July Empties / Products I've Used Up

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


It's Empties time again!  I have another box full this month, but again they're mostly sample/travel sizes:-


 Skincare

 Lush Tea Tree Water
This is my go-to HG toner of choice most days.  Fantastic if you're prone to breakouts and have oily skin like I do.
Repurchase?  Yes

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
Another HG product for me, works beautifully and is a great make-up remover to use in the evenings too.  
Repurchase?  Yes, already have a full size tube of this.

Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant
I've had this lying around for ages and finally decided to use it up.  It's an exfoliator that warms up on your skin.  It was nice to use and I like it, but not really enough to invest in a full size.
Repurchase?  Probably not.

Super by Dr Nicholas Perricone Bright Eyed Flawless Eye Treatment
This was a lovely eye cream that hydrated the eye area well, without ever feeling too heavy or greasy.
Repurchase?  Tempted!


Haircare

 Percy Reed Totally TLC Hydrating Mask
I liked this and a little went a long way, but there are other hair masks that I prefer a lot more than this one.
Repurchase? No.

Burt's Bees Super Shiny Shampoo and Conditioner
These two really surprised me because I've read so many mixed reviews.  I really liked them!  Wasn't keen on the scent that much, but they made my hair feel soft and look shinier than it usually does.   Plus they didn't irritate my sensitive scalp which is always a bonus.
Repurchase?  I have some other shampoos to try out at the moment but I'm sure I'll purchase full sizes of these in the future.


Bath & Body
 balance Me Super Moisturising Body Wash
I love this body wash, lovely formula and smells good too!
Repurchase?  Yes

Rituals Wai Wang Exfoliating Body Scrub
This was a nice scrub but I just didn't like the scent.
Repurchase? No.

NEOM Tranquility Organic Bath Oil
Loved using this, so relaxing!  Definitely one to try when you want a de-stressing soak in the bath.
Repurchase?  Very tempted to get the mini bath oil set at some point.

Mitchell and Peach English Growers Shower Wash
 Wasn't that impressed with this considering how much it retails for.  The formula is a bit too thin for my liking and the scent wasn't for me either.
Repurchase? No


Make-Up

Jane Iredale Tantasia
Received it in this month's Joliebox and was pleasantly surprised.  It looked quite scary and orange in the tube, but I gave it a go on my face and decolletage area before going on holiday, and it gave a really natural looking, healthy glow.  
Repurchase?   Maybe, I don't really use fake tan much, but if we have another rubbish 
British summer again next year, I'm sure I'll be buying this!

No7 Dual Protection Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 15 in Medium
Got this sample from a GWP goody bag a while ago.  It was OK colour wise, but a bit too heavy for my oily/combination skin.  Dry skin types may get on well with it much better though.
Repurchase? No.

Une Skin Glow Foundation sample
This gives a healthy, light coverage which I really liked, but it's one that I'd only use on good skin days because it is quite sheer.
Repurchase? Maybe if I saw it on offer.

Benefit Lemonaid
I've had this for nearly two years now and I'm finally throwing it out because it's started to separate.  Nearly used it all up though and it lasts such a long time.
Repurchase?  Probably not because I'm using the 
Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer around my eyes instead now which
 is a lot cheaper.

The Body Shop Tinted Glow Enhancer
Another make-up item I'm throwing out because I've had it for ages.  It's nearly used up but has gone a bit gloopy.  This is like a liquid bronzer which you can also mix with your sunscreen or daily moisturiser to add a bit of a glow.
Repurchase? Probably not, I just didn't reach for it that often.


Handbag bits

Burt's Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Hand Cream
Didn't like this much because I found the formula a little on the greasy side and really disliked the scent.  
Repurchase? No.

balance Me Hydrating Rose Otto Salve
I liked using this on my cuticles mainly and on my heels/elbows when they needed some TLC.
Repurchase?  Probably not as there are other balms/salves that I like more.

If you have done an empties post this month, feel free to link below so that I can have a look!

