It is hard to believe that is has been a number of years since the concept of sample boxes exploded in the UK, as I have been reminded by one of the leaders in the market, Glossybox turning three this month.
I have to admit, as much as it isn’t the ‘done’ thing to do a girl down on her birthday, I haven’t been what you might call ‘fan-girling’ the box of glossies of late. I don’t hate the contents; were I under twenty-one and living on the budget most schoolgirls and students do, I would find it great value for money and very, very fun. Unfortunately, I am thirty two and a massive snob. So I haven’t particularly enjoyed the delights of a Superdrug hair donut, a disgusting candy apple scented moisturiser or strawberry frosted pink lip-gloss appropriate only for six years olds. At all.
In the two years I have been a customer, there have been a few brands that truly stood out, becoming beauty bag must-haves as result – Fig and Rouges beautiful rose lip balm, the Glossybox branded pink blush from last Christmas, a couple of nail polishes and Roger and Gallet Fleur de Figuier perfume (now an absolute staple in my fragrance catalogue and the perfect summer hit).
That being said, for every brand that I fall deeply in love with there are usually three or four in each box I just don’t care about. Normally I would be alright with this, but Glossybox keep promising targeting making you fill in endless preference surveys and yet, what I get tends to feel like the leftover products they didn’t want to send the big bloggers (yes, it does get noticed that their boxes always have the full sized, higher value products).
I had gotten more than irritated with it and was seriously considering cancelling, in favour of buying a one off box every now and then from the very much ‘having a moment’ Latest in Beauty. And then we get the third birthday treat box where it appears Glossybox have hoiked up their big girl spanks and pulled on their best sparkly frocks ready to party. I won’t say it is a revelation: it is a beauty box, not a moral enlightening, but it certainly heralds a return to a better time with Glossybox – cute products, from decent brands and all good sizes.
LALIQUE by L’Amour Perfume Sample, 2ml (full size £67, through boots): This fragrance is surprisingly pleasant - the top notes are gently floral, but the bergamot and sandalwood leave a pleasing depth and spice to the fragrance. It almost has a final scent reminiscint of parma violets – which I happen to love. I wouldn’t pay £67 for it but it is nicer certainly then the usual celeb poison that gets stuck in the boxes.
Essence Long lasting lipstick (£2.29, available through the Essence website – which is hideous to look at but I promise you the lippie is worth it): Love, love, LOVE this lippie. I got Natural Beauty – a soft peachy nude, deep enough to not look washed out but subtle enough that I suspect you will be seeing this on a ‘school run essentials’ list in the not too distant future. It holds well, doesn’t feel tacky and would suit every skin shade – great value.
Kryolan for Glossybox Highlighter in Cashmere (£12.95 for the full size, 4.5g, available through the Kryolan website): I feel like you get a lot of highlighters with Glossybox but then, I am a highlighting junkie, so I am entirely down with that. This is a lovely product. Goes on easily, shimmers beautifully without being ‘drag-act’ bright and again, lasts well – as one would expect from a brand with its origins in theatrical cosmetics. A result!
Figs and Rouge Rose Berry Hand Cream, mini (Full size £6.95 for 80ml, available through Feel Unique): I love Figs and Rouge. I love hand cream. I love rose scented products. I utterly loathe this hand cream (to the point where I wondered if I could accidentally leave it out of this review so as not to risk upsetting them). Go figure. It smells artificial, the branding is a blatant rip-off of a much better known competitor who also happen to have a rose and shea butter moisturiser, which is just rubbish when Figs and Rouge look so cute by themselves and it leaves the weirdest coated feeling on my hands – such a let down from a brand I adore. Avoid.
Yves Rocher Pink Nail Polish mini (full size £3.60, available from the Yves Rocher website): It’s a little nail polish, it is pink, it covers well and after 48 hours it hasn’t chipped. It’s ok. Not wow, but ok. You can however get a little extra goodie with the code inside the Glossybox card – always a bonus.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, 40ml sample (full size 250ml, £38, available on Lookfantastic.com): Now this is the product that makes this box, and all women over thirty should have it in their kit. Apply to mid-lengths and ends before you wash and condition, leave for two – three minutes et voila – hair really does look repaired and is noticeably smoother – holding up on even a seriously humid day. Five stars for this product; it is really, really excellent and great value.
Verdict: Glossybox really are a bit bad-boyfriend at the moment. You don’t feel at all loved, or like your needs are being met and just as you are about to ditch ‘em for something newer and shinier, they remind you what you saw in them in the first place. I hope the standard holds for a bit – we are on shaky ground, but that being said as one of the originals to the market, I wish them a very happy birthday and fingers crossed, three more years to come.
Sign up to Glossybox here, prices start from £8 per month, plus p and p.