New finds from my beauty and skincare subscriptions

I haven’t done a skincare and haircare post in a while, so I thought I’d share with you a few recent finds from my subscriptions. Let me know in the comments whether you’ve tried any of these!

Odyssey box

One of my favourite products from the Odyssey haircare box was this almocado seaweed shampoo that came in the April box. It smelled amazing and its gentle formula lathered up well, leaving my hair feeling clean and less tangled. Seaweed is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and this product smelled more fruity than the funky smell you sometimes get with seaweed products!

I’m not usually a fan of mint haircare because I hate that tingly feeling on my scalp. I’ve heard it’s meant to be good for you, but it’s uncomfortable for me and I think my bathtime is a time for relaxing, not pain! Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to it. Anyway, I was a bit wary of using this herbal hair mask from the same April box, but even though it contains mint, it’s not as harsh or maybe as concentrated as products that I’ve used before. As a result, I could sit with this mask on for a while and get the full benefits of it. It also contains rosemary and sage.

These products are from the same brand and it’s not one I’d heard of before. That’s something I like about this box – being introduced to and supporting new independent brands.

Pip box

This Skinfd sweet Orange hand cream smells great! I like the packet with a nozzle – I had it in my bag for ages, and as well as being made from cardboard, aluminium and recycled plastic, this kind of packet doesn’t take up as much room. You can also get right down and get every last drop of the product. It is a good formula, I loved the orange scent. It is quite thin though, so you do need to be careful when tipping it out because it came out quite fast.

Not a new product for me, but I like Dr Botanicals, and I was happy to see this Cocoa face mask. It’s a wash-off product and it promises to revive and hydrate. I’m all about the hydration now that we’re coming into the winter months. Looking at my list now I see that there are a number of Dr Botanicals products. They are good and don’t have a lot of preservatives as some other skincare products do, so once you’ve opened them, you do need to get them used up!

Latest in Beauty

This is the box where you get to choose your own products, so you can customise the selection to things that you will definitely use.

I’ve used various products from Weleda, but I didn’t know they did a citrus range. It was a fairly small tube, but I’m glad I tried the Weleda citrus hydrating body lotion because now I know that I would definitely buy it again! It’s packed with a juicy lemon scent and also contains aloe vera gel and coconut oil to keep your skin soft.

I’ve mentioned the Laidbare sunflower cream before on the blog, but LIB had it on their selection list for a while, so I picked up one every month for a while. The plan I’m on means that products work out at £2 each for me, so it’s definitely a way to save money on things that you already like as well as trying out new ones. I do love sunflowers, but it’s more about the formula of this – it dries down quickly, making your hands softer, but isn’t one of those quick-drying formulas that make you feel as though you didn’t apply anything. Especially now, at a time when we’re all washing our hands more. I like to have some good quality hand creams around. This is a pretty cheap one by comparison, but it works!

The Dr Botanicals pomegranate overnight mask seems to be sold out on a lot of sites at the moment. It got to the point where I think some people were tired of seeing it because it showed up in so many beauty subscriptions, but it is a good overnight mask and I was happy to get another one!

Lovelula

Another Laidbare product, this time their shea body butter As the name suggests, it’s a thicker, creamy butter and contains jasmine, bergamot, patchouli and vertiver. It’s a butter, so you need to work it in, but my skin can become quite dry and I never skip this step, which for me is part of the whole bathtime ritual!

I also tried this Kathleen Tranquil fields Shower gel. It’s marketed as a bubble bath or shower gel, but I didn’t find it produced many bubbles, so just used it as a shower gel. It contains lavender and other floral fragrances that are good for relaxing and transporting you to a tranquil field far away. I do find these products are quite expensive for what they are though. I think I’m more likely to pay out on leave-on products such as body lotions, than those that you wash off in the bath!

I couldn’t find this Madara foaming cleanser on the Lovelula site, but I tried it out when it came in my box. I don’t usually use foaming cleansers because I find they can be quite harsh, but I do really like Madara as a brand, so decided to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a lot more gentle than some that I’ve tried, and I did use it all. I probably wouldn’t repurchase, though this has more to do with the product category than the product itself.

