Tuesday, July 25, 2017

June Good Green Box*

Hello! I'm back with another Good Green Box* feature! If you missed the last one, you can read up on that here: April Good Green Box.  This is the June box, and it's a little bit different to what I've come to expect from this natural beauty subscription box service! Instead of a plethora of natural and organic beauty samples, the box contains a tin with 'Esse' written on the front. On closer inspection, this is a Trial Pack tin for Normal Skin, housing of a bunch of Esse Skincare samples! Let's have a look!

Esse Skincare Cream Cleanser (10 ml)
Esse Skincare Gel Cleanser (10 ml)
Esse Skincare Cocoa Exfoliator (10 ml)
Esse Skincare Clay Mask (10 ml)
Esse Skincare Deep Moisturiser (5 ml)
Esse Skincare Rich Moisturiser (5 ml)

We are also provided with the usual information card along with a booklet explaining all about the probiotic Esse skincare range. I hadn't heard of this brand before, but I was interested to read of their approach to skincare using probiotics. Apparently, optimal skin condition depends heavily on the probiotic microbes living on and in it. Probiotics help to reduce sensitivity, slow ageing and improve skin hydration. Without microbes, your skin is unable to perform basic functions, thus increasing the rate of skin ageing. Esse skincare uses prebiotics to selectively feed good microbes, and there are even live probiotic microbes included in two of their serums. I would have loved to try this but unfortunately the trial pack doesn't contain a serum.

Esse are certified organic, vegan and cruelty free. They also support fair trade and are a carbon neutral company. I'm impressed with their ranges, as they have skincare lines for sensitive and reactive skin, a Premium range for anti-ageing benefits and and the extensive Core range for normal skin.

The Deep Moisturiser smells amazing and is perfect for Winter since it's super-rich and packed full of prebiotics to feed beneficial microbes. It's ideal for people with very dry skin, and feels really nourishing when rubbed in. The Rich Moisturiser is creamier and takes longer to absorb, but leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. I really like both of these moisturisers.

The Gel Cleanser contains peppermint and spearmint oils to aid in micro-circulation, also making it a really refreshing wash. The Cream Cleanser removes dirt by binding with oil-based impurities. It contains marula oil for moisturisation and both this and the gel cleanser are ph balanced. Both cleansers are quite gentle and thin in consistency; my favourite is the gel one.

The refining Cocoa Microderm Exfoliator contains Kaolin and Calcium Carbonate to stimulate blood circulation and remove dead skin cells  and micro-particles to polish the skin's surface. It's really dark brown in colour which takes some getting used to, and is quite gritty in texture, providing a satisfying exfoliation. The Clay Mask is great for dehydrated skin as the inclusion of vitamins B, E and C work to reduce pigmentation, aid in cell regeneration and feed and nourish the skin. It's creamy and has a thin consistency.

If you're interested in Good Green Box you can check out their website here.

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Disclaimer: * This box was provided for editorial consideration. Reviews are my honest opinion. There are no affiliate links in this post. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

Have you tried Esse skincare?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Proactiv+ Blemish Control Range*

Hi guys! Today I'm bringing you my review of the Proactiv+ Blemish Control range of products! I'd heard a lot about Proactiv over the years, mainly through seeing the TV ads. You know the ones! I'd always been curious, especially as someone who consistently struggles with problem skin, so when I was contacted to trial the range for myself, I jumped at the chance. I was sent the Proactiv+ Skin Purifying Mask*, and the Proactiv+ 3 Step Kit*, which contains the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator*, Pore Targeting Solution* and the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator*. Read on for my thoughts!

Skin Purifying Mask (left), Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (right)

Skin Purifying Mask

"Skin Purifying Mask contains sulphur to help clear pores, blemishes and help prevent breakouts. Antioxidant vitamins and botanicals help to soothe, nourish and hydrate the skin."

This is a medium-thick white cream that contains really fine gritty particles. I absolutely love the texture and consistency of this mask! There was a slight tingling sensation as I applied it, which decreased the longer I left it on. Once dry, I moistened my face with warm water then gently rubbed the mask away in circular motions, which provided a light, and I might say quite satisfying, exfoliation. As such, on the days I used the Skin Purifying Mask, I skipped Step One, the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator, for fear of over-exfoliating and becoming a red-raw hot mess. This is actually my favourite type of mask. I have countless sheet masks in the cupboard, but I have to force myself to use them as they are wet, cold and uncomfortable, especially in Winter. I also don't like the feel of thin masks that absorb in don't feel like they are doing anything. This was thicker and tightened up and there was product to remove when the time came. It did dry my skin out a little (so I'm not sure how dry-skinned people would go with it), so I found it best to apply my eye cream and moisturiser pretty promptly afterwards to get some moisture back in. The 28g size is quite small and almost equivalent to a deluxe mini or a travel size product; I'd love to see this in a bigger size. Overall though, a really good mask.

