Every year my family does a Christmas Tree chocolate advent calendar, but after seeing Cindy’s review of The Face Shop’s 2015 calendar from last year, I really wanted to try out a beauty advent calendar.
After debating for a while, I saw that for Black Friday The Face Shop’s Advent Calendar was buy one, get one 50% off. I finally had the prefect excuse to get my sister (and myself) the advent calendar!
The 2016 Face Shop Advent Calendar is for 12 days for the excellent price of $39, so I will be reviewing one product each day, from the 13th- 24th.
When the package for the calendars arrived I was surprised how big these actually are, which means two things. One, that they likely have full-sized products (which is awesome for the price) and two, my sister now gets to haul hers when she flies out to Saskatchewan.
Here’s a picture of the box with a 30 cm ruler beside it for comparison – it’s as big as last year’s!
The colours for this year seems to white, gold, pink and black. Super pretty, though not particularly Christmas-y.
Day One – Smile Foot Mask
I’ve never tried a foot mask, and after a full day of working a mini foot spa-like mask seemed like a great first product to try. After washing and exfoliating, I slipped my feet into the plastic bags. The ’essence’ feels very much like face masks creamy liquid essence, and has a light, pleasant smell. Also good to note, my feet are a 7, and it looks like they can fit up to size 10. Though I definitely wouldn’t recommend trying to walk around in these. It’s rather slippery.
After 30 minutes of sitting in the plastic booties, my feet soaked up most of the essence. They do feel really silky and refreshed.
I’d give this product a solid 4.5/ 5 Christmas stars.
Day Two – Orchid Daily Perfumed Hand Cream
Today’s advent gift is a full-sized hand cream – I’d even say it’s too big for some handbags. It’s so great to see a full-sized product, and personally I love orchids. The smell itself is quite light, which I like but does seem to fade quickly. For a perfumed hand cream, the scent doesn’t seem to really last. However, I like how the cream feels and it moisturizes well. And being at 120ml, this bottle is probably going to last quite a while! (Despite how much I’ll be using it this winter).
The inscription on the back says “This subtle scented hand cream moisturizes and makes dry skin as soft as orchid petals.” Well, the scent certainly is subtle.
I’d give this daily perfumed hand cream a 4/5 Christmas stars.
Day Three – Konjac Cleansing Puff- made of JELLY?!
So when I saw today’s advent gift, I thought it was just a regular cleansing puff. But after opening it, I realized it wasn’t a regular cotton cleansing puff. In fact, it’s made 100% of konjac (KON-yak) also known as devil tongue’s jelly. After some quick research, apparently konjac looks like a kind of tall tropical flower (55 cm/2 feet tall flower stem/ spadix) and it is used to make a firm jelly, or can be used to make noodles. Apparently it’s also a good vegan alternative to gelatin. But the package does warn this puff isn’t edible.
From the package it was just a bit damp and super squishy to touch, and had a simple string tied through it as a loop. The instructions were to apply cleansing foam or [facial] soap directly to the sponge, and scrub gently in a circular motion. I’d say the feeling was refreshing, but did not make my usual cleansing facial soap foam up like it usually does – and I only need to use very little. Perhaps I need to use it after I apply my soap directly to my face, then use the sponge.
Also to note, it’s apparently good for 2-3 months, should be hung, and apparently is best stored in a refrigerator. I’ll try my cabinet for now.
Although I’m pretty happy and surprised with this product, I did feel like it soaked up most of my facial soap instead of getting it on my face. Also the storing instructions are a little weird – I kind of don’t want to store a porous sponge where I keep my food.
The konjac cleansing puff gets a 3.5/5 Christmas stars.
Day Four – MasCream Sheet
Today there was a MasCream Sheet. These are the typical disposable face mask sheets that usually have a liquid or cream soaked cotton mask that you apply after washing your face. I love face masks. I used them even from before I went to Korea (and got even more addicted before coming back). I truly enjoy how nicely refreshed and moisturized my skin feels after using them.
However, I won’t be using this one. Mainly because it says, “The intense-action MasCream Sheet firms sagging skin with firming cream containing collagen and truffle.” And the front says this mask in particular has “anti-aging cream”. I’m only 25. I don’t necessarily need anti-aging products just yet.
So, this fantastic product will be passed onto my mom for her to enjoy – so she can continue to look more closely like a sister than a mom.
Sorry, but today gets a 2.5/5 Christmas stars. Not for lack of quality, but simply for not having a product anyone can definitely enjoy.
Day Five – Calendula Eye Cream
I have never actively searched for, purchased, or used an eye cream before, so this was a pleasant surprise to get something I wouldn’t have thought of trying. Again – this is a full sized product, at 20 mL, so I feel like this product will last me quite a while!