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July Books List

Books I've read in July:-

(1) Fast Food Nation: What The All-American  Meal Is Doing To The World by Eric Schlosser - Accessible to anyone who is interested in the fast food industry, and the politics and economics that go hand in hand with it.  I guess if you're reading this in 2012, then you may have already heard about most of the horrors that Schlosser goes into detail with, but it's still a worthwhile read and really easy to pick up whenever you fancy reading it.  [5/5]

(2) Delirium by Lauren Oliver So disappointing because the concept sounded interesting (it's a YA dystopia about love being seen as a disease and something that they cure people of), but it never seemed to reach its full potential in the book.  The characters felt very average at best and although the last quarter of the book does make the sequel sound promising, I don't think I'll be reaching for it just yet.  [2/5]

(3) Richard by Ben Myers - Richard is a fictional account of Richard Edwards (the troubled songwriter/rhythm guitarist of the Manic Street Preachers who went missing in 1995 and his body was never found) during his last days, told through his eyes.  Although it wasn't my cup of tea prose-wise, I do think the author did a good job of exploring this concept, though I have no idea who would actually read this if they weren't a diehard Manics/Richey fan!  [2/5]

(4) Lolita by - I have been meaning to read this for years and after watching the Stanley Kubrick adaptation last month, I finally decided to take this off my book shelf.  The subject matter is of course unsettling and disturbing, which makes it a difficult novel to read at leisure so I found myself reading it in chunks throughout the month.  I'm glad I've read it because it's a 'classic' and all, but it's not something I'd ever willingly read again.  [3/5]

(5) Fifty Shades Freed by E. L James - I wasn't expecting this series to be anything more than some easy summer reading trash, but this last book in the trilogy has the most anti-climatic ending! I guess it fits with how the story was going, but why did it have to end like that? What happened to the very-mild-naughtiness that made this series actually bearable to read?!  [2/5]

(6) Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - I struggle reading anything by Hemingway; his writing style is just generally not my thing. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises isn't one of this famed 'better' books and I feel that this novel shows Hemingway to other people in the way that I see most of his work.  It's not terrible or anything, but nothing extraordinary either.   Just very average, but OK if you're looking for a quick summer read that isn't chick lit.  [2/5]

What have you been reading this month?

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Giveaway: Win a bundle of Czech make-up! (CLOSED)

Monday, 30 July 2012


I bought this bundle of Czech make-up when I was in Prague to giveaway on We Were Raised By Wolves.  All of the products shown here were recommended to me by fellow bloggers and whilst they're not strictly Czech brands (most are in fact German IRRC), they are all brands which aren't easily available here in the UK. 


One lucky winner will receive everything shown above:-
  • She Stylezone XXL Mascara in Carbon Black
  • Alverde Naturcosmetik Liquid Rouge in 10 Lovely Pink (for cheeks and lips)
  • Alverde Naturcosmetik Eyeshadow Quad in 37 Chocolate (lovely neutrals!)
  • Essence Nail Polish in 11 Disco Disco
  • Essence Nail Polish in 78 Blue Addicted (dupe for Deborah Lippmann's Across The Universe)
  • Czech Beer Cosmetics Lip Balm
To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway is open worldwide and closes on 15th August.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prague Photo Diary


Prague is a beautiful city that is packed full of people and interesting things to see and do.  If you love to walk around looking at incredible architecture, visiting countless art museums and learning more about history and past communist politics, then Prague really is your dream destination right in the heart of Europe.  Honestly, you could spend a whole week just going to art exhibitions and you'd still struggle to see everything!  I really wish I could have stayed an extra week to explore every nook and cranny that this amazing city has to offer.  I strongly suggest coming up with a detailed itinerary if you fancy going, you'll most certainly need one!