Step One: Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

"This cleanser with 2.5% micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide clears blemishes, unclogs pores and exfoliates dull skin. Sulfate-free, paraben-free and suitable for all skin types; oily, dry, combination, normal and sensitive."

This Skin Smoothing Exfoliator is a revelation; I love using it and have even got my husband onto it! This is one of the most impressive exfoliators I've ever used, both in how it feels and the results it gives. It manages to be both gentle yet effective, hardworking yet non-abrasive. It's the gentle exfoliating beads combined with glycolic acid that work to slough away dry skin and open pores, and it's honestly such a satisfying scrub. I was a little taken aback at the lack of a separate cleanser in this 3 Step Kit, but this Exfoliator contains a mild sulphate-free cleanser that removes impurities. Purely based on habit, I did use a cleanser before this Skin Smoothing Exfoliator, that's just what I'm used to, don't hate! And despite the instructions saying to use twice daily, I admit I only used this every two days, because I just couldn't get my brain around using an exfoliant daily, let alone twice a day, no matter how gentle it is! However hubby is using this every day with no adverse effects and in fact, his skin is looking a lot healthier. I can't stress enough how much the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator impressed me. It's really good, you guys!

Pore Targeting Solution (left), Complexion Perfecting Hydrator (right)

Step Two: Pore Targeting Solution

"This light-weight gel with our exclusive patented Smart Target™ Technology, clears up blemishes by delivering more of the benzoyl peroxide in the pore while improving skin’s tone and texture. The Pore Targeting Solution is tough on breakouts, but not on your skin."

If you've been reading my blog for a while (or even if you just read my Intro lol), you'd know I've had troublesome skin for years. So obviously I've tried quite a few different acne-clearing products and systems. Well this Pore Targeting Solution, effectively the 'zit cream' element of the blemish-clearing system, reminds me of the Paula's Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment (Extra Strength), which I used to use, however it's not as hardcore. The Paula's Choice works to clear blemishes really quickly but the disadvantage is that it really dried my skin out. The Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Solution is a product I can use every night and it's gentle enough to work without any negative drying effects on my skin. I love the lightweight gel consistency and the fact that one pump is exactly the amount I need to treat my jawline and chin. I do extend this down onto my neck slightly, because from time to time I get the dreaded cystic acne on my upper neck. The only downside I've found is that my upper neck does become slightly itchy every few days, but it's not annoying-level itchy, just 'I have to scratch my neck a couple of times a day, a few times a week' itchy. This minor issue would probably disappear if I applied it on my chin and jawline only, haha.

Step Three: Complexion Perfecting Hydrator

"This dual therapy product combines blemish fighting salicylic acid and rich botanicals with anti-aging benefits such as even skin tone, smooth texture, smaller appearing pores, increased hydration and a dewy, radiant glow."

Can you tell by now that I love these products? This Hydrator is an absolute joy to use, especially if you're a fan of lightweight, cooling gels. I love the gel consistency, it really is light on the skin and absorbs very quickly. I feel like it mattifies the skin as well. The inclusion of Bisabolol and chamomile extract helps calm and soothe the skin and reduce redness. There are so many other special ingredients that work together to improve and perfect the complexion, such as a moisturising complex, conditioning complex, skin brightening complex and salicylic acid, a hardworking blemish-fighting ingredient. I'm continuing to use the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator, even after my month-long trial for this review, because I love the results it gives me and the product itself is a pleasure to use. My skin tone is so even and clear lately that I'm even confident enough to go around the house without makeup. Yes, I used to hate my skin so much I would wear foundation and concealer every day even when staying home!


I have to say in all honesty, these products are seriously good and exceeded my expectations. I really thought this was just another late-night TV infomercial brand, but the products really work to clear blemishes and prevent further ones and are really nice to use. My picks of the bunch would be the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator and the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator. I love these and am continuing to use them. If you have problem skin or suffer from serious acne, I'd highly recommend trying the Proactiv+ 3 Step Kit. Using these products daily cleared up a breakout I had at the start of the trial and during my trial I only developed one blemish, which the 3 Step Kit cleared up quickly. If you give this system a try, let me know how you go, I'd love to hear!

