Friday, 28 October 2011

Boudoir Privé: The Review.

Over a month ago, Boudoir Privé offered me the chance to try one of their boxes for review.  I didn't exactly jump at the chance so much as accept their offer with a little bit of a shrug and not much expectation.  There was something which irked me about Boudoir Privé's launch strategy from the off, really: the whole thing of getting people to compete, tweet and paint neon letters across any and every social media platform for the privilege for early entry to sign up for the first box didn't sit well with me.  In fact, it annoyed me - it was a peculiar internet popularity contest, where we all tweeted our hearts out and competed to… have early access to spend a tenner.

There was something so transparent and greedy-minded about it in that sense.  Obviously, the first box sold really well, but I was turned off by it - especially when a series of clues led to the contents of the first box being revealed. Tea? No thanks.

That, in itself, is slightly hilarious. I love tea.  I could write a blogpost even longer than that eulogy to the Chanel lipsticks I wrote, solely about tea.  Tea is like air for me.  I am not impressed, however, when a couple of teabags make their way into a box of beauty samples, whatever their antioxidant count.

So, you can see why I was sort of curious, but also slightly unenthused.

The September box - their second box - arrived, and actually, I loved it.  However, there were two strong reasons as to why you haven't seen a review on it before now.  The first - I didn't want to pipe up and join in the blogosphere flood, lost in a sea of 'oh! But there's a Zoya polish in there!'.  The second - I wanted to see how this box fitted in with the general trajectory of their boxes.

First things first: The box.
The box feels cheaply made, and is a Glossybox clone.  Sure, they've got their own stamp on the lid, and the box is put together differently, but it's the exact same shade of pink, with black tissue paper and a pink ribbon.  My box quickly became unglued and fell apart too - not really re-useable. It went straight in the recycling.

The October box which so impressed me was not because of the volume of its products, but for the quality and (imagined) thought processes involved.

It contained:
- Zoya Nail Polish in Marina: Great! My first experience with Zoya and it's from their new, really popular collection.  Came with a little swatch sheet for the other colours, although this element seemed wasteful - what am I supposed to do with it after looking at it for a bit?
- Macadamia Hair Oil: I had actually been using this product for a long time before it appeared in my Boudoir Privé box and had just run out - so was pleased my supply was replenished. A little bottle actually lasts forever, and keeps the ends of your hair healthy and soft. I love this stuff.
- Colbert MD Nourish: Eye Cream: Holy crap, expensive. I didn't really see a noticeable difference to my undereye area, but it was a nice cream to use and not a brand I'd usually be able to afford.
- Cargo Cosmetics Boogie Nights Eye Pencil in Aqua: Love a bit of makeup, just wish they'd give me a more universal colour. The pencil itself is okay.
- Tropic Skincare Body Smooth: Smells great, though a bit oily and leaky. Not a brand I would've bought from (but then Susan 'Do the French like their kids?' Ma annoyed the crap out of me during The Apprentice, sorry Susan.)
- Agent Provocateur L'Agent EDP: Cheap cheap cheap! I could have acquired this for free by asking at a perfume counter.
- Mai Couture Blot & Bronze Sheets: Seemed like a throw-in last-minute decision.  Who thought it would be a good idea to combine bronzer and blotting papers?! My forehead usually gets oily - so I tried one of these. Great - I had a lovely glittery brown rectangle on my forehead. Unimpressed.

Overall, it contained a lovely mix of products of things that I was really curious to try.  I was actively interested.

So then, I picked up my card, used the £5 voucher in my box and subscribed for another month…

And after this month, I unsubscribed.

After hearing everyone cooing on Twitter about how great their boxes were, I was excited to get my box this month - and then I opened it and felt bored:

- Korres Quince Body Butter: I guess this is the thing people were excited about? I don't know if I'm suffering from beauty box fatigue or what, but body cream does not excite me.  At all.
- Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme: This is a nice product, but not well-timed. Most people had theirs arrive semi-frozen - not ideal for testing it out. It's nothing a quick blast with a hair-dryer couldn't fix, though.
- Cetuem Illuminating Mask and Crème de Lite: I just… felt bored by this one. The product samples are slightly mean, and it's only a brand which are hovering on the periphery of my consciousness.
- Rose&Co Rose Petal Salve: Boring again. I have a Vaseline Rosy Lips, which is pretty much the same thing.  I get that you can use this everywhere for 'everything', but it doesn't fit in with Boudoir Privé's theme of luxury products - a tin of this costs a fiver. I'm not griping about it in the sense that it was cheap - I'm griping because it's a boring product and I expected them to be more imaginative.
- Studiomakeup Liner Styler Pen in Black: I perked up momentarily. The tip of this is fine and the product is nice and black. However, after leaving it 15 minutes to set, it promptly smeared everywhere. It would not survive even a teeny splash of London drizzle.
- Mémo Paris Les Echappés EDP: This sample feels bigger than a standard little sample spray, and it doesn't smell unpleasant, but it does smell every masculine to me. Again, a perfume sample. It's lazy, and hardly anybody likes them.

