Luxury treats – February product review

A bit later than usual, but here are some of the skincare products that I used in February and what I thought of them. All of these products were bought with my own money or birthday/Christmas presents from family and friends. None of the products are sponsored, although the post does contain some affiliate links.

Balmonds

This wasn’t a brand that I was familiar with until I started getting Lovelula again last year. This intensive facial oil got me back into using facial oils. I’d had a bit of a thing against them after a bad experience with a particularly greasy one, but this is not like that. It is a fairly rich oil, but it soaks in well and leaves the face feeling soft and rehydrated. The lavender scent makes it a nice choice for bedtime as well.

Body shop

This Mango body Scrub is an old favourite. I love the mango scent, and the fact that it’s a sugar scrub means it’s not messy, so you’re not for ever clearing up something messy like coffee grounds. It just dissolves and washes away. It’s firm enough to feel that it’s doing something to the skin, but it’s not so abrasive that it hurts.

The Ethiopian coffee cream is from the spa of the world range and it’s a luxury body cream. It doesn’t smell of coffee, but it contains caffeine, which is known for its stimulating properties, and it promises to leave your skin feeling firmer and smoother.

The moringa body butter is not something I would usually buy because of its floral scent. I got it in a calendar and used it up because it’s one of the creamier body butters, which I like as opposed to the really firm ones. It’s not something I’d buy again, but it is good as a body moisturiser, and if you like more floral scents, you might like it too!

I was having some problems with my skin and decided to pick up the aloe toner for sensitive skin. It’s super gentle and reminds me a bit of the vitamin E toner. As a rule I don’t have sensitive skin, but I like to use something like this if I have had a reaction to something or just want something really gentle. I’d definitely pick this up again.

H2k

I’d never heard of this brand before, but I picked up the Oilovme serum for fine lines and blemishes as one of my Latest in Beauty choices. This small tube retails for £9.99, and as a 9 product subscriber, I paid £2. This is why I really like LiB – you get to try some new brands and products for a fraction of the price. Anyway – it’s an oil-based serum (sunflower seed and wheat germ) and I particularly applied it to any areas with blemishes. It doesn’t say anything about tea tree oil, but it smells of it, and did calm down any areas where I had hormonal breakouts.

Hugo Boss

I’ve talked about this The scent intense for her perfume before. It’s not the notes that I usually go for, but I smelled a sample of it and really liked it, probably because of the fruity peach and roasted cocoa notes. It does contain osmanthus flower too, but it’s not a particularly floral scent. This is something that I wear quite often, and I finished up my 30 ml bottle. Fortunately I got a really good deal on it in the sale last year, so I do already have a replacement for it. I don’t replace all my perfumes when they run out, but I like this one enough to keep wearing it.

Molton Brown

Molton Brown is usually known for its shower gel gifts, but they have some really nice haircare too. I’ve talked about the Indian cress purifying hair set before, but I got one for Christmas and have now finished the conditioner. The shampoo lasts a bit longer because with that, a little really goes a long way. They smell and feel luxurious, and the jasmin and honeysuckle scent stays on your hair for ages. This particular set is the purifying one and it contains enriching Indian cress extract. Not something I can afford every day, but it’s a lovely treat once in a while.

Radox

Budget friendly and fruity, I got through a couple of Radox shower gels. I particularly liked the lychee and watermelon one because it’s so fruity and refreshing, with a creamy texture that felt moisturising as well. I’m always up for trying fruity scents, and they don’t have to be expensive.

Rituals

Back to the pampering products again – I got this Ritual of Ayurveda shower foam in a Christmas present, which was the Feelunique bathtime pamper box (now sold out). I didn’t even know that Feelunique did these boxes, but I look out for them now. They basically collated a bunch of products to help you have a relaxing night in, and I love the Ritual of Ayurveda scent with its sweet almond oil and Indian rose. I didn’t actually know there was rose in it – it’s not an overbearing rose scent – you really mostly smell the almond oil. Anyway, this certainly makes bathtime more special!

Seascape

This is another Lovelula discovery – the Island Apothecary uplift body lotion. It says that it contains eucalyptus, lime, and lavender, though the only thing I could really smell was the lavender. It was nice enough, but I’d be interested to see whether they do ranges with some different scents.

So, fewer products than usual, but some really nice ones nevertheless. I’m also only talking about things where I have something to say – for example I finished an eye cream and all I really had to say about it was “yeah it was ok” and I don’t think that makes interesting reading! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and if you have, what you thought of them.

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Lovelula subscription box – February 2020

This post is neither sponsored nor gifted.

I’ve written a couple of posts about the Lovelula box before – the last was in October 2019 – so I decided to tell you something about the February box.

I have mine on a rolling monthly subscription, but there are also deals if you want to buy subscriptions for longer periods of time. I like the products because they are all cruelty-free and natural, and they tend to offer different choices than the similar products that tend to crop up in a lot of the other beauty subscription boxes.

Out of the February box, I’d only used one of the products before. I have decided to keep all of the products this month, and I’ve tried four out of the five so far.

Cleanser and toner all-in-one

This DIY cleanser and toner from Laidbare is a handy travel-size, ideal if you’re pushed for space in your suitcase or you can’t take too many products with you. I have reviewed it on the blog before. I don’t generally go for two-in-one products – I like my skincare ritual with all its many steps, and a cleanser and toner do quite different things, so I don’t really understand the science behind something that claims to do both.

Having said that, I’ve already used this up, and it’s the nicest-smelling product in the box (probably due to the apple secret extract, which is nice and fresh). It also contains aloe and liquorice extract, both good for reducing inflammation, cleansing and toning the skin. It’s like a cleansing gel and due to the inflammation-reducing ingredients, I got it out when hormonal breakouts showed their ugly heads!