You can purchase Proactiv+ products on their website or find your closest stockist via the Store Locator.

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Disclaimer: Products marked * were provided for editorial consideration. Reviews are my honest opinion. There are no affiliate links in this post, links are for information purposes only. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

Have you tried Proactiv+ and if so what did you think? Do these sound like products you'd try?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Sending Love Boxes Giveaway!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Sending Love Box Giveaway! I was seriously blown away by the response, and in fact, this has been my most popular Giveaway yet! I think we all agree the different themed Sending Love Boxes look amazing, and would be so lovely to receive in the mail. Big thanks to Sending Love Box for providing two boxes as prizes for this Giveaway!

The prizes were two Sending Love Boxes, valued at $29.95 each!

And our lucky WINNERS are.....

Kat Shepsutt


Michelle Hunt

CONGRATS Kat and Michelle!! I'll email you shortly! Now if you missed out but are still interested in getting your own Sending Love Box, you're in luck, because I have a Discount Offer for you, check that out below!

Discount Code Offer
My readers can use the Discount Code max10 to get $10 off the first monthly subscription box ordered. This reduces the first Sending Love Box to only $19.95! There are no contracts and you can cancel your subscription at any time. This offer is available up until 25/11/17.

Stick around for more Giveaways in the future!

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Makeup Haul Part 2: Mecca Maxima!

Well hello again! Today I'm featuring Part 2 of my Makeup Haul, all the goodies I bought from Mecca Maxima during my recent Melbourne trip! If you missed Part 1, you can check that out here: Makeup Haul Part 1: Sephora!

Even though Sephora is huge, I must say I prefer shopping in Mecca Maxima, because I find the staff super-friendly and helpful. Case in point: when a certain creamy nude lipstick was unavailable, one of the Sales Assistants spent ten minutes looking for alternatives, even getting a few other staff members onto the task as well. In the end, she had about 20 creamy nude lipstick swatches all over her arm, haha! Also, Mecca Maxima stock two of my favourite brands, Too Faced and Soap & Glory! I had such fun hauling this lot of goodies over two visits. Hope you enjoy!

Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush (Sparkling Bellini)
Too Faced Love Light Prismatic Highlighter (You Light Up My Life)
NARS Blush (Orgasm)
Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow (Rose Gold Retro)
Urban Decay VICE Lipstick (Manic)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub
Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL (Clear)
Soap & Glory Smooch Operator Lip Butter Balm
Origins Mega-Bright Dark Circle Minimizer {free sample}
GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment {free sample}
GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment {free sample}
GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment {free sample}
Perricone MD Pre:Empt Brightening Eye Cream {free sample)
Perricone MD Firming Eye Cream {free sample}
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Eye {free sample}
Perricone MD Advanced Eye Area Therapy {free sample}

I have to say I completely stuffed up with the Too Faced Love Light Highlighter! I wanted the rose gold shade Ray Of Light, but it had been put back in the gold You Light Up My Life tester position and I totally second-guessed myself and got the wrong one! Then I had time to exchange it as I was still in Melbourne but forgot to take it with me the day we went back into the city. So now I have the gold one (which I don't like the look of), when I was actually after the rose gold one. At least I got my Perfect Flush Blush shade right!

I finally caved and bought the cult classic Orgasm blush from NARS, and the stunning Stila Magnificent Metals liquid shadow in Rose Gold retro was a no-brainer. It's just so pretty! I hope it looks just as good on the eyes!

I eventually settled on an Urban Decay VICE lippie after a long swatch-fest of most of the lipsticks in-store, and picked up the Primer Potion as an afterthought when checking out the cute minis near the checkout. I'm currently using a Too Faced Shadow Insurance mini but it's nearly gone and this will be a good way to compare them.

I had to pick up a tub of my Holy Grail body scrub, Soap & Glory's The Breakfast Scrub, which smells like freakin' pancakes and is a must try in my opinion! And then came some disappointment, when the raved-about $6 Sugar Crush Body Spray was out of stock and my beloved Sexy Mother Pucker lip plumper had changed packaging and was only available in Clear, not my preferred Half-Baked. I got it anyway, but I really wanted the tube with the doe-foot appplicator instead of the squeezy-tube bullshit I bought. I discovered the Soap & Glory Lip Butter Balm near the counter and hot damn, guys, it smells like coconut ice! Sweeeeeet!

