LookFantastic Beauty Box for August 2019 Review and Thoughts on Subscription Services

I’ve always had mixed feelings about beauty box services as I’m quite picky and tend to dislike surprises.. But I was kindly gifted LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ *Beauty Box of August 2019 for consideration and decided to review it. To beef up this post I also wrote a couple of short paragraphs what is my personal take on subscription services in general. This post includes spoilers (obviously) as I’m quickly sharing my initial thoughts about each product. Hope you enjoy!

*Beauty Box kindly gifted for review, my thoughts are honest and my own!

August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

My Thoughts on Subscription Services

I think there are two kinds of people when it comes to subscription services: all in or very picky. I’d say I’m the latter as I’m very sceptic if I’d actually use or benefit from a continuous service. Moreover I’m constantly trying to be more considerate about accumulating more stuff, especially things I don’t need or want. I don’t have my own Netflix, HBO, Spotify, any magazine subscriptions.. Only things I can thing of I renew monthly/annually are my climbing gym membership, VPN and online cloud space.

I used to be a subscriber to a bi-monthly eco beauty box, but since the price with shipping to EU was pretty hefty I decided to quit once there came a sneak peeks of a box I didn’t care for. But I would considerate subscribing again, if the service was well-curated. My favorite type of a box is 1-3 full size items vs samples. I’m the type of person that believes samples should be free or gifts with purchase, not something I want to blindly order online and get delivered to my door.

Last year I wrote about a beauty box service Glamlin where the contents were personally curated to you (but delivered blindly) and in the end I didn’t want to repurchase any of the items. I got to say I was sceptic when getting a press sample of the LookFantastic box.

August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

How LookFantastic Beauty Box Works

You’ll pay a monthly fee of £15.00/€20 or a 3/6/12 month rolling subscription; longer subscriptions are obviously little cheaper. You’ll get a fresh Elle magazine (the size is a bit more compact) and 6 products with the total worth of over £50/€85. The items can be full-size or sample sizes, new trends or just updates to your beauty routine. Your subscription is automatically renewed, but you may unsubscribe at any time. Read more here or in Finnish täällä!

LookFantastic August 2019 ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box

Sadly, looks like the peak of Finnish heatwave was in July this year, but I wanna stay optimistic and enjoy August to the fullest! Summer is not over. No, and I’m not in self-denial.. One thing that made an impression on me when I received the box is how LookFantastic uses only paper and cardboard packaging. There’s no plastic bubble wrap, only paper shreds of sort that protect the items. Everything looks beautiful and put together, like a gift. There’s even a matching silk paper wrapping and sticker that you won’t see everything right away, which adds a touch of elegance to the box. Love!

Anyway, the box comes with the latest Elle magazine, which I’m not reviewing, but lets just quickly say that if I love the compact size and if I had to pick a women’s fashion/beauty magazine in English or Finnish, it’d most likely be Elle or Trendi (in Finnish). There’s also LF Beauty Box ‘Edit’ with tips and tricks and the six products, which I’m going to reveal next..

August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

LUXIE 737 TAPERED HIGHLIGHTER BRUSH

This brush impressed me with its quality. Usually I’m partial to only Japan-made brushes, but from time to time there’s a synthetic brush from Western brands. Oddly I couldn’t find the Tapered Highlighter Brush 737 from LookFantastic website, but the prices were around £30/€33. Fairly pricey for a basic synthetic brush, but it is soft. Not as soft and lovely as my ITCosmetics brushes, but those are even more on the pricy side. I really enjoy the handle, it sits easily on my hand. The brush held well together when I washed this and I’m look forward trying it.

BELLÀPIERRE HEATWAVE HIGHLIGHTING PALETTE

This palette was a mehh for me. Highlighting palettes are usually not my thing and the packaging/quality seemed cheap, so I swatched only one shade in the case I wanted to give this away.. and I will. The color swatched very sheerly. But this might be an OK addition to a youngster’s makeup bag or for someone who doesn’t want their glow to be seen from the space.

JAMES READ 1 HOUR GLOW MASK FACE & BODY (sample size)

I’m not going to even try this as I’m all about my Snow White complexion, but I could immediately think of a family member, who’d love this for some added tan and glow without UV radiation. 25ml seems to be enough to decide if you like the product or not.

August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

NATURA HERB INFUSED SHEET MASK

Now this mask I enjoyed a lot! The sizing was generous, which I like, and the sheet was packed with a lot of hydrating essence. There was a lot of extra to slather on décolletage or legs, as I usually do. If you find sheet masks are too expensive or wasteful for a daily/weekly treat I might use this mask for 20 mins, put it back to the original packaging and let it sink more essence for one re-use. Loved this was vegan! Sadly, Natura Herb masks are not carried on LookFantastic, I hope they’ll consider adding it to their selection.

