Mask

This is GlamGlow's best-seller and I've wanted to try it for ages. It's a mud mask that's designed to refine skin texture, clear the complexion and deliver radiant-looking skin.

I got a couple of applications from this pot and didn't love it: on me, the product tingles to the point that it almost stings, which I can handle if the results are good, but I found it far too scratchy when it comes to adding water and massaging it in/washing it off. I felt it may be doing damage to my skin because it's so scratchy, so I wouldn't use it again.

Palmolive Naturals Active Nourishment Shampoo & Conditioner

I really didn't like these products, although that may be because they're designed for normal hair and my hair is dry. 

The shampoo didn't clean well and the conditioner wasn't hydrating: I actually needed to wash and condition my hair again after using these because I could tell even in the shower that my hair wasn't washed or conditioned. Not for me!

Pure Tan Pure Moisture Coconut Body Créme

This was a sample from my beautyheaven beautorium haul and it's amazing! It smells so good and the cream itself is super hydrating. My dry skin loved it. 

It also absorbs well and the texture is just divine - so rich and nourishing without being too heavy. I might have to buy this if I ever see it on special (it costs around $30, which is more than I'd normally spend on a body cream). Love. 

Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-blemish Masque

This is apparently a fast-acting, purifying masque to combat unwelcome blemishes. It works to draw out inflammation and inhibit the spread of bacteria.

I used this today and quite liked the texture: it's soft and silky and feels wonderful against the skin. In terms of effect, it's really no different from any other mud mask I've tried so I wouldn't recommend it considering the $51 price tag. There's a Sukin mask I've used that has a similar texture and costs a fraction of the price so I'd pick that over this any day.

Korres Wild Rose Face & Eye Serum

This is an ultra concentrated serum that provides an instant firming and line-smoothing effect. As soon as I used it, I knew it wasn't for me - it's heavily fragranced to the point that it made me recoil. While I don't mind scented products, the smell of this one is so strong that I didn't like putting it on my face (let alone my eyes). The serum itself wasn't amazing anyway so this one's a pass for me.

MOR Blood Orange Hand Cream

I love MOR hand creams and this has to be one of my favourite fragrances, if not the best one I've ever tried from the brand. 

It does indeed smell of blood oranges in a beautifully rich and complex way, and the hand cream itself was the usual good-quality formula from MOR. It hydrated my skin without leaving a residue, and the scent did linger but in a soft way: I couldn't stop smelling my hands! This one's on the wishlist : )

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads

These are designed to remove dull skin and excess oil without stripping your skin of its natural moisture content, revealing a rejuvenated complexion.

I could tell as soon as I used this that it contained glycolic acid, which works for my skin but this product was a miss for me. The pads are super expensive and they're far too small: there's so much moisture in the sachet that the pad couldn't hold it all (it was so soaked that it was dripping, and there was leftover product in the sachet that went to waste). Plus it didn't work as well as my HG Alpha-H Liquid Gold, so I'll stick with that - which is cheaper anyway.

In sum

Hooray to finishing more sachets! The stand-outs in this bunch were the MOR hand cream, the Pure Tan body cream and the GlamGlow Flashmud. I'll probably buy the MOR product at some point but the other two are beyond budget at full price.

Let me know if you've tested anything amazing this month : )

Ever since Violet Box folded I've felt a little like a subscription box junkie without a home: none of the other boxes on the Australian market have impressed me quite the way that one did.

Lust Have It can be hit and miss (and same same) and the customer service has its issues, and while The Parcel's offerings are becoming more interesting over time and the boxes are always good value, you wind up with a lot of products from brands you know well, so for me it doesn't have the x factor that Violet Box once did.

Enter Maslow & Co. After seeing an unboxing on Youtube and finding a coupon code (see below if you'd like one), I decided to cancel my Lust Have It subscription and sign up. Yes you're paying more for each individual box, but the boxes are bi-monthly so it works out to be better value than LHI over the course of a year.

I knew from the moment my first box arrived yesterday that I was onto a good thing: just look at that gorgeous packaging and presentation! The package felt luxe and heavy, and even though I'd already seen the contents online, I was still surprised by just how good everything looked. Even the booklet that comes with the box is beautifully presented and feels much more special than the description cards I've received with any other sub box.

