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

Odyssey box – a hair subscription box accessible to blind people

This is not a sponsored post. I talk a lot about accessibility and the problems that I have when companies don’t think about customers with different needs. Instead of just talking about problems, I also want to use my platform to highlight good practice, and talk about those brand owners who are working hard to make their products and services more accessible, particularly for visually impaired customers like me.

I first mentioned the Odyssey haircare box back in my March products post when I was talking about how much I’d enjoyed the Queen of the Nile mask. Since then, I’ve been getting the box every 2 months, because that’s how it comes out.

The Odyssey Box was created by Chloé, and As well as enjoying the products, I’ve been impressed by her commitment to diversity. She agreed to tell part of her story for this post.

What is ODYSSEY BOX?

First I wanted to know why Chloé decided to bring this new haircare box onto the market.

“I created ODYSSEY BOX to fill the gap in the market for a customer-first brand that could truly stand behind the products it was marketing. When I was growing up, I didn’t have access to the knowledge I needed to really care for my afro hair as I was the first generation in my family to decide against chemically straightening it.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I truly started to learn what my hair needed and started to embrace my true texture without using heat styling tools. In 2018, I discovered Black-owned hair care products and learned the truth behind the brand giants I had been purchasing for many years. I learned that the products I had been using contained low quality, filler ingredients, and in some cases, some of these ingredients were toxic.

It was an easy decision to make, to decide to stick with the natural, plant-based, community-oriented Black-owned hair care brands I had found and after committing my time and efforts to support these brands for 2 years, I knew that I wanted to have a longer-lasting impact and that’s where ODYSSEY BOX comes in.

ODYSSEY BOX is a subscription box service delivering luxury haircare from the best of black-owned brands for curly, kinky, and coily hair textures. We are committed to educating, empowering, and connecting our community, whilst working towards more positive mindsets about natural haircare.

An odyssey is a long and exciting adventure and that is what we believe your natural hair journey should be. I am aware that some ODYSSEY BOX subscribers don’t have curly or afro hair and for me, that shows that the demand for safe, natural, and effective products extends beyond just the natural hair community and so I am happy to be able to meet that demand.”

My thoughts on the products

As Chloé mentioned, some of her subscribers don’t have curly or afro hair. I fall into that category too. My hair is thick, down past my waist, and naturally straight.

I was interested to try out the box though when I saw it on YouTube, being reviewed on Sussex Sandra’s channel. I thought that the contents of the February box looked good, and I’d be able to use most of them. After all, a lot of the focus was on nourishing the hair and helping it to lock in moisture. My hair isn’t dry or damaged, but as it’s so long, I often use masks and moisture-rich products to keep it in good shape.

It didn’t bother me that I wasn’t the main target audience for the box. Occasionally there is a product that is not as relevant for me, such as one specifically for curls, but to be honest, when I was getting beauty boxes including products that were more geared towards my own type of hair, there were plenty of styling products that I didn’t want to use, probably more so than there are with this box.

I’ve been moving towards more natural products over the last couple of years, and I like the fact that this box supports smaller, independent brands. Sometimes I would like to do more of this than I do, but as a screenreader user, I often face challenges with the accessibility of smaller brands’ websites. This is not always the way, but when it happens, it can make buying from them more of a challenge. It’s not just a case of put in your credit card details and go if none of the buttons on the website are labelled!

Given that this is a luxury haircare box, it’s not one of the cheapest around. But if you want better ingredients and to support small companies, that’s normal. I expect to get value for money with subscriptions, but if it’s a race to the bottom with the biggest savings on products, it’s A not a sustainable business model, B not going to support independent brands, and C not going to ensure quality long-term.

.The Odyssey box website is accessible and I had no trouble signing up with my screenreader, so that’s a win-win. I can discover smaller independent brands, most of which I hadn’t heard of before, without having to find out whether each individual site is accessible.

Blind people and subscription boxes

In most beauty and hair subscription boxes, you don’t know what you’re going to get. I have various ways of identifying my products, but they all involve relying on someone or something else.

