When the lovely Emma from The Natural Beauty Box
contacted me in November last year to see if I would like to test and review one of her monthly subscription boxes, I’m sure you know what my response was! I’d read very positive reviews of this subscription box so I was very intrigued to get it for myself – especially as they are promised to contain only natural, vegan and cruelty-free products with the finest ingredients! Also, each box contains either five or six products, a selection of full- and travel-sized items, all worth approx. £50 for a monthly subscription of £24.95
(either a one-off or rolling subscription)!
Beauty subscription boxes have definitely become a big ‘thing’ in the beauty industry! You don’t really need to look far to find yet another company promoting their surprise boxes on social media – both in the ‘conventional’ as well as the ‘green’ beauty industry. This is probably even more evident in the natural skincare world as subscription boxes are a brilliant opportunity for lesser known, newly emerging artisan skincare brands to stand out from the crowd and be discovered. Beauty industry seems to be tough with so many different brands competing for your pound so any promotional opportunity is a good one, I guess.
Personally, I find the beauty subscription boxes a great way to buy a range of products at a fraction of the price. Often, one item within such a box is worth more than the entire box so what’s not to love about a deal like that? Of course there’s the huge unknown that what you get within a box may not suit your skin type, may not be something you actually use, etc. but having been receiving beauty boxes for over a year now, I can only count a handful of products that I didn’t get to use. AND…!!! And there’s a big ‘and’ – I didn’t get to use most of these items only because I questioned the natural ‘credentials’ of their ingredients. Even if you don’t like a particular item – say it was a make-up product that you didn’t use or it wasn’t your kind of shade – you could always gift it to someone you know. I actually have a couple of friends who use subscription boxes to stock up on birthday or Christmas presents for their Mums, sisters or friends – and I think that’s such a great way to save a few pennies!
My Natural Beauty Box box arrived at the end of November and contained five skincare products, a bamboo towel, as well as two samples, all worth a whopping £66. As I was using a few similar kind of products in December, I waited to open up its contents until after Christmas. Each Natural Beauty Box has a different theme and mine had the ‘hygge’ [pronounced ‘hew-guh] theme – the Danish concept of coziness, unwinding and being relaxed. So waiting to use the box products in January turned out to be a really great idea as January ended up being such a miserable month (it always is – especially here in the UK – isn’t it?) and the contents helped me to relax and unwind after long and dark days filled with post-Christmas blues. The box itself came in a cardboard box, with all products wrapped up in pretty tissue paper and strings, which when I opened released a beautiful smell of lavender and roses – this was due to the pretty decorations of a small lavender twig and dried rose petals. That was a very nice touch to make the box look and feel a bit more special than just a usual order delivery!
So here is what was inside The Natural Beauty Box:
Rose & Cucumber Cleansing Oil from Mono Naturoils (20ml, £20.00) & bamboo face cloth
The first product that I tested was the Rose & Cucumber Cleansing Oil from a UK brand, Mono NaturOils. It came with a soft bamboo towel which was a lovely addition to my cleansing routine. Promising to be suitable for sensitive skin (due to the lack of essential oils used) and eye make-up removal, I had high expectations for this oil. The ingredient list is simple yet containing some very powerful and skin-nourishing ingredients, including the star ingredient, cucumber seed oil which has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Overall, I’ve found it effective at removing impurities and was indeed gentle enough to get rid of eye make-up, but I didn’t find my skin felt as hydrated after washing as it has done when using different cleansing oils. In fact, it felt a bit dry and on a couple of occasions I had a couple of breakouts on my forehead, cheek and next to my nose which is very unusual for me as I tend to break out on my chin which tends to be related to the menstrual cycle. I can only attribute it to this oil as it was the main cleansing product I was using in January and I suspect the dryness caused my skin to produce more sebum to compensate for the loss of natural oils. Ingredients (INCI): Oryza sativa Bran Oil*, Carthamus tinctorius Seed Oil*, Cucurbita pepo Seed Oil*, Perilla ocymoides Seed Oil*, Prunus amygdalus dulcis Oil*, Carica papaya Seed Oil*, Cucumis sativa Seed Oil^, Rosa damascena Flower Extract*, Ricinus communis Seed Oil*, Tocopherol
*Certified Organic ^Virgin
Mono Naturoils samples – Rejuvenating Facial Oil and Face Cleanser/ Mask
The Rejuvenating facial oil was simply gorgeous – it contains a powerful blend of 17 plant-based oils, including my favourite rosehip oil, well known for its skin rejuvenating properties. No wonder it won the Editor’s Choice award at the 2017 Beauty Shortlist Awards! I was so gutted it was only a sample and I’d definitely repurchase it again but the price has stopped me in my tracks so far! Spending £46 for a fairly small bottle of facial oil is definitely an indulgent treat but also – as I always say – a big investment in your skin for many, many years to come, so I may request that oil for my birthday in February (wink wink, Hubby). I’ve noticed a significant difference to what my skin feels and looks like since using facial oils so I know this money won’t be wasted but of course not everyone can afford to splash out so much money on one product in one go. When making YOUR choices, do remember though that many overly-promoted facial lotions and potions from up-market brands on the high street retail at a similar price but don’t contain nearly half of the powerful ingredients as these natural facial oil blends do.
Ingredients: Argania spinosa Kernel Oil*, Squalane / Olea europaea Fruit Oil, Prunus armeniaca Kernel Oil*, Macadamia ternifolia Seed Oil*, Euterpe oleracea Fruit Oil, Rosa canina Fruit Oil*, Camellia olifera Seed Oil*, Punica granatum Seed Oil*, Borago officianalis Seed Oil*, Hippophae rhamnoides Pulp Extract*, Rosa canina Seed Extract*, Tocopherol (Non-GMO), Rosmarinus officinalis Leaf Extract*, Boswellia neglecta Resin Oil*, Citrus aurantium Flower Oil*, Commiphora myrrha Resin Oil**, Pelargonium graveolens Flower Oil*, Santalum spicata Wood Oil*
Naturally occurring in essential oils – Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool
*Certified Organic **Wild Harvested
As for the face cleanser and mask, we just didn’t agree with each other. It comes in powder form which you have to mix with water (not a problem, I use a similar mask in the shower to avoid the mess) but the application was really messy as the mixture didn’t really bind well so it didn’t spread on your face easily and unfortunately it also doesn’t have a particularly pleasant smell. My skin felt quite dry afterwards so unfortunately, this product isn’t quite for me. The sample came with a label saying ‘nourishing face cleanser and mask’ but unfortunately there’s no such product on Mono’s website and the closest product that does appear there (although it seems it’s ‘coming soon’) is the Radiance face mask. Product description suggests it’s suitable for dry, mature skin which my skin isn’t so it could explain why it may not have agreed with me.