Face mask

Another product from Laidbare, which if you haven’t heard of it is a budget-friendly brand with some really nice products, is the for richer for porer face mask.

According to the Lovelula site: “Kaolin Clay draws out impurities and toxins, Japanese Seaweed Extract detoxifies and smooths the skin. Shea Butter gives hydration and conditions skin, whilst Liquorish helps minimise inflammation and Rose Water soothes irritation.”

You apply it to cleansed skin and then leave it on for 10 minutes, before rinsing off. It’s unusual because it does have small particles in it that work as a kind of exfoliant, but a gentle one, and at the same time it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry as some masks with clay can do. I like it!

Face oil

This time we got the new release from OOH (Oils of Heaven), which is the natural raspberry repairing face oil. This is the third face oil since I’ve been getting the box, so they’re averaging at one every couple of months. I don’t mind this as I do use them, but I’ve seen a couple of people saying that they’re not getting through them. Still, I like them, and the value of this product alone is more than I paid for the box. It’s definitely a good way to try out products as they are released, and all of the oils are marketed as doing different things, so you could swap them out, depending on what your skin needs.

There seems to be an anti-inflammatory theme with this box, because the raspberry seed oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also good for dehydrated skin. It is absorbed well with no sticky residue. It doesn’t smell of raspberries, because it’s made with raspberry seed oil, not the fruit itself – it just smells of nature, like when you go for a walk in the countryside!

Exfoliator

The final product that I tried was the Ayumi Turmeric & Bergamot Face Scrub. I’ve never heard of this brand before, so it was nice to try something completely new. However, I’m a fan of chemical exfoliants rather than face scrubs, so whilst I’ll use up this travel size, it’s not something I would buy.

It would be nice to see another product from the brand though – they do hair and bath products too.

Shampoo bar

This pollution patrol shampoo bar from Rescue My. Hair™ is the only product that I haven’t tried yet – just because I don’t want to get it wet once and then not finish it off, and I have another shampoo on the go.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about shampoo bars in general, but nothing yet about this one. I definitely like the idea – less waste and something that’s better for the environment. I’m quite fussy about hair products though, so I really need to give it a go and see if the results I get from a bar are as good as my favourite bottled shampoos. I’m definitely glad to have the chance to try it and will let you know what I think in a future empties post.

So, have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

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Skincare and haircare in January – new discoveries, and mango and grapefruit favourites!

Another month has passed and I wanted to tell you about some new products that I discovered and some old favourites! Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these.

Andalou Naturals

I got this Nourishing kukui cocoa Body Butter from Latest in Beauty and it’s like covering yourself in a layer of chocolate! It smells amazing! It’s called a body butter, but it’s not the hard type – it’s more like a thick, rich cream! The chocolate scent lessens after a while, and I was sad to see it’s hard to get hold of this in the UK as it appears to be a US brand. It’s available on Amazon, but that works out at about 3 times what I paid for it on Latest in Beauty. So either I got a good deal or there is a lot of mark-up on this product on Amazon!

Body Shop

I got the Strawberry shampoo and conditioner in an advent calendar. My overall favourite haircare from the Body Shop is the banana range, but this strawberry range is good too, leaving your hair smelling as sweet as fresh strawberries. It’s also good for cheering up dull hair and leaving it nice and shiny.

I also finished up a large juicy pear sugar scrub, which was part of last year’s Christmas range. I like the sugar scrubs because they are much less messy than products that don’t dissolve, and this one was my favourite scent from the festive ranges. I haven’t included a link because it was only available at Christmas time. It’s worth trying out some of the other scrubs because the consistency seems to be different – this one was more coarse with bigger sugar crystals than the mango one that I usually use, so I think it’s not just the scents that vary between scrubs.

It’s an old favourite, but a good one! I got one of the mango sets for Christmas, and I’ve already used the mango body butter. This is of the best scent from the Body Shop as far as I’m concerned, and the body butter is rich and nourishing, keeping you hydrated through the winter.

Cowshed

Such a shame they changed all their names! My favourite used to be called grumpy cow and it’s now just called replenish. I thought it was a fab name. Maybe someone bought it for their mother-in-law or their wife and it didn’t go down too well. Who knows!

But anyway this isn’t grumpy cow, but it’s from the Cowshed and still good. It’s what used to be gorgeous cow and is now just called the indulge range. I made us up a Christmas Eve box this year with some pampering treats and other Christmas goodies, and a little set of this was in there for me. This shower gel makes you and your bathroom smell great for ages, and it contains lavender with some floral notes.

Dr Botanicals

The Dr Botanicals pomegranate superfood sleeping mask has been doing the rounds in beauty boxes for the last couple of years, but I hadn’t had one until it showed up in my October Pip Box. I have been trying a few things from Dr Botanicals recently and so far I’ve liked all of them. This one is an overnight mask that you apply at the end of your evening skincare routine. I tend to not put it on directly before I go to bed so it can dry down a bit, but it’s not sticky or oily as some overnight treatments are. It’s marketed as a smoothing and brightening mask, but I find it’s pretty moisturising too.

ELF

In the past I have talked about this Hydrating face primer a lot, but now that I’ve finished this one up, I won’t be buying any more because I’ve found other things that I like more. It is good if you want a hydrating base, but I prefer my Body Shop primer because it’s not quite so thick, but still leaves a smooth base for your make-up.

Madara

So far I’ve liked everything I’ve tried from Madara, from body care to face products. We got samples of the nourish and repair shampoo and conditioner in the January Lovelula box. I didn’t dislike them, but afterwards my hair felt pretty dull and tangled, not like it usually does when I’ve just washed it. It looked ok the next day, but I’ve got products that leave my hair feeling much nicer than that, so I was grateful for the sample so that I now know not to buy it!