In this post I'll give you a little info on Maslow & Co, and I'll do an unboxing and first impressions on everything I received. Later on I'll write full reviews of each product, so stay tuned for those if you're interested.

Note also that I got in touch with Maslow & Co to ask about the coupon code I planned to use, and the lass I spoke with was lovely and super responsive. She was also kind enough to give me my own coupon code to share with you all, so if you buy an annual subscription and use the code TRUTHS, you'll receive this NZ Box for free and your first 'official' box will be the West Coast USA Box, which ships in June. (I don't receive any commission if you use my code, and I'm not affiliated with Maslow & Co: this is just a code that will give you a free box.)

Look at all that goodness! This is the New Zealand box, and each box will focus on a particular country and include items from there.

Here's what Maslow & Co says about itself on its website:

Maslow & Co is a beauty exploration membership: bringing our beloved members the very best in beauty and wellness from our own backyard to beyond the border – all delivered to your doorstep.

Every second month you will receive a beautifully wrapped box brimming with handpicked beauty and wellness products, sourced from a chosen country.

Inside your Maslow box you’ll find a carefully curated selection of scarce and extra special samples, created by some of the most innovative and inspiring brands from our focus destination. These are not mainstream products, nor necessarily boutique; rather they’re premium, up-and-coming brands that are yet to be fully discovered. Until now...

For more info on Maslow & Co, see here.

Now let's have a look at the box!

Martina Organics Oil Cleanser (RRP $29 AUD for 30ml; received full size)

This cleansing oil is apparently hand-blended in small batches, and is designed to do more than cleanse: it also heals and hydrates your skin daily, while melting away impurities, excess sebum and makeup. A blend of argan, manuka and hemp fights acne-causing inflammation and treats existing blemishes, while jojoba clears pores and marula and jasmine treat redness and scarring.

I used this for the first time last night and absolutely loved it. Cleansing oils seem to be having their moment these days and many people swear by them, and I felt straight away that this particular oil might be the best one I've used to date. It smells lovely and feels wonderful on the skin, plus it did a good job of removing the gunk on my face. Can't wait to use it again!

Sans[ceuticals] Baobab Regenerative Body Cream (RRP $40.05 for 250ml; received 50ml sample)

Rich, silky and designed to hydrate, this body cream is designed to take anti-ageing beyond the face. The combination of vitamin a, omega oils, vitamin e and baobab lipids increases collagen production to improve skin elasticity and density, refining and regenerating the whole body. Can be used to treat eczema and psoriasis.

I tested this last night and it felt so beautiful and rich on the skin - plus it smelled lovely - although it did take a bit of work to get it to absorb. It may be one of those creams that works best if you warm it in your hands before application, so I'll try that next time and see how it goes.

Antipodes Chia and Kiwi Seed Superfood Serum (RRP $49 AUD for 30ml; received full size)

This serum contains a blend of oils from superfoods chia and kiwi fruit: chia seed is full of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, while kiwi seed oil is a rich source of vitamins c, e and omega 3. The serum creates a natural barrier to lock in moisture, reduce inflammation, stabilise oily skin and deliver a youthful glow.

I used this last night and this morning, and last night it smelled a little like fish to me, although the fishy smell wasn't as pronounced this morning and I could only detect it as a residual scent on my hands. It could just be me because I'm quite sensitive to smells and often smell things others don't, but I wanted to mention it anyway so you know what to expect. The serum itself is just gorgeous in texture and it melts beautifully into the skin, and it's just what my dry skin needs now that the weather's getting cooler. I have a feeling that my skin will really love this.

Ethique Lime & Ginger Body Polish (RRP $20 AUD for 100g; received full size)

Infused with lime and ginger oils, this body polish is both sweet and zingy, refreshing the senses and softening the skin with cocoa butter and bamboo powder.

I used this in my shower yesterday and it smells wonderful and refreshing, and it's an absolute pleasure to use. I wouldn't buy the product because I'm not sure how well it cleans (it doesn't lather too well) and the scrubby matter doesn't seem to do a lot for exfoliation, but the product does leave your skin feeling wonderfully soft. It's the kind of interesting and unique product that would make a good present for the lass who has everything beauty-related, and I'll enjoy using it even though it's not something I would buy for myself.

