Lookfantastic’s Gargantuan Advent Calendar: The Beauty Secret

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

Hmm. I tried to step away from the beauty advent calendars this year (my post on the Clarins and l’Occitane ones was going to be my singular foray into this particular area) but the Lookfantastic offering is gargantuan. Again. Do you remember the one from last year? This year’s is as big. It’s better. To give you an idea of scale I’ve photographed it with my iPhone Plus, above, and then with Estée Lalonde’s brilliant new hardback book, Bloom, below:

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

If you’re still in any doubt as to how big this beauty-packed chunk of a unit is, then here’s my cat sitting inside it. Mr Bear is also a chunk of a unit, weighing in at something like eight kilos, so if he can’t convince you of the size then nothing can!

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

Mr AMR said “what the hell is that?” when the package was delivered, because it’s about the same size as a coffee table. And then he said “oh, wouldn’t that make a lovely present?”, a level of interest that’s unusual for him, because he very rarely glances twice at any of the beauty things that arrive at AMR HQ.

This is really quite something, the Lookfantastic calendar: no duds rattling around in here. The contents are worth a whopping £300+, including a few full-size items that more than make up for the price of the box on their own.

The calendar is called The Beauty Secret and for good reason – Lookfantastic don’t give anything away when it comes to the contents. If you’re happy to just go along with the fact that it’s worth over £300 yet costs £70, and you love to be surprised and you get excited by the thought of trying new brands and products, then don’t read on and look at the contents. You, my trusting beauty aficionado, can order your advent calendar right now HERE.

For those who like to know exactly what they’re getting, fear not: I have meticulously itemised the contents for your approval. (Actually I haven’t, I’ve just taken some photos, but you’ll get the gist. It’s all pretty lust-worthy.)

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

There’s a great selection of skincare, makeup, bodycare and haircare but I feel that the skincare and makeup categories are the most exciting. In skincare, a selection of masks and night creams, moisturisers and exfoliants – I particularly love the mini Glow Tonic from Pixi and the Daily Microfoliant from Dermalogica. But the star product here has to be the Foreo Play, an electronic cleansing device that stimulates and massages the skin as it removes grime and makeup.

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

I reviewed the large Foreo cleanser here – this one is more petite and travel-friendly, but still costs £29 if bought separately! A good start, then…

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

In makeup, some tasty morsels including eyeliner, mascara, a Nudestix lip pencil, false eyelashes, blusher and eyeshadow brush. Only the mascara is a smaller size – everything else, so far as I can see, is a proper product. The glittering star here, though, has to be the Illamasqua shadow quad:

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

Look at that! The shades remind me a lot of the Chanel Rouge collection palette – really reddish and autumnal. I get the feeling that this palette is exclusive to the Lookfantastic calendar, as it’s named Lookfantastic (check me out, I’m like Poirot) and what a fabulous inclusion it is. Value? £34. You’ve made up the cost of the whole calendar with just the Foreo, Illamasqua and false lashes!

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

A nice little bodycare selection – glad to see a Deep Sleep pillow spray in there, and the Molton Brown will always be a crowd-pleaser. I’m particularly enamoured with the mini bottle of Huile Prodigieuse from NUXE – such a beautiful body oil, and this one is jammed full of sparkly gold shimmer, too, so that you can get those arms and legs glistening for your Christmas parties…

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

A good hair selection, too, including an intensive mask from one of my favourite (very expensive) French brands, Christophe Robin, a mini Moroccanoil, an Ojon oil and bits from Wella and Redken.

See anything you fancy? I’d use pretty much everything from this calendar, but I think that Mr AMR’s initial reaction was spot-on – this would make a great gift. Imagine a great big whopping parcel like this arriving at your front door!

You can pre-order your calendar here – and if you fancy reading about the Clarins and l’Occitane ones, that post is here.

lookfantastic beauty secret advent calendar review

Still-life problems: when your cat wants to be in every picture.