Self-made Advent calendar

Last year I made my own advent calendar and loved it! I haven’t done it this year, but I think of all the ones I’ve had, it was my favourite – because it was all things I wanted to try, there were no filler products and no products that I wouldn’t use. It also gave me new things to try throughout the year.

There is a bunch of Dr Botanicals superfood moisturisers on Feelunique, which is where I got the pineapple one, but it doesn’t seem to be available any more. Yes, I did love the juicy pineapple scent, but it was also a good morning or evening moisturiser. I hope they bring it back, but I’m also tempted by melon or cranberry!

I also wanted to try this Nympf radiance serum from Barry M because who doesn’t want to be a radiant nymph? Actually I just wanted some new serums, but I enjoyed using this one. The main ingredient is apricot oil, but it’s the citrus oils that you smell! It’s described as a lightweight serum to use under your make-up, but due to its oil base, I tended to use it in the evenings instead of a face oil. I guess you could do either though.

Looking back at this list, I see there are some common threads with brands, and some old favourites – but also a bunch of new products that I probably wouldn’t have discovered if it hadn’t been for my various subscriptions.

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Dr Botanicals pineapple cream
Lemon serum

Vitamin C products and beauty box finds

Vitamin C products and beauty box finds

I thought I hadn’t done a skincare post for a while, so here are some of the things I’ve been enjoying (or not so much!) lately. Let me know if you have tried any of them and what you thought.

Vitamin C range from Pixi

I was excited when Pixi brought out its vitamin C range. I’m not sure exactly when they came out, but I got them some time last autumn.

I first tried Pixi skincare when I heard about the glow tonic – I’m all about the chemical exfoliants – so when I heard that the new range had this kind of toner, I decided to give the whole range a go. It’s made with oranges and lemons to brighten and exfoliate the skin, without any abrasive particles.
The cleanser and the serum also contain grapefruit extracts. I know how a product smells is no indicator of how good it is, but these smell amazing and that made me want to use them!

The juice cleanser is a no-fuss cleanser – I’m not sure how well it would work with heavy make-up because I tended to use it in the morning, but it’s gentle and refreshing, and you don’t need to wash it off. The vitamin C tonic is similar to the glow tonic, but I think it’s gentler, and this meant that even when I had both of them on the go, I was more likely to reach for the vitamin C one. The vitamin C lotion comes in a tube and is a fairly light-weight moisturiser, good for wearing in the daytime, and fine for layering with other products.

I’d recommend all of this range. I also have the serum, but it’s still going as it was out of stock when I bought the others. I haven’t tried the caviar balm yet.

Lovelula

I signed up for this subscription because I wanted to try more cruelty-free and natural brands. You don’t know what’s coming in the box, and it tends to be more skincare than make-up. This time there was one hit and one miss, but even if something isn’t for me, I do appreciate the chance to try new things, for a fraction of the normal price.

Madara often shows up in this box, but I’m ok with that as I really like their products. This set of 10 Hyaluronic Collagen Booster Ampoules alone costs double what I paid for the box! They are enriched with hyaluronic acid and natural plant sugars, to stimulate the protein structure of the skin and provide a protective layer to shield the skin’s protective barrier. You basically use them like a serum, after toning and before moisturising. The capsules are very generous, but I tended to use them in one go because I understand the point of having sealed capsules is to prevent exposure to the air. Madara is not a cheap brand, but I am happy to pay more for serums and moisturizers if I think they are worth it. I would buy these again.

I really wanted to like this Rescue My Hair Shampoo Bar – Pollution Patrol from My. Haircare. It was the first shampoo bar I’ve tried, and I love the idea behind it. However, the “ultimate sensory experience” they promised just didn’t happen for me. My hair felt stripped afterwards, I didn’t like the scent or the texture, and I didn’t come away feeling that I’d done something good for my hair. I do have a couple of other shampoo bars, and I will try those, but so far I can’t see myself making the switch.

