New site: thebakingpharmacist.com Giveaway & Review: July Bag of Love

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: April Bag of Love


Now, this post has been a long time coming! Remember eons ago when I wrote about the Bag of Love x Delectable Treats by Su x The Butterfly Project party? I've been so busy at the hospital and finally, finally got a day to myself to sit down and write this post.


Let me start by saying that my Little Beauty Bag has been seriously overused. Happy to report that unlike the  sample box subscriptions, I will for sure use these gems. I love those boxes but really all I end up doing is just hoarding them. :( But this also means that I'm too embarrassed to show the current state of my April bag - which already has craft glitter and lipstick stains on it - so this is a pic fresh from the event :P
April Bag of Love - eco-friendly Little Beauty Bag
The Body Shop Quiet Night Dreamy Pillow and Body Mist 
60ml ~ RM35.40
Retail: RM59 for 100ml

This is definitely the winner of the bunch! Like I said, I've been busy lately having to wake up to push off to the hospital as early as 5am, getting home late and getting to sleep at 12 midnight to 2am. The thing is, I never needed much sleep. I'm used to this sleeping pattern, unless it's study week where I'll sleep all day every day like the biggest boss of all the bosses. But the difference is I have to take the bus to and fro the hospital, which means 3 hours of traveling in a bumpy bus each day - that's what takes its toll on me. The sleep in the bus is fitful, I've woken up gasping loudly and catching my breath with my heart wanting to thump out of my chest. I can't explain why. My body is constantly sore from lugging around my heavy laptop and the heavy books. When I get home from a discussion, I'm mentally exhausted and somehow my brain won't let me sleep even when my body screams for it. Toss, turn, then suddenly the alarm blasts and wakes me up. Really, my body prefers to wake up on its own as it always does, without the help of the alarm going off. I'd sleep from 2am to 5am and still feel well-rested because my body wakes up on its own because it's used to waking up at that hour. Well okay, enough backstory. 

How it works:

* Special encapsulation technology allows bursts of active fragrance to be released throughout the night as your body moves.
* Jujube date is considered to promote deeper sleep, while Community Trade camomile calms and helps to maintain a restful sleep.
* Geranium, juniper and patchouli oils soothe and promote tranquility.

The scent itself really doesn't last long - but that's just as well since it doesn't take me too long to drift off to sleep with it anyway. I spray it on my pillowcase and my bed, and it doesn't stain them. What the scent does to me is help my mind relax and stop overworking itself so my body can charge itself. I mean, slooow down, brain, for the love of lemons! Oddly, I'm really not a fan of the smell at all. My nose is highly sensitive to smells and so many smells trigger my migraine, but for some reason aromatherapy always works for me despite the fact that my nose hates it. LOL. The net effect of using this is that with as little sleep as I get, I can still function and I wake up feeling well-rested - my body's been duped! At the rate I'm going though, I'm going to go through this bottle very quickly, and this is a decent size too at 60ml. My conclusion? The price is steep if you're fine without it, and would just use it as a  tangy, woodsy orangey body mist that's pleasantly scented for you. But if you work a hectic schedule, or you have trouble sleeping, I think this price is worth paying for twice over!
Ingredients:

Alcohol Denat., Water, Limonene, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trideceth-9, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Oil, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Linalool, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Hydrolysed Corn Starch Octenylsuccinate, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Propylene Glycol, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Oil, Citral, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil, Geraniol, Citronellol, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract.

Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo
50ml ~ RM22
Retail: RM88 for 200ml

This is another (unexpected) winner. I love the sleek packaging. To be honest, I barely take care of my hair. As in, I'll shampoo it, then skip the conditioner, then skip the drying, then skip the brushing, then skip the styling. I'm really like a man when it comes to looking after my crowning glory. If it's clean, my job is done. LOL. So many people have asked me before what I do with my hair, especially since it's so long and they think I'm lying and hiding my protip when I say I just shampoo it and nothing else. So, suffice to know that I'm super low maintenance with my hair.

I used this shampoo for the day I was going to the La Senza event because I know I'd never have pictures taken otherwise. I just think that having a visual evidence is much more convincing than saying it in words:

Using Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo - shine city!
What it does:
Nurture and soften distressed locks with this aromatic, coconut-based shampoo, formulated to cleanse while instantly rehydrating hair with jojoba oil, and a unique concentration of cornflower and mallow extracts (40 ).