The post Lookfantastic’s Gargantuan Advent Calendar: The Beauty Secret appeared first on A Model Recommends.


© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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Voting Time: The Sainsbury’s Customer Choice Award | AD

sainsburys customer choice award

Earlier in the summer, I was invited to be part of an expert judging panel for the Sainsbury’s Beauty Awards*. Now in its seventh year, it’s an annual specialist event that celebrates the best beauty and grooming products that are available to Sainsbury’s customers.

sainsburys customer choice award

There were a lot – a lot – of products to test, but I’m no stranger to having a bathroom overflowing with tubes and bottles and jars and I spent a good few weeks happily ploughing my way through the list before attending the judging day. I’ve got my testing routine down to a fine art after all of these years, so it actually didn’t take long to narrow things down to my own personal shortlist before giving those products a more thorough going-over…

sainsburys customer choice award

Now I don’t want to sway your opinions, because you have got a little voting opportunity coming up, but I must say that there were some absolutely outstanding items. I was pleased to make some new skincare discoveries, including Nivea’s Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover and the very tongue-in-cheek Cucumber Eye Pads from Dirty Works, and a brilliant “everyday essentials” (or every month essentials) find in the form of the Sensitive Soft Like Cotton pads from Always. Sanitary products are never glamorous or particularly exciting to talk about, but these have none of that plasticky, sweaty covering that most pads have and I thought that they were rather a large step in the right direction.

But enough of my own favourites: there’s one category that the expert panel had nothing to do with and that’s the Sainsbury’s Customer Choice Award. This is the public’s chance to flag up the products that they’ve found impressive, ground-breaking or simply irreplaceable when it comes to beauty and grooming. You can vote for your own best-in-show product by clicking here – voting closes on the 9th September 2016. I’ll be attending the awards ceremony this autumn, so it’ll be interesting to see what gets picked out and hailed as the new winner.

Vote for the Sainsbury’s Customer Choice Award

*this post is an advertorial for the Sainsbury’s Beauty Awards

The post Voting Time: The Sainsbury’s Customer Choice Award | AD appeared first on A Model Recommends.


© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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Five Beauty Gifts Under A Fiver

Chapstick Lip Kits

Chapstick Lip Kits

Christmas adds up! It just doesn’t need to be a bunfest of spendy – sometimes, it’s the little things that are the sweetest gifts. So, I just thought I’d do a quick round up of things I know I’d love to have (to be fair, some I already do!) as beauty treats that don’t leave your purse in tears. Above, the little Chapstick sets containing three different flavoured Chapsticks in a gorgeous little tin. Inside, you get strawberry, cherry and apple and the whole set is £4.25 HERE.

Mavala Bauble

Mavala Bauble

The Mavala Christmas Bauble, with a bronze shimmer polish inside is £4.95 HERE – I might put a cheap and cheerful Christmas decoration on the ribbon as well, but I can’t think who wouldn’t love this little treat.

Flutter Eye

Flutter Eye

The Superdrug Flutter Eye Palette is now reduced to £4 and it’s got nine eye shadow shades in the blue, pink and gold spectrums. It’s HERE.

Cherry Bath Fizzers

Cherry Bath Fizzers

The cutest little cracker set from M&S which each cracker containing a cherry scented bath fizzer.  There so cute, they’re silly! The set is £4.50 HERE.

Studio Smudge Liner Set

Studio Smudge Liner Set

Great for a flash of colour on the lids, this little set is at Superdrug for £4 HERE.

I think these are all really good value for money – often the brands you haven’t really heard too much of, such as Studio, make products for all sorts of other more expensive brands, so paying less doesn’t usually mean you’re getting less. It’s often a that you’re not paying for heavy marketing or advertising, which brings the price down.

The post Five Beauty Gifts Under A Fiver appeared first on British Beauty Blogger.

