New Year, new lot of beauty boxes! I was very excited to open the January Look Fantastic box as they’ve been advertising, since last year, that it will contain 5 out of 6 full size products and they also said that they are bringing even more improvements to the beauty box this year.
Sadly, the hype didn’t pay off for me and the first Look Fantastic box of 2019 felt disappointing. I really hope that’s not the theme for the rest of the year, it is more likely just a little bleep. They also had a bit of a slow start in 2018, so perhaps January is just not Look Fantastic’s month.
The theme this month was “clean beauty”. This has been a trend that has started to gain traction in 2018, not only by Look Fantastic but from others as well, like Sephora etc, and I have to say as a chemist it really disappoints me. To say or categorise that a product is “clean” you are basically implying that others are not, and that’s just not true. This term is referring to labels such as free from parabens, sulphates, *input common baddie here* and if you ask me it just adds to chemophobia as well as misleads the public. Not to mention that at some point when this gains more traction, it will become a money making goldmine for companies.
If for example, for peace of mind you choose not to use parabens, fair enough (note though that there is still no concrete evidence to convict them!), but referring to a product as “clean” not only implies that others are not but also that this product is somehow special or different which is all just marketing. As a chemist I personally think that this kind of unfound labelling and marketing, that taps on fear and lack of understanding, is a disgusting exploit of the public and should be illegal. Check out: The Chemical Misconception – Should we avoid chemicals?
So beyond the disappointing theme this month, the expectation of 5 full size products didn’t really work out in the way I had in mind. I was imagining 5 x 60mL products (or even 30mL which is travel size) but with the exception of one 30mL, the rest were smaller and even one-use type of products.
At least the box was simple but yet beautiful and the baby blue suits January and a new year. The Look Fantastic beauty box always comes with a quote under the lid and this month it said: “Resfeber – The tanged feelings of fear and excitement before a journey begins”. I love these quotes, there is always something new to learn and most of the time they fit with the theme.
The Look Fantastic box also always comes with a small monthly Beauty Magazine that has a little more information about the products contained and some other featured products, and a travel size, but full edition, of the ELLE magazine. This beauty box is such an amazing value for money. To subscribe to Look Fantastic and get £5 off your first box click here.
This month’s box contained 6 products of which 5 were meant to be full size but actually only 4 of them were. From left to right as seen in the picture below, the products were: a face mask, bands, setting powder, a hair serum, a face primer and a multipurpose balm.
Let’s have a look at the products in more detail. These are short reviews that cover first impressions and experiences from using the products. For full reviews, including ingredient analysis and if I would recommend a product or not, check out: Bonds of Beauty (all articles here). Bear in mind that these are my personal opinions and that beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa, please leave your comments below!
Vitamasques Gold Dust Face Sheet Mask Brightening
This is meant to be a luxurious Korean face sheet mask with gold dust and pearl extract. You are mean to place it on clean skin for 20 minutes and then remove, without the need to rinse.
The sheet was standard and it will fit most face shapes and sizes. The mask made my skin feel soft but that was pretty much it. I personally didn’t notice any brightening.
The gold dust and pearl extract definitely make this mask feel exciting but when you look at the ingredients contained, this mask is actually mediocre. If you ignore some good ingredients the rest are just standard skin conditioners and moisturisers and there is nothing luxurious about that.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad mask and there are definitely some good skincare ingredients in it, but it is not as luxurious as it sounds. There are other masks in the market that have better skincare value (but also worse).
This mask contains 20mL of product, is paraben and animal cruelty free. It does contain alcohol though to higher quantities than most ingredients as it comes fourth in the list!
This mask retails somewhere between £3-5, depending on the supplier. SCORE = 7/10
Popband Look Fantastic Active Hair Ties
I love that Look Fantastic includes branded stuff every now and again and I love even more that the band colours matched the box this month! There’s something very satisfying about that, that also brings the box together a little.
These four hair ties can be used to style hair but not very tightly or very high. My hair is very thick and long and these bands couldn’t really hold a high pony tail but they were good for lower ones and other hair styles.
You can also use cloth-type hair ties like this ones as bracelet type accessories or to keep items together in your beauty organisation. SCORE = 8/10
Bellápierre Banana Setting Powder
I used this powder on my oily T-jone and it worked well. It is very silky smooth and even though it has a banana colour, pale yellow, it comes off almost colourless when you work it into your skin. I must say though, the banana colour and writing on the box sort of made me expect that it would also smell like banana which it doesn’t. It is completely odour free which is not a bad thing I was just expecting a banana smell!
The packaging is plastic and it can feel slightly cheap, especially due to the fact that the powder is loose and there is no open/close compartment inside to contain it. As soon as you open the lid the powder can fall out through the holes. Even though it arrived with the new product sticker over the holes, the powder was still everywhere and the product didn’t look new. Imagine what it looks like when it’s used for a while. On the other hand, it’s just a setting powder, does it need to be super fancy packaging? Not really.