Photos (from top-bottom):- 1. Old Town Square.  2. The famous Astronomical Clock.  3. Tourists in Old Town Square.  4 & 5. 'Little Venice'.  6. A view from Charles Bridge of Vltava river.  7 & 8. Absinthe bars and ice-cream.  The ice-cream is certainly an acquired taste!  9. A delicious Trdelnik (like a spiralled donut).  10. Graffiti in New Town.  11. Decorative door like this one were everywhere.  12.  One of David Czerny's controversial public art pieces.  13.  Another David Czerny piece, depicting St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse.  14.  Franz Kafka at the Prague Wax Museum.  15. Old Town Square at night.  16.  Inside the Sedlec Ossuary or 'Bone Church' in Kutná Hora.  17. The enormous gothic Saint Barbara's Church, also in Kutná Hora.  18.  Visiting the Mucha Museum.  19. Statue of Franz Kafka on the shoulders of a giant headless man in the Jewish Quarter.  20. Art exhibit at AMoYA.  21.  Lunch at the popular student/backpacker hangout, Bohemia Bagel.  22 & 23.  The John Lennon Wall (the handsome man in the red shorts is Tim, our lovely tour guide, Hi Tim!).    

P.S: I have a Czech beauty giveaway coming up later today so keep your eyes open for that!

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Ahoj!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


See you all in a week! I'll be back with a Czech related giveaway of some sort so keep an eye out for that.  Ahoj!

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What's in my Make-Up Travel Bag?


I've packed all of the above in my Make-Up Travel Bag.  A lot of these are old trusted favourites as well as a few new things:-

Brows: A La Carte Brow Ink in Taupe
Eyes: Urban Decay Naked Palette, UDPP, Urban Decay Double Eyeliner with Zero and Whiskey, Talika Lipocils Expert, Blink & Go Long Lasting Mascara in Black.
Face: bareMinerals Original Foundation with SPF 15 in Medium Beige, Benefit The POREfessional Primer, Everyday Minerals Mint Color Corrector, Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer in 52, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in 3 Medium, The Body Shop Lightening Touch Pen in 03, Barry M Translucent Powder.
Cheeks & contour: Bourjois 'chocolate' Bronzer in 52, MAC Sheertone Blush in Coygirl
Lips: Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum, MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Shygirl, Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss in Grapefruit.


And my brushes ( don't worry, all of these were deep cleaned yesterday and only used again this morning!).  I've packed them into the Real Techniques holder that came with the Core Collection, which is so useful:-

From L-R: Ecotools Blush Brush, Everyday Minerals Long Handled Kabuki*, Everyday Minerals Dome Blush Brush*, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Brush, Everyday Minerals Concealer Brush, Real Techniques Contour Brush, Real Techniques Detailer Brush, Real Techniques Buffing Brush.

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*PR samples

What's in my toiletries travel bag?

Friday, 20 July 2012


As some of you may know, I am going on holiday to Prague tomorrow evening, so I thought I'd do a 'What's in my travel bag?' post for the toiletries I'm taking with me.  My travel bag was bought in Japan earlier this year, can't remember the name of the shop, but I've seen similar designs for sale over here.  I'm a sucker for anything cute with owls on!


Haircare

Burts Bees Super Shiny Shampoo and Conditioner
These were from my grab bag ages ago.  Have seen a few mixed reviews of these, so I'll try them 
out tonight and see what they're like.

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment
I love this hair oil more than Morrocan Oil these days.  
Perfect for keeping my hair in great condition.

KMS California Free Shape Hot Flex Spray
Love this, just a simple heat protection spray with the added benefit of acting a bit
like a hairspray too!


Skincare
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
I always take one of these with me when I'm travelling.  
Doubles up as a fantastic make-up remover too.

Essential Care Organic Rose Petal Tonic*
This is so lovely to use, great for refreshing yourself with when you're on the go.

Dr Nick Lowe Oil Control Anti-Blemish Day Cream
Featured in my favourites last month, I'm on my second travel size tube of this 
and it works so well for my oily/combination skin.

balance Me Radiance Face Mask*
Also featured this in my favourites last month, it's a fab 3 in 1 mask 
that helps to perk up dull skin.

Figs & Rouge Sweet Geranium Balm
Multi-purpose balm, always travel with one of these products 
in my bag because they come in so handy.

Clinique All About Eyes
One of my favourite eye creams, simple and effective.
 
Bath & Body

Steamcream
Recently reviewed this here.  Love it!  The tin is also a great size for
travelling with.

NEOM Tranquility Bath Oil
Received this in the Utter Relaxation gift set for my birthday and can't wait
to use it.