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#Browbestie

Every Benebabe has one—she’s our counselor, our relationship guru, our life coach, our friend & our best listener. Arch experts become SO much more than just “that girl who does my brows once a month.” They listen to us go on about our online dating snafus and tell us when to hit it & when to quit it, they know how totes crazy our mom can be & they totally get how annoying that guy who sits across from us at work is (seri, can you CHILL with your bro-tastic beer bong stories!? And we don’t care what happened on Game of Thrones last week. Sorry, not sorry). She’s our #browbestie!

Benefit_#BenefitBrowBestie_Logo

We love OUR arch expert so much that we decided that they deserve a whole month of recognition. This May is arch expert appreciation month! Show your love for your ULTA arch expert AND enter for a chance to win a year’s worth of free brow waxes + $250 worth of Benefit products! (Okay, so totes arch expert love, but also—free brows for a year!? YAS.) All you have to do is snap a selfie of your flawless arches when you get your brows wowed during the month of May, and then upload to Instagram with #browbestie & tell us why your Benefit arch expert is the ultimate brow bestie. Easy, amirite? And you’re so gorg, how could you not snap a selflie anyway!? 😉

Browbestie

When you upload your pics, make sure you tag @BenefitCosmetics & @ultabeauty & your arch expert’s ULTA location—bonus points if you mention her name so that she gets all the love she deserves! What are you waiting for, gorgeous!? Book your appointment now & show us your #browbestie!

Rules: http://bit.ly/browbestierules

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Makeup Treasure: The Modern Mercury Highlighter

estee lauder modern mercury victoria beckham

In my original review post and video review of the Victoria Beckham makeup collection for Estee Lauder I mentioned that my top pick, if you were going to buy one item, would probably be the Modern Mercury HighlighterSort of risky to recommend it, really, as it was virtually the only product in the line that I hadn’t managed to try, but I felt safe in the knowledge that if it was a faithful reproduction of the original Illuminating Gelée, released in 2011, it would be a definite crowd-pleaser. A proper piece of makeup treasure.

estee lauder modern mercury victoria beckham

And – thank goodness – it’s every bit as lovely as the first edition. More so, in fact, with its luxurious ribbed leather compact and sleek looks. I wish that I still had my original Illuminating Powder Gelée so that I could compare old and new; the 2011 release seemed to have much more of a shiny finish in the pan than the VB version, so I do wonder whether the formulas are identical, but the tone, from what I can tell, looks the same. A soft, minky sort of shade that is a little bit darker and warmer than the traditional “whack it on the cheekbones” sort of highlighter. I think that it’s ever so slightly easier to work with if you have a deeper skintone than an extremely fair one – it needs a very light touch on fair skin, I feel. It’s almost the shade of a very pale-dusky blusher, though obviously far shinier.

Saying that: I’m quite fair myself at the moment and have been whacking this highlighter on left right and centre! So don’t be frightened by it if you’re used to those pale, cool-toned illuminating powders – I’d say that Modern Mercury is universally flattering, you just need to adjust your application to suit. I use a smallish brush to get an accurate application on the cheekbones (you don’t want it all over your face, unless you want to pass as a robot) or I dab with fingertips onto the bridge of my nose, cupid’s bow, under the eyebrows to give them a lift…

Ten Face Highlighters for Under £10…

If you missed the Modern Mercury collection the first time around (you can watch my review video here) and love that high-polish sort of skin glow, then you might want to snap up this Victoria Beckham version. At £48, it’s about fifty-eight-thousand times more expensive than the original, which is an irritation – but (as I said in my VB round-up) you’re paying for the luxury element and the branding. Whether Beckham is your cup of tea is another matter!

The Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Collection Review…

You can find a few highlighters left at Harrods online here – they seem to be out of stock at Estée Lauder, though it’s always worth checking.

The post Makeup Treasure: The Modern Mercury Highlighter appeared first on A Model Recommends.


© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

Continue reading