DOUCCE LUSCIOUS LIP STAIN IN ’HOLIDAY GETAWAY’ (mini)

Yeah, another item I’m skipping. Not my kind of shade, I think a friend will enjoy this more than I do.

RITUALS ’THE RITUALS OF HOLI’ BODY CREAM (100ml)

I have a soft spot for Rituals body products. Their scrubs and scents are amazing, plus they don’t break the bank. We used to get Rituals products only online or abroad, but there is a nice selection now available in Finland. I think I’ll save this for my gym or swimming bag as the 100ml is a perfect size to carry around, but not too skimpy for a subscription box. Flamingo flower and pink grapefruit is quite a feminine and sweet scent, maybe a bit sickly, but the texture is spot on nourishing and sinks in quickly.

Total value of this months box according to the BeautyBox Edit: £92,79 / ~€100.47

August LookFantastic ‘Heatwave’ Beauty Box Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts on the LookFantastic Heatwave Beauty Box

You might enjoy LookFantastic Beauty Box if..

  • You already read Elle Magazine

  • Enjoy a little monthly “treat to yourself” and enjoy surprises

  • Consider purchasing a gift (especially good for young beauty enthusiasts)

  • Like to get value for your money

  • Need or enjoy minis for travel

I think I’m not the best target group for this box service as I’m so picky with my beauty products.. I think most of these items I will donate to a family member. This is too bad because I did prefer like the ‘Hydration Beauty Box’ from July much better, but since the press sample got delivered to me quite late I decided to not post about it. LookFantastic’s Limited Edition boxes on the other hand seem right up my alley, they are luxurious, you see what you’ll get and feature some amazing brands like NEOM or Omorovicza LE boxes!

What did you think about this month’s LookFantastic box? Do you subscribe to any services or beauty boxes?

Why Minimalism, KonMari and 'Capsule' Trends Need To Stop + Tips For Smart Consuming

From the beginning of this year I’ve been bumping into capsule wardrobes, project pans, minimalism challenges and no-buy promises more than ever. I thought I’d share some thoughts on this topic as I feel quite strongly about it - mainly what annoys me about this trend. Please share your thoughts in the comments if you feel similarly - or against!

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Reasons Minimalism Is So Popular Right Now?

I’d like to believe it’s because of the environment. Global warming is real, we simply cannot keep on consuming and wasting this much if we want to have a future on this little rock. But in media, I think minimalism is mostly just very trendy: Marie Kondo and her tidying rules were all the craze a couple of years ago, but now minimalism is also constantly spoken and pushed by bloggers and Youtubers. Where as shopping hauls were super popular video concept, now people post declutters and purges.

Why Am I Against “Capsule“ Collections and Declutters?

There’s a reason why I feel sceptic, sometimes even against the whole capsule concept and declutters. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, a capsule makeup collection (or wardrobe etc.) is a way to curate your stash, for example separating and storing seasonal items, discarding unused ones. Perhaps you limit yourself to a certain number of products and only shopping for a need. Decluttering one’s makeup stash (or wardrobe, cupboard, etc.) is getting rid of and donating unused items, also discarding things that have gone bad. That doesn’t sound so bad, just organizing?

The problem is the common mind-set to first discard and then create new “needs” to (re)purchase. We rarely just let go of unused items and show more love to our old favorites. Nope, there comes the need of replacing “missing items” as seasons, trends and hypes change. I see a similar trend with declutters - one shouldn’t just mindlessly discard old or unused items, but make a point why there’s so much excess in the first place! With all the new available room, one should refrain from shopping and filling it with new.

I started wondering if minimalism is just a trend for wealthy people, making you appear as a better person because because it’s trendy VS. being a mindful consumer. The things aren’t “weighing you down” but your problem with overconsumption. One popular Finnish blogger spoke how she has the goal of letting go 1000 things (excluding beauty items) - if I did the same, I’d be living in an empty flat.

My Tips for Mindful (Minimal) Consuming

I’m all about enjoying what I have, my problem is the endless decluttering, discarding and giving – that can lead to more consumption. In Finland we have a saying “The poor can’t afford to buy cheap” (“Köyhällä ei ole varaa ostaa halpaa”), which is what I stand by: only shopping for a need, saving and investing on quality items that don’t nee replacing right away. This method is also environmentally conscious as you’ll be buying less and only long-lasting items. A good quality item can often be repaired, fixed or modified.

  • When decluttering, remember to recycle accordingly!

  • Do self-searching why do you shop: is it for a need, because of boredom, sadness, etc. feelings you “deserve” something new

  • Stop referring to your items (bags, makeup, clothes, whatever) as a “collection”. They are items meant to be used, not just collected. Unless, you’re a collector of course.

  • Being a minimalist doesn’t mean asceticism, but enjoying and using what you already have.

  • Rotate your items to get the most out of them, store when not needed.

  • A no buy 6-12 months is a great way to inspect yourself as a consumer and make the most out of what you already have.