Mitchell and Peach English Growers Shower Wash
I think this was from a Joliebox from around xmas time?!  
I really should use up seeing as it's July now, so it's coming with me!


Sunscreen / Misc

JĀSÖN Facial Natural Sunblock SPF 20*
JĀSÖN Mineral Natural Sunblock SPF 30*
No summer travel bag is complete without sunscreen and these ones 
from JĀSÖN are light and non-greasy.  Reviewed here.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Lip Care with SPF 15
Great for wearing under lipsticks and is very moisturising too.

Essential Care Organic First Aid Lotion*
For all those 'just in case' times that happen on holiday!

I'll post a make-up bag tomorrow as that's always the last thing I pack.
 Have you been or are you going on holiday this summer?

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*PR samples

Joliebox - July


After last month's delay, Joliebox have upped their game and sorted out their delivery service, hooray!  The boxes are now dispatched via Yodel couriers and I arranged for mine to be redelivered this morning.  Here's what's inside my July Joliebox, themed 'Summer Essentials':-
  • Full size 15ml Etat Pur Pure Active A22 - Salicylic Acid 300 -  A powerful and effective treatment which can be used on acne prone and blemished skin.  I do suffer from breakouts so I'm sure this will come in handy, and I'm interested to see how it compares with the old D.I.Y aspirin method.
  • Sample size Jane Iredale Tantasia Self-Tanner - This is a moisturising gradual self-tanner than can be used on the body as well as the face.  The sample tube is so tiny that this would only really work on your face which is how I'll use it.  You wouldn't want to tan just ONE leg now would you?!
  • Two mini Nailgirls nail polishes, in Gold and Bronze - Not heard of this brand before, but I love metallic nail polishes and these shades look very pretty.
  • 60ml Wen by Caz Dean Sweet Almond and Mint Cleansing Conditioner - This looks very promising, a mostly natural hair conditioner made with natural herbs and botanicals.  Will definitely be trying this out soon.
  • Joliebox toe separators - handy to pop in the travel bag.
  • 75ml Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm - To make up for last month's delivery fiasco, Joliebox have put in a 'Special Extra' into each box which I think is a really good idea because it shows they've acknowledged that a lot of people were annoyed about the delays.  I love this product and have used up a tube of it before, so I'm very happy to have another one as a freebie!
Summary: Congrats to Joliebox for sorting their delivery service out and for coming up with a great box this month which is varied and full of products that I know I'll be using soon!

Did you get a Joliebox this month?

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My US Drugstore Make-Up Swap!

Thursday, 19 July 2012


After seeing Alex's awesome US make-up swap that she did with Betzy, I decided I wanted to do one ASAP!  I've done a few make-up swaps in the past, but never with anyone overseas before, so I was beyond excited to get my hands on some products that you can't easily get hold of here in the UK.  I contacted Betzy and we arranged the swap.  We decided on a budget (all drugstore/highstreet) and what products we wanted from each other in advance, and then it was just a case of going shopping to pick everything up!

We did run into some delivery issues as my parcel randomly got held up by US Customs (I'm guessing because there were liquids involved?), but it finally arrived safely this morning and I couldn't wait to open it.


The goodies! Betzy suggested I try something from Milani, so I opted for one of their well loved eyeliners.  I got the Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner in 04 Forever, which is a beautiful rich metallic bronze shade, perfect for summer.  I've wanted to try out some of the famed NYX Powder Blushers for a while and I received one called Pinched,  a pretty peach shade with subtle silver shimmer.

Some products that I absolutely knew I wanted to get were some of the Revlon Lip Butter shades which were only available in the US.  I was sent two; Sugar Plum and Fig Jam, both of which I love and I'm so happy to have them in my collection.  Another product I had been coveting for some time and dying to try out was the Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette which are a lot of Youtubers like Missglamorazzi often rave about.  So excited to try this out!

I'd also been eyeing the Wet 'n' Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow Trios and asked for one in neutral shades.  I got Silent Treatment which is gorgeous and Betzy also got me another one as an extra called Don't Steal My Thunder which looks great for doing a smokey eye with.  She also kindly gave me two Wet 'n' Wild Coloricon Shimmer Eye Pencils in Black and Copper, both of which look very pretty.