Latest in Beauty

I’m loyal to this subscription because I get to choose my products. I might make a mistake, but they’ll never send me something I’ll never use!

Yardley Lily of the valley hand cream – this was an all-round good hand cream. All the hand-washing of late does mean dryer hands, so I want to take care of them. It is floral, but a pleasant kind of floral!

Rodial Vitamin C sheet mask – this was one of the products – usually more high end ones – that they have as the product of the month, which means there is enough for everyone. Rodial is a more expensive brand, but if I were going to invest in something from them, it wouldn’t be a £14 sheet mask! The plan I’m on meant that I paid £2, but I do prefer the ones that are tissue soaked in the serum, rather than this kind of solid slimy stuff – I know that’s not a good description! It felt nice enough afterwards, but is not something I’d rush out to buy.

Single use hair masks like the couple I’ve got from Hask aren’t the most environmentally friendly way to go, but they are a way to check whether you like a product before committing to buying it, and the 50g ones give me enough product to work with as someone with really long hair. I’ve had the charcoal with citrus oil purifying mask, and the argan oil repairing deep conditioner. These can also be bought as a larger size, and it got me interested in the brand, so I also tried the orchid and white truffle moisture-rich shampoo. This is a budget-friendly brand, but my hair always feels really good afterwards.

Advent calendar

So my plan last year was to build my own beauty advent calendar. I had a lot of fun doing it, with some budget-friendly buys and more expensive treats, and the best bit was I knew I would use everything in there. Often the best thing in a beauty calendar is something I don’t want – such as a palette – and it feels like a bit of a let-down. Most of the wellness products have already gone, but I have a couple of skincare bits still going strong! There’s usually a sale at Feelunique in November, so I could try some new things and make the money go further.

I haven’t found a link for the Yves Rocher Hydra Végétal Moisture Boost Serum from a site that I would use, but it’s definitely a good one and one that I’d get again if I found it. As the name suggests, it’s good for dry skin.

I also wanted to try the e.l.f. Beauty Shield Vitamin C Pollution Prevention Serum. I liked the packaging – you push the top down and it draws the product up into a kind of pipette. Unfortunately that’s where the positive feedback ends! I found the product very watery – which in itself is ok if you use it like an essence, but it was sticky too and just not pleasant! I didn’t finish it.

Body shop

I finished the almond bath milk powder from my Body Shop pamper package. It’s powder to milk, so you just shake some in and it becomes bath milk. Think more moisturising than bubble bath, but this is a lovely gentle range.

The banana bath blend smelled good enough to eat! These are bubble baths made with fruit and vegetables known for their vitamins, and these are made from wonky bananas, which makes me happy because they weren’t wasted!
I used up a tub of the shea body butter – I think I must have got it in a set. I usually go for more fruity scents, but this one is good for sensitive skin or if you don’t want a strong scent, and it is really good for dry skin.

An old favourite – the
Gentle eye makeup remover.
This doesn’t sting my eyes, so I repurchase it.

I was super lucky to get to try the two new ranges – Sicilian lemon, and cucumber. Unfortunately the cucumber hand cream also contains mint, and gives you the weird tingly sensation that peppermint products often do. It might not be so bad with a wash-off product, but this stays on your skin and I found it quite uncomfortable. I think it would be even worse for more sensitive parts of the body. I think cucumber would be really nice, but I feel the peppermint was a mistake.

Supermarket

I needed some shower gel, so decided to try something new from the supermarket. I like fruity scents, so I tried the Kind natured lime and mandarin body wash and an almond milk hair mask. This was a new brand for me and I liked the brand’s commitment to natural ingredients and the fruity scents.

So, let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what you thought.

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Skincare in May – some new discoveries and a couple that were not so good

It’s halfway through June and I’m just getting my act together to talk about the products I tried and used up in May! As always, let me know if you’ve used any of these.

