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