Linden Leaves Intensive Repair Eye Cream (RRP $45 AUD for 15ml; received full size)

Linden Leaves skincare range is designed to inspire a moment of peace in each day. This eye cream is a lightly textured, soothing treatment for tired and ageing eyes. It's enriched with white tea and melon extract for cell renewal and regeneration, while aloe vera hydrates.

I've used this twice now and have a feeling that it will end up being my favourite product in the box. It is indeed lightweight but it's still super nourishing and my dry skin loves it. Just go easy on the pump though: the full pump I squeezed out last night was far too much for both eyes, so pump it gently to start with and don't be trigger happy like I was!

evolu Anti-ageing Day Cream (RRP $55 AUD for 75ml; received full size)

This uses extracts of iris root, ginseng and kiwi fruit seed oil to boost radiance and elasticity, while assisting cell regeneration - the key factors to counter dull skin texture and visible lines.

I just used this and you can tell that it's designed for depleted or damaged skin like mine because it's rich and nourishing (you could also have received the Recovery Day Cream, which presumably was included in boxes for those who don't have dry skin). It has a light, refreshing scent and absorbs well, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works on my skin over time.

In sum

What an amazing box! Its RRP value is over $200, and for $40 AUD outlay that's pretty amazing. On top of that, I'll use everything and there's not a bad product in the bunch.

An annual subscription to Maslow & Co will set you back $240 AUD and the price for an individual box is $44 AUD (shipping included). Also, you don't need to sign up for a full year and can just choose particular boxes and purchase those if you'd prefer.

As mentioned above, if you'd like to receive this NZ box for free when you sign up for annual membership, just use the code TRUTHS at the checkout. Then the first 'official' box on your subscription will be delivered in June. I'm not affiliated with Maslow & Co and I don't receive any commission if you do use my code, but I wanted to have a code for readers anyway because I'm prepared to put myself behind the company.

Maslow & Co also has a shop and rewards program (for more info, see Malsow & Co's website), and everything about Maslow & Co that I've experienced so far has impressed me: the customer service; the presentation; the look and feel of the website; and the quality of the boxes themselves. Everything about Maslow & Co screams luxury and just receiving your box makes you feel special - that's what you want!

I reckon Maslow & Co's entry onto the Australian subscription box market is super exciting and a much-needed breath of fresh air, and I can't wait to receive my next box : )

I wrote a couple of Project Pan update posts yesterday and it reminded me that I jotted down a few notes on Project Pan last year and it was high time I did that again. 

I've decided not to fish out that old post and update it with any new PP tips and tricks because I'd rather not be guided by it and instead just write down what's front of mind right now. 

So apologies if you've seen that post and there's any crossover, but I would rather just comment on the most 'prominent' things I've learned while doing Project Pan - and debunk any PP 'myths' I've come across - because I think that will be the most useful for anyone who's considering doing Project Pan and wants a few tips before they start.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts : )

Make your own rules

This is an important one because if like me you've watched or read a bundle of videos and posts on Project Pan, you may feel there's a particular way you have to do it and set 'rules' you have to follow, but there really aren't.

You don't have to do it for a full year; you don't need to have a set number of products on your list; and you don't need to stick to particular kinds of products (eg makeup only). Just do what works for you. You may even decide that you don't want to finish or 'pan' everything on your list, just make sure it's used a lot over a period of time. That's fine. Work out your own goals and make your own guidelines.

You don't have to use products you hate!

I was reading some responses to a question about Project Pan on Temptalia's website, and I saw a few people mention that they would never do it because it seemed ridiculous that you would use up products you hate and leave your favourites sitting around, growing old. Of course that's ridiculous! Who said the aim of Project Pan is to use that grainy, orange bronzer in favour of your HG Hourglass one? No one!

Yes, the idea of Project Pan is to finish some products (or at least pan them/get good use from them), but you don't have to use products you hate every day, my golly! You can even decide to use some of your favourite products that you want to finish because you've had them for too long. There are many ways to do it, which leads me to my next point.

Think laterally: find new ways to use old products

This is a way I like to do Project Pan, and it ties in with the point above. You don't need to use up products you hate at the expense of other similar products, but you can re-purpose them.

For example, I have an overly shimmery bronzer that I never use but don't want to throw away or pass on because I spent good money on it. So what I've been doing is crushing it up and adding it to my body lotion, and hey presto, a beautiful shimmery body cream that's great for summer. I've loved using it like that.

