When the lovely Emma from TheNatural 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 skincarebrands 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.
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.
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.
Ingredients: Montmorillonite, Illite, Rosa Alba Petal Powder, Ginkgo biloba Leaf Powder*, Lepidium peruvianum Powder*, Theobroma cacao Powder*, Rosa canina Powder*, Althaea officinalis Root Powder, Hibiscus sabdariffa Flower Powder, Euterp oleracea Fruit powder*, Silybum marianum Powder*
Vanilla Rose Bath Salts from Made by Coopers (100g, £5)
Up until about a month ago, I’d probably have one bath a year (hear me out, I promise I wash more often than that!) – I just hated the idea of wasting so much water, as well as the faff of running the bath, waiting, then soaking in my own ‘filth’ as I used to think of the whole bathing process. But looking after two small children and working full-time really took its toll on me last year and my resolution for this year is to have more ‘me-time’ and really focus on self-care. One of the things that I’ve implemented then is a weekly/ fortnightly soak to relax my aching muscles, read a book or just unwind after a tiring week. So receiving these Vanilla Rose Bath Salts from another UK skincare brand, Made by Coopers (a wife and husband duo) was a wonderful gift and a perfect addition to my new self-care ritual!
Visually, the bath salts are so gorgeous – with a blend of white Dead Sea and Epsom salts, and pink Himalayan salts, amongst dried pink rose petals and little rose buds – my usually boring-looking white bath turns into a luxurious spa! They also smell out of this world, thanks to the gorgeous blend of ylang ylang and rose essential oils. The cherry on top is the gorgeous silky smooth skin which you get afterwards as the coconut oil moisturises your skin while you’re relaxing. So no need for any more moisturising afterwards, either with a soap, shower gel or body oil (I always shower first before a bath so I’m entering the bath absolutely ‘clean’). I’ll definitely be repurchasing a full-sized bag of these amazing bath salts (£14, 400g).
Calm Atmosphere Mist from Made by Coopers (30ml, £6)
I’d actually made an atmosphere/ linen mist myself a few months ago, mixing distilled water with a blend of essential oils but nonetheless, it was nice to receive this travel-sized bottle of Calm Atmosphere mist as I can now have the two bottles in different rooms – never waste anything! So what can I say about this mist? It has a very soothing and calming effect on you when you can smell it around in the room as well as on linen – I really got into a habit of spraying it on our bedsheets just before bedtime and whilst I don’t need help falling asleep these days (takes me a second, literally!), it’s still a very pleasant smell to have when hitting the pillow and catching that well-needed eye shut.
The ingredients are just so simple so it can easily be recreated at home. As the product contains water, there is a preservative here (preservative 12 – which contains the controversial Phenoxyethanol as well as Ethylhexylglycerin) but as it’s not a product to be used on your skin, I’m not too concerned about its potential allergenic properties.
This oil is very light and well-absorbing which means you only need a few drops to distribute it on your face. I’ve used it under my liquid foundation and it worked well, and I’ve also used it overnight as it didn’t feel too rich and soaked right in. It’s most suitable to those with acne prone skin (due to its high contents of linoleic acid which oily skins lack) but it would suit other skin types too, especially sensitive skin (as it doesn’t contain any essential oils). Overall, it’s a very pleasant oil from another emerging UK brand!
*Organic ingredient. 95% organic of total. 100% natural origin. Certified organic by The Soil Association.
Spacemask – Interstellar Relaxation (1 set, £3)
When I opened the box, I found a closed plastic wrapper supposedly with a sleep mask inside. When I read the description, it sounded quite intriguing as I’d imagined this would be a conventional reusable eye mask. It was the first time I’d heard about these Spacemasks but I must have blinked and they seem to be everywhere! So the big hoopla with these eye masks is the ingenious science behind them. Once you break the seal on that plastic wrapper and unveil the sleep mask inside it, the iron molecules inside the eye patches start to interact with the oxygen molecules, creating heat which you can then enjoy on your eyes.
I used the mask during one of my relaxing baths and yes, I did float off to my happy place (although not quite the “carefree world unpolluted by Earthly distractions” as promised by the brand’s online descriptions) but I didn’t really feel the heat on my eyes. Perhaps I have weirdly shaped nose and eye sockets but when the mask was on, the heat wasn’t very apparent. The heat is meant to last 15 minutes but the mask remained warm for at least another 15-30 minutes, however the sad thing is that it’s not the reusable eye mask that I thought it was. I mean, of course you could reuse it (which I plan to do) but the ‘magic’ heat can’t be repeated. I appreciate this is part of its unique selling point but I can’t imagine myself buying a pack of single use masks (you can get a pack of 5 for £15), each wrapped individually in a plastic wrapper. Sadly, this big new hype isn’t for me.
This was a very pleasant box full of lovely surprises, new experiences and interesting beauty discoveries, so thank you again to Emma for your kind offer to send me the box to test. I’m definitely going to order another one in the future as I’m so intrigued about future themes, and I’m always keen to discover new brands and products. From the ones I received in the November hygge box, I’m definitely going to purchase a full-sized Rejuvenating facial oil from Mono Naturoils (once I’ve saved up, that is!), a full-sized pack of the gorgeous Vanilla Rose Bath Salts from Made by Coopers and Clarity Organic Face Oil from Guiltless Skin.
You can also check out my YouTube video where I discuss every item within this box:
Disclaimer: I was kindly sent this box by The Natural Beauty Box to test and review. Nevertheless, all views expressed in all of my posts are always 100% mine and honest.