I am so pleased with everything and can't wait to try it all out, I'm going to be in swatching heaven!  You can see what I got Betzy over on her blog here.

Have you ever done an international swap like this?  Would you like to see any reviews for any of the above? 

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Review: Steamcream


This week I have been having a big clearout and reorganization of my ever increasing products stash.  I currently have a 'Products To Use Up' basket where I like to rotate a few items to make sure that they eventually get used up, sooner rather than later.  This tin of Steamcream made it into the basket yesterday and I have no idea why I hadn't used this up sooner; I love it!

Steamcream is a multi-purpose/ all in one, mostly natural, moisturiser.  You can use it on your face, body and hands, and it works so well!  It was originally made by the CEO of LUSH and it's very similar to LUSH's Dream Cream (which you all know I love to pieces) as it shares a similar lavender-meets-herbal type scent and performs in a similar way too by being both soothing and moisturising.

This moisturiser is created by hand using fresh, high quality ingredients.  You have Oatmeal Infusion to soothe, Orange Flower to improve elasticity, Almond Oil to plump up with the skin with natural Vitamin E, Lavender Oil to help and reduce any imflamation, Organic Jojoba Oil and Cocoa Butter to soften the skin and keep it happy.

As the name suggests, all of these ingredients are then fused together with a shot of steam.  It's this unique method which gives Steamcream its lovely texture; the cream is thick but lightweight at the same time, absorbing quickly into the skin, without any greasy residue.  It's also this steam-infused texture that makes it suitable to use on all dry areas.

I generally prefer to use Steamcream on my hands and body because it hydrates my dry skin really well without ever irritating it.  In fact, I have used it like Dream Cream on a few occasions to calm down an eczema flare up.  I've also tried it on my face at night before, but it's just a little to rich for my oily/combination skin, but I can imagine it being well suited to those with more drier skin types.

And of course no review would be complete without mentioning that gorgeous packaging!  Each design has a limited edition run making the tins effectively collectable pieces of art and there are currently around 50 different designs to choose from.  All of the tins are made from aluminium which is easily recycled, but I know I'll be keeping my Jane animal print tin to store little bits and bobs in on my dresser!

Do you use Steamcream?

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BeTrousse UK - The Full Size Organic and Natural Beauty Kit

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


When a new beauty box comes out, I usually check out some blog reviews, and I like to have a nosey at what other people are saying about it on Twitter.  Whilst I continue to be subscribed to two beauty boxes myself (Amarya and Joliebox), I find that most boxes these days seem to blurring into one.  They often have a habit of rotating the same handful of brands, are increasingly lacking in variety or imagination (do I really need to have 3 face moisturiser samples in one box?!?!) and some are guilty of having appalling customer service (I'm sure I don't need to name any names here!).  

However, there are beauty boxes who do things differently.  A new one called BeTrousse UK has recently been launched over here, and is the first beauty box to contain all full sized products.  Yes, you heard me correctly, this box has ALL FULL SIZED PRODUCTS!

Like Latest In Beauty, you can view the contents of a particular 'kit' from BeTrousse UK before you buy and there are no monthly subscriptions; you only buy the kits/boxes that you want, when you want them.  The company is French so their boxes offer UK customers a whole range of exciting new French brands and products to try out, as well as some new British brands.

The kits/boxes are all themed, and I was kindly sent their Organic and Natural Beauty Kit* to try out.     


The box is enormous and feels so heavy due to five full sized products being in it!  It looks like a regular shoebox and the contents are wrapped in pink tissue paper with a mountain of packing peanuts to protect everything.


Like all beauty boxes, you receive a stylish menu card giving you an overview of the products included and how much they retail for.  On the reverse is a more in depth welcome and run through of what the products are.

(1) Evelyn Fro Her Aloe and Honey Mist, 200ml, RRP £10.99 - "A light non-build up hydrating mist, made from aloe vera juice.  Rapidly penetrates the hair shaft providing instant moisture, improving elasticity thereby reducing breakage.  Leaves hair naturally silky soft and shiny.  Ideal in dry, hot environments as it restores and prevents any loss of moisture."