Similarly, I have a shimmery eye base that's rubbish on the eyes because it transfers, but it's a wonderfully subtle collarbone and shoulder highlight that's also great in the warmer months, so it's getting used that way.

Be creative and find new ways to use old things that don't work for their intended purpose.

You're allowed to change your list

I think most people know this but it's worth mentioning anyway: your list isn't set in stone and you can change it.

I'm sure that most people who've done Project Pan have occasionally found themselves with a product or two that they're not using for whatever reason. Maybe you thought it would be a good PP product but in practice you haven't found a way to work it into your daily routine. If that's the case, remove it from your list and replace it with something that you'll actually use: there's no point keeping something that's just taking up space.

It may be a sign that the product needs to be thrown out or passed on: if so, you've successfully found a way to remove it from your collection, and you'll at least feel better that you tried to use it before giving it the flick ; )

You don't need to stick to makeup

I think most people - myself included - generally include makeup products on their PP lists because those are the hardest to finish. But that doesn't mean you can't include skincare or haircare products if you've got any of those you'd like to finish too.

I recently included a skincare product on my list because I've had it for ages and just can't seem to finish it, and later on I have both haircare and nail care items that I'd like to move into circulation. You can use Project Pan for any beauty product you'd like, so don't feel tied to using makeup products because that's what everyone else seems to do : )

Find a happy number

This is something I've learned over time: last year I started off with a smaller number of PP products (I think around ten) and over the year, my list expanded to twenty products. Yikes! For me, that's too many. It wasn't so much using them all that was the problem, it was having to photograph and comment on them all when it came to doing PP updates! If you don't blog or youtube, this obviously won't be a problem - but it's still worth finding a number of products that works for you, otherwise you'll feel overwhelmed.

For me, fifteen products is a good number and I'm going to keep my list at around that figure from now on. This doesn't mean that I haven't been using additional products at the same time (and ones I plan to move onto the list once I've knocked off a few existing ones), it just means there's a certain number that I feel I can handle when it comes to posting updates.

You may not be able to finish products, and that's ok

This is an important one to note: I've touched on it above, but I wanted to include the point under its own heading. 

People who've been beauty junkies for ages often have a bunch of products that are already showing pan or have huge dents in them. For those like myself who started gathering a collection only a few years ago (keeping in mind that I'm always decluttering and passing on things I don't use), there's barely anything I own - I'm talking powders like eyeshadows etc - that I could possibly finish within a year (or whatever your set timeframe is).

If that's you too, there's nothing wrong with including items that you won't finish, but that you'd like to make a dent in. So for example, I've got a blush and a highlighter on my list at the moment that I can't hope to get through by Christmas, but at least they'll be looking a lot more worn by then!

Include 'easy' products to help keep you motivated

This is another important one, or at least it is for me. I always make sure that my list includes things that will be finished soon enough because then I'll be making progress and I'll feel like I've actually achieved something. 

So if you want to include eg a sample or travel-sized setting powder, that's not 'cheating' and there's no rule that says you can only use full-sized products. If your list includes some smaller items as well as ones that are in for the long haul, you're more likely to stay committed and last out the timeframe you've set for yourself.

Have fun

I really should have put this point at the top of the list! If you're not going to get some enjoyment from at least part of the Project Pan process, then it mightn't be for you. Like many beauty junkies, I get a thrill from seeing a flash of pan appear in the bottom of my powders, and I'm super excited whenever I finish something and can remove it from my collection. To the rest of the world this may seem rather sad or bizarre, but I'd say that most beauty junkies will understand it ; )

Does Project Pan get tedious? Yes it does. But it also feels worthwhile for a bundle of reasons: you're getting use from things you've paid good money for (instead of being wasteful); you're making an over-sized collection a little bit smaller; you're perhaps even creating gaps in your collection that can be filled by fun new purchases.

There's enough good stuff about Project Pan that makes us keep doing it, but if you're not finding any enjoyment in the process, then don't put yourself through the torture. If you're committed to doing it, it's worth finding others in the beauty community who are doing it too so you can make new connections and keep each other motivated. That's the good stuff : )

In sum

That's my list! Hopefully something in there is useful for anyone thinking about doing Project Pan for the first time. If you have anything to add to the list, please do - I'd love to hear : )
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