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Other Similar Trends To Follow

If you want to take a part in the “minimalist” game, I recommend two other trends: the anti-haul and no buy. An anti-haul is a concept created by drag artist Kimberly Clark where you use hyperbole to share why you are not shopping (new) makeup/product releases. We all have seen gazillion neutral palettes and red lipsticks, not that there was anything wrong with either of them, but this sort of humorous critical thinking raises awareness if we need all the new stuff.

The second trend is a no buy for X period of time, which I did myself in the Fall of 2017 by not shopping for new beauty items for a 1/2 year. I also have an article on How To Reduce Beauty Shopping. A no buy challenge encourages you to enjoy what you already have, question you actually need all what you want. I recommend checking Lisa Eldridge’s lovely #buynothing everyday makeup video where she focuses on techniques with what you may already have VS creating the need to purchase new.

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, I think moderate minimalism is a great thing. Especially in the beauty world, who isn’t tired of brands pushing out new but similar products, new collections from left and right or accidentally purchasing dupes on what you already have. I’m all about enjoying my stash, repurposing and rotating items (do you want an article on that?) and letting go what I don’t use, but I try to do it mindfully. What are your thoughts? Are you a person who likes to declutter things or have you planned a no-buy?

Lookfantastic Advent Calendar 2018 Review & Sneak Peek

Let me tell you a funny story. Near where I live there’s an office space that says Santa Claus: there’s a bearded fellow in a red shirt who does his paperwork while sipping Coke Zero. He has a red car that says “Santa Claus has come to town” and even a digital counter in the window, counting down days until Christmas. It’s both confusing and amusing.

Look Fantastic Advent Calendar 2018 Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

The Holiday season doesn’t usually excite me too much, but I do like gift giving. When Lookfantastic.fi kindly approached me if I wanted to check out their Beauty Advent Calendar 2018 of course I said yes! I did a poll on Instagram asking if you wanted to know all of the secret contents and the votes were close divided. So in this review I mention some brands and a couple of random products, but if you hate spoilers then scroll with caution!

LookFantastic Advent Calendar 2018

The Lookfantastic.fi Advent Calendar 2018 features 25 beauty items (mainly minis or deluxe samples) from skincare to haircare, cosmetics, tools and tanning. Each item is individually wrapped as a small gift, designed to bring you or your family/friends joy every day in December until Christmas. The calendar costs £79 / €109, with contents “worth over £300 / €325”. Lookfantastic often has discount codes so check out the front page of the site before ordering!

Look Fantastic Advent Calendar 2018 Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Packaging and Delivery

The Advent Calendar was very neatly in a fitted cardboard box, no extra padding. For me the delivery took about 2 weeks: I received a text message I could fetch the box from my local Post Nord pickup point. The actual size of the Advent Calendar surprised me: it’s huuuge. I don’t think the size comparison above with my hand does justice for this beautiful box. The box has a nice magnetic closure, feels sturdy and the look is very chic: Lookfantastic logos only in the front and top.

You pull out one of the mini boxes with gold foil numbering to see what’s inside. The items themselves are individually wrapped in beautiful red silk paper, which is great especially if you “happen to” sneak a peek what’s coming next.. I love this kind of attention to detail without excess packaging: silk paper wrapping is easy to recycle. If you decide to purchase this Calendar to yourself it could easily be reused next year by filling it with sweets for example.

Contents

OK this section has a couple of small spoilers. Be warned.

Look Fantastic Advent Calendar 2018 Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

As I said above, most of the products are travel sizes or minis. The sizes vary, but they’re about 4ml to 15ml and valued around £10 / €12 according to the press release. There’s a couple of full size items, which raise the value of the box, but one of them seems very over-prized to me (never heard of the brand and exclusive item to Lookfantastic) . Therefore I don’t think the real value of the Advent Calendar should be advertised over £300/€300. I decided to completely disregard this expensive item and the counted value using the press info and it was still over £250/€250 – not bad at all.

Some of the brands that caught my eye include:
Emma Hardie, Caudalie, First Aid Beauty, Illamasqua, Rituals and Omorovicza.

Final Thoughts

I devoured the whole Calendar in one evening, but as a gift for someone who enjoys beauty this is a very nice one. Displaying the beautiful Calendar, opening the doors and unwrapping alone is so much fun. There’s a good variation of products from skincare to hair to makeup, so if someone isn’t very into makeup alone I think this mix of “a bit of everything” still makes this a good gift. In my opinion The Lookfantastic Advent Calendar 2018 is a good value, but for me it’s not as high as advertised. Some of these items I could imagine as gifts with purchase, but this is a personal preference as I’m not too crazy about sample sizes. I’m going to switch out a couple of products I need to try (you know, for science) and gift this forward for a family member to enjoy.

Have you bought any Beauty Advent Calendars? Can you resist opening all doors at once?

**This item was kindly gifted for consideration. All thoughts are my honest & my own.