This leave-in conditioning spray is designed for those with afro or dry hair and is made by the British company, Evelyn Products (great name of course!).  It smells incredible (a bit like a delicious fruity cocktail, yum!) and is over 96% natural.  I have very dry hair at the moment so this sounds like it will be perfect for me to try out, especially when the weather starts to warm up as my hair can get frazzled by the sun. 


(2) Forest People Luminous Serum for Lips and Eye Contour, 14ml, RRP £31 - "Luminous Serum has been specifically formulated with precious oils to reshape and brighten the eye area and lips.  Rich in Omega 3, this elixir firms and tones the skin tissue.  Hemp oil reactivates microcirculation and reduces puffiness and dark circles.  With Rosehip oil, Luminous Serum is a real barrier against fine lines as well as a powerful antioxidant that revitalizes and evens skin tone."

With so many claims, I can't wait to use this and put them all to the test.  I have been battling fine undereye lines and dark circles since hitting my twenties, so I'm happy to give anything like this a go!  The serum is 100% organic and also contains fair trade natural ingredients. 


(3) Lothantique Bath Salt, 600g, £10 - "Bathing in bath salts is incredibly beneficial for your skin, your mood and your lifestyle.  Relax, take it easy!"

In the Organic and Natural Beauty Kit you'll either receive these bath salts or a shower gel by Lothantique.  Packaged in a huge glass bottle, this looks like the sort of product you'd come across in a quaint French beauty shop.  The first thing I noticed about this, (other than the sheer weight and size) is that these bath salts are very strongly perfumed and because I find that bath salts generally irritate my sensitive skin, I'm not sure if I'll be able to use these.  I may give them a go in a foot bath and see what they're like though.


(4) Reve De Provence Olive Oil and Lavender Organic Bar Soap, 150g, RRP £4.99 - "The Organic Bar Soap is a creamy soap for your bath or shower.  The fragrance is made from only organic pure and natural essential oils.   It's formulated without parabens, sodium silicone, PEG, phtalate, artificial colouring and EDTA."

I love Lavender and luxe feeling soaps so this is just a lovely simple product for me to receive in a box like this.  There's also the chance that you'll receive an Argan Oil soap which sounds equally as good.

(5) K Pour Karite Hair Mascara in Dark Brown, 15g, RRP £12.95 - "Certified organic by Ecocert. Soft formula with mineral pigments that respects the hair fiber.  The first white/grey hairs are hidden and roots are no longer a problem during those in-between colouring times."

I don't have any grey hairs just yet, but this sounds like a handy product to have in your handbag if you do and want to cover them or if you colour and want to cover up your roots.  I'll definitely be passing this onto my mum to see how it works on her hair.

Summary: BeTrousse are slightly more expensive than your average beauty box (this Organic and Natural Kit costs £17 & about a fiver for postage), but for the extra ££s you do receive ALL full size products and you get to see what you're going to receive in the box before you decide to buy it.

There is still the risk of getting a product you won't use/like so much, for example I would have preferred the shower gel over the bath salts, but if you're fairly open minded and are just looking to try out high quality new products, then BeTrousse are certainly worth looking into.  Plus, the products look and feel luxe so if you did receive something you didn't like, you could easily gift them to a friend or relative - not something you'd always want to do if you had a received a tiny sample sachet instead!

Another selling point for me is that I haven't heard of any of the brands in the box before and I love trying out new things, especially anything French!  Also for you bargain hunters out there, the overall value of this box is a whopping £72!

BeTrousse UK beauty kits are available to buy direct from their website here.  There are currently three different kits to choose from; The Must Haves Kit (worth £131), The Organic and Natural Beauty Kit (worth £72) and The Spring Beauty Kit (worth £78).  BeTrousse also keeps you up to date with the latest beauty news and customers have the chance to sign up for free products testing.

Do the new BeTrousse UK kits interest you?  Would you prefer a beauty box to have all full sized products?  Do you prefer a surprise in what you receive or do you like to see the contents first?


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*PR sample
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