I gotta say Mecca are so generous with the samples! I was discussing a GlamGlow mask set I saw online, but unfortunately it was no longer available, so the Sales Assistant took it upon herself to make me up some samples instead (I didn't even ask). And on my other visit, another lovely staff member took my list of samples I was interested in trying and said she'd prepare as many of them as were available while I continued to shop. (They probably knew I was hardcore haulin' from the fact that I had half the store in my basket. LOL).

Linking up with Monday Makeup Madness Open Slather and All Mum Said link ups!

You may be interested in Makeup Haul Part 1: Sephora!

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Have you tried any of these beauty products? What's your favourite? If you have a recent haul post link it up below so I can have a read!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

GIVEAWAY/REVIEW: Win 2 x Sending Love Boxes!*

If you love receiving boxes filled with exciting surprises in the mail, today's post will be right up your alley! It's all about Sending Love Box, which is a monthly subscription box service designed especially for women. Based on the idea that every woman loves a surprise, owner Lisa Long created Sending Love Box, where each month subscribers receive a themed mystery box containing beautiful surprises to make them Feel Loved and Fabulous! Even more exciting? I have two Sending Love Boxes to give away to you, my readers, so keep reading to see how you can WIN!

Each Sending Love Box is seasonally themed, containing up to six handpicked mystery items plus the staple items of a quality soy wax candle or melts, an Australian made soap and a collectable charm. I received the Looking Good box* for review and because this is the same box the lucky prize winners will receive, I'll just talk about a couple of the items, as I want there to be some mystery left when the winners open their Sending Love boxes! For this same reason, I've decided to leave my flatlay photo of the items out of this post and go instead with the more vague 'items in the box' photo!

I want to talk about the 'Don't Let Me Go' double scented candle from Serenity Living, because I've been burning this baby every day since my box arrived! The candle has the word 'LOVE' printed on the pretty jar, and I do, indeed! We are not given much information about the fragrance on the information sheet, just that it's a clean, crisp scent. These are exactly the kind of fragrances I adore, as strong scents will often give me a headache. No such problem with this fresh-scented candle, that incidentally has a 35 hour burn time. This is probably my favourite item in the box!

Next up is the Ylang Ylang and Tuberose soap by Tilley Soaps Australia. Now I thought I recognised the 'TILLEY' debossing on the product, and sure enough I have a bunch of Tilley Soaps in my bathroom vanity! I love collecting scented soaps from markets and little shops I come across and I have seen these selling in various places throughout the years. I normally select the scents that stand out to me and pick up about five bars at a time. I've always been into bath and shower products, and this fragranced soap does not disappoint. You get a luxurious, creamy lather that smells feminine and pretty, and the slightly smaller size of the bar makes it a breeze to hold and use (without dropping!) in the shower.

If you're interested in Sending Love Box, you can sign up here. I also have a generous Discount Code, please see below for how you can grab yourself a whopping $10 off!

My readers can use the Discount Code max10 to get $10 off the first monthly subscription box ordered. This reduces the first Sending Love Box to only $19.95! There are no contracts and you can cancel your subscription at any time. This offer is available up until 25/11/17.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

Enter to WIN 1 of 2 Sending Love Boxes, worth $29.95 each! (Total prize value $59.90)

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the very bottom of this post. Note that being a Max The Unicorn email subscriber and visiting the Sending Love Box website is mandatory. The rest of the entry methods are optional, but will gain you more entries in the Giveaway. You can subscribe via email on the right hand sidebar; don't forget to click the link in your email to finish the subscription process, otherwise your entry won't be valid! If you're already a subscriber, just pop your email into the Rafflecopter so I can match it up! I'd love it if you could 'like' the Max The Unicorn and Sending Love Box Facebook pages to show your support! Good Luck!

Terms & Conditions
~ 2 winners will each win 1 x Sending Love Box, valued at $29.95 each. Total prize value is $59.90.
~ Delivery is included and prizes will be shipped to the winners, directly from Sending Love Box.
~ This giveaway is open to Australian residents only, and will close at midnight on 16/07/2017
~ The winners will be picked randomly by the Rafflecopter widget.
~ Winners must be email subscribers, this will be checked. If they aren't, new winners will be chosen.
~ The winners will be notified via email and given 48 hours to reply with their address details for prize delivery otherwise new winners will be chosen.
~ Winners will also be announced in a blog post on Max The Unicorn and in the Rafflecopter widget.