Probably the easiest way is to ask S – who knows more about beauty and skincare than most fiancés would want to. But that depends on him being around and having time to do it when I want the information. More importantly, he’s my partner, not my admin help. He does help me, but I’d rather be independent.

I have an app on my phone, which can often read labels, but then I have to Google to find out how to use the products. Also, its being able to read the label isn’t guaranteed – it depends on the font, the background contrast, the size of the writing, and the material.

I can wait for online reviews on YouTube or blogs – this is helpful, but this involves waiting, and I don’t like waiting! It also doesn’t tell me which product is which in my own box.

When Chloé asked for customer feedback, we got talking about accessibility. I’ll let her take up the story again:

“It’s important to me that I make the whole ODYSSEY BOX experience accessible. From the language I use to describe hair care concepts to the layout of the inserts in the box, I want every single person who gets a box to have an equal opportunity to enjoy it.

It wasn’t until I reached out for feedback that I learned that one of my subscribers, Kirsty was visually impaired and so my first instinct was to email the inserts instead of including them in the box so that she could listen to the information instead. I did this for a couple of boxes and had the realisation that it was all well and good being able to hear the information but if the products are all in identical packaging, it would still be challenging to distinguish which information related to which product.

I was so disappointed in myself for the oversight but saw it as an opportunity to do better for the August Box. I want my community of subscribers to feel empowered when they receive their boxes, and not feel as though they can’t access what they need on their own. So, for the August box, I got creative and taped some packing material to two of the products to make them more tactile.

The box contained two pump bottles, two spray bottles, and a pouch. So, this time around, when I emailed the information to Kirsty, I was able to say which of the pump bottles had something taped to it, which of the spray bottles did and what they felt like overall. I was pleased that it had a positive impact!

Small things like this make a big difference and only make the experiences for the customer and the brand more positive. It’s not always an impairment that disables someone, oftentimes it’s society and services that prevent equal access for all. I’m always willing to get creative and do what I can to make sure that my service isn’t one of those. ODYSSEY BOX is all about bringing you positive haircare experiences and I’ll go above and beyond to make sure of it.”

My customer experience

Of course we want good quality products, but the way you feel about a brand or subscription also plays a role. I am more loyal to brands that take the extra time to create an experience that lets me participate, independently and as an equal. When my box arrives, I can just unpack it and go, without having to ask my partner, or spend time scanning and figuring out what things are. I can read my email, check it against the products to see which is which if they feel the same, and get going using them. This is good customer service and I love the fact that it’s less work for me!

In the last year I’ve been working with a lot more small business owners, and I think that they are often less removed from their customers than bigger brands. They appreciate that we are all different and may have different needs, and it is often the small things like this, that make a big difference.
Thanks to Chloé for making her boxes more accessible to me as a blind customer.

The growth goals box

I’m looking forward to my October box as I write this, but the August box, which we’ve been talking about, is still available from the Odyssey Box website.

The growth goals box contains 5 full-size products from Black British haircare brand, shea decadence London. I hadn’t actually heard of this brand before, but having a range of products from the same brand gave me the chance to try them out together over a period of time.

In the box there is a conditioning shampoo, a deep conditioner, detangling hair milk, a curl-enhancing leave-in conditioner, and reviving hair dew.

I use all of them. My long hair can get tangled, so the detangling milk is a firm favourite this month, and the shampoo leaves my hair feeling really clean, without feeling stripped. The conditioner is rich and luxurious – I’ve never seen one in a pouch before, but it’s good because you can get every last drop out. The leave-in conditioners are quite rich for my hair, so I do use them, but they last me a lot longer because I don’t need much.

So – have you tried this box? Would you be interested in a hair subscription box? Let me know in the comments.

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Image © Odyssey Box

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

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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This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested. All of the products were bought with my own money, apart from the mango body butter, which was a Christmas present from a friend.

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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New products from the Body Shop

I decided to pop into the Body Shop the other day as I had run out of a couple of things, and I’d also heard that there was a new haircare range. I’m a fan of the banana and strawberry ranges, so wanted to try the shea one too. All of these products were bought by me. None were gifted and these are my honest thoughts.

