Debenhams Beauty Discoveries Box Review

Debenhams Beauty Discoveries Box Review

The Debenhams Beauty Discoveries box contains seven travel-size products from a variety of premium beauty and skincare brands. As the name suggests, the box is for people to discover new brands that are offered at Debenhams, and plays off the success of other beauty boxes from the likes of Glossybox and Birchbox.

The box that I bought includes the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick, Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, Aveda Volumizing Tonic, Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly and Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream.

My Thoughts

While the point of the discovery box is for people to find new brands that they may not have bought themselves before, I do feel like the collection is a little confused in terms of its target audience. I may be wrong, but in my mind, brands such as Kat Von D, Too Faced and Smashbox all seem like beauty brands targeted at a younger demographic, whereas Clarins and Clinique typically attract slightly older audiences, and the Murad product is a youth renewal serum for smoothing wrinkles.

At full price the box is £35, however, Debenhams offers a deal in which, if you purchase a beauty item, you can buy the box for half price (£17.50). If you can get the box for £17.50, then it may be worth it if you’re interested in discovering new beauty products, but in my honest opinion, I think £35 is way too much for what is offered.

Thinking in comparison to the limited editions offered by the likes of Birchbox and Glossybox, such as the Natural Edit Vegan Beauty Collection from Birchbox, which typically offer about 10 products – often all full-sized – for around £20-30. I often find that the boxes offered by these two companies are great value for money, and so, seven tester-sized products for more money just doesn’t compare. That being said, if you were looking to buy any of these specific products anyway, then it could be the box for you, as some of the products are themselves worth more than £17, I just personally wouldn’t use enough of these items.

Debenhams Beauty Discoveries Box

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

Often considered one of the best primers in the game, I was pretty excited to be able to try out a product that I’ve often seen rave reviews for. I’ve only really started using primers in the last year or so, so I hadn’t yet had the chance to try this product. After the first use of the Photo Finish Primer though, I knew I wouldn’t be turning back from using it, as it works incredibly!

I have found that some primers don’t work so well with my foundation, and I end up with cracked or separating foundation, but this is not an issue at all with the Smashbox one. You only need a tiny amount to get a full coverage, which is a plus, as this (travel) size retails at £15. It feels very smooth to use, and you don’t really need to wait long for it to dry before applying your foundation, making it a pretty quick and easy product. I think my only negative for this product is that it doesn’t help to keep the foundation on my nose, which is a big issue for me whatever I’m using, so it’s no fault of the product itself, but it would have received massive bonus points from me if it was able to manage that!

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick

I think Lovecraft was a great colour choice for this box as it is a pretty inoffensive colour that should work with most skin tones. It is smooth to apply; however, the smaller tester size makes application trickier than if you were using the full-size product as you have to use more to get a full lip coverage. The product itself is great and pretty long lasting for a lipstick. When I wore it, the colour survived a few drinks and a meal without becoming patchy, which is the main goal in my eyes! This is the product I’m most likely to purchase in full size from this collection as I really like the colour.

Debenhams Beauty Discoveries Box

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

One of Too Faced’s most popular products, the Better Than Sex Mascara may just about live up to its name. Providing a voluminous coating in a deep black colour that doesn’t clump too much and lasts all day long, the Better Than Sex Mascara does pretty much all you want from a mascara! The mini travel sized version that comes in this box is worth around £10 full price, so, for me, is one of the main items to make the box worthwhile. I do actually already own this product in full-size, but it is nice to have it in the travel size too, for when I’m off on another adventure!

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

Clarins is something of a premium beauty brand, and a hand cream is a pretty safe bet to be included in a discovery box, as it can be enjoyed universally without the need for specific shades or skincare requirements. The main plus side of this cream is that it does not leave your hands oily or with too much residual cream, as some hand creams do, so you can carry on with life without having to wait ages for the cream to dry or sink into the skin.

However, while I’m sure the cream works to make my hands softer, I swear it makes them feel drier than before I apply the cream! Also, to me, it smells like old lady soap, and that is not something I want to go around smelling like all day! Ultimately, I think there are a lot cheaper products that would work just as well or better to keep my hands soft and well moisturised, so I doubt I would buy this product full-sized.

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

I actually had to look up what this product does, because from its packaging it gives no detail about how it should be used. Having read about the product online, I am basically none the wiser, but the jelly allegedly keeps in good moisture and filters out pollution. It sinks into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave a residue, which is good for a quick skincare regime. The Hydrating Jelly does seem to help make my skin a little softer and clearer, however, as I live in the countryside and rarely visit big towns and cities, pollution isn’t really a major concern for my skincare needs at the moment.

Aveda Volumizing Tonic

The Aveda Volumizing Tonic boasts that it will create weightless volume and shine. While it does add a bit of volume to my hair, it, unfortunately, has the side effect of leaving the areas of my hair that have been sprayed fairly crispy and stiff with residual tonic. I’ve tried using this product a few times, and have ensured I comb the spray through thoroughly, yet it always seems to end up crispy. This isn’t a great look for my hair (or probably any hair), so I think I might be giving this product a miss in future!

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

This is probably the priciest addition in the box, as a full-size 30ml product is worth around £64. The product in the box is a 10ml sample version, but this would work out to around £20. As a 22 year old, I don’t really have much need yet (thankfully) for an anti-wrinkle serum, so it didn’t really do a great deal for my skin, but from other reviews I’ve read for this product from older ladies calling it a miracle serum, I’ll definitely be hanging on to this for when I need it in a few years time!!

What do you think about each of these premium beauty and skincare products? Or have you bought the Debenhams Beauty Discoveries Box yourself? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. 16th May 2019 / 6:45 pm

    I’ve been waiting to see a review on this box! Thank you for finally doing one. When I looked at what it contained I did question how they could charge £35 for the box on it’s own. I’ve always wanted to try a product from Aveda but I might give the brand a miss based on what you have said. Great review!

    • ellennoir
      16th May 2019 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you! Yeah each of the products are pretty good quality, but I just don’t see how it can be worth that for a ‘discovery’ box of products you’re not sure you’re going to want!!