New and favourite products in March

So we’re well into March now and rather than talking about Springtime, we’re still talking about snow!

That has to be my first favourite for March – the snowy snowflakes! We’ve had two lots of it now. I know I’m lucky because I work from home. Trekking into London during the snow used to be a whole different story, but even then, Cindy and I had some adventures!

We built a snowman and had some wintry walks, crunching through the fresh snow. As someone who can’t see the patches of ice though, this was more fun because I was with S, who was in charge of finding the best path for us. When travelling around in the snow and ice on my own, I tend to be more careful and only do it when absolutely necessary.

On the subject of weather, I have a new app on my phone – the Weather Gods app. It’s a paid app, although not expensive, and if someone takes the trouble to design a useful and accessible app, I don’t expect them to work for free! Basically the ice god tells you about snow and frost, the water god tells you about rain, the fire god tells you about sunshine, and the air god tells you about the wind. You can also set up notifications to alert you about certain things such as rain and snow, and it gives you information about the sunrise and sunset, as well as the weather forecast. The app wasn’t designed for VoiceOver users, but it has won an award for accessibility and I enjoy using it.

New from the Body Shop

I was already a fan of the banana haircare range from the Body Shop, and was excited when the new strawberry line was added. You can get the shampoo and the conditioner in the strawberry scented range, which has been designed to make dull hair glossy and detangled. It contains strawberries from Italy and if you use these products, your hair smells gorgeous for ages!

Overall, I think I’m still on team banana, but these products are definitely something I’d buy to change up my haircare routine. I’m never entirely faithful to one shampoo and conditioner!

Trip to Boots

I make no secret of the fact that I dislike the Boots website in terms of accessibility, both for finding things and checking out. So I don’t spend much money there! However I was out shopping and we popped into boots, so I thought I’d have a look around. As a fan of cream products, I wanted to see what was available .Very little, as it turned out, but I still left with 3 products!

Firstly I have a bit of a lipstick weakness. Rather than getting a bunch of shades from the same brand, I like to have lipsticks from all different brands, so that they feel different to the touch and I can identify them easily. I do mark make-up as well if there are things that feel similar, but having ones from different brands also lets me try out different formulas.

So, I got one from Sleek, and I swear this smells and tastes of chocolate! I also got one from Bourjois .

Our search for cream highlighters, blushes and contour sticks only came up with one, so I got the L’Oréal strobing stick. Good value for money and you get a lot of it! It’s very much about personal preference and what people feel comfortable with, but as a blind make-up wearer, I find creams much easier to work with than powders.

Glossybox

On the subject of cream highlighters, there was a lot of excitement in blogger and vloggerland about the Laura Geller highlighter that appeared in some people’s glossyboxes. I guess some of it was down to the fact that it was a Laura Geller product, but I was still happy to see the love being shown to a cream highlighter – because then hopefully they will become more popular and show up more often in the boxes!

Alas, it wasn’t in mine, so I decided to pop over to Feelunique, which is very accessible, and treat myself to the illuminating stick in Ballerina.

My favourite product from the March box was my first product from Decléor – the Aromessence Neroli Amara Oil Serum. I know, neroli isn’t my favourite thing in the world, but this is a lovely moisturising oil for the evening. This is a travel size, but a little will go a long way. The bottle is rather annoying – it needs a pipette or dispenser top really, so you just need to be careful.

There was also a lipstick in there – from Aryza Beauty, a brand that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s from the velvet ribbon range and claims to have a satin matte finish, though as someone who loves satin lipsticks, I’d say it’s more matte than satin.

Burt’s Bees

I’m on a mission to end this cuticle biting habit that I actually wanted to stop when I started high school. That didn’t work out so well! Anyway, rather than just relying on hand cream, I’ve also got myself the lemon butter cuticle cream from Burt’s Bees. It smells lovely because of the lemon. Wish me luck!

So, what have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaway and discounts

1. If you see this before 9th April 2018, why not also check out my Spring giveaway?
2. You can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30.
3. If you want to give Glossybox a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Listen to the podcast episode

I’ve also produced a podcast episode about my March favourites. You can look for Unseen Beauty on Apple podcasts (previously known as iTunes), or wherever you get your podcasts. Alternatively, you can listen to it here:

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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

Shopping without sight – my first Glossybox

The next installment in my series about my experiences as a beauty-loving blind woman on a mission to shop online! Could I get my Glossybox to my door without accessibility problems? Read on to find out!

So, I’d heard a lot about Glossybox and if you read my February favourites, you’ll know that I won January’s one in a giveaway. I was really pleased with it and decided to sign up for my own!