First for the things that I wanted to stock up on. After discovering the Vitamin C skin reviver back in December, it’s now become my new favourite primer! I like the silky smooth finish either on its own or as a base for make-up, and it’s a cruelty-free alternative to some of the other primers I’ve used in the past. It’s slick without being greasy, and it promises to enhance natural radiance and cheer up “dull grumpy skin”. That just about sums up me in the morning!

I’d also run out of the mango body sugar scrub which is the only physical exfoliants that I will use. And it smells amaaazing! Like the rest of the Body Shop mango range.

I’d definitely recommend these two products!

The new shea haircare line

There were some other new shea products, but I just picked up the three haircare ones.

The shea butter shampoo does what it promises in terms of leaving the hair feeling nourished. The range is especially good if you have dry hair or want to give it some love to stop breakages or dry ends. It has a fresh but non-intrusive scent. I’m really fussy about hair products that smell of chemicals, and this range definitely doesn’t.

The shea butter conditioner is for dry to damaged hair and promises to leave hair feeling intensely nourished and richly replenished. I don’t have damaged hair, but because it’s so long, I like to give it nourishing treatments from time to time to stop the ends drying out. It definitely felt in good condition afterwards, and it was nice and silky, but I’m less convinced about the claim that it helps with detangling. I didn’t feel this and I think there are more effective detangling conditioners out there. Still, the community shea butter from Ghana is definitely something that will perk up dry hair.

The shea hair mask is similar to the conditioner, but it’s a thicker treatment to apply for longer. I actually preferred this, both in terms of the nourishment and glossiness factor, but given the choice between this one and the banana, I’d still take the banana!

So, overall, I thought the new line was nice enough, but I do prefer the fruity ones more, so I probably wouldn’t buy these again. If the banana and strawberry are too strong for you though or you’re already a fan of the shea line, you might enjoy something to keep your hair soft and with a less intense fragrance.

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December products – haircare, chocolate bodycare, and Harry Potter bath products

Dec 18 empties

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with empties this year. I want to be a bit more selective – so if something was just ok or I’ve talked about it before, I probably won’t mention it again. I think I’ll limit them to 15 items too so that they don’t get too long!

1. Hotel Chocolat body lotion

This chocolate body lotion was amazing! I mentioned it a couple of months ago when I got it for my birthday, but I wanted to mention it again here because it’s such a lovely range and I’m looking forward to trying out more of the products. Hotel Chocolat is only really known for its main product, the chocolate, but this lovely gentle and delicious-smelling skincare is well worth a mention as well.

2. Caffeinated shampoo and conditioner

I managed to get hold of one sample of shampoo and to of conditioner, which given the length of my hair, worked out well when I used them all together. The idea with this is that the caffeine stimulates the hair follicles, so it’s really something you would need to use for a longer time before you could say whether it was working. Still, why does something that does a good thing like that have to smell so bad? Really, it was awful! That combined with the tingly sensation that you get if you use a mint scalp massage treatment. I’m not convinced. I would love the benefits that this promises, but I’d have to slather on something nice afterwards like a hair mist or my mango detangler. This felt more like something you endure for good results than a pleasant treat for the hair.

3. Guava hand cream

I said how much I liked the guava body butter from Korres, and I picked up the hand cream in the same scent as well. These are nice, generous tubes, and out of the two hand creams I’ve tried from Korres, I liked this guava one more. Partly because the guava scent was more prominent, but I felt it was a bit more nourishing too. I try out a lot of hand creams and something has to be good for me to buy it again, but I would get this again!

4. Naughty elf

Want a cosy night in? Get yourself a naughty elf from Lush! Well they seem to have sold out now, but see if he comes back in the Christmas 2019 collection. Anyway, I heard about the naughty elf bubble bar in a review, and as bubble bars are my favourite thing from Lush and I love citrus scents, he sounded right up my street! I find with bath bombs, you have to add bubble bath too, but these are just a treat on their own. You could snap him in half if you wanted to get another bath out of him. He apparently looks a bit like Father Christmas and is not how you’d expect an elf to look. Also he turns your bathwater red!