Lucky Cloud

This brand was new to me. We got the balancing Cleansing Balm in the December Pip Box. I’m only really just getting into cleansing balms after one that I really didn’t like. I think there’s a lesson in there – if you try a new type of product and don’t like it, it might be that particular product that you don’t like, and not all things in that category – for me, all cleansing balms.

So, this balm is not super sticky and although it has exfoliating green clay in it, it’s not grainy or scratchy. It also has anti inflammatory oils like grapeseed and jojoba and I found it to be a very gentle cleanser. I would buy this again or try other things from the range.

Original Source

I don’t often buy from this brand, but I wanted to try out their mango shower gel – because mangos! It’s a budget-friendly shower gel that smells of mangos! I’m not faithful to shower gels, so like to swap them out and this is something I would use again.

Rituals

One of the things I put in my self-made advent calendar this year was the Ritual of Holi Body Cream from Rituals. I wanted to try out some of their other scents and I thought this one sounded good. I’ve still no idea what a flamingo flower is, but it’s got pink grapefruit in it, which I love. The Rituals products are always a luxurious treat, and this cream was no exception. It’s rich and nourishing, and like pretty much all of the products from this brand, it smells amazing! I would definitely buy this again, as well as other products from the Ritual of Holi range.

So – some new brands, new products from brands I like, something that has been replaced by something better, and a slightly disappointing product that was only a sachet. I think January was a pretty good month for me in trying out new skincare and haircare. Let me know your thoughts on any of these products in the comments!

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Thank you Pip box – beauty subscription box emails product leaflets to blind customers

Before Christmas I emailed a couple of beauty boxes with an idea. The Pip Box responded to me and has now made a change to their process that makes my life much easier as a visually impaired customer who can’t read their printed leaflets.

The Pip Box is a cruelty-free and vegan monthly subscription box. I’m not vegan, but the cruelty-free aspect is important to me, which is why I started getting this box last autumn. 10% of the profits from the box go to the charity Animal Free Research UK, and the box is named after Pip, the owner’s dog.

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I love trying out new products and discovering new brands, which is why I subscribe to beauty boxes. A lot of the time, you don’t know what will be in the box until it arrives. I have several ways of getting round the problem:

  • If S is around, I’ll just ask him what I’ve got – but he isn’t always around right at the time I want to know, and I don’t expect him to drop everything.
  • I can try scanning the card or leaflet and using an app on my phone to identify the text. This sometimes works, but is less successful if there is shiny paper or if the text is in columns.
  • I can use the same app to scan the products – sometimes this works, but it doesn’t read all of the writing. It might be enough to identify what kind of product it is, the brand, or some random information like what to do if you get it in your eyes. I use this method all the time if I can’t remember what something is, but it’s not so good for finding out about new things. It also depends on the colour and type of writing – the more unusual the packaging is, the harder it is for the scanner to read.
  • Sometimes people talk about their boxes on social media. Sometimes YouTubers and bloggers are fast to get their content up, so I can find out what is in my box too.

But all of these methods are a bit hit and miss for one reason or another.

Leaflet by email

This is why I asked if my Pip Box leaflet could be emailed to me. I can then read the email with the screenreader on my phone or laptop and know exactly what’s in the box. The company websites are also on the leaflet, so I know where to go if I want to blog about one of the products or find out a bit more about it.

This month, Sofi emailed the leaflet to me so I could identify the products when my box arrived. As far as I am aware, the Pip Box is the first beauty box to do this.

As a customer, it makes me happy because it helps me to enjoy the subscription independently without having to rely on others, wait, or use solutions that may or may not work.

As a company, it is one more step to build into the process, but it didn’t cost a lot to add this improved accessibility – only the time to build the new step into the process and the time to send off the email with the information.

Sofi from the Pip Box said “Here at The Pip Box we’re always looking for ways to improve our customer service and subscribers’ experience. When Kirsty got in touch to ask for a digital box leaflet we thought it was a great idea for visually impaired customers. We’ve since added this option to our website, under our FAQ’s section so future customers are aware.”

What was in this month’s box?

In the January, “refresh edit” we had:

  1. A tinted lip balm from Love Byrd (extra points for stating that it’s pink in the description because the name pucker doesn’t really give this away)
  2. 6 shades of nude eye shadow palette from cougar
  3. Black tea body scrub from Delhicious
  4. Face mask and mask brush from May Beauty
  5. Wild rose body lotion from Weleda

I’ve only heard of one of these brands before, so this month’s box was a great way for me to discover some new ones.

Weleda is most often talked about because of its skinfood, but I actually prefer their range of body lotions, so I was pleased to get a mini of one of them in this month’s box.

I’m most interested to try out the mask – I haven’t used it yet, but plan to tonight. I usually apply masks with my fingers, but I can see how a brush would help to get it all even, and this brush is super soft!

A lip balm is a good handbag staple, especially for this time of year when it’s cold and the lips need some extra protection. I like the ones in stick form too because you can easily apply them on the go.

I usually use sugar-based scrubs, but I like to see companies repurposing things such as tea leaves and coffee grounds so that they don’t go to waste.

The palette is something I won’t use because I only use cream and liquid eye shadows, but I’ve passed it on to someone who was really pleased with it, so it didn’t go to waste!

Once I had got my box, I could identify the lip gloss, brush, palette and scrub by touch. I’ve had Weleda lotions before, so was pretty confident that the tube was the lotion and the sachet was the mask, but I scanned them with my app to be sure. It generally won’t read all the information, but generally one or two words are enough to tell things apart, and it helps when you know what you’re looking for.