It describes itself as a moisturizing cream for the sensitive skin around the eyes, and has 6 herbs: chamomile, cornflower, rooibos, lily, sage, and borage. The cream does feel a bit heavy when first put on, but it does absorb nicely. And this morning, I was tired with bags under my eyes and the cream was at least pleasant to put on. I wouldn’t say the cream is for tired eyes or bags, but it is definitely a nice product.
Hopefully I will consistently use this in my routine and see how it works for me, but for now I’m happy with a quality product. 3.5/ 5 Christmas stars.
Day Six – Rich Hand V Special Care Hand Mask
Now this is a product I know and love. I hate the feeling of dry hands. Between the abuse of washing hands a lot (from working in a chocolate store) to the way Canadian winters dry out your skin, I almost always need to moisturize my hands throughout the day. But sometimes it’s hard to keep up. I bought a hand mask after my hands really started to feel uncomfortably dry and it was awesome how soothing it was.
Although I will say this- I would definitely recommend using this product after a usual night routine and before going to bed. Not only do the lotion-filled gloves make it inconvenient to use your hands, but I would also not risk having to wash my hands and washing the lotion off. It would be best to let the lotion to really soak in throughout the night.
A solid 5/5 Christmas stars for this product.
Day Seven – Herb Day Lip and Eye Makeup Remover Wipes
When I first saw the remover wipes, I was a bit disappointed, thinking that I got a travel-sized product instead of a full sized one. I love Korean makeup remover wipes. From the variety, size, and quality that make my face feel clean as opposed to filmy or oily, the Korean types really out-do North American makeup remover wipes. However, I then realized that this is specifically for eye and lip makeup.
After trying this makeup remover wipe, my first impression was instantly shattered. This likely has become my favourite product from the entire advent calendar, and I totally understand why Cindy loves them, too!
These wipes describe themselves as a gentle eye and lip makeup remover and they definitely were. Compared to my regular wipes, these wipes were so gentle yet strong enough to wipe away my eye makeup in just a couple of light swipes. Sometimes with my regular wipes I have to gently scrub my eyes, which is never a good idea with how fragile the skin is around the eyes. They are a compact travel size as well, with 30 sheets (20cm x 6cm, folded), these wipes are easy to quickly tuck in a purse or bag for travelling.
I almost feel like I should have had harsher marking for this advent calendar, but I’m seriously very impressed. 5/5 Christmas stars for a product I definitely will be investing in for the future.
Day Eight – Jeju Volcanic Lava 3-Step Blackhead Remover Nose Strips
I’ve used several Korean 3-step blackhead remover nose strips, and I’ve used The Face Shop’s Jeju Volcanic Lava line products as well. I’ve used them so much and they’ve helped my pores to the point I don’t need this product right now.
For those who don’t know, the 3-step blackhead remover strips has these three steps/strips to help remove blackheads, which I feel is better than just the 1-step strips.
Step 1 strip: softens the sebum – which is the build up in the pores, and makes it easier to remove the blackheads.
Step 2 strip: this is the strip you let dry on your nose and has the blackheads “stick” to them. This is often the 1-step blackhead remover strip many North American brands sell.
Step 3 strip: tightens pores. I love this aspect of the 3-step strips since it helps prevent further blackhead problems.
In total, the whole process takes 35-50 minutes, so you might as well get your K-dramas on and watch an episode while you do this 3-step process.
As I mentioned, I’ve used the Jeju Volcanic Lava products from The Face Shop, and I really enjoy the soft feeling they give my skin after use.
This is a 4/5 Christmas stars for me.
Day Nine – Aloe Hydrating Face Mask
Seeing as the temperature in Canada is now below freezing everyday, meaning that the heat is cranked up, my skin’s been getting drier. ’Tis the season. So this particular face mask was immediately used as soon as I had a chance to relax.
So normally I would be all for the hydrating and soothing qualities of aloe. However, aloe is often used to soothe sunburns, as it has a cooling quality to it. This cooling quality was not appreciated on my face that had just warmed up after walking in from -5C weather.
So overall, the aloe face mask did help hydrate my face, but also made it a struggle to endure the coldness as I patted it onto my face.
3/5 Christmas stars for bringing the winter dampness to my face.
Day Ten – The Face Shop Single Eyeshadow Matte Chocolate
Unfortunately, this is the first product I’ve been genuinely a bit disappointed with.
The eyeshadow is full size – I have the Sparkling Wine colour, and the eye shadow matte powder is of great quality. It lasts a long time, and the colour is quite vivid.
In my opinion, to some extent, they are too vivid. One of the problems I’ve had with The Face Shop’s single eyeshadow collection is that the colours are really strong, and so I feel they need proper time to really blend them in, as well as that it really just doesn’t take a lot to get a lot of colour on the eyelid. For me, that’s a bit of an issue since I feel a strong eyeshadow is really great for evening wear, and that it would just take too much time to blend well for everyday wear. I enjoy eyeshadow sticks and simple little eyeshadows that are really quick to swipe on and they’re good for the day. So this kind of vivid colour doesn’t suit me personally.