You may have noticed I’m trying out some new brands, and also trying to make my collection more cruelty-free. That doesn’t mean chucking out things that have already been purchased, because creating waste doesn’t help anyone, but I am trying to be more mindful with what I buy, and my Lovelula and Pip Box subscriptions are introducing me to some cool new brands and products.

All of these products were paid for with my own money, apart from the customer loyalty product, which is labelled as such.

Balm Balm

The little miracle cleanser was one of the first products I got when I started the Lovelula boxes again and it helped me to decide that yes, I actually do like oil cleansers. I’m not sure what put me off them before – I think I had a particularly sticky and unpleasant one, but this one isn’t like that. It is a budget-friendly gentle cleanser that removes make-up easily and leaves your skin feeling really soft and smooth afterwards. It also has a pump dispenser, which I like when it comes to getting the right amount of product, and it’s definitely one I’d buy again.

Body Shop

I’ve mentioned Heidi and her Body Shop pamper packages before. I’m a member of Heidi’s Facebook group, where it’s possible to earn loyalty points by either buying products, posting reviews, or interacting in the group. These points all add up and can lead to loyalty point gifts, such as my Spa of the World™ Tahitian Tiaré Hand Wash. This is out of stock as I write this, but it’s so important to keep our hands clean, especially now with increased hand washing because of the virus. This hand wash contains coconut oil to moisturise your hands, and it leaves them smelling of flower blossom – not in your face floral, but more of a subtle scent. Body Shop hand washes are not the cheapest, but they are a nice treat or a practical gift.

Of course Miss Mango has to have a mango product in here – this is my favourite scent from the Body Shop, and I used up another of their Mango shower gels. Not much to say really, other than it’s good quality, good value, and smells amazingly of mango goodness!

There was also an offer on haircare, and I got a set of the banana shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner always runs out first, so I finished up the banana conditioner to deeply nourish hair. I don’t have particularly dry or damaged hair, but it’s long and I have a lot of it, so I like a deep conditioner or hair mask for it. The strawberry and shea ranges are good too, but the banana one with banana puree from Ecuador is still my favourite.

Elizabeth Arden

This Green tea body cream was supposed to be a luxurious treat in the advent calendar that I put together myself last year. I really wanted to like it – it smells good, with the green tea, but it also had crushed up bits of something, which I can only assume is green tea leaves, in it as well. So I came out of the shower all fresh and clean, and ended up feeling dirty again because my body cream had bits in it. I tried, but I didn’t end up using this up. It may have been ok as a shower gel or something, but I can’t deal with a body cream that has bits of anything in it – I’m not a fan of glitter particles either for that same reason. Oh well.

Flawless Beauty

I haven’t been able to find this on a site that I know, so haven’t included a link, but we got a Parma Violet Luxury Body Cream in one of the Pip Box subscriptions. I’m not familiar with the brand, but it was a lotion-type cream, that did smell of parma violet, but not in a real sweet and sickly way. It had some other scent with it, that was a bit like cucumber. The bottle was kind of squishy too, so you didn’t feel as though you were wasting any. I’d try more from this brand, and I’d be interested to see what other ranges they have. That’s the nice thing about the subscription boxes – you don’t use the same things all the time and can find out about new products.

Kathleen

This natural bright mask was in one of our Lovelula boxes. I liked the sound of it, using white willow bark and hibiscus extracts, both of which are natural acids for exfoliating the skin. I always choose chemical exfoliators over physical ones, so thought this would be really good. The mask itself was ok I suppose, but it is sooo messy! It’s a bit like the cheese you get on top of a pizza, which sticks to itself, the fork, the knife, and is just a nightmare to cut. Whether you get some of this product on your finger, brush, spatula, or whatever you’re trying to apply it with, it has a long stringy tail and clings to the rest of the product in the pot. Or it hangs down precariously, threatening your top! Having this consistency doesn’t make it particularly easy to spread evenly either and because of this, although I liked the idea, it’s not something I would get again.

