Adventures in Beauty: Selfridges summer beauty box 2015

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Pay day has a lot to answer for. When I saw the launch of this summer’s Selfridges beauty box and it happened to collide with my July pay day, I was sucked in! For around 45 quid (I think it was 40 quid for the box and five for post and packaging), you get a selection of products allegedly worth around hundred and 70. However, as we all know, the alleged value of the contents of the beauty box is immaterial: the value comes when there are products that you will: a) like and b) use.

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What really attracted me to this particular box were that there were enough products I knew I would use, and brands I’d heard of and was either curious about or knew from past experience to be good. Unlike most beauty boxes, this one has very little chaff among the wheat. Whereas I’m yet to even contemplate using the purple hairspray I got in the Capital beauty box (although, remember my uncertainty about that dry shampoo? I’ve tried it and it is definitely the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used – I actually thought it worked!), Every item in this box, I have either used or will do-bar one, which we’ll come to.

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Obviously the main draw for me were the make-up items. The Nails Inc gel polish I haven’t yet used, but I generally like Nails Inc formula and the colour is pretty universal, one that would be good for work and so on. It’s also a larger size than the ones that were in the Capital beauty boxes earlier this year.

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The Illamasqua lipstick comes in the shade Luster. This shade is a bit of a cult classic and very highly regarded. However, it really doesn’t suit me at all.

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It’s a bright pink with a blue base and I don’t think I have the right skintone to pull it off. It actually makes my teeth look quite yellow which means that the teenage magazines I used to read in the 90s were lying to me when they told me that blue-based lipsticks would make your teeth look whiter: it seems to be the opposite in reality!

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Although it doesn’t look too terrible in the pictures, in real life it doesn’t seem right. I’m yet to decide what to do with this: I may find a way to make it work for me, perhaps mixing it with other colours, or I may just decide to sell it/give it away.

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My favourite of the make-up items is the NARS lipgloss in Orgasm. It’s described as being a mini lipgloss, but it’s actually a fairly generous size-not much smaller than your average lipstick tube, which means it’s really handbag friendly-and, let’s face it, lip glosses that get beyond this size tend to go goopy and horrible before you’ve used them up anyway.

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Although the NARS orgasm blushers are a bit of a cult classic, to me they do look a little bit like a rush of glitter and they’re not something I have rushed out to investigate yet (not least because: NARS prices). However, this is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a warm peachy-nude tone with some sparkle. It looks good both on its own and over a lip colour. As you would hope from top brands, the texture is really nice: nowhere near as sticky as most lip glosses and my hair doesn’t get attracted to the lip like it does with cheaper brands. This is probably my favourite product of the whole box. (No idea what that black squiggle in the pic is!)

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The other two make up products were the Eyeko fat eyeliner and the Urban Decay make-up setting spray. I’ve only used the setting spray once, and I think I held it too close to my face, as my face got a little bit wet and cakey – watch this space for that one. A lot of people don’t really like Eyeko products and get annoyed that they come in so many different beauty boxes. Personally, I’ve only had one Eyeko product before: an eyeliner, I think I got it free with a magazine. I actually had quite a lot of success with that eyeliner (a thin-tipped one), so I’m broadly hopeful that this fat one will be okay too. However, I’m drowning in eyeliners at the moment, so I won’t be opening it for a while.

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Onto hair. The Tangle Teeezer was one of the other products I really wanted to try as I’ve been intrigued by the brushes for ages but always found them a little bit expensive to splurge on. I recently bought a Wet Brush, partly because it was cheaper than a Tangle Teezer and partly because it came in yellow (yes, I am that shallow). I’ve tried using both on both wet and dry hair. On the whole, I prefer the Wet Brush. It feels more gentle and is easier to grip in your hand. However, the Tangle Teezer is good at getting through knots, and I can definitely see why a lot of parents rave about it. It does, to me, feel a little bit like it’s tearing my hair though, so I only really will use it on a very tangled day!

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The other hair product were these pastel Ribband hair ties. They’re meant to be gentler than normal bobbles-I can’t say I notice much difference, but they’re very pretty and I always like more things to put in my hair, because I lose them so easily, so they’ve already had plenty of use out of me.

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Skin now, and the Clarins body cream smells lovely, although it is quite a strong scent. It makes my skin feel really smooth and there’s something quite luxurious about using it. However, I can’t in all honesty say that it’s better than, say, the Body Shop or Soap and Glory’s body butters and it’s presumably a lot more expensive than those, so whilst it’s a nice treat, it’s not something I’m likely to replenish.

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I have not yet used the Starskin peel and mask products, and when I do, I’ll do a full review on them.

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The Caudalie grape mist is a bit of a weird one. I’m not really sure what it is or what it’s supposed to do. Allegedly it’s some kind of toner, so I have been using it in between cleansing and moisturising, but I can’t really see that it’s made any difference to my skin. It’s basically the water from grapes in a can. I don’t really know what the point is. I suppose it might be really refreshing on a hot day, but unfortunately we pretty much had our fill of hot days in June and the beauty box came out too late for the British summer. It’s nice enough, I guess, but it just feels a bit pointless. I know Caudalie are a brand that lots of people love, but I’m a bit ambivalent, at least on the strength of this product.

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The Radial Dragon’s blood sculpting gel is another weird one. I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to do-it talks about firming the skin on the face, but it doesn’t seem to do anything in particular. I’ve been using it before moisturising everyday and have noticed absolutely no difference in my skin, other than I’ve been getting more spots since I started using both this and the grape water, so I don’t know if either of them is the culprit! You might think that a small sample wouldn’t really give you long enough to see if a product works or not, but surely the point of a sample is to get you hooked on a product so you’ll buy the real thing? This is just not a product I see any purpose for-maybe it’s better if you’re older than I am?

The final product is the one that I’m not sure that I will use: the fake tan. I’m sure this is a lovely brand and everything, but I’m actually really terrified of fake tanning products. They, and false eyelashes, are the two beauty products that everybody else seems to love and I am very frightened to even try. I just have visions with the fake tan of poor application, Oompa-Loompa colouring, streaky skin or staining my bathroom/palms/clothing. I’ve just never had the guts to try it. I did promise myself that I would try and use every item in this beauty box to justify the expense, so I might bring myself to try this at some point-but not yet.

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This beauty box all came in a lovely Selfridges box with a ribbon tie that can be be reused (I’m currently using it to store nail wheels as I swatch my way through my collection). It also has a yellow inner, so obviously that’s something I love!

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The beauty bag that housed the products within is pretty nice, I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it, but it’s a good thing to have.

I think the box is now sold out online, but maybe it’s available in-store still? Overall, I am happy enough with the value for money, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to pay more for it. As to whether or not I’ll be sucked in to future Selfridges releases, I wouldn’t rule it out – but it definitely depends on what they contain.

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