Final thoughts

I often highlight things that don’t work for me or that make my user experience more difficult, because I want to help educate companies about the often small changes that they can make to improve the accessibility of their websites, products, or user journey. I also like it if I can make people think about things they otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

But I also like to highlight good practice when I come across it because there are good news stories too. Sometimes you just need to ask and the change will be made for you.
So, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly subscription box from a company that listens to customers, I can recommend the Pip Box. If you’re visually impaired, now you can ask for a digital copy of the leaflet so you can know what’s in your box.

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December products – new haircare favourite, mango goodness, and festive treats

I didn’t get round to finishing this post in December, but I wanted to do a kind of update – it is an empties post of sorts, but it also highlights some of the new brands and new skincare products that I’ve been trying. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, and if so, what you thought of them!

Aveda

I was given a sample size of the Aveda almond and cherry shampoo along with something else because I helped fix a problem on a website – so it wasn’t paid for by me, but not gifted by the brand either!

I had never tried anything from Aveda before and this shampoo smelled amazing. It was nice and gentle on the hair too, something I appreciate after trying a different one recently that made me feel like my scalp was on fire. I’ll definitely be buying the full size of this along with the conditioner because I think the best way to try things out is to use the shampoo and conditioner together.

Bare minerals

I’ve never used anything from this brand before – mainly because mineral make-up is harder for me to use as someone with a visual impairment, but I didn’t actually know that they did skincare as well.
I got a sample of the Skin longevity serum in an advent calendar and I really enjoyed using it, though it’s not cheap! You’re supposed to use it with a Bare Minerals foundation, which I didn’t, but I would be interested in trying out more skincare from this brand.

Body shop

I thought I’d tried out everything from the mango range, but then I discovered the mango Eau de Toilette! It’s the same juicy mango scent as the rest of the range. To be honest I use it as more of a fruity body spray than a perfume, and I’m really sorry it’s gone! I’ll be replacing it soon!

I’d been avoiding the vanilla scents, but Halloween came round again, so I thought I’d try the vanilla pumpkin hand cream – and I really liked it. It smelled good enough to eat. I think I don’t like pure vanilla on its own, but the pumpkin just gives it something else and I hope they bring it back again next year! I haven’t linked this because it was a Halloween special.

I picked up the spicy vanilla body yoghurt, one of the 2019 Christmas scents, because I had a mini of the shower gel in the same Christmas scent and quite liked it. This scent is very sweet though and if you’re used to more fruity scents, you may want to be a bit less generous at the beginning. The first time I wore the body yoghurt, I slathered it on like I normally do and then went in the car to get some tiles. By the time we’d reached the tile shop I was finding the scent overpowering and not feeling too well! This has never happened with a body lotion or yoghurt before. Since then I used a bit less than I usually would, because this is a fairly strong and sweet scent, and I was fine.

I was having some problems with my face being really sensitive and reacting badly to a mask that I’d tried, so I wanted a moisturiser that would be really gentle. I had tried the vitamin E cream before, but I also wanted to try the aloe one. I really liked it – it did lock in the moisture, but was gentle too and is made with fewer ingredients so keeping it nice and simple. It’s formulated without colour, fragrance and preservatives – which means it’s a good idea to get it used once you’ve opened it, but it also means there is less to irritate it if you do have sensitive skin.

La Roche Posay

I got this vitamin b5 serum in the pick and mix samples from Feelunique. You just pay postage and then you can get five samples for free. You also get the postage back in the form of a voucher that can be spent on Feelunique.

Some of the samples are quite small, but this was a generous one – a folder with 8 sachets for 8 days of use. People tend to descend like vultures if anything good comes on the selection, even though you are only supposed to make one selection each month. So I was lucky to get this.
My skin definitely liked this serum, but you should make sure it has had time to sink in before going in with anything else.

Little butterfly London

Actually I think this is for babies – or at least for mothers with babies – but the dewdrops at dawn body lotion came up on Latest in Beauty, and I decided to give it a try because I hadn’t heard of the brand before and other people were giving it good reviews. It was a full-size body lotion too, and as a 9 item box subscriber, this worked out at £2 for me, which is much less than the actual value. I liked it – it is gentle on the skin, whilst still feeling like you’re putting moisture back. I liked the pump, but it was really hard getting down to the bottom because the packaging is very stiff plastic, and I felt a bit bad because I know I wasted some.

Lush

I’m too late to talk about these really because they were Christmas specials, but I tried out the polar bear bubble bar – which was fresh and minty, but not in a way that was overpowering, and the Santa bubble bar on a stick, which smelled amazing! The polar bear was definitely the best value for money in terms of the bubbles it produced, but if they come back next year, I’d buy either of them again.

Natura Brasil

I was trying out some new products from Feelunique and I came across the Ekos Castanha Body Cream, which seems to be sold out at the moment. I wanted to mention it though, because the cream came in a cardboard box that had Braille on the side. I’ve never seen it as a product marketed towards Braille readers – in fact I didn’t even know it had Braille on until it arrived – but it was lovely to see accessible packaging like this. I don’t know whether this brand puts Braille on all of its packaging, but I think it’s cool, so wanted to give it a mention here!

Rituals

I got a 10ml sample of the Ritual of Dao night balm from the Feelunique Pick n Mix. It lasted a long time because you really don’t need a lot. This is something to put on your hands at night because it is very quick, as you would expect for a balm, and it doesn’t sink in very quickly. It smells great though and your hands do feel soft in the morning.

Shay and Blue

I’d tried a perfume from this brand with the blood orange scent, but then I got this black tulip one in an advent calendar. I don’t think it’s something I would have picked up usually, because I don’t tend to go for floral scents, but I really liked this. It’s different, and maybe it’s just because I got it in winter, but I think it’s a nice wintry scent – a bit spicy and heavier than I would usually wear in the summer.

Vitamasques

This was a lovely Christmassy product from the Pip Box. It’s a cranberry and apple face mask – packed with vitamin C! A lovely pamper treat and festive too! My skin liked it and it wasn’t massive – I don’t have a big face and I like it when I come across masks that fit me properly!