Korres

I’d tried a lot of bath and body products from Korres, so decided to try one of their face creams as well. I went for the almond blossom moisturising cream for very dry skin (I think they do two formulas using the almond blossom, because there is one for oily skin as well). Following some changes to medication, my skin isn’t very dry any more, so this is no longer the best choice for me. As such, I ended up using it more like a mask if I felt my skin needed some care. It’s a good moisturiser though, and I would be interested to try more skincare from the brand.

Natura seberica

The rich Siberian body butter also came in a Lovelula box. We had quite a few body butters, but I use them all the time, so this didn’t bother me! According to the site, ” Siberian cedar and Red Juniper oils improve blood circulation, while Siberian Fir Oil rejuvenates and smooths skin. Altai Oblepikha and Arctic Cloudberry oils protect skin from environmental impacts, making it soft and enhancing natural glow.” It was a fairly thick butter with a faint citrussy scent. Due to its buttery consistency, it is rich and you do need to take the time to massage it in, but if you do, it leaves your skin feeling soft for a long time.

Ooh-Arr

I haven’t found where you can buy these individually, but Latest in Beauty were offering both the strawberry and the orange face masks from this range recently. These are single use masks, but my LiB choices end up being £2 per product, so this is ok for a mask. It’s a thick, creamy mask that smells deliciously fruity. I usually do them in the bath and just wash them off after.

Pai

Another LiB choice is this rosehip cleansing oil. The only thing we seem to get from Pai in calendars or beauty boxes is the throat cream, which is ok, but I’m still not convinced we need a separate one. So I was interested to try something else from the brand. It’s a cleansing oil, and as I’ve reviewed two this month I do prefer the Balm Balm one, but this one did the job and I wouldn’t mind using it again.

Rituals

Another of my own advent calendar treats was finished up in May – my Ritual of Ayurveda Hand Lotion. There’s always something luxurious about rituals products, and this one has Indian rose and almond oil in it. It smells amazing, and is a pretty good hand cream too. This is definitely something that I would get again.

So there we have it – a couple of misses, and I think my favourite products were the first and the last in the list. How about you? Have you tried any of them? Let me know in the comments!

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Pamper products in March

I’ve got a slightly smaller collection of stuff to talk about this month – mainly because I’m not repeating staple products that I’ve already talked about, but I think that during this time of uncertainty, it’s nice to do things for our well-being. For me, that’s been long baths where I can relax and get a break from interacting with people – because as much as I like people, I recharge best by getting some time out alone. If anything, as I’m still working full-time from home, and every group that I’ve ever been involved with is now meeting online, I’ve felt a bit of socialising fatigue, which I know sounds odd in a time of social isolation. It seems selfish writing that when there are people who are really isolated and craving some human interaction, but I’ve also learned that people having a different problem doesn’t make your own problem any les valid.

So bathtime is good. My skincare regime is good – there’s something comfortingly predictable about all the steps that always come in the same order and are doing something good for my skin.

Here are a few things that I discovered in March:

Aveda

I only discovered this brand at the end of last year when I got a travel size of the almond cherry shampoo. After that I got the shampoo and the conditioner because I was so impressed. The conditioner was finished first, but they both lasted a decent amount of time. They are not cheap, but some of the more expensive products are less watery, so you end up using less. This conditioner is especially good for long hair like mine. It contains naturally derived cherry blossom extract, almond oil and shea butter. It leaves my hair soft, less tangly, and smelling amazing!

Body shop

Of course there are products from the Body Shop in here!

The first is a big jar of the Drops of youth ® Bouncy sleeping mask. This has a slightly strange consistency – it’s like a gel, but it settles down into more of a cream once it’s been on for a few minutes. It’s an overnight mask, but I usually put it on a little while before I go to bed so that it doesn’t stick to the pillow. It’s great for giving thirsty dry skin a drink overnight, and it promises skin that looks plumper, fresher, and renewed. It smells good too, though I couldn’t tell you wat it smells of! I can’t speak for anyone else, but an unlikely benefit I’ve found is that sometimes I get red blotches on my forehead, and using face oils or this mask helps to reduce those as well.

This isn’t a cheap mask, but the jar lasts a long time. Luckily for me, my friend Salomi bought me one last year, so I already have another one to use.