When I’m looking at new beauty boxes, there are three main considerations for me:

1. Is there a good range of products, and are they products that I’m likely to use?
2. Does the box get good reviews?
3. How accessible is the site for blind people?

Having already won the January box and watched a lot of unboxing videos, I felt pretty sure about questions 1 and 2. So I just needed to find out if I could access the site without sighted help. If the answer was “no”, it would be a dealbreaker for me!

I needn’t have worried. Using the screenreading software on my laptop, I could set up my account and sign up for my box. Buttons and data entry fields were labelled, and I could do everything with the keyboard as I don’t use a mouse.

What was in the February box>

When the box arrived, I was too excited to wait for S, so I used the Seeing AI app on my phone to scan the products. The app can recognise text on products and reads aloud what it can find. This works better on some types of packaging than others, depending on the size of writing and colour contrast, but I already knew what other people had received and could read some of the information on the card. I then checked out the products with sighted help later.

There are eight possible products and you get a selection of five in your box. I received

  • Studio 10 makeup mist glow-plexion (£14) – this travel-size mini is a multi-purpose mist. You can use it as a primer, hydrating mist or setting spray. I have such a stash of primers at the moment that this will probably be used as a hydrating mist, but I will also give it a go as a primer and I like the fact that it’s a new brand for me. It’s also nice and compact, so would fit in my handbag – presuming of course it’s still around by the time the sun finally makes an appearance!
  • A mini Siate nail varnish (£6) – this brand is cruelty-free. There’s 5ml in the pot and I have tried Siate nail varnishes before, so I know it’s a good one! I’ve already worn it and found it to be quite good in terms of not chipping. I did add a top coat as I always do, but when you can’t touch them up yourself, it’s good to have one that will last at least a few days!
  • Steve Laurent lip gloss (£17) – I’ve never tried anything from this brand before, which is one of the things I like about beauty subscription boxes. It comes in a little glass jar and has a creamy, but not sticky, formula. It says “live your life in colour” on the top, and the glass jar makes it feel quite luxurious! I was thinking it could be used as a cheek tint too and was happy to see that one of the writers on the Glossybox blog agreed!
  • oOlution eye contour cream (£30.99) – I have a couple of eye creams on the go at the moment so this one’s in the queue, but it seems nice and nourishing, and promised to hydrate the area around the eyes, reducing puffiness. It’s also organic and not tested on animals.
  • Sleek makeup palette in Storm (£8.99) – this is the only thing that I won’t use as I’m a cream shadow or shadow stick kind of girl. I don’t use powder products because I can’t see the fall-out and I find them harder to work with. No problem though as I knew someone who wanted it, and I think the product itself is a good one, with a selection of 12 shades to create a number of looks.

The other products I could have received were a face serum and two mascaras.

The only thing I won’t use was the palette, but that’s ok. It’s a random box and there’s bound to be one or two things that you won’t use or that aren’t the right shade. I think the value in the other products definitely makes it worthwhile.

Some people go into Facebook groups where you can sell or swap any unwanted items. I either give them to friends or family, or put them in a blog give-away. On the subject of give-aways, I have one coming up in March, so you can either subscribe or sign up for the email alerts if you want to find out when it goes online!

As I can’t see the box, the products are more important to me than the box design, but it has a colourful design with lollipops and lipsticks on it. These are nice, sturdy boxes, good for storage – or maybe for parcelling up give-away prizes in!

You can get 20% off your first box

If you want to give it a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

How could the Glossybox experience be better for me as a blind shopper?

The only problem I had was in the areas where you personalise your box and give feedback on products. On both screens, there is a list of questions. I move around the screen with my cursor keys and I selected my answer for each of the questions using the keyboard. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t submit my answers and I asked S to see what was happening.

It turned out that even though I’d been through all the questions and ticked my answer for each one, you need to click “next” so that the next question appears on the screen. I don’t really care what information is visible on the screen, because I don’t look at the screen, but it appears you have to click “next” until all of the questions become visible, even though I had already answered them! No sighted person would have this problem, which is why I guess nobody has noticed it.

What would be really good is if the “submit” button would appear when all of the questions had been answered because I had read and answered questions that my partner couldn’t see yet!

This is the only time I’ve seen a page like this. I wouldn’t say it’s inaccessible, because I know I need to keep clicking that “next” button until “submit” appears, but it was a bit confusing at the beginning as I could already read all of the information unlike my boyfriend, who needed to wait for it to show up on the screen!

The other thing that would be nice is if the information from the card which you receive in your box could also be available in the members’ log-in area. I could ask S to read it to me, and I did try scanning it with the Seeing AI app, but it would be great if we could access it online too.