If you enjoyed this, you might also like my November post that was about new products and testing out some high end samples.

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Skincare in November – new products and high-end samples

Someone asked me the other day why I write about products when I’m not paid to do so y brands. But I think the fact that I’m not working on paid advertising campaigns is part of the reason I do it. Sure, if something came up that I really like, I’m not against it, but there has been a big move in the blogging world towards so much sponsored content. People say they’re only giving their real opinions, and I believe some of them, but with many blogs and YouTube accounts it feels more like a magazine with ads than someone having the independence to say what they really think – good or bad.

One of the things in this month’s list is there because a friend gave me a recommendation. She isn’t a blogger, but she’d tried something and thought I would like it. In terms of blogs and YouTube channels, those are the accounts I like to follow too. People who give me tips about things I might like, who share their discoveries, or the things that didn’t work so well for them.

So that’s really why I do it. I have a day job – this is just something I enjoy and want to share with others – because I find it interesting when like-minded people do the same.

Let me know if you have tried any of these products, and if so, what you thought of them.

Body Shop

This is the product that was recommended to me by my friend Sarah – the Aloe body cream. It’s a soothing, cooling and hydrating moisturising gel cream that absorbs quickly. I imagine it’s a good thing to use as a general body cream if you have sensitive skin and react badly to more scented products, but it’s also really good for sun burn. I forgot to renew my sun cream and didn’t realise that as the sun moved, part of my arm was no longer under the parasol. I burn really easily – and badly – and this cream worked well as an after sun.

The camomile range is also a gentle one, and I didn’t realise that the Body Shop did a Micellar water. This isn’t the only product I use to cleanse my skin, but I do use micellar water sometimes and wanted to give this one a go. It’s not the cheapest on the market, but the skincare products are often on free for two, so if you plan it right, it can bring the cost of all the products down. I would buy it again.

I like to try out different moisturisers, but I got a
vitamin E face cream
in an advent calendar, I think it was last year, and this is a range that I often come back to. It’s promoted as being suitable for all skin types and it’s just a really nice face moisturiser. I believe it’s one of the more popular ones too.

If you find the strawberry range a bit sweet, you might like the Japanese cherry blossom and strawberry body cream. I wanted to give it a go because I needed some new body lotion and I thought the cherry blossom might just take the sweet edge off the strawberry. It’s a fairly thin cream, more like a lotion or a body yoghurt than a body butter, and although it’s still quite a sweet fragrance, I do prefer it to the strawberry line on its own.

I’ve talked about the Oils of Life sleeping cream before, but not for a while. It’s more expensive than ranges like vitamin E, but if you want to treat yourself or someone special, it’s a good investment. The cream contains three different seed oils from around the world and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth in the morning.

The juicy pear shower gel was a gift from my friend Heidi and it’s part of the Christmas range. It’s actually my favourite of the three scents because it’s so fresh and fruity! It’s good, like all the other shower gels, but I am glad that they created this as one of the festive fragrances. If you think you might like juicy pears from Italy, go and have a sniff and see what you think.

Gatineau

Advent calendars are to blame for this! I discovered Gatineau a couple of years ago because there was a night cream from this brand in an advent calendar. After that I got a discovery set that contained their serum, and I was convinced. This is a very expensive serum, even if you can get it in the sale, but I really do rate it. I finished up the ultimate smoothing Serum and this made me sad! I haven’t replaced it yet, but if I see it in the sale I’ll definitely think about it. It works to reduce the early signs of aging, but is also a really nice serum to hydrate and smooth the skin.

I also got a sample size of the peeling treatment, which definitely got my attention because I like chemical peeling products as opposed to physical ones. The consistency is a little strange at first – it’s like a fairly thick cream, but once you massage it in, it feels more like an oil. You can either wash it off after a few minutes, or leave it on for 20 minutes as a peeling mask and then wash it off. I think some detoxifying treatments are a bit hit and miss, but I definitely noticed results after this one with less clogged pores and skin that felt refreshed. Again, the price tag reflects this, but I do think this is a premium skincare brand that works – and not one where you’re just paying for the name.

Korres

If I feel like pampering myself with a shower gel, I often pick up something from Korres – either from Feelunique or from Ocado. My favourite is the Almond and cherry shower gel – it moisturises as well as cleanses, and it smells amazing!

L’Occitane

I got a mini Verbena perfume in an advent calendar last year. I’m not sure if you can buy these tiny bottles separately. I do like the verbena scent, but tended to use it as more of a body scent than a perfume. I think really I prefer this scent as a shower gel or body lotion.

Origins

I got this mega-mushroom treatment as part of an Origins set. I really liked some of the products, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with this. It said to use after cleansing to reduce redness, so I used it as a kind of toner on areas when my skin was being particularly sensitive. I don’t think I’d get it again, but maybe I’m just not the right target audience.

However, the orange gel cream is definitely something that I would use again – it’s a lightweight moisturiser and it smells of oranges. Actually this was the reason I gto the set of minis in the first place!

Zelens

I got a mini of this transformer instant renewal mask in an advent calendar. This is one of the times when the calendars can be really good, because you try things you otherwise wouldn’t. This mask is very expensive and I wouldn’t usually pick something like this up. I’ve heard great things about Zelens, and I definitely enjoyed giving it a go – although with a smaller size it’s hard to tell whether the product really worked. Normally it’s a bit out of my price range though.

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Pip box in October – cruelty-free subscription box

At the end of October, I got the 2nd of the three birthday Pip boxes that my mum got for my birthday. So yes, this is gifted, but not by the brand and therefore not sponsored.