As usual, I just used shampoo without the conditioner. What do you think? My hair was so soft and smooth. It's definitely more hydrating (and expensive) than the L'Oréal Elvive Re-Nutrition Shampoo with Royal Jelly that I use, although the Royal Jelly shampoo smells so ridiculously good - which honestly, has always been my only basis for shampoo purchases. LOL! The Phytojoba shampoo smells like coconuts, and a nice version of coconuty smell as far as coconut-scented shampoos go (actually smells like Bounty chocolate to me), but I'm just not a fan of coconut smells in general. So it's a trade-off for me. But obviously it's good news for fans of coconut shampoos. The shampoo doesn't lather up much as with other organic shampoos, and you may feel like you need a LOT of the watery shampoo, but in actuality it's okay that you use a small amount. You'd doubt it, but try a small amount first! I think a small amount should stretch for a bit, and my hair is really long.

Phytojoba's Intense Hydrating Shampoo is runny
What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Synthetic Dyes
- Petrochemicals
- Phthalates

Nuxe Brightening BB Cream SPF30/PA++
15ml ~ RM60
Retail: RM120 for 30ml

Nuxe Brightening BB Cream SPF30/PA++
I have to reiterate what I said in the previous post - I appreciate the sizes of the samples! Seriously, there's no use at all to give me a sad sachet of sample and expect me to get enough uses out of it to form an opinion. It's a lose-lose for both the sample sub company and the companies providing the samples. One loses their subscriber, the other won't even gain any new customers because they're simply not convinced.

NUXE are developed under the highest pharmaceutical standards and are free of animal ingredients, mineral oils and artificial color (except for color care). By using the flowers extracts and natural mineral pigments, this BB cream not only covers imperfection, evens and correct your skin tone, but also whitens and provides 8-Hour hydration as it contains active substances such as Mallow, which helps maintains water within the epidermis. Hydration is key!

Let me start by saying that their retail of RM120 for 30ml is really steep! I would never even touch it with a stick if it wasn't given to me to try, so it's a great idea for them to pair with sample subscription companies. At first I wore the BB cream with a stippling brush and it looked flawless as ever and my skin looked so dewy, and brighter too. I looked at it and went, okay, this is what RM120 for 30ml is. LOL. It even tuned down the freckles on the top of my cheeks naturally. So it does even out the skin tone and provide a brightening effect - which I'm guessing is due to the hydration to my dry skin. It really is very hydrating to the skin, bordering on oily/greasy.

When I tried using my fingers to apply and blend the NUXE into my skin, however, it definitely turned my skin darker. Throughout the day, it got worse as it oxidized. I don't know if it's in the heat of my hand or the fact that using a stippling brush ensures a much much lighter coverage compared to being heavy-handed. 

I swatched it against Hada Labo's 10-in-1 Function BB Air BB in Natural Beige for you. You can see the NUXE is more runny in texture, whereas the Air BB is much thicker. The NUXE BB cream is also lighter in shade. Neither of them match my skin tone, they seem warmer/yellower and a tad darker, but as you know BB creams usually only come in 1 universal shade promised to work with all skin tones.

Texture comparison of Nuxe brightering BB cream (runnier) vs Hada Labo Air BB

The pink arrow separates where I blended the two BB creams

You can see that the NUXE has a brightening effect compared to Hada Labo's. Another notable difference that doesn't show up in the camera is that the NUXE seems more sheer in coverage, and has a more dewy finish whereas the Hada Labo Air BB has more coverage, and blends more like a foundation - the finish is also more flat.

The SPF30 is a decent level of protection, and it really really blends in well for a BB cream.

A major gripe with this though: The Smell. It smelled so plasticky and wrong that I kept wondering is this really within its shelf life? But I guess because it's an organic product and tries to veer away from artificial everythings, the natural fragrance wasn't masked. 

Burt's Bees Richly Replenishing Cocoa & Cupuacu Butters Body Lotion 
6.5g ~ RM2.50
Retail: 170ml for RM62.80

This was the smallest sample size we received at 6.5g. I can't say anything about it yet, because I'm saving it for travel use - should come in handy.

Decleor Hydra Floral Moisturizing Cream
15ml ~ RM81.30
Retail: 50ml for RM271


After the brush, this is the highest in estimated value, so I was excited to try this out. Especially with all my milia problem that I tried to tackle the past two weeks and the fact that I'm using the Clarisonic. I need a really good moisturizer and had my hopes high with this one. I think it's too rich that it can't be used on the T-zone. I experimented with putting it on my forehead and nose, which is where I get the most of my milia. It's hard to tell, honestly, whether it made the milia situation better or made it worse because I had a facial each week for those two weeks. 

