The Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards has come around again, and in conjunction with Latest In Beauty are offering a selection of the shortlisted items in a six item beauty box for £30. In previous years there have been a good selection of premium and budget brands, but there was always a scramble to get the best items which has led to discontentment at times. Most of the problems revolve around server issues, but website issues too, with baskets emptying if a product is sold out, then a lag when you try to add a product to your bag, and finally checkout freezing. There have also been criticisms that the launch time, usually around 7 a.m., was unfair for those who do shift work, but I think that’s a moot point because not everyone has shifts, and there will always be someone who is busy doing something.
Latest in Beauty has listened to feedback, and have divided the items into two drops on consecutive Sundays, drop one was on 29 March, and drop two will be on 5 April. The launch time has also been pushed back to 10 a.m., although I don’t think that makes much difference except to stop people complaining about setting their alarms to get up. Another valid criticism is that LiB love to tease customers to visit the website to see what’s on offer, and by doing so they have shot themselves in the foot several times. I really wish the millennials among them in the office would realize it’s not smart, and all it does is clog up the website traffic which deters customers as people log on to see what’s on offer. People simply don’t bother if they see an ‘error’ again, and then when they do get on they are disappointed with the choices.
Rating and verdict
I was fortunate enough to see all the choices for the first drop last Sunday, but it was stressful, and I was only up because I was ill and couldn’t sleep. It took me about 45 minutes of refreshing the page to add items, and if you clicked for more details then you ended up losing the page so you just had to go with your gut, take a chance, and decide on items you knew you would use. Most people go for the full sized or high value items, but I have found most of these end up on eBay, so I’d rather go for items I will use or that I can use as a gift. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed and I struggled to make up a box and toyed with bothering. The clincher for me was the Crabtree and Evelyn Body Melt because I’d sampled it elsewhere and had run out of body lotion and thus needed some kind of body product.
As usual, the complaints about the website filled the Facebook page about people not being able to log on, LiB apologizing, and then within a couple of hours all the best items were sold out. I only knew my order had gone through due to a confirmation email as the payment page was flashing ‘processing’ for about 15 minutes. It doesn’t make for a pleasant buying experience, and some may say that’s what you should expect when you want a bargain, but I would say other companies during busy periods don’t have the same issues. So be forewarned, buying a LiB box during the first hours of being launched can be stressful, but hopefully that will become a thing of the past.
Some of the items were worth buying, and others were budget items or small sample sizes that weren’t really worth it. Each item would equate to £5 each, so here are some of the 26 items in the first drop, and what I got:
- Garnier Hair Food Shampoo and Conditioner (full sized) ~ not really worth getting as you can buy each for £3 in Superdrug.
- Lancome Genifique Serum ~ 7 ml deluxe sample
- Sanctuary Spa Wet Skin Moisture Miracle ~ 50 ml deluxe sample. Another IMHO not worth getting as you can buy 200ml in Boots for £6
- Eylure Promagnetic Eyeliner and lash system~ full size
- Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser ~ 30 ml deluxe sample. I chose this as I was struggling to find something I would use. While it was okay, it’s really for blemish prone skin, so the description is a little misleading, and it wasn’t amazing as it was hyped up to be.
- Amanda Harrington Self Tan Mousse ~ full sized.
- Clea De Peau Le Serum ~ 7ml deluxe sample. I chose this as I like the brand and I also love serums. It’s highly fragranced and has a light gel texture. I’ve used it a couple of times and haven’t seen or felt much of a difference.
- Code 8 Precision Liquid Eyeliner ~ full sized. This was in many advent calendars and there are a number floating around on eBay for less than half price.
- Beauty Kitchen Abyssinian Beauty Balm ~ full size. I chose this item as I felt it would get used at some point as it’s a multi use product.
- Other items included a Colab dry shampoo, Rimmel Nail Polish, and a Revlon lipstick, all of which are available in Boots for less than £8, and with a choice of shades.
The items that sold out quickly included; Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick, Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Body Melt, Jo Loves (small) candle, Huda Obsessions Palette, Givenchy Mascara, Color Wow Mist-ical Shine Spray, and Inkey Polyglutamic Acid.
The items in bold are what I chose, and I had to be quick and think about what I would realistically use. With the current coronavirus lockdown no one is going out, so I didn’t think a shine spray was going to be much use, I don’t wear eyeshadow and still have an unused Huda palette from another box, and I have some Inkey products but wasn’t impressed with them.
I don’t think the selection in drop one was inspiring, and as I said I got the box for the body melt, and consider the other items a bonus. Having looked at the sneak peek for drop two, I can’t see much that I like, but if I’m up I’ll look, but I’m not going to stress myself out refreshing the page. I really don’t understand why LiB think all the hype of keeping the items a secret is important, because people either will buy irrespective as beauty junkies, or see the company as click and bait and be disappointed.
The second drop is on 5 April, at 10 a.m., and unsold items from the first drop will also be available. The price is £30 for six items and you must be a registered customer to buy a box. Good luck to those who decide to buy a box on Sunday!