This Chocolate colour matte is a true matte, but I feel is really too dark for day use. It complements my eye colour really well, and actually seems to bring out more of the green in my eyes (my eyes are a greyish blue-green). So perhaps I will try using this as an eyeliner. However- it’s just way too dark for everyday use. But who knows – if you really enjoy eyeshadows, this dark chocolate brown colour could be a good staple.
2/5 Christmas stars for me.
Day Eleven – Gel Touch Blue Nail Polish
I had suspicions that today’s product would be a bottle of nail polish due to the size. The colour is like a royal blue – deep yet bright and just a pleasant blue colour. I love wearing nail polish, and blue is a pretty great everyday sort of colour.
It calls itself gel touch, and honestly at the moment I don’t know if it lives up to that description. I work at a chocolate store now, so I haven’t been able to really wear nail polish. I tried testing a single nail but it’s late and it still isn’t fully dry after 15 minutes (and I’ve thoroughly marked up the polish). I haven’t tried any other nail polish from The Face Shop either, so I don’t have any reference for it. I can say though, one application seemed good enough for a good layer, instead of a couple of applications to build up a good coat of polish on the nail.
Overall, I think it’s a great colour, the quality seems quite good, but as for gel touch… I don’t know.
3/5 Christmas stars overall.
Day Twelve – Pro Smoky Smoky Fake Eyelashes
This was definitely the worst product for me personally out of all The Face Shop’s advent calendar products.
Now I want to be clear, that if you like using fake eyelashes that these are probably awesome for you. They have a great texture/layered effect, making them look really full, and are quite soft to touch. Even the little glue applicator is pretty awesome, as it actually has a stick that makes the glue easy to apply to the lashes.
But for me, these really didn’t work out. My eyelashes are actually quite blonde – so much so that usually I use a dark brown eyeliner and mascara instead of black, because dark brown looks black on my eyes, whereas black is too dark. So these pitch-black fake eyelashes didn’t blend into my natural eyelashes at all, even with mascara on. Having blonde eyelashes also means that my natural eyelashes are also quite delicate. Putting the fakes on with the glue, then removing them actually damaged my natural lashes a bit.
Now all of this is to say that normally I do not wear fake eyelashes, I’ve actually only worn them once (of a different brand) and that I am a beginner when it comes it using/wearing fake eyelashes. I think people who do use them often actually would like these a lot but as a beginner they were really hard to use due to their flexibility. The other time I’ve worn fake eyelashes actually were a bit stiffer and had a stiffish curve that matched my eyelid’s curve. These do not, and were extremely fiddly to put on.
My last complaint is that the instructions were only in Korean. Not a problem for someone who can read Korean, but I can imagine it would be really frustrating for someone who doesn’t know how to read Korean and doesn’t know how to apply fake eyelashes as well to understand how to use this product.
1.5/5 Christmas stars for my personal experience with these fake eyelashes.
Overall Review for The Face Shop’s 2016 Advent Calendar
At the end of all of this, I am really happy to say that I’ve been using quite a few products from the advent calendar almost everyday or immediately after getting them. I definitely love the Herb Lip and Eye Makeup Removed Wipes the most. I’ve been cutting them in half just to make the wipes last me longer. After a few days of using these as well I’ve noticed how well they remove my long-lasting lipstick – the kind where the colour lasts a full 12 hours and doesn’t wipe off easily. I cannot say I have another product that can remove my long-lasting, waterproof makeup in just one gentle swipe like that.
I’ve also used the Orchid Hand Cream a lot, and surprisingly the Calendula Eye Cream. With the crazy hours at the chocolate store and waking up with puffy, purplish eyes I’ve felt that the eye cream has been helping keep my eyes looks fresh, hydrated and not tired.
I will definitely be investing in the different masks. The face masks, the hand masks, and even the foot mask was really great and I feel like a great way to help moisturize needed areas. Although, I think I will reserve the Aloe face masks for the summer.
The other products I’ll likely use in the future and enjoyed well enough, but probably will not use daily are the konjac jelly cleansing puff, the chocolate eye shadow, and the gel touch nail polish. I do like the feeling of the konjac puff, but I’m mainly just a bit confused with it. I decided to experiment with it, letting it dry out for a couple of days, and it does seem to rehydrate under water well but I don’t know if I’m actually damaging it. I also feel uncertain of how best to store it, and the refrigerator isn’t an option. The chocolate eye shadow I think will be great for nights out, or even as an eyeliner for myself, since it brings out the colour in my eyes, and I tend to use brown instead of black as an eyeliner. The nail polish I’m definitely excited to use in the summer. It’s such a pretty and bright blue, but for me personally, I just don’t think it’s enough of a winter colour.
As for the fake eyelashes… I might use them solely as a film prop in the future. If only they were dark brown I might want to give them another try much sooner. But until I use fake eyelashes more (which for now is never), they’ll be staying in the junk drawer.
Have you used any of the products? What did you think of them?