These boxes come out at the end of the month, which is why I review them at the beginning of the following month. I thought there was a good range of products again this time, with only one new brand for me, but I’ve been wanting to try some other products from the brands that I new, so this gave me a chance to do that. All the products are cruelty-free and vegan – I’m not vegan, but if you’re specifically looking for a vegan box for yourself or a friend, I’d say this is a good one to try.

I ended up keeping four out of the five products this time, but that’s only because I prefer cream blushes. The person who got the blusher is happy with it, so my not keeping the product is no reflection on its quality.

Skin care for the body

We got a pouch of the sweet orange hand Cream by Sknfed. This is a new brand for me, and I like the packaging – it feels less wasteful because it’s a soft pouch and you can squeeze out every drop. It also takes up less space in your handbag – I just need to make sure I don’t puncture it with anything sharp!

The hand cream has a fairly strong orange scent, which is good because I like anything citrusy. I’m always in need of hand cream, so I thought this was a good thing to put in the November box. The hand cream contains shea butter and cocoa butter, but it’s fairly thin, so you need to watch out that you don’t get too much~!

Skincare for the face

The pomegranate regenerating Sleeping Mask by Dr Botanicals

has been doing the rounds in beauty boxes for a while, but this is the first time that I’ve got one, so I was happy to try it out. As the name suggests, you apply a thin layer to clean skin and leave the mask on overnight, cleansing as usual in the morning.

It doesn’t have a strong scent, and it’s full of antioxidants to smoothen and brighten your skin while you sleep. This was new for me because most of the overnight masks that I use are moisturising ones. I rarely put overnight masks on directly before going to bed because I want to give them a bit of time to sink in – nobody wants mask all over the pillow – but you don’t have to worry with this one as it absorbs fairly quickly and doesn’t leave your face feeling sticky.

Haircare

I’ve used sheet masks from Vitamasques before, but I didn’t know that they do haircare too. We had a reusable sachet of the blossom hair masque, which contains evening primrose and cherry blossom, and is recommended as a deep conditioning hair treatment.

I don’t overdo it with styling or hours in the sunshine, but my hair is very long and that’s why I like to give it a deep conditioning treatment a couple of times a month. I find I can’t use some of the haircare products that you get in boxes, but I can use this and I’m always happy to see hair masks. It’s also a decent size for if you have a lot of hair – some are tiny!

Bathtime

We got a 50ml bottle of the Sensual rose bubble bath and shower gel from Kathleen. It comes in two sizes – 50ml and 150ml.

You can buy me roses, but I’m not usually too fond of rose-scented products. However, this one also contains orange and nutmeg, so the rose isn’t quite as strong, which I think makes it more pleasant. It’s not my favourite from the range, but it was good to try it out and see what other people do to make a rose scent a bit less rosy!

Makeup

I can’t review the paradise Blush from Manna Kadar because I passed it on. It was a little pot of mineral blush, and I didn’t keep it as I don’t use this type of product. Still, it was a nice addition to the box and I know it is being used and enjoyed!

What do you think?

All in all I was pleased with this box. Keeping four of five products isn’t bad, I got to try a new brand, and the other things are products that I will use or have already used. In fact only the handcream is left!

Have you used any of these products before? What did you think of the products? Let me know in the comments and if you want to take a look at the Pip Box, you can check out their website.

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New skincare in October – the Lovelula subscription box

It’s November already, but I like to give things a try before I write about them. That’s why I’m talking about the October Lovelula box today. This is not a sponsored post – I paid for the box myself and wanted to talk about its contents with you in case some of you are interested in trying out a new natural and cruelty-free subscription (I don’t receive a commission if you do!)

So, what was in the box this month?

Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil

This facial oil is my favourite product from the box this month. I hadn’t heard of the brand before, and I’m only really just getting back into facial oils. Apart from the ingredients, the packaging really makes or breaks them for me, because I don’t like the ones that have a big old neck and can make a mess because they come out too fast. No chance of that happening here though because it comes with a pipette, so you can get as much as you need in an easy, controlled way.

The product costs £22 at the time of writing, which is more than I paid for the entire box. It says you can use it as an overnight treatment, which is what I’ve been doing.

It contains rosehip oil, lavender, palmarosa, chamomile essential oils, along with cold-pressed sunflower and calendula oils. It doesn’t have an overpowering lavender scent and leaves my face feeling really soft after use.

Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask

This was my second favourite this month. I’ve tried a couple of products from Dr Botanicals before, but I hadn’t heard of this wash-off mask before.

You apply it to a clean face, leave for five to ten minutes, then wash off. It contains cocoa butter to moisturise, and coconut oil to rehydrate and protect the skin. I really think my skin is enjoying some of these more gentle products and although I usually tend to go for rehydration masks that you leave on overnight, I enjoyed trying something new and will keep this in my skincare routine.

Seascape Island Apothecary Uplift Body Lotion

Laidbare Pac

I was a bit surprised to see another body lotion because we had one in the September box. I don’t mind, because I get through quite a lot of the stuff, but I can imagine some people not being so happy about another one so soon.

To be honest, I ddid prefer last month’s one because it had a citrus scent, whereas for me, this one is predominantly lavender. I do like lavender, but more in my bath than on my skin afterwards.

It’s a nice body lotion though, and something that I’ll definitely use. It also contains lime and eucalyptus, along with beeswax and shea butter to moisturise the skin. Maybe if the lime could be a little more promenant?

Laidbare Pack Your Bags Eye Cream

Laidbare is a budget-friendly brand, and anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while will have seen me raving about their sunflower hand cream! I hadn’t tried their eye cream before, so I was interested to give it a go. It’s a generous size and aims to target dark circles, as well as provide moisture around the delicate eye area.

To be honest, I have more eye creams than a girl could need, but that isn’t Lovelula’s fault, because they didn’t come from these subscription boxes.