Other than that I was really happy with the box and I’m looking forward to what will be in the March box!

Listen to the podcast episode

I’ve also produced a podcast episode about my first Glossybox. You can look for Unseen Beauty on Apple podcasts (previously known as iTunes), or wherever you get your podcasts. Alternatively, you can listen to it here:

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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

February favourites – book club, Balea, and the beauty box I won

It’s time to tell you what I’ve been enjoying this month. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these things, and if you’ve done a blog or video about what you’ve been enjoying this month, feel free to share it in the comments too.

1. I won a Glossybox – yay!

Do you know about Jamie Gourdon’s Youtube channel? If not, go and check her out! She’s really generous and does subscription box giveaways on her channel! I was lucky enough to win the January Glossybox. Inside there was

  1. Apicia cream blush – this was the thing that excited me the most, as anyone who’s been with me for a while knows that I love cream make-up. I hadn’t seen a blush in a tube before. Neither had I used anything from Apicia. It blends in nicely and it contains bee pollen to nourish the skin.
  2. Green tea primer from Iona Cosmetics – I can’t believe I never used to use a primer! I’ve got a little collection going now. This one absorbs quickly. It doesn’t have that silicone feel like the Porefessional, and it’s not watery, like some of the others I’ve tried recently. It creates a smooth canvas for make-up and contains moisturising ingredients such as green tea and avocado oil. I’ll definitely be using it.
  3. A nail and cuticle energiser from Nail Medic – this is an oil that you paint on with a little brush, which I find easier than the similar products where you have a little pipette thing on the end! I get very dry cuticles, which I then bite and make them worse, so I’ve been enjoying using this blend of oils and plant extracts to strengthen my nails and moisturise the skin around them.
  4. Dr Botanicals superfood facial oil – this is fantastic value and is designed to keep your skin protected and hydrated. It’s infused with Moroccan rose oil which contains vitamins A and C.
  5. Beauty beneath supplements by Boots – I haven’t tried these yet as I’m finishing up some others, but they contain vitamins C and E, as well as nutrients that help produce collagen and reduce fine lines. So it’s looking after your skin from the inside.

After this, I decided to sign up for Glossybox to try it out for myself. If you want to give it a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

2. Summer is coming – pineapple lip care

This tropical pineapple lip balm from Burt’s Bees was selling out really fast when I got mine! It’s from the flavour crystals range and 100%natural. I was already a fan of Burt’s Bees lip products – I love the mango and grapefruit ones. This range comes in pineapple, orange, and raspberry. They are not as glossy as some lip balms, but I find they need to be reapplied less often and although it’s not why we buy them … it tastes amazing!

3. Grapefruit shower foam

Do you remember my swapbox with Sazzy and Joanie? Well they got me some grapefruit shower foam from Balea and it smells good enough to eat! So fresh and fruity! I hadn’t tried this brand before. I don’t think you can get it in the UK, but if anyone outside of the UK can get Balea products, this is a good one!

4. Online book club

I like the idea of a book club, but having looked around online, there’s not much in my area. In any event, I think I like the idea of an online one more – you can meet more people, and it doesn’t have to interfere with your other commitments because you can just chat about the books online. We haven’t had our February discussion yet, but there are different book-related threads in the book which you can join in with. The actual discussion is set up as a Facebook event and you can take part over a 24-hour period. There will be a different book every month. February’s book was “The husband’s secret” – you can find out what I thought about it in the February round-up.

If that sounds like your kind of thing, visit the online book club on Facebook!

5. Did you know that coffee and sesame seeds go well together?

No? Neither did I until I tried the new dessert from Wagamama! I don’t usually have dessert. If I do, it’s the sorbet, but seriously, if you love coffee, the Wagamama Vietnamese coffee icecream is sooo good!

6. Body Shop Drops of Youth eye concentrate

This drops of youth eye concentrate from the Body Shop is really nice because it massages your skin as you apply it. It’s from the Drops of Youth range, which is aimed at the 25! Range and as well as soothing the area around the eye, it helps to prevent the first signs of aging.
It has a little button that releases the eye cream onto the ball, and then you massage it in with the ball at the end of the container. It’s a bit thicker than the Garnier one that I tried before, and I think the Body Shop one is more nourishing. It doesn’t leave a sticky finish, and another thing I like is that you don’t get too much at a time as you can with some tubes.

7. Ren Beauty shot

I got a little one of these in my advent calendar and I really enjoyed using it. You can get the Ren Beauty shot here. It’s a very lightweight serum that absorbs quickly. It says you can apply it over make-up, although I didn’t. I put it under my moisturiser as you would with any other serum and I loved the way it made my skin so soft. It firms and lifts the skin and claims to give short- and long-term hydration. An expensive treat because it’s Ren, but a lovely product that I enjoyed pampering myself with!