On the bright side, my dry flaky skin became plump with moisture, and I'd wake up to skin that you could tell was hydrated, so I'd suggest spot-moisturizing if that makes sense. I used this over my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum one night (when I just got it) and when I woke up, I wanted to scream with how impossibly glowy I looked. But when I discontinued the moisturizer (it was starting to make my nose oily) I had the exact same effect, haha. So girls, if you have the RM271 to buy this moisturizer, top it up to invest in the ANR instead. You won't be sorry. I think perhaps this moisturising cream is better for the more mature ladies as their skin texture seems to go well with it.

Regardless, the moisturiser really does its job - moisturize. Should be good if you have dry skin and have to work in an air-conditioned environment all day (and go to bed with the air-conditioning on too!). 

One of my concerns that made me stop using it is that the cream separated!! Gah. I would've still liked to keep this moisturizer especially since the size is so travel-friendly, but now I can't. Anyone else has this problem with this product? The cream was kept at room temperature and not exposed to sun, I can't think what could have caused it :( Warning: the picture to come looks pretty gross. And no, that's not water. The top bit is yellowy, the bottom is what the colour has always been, and the rest of the fluids has separated.

Separated - Decleor Hydra Floral Moisturizing Cream
A friend also pointed out that it smells like hand cream and she was hesitant to put something that smells like hand cream on her face. LOL!

Definite Contour Brush 
Full Size!
Retail: RM88

MAC 116 vs Definite Contour Brush vs Real Techniques Essentil Foundation Brush
This was the gem that had everyone squealing in excitement, a full-sized exclusive contour brush from Definite. I took a picture of these 3 brushes because they're actually all the brushes I use for contouring. I now use the Definite brush alongside the Real Techniques EFB, using the EFB to make a very precise placement of the contouring powder, and then buffing it out with the Definite Countour Brush. Alternatively if I don't want to spend much time I'd just use the MAC 116, angled to use the thinner side to apply and then the fuller side to blend it out.

The bristles are fairly soft, but don't expect it to be soft like ELF Powder Brush - I don't think that would have been good for its purpose anyway. I multitask with the other two brushes since I can also use it to apply blusher (really what it's intended for) and the RT EFB for that very rare foundation application, but I don't see another use for the Definite brush yet. It can't be used for blusher because it's too dense. If you have any ideas, let me know :)

Comparison of how precise the contouring can be with the two brushes

Phew. That was a crazy long post. I hope my reviews of the individual products and the pictures will help you in your future purchases! Now let's talk about the Bag of Love, and I'll wrap up with your options with Bag of Love.

DECLEOR Signature Aromaplasty Facial at RM 98
Retail: Normal price RM 230

I haven't redeemed this yet. I'm broke from the two facials I had the previous weeks!

What I Love

  • The sample sizes are generous. I remember I was telling Lina at the party that I hated it when I got sent subscription boxes filled with sachet samples. Really, you can easily get that for free from the counters or even in magazines -__- People shouldn't have to pay for it. Not only that. Like I mentioned earlier in the post, sachet samples equal to a lose-lose situation for all parties. I get a measly amount, disappointed, unsubscribe;  I don't even buy the product because I haven't had enough use to make an informed decision. The products for the face is good for traveling with. There was a full-sized brush! And I'm already happy with the size of the Body Shop mist.
  • They (well, Mi Mi) really listen to the customers' opinion and feedback. Case in point, the Definite brush which was back by popular demand. I really wish we can keep getting the brushes, but I gather from my conversation with Mi Mi that it's not feasible.
  • Said this too many times already, but the customer service is superb. Just have a browse through their Facebook and you'll see how the interaction is with the community, and how complaints are handled with prompt action and courtesy. Sometimes I feel like CS is the most important aspect of the company - did you notice how different the CS is in Malaysia vs when you shop internationally?
  • Really good mix of products - hair, face, body. Love this, wouldn't change the mix.
  • Brands like NUXE, Decleor and Phytojoba which I wouldn't have tried if not for the bag - it's a good introduction.
  • It comes in a bag that I definitely use. I wouldn't mind getting 12 bags in a year, knowing I always have so much stuff to stash in them. The bags are also different each month so you're not stuck with 12 identical bags that you get sick of looking at and can't tell what's inside unless you unzip them. LOL
  • This is my favorite sample subscription company so far, based on the April bag. My hopes are high for the months to come!

