Beautyheaven Natural Beauty Month 2021- beauty box trial and review
Every August, Beautyheaven celebrates Natural Beauty Month by giving members the chance to try a range of products with the common theme "natural beauty". What used to be a special dedicated event held in the Beautyheaven HQ has now become a curated selection of natural beauty products came in a classy magnetic keepsake box.
We have been asked to use these goodies for 2 weeks and rate them on the Beautyheaven website.
Last year's beauty box was epic. But this year's is beyond that. The main thing is that the selection has been very well thought through: from top to toe it has been taken care of. Also, instead of getting a few different face creams (which sometimes happen in beauty boxes), there is only one for each category of products so they can be all used together. It was really a self-care experience at its best.
Since Nude by Nature is the major partner for this event, I will start with it first.
Brand new launches by Nude by Nature
Perfecting Primer - Hydrating and Illuminate
For a few years, I have been recommending the previous version of Nude By Nature Perfecting Primer. It is a great base for both powder & liquid foundation, and extremely affordable! With this new launch, Nude By Nature has rolled out four different primers, including: Smooth and Nourish (which I believe is exactly the same formulation as the previous version), Blur and Matify, Correct and Even, and Hydrate and Illuminate.
Mine is "hydrate and illuminate" and there is not too much difference to the original one that I used. Same smart (flat) packaging, same lovely smooth texture, same great performance and same affordability. There is perhaps slightly more pearlescence or fine shimmer particles in it - I cannot really tell if that makes a difference to the resulting makeup finish because all my foundations are on the glowy or dewy side instead of matte.
At this stage I am unable to comment on makeup longevity (we are in 10th week of lockdown, so I can only test this around my house without the sun, heat, wind and everything else happening outside). So far, it seems to me that the primer is really similar to my previous one which I can confirm it did make my makeup last longer.
This primer is silicone-free as well, a bonus for those who prefer silicone-free makeup.
Nude by Nature Makeup Setting Spray
The natural setting spray is a completely new product for the brand.
The Natural Setting Spray is an ethanol-free spray that can be used on powder or liquid makeup. I usually like to use a setting spray (or simply thermal spring water) to set my makeup as it seems to take away the powdery and cakey look.
The spray is very lovely to use, the spray works well to disburse a fine mist. Overall, this spray reminds me of MAC Fix+ (I use it in my professional kit as an ethanol-free option). Fix+ is an iconic product so it is a pleasant surprise for me that Nude by Nature has a product that is comparable to that.
But for the days that I have used it in my house (thanks to lock down), my makeup looks good well into the evening.
On the info sheet that we received, it states that this spray can also be used as a primer - not surprising as the MAC Fix+ I mentioned above can also be used as a primer! The way I use a multipurpose spray is to spray directly on moisturised face, use a brush to blend out the droplets, give it a couple of minutes to settle if I can afford, and apply foundation using the same brush. Spray more to finish - easy!
Essano Advanced Brightening Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
As you might know I am a vitamin C user. I like a good dose of ascorbic acid (the most native, potent form of vitamin C) but it is very unstable and fiddly to use. Vitamin C derivatives (modified vitamin C molecules) are more stable and have a longer shelf life.
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is used in Essano's formula. It is oil-soluble (compare to ascorbic acid which is water-soluble). What is means is that it penetrates skin better and therefore (theocratically) more potent than other vitamin C derivatives. If you are familiar with The Ordinary, that brand also makes an ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate at 20%.
Although Essano's formula contains only 5% ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, it is a very comprehensive formula. It contains squalane, glycerin, betaine, jojoba oil, vitamin E, rosehip seed oil just to name a few. All of these are skin goodies.
So the Vitamin C here is low dose, but overall it has a good formula.
Inside the tinted bottle is a white. thick but non-oily serum which smells like fresh oranges. Although the texture is beautiful, it does not have much "slip". I use 5-6 drops for face and neck. It layers well with other products except facial oil applied immediately after (it tends to pill). The solution for me is to mist the skin wet again after applying the serum and before the oil.
The 20mL bottle lasted me 3.5 weeks (used twice a day, 5 drops each time).
This is certainly one to keep using beyond the Natural Beauty Month!
Glow Lab Age Renew Retinol* Booster Oil
Since using the Glow Lab Age Renew Soothing Day Cream last year, Glow Lab has been on my radar.
The Glow Lab Age Renew Retinol* Booster Oil is light weight. It is not exactly a dry oil, but the feeling on skin is not heavy. The oil is quite runny so care is needed to apply. The instructions say apply 2-3 drops to face but I do about 5-6 drops to face and neck (never forget about the neck!) The trick for a good absorption is to apply it on wet skin (I spray a mist toner before applying). I wait 10 minutes before applying the next layer. I found that the wait time means better product absorption and it also gives me better results. The instructions also say you can mix the oil into moisturiser. I don't like doing this myself as I like to make sure my skin gets active ingredients in the most concentrated way possible.