Mossa Glow Cocktail Serum

We also got a sample of the glow cocktail serum, but I think you’d really need to try it out for longer to see whether it really works. It is something that I would consider using though, and contains vitamin C for a brighter complexion. I keep seeing cloudberries coming up in ingredients and really should find out more about them.

Overall thoughts

I think it’s another good box. I’ve discovered two new brands, and tried out some products from three that I was already familiar with.

Most of the products came in cardboard boxes, but I took them out so that you can see the products themselves mor clearly.

I wasn’t feeling the love for the plastic wrapping outside the box for the body lotion, but overall there isn’t a lot of excess plastic in this box.

If we add these products to the ones from the September box, that’s 10 products, and 10 that I will use. I don’t expect this run of good fortune to keep going – it’s natural that one or two things will come up that I’ll need to pass along to someone else, but so far I’ve been really pleased that I can, and want to, use everything. These two months have given us a decent number of full-sized products two – which is great when you consider some of the comparibly priced boxes are mainly sample sizes.

Did you get the Lovelula box in October? What did you think of the products? If not, is it a subscription box that you would consider getting? Let me know in the comments.

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Old favourites and new skincare in October

It’s time for me to talk about some new discoveries and old favourites from the world of skincare this month! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what you thought of them!

Body shop

These aren’t out yet, but I was given a couple of gifts from the new Body Shop Christmas ranges by my friend Heidi. Although I couldn’t find them online, I believe you can put orders in through the Body Shop at Home consultants like Heidi – Here’s Heidi’s Facebook group. So I tried the bath bomb and the shower gel from the spiced vanilla range.

I don’t usually go for vanilla anything, but this one isn’t overpoweringly sweet, and it makes me think of Christmas – maybe because they’ve done other vanilla ranges at Christmas. The bath bombs fill your bathroom with the scent of whichever one you choose – don’t be fooled by their small size! I usually top them up with a bit of bubble bath too because I like bubbles!

Next a couple of things from last year’s advent calendar. They are both body creams – the Japanese camellia cream is made with oil from the camellia flower to soften skin and relax mind and body. It’s from the Spa of the World range, and it’s a rich, creamy body cream for when you feel like pampering yourself!

The other body cream is also Spa of the World and it’s the Ethiopian green coffee body cream. At first I was a little disappointed with this product because I thought it would smell like a rich cup of coffee, and it doesn’t. But if you don’t come at it with that expectation, it’s a good body cream, which is meant to help your skin feel firmer and smoother.

The vitamin E range is one of the popular ones – it’s gentle and suitable for most skin types. The vitamin E quench sheet mask is for moisturising. It won’t take the place of a good skincare routine, but if you want to give your face a drink and give yourself a pamper evening, it’s a good choice. I usually use one or two sheet masks each week and really like to take the time to unwind with them. Tip – if you don’t like the dripping sensation from the mask, do them lying down.

Finally a while ago I wanted to look at what other toners the Body Shop has on offer and I found the Chinese rice and Ginseng milky toner for brighter looking skin. I liked to use this with the vitamin C range. It’s more gentle than the tea tree toner and with the same consistency as a milky cleanser, although obviously it’s a toner. I’ve since gone on to try a couple of other toners, so I wouldn’t repurchase immediately, but I did enjoy trying this, especially as it’s something that people don’t often talk about.

Boots

Unfortunately I can’t provide the links here because the products seem to be sold out at the moment, but I got a couple of the products from the Boots Extracts mango range for my birthday.

People know this girl loves mangos! I hadn’t heard of the Boots extracts range before, but if you come across them and like mangos, I’d give them a try! I had the shower gel and the body butter. I hope they have more stock soon.

Elgon

I’d never heard of this brand until I got the hair mask in the Glossybox advent calendar last year. It’s not a brand I’ve seen since either, and it seems quite hard to get hold of here. But I was really happy to see a hair mask in the calendar – I don’t have any use for some of the other hair styling products, but the mask was good and a fairly generous size too!

Korres

I’m a fan of Korres anyway, but I recently discovered this Santorini vine body milk, which contains soothing aloe, shea butter and almond oil. Like all of the Korres products I’ve tried so far, it’s good quality (your skin feels soft for ages) and this has a refreshing, non-artificial scent. It’s hard to say what it is exactly – you can definitely smell the almond, but it’s not only almonds that you can smell. Nice and refreshing for the summer, but really good at any time of the year.

Laidbare

I’ve talked about Laidbare before, but I was really pleased to see the Sunflower hand cream come up on Latest in Beauty. The link I’ve given here isn’t to Latest in Beauty, because you can’t buy individual products, but as someone with a 9 product box, I’m basically paying £2 for each product, which is a bargain when you get a 50ml tube of this really good hand cream! I picked it up a couple of times when I was doing my monthly selections, and I think it’s sold out now.

This brand often appears in natural beauty boxes such as Lovelula and I highly recommend the hand cream, which is non-greasy and absorbs well. I have one on my desk now in addition to the one I finished up!

Lush

My favourite thing from Lush has to be the bubble bars! The Karma bubble bar is bound to be a winner for me with its mixture of lemon grass, orange oil, and mango butter! All the good citrus things! Watch out for the glitter though as it goes everywhere!

Nivea

I was supposed to put this in the last post, but I forgot. Still, I wanted to mention this Spray on after sun lotion because I got really burned this year, which is a bad idea, and something I usually avoid because I am fussy about wearing my factor 50 sun cream. But I forgot to reapply it and paid for it later.

The spray on after sun was great because I could aim at the sore patch and tentatively rub it in, rather than going straight in there and applying it with my hands. I like the Body Shop aloe lotion too, but that doesn’t have a spray pump as this Nivea one does.

The best advice is don’t do what I did, but if you do, this may come in handy.

