Happy new year! How are you faring so far? 😉
I started to miss my evening glass of wine today.
It has been five days.
How am I ever going to manage thirty-one?!
I digress. I have been desperate to tell you about this incredible Cult Beauty Box by Caroline Hirons ever since the moment I was gifted it(!!) on Christmas Day. Yes, dear readers. Back in early December when I updated my business page on Facebook promoting this box as a must-have Christmas gift for wives/girlfriends/mums, Mr Flute secretly ordered it as a surprise. For yours truly! As my mum would say, “What a gem”. What a gem indeed.
If you do not know who Caroline Hirons is, she is well worth getting to know. In fact, one Sunday, pour yourself a cuppa and head on over to her site, carolinehirons.com, for an informative and straight-talking read on all things skincare.
Caroline is very honest about what she thinks works and what doesn’t and has a loyal global following. When she started curating premium skincare boxes in collaboration with Cult Beauty a couple of years ago, they completely sold out. This is her third box.
Caroline & Cult Beauty’s latest collaboration, aptly entitled Box Of Dreams Vol III – which, by the way, is still available to buy!! – is quite simply, DIVINE. When I opened up the box it was like Caroline had read my mind and delivered to me EXACTLY what I needed.
Every box curated by Caroline for Cult Beauty contains six (or so) products from selected skincare brands from around the world. Experienced in sequence, they are designed to enable the user to give themselves a mini facial at home, e.g. six stages, usually starting with a cleanser and ending with a moisturiser. Not every box does this but there is nearly always a serum or an oil, some kind of cleansing product, an acid or exfoliator, an eye product and a moisturiser. The previous box, Vol II (sadly, no longer available) came with the Bella Freud Loving candle which I absolutely adored burning on cold, wintery nights.
So, what’s in this box then?
I have used every single product in this box several times since I got it and have to say am quite in love with each and every one! My thoughts on each product are listed below in the order in which Caroline herself recommends applying them.
The Omorovizca Moor Cream Cleanser is the perfect ‘just-got-home-from-work-and-cannot-WAIT-to-take-my-makeup-off ‘ early evening cleanse. I have also found myself reaching for it first thing in the morning owing to its invigorating scent (derived from a balanced mix of essential oils including peppermint and eucalyptus). It has a slight but not altogether unpleasant texture (ever so slightly gritty….Hungarian moor mud from Europe’s largest thermal lake!) and is safe to use around the eyes, though I would always remove any eye makeup first. I don’t normally like ‘menthol’ smelling beauty products but always look forward to using this one.
Oskia’s Renaissance Mask is already one of my favourites from the box. Love, love, LOVE it. Caroline describes this AHA (fruit) acid mask brilliantly in the Instagram live she filmed when the box first launched. She says that as opposed to mechanical scrubs which require you to do something in order for them to work (many of which, importantly, run the risk of damaging the surface of the skin in the process…STOP using them!), this one is like ‘the hoover that goes around the room by itself’. I.e. you just put it on and leave it to clean up. Brilliant analogy!
It smells quite strongly of rose (if you hate rose you might struggle) and when massaged into the skin it turns from a pinky balm to a whiteish, slightly sticky paste. If you are looking to ease yourself into AHAs then look no further. My one tip would be to apply it and then sit down/watch telly/read a book rather than do the hoovering as it can feel quite oppressive/greasy when you start moving around! (I speak here from experience).
The third skincare treat in the box, DCL’s Multi Action Penta Peel Pads, are not entirely pleasant to use (i.e. they sting a bit) but this feels like a small price to pay for the way they leave your skin. Containing a mix of five acids, each pad provides the equivalent of a five minute peel. A terrific way to slough away dead skin prior to applying any serums or masks. DCL is one of those brands you hear top makeup artists and dermatologists nonchalantly slipping into conversation to as their ‘go-to’ so I was delighted to finally be able to try something from this much-revered brand.
The remaining three products are equally as exciting as the first three, if not MORE exciting! *Oh no, I fainted*.
Introducing NIOD’s Fractioned Eye Contour Concentrate. Damn, this product is good. Unlike any eye serum I have used before, its low viscosity is slightly addictive and I love the fact the concentrate can be applied to the entire eye area, including the eye lids. The ingredients description list on NIOD’s website is pretty mind-blowing (if you can read it to the end!) but the main thing you need to know is that the concentrate contains ’28 clinical technologies to target many signs of under eye and above eye aging’ including puffiness, dark circles, loss of elasticity and fine lines. I have been applying a couple of drops morning and night (delicately mixing the serum first onto the back of my hand and then patting it onto the eye area using my ring finger). Time will tell if it actually works but I am definitely sleeping better knowing I have such wonderful skincare technology working its magic around my tired eyes!
At £34, Leahlani Champagne Serum is the cheapest of the six products (the remainder are all £40+) but its price belies its luxurious experience. First of all, it is aptly titled ‘Happy Hour For Your Skin’ (it had me at hello dear reader) and I can attest that a couple of drops, pressed onto dry skin, feels rather heavenly. Imagine a cocktail, if you will, of not just any old grapeseed oil but chardonnay grapeseed oil, Rooiboos tea, and a delicate blend of nine other precious oils (rose, lavender, calendula…you name it, it is in it!). Given its high oil content it takes a wee while to be absorbed (as opposed to its more water-based, and therefore more quickly absorbed, cousins) but it is worth the wait. Parched winter skin will be blowing you kisses from the sidelines with this little beauty.
Lastly but by no means least, the product I was most intrigued by: May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm. A little desk research revealed that this is not the first time Caroline has featured former model, May’s cult-selling product in her Cult Beauty boxes and the fact she has included it twice tells me she holds it in pretty high regard. It is also the most expensive of the six products and the only one over the £100 mark, coming in at a whopping £174.00 for 50ml. Reviewing the stunning list of biodynamic, organic, vegan and sustainably harvested ingredients helps to justify the cost!
First impressions are that you need the teeniest tiniest amount (around pea size or half a pea if talking garden pea). I was rather too enthusiastic with my first ‘go’ but quickly cottoned onto the fact that a thin layer pressed into the skin is the best way to experience it (warm desired amount into palms of your hands, then press onto skin as final step in your winter skincare routine). I love the fact that the blue colouring comes not from artificial colourants but from Blue Tansy (I had to google what it was…the ingredient of 2015 apparently). Caroline describes this soothing balm best as being like ‘tucking your skin into bed with a cashmere blanket’ and I couldn’t agree more.
I could go on and on (“Please don’t!” I hear you cry 😉 but alas, my bathroom calls! Friday nights are the new at home facials don’t you know 😉
How much is it?
The Box Of Dreams isn’t cheap but if you are looking to step up your skincare game with some seriously good products which together, form a great routine, this edit provides enormous savings (over 40% in fact). The total cost of the box is £220.00 GBP including shipping (please check with cultbeauty.co.uk for shipping costs to other countries) but if you were to buy the products individually you would be looking at paying in the region of £409.00.
PS. Want this AMAZING box? Link to buy (still showing in stock as at 19:00 GMT on 05/01/18).
PPS. Not an ad.