We often hear about the body butters, but the Body Shop does some really nice lotions as well. I keep coming back to the almond milk and honey body lotion because it’s really gentle and soothing. It comes in a tube, so you can get every last bit out! You can smell the honey more than the almond milk, and although it’s not as thick as the butters, it does keep your skin hydrated for a long time.

Still on the subject of body lotions, there are a couple of whipped lotions too, which are light in texture, but which are still great moisturisers – particularly nice in the summer months, when you want something a bit lighter. The mango whipped lotion is part of the mango range, so of course one of my favourites! It contains mango seed oil from India and smells like real mangos.

Molton Brown

In February I talked about my Indian cress hair set that my Mum got me for Christmas, and in March I finished up the conditioner. Again, not a cheap set, but it lasted ages, particularly the conditioner. I’m not usually a floral scent kind of girl, but this jasmin and honeysuckle is fresh and not overly floral. My hair smelled great for ages and more importantly, it felt soft, nourished, and smooth. These products are cruelty-free and even the packaging lets you know you’re in for a treat!

I think sometimes we can spend a lot on things like make-up and then be horrified when a hair or skincare product is a bit more pricy – but I would actually rather invest more in the things that will be put on my hair and skin first.

Retro Rich

I hadn’t actually heard of this brand before. I follow Sussex Sandra on YouTube and she finds some interesting new boxes, particularly more inclusive ones, because many of the mainstream boxes often leave her with things that she can’t use because they don’t take into consideration the full range of skin tones that their members have. We should be doing better than this.

Anyway, Sandra reviewed a haircare beauty box, primarily aimed at people with curly or coily hair – so not me with my type 1 straight hair – but the products sounded so good and inclusive that I wanted to give it a go. I use some of them differently, but they looked like interesting, good quality products and I decided to give the box a go.

The February box focussed on the brand Retro Rich, and that’s how I discovered the Queen of the Nile hair mask – probably my favourite item in the box. Some of the other products are things that I wash out whereas people with different types of hair can leave them in, but super long hair needs moisturising down to the tips, and this mask is something that anyone can use to give their hair a pamper. You just use it like any other hair mask – leave it on for 10 minutes or pop it under a shower cap (I’ve done both). It smells lovely and my hair felt amazing afterwards.

The box comes out every two months and you can find out more about the Odyssey box here.

Rituals

It was the first time that I tried a shower oil from Rituals. I wasn’t actually sure whether I’d like it, but having used it, I actually liked it more than the foam, which seems to be their more well-known shower product. This ritual of Sakura oil contains cherry blossom extract, and rice milk, known for its purifying properties. I love this scent anyway, and the oil isn’t greasy – it’s easy to wash off and doesn’t leave a mess in your bath or shower!

Weleda

I’ve tried the pomegranate body lotion before, so I also picked up one of the Pomegranate shower gels. This brand is probably best known for its skin food, which isn’t something I tend to use, but the pomegranate range is worth exploring as well!

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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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Latest in Beauty choices – August 2019

I thought I’d let you see what I picked for my Latest in Beauty choices in August.

Latest in Beauty is a subscription box with a difference – you can choose your own products.

I think this can make it a better option because although you can’t guarantee in advance that you’ll love everything, you can definitely make sure that you don’t get products in your box that are the wrong shade or that you will just leave sitting in a drawer for ages because you won’t use them.

I don’t make my choices on the highest value products, although I do try to make sure that they’re good value for money. This works – partly because you do end up paying less than the retail price, but also because I’m not wasting money on things I won’t use.

You can choose a 3, 6 or 9 product box. I get 9 products for £18, which means that the products work out at around £2 each.

Every month there is a star product, which means there is enough of this product for any subscriber who wants one. I didn’t get the August star product because it was an eye liner and I don’t use those, but September’s is a Nars lipstick and I’ll be snapping that up!