Skin feels comfortable, very supple without a greasy feeling throughout the day.
One thing that I didn't like is that it is called Retinol* Booster Oil. The asterisk is part of the name (not added by me) because the oil does not actually contain retinol (Shocker!). It contains bakuchiol which has been "claimed" to be a "natural" alternative to retinol. So far there has been one independent clinical study claiming that the results between retinol and bakuchiol were somewhat comparable (I explained this a bit more in my other blog post on bakuchiol here).
This is the second bakuchiol-based product I have used. I did not think much of the previous one but this one is certainly doing something. I don't know about lines and wrinkles, but my skin is smoother and softer when I am using this oil, and it does not feel the same whenever I stop using it. Together with the Essano serum above it is a fantastic (and cheap) combo to use.
This is a very lovely oil in its own right. There is really no need for the brand to leverage on the "retinol" name in my opinion. On top of that, bakuchiol causes low to no irritation and can be safely used day and night. Why claim itself as a retinol which a lot of people are intolerant towards retinol. I really hope that the industry can cut out this kind of marketing crap in the future.
Weleda 24H Hydrating Facial Cream
This one is not for me.
Featuring Pickly Pear Cactus, this moisturiser also has safflower seed extract (2nd ingredient) and ethanol (3rd ingredient).
The first time I put this cream on I could detect a very strong ethanol smell. I also found this cream very thick, quite greasy and it formed a layer of oil on my skin which did not sink in.
I know very well that my skin and ethanol are not the best of friends. Unfortunately I had to put this one down after 3 days because my skin felt dehydrated and started breaking out. Usually I do not have any pimples but this is just the way my skin responds to a high concentration of ethanol.
The last time my skin broke out, it was in response to a safflower seed oil based moisturiser. So my skin could also be reacting to this ingredient as well.
I don't have the right skin type for this moisturuser but apparently other trailers do like it a lot.
Grow Thicker and Fuller Thickening Treatment
This is something that I didn't even know I needed.
I have a lot of hair, so while I like the idea of having even more hair, I have not actively looked for thickening and volumising products. I mean, I have dry shampoo for giving me that one extra day between washes, but I didn't know I needed anything else.
It goes on freshly-washed wet hair as a non-sticky and non-greasy leave-in treatment. The extended nozzle gives a good precision to target the roots. It feels very soothing on the scalp. It has an expensive botanical smell (think Aveda).
It was love at the first few sprays.
I let my hair dry naturally and tied up my hair as usual. I jumped into a zoom conference (as usual), looked and the screen and went, hello, who's this person with voluminous hair and a small face? I had more natural-looking volume on top of my head even with hair all pulled back without proper styling.
The best thing is, unlike other texturisers, it doesn't makes my hair feel sticky (there's a bit more "friction" but I can still run my fingers through my hair), doesn't make my scalp itchy, and I don't feel I need to wash my hair any more often.
Reading the ingredients I believe this treatment is a temporary boost and I have not been using it long enough to say whether my hair has been forever volumised.
Dermal Therapy Sensitive Skin Lotion
I can safely say Dermal Therapy is one of the most underrated brands. I have their lip balm and now I have tried this lotion. Both are amazing but not many people are talking about them?
The sensitive skin lotion is easy to apply, easy to be absorbed (no need to rub over and over again) and once absorbed it is not greasy and I can get dressed right away. Locks the moisture in very well until the next shower. My skin is usually itchy in winter due to dryness, but I have experienced none of that whenever I use this lotion.
Not that any of these things bother me but this lotion contains no silicone, parabens or fragrance for those who prefer.
Plunketts NS8 Heel Balm Complex
This heel balm is non-abrasive, formulated with AHA and urea.
I love it. It is effective, affordable, non-greasy, and does what it says. AHA has always worked really well on my face so it makes perfect sense to put some on my feet as well. Combining AHA exfoliation and moisturising emollients it makes my skin smoother and softer.
It is meant to be used without physical scrubbing or exfoliation, but I do anyway. I usually use either a coffee scrub or St Ives face scrub on my feet once every few days, and then this heel balm every night.
The hardened skin does not completely go away, but my feet feel a lot smoother and softer.
Burt's Bees Lip Shine
True to its name, this is more of a makeup product than skincare. The lip gloss gives a hint of pink and not very pigmented. The shine looks wet and not glittery (which I like). Probably on the less sticky side amongst other lip glosses I have used. It tastes like mango or apricot or both (I am hopeless in describing taste or scent). On the downside I think it lacks longevity (needs frequent re-applying) and moisturisation (lips still feel dry, but my lips are usually super dry). Best to layer on top of a lip balm.
The box was gifted by Beautyheaven. Apart from reviewing the products on Beautyheaven's website, I have no obligation to publish any other reviews (including this blog post). My opinion is honest.
Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.