No 7

I think No. 7 often gets overlooked, but they do have some decent products, such as the Lift and luminate Serum, This serum contains three times the active ingredient concentration of the moisturiser in the same line, and is intended to support the skin renewal process and reduce the appearance of fine lines. I wore it under several different moisturisers and it’s a serum I would buy again.

Superdrug

I decided to have a look at some of Superdrug’s own brand face care products. The vitamin C gel moisturiser is a bit like the vitamin C one that the Body Shop does. If you compare them side by side, I do prefer the Body Shop one, but the Superdrug one is more affordable and it does a good job as well. I’ve certainly had more expensive moisturisers that I didn’t enjoy as much as this one.

It’s my usual gripe with vitamin C products though – vitamin C reacts with the air, so a tub with a lid is not the best. If you’re going to get one, don’t have it hanging around open for ages!

This Works

I keep hearing people raving about the in transit camera close up primer but I didn’t like it. I’m not fond of things that are meant to do multiple jobs anyway – this is supposed to be a mask, a moisturiser, and a primer. I want different things from each of these product, and for me this doesn’t work! I ended up using it as a mask because I didn’t like the way that make-up set on top of it, or the way it spread on my skin. I didn’t buy it specifically because I think it came in an advent calendar, but I wouldn’t buy it again.

Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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Pip Box in September – cruelty-free subscription box

Today I’d like to introduce you to another beauty box – the Pip Box. It’s a cruelty-free box and 50p from each box sold goes to an animal charity. Also, the box was named after its founder’s dog, Pip.

This was gifted because it was a birthday present from my mum, but it’s not a sponsored post.

The Pip Box comes out towards the end of the month. Mine arrived on the 26th September, but I wanted to try out the products before telling you about them. The September box was called the Glow Edit – it isn’t available to buy now, but you’ll get an idea of the kind of things that you might find in the box. You can buy the box monthly, take out a subscription, which works out cheaper, or gift one or more boxes to someone else, which is what my Mum did.

The sign-up process is accessible with a screenreader.

So what was inside?

Bali balm cinnamon and burnt orange lip balm

I’d never heard of Bali balm before, but this cinnamon and burnt orange lip balm turned out to be my favourite thing in the box! I have more lip balms than I probably need, but this one smells and tastes amazing! The orange scent comes from orange peel, and cinnamon is used because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with blood circulation, therefore giving you plumper lips. Actually I have quite full lips anyway, but I didn’t know that about cinnamon – that’s good to know! Also, it makes me think of Christmas baking, so now I have an excuse when I make my next batch of Zimtsterne (cinnamon star biscuits) – it’s good for your circulation, right?

Seriously though, the lip gloss has a lovely texture and your lips feel soft for ages afterwards. Great for as the weather gets colder.

Nakin cleansing milk

I’ve heard of Nakin before, but had never tried anything from the brand. This advanced cleansing milk is a gentle cleanser that contains hyaluronic acid, seaweed and plant extracts. It removes make-up and environmental toxins/excess oil, stimulates cell turn-over, promising to leave your skin feeling clear, smooth and radiant. According to the website, it’s also suitable for sensitive skin.

My skin can be sensitive at times, so I was hoping to find some gentle products in these boxes. It isn’t fragranced, does remove make-up, and I didn’t have any problems or reactions after using it. It’s basically a nice, gentle cleanser.

Diamond eye pads from vitamasques

This set of eye pads are infused with diamond extract and caffeine. They promise that you’ll feel as relaxed as you do after a great night’s sleep. The formula also promises to brighten up tired eyes, feel cooling, and eliminate fine lines.

I certainly felt relaxed after using them. I’m not sure one treatment can completely eliminate fine lines, but it’s a nice sensation after a long day and I do think this kind of mask helps you to relax. I’ve had sheet masks from this brand before, but never tried any of their eye products.

This Danish brand is another new one for me. Actually that’s one of the things I like about these boxes – the chance to get to know new brands and try new products. If you’ve been around beauty subscription boxes for a while, you can start to see the same things turning up again and again – but I’ve found that the cruelty-free and more natural boxes tend to offer a bit more variety in this respect.

This refreshing scrub mask promises to help you avoid oily and blemished skin. These are my tormentors at certain times of the month, so I was eager to give this a go!
It is a mask that you leave on for 10-15 minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water. I lasted about 10 because what they describe as a “refreshing feeling” from the menthol is actually quite intense! Not unpleasant, but it would wake you up in the morning. If you do have sensitive skin, it’s worth doing a patch test first to make sure it’s ok for you.
The mask contains both chemical and physical exfoliants – salicylic acid and black jojoba beads. There’s also apricot kernel oil and shea butter to soften the skin, and jojoba oil to moisturise.

Once I’d got used to the sensation, I was ok with it and after a while it did actually feel good. This is a purifying mask, so you may see evidence of impurities in the form of spots after using it, but the point of the deep cleansing is to bring out those impurities and dead skin cells so they won’t block your pores.

This is a new product for me, and one that I enjoyed using. Still, I personally would use this once, rather than once or twice a week.

Mineral eye shadow

I can’t review this because I gave it away. I don’t use loose powder eye shadows because as a blind person, I find liquid or cream ones easier to work with. So I gave this to my mum, who said she liked the colour and it was something that she would wear.

Overall thoughts

I would use four out of five of these products, which is not bad for a beauty box. I don’t expect to keep everything in boxes and the thing that I gave away was one of the lower value items. I liked the range of products, was introduced to some new brands, and think these will come in handy for the cooler winter months. It’s also great to have some more cruelty-free products in my skincare regime.

I have two more of these boxes coming and look forward to seeing what else there is.
Have you had anything from the Pip Box? Let me know in the comments. If you want to find out more about them, you can visit the Pip Box website.

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