Marie Claire The Parcel - Winter 2016


The Parcel is a quarterly/seasonal beauty subscription created by Marie Claire magazine. It has been around for a couple of years now and is regarded as one of the best beauty subscription boxes on the Australian market. Pricing starts from AUD$29.95 for a single box, and there are discounts for subscribing. Marie Claire also produce an Ageless box - aimed at mature women with a focus on anti-ageing and skincare; a Women's Health box; and a Men's Health box.

I have been subscribing to The Parcel for about a year now and I've been consistently happy with the contents of each box. The boxes seem to contain at least 8 items, mostly deluxe samples with at least 1 (but often 2 or 3) full-size products. I've rarely receive mini samples from The Parcel, unless they are a bonus product (which was the case this month). The boxes are a nice mix of skincare, hair products and makeup, with the odd beauty tool thrown in. Each box is seasonally-themed and the products are curated accordingly (for instance, tanning lotion in a Summer box). The total value of the products generally exceed $80 and sometimes $100+.

This week I received the much-anticipated (by me anyway) Winter Parcel. Unlike some other beauty subscriptions on the market, The Parcel doesn't seem to suffer from shipping issues, so you actually get the Winter box in time for winter.

I received the following products in the Winter box:

The total value of this box was $79.75, which is excellent for a $25 box (what I pay with a seasonal subscription), but perhaps not as high as in previous months. I really liked the mix of products in this box, which included 3 full-size items!

 The first full-size product was the John Frieda anti-frizz "primer". I'm not sure why this product is considered a primer, as the packaging doesn't say anything about it being a heat-protectant, which was my initial assumption. According to the packaging, this product "sets the foundation for long-lasting, smooth, uniform style". You are meant to apply to wet hair and style as usual. The product is a very light, creamy consistency, not quite as aerated as a mousse. The scent reminds me of styling mousse, but no hint of the coconut oil which is mentioned on the product card.  My hair is currently very dry and gets frizzy and matted very easily. I have only tried this product once after washing my hair and there has been no discernable difference in frizz yet. I will try it a couple more times to see if there are any results, but honestly I'm not the biggest fan of John Frieda's Anti-Frizz range. I have been using the shampoo and conditioner from the same range for several months now (they were part of a previous Marie Claire box) and haven't felt any positive impact on my hair.

I actually just purchased a Burt's Bees tinted lip balm (in Pink Blossom, this one is in Rose), but luckily I love it and can never have too many lip balms. Who else keeps one in every room, bag and in their work drawer? My lips get so dry during the winter, and Burt's Bees seems to do a decent job of keeping them moisturised. The tinted range adds an extra hint of colour, which is great when you don't feel like wearing a full lip colour. This Rose version has a much subtler colour than the Pink Blossom, and its rose scent is similarly subtle, not overpowering like some rose-scented products can be.

Ritals Cosmetics is a Dutch luxury brand that has just started operations in Australia. Their Fortune Oil is a shower oil which turns into a foaming lather when applied to the skin. It is scented with sweet orange and cedar, which smells so amazing, like a luxurious spa! I absolutely love this product, it feels lovely and leaves a little scent on the skin even after washing off. I would definitely purchase this product when the sample runs out.

I have never been a huge fan of Garnier skin care products. Every few years I'll forget my negative experiences and try something from their range, inevitably resulting in disappointment. This is my personal experience, of course, and I know that Garnier products can work wonders for others. This Miracle Wake Up Cream was unfortunately not for me. The product claims to be anti-ageing and aims to transform dull skin, with micro-peptides and pro-retinol. While the cream itself is a nice texture, buttery and thick, I found the scent off-putting - a little plasticky. Upon application, the cream feels very similar to some primers and skin-blurring products I've used in the past. I'm no ingredient expert, but I think it's silicone? It's a light, velvety texture which I normally love. However, with this product, I found that it left a white residue and when I tried to blend it out, it started to pill. The same thing happened when I applied foundation over the top (I tried with a brush, fingers and beauty blender - all with the same results). After a cursory Google search, I didn't really see any one else with the same issues, so I might be using the product incorrectly. Regardless, I did not find the product to be particularly hydrating, and I prefer to use other primers that don't easily pill.

I haven't actually tried out this shampoo yet, as I prefer to save these samples for when I travel. The only Klorane product I've ever used before is their dry shampoo, which I remember working pretty well. I do like brands that incorporate as many natural ingredients as possible, especially with skincare and haircare, but I usually prefer smaller indie brands or Lush, over supermarket and chemist brands. The product has a botanical smell, which isn't unpleasant or overpowering.

I am not a huge fan of whitening dental products, as I have not found them to work in the past. However, it's been god knows how long since I've been to a dentist, and my not-so-pearly-whites are in serious need of stain removal. I will try this toothpaste until it's used up, to see if it has any effect. So far, I've found that it doesn't have the unpleasant taste I've experienced with some whitening products.

I was very excited when I saw this serum in the box. While I am still in my 20s and don't have a huge need for anti-ageing yet, I have noticed some dullness of the skin and fine lines around the eyes developing over the last year and have become a little obsessed with anti-ageing products. I have never tried a serum with natural active ingredients before (also no silicones or parabens). This is a great sample size that should last a while, as you only need a couple of drops to use over the entire face. I love the eye-dropper style applicator - even if it's not the most easy-to-use, it allows greater control over how much product you can dispense. The product is a watery consistency that absorbs easily without leaving any residue behind. I will need to use the product for longer before I can speak to its effectiveness, but based on user experience alone, I love the packaging, scent and consistency of the product.

Many subscribers would have been disappointed to see this MOR rose-scented hand and body milk in their boxes this month, as we received the exact same product in a previous box! It would have been nice to get a different MOR product, or at least something in a different scent. I used this milk when I first received it, for several weeks. It has a thin, creamy consistency and is quite moisturising. However, it is heavily scented with a very fake rose scent. I find it cloying, where it should be a light floral, and it sticks around long after the cream has absorbed into the skin. I'm sure there are many people who love the scent though!

The Micellar water from Nivea is another product I have yet to use, as I already have an open bottle of the Bioderma H2O. Micellar water is the newest thing in makeup removal, combining micro-droplets of oil with water, which apparently makes for more effective, gentle makeup removal. I have used both the Bioderma and Garnier versions of this water, but truthfully I still reach for my trusty old Johnson's wipes most days. I find that the water actually felt harsh and drying on my skin, especially around the eyes and noticed that it often left me with extra redness. However, I do like using the water to wipe my face of small amounts of makeup residue, especially in the mornings. I'm sure that Micellar water works for many people - including the amazing makeup artist Lisa Eldridge who swore by it long before it became a beauty trend.

The bonus item this month was a single-use sachet of the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream. I won't be using this, as I got light and my skin colour is much more medium. Normally, I would be annoyed that Marie Claire would include a skin-colour-specific item in their box, as obviously the product will not fit all skin tones, but as it is a small sample and a bonus product, I'm not too concerned.

I hope you enjoyed my first beauty box review! Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this month's box and any of the products featured. Let me know also if there are any other boxes out there that you'd like me to review - currently I'm thinking of doing Lust Have It and Bellabox as well as The Parcel, but I would love to know what else is out there!

Disclaimer: all opinions expressed on this site are my own. This post was not sponsored and the links featured are not affiliated.

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