So what impressed me?
- Interesting products: Some of the products I received in my box were great, and lots of them I'd never tried.
- High quality: I'm not bothered on receiving full-sized products in every box - what I'm looking for is quality samples. Boudoir Privé seem to be about less mls, more exclusivity, which I quite like as I'm not then forced to use up a product I hate.

What didn't impress me?
- Brand identity confusion: I don't count Rose Petal salve as a luxury beauty sample.
- Boring/rubbish product choices: Poorly performing makeup products and too many of the same kind of product in one box.
- Perfume samples: Pretty much everyone hates them, because fragrance is one of the most subjective beauty items. If you're going to put perfume in, then it should be a freebie, not one of the 6 products. If I can get this for free just by asking at the perfume counter then it shouldn't be in there.
… and last but not least…
- 'avec amour' on every email and notecard: French people know what I'm talking about here - this phrase keeps being bandied around because of the French brand name, but it is just a meaningless platitude (genuinely - it isn't something French people would say and doesn't make much sense). Seriously, Boudoir Privé, learn the lingo or just speak plain English.

To round it all up:
I was initially pleased with this brand, until I received a box which left me feeling bored and uninspired. If you enjoyed your box from this month, then good for you - truly. This box fell short of my expectations.  However, what I will say is that I much much prefer Boudoir Privé's communication methods and ability to take client feedback on board - they now send out a shipping email and keep customers updated on the status of their box.

I like that a lot in a brand, and if you want good customer service rather than shouting your thoughts into thin air, like a lot of people end up doing at Glossybox, then this is the brand for you.


  1. I loved this box, but i did get 2 extra samples because of when i signed up, which wasnt very fair on the already subscribed members!

  2. Fantastic review, and really honest too. Personally I've never been WOWed by this beauty box and will happily read reviews, but never get it myself. I think Glossybox has had its ups but many more downs, which has sadly put me off it. I loved Carmine's first box so fingers crossed the next one will impress too, and I'm keeping my eye on Feel Unique too :)

  3. I am a bit late to the party with these boxes. I think they are a like magazine subscriptions, great for about 6 months and then everything is a bit same old same old, but have to say my interest is piqued - it is that fear that one is missing out, gets me everytime! Thanks for your review

  4. I was disappointed with the first box, I really liked the second box and the third box didn't impress me much. I have now decided to cancel my subscription, although I don't know how easy this will turn out to be seeings as I don't seem to get any replies from them!
    Personally, I think I will stick with Carmine and Feel Unique x

  5. @Zoe Ahh yes, I did hear about that offer! Let me know how you get on with the next box :)

    @Whimsical Wolf Boudoir Privé never interested me, but I accepted their box on the basis of trying everything once. I think with Glossybox, they make it very hard to unsubscribe, as there's usually one good month, and then one bad. It's almost like I'm scared to unsubscribe! I really hope Carmine's next box is as good as their first too - I think that the second box is as important, if not more important, than the first :)

    @Jan Yes, there is that fear that you're missing out! I'm slightly scared to unsubscribe from Glossybox at the moment, as their customer service is hideous but I don't want to be jealous and miss a really good box! Tough call...

  6. @Naomi Rachel We've had the same experience then! I am really glad I bought another box to see how it went, because otherwise there would have been a very different review up here right now, and it wouldn't be representative of the brand! I'm looking forward to getting a Feel Unique box next week - I got the very first one they sent out and was unimpressed, but it seems they've really stepped their game up! x

  7. Been watching you on YT for ages - have my own channel here in Aus. Loved your faves vid - lusting for the Chanel black sparkly now for eyeliner... Didn't realise you blogged but glad I found you.

  8. Very sensible review. That fake French really bothered me too. x

  9. If you consider sending out a group email to all those whose credit card failed (through a CC. message showing everyones addresses) good customer service, then yeah, they're good. I'm so glad my card failed. I'm so unimpressed with that little piece of admin (for which there has come forth no apology), that I'm not going to order again.

    The competition to be included in the first box was also dumb, do they really think it impressed anyone to demand free publicity and our money!!! holy moly.

    I'm sticking with Carmine for now and trying out Amarya (the organic beauty box)...thanks for the honest thoughts as always Cami!

  10. @MsSparkleArkle Thanks so much for the lovely comment and for finding my little corner on here :)

    @Simone I can't put into words how much it annoyed me! I'm a language student, so perhaps it was just my inner-nerd (combined with my inner-rage) coming out!

    @Anonymous Now that, I did not know. I had no idea that they did that whatsoever, how unprofessional and what a breach to security! I did not know people could be so idiotic. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention and for posting here. It'll help people make a more conscious decision of who they buy from.

  11. To date I have had all bar their first box (their best, in my opinion). I recieved this months box yesterday and as a result I plan on unsubscribing. I gave them a chance, but they just don't inspire me. Lots of body lotion (so what?), lots of free perfume samples (cheap), and make up in shades that don't suit all skin tones (useless if they aren't right).

    I found the Studiomakeup eyeliner smudged too, which was annoying as it applied like a dream. Also, this month I received a lipstick in a shade that, as I'm pale, literally makes me look like a corpse; to add insult to injury the shade shown in the booklet is one of the most beautiful looking reds I've ever seen! I have sent an email to them suggesting ways in which they can improve their service and we shall see as to whether I get any response! Either way, they've lost my confidence.


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