I didn’t get any make-up this time, but on the site there is skincare, makeup, haircare, tools, and bath stuff. Products are added all through the month, so you’re not at a disadvantage if you get your box at the end of the month like I do. New products are being added each day, but some of the ones mentioned here are still available.

A quick note about accessibility – as a blind customer I have no problem picking out my items and checking them out each month. This should be the way it is for all sites, but unfortunately this isn’t the case with all beauty boxes, so I like to highlight good practice when I find it!

Face masks

I like to use my LiB subscription to stock up on face masks because there are often new ones in the edit, and it’s a really cost-effective way to buy masks. I have only ever had one bad experience in about 3 years of trying different masks, and that was with a well-known brand. This didn’t put me off trying others – particularly the more natural ones.

  • It’s skin fresh mask avocado – with natural ingredients and over 25 vitamins. I’ve had this one before and it’s a nourishing mask for when your face needs some hydration.
  • It’s skin fresh mask olive – a firming and refreshing mask, again for dry skin. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I liked the avocado one and this is from the same brand.
  • Mitomo soy bean mask – to keep pores clean. I love Korean and Japanese skincare and although I haven’t tried this mask before, I’ve had another one from the brand. I got this because it’s said to reduce irritation and improve skin texture. My skin’s been a bit sensitive lately, so I thought something that was both detoxifying and soothing would be a nice treat!

Hair

  • Jo Hansford intensive hair mask – to be used as a wash-off mask or an overnight treatment. This isn’t strictly for my type of hair because my hair isn’t coloured, but I wanted to try something from the Jo Hansford range and I generally give my hair a mask treatment every one or two weeks because it’s very long and I want the ends to get some tlc! This mask contains Ethically harvested Castanha do Brasil and sunflower extract.

New to try

Every month I like to try a few new things just because they’re there and I can! Sometimes this means full sizes, other times it’s a sample – but even with samples it’s good to try something out first before buying the full size.

  • Sebamed clear face mattifying cream – because hormonal breakouts! Reduces the skin’s oily shine and the formation of pimples, blackheads and skin impurities. I thought this may help, particularly at the times of the month when the hormonal breakouts like to raise their ugly heads!
  • Weleda sea buckthorn body wash – my favourite from Wileda is the pomegranate range, but I thought I’d give this a go too because generally the brand makes things that smell great and that are also gentle on the skin.

General things that I need

Sometimes I pick up general things like deodorant, cotton pads, shower gel etc because they are things that I always use and want to keep topped up.

  • Sure advance protect antiperspirant roll on – not very exciting, but it’s something I use every day, so why not pick one up when they’re here?

Yardley London lily of the valley hand cream – I tend to get through hand creams because I have one on my desk, one in my bag, one by my bed etc. Also, if my hands are covered in hand cream, I’m less likely to bite my cuticles. Well it’s a strategy at least. So I picked this up because I hadn’t tried anything from Yardley and I thought it sounded good. It has a floral, but not overpoweringly floral scent. The cream rubs in well and isn’t greasy.

Fragrance

I don’t often get fragrances, but I will if I think something looks interesting.

  • Kieren NYC perfume bundle – I got this because I thought it would be a good way to get to know the brand as there are four fragrances in the set. They come on cards in a little bag. I am not sure if any of them are going to be my new favourite scent – I need to test them out a bit more. I automatically liked Sunday brunch because of the citrus notes, but I also liked 10 a.m. flirt because it’s fruity.

Have you tried Latest in Beauty? If so, what did you get in August? If not, do you think it’s a good idea?

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New and favourite things in June – beauty box, Braille ring, body yoghurts, and bedroom furniture

So it’s time for my favourites again, but I want this to not only be about new things I bought, but other random things that made me happy! Let me know yours in the comments, and also whether you’ve tried any of these things.

1. M&S Beauty Box

I saw a post about this box, but I didn’t get it because I wasn’t planning to get anything from M&S. However about a week later, my Mum surprised me with it! I would link it, but it has already sold out. It was the same idea as with the Advent calendar – there is a minimum spend price for M&S, and then you can get the box for a good price.