On the plus side, this setting powder almost passed (but not quite!) the flash photography test! It didn’t reflect as much as other powders out there but you could still see it glow a little and it was slightly noticeable where the powder was used.
This is a full size product, even though it looks like travel size, that retails for £25 and lasts for 24M. The ingredients are super basic and definitely not reflective of the price but that is true for almost every setting powder out there, we pay for the “special category” that this item is in. The profit the beauty companies make on setting powders though….
I initially scored this item as a 9 when I tried it first before, but since then I’ve now tried it more extensively and I give it: SCORE = 8/10
Swell Ultimate Protect And Renew Hair Serum
This hair serum is meant to smooth, add gloss and conceal split ends, giving heat protection and the ultimate finish. You are meant to use this on towel dried hair, from mid-lengths to ends and it doesn’t need rinsing.
The ingredients are not written on the product which is a shame, but this product is said to be silicone-free (I didn’t look up the ingredients as this is meant to be a first impressions post and I didn’t want to shape my opinion further).
The serum is a colourless gel which has a hair-product type of scent that is neither pleasant or unpleasant. It was worked into my thick hair well but unfortunately, I didn’t really notice any difference from using this.
This is a 30mL tube but a 50mL one retails for £20 and lasts for 12M. SCORE = 6/10
First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturiser
So if the hair serum above was a travel size, this means that everything else in this box should have been a full size to fit with the 5 out of 6 products are full size claim. Sadly, this 21.3g tube is definitely not a full size product as it exists as a 50mL larger tube and retails for £20.50.
Nevertheless, this priming moisturiser has an amazing ingredient list, so much so that I will be designating a full post to this product another time. I am a little scared and excited that it might be as good as my ride-or-die This Works In Transit Camera Mask, Moisturiser & Primer.
This cream has a light cream colour, a bit like a BB cream, it is absorbed quickly by the skin and does not leave any residues behind. It works really well under makeup and it has a subtle cream-like scent but does not contain fragrance.
I’m very excited about the potential of this product and looking forward to using it more extensively and writing about it in more detail. SCORE = 10/10
Dr PawPaw Original Balm Multipurpose Soothing Balm With Natural PawPaw
This product comes in different sizes which actually differ in more ways than just size. A 10mL tube, which I previously got from Birchbox September 2017, comes with a “lip tube applicator” a larger size, such as the 25mL found here, comes as a standard tube with a standard opening. This makes a difference only if you like to use this product as a lip balm, as the smaller size makes it more convenient to do so and to also carry around. However, if you use this product as a hair styler, cuticle moisturiser or even skin moisturiser then it doesn’t actually matter which size you get.
I often criticise multi-purpose products because they usually try to achieve too many things, of different functions, and they often fail. This one however does work for all things claimed. It is especially lovely for nails and cuticles but also works for hair if you are stuck somewhere with a frizzy mess that you must contain! I wouldn’t use this as my primary hair styling product but it is one of those emergency things that you might want in your hand bag instead of having 2-3 products on the go.
It also works on the lips, although it feels oily. It is not sticky though and it does give a hydrated feeling. Similarly, I wouldn’t use this as my primary lip balm but if I was out and forgot to take a balm with, I would definitely pop this on. This can also be used as an eyebrow tamer. I personally think that this works best as a nail and cuticle oil and have been using it for that mostly, because I find the lip results very short lasting.
The packaging is a standard, very yellow, tube with black writing. I wouldn’t call it pretty, it is slightly on the uglier side. However, it does stand out from the crowd and it is a product that you will remember, so in a way, it is a good thing.
This product contains aloe-vera and olive oil and is cruelty free and vegan friendly. It is a 4 ingredient product and although this might sound bad and super cheap, there is something nice about its simplicity. Sometimes simple things work! This full size 25mL tube retails for £6.95 and lasts for 12M. SCORE = 9/10
Overall, I thought that the theme was disappointing as well as the products contained not being the full size box I imagined. Additionally, even though they were smaller, only 4 of them were actually full size and not 5 as originally advertised. Not a great start to the year but hopefully Look Fantastic will pick up.
Initial box score, in terms of products and first feelings = 6/10
Overall box score after product testing (average of product scores) = 8/10
Star product = First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturiser
To subscribe to Look Fantastic and get £5 off your first box click here.
Did you get this month’s Look Fantastic box? What did your box contain? What did you think of the products? Have you tried any of the products listed? Let me know your experiences!
For all the details on how Cohorted, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Birchbox performed in 2018 and which one is worth your money, check out “Battle of the Beauty Boxes – Conclusions from the 2018 Unboxing and Reviews on Birchbox, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Cohorted”.
For general subscription box reviews see the: Birchbox, Glossybox, Look Fantastic and Cohorted general review posts. For help on how to choose the right subscription box for you check out “Which Subscription Beauty Box is right for you?”. You can also see pictures from all beauty boxes (2017-current) on my Pinterest beauty box board.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
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