5. Spot zap fix

Not at all glamorous. Maybe you don’t have those monthly hormonal breakouts, but if you do, this zap fix is just the thing. It’s like a pen with a roller that you apply to clean skin and I haven’t found anything that takes breakouts down as fast as this. I’ve already got another one – two in fact because they were on Black Friday half price! It says it’s for teenagers, but I don’t really care if it does the job.

6. Korres hair mask

I have talked about this hair mask before, but although there are a lot of hair masks that I think were nice enough, this is one that I go back to. It comes in a tube, which means you don’t get the product wet by dipping into it. It contains almond and linseed extracts, so isn’t floral, like some masks. It also contains shea butter to help your hair stay moisturised and protect against split ends. It also claims to control static and prevent frizzy hair, although this isn’t a problem I have, so I can’t say how true this is.

7. Nails Inc hand mask

I hated this so much! It was sticky and smelled of alcohol. The hands were modelled on someone whose hands are twice the size of mine. I won’t be buying this again! It wasn’t particularly cheap either, and there are much better hand masks on the market.

8. Elizabeth Arden Prevage serum

I got a mini sample of this Prevage serum in a bag of free products after stocking up in the Feelunique Black Friday sale. This has become my favourite place to buy beauty and skincare! 50ml of this costs £170, and it’s not something I would usually go out and buy, but it was by far the best thing in the free gift. It is packed with antioxidants, apparently the most powerful antioxidant available today, and primarily helps the skin to fight the effects of environmental aggression. It was a sample, and I therefore couldn’t use it long enough to say whether it really made a difference, but as serums go, I enjoyed using it. I doubt I would shell out £170!

9. Banana shower gel

I have mentioned this before, but I get the feeling the banana range is mainly known for the haircare. There are other things as well though such as the body butter and the shower gel that are also worth checking out if you prefer the fruity scents.

10. Aveda shampoo

I got this cherry almond shampoo when I was on the Lookfantastic site, spending my Glossy points. I wanted to try something from aveda because I’d heard good things about the brand. It’s a 98% natural lightweight shampoo with cherry blossom and almond oil to clean your hair and leave it silky and glossy. I’m not very faithful to shampoos, but I’d pick this up again.

11. Philip Kingsley conditioner

This isn’t a brand that I’d usually reach for, but I got the body-building conditioner in my Glossybox advent calendar. It was nice enough as a conditioner, though I can’t say that I noticed increased volume in my hair or that I would run out and get it again.

12. Strawberry cupcake shower gel

This was something else that we got in the Glossybox calendar. Some people would find this too sweet, but the whole range is based on desserts, so you expect them to be sweet. My favourites from this brand are the lemon and cherry ranges, but I was happy to use this strawberry shower gel too.

13. Fuji green tea shampoo and conditioner

We got this purifying shampoo and hydrating conditioner in the Body Shop calendar. The only reason I wouldn’t get these again is that I like other hair products from the Body Shop more, and out of the two I probably preferred the conditioner for hair that needs a bit of nourishment. If you’re looking for something from the Body Shop and you don’t like the fruity ranges, this would definitely be something I could recommend.

14. Rituals Hamam shower gel

I got a small sample of this in the December Tili box. I like Rituals scents, but this one knocks you out with the eucalyptus! Fine if you have a cold and need to clear the airwaves, but I think otherwise I’d choose one of their other scents!

15. Harry Potter bath bombs

I got a set of these for Christmas. I’m not sure if they were limited edition from Superdrug as I can’t find them now, but if you get them, be warned! They are a bit of fun, and the designs are cool, but the cauldron one turns your water black, the golden snitch one makes it look as if you’ve been bathing in urine, and the Gryffindor one makes it look as though you’ve been bathing in blood! Just so you know! They are very big and smell quite good. In fact, I was blissfully aware of the strangely coloured water until it was pointed out to me later, but I think I was at a distinct advantage not being able to see it!

