We seem to be awash with beauty subscription boxes and sometimes it feels like it’s hard to see the wood from the trees. It is a clever concept and a great way of trying new products plus the idea of having a surprise to look forward to every month would light up the faces of most beauty junkies. Still, which do you go for when there are so many to choose from?
My Little Box is a new one from over the little pond that is the English channel. The Parisian phenomenon has been doing the rounds in France and is now making the leap to come to British shores. In fact it stems from the creation of My Little Paris Newsletter which began in 2008 and now boasts 1.3 million readers globally.
Being French I believe My Little Box has the edge of other subscription boxes. There’s no denying the French know their skincare and beauty with some of our ultimate favourites originating from the shelves of tiny French pharmacies. In a way it’s envious. Here pharmacies cling on for dear life, resorting to dispensing medication but in France, tradition is preserved from les boucheries to les pharmacies.
Thankfully My Little Box has come to the rescue. Every month there is a new themed box, containing a mixture of full size and trial size branded beauty surprises and fashion accessories lovingly selected by the My Little Box team.
The latest is My Little Sunset Box*. Inside is a copy of My Little World magazine written by bloggers around the world (I am having to brush up on my A Level French to read this though the UK edition will be in English).
There is also a gift box containing a bracelet by Medecine Douce, playing cards and inside a dainty and cute draw bag, samples from Laino (an exfoliating scrub), a pot of L’Occitane’s show-stopping Immortelle Precious Cream and My Little Box’s own cosmetic brand lip balm.
To be honest, I’ve not been wowed by previous beauty boxes but the samples I’ve seen from My Little Box indicate it’s all killer, no filler – all will be of much needed use. I’ve been wanting to try Immortelle for God knows how long but I balk at sachets. This is a substantial sized sample that’ll see me through for a good few weeks before I decide if I want to invest in a full sized pot.
My Little Box is on its way to the UK in September and will cost £14.95 a month without commitment. You can sign up here to be the first to know when the first box is ready.
If there’s an ideal day to indulge in a spa treatment, then I vote for Sunday. It is when most of us unwind before gearing up for the dreaded working week and after the hectic Saturday I had had cleaning and prepping for a dinner party, I had definitely played my cards right with booking a facial with Re:SPA at London’s Canary Wharf.
During the week Canary Wharf is a busy business district, home to some of the biggest financial corporations and frantically crawling with the suited and booted but away from the frenzy, a sanctuary of peace and relaxation exists. This is Re:SPA, located within the Reebok Sports Club inside One Canada Square, the second tallest skyscraper in the country.
It’s late morning when I squeeze into a lift (and suck my stomach in) with a bunch of gym bunnies ready to hit the treadmill. While they sprinted off to the high-tech machinery of Reebok’s epic gym, I trotted up to reception looking like a pretentious z-list celebrity wearing my sunglasses. The truth is, I had such terrible dark circles under my eyes from three hours sleep from the night before (a case of some guests overstaying their welcome past 1am combined with heart burn – waaaaa!).
Re:SPA has a tempting range of beauty treatments, complementary therapies, sports rehabilitation and massages on offer. There are eight treatment rooms, an express treatment bar, as well as a relaxation area, which apart from the occasional rumble from the Jubilee line, is a blissful corner to hide away in. Nothing but the finest products are used in their treatments which include Guinot, Aromatherapy Associates and Murad.
I had chosen Guinot’s exclusive Hydradermie 2 Facial, which I knew nothing about. The word ‘hydra’ leapt out and I figured this would be perfect for my dehydrated skin. It’s only when my therapist Ellie explained in detail that she would be using roller electrodes on my face that I shifted a little uneasily in my seat.
We then had a brief chat about my skin concerns, my daily routine and what products I use before I was left alone to disrobe and pop myself under the soft, luxurious towels. Ellie returned shortly after but before she could begin the treatment, scrutinised my skin closely. She confirmed my skin was dehydrated in places, mostly the forehead and at the sides. The forehead may have something to do with the fact my fringe covers it thus me missing that area in my skincare routine.
The Hydradermie 2 Facial goes beyond where most facials stop. Its purpose is to make skin youthful and radiant, from the very first treatment. The fun starts with the skin being cleansed to remove any make-up and creams. I turned up slap-free, which made Ellie’s job quick and easy.
A second cleanse follows before the skin is exfoliated. So far, it’s like a typical facial. Then the Guinot machine is switched on and I’m told I may hear a faint buzzing sound as Ellie performs a ‘double ionisation’ whereby negative and positive charges from the rollers rapidly penetrate the epidermis with ionised treatment ingredients to remove impurities and toxins. Actually I don’t feel a thing yet the rollers gently kneading my skin is very relaxing and therapeutic.
The next part of the treatment is a familiar one: the extraction. It’s the least comfortable part yet immensely satisfying (particularly for the therapist) as blackheads are removed. Fortunately this part didn’t hurt a great deal.
Once the impurities had been expelled, Ellie took the massaging rollers up a few notches and swept them across the face to oxygenate and boost cells. This brightens the complexion by stimulating skin cell oxygenation and microcirculation. The sound of the current is like a mosquito buzzing around and even though it’s a high frequency, it doesn’t hurt at all.
Finally a massage follows, with a mask to cool things down. I’m left feeling utterly in awe of how relaxing the Hydradermie 2 Facial is and crucially, the end result. My face instantly looked brighter and more radiant, and I was proud to spend the rest of the day out and about without a splodge of make-up on. Two weeks on and my skin has never looked so good.
It’s a deep-cleansing treatment suitable for all skin types and is customised accordingly whether you’re dehydrated, mature, oily, sensitive or pigmented. If you’re nervous about having a reaction to facials from past bad experiences or getting married and want to look your absolute best, you needn’t have any fears with the Hydradermie.
Unlike other facials which use products, Guinot’s Hydradermie 2 Faicla largely depends on the effective and penetrating rollers and only those experienced beauty therapists who have been rigorously trained are qualified to carry out these facials. Make-up artist Daniel Sandler is a fan and I think I am one too. I wouldn’t think twice about booking this treatment again especially ahead of a special occasion.
Guinot’s Hydradermie 2 Facial costs £84 for non-members and £80 for members, and lasts one hour and 10 minutes. For more information on this and other treatments at Re:SPA or to make a booking, visit www.respalondon.co.uk.
*I was a guest at Re:SPA and received the treatment as complimentary.