8. New primer

I know I’ve already talked about a primer, but I heard on the Full Coverage podcast (check it out if you love all things beauty and skincare!) that the Maybelline pore eraser primer is just like the Benefit Porefessional, but at about a quarter of the price! So I decided to get some and was not disappointed. I do like the Benefit one, but it is expensive. So if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’d recommend this pore eraser one at around a quarter of the price.

How about you? What have you been trying out this month?

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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

Guest post – Amy’s January Glossybox

Find out what was in Amy’s Glossybox in January!

Guest post – Amy reviews her January Glossybox

Today I have another guest post for you from Amy.

The grand unboxing

Hello again internet land. Kirsty has very kindly allowed me back into the metaphorical building, so I can’t have messed up too badly in my first ever post. This is good news because I kind of enjoyed this blogging lark. Although it could be she has kept me around as I have received my Glossybox Beauty Box for January and I promised her an unboxing.

Beauty boxes are something which I started around this time last year. I decided that not only did I need a treat but also a surprise on a monthly basis. After all, I work hard for my money and who doesn’t like surprises. I am pretty sure if I asked my other half to source stuff every month he would forget/get bored/buy the wrong things so beauty boxes were the only way to go. There are a number of these on the market, and I have tried a few over the last year, and its just a nice no ties way to surprise yourself every month and find new and exciting things along the way. I have found a few doozies which are now part of my every day/week/month/routine, which I would have missed otherwise. Obviously you have your flops as well, and some months you have better boxes than others, but none the less after my first box I was hooked.

Originally I started out with Birchbox, as it was top of the google search list and I know a few of my USA buddies get their boxes from here, so I thought that I would be onto a winner here. You fill in some questions about you, your skin and hair types and other bits and bobs so your box can meet your needs (to a point), paid my £10 plus £2.95 P & P and eagerly awaited for Mr Postie to bring my first box, which turned up pretty quickly. You review products from your box for points, which allow you to buy full sized items of your box samples if you wish, although it takes a while to build up the points. They were very good with their marketing, giving you a sneak peek into the next box, or allowing you to have a choice of a certain shade of an item which made it all the more fun. This was until it went wrong. See, I am one for customer service internet land. There is no excuse in todays day and age for shoddy customer service, and unfortunately I found Birchbox to be less than amazing when it came to this.

To save you my tales of woe, I paid my money, waited patiently for my box which never arrived, and the customer service to deal with the matter took forever and was not overly helpful. I ended up getting the promised items squished into a far smaller packaging box, unlike the normally wonderfully presented box you would receive, and that sealed the deal. I cancelled my subscription immediately. Nevertheless, if you wish to try it you can sign up here and hopefully you will have a better experience than me.

Missing my monthly surprise fix I started looking again and quickly found Glossybox. They have been nothing short of amazing and in my honest opinion, the box content is far better than Birchbox. They run the same as Birchbox, fill out some questions, pay your first month, receive a box full of goodies. There marketing is very similar as well in the fact of you get sneak peeks and additional choices of stuff for your box, and if you review your items in surveys each month you get Glossydots, which when you reach 1000 you get a free box. Each survey seems to be worth 20 dots, so again its a waiting game. The price is exactly the same as well, so its pretty much winner winner chicken dinner all round. The only time I have hit problems with Glossybox, and I use the term problem loosely it was more of a first world problem, they solved it super speedy and gave me a free tinted lip balm for my troubles. Have to say, super service all round.

To sign up to these guys click here and get ready to have surprise time every month.

If you want to give Glossybox a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use Kirsty’s code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

I have signed up to a couple more over the year but quickly cancelled as they weren’t worth the money, but I do have a few more to talk about, just not in this post because, well what is it they say, don’t show the dealer all your cards, or something like that! That is saved for another post at another time dear internetlanders.

The January box

Anyhow, onto the good stuff, the stuff I received this month.

So a bit about the box first I guess, Its sent to you in a black and white box, which you open by pulling a small tab to one side which pulls along a perforated line at the front. Essentially it’s like playing grown up pass the parcel. Inside is your box filled with goodies and nothing else like silly bits of advertising paper. The actual goodie box is a sturdy pink box, which has a lid on top. They never have any pesky stickers on the lid to keep it closed. Open this to reveal a message from the editor Evie Leatham, some beauty news and a list of your products in case you are unsure what they are. You always pretty much get a sneak peak of next months box too. Every box is wrapped in pink tissue paper, sealed with a sticker of a G which is the Glossybox logo, which is always to the side and is tied in a bow with black ribbon. It sounds complicated to get into but its really not. You could rip it open if you wish, lord knows that’s what I do on occasion. Remove the pretty packaging and get to your goodies inside. They are always packed with shredded black paper, and arranged as nicely as the jiggling from Royal Mail will allow. The box itself is a great thing to keep and store bits in. If you are of the creative nature you can check out pintrest as people do all sorts of fun things with their boxes.