What I'd Love to See Improved

  • More full-sized products. Perhaps because the full-sized product for April was the Definite brush, so it didn't quite feel like I was getting a full-sized product when indeed I have. I think I would have preferred getting a travel sized brush (they're shorter and allows me to get closer to the mirror anyway) if it means I can get something in its full size that I can use for a month or two.
  •  I do like that they included a voucher for a facial, but I prefer a readily redeemable voucher i.e. a complimentary voucher that I can redeem without paying anything extra. I'd settle for a less fancy facial/spa experience if it means not forking out more money. The thing about these vouchers is there are limitations like for first-time customers only, and considering I've already gone to a number of places (LOL spa hopping) there's a good chance I can't even use them. Besides, if I wanted a "only RMxx for facial/spa worth RMxxxx" there's so many group-buying sites to get those from, and usually at an even cheaper price.
  • My suggestion for the above is something of smaller scale, perhaps a free manicure, free basic facial or free wax session - with the option that we can top up for something more fancy like french manicure. Perhaps if those companies have no coverage in other areas, they could have a choice between getting the voucher (for when they come to West Msia and make a trip - do extend the expiry for them) or getting another sample that fits the theme. Like a serum sample from the spa's company.
  • Adding at least one make-up product each month would be nice. Maybe a blusher, eyeshadow or even a lip stain - these are more wearable across the skin tones. I'd say skip foundations as a sample, I never got why they'd give me a foundation that won't even match my skin.
  • ...I'm surprising myself to say that that's all I can think of right now. Surprising because I always have a million things to say for feedback on how to improve, so this is a good sign ladies!



I made some rough calculations, and the bag value is RM 310.70. Bang for your buck!!

MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe month-to-month
RM 39.90 per month

3-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION
Receive a mystery gift
RM 119.70 for 3 months

12-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION
Get 13th box for free
RM 478.80 for 12 months



Conclusion: Based only on the contents of the April bag, I would say a resounding yes if you love trying new products.





Bag of Love
Website: http://www.bag-of-love.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bag-of-Love/513019618721315?fref=ts

The Butterfly Project Malaysia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ButterflyProjectMalaysia

Have you tried April's Bag of Love? What's your favorite sample beauty box subscription so far?

P/S Don't forget to join my La Senza giveaway with prizes worth more than RM400!

9 comments:

  1. My moisturizing cream has separated too!!!! Just wanted to ask about you guys :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG really? Could it be possible that I've been using it the entire time not even noticing that it was separated? Ack! We should definitely let Mi Mi know about this, at least she can pass the feedback to Decleor.

      Delete
    2. And I wonder if yours looked like the one in my pic? With the yellowy color and all?

      Delete
  2. my decleor moisturizer got separated too, same white paste in the middle surrounded by yellowish/oil-like solution. but i tried shaking the tube before use and it doesn't come out separated anymore :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really glad to know this wasn't an isolated case. Would've been very sad otherwise. Hehe.

      Thanks for letting me know that! I've actually tried shaking to redisperse them, but I think the formula has already completely gone to separation from cracking. (Nerd pharmaceutial talk, lol!) So I'd have to shake it before every use, boo.

      Delete
  3. Babe, good review. i tried to read all the bag of love reviews in other blogs, they kinda sucked balls. i'm keeping an eye out on this beauty box, but i think i'll wait to hear about may n june first. it's $$

    can you post up the may one soon? may is ending already

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Abby. I don't think any reviews 'sucked balls' precisely, maybe they just weren't tailored to your taste?

      I know right, it's even more to add to our monthly budget for beauty arsenals. I get your reservations :)

      The May bag actually just recently got sent out. And I won't be reviewing the June bag unfortunately :S

      Delete
  4. Definitely! A full size product is the thing that keeps subscribers and attracts new customers.

    Btw sweetie, can you please let me know which pinterest plugin are you using for your images? I have no idea which to use!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True! It definitely benefits them in the long run.

      Of course! If I'm not mistaken it was this one: http://www.bloggersentral.com/2012/11/pinterest-pin-it-button-on-image-hover.html

      Hope this helps! :)

      Delete

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