Linking up with Monday Makeup Madness, Open Slather and Mummy Mondays!

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Disclaimer: *I was given a Review Box in exchange for running this Giveaway. Reviews are my honest opinion. There are no affiliate links in this post. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

Take a look at the previous months boxes on the Sending Love Box homepage and tell me which is your favourite?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: ArtVO

During our Melbourne trip last month, we visited ArtVO, which is located inside Harbour Town at Docklands. It's a really cool immersive art gallery where you 'become part of the picture.' There are over 100 tricky art pieces you can interact and pose with; needless to say our son was pretty damn sick of having his picture taken towards the end! Some of the scenes are optical illusions, so I've included the wine glass one so you can see what happens if you stand in the wrong place to take your photo (check the wine stem!).

Hot Tip: there are no toilets in the gallery so use the Harbour Town toilets before you pay to enter, especially if you have kids with you. Enjoy the photos!

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What's your favourite scene? Have you visited ArtVO?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Makeup Haul Part 1: Sephora!

Oh hi! I'm back from my Melbourne trip, so I thought I'd show you the beauty booty I hauled! Well everything from Sephora, anyway; the Mecca Maxima goodies will feature in a separate post. As it was a family holiday, mainly to watch the Soccer, I had to squeeze my shopping in between stacks of family activities, such as visits to Luna Park, Harbour Town, the Melbourne Star, Glow In The Dark Mini Golf, playgrounds and ArtVo. I still managed to visit Sephora and Mecca Maxima twice though (lol), which was great because I was able to get more free samples than if I'd bought everything in the one go. I had about three days between visits, so I was really able to ponder what else I wanted. Sephora was extremely busy on my initial trip, so I was unable to get the samples I wanted. The second visit was far more relaxed; I had more time to look and play, and there were more staff on the floor, so getting samples wasn't a problem. Here's everything I bought!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette
Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette
Tarte Tarteist Treats Set
Tarte Tarteist Lip Wardrobe II
Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (Fair)
NudeStix Berry Nude Lips + Cheeks Pencil Set
Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick (We Have To Talk)
Sephora Intense Gel Eye Pencil (Ultra Black)
Sephora Fingertip Eyeliner (Easy Blue)
Sephora Rose Eye Mask
Sephora Avocado Eye Mask
Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Ink (Peony) {free gift at register}
Marc Jacobs Mini Highliner Gel Eye Crayon (Blacquer) {free gift at register}
Algenist Firming & Lifting Eye Gel {free sample}
Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm {free sample}
Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel {free sample}
Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment{free sample}

I am so excited to now own the much-hyped Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette. It is gorgeous and I can't wait to use it! I swatched the Kat Von D Alchemist palette in-store and oh my, the holographic highlighters are so, so pretty! I wanted either this or the very similar Zoeva Spring Strobe Spectrum palette, but that wasn't available.

The Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer is a back-up purchase, as I'm about to run out. I think it's a fantastic concealer for under the eyes, and my current one has lasted me more than a year, so I'm happy to re-purchase it! I saw the Tarteist Lip Wardrobe Set near the counter and couldn't resist. The two mini shades contained within are right up my alley; one's a creamy matte lip paint and the other's a quick dry matte lip paint. The Tarteist Pro To Go Eyeshadow Palette swatched beautifully and the shades were screaming "BUY ME!", so when I saw this set containing the palette, a lash paint mascara and a glossy lip paint for just a few dollars more than the palette alone, I knew I had to have it!

I had picked out a single Nudestix pencil to buy, but saw a better option near the register, in the Nudestix Berry Nude Lips + Cheek Pencils Set. This contains three pencils in the shades Pulse, Sin and Raven, and they all look gorgeous. Raven is an intense matte formula, Sin is a Lip + Cheek Cream and Pulse is a Gel Colour Lip + Cheek Balm. I'm loving that I get to try out not only three shades, but three different textures, too!

I also picked up some Sephora brand makeup to play around with, and a couple of eye masks. All the free samples I requested were eye creams, as I'm a bit obsessed with trying out as many different ones as I can! I was pleasantly surprised to be offered two free gifts when paying at the register. There were a few to select from and I picked the Marc Jacobs mini gel eyeliner and a Sephora lip gloss!

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Do you have any of these products? What's your favourite brand available at Sephora? Hauled anything lately? Link it up below so I can have a look!