This month was a good box month. They seemed to have collaborated with an Instagramer called Deliciously Stella and all the items seem to have a food theme.

First out of the box was a Nip and Fab Kale Fix Moisturiser, which also contains watercress and almond oil. The blurb on the leaflet says that it will enrich the skin and I know from other Nip and Fab products that I have used in the past that they never disappoint, so I am excited to try this product out. It has no smell I can detect really other than your typical smell from face creams, and the small amount I tried on my hand seemed to absorb like a dream, but then I would expect nothing less from this brand. Product is a reasonable size, and I should imagine will last a while as a little goes a long way. It is a squeezy tube, which you remove the cap from the bottom and give a good squidge to get the product out. Stands on its cap once replaced for easy storage. It has printed writing on the tub, but its not raised really so you may need to get a trusted sighted friend to read to you if you are interested in what it says. Retail price is listed as £19.95 and you can grab these from Nip and Fab or the Boots webpage.

Next was Unani Illuminating Milk Cleanser which is a full sized product. It has a cap at the top which you push backwards to open, and the little opening pops up as you push the cap backwards. From what the product says you can use this to remove make up and it also says its gentle enough to be used twice a day. Again it has no perfume which I think is a positive in a cleanser, and not sure I would like the smell of milk on me all day. Bottle is round and the cap is at the top and again has printed font on which is not raised. Retailing at £14, its available to buy at Comprar Cosmetica.

Third thing I pulled out I was super excited with, and I might end up trying right after I finish up with you. Sheet masks seem to be the latest craze from Korean Skincare. No mess or fuss, just beautiful skin. What’s not to love? (Keep your eyes peeled for a post or two about these in the future folks!). This item is Vitamasques’s Manuka Honey Face Mask. Its sealed so I can’t have a smell alas, but the packaging boasts three layers of mask which aid in hydration, so that can only be a good thing. Retailing at £3.99 you can grab them Vitamasques and it looks like they do a whole load more of them, so I shall be stocking up I think. Packing is tear open style, and has a notch at one side to make this easier to do. Its flat as well so you can store lots easily. It has pictures of honeycombe on the front, and again has printed writing on. It looks like a very grand product and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the images chosen. (Amy has since done a review of the mask and you can read it here.

Fourth thing is an amazing looking eyeshadow from The Balm, which is a drugstore brand, but is pretty pricey. I don’t actually own anything from this brand, but I have heard good things. Anyway, this Eyeshadow, Meet Matt(e) Trimony shadow is a beautiful aubergine purple with a red base. It can be used wet or dry and looks like it packs a punch, so I can’t wait to try it. Whilst this is full sized I believe it belongs in a pallet of shadows which retail at £34 and you can grab these either at Boots or Superdrug, or direct from The Balm. Its a little flip open box, which is a bit fiddly to get into, but once you do the shadow is safely inside. It would be great to slip into a handbag or take away traveling as it is light and takes up no space.

Last, but by no means least, a box of Hairon Zero crease hair ties in a very light pink, which I won’t use as my hair is way too short. They are a strange sort of hair tie and pretty hard to describe if I am honest! Its like a tightly wound piece of plastic, a but like you used to get on those key rings which you could stretch. They look small, but I guess when pulled they extend pretty far. They are plastic of a sort so I am not sure how long they would stay in your hair, but I think that they are kinder to your hair causing less breakages, so it wins points for that. Anyway, as I say moot point for me as I won’t be able to use them, but that’s what you get with a surprise box, you win some, you lose some. I appreciate I am not doing them justice here, but I am really lost for how to describe them! They retail for £3.99 and you get three in a box. You can pick them up at Hairon. Comes in a little clear plastic box for neat storage when not using them.

I make a disclaimer now, I am not sure how friendly these sites are to navigate for people with screen readers, so I will apologise in advance. If you are having issues and are interested in a product please shout and I will try and find an alternative site for you. I also don’t know if different people get different items in their boxes based on their initial answers, so if you get something else I am sorry, but I am sure it will be equally exciting and wonderful.

Right, so now I have babbled your ear off I am going to leave you in peace. I would highly recommend this box to you, so let me know if you pick one up and what you think of it.
Ciao for now Internetland.
Amy
Xxx

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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