The first thing I picked out was the Eos pink grapefruit lip balm with SPF, because of course it was grapefruit! I’ve already used a lemon one, but this grapefruit is amazing and it smells and tastes so good if you love grapefruit as much as I do!

I am also enjoying the Sheer Radiance perfume, which is a blend of citrus and floral scents. I think I probably like it because of the mandarin, but there are also notes of gardenia and pink pepper. This is a 30ml perfume, so really good for a beauty box as well.

2. My spinner and Braille rings

My friend Amy has started making her own silver jewellery and after I admired some of her rings, she offered to make me a spinner ring. I didn’t actually know they were a thing, but I like the idea of having a spinner as something to wear. Anyway Amy made the ring and she also made another one as a surprise – my first Braille ring. No pictures yet, but look out for them in an upcoming post where there will be an interview with Amy. The ring says “friend” in Braille. As a non-Braille reader, we were teasing her about maybe writing fried or fiend – but it definitely says friend! Amy looked up the Braille letters online and pushed the dots through with a pointed tool so that they were raised.

3. Body yoghurts

The Body Shop has brought out some new products ready for the Summer. The body yoghurts are like the butters, but a much lighter formula that absorbs into the skin really quickly. They’re moisturising, but you don’t have to wait around for ages! I got the mango one and the almond milk one. I like this concept – they’re a bit more runny than other products I’ve used for the range, but you don’t want to be caking yourself in thick cream when it’s hot outside. I love the mango range anyway, and the almond milk is a nice change – especially good for those who don’t like such a strong scent.

4. Nail varnish remover pads

I know this could be seen as lazy, but I like this idea. Nail varnish remover is by nature thin, and it can come out too fast sometimes. So having preloaded pads is efficient! These pads from Waitrose don’t even smell like nail varnish remover!

5. Sweet as cherry pie hand cream

I got this sweet as cherry pie hand cream from Patisserie de Bain in my Latest in Beauty box, so I’ve linked to it on Amazon. These hand creams are a bit unusual in that they apply like a normal hand cream, go a bit sticky for a few seconds, and then dry completely. So not something if you want to slap it on an run, but if you have a couple of minutes, it is worth it, because they are really moisturising, and as long as you wait that minute or so, they are not sticky at all. I really liked the lemon one, and this one, which smells strongly of cherries, is good too!

6. New furniture

2 weeks ago we took a trip to Ikea for some new bedroom furniture – specifically storage for my make-up, skincare, haircare and bath products. The little desk and drawers I had been using had been around since I was 15, so I decided it was time for an upgrade! We got a little dressing table, that has a draw and a lift-up lid, a pouf and a set of draws with a lift-up lid on top. There was a set of draws with the table, but we found a taller one with more drawers. We spent the rest of the day putting everything together and moving my stuff in. It’s now so much more tidy and easier to find things, which makes me happy! Putting together the flat-pack furniture with my sighted partner although I couldn’t see any of the instructions was also a great team-building experience – and we were still friends afterwards!

7. Lib – great variety this month

I still have my May Latest in Beauty post to write, but I just wanted to mention how pleased I was with the selection for June. There had been a few complaints recently about a lack of good new products in the Latest in Beauty edit. This month I picked up two shampoo and conditioner sets that were full-size. So two full-size products counted as one item, and the plan that I’m on means I get each item for £2. Bargain!

8. Finally got my book finished

June was the month that saw my second book available online. I won’t write much about it here – you can read about it in my post from the beginning of June, but the final stage is always the hardest for me. Writing is fun. Formatting and getting everything ready for uploading and getting the cover done – not so much! So I’m pleased that we got this project completed.

9. Coffee sweets – who knew that was a thing?

We went to a Thai festival in June. Apart from buying a carved wooden horse’s head and trying out mango wafers and green tea Fanta, I also discovered Kopiko coffee treats made with real Java coffee. They are basically like coffee-flavoured boiled sweets – good for those days when you’re out and about and can’t get your usual coffee fix. Or for when you have to do a lot of talking!

So what were your favourites this month?

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This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.