So, what products have you enjoyed recently?

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

Feelunique – 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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

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If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once 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, and I give honest reviews.

Blogmas 2018 – looking after your hair in Winter

I have very long hair, and although I try to take good care of it all year round, Winter presents its own set of challenges because of wet and windy weather, central heating, and the fact that a lot of us go out more and style our hair more around Christmas time.

So I thought I’d put together some tips for looking after your hair in Winter. I have long, thick, straight hair, so I know more about that than other types of hair, but most of these tips can be applied to any type of hair.

1. Keep your hair from blowing around in the wind and rain

Whether you choose to do this by tying it back, wearing a hat or hood, or using a scarf to keep it down, if you keep your hair from blowing around, it won’t get tangled and you won’t risk snapping the strands when you try to tame it again. This also helps to prevent the scarecrow look – or the medusa look as I sometimes get in the car with the windows open!

You can also carry a travel brush around in your bag so if you do get a bit windswept, you can sort it out rather than walking around with tangles.

If you’re worried about hats and scarves causing frizzy, messy hair, you can carry around a small frizz taming product to tame the unruly bits on the go.

2. Show your hair some love

When it’s exposed to elements that dry out your hair, it’s nice to make time for pamper evenings too, including a nourishing, hydrating hair mask. A couple of my favourites are the banana one from the Body Shop and the oatmeal and honey one from Korres.

I don’t make my own masks, but if you don’t want to buy one, you can use raw honey. Honey is a humectant, which means it seals in the moisture and can help if you have dry or damaged hair.

3. Try to go easy on the styling

It’s easy for me to say as someone who doesn’t straighten their hair, but if you are going to a lot of parties, and want to blow-dry and then style or straighten your hair, try to give your hair a rest on days when you don’t have as much planned.

If you’re going to use heat products, try using a heat protection spray.

4. Hydrate from the inside

I know I don’t drink enough water at the best of times – because all the coffee I drink doesn’t count. But if you are giving your body enough hydration by drinking lots of water, this will be good for your hair too.

5. Don’t go out with wet hair

Apart from increasing your chance of getting a cold, going out in the cold with wet hair can also cause your hair to freeze and break.

6. Don’t forget to have a trim

You might be busier over the Christmas period, but don’t forget to book in for your regular trims. Nobody wants split ends, and if winter weather is making the ends of your hair more dry and brittle than usual, having them tidied up is a good thing.

7. Vary the pressure points

If you’re going to put your hair up, try having your pony tail at different heights, so you don’t put pressure in the same place every time. If you put your hair up in a clip, it’s mainly the sides that are being pushed into the clip, so make sure you remember to condition them well and be gentle with them. Plaits can be good to prevent tangles, but don’t pull them too tight, or you risk breaking the strands.

8. Don’t let the water run too hot

It’s tempting if you’ve been out in the cold and you want a really hot bath or shower to warm you up again, but really hot water doesn’t do your skin or hair any favours because it dries them out.

Have you got any more tips? Let us know in the comments!

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – – a 50ml tub of the Ethiopian green coffee cream. This is part of the Spa of the World® range and it’s enriched with caffeine, known for its stimulating properties (you may have heard of shampoo with caffeine). It promises to leave your skin feeling firmer and smoother. I’ve had this before – it’s a lovely cream if you get past the fact that it doesn’t smell of coffee. I was hoping it would, but if you don’t start with this expectation, it’s a good body moisturiser.

Glossybox – the greater than mascara from MDMFlow (full-size). I haven’t had anything from this brand before and look forward to trying this out once I’ve used up a couple of my other mascaras. #The packaging makes it feel more expensive, and it promises to enhance and volumise lashes. The brush is indented, so it will be interesting to see how that works out because I usually prefer straight ones! I’ll report back on it once I’ve tested it out properly.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Late August empties – mainly skincare and haircare this time

After my stupid accident, I kept working, but I’ve been chasing my tail all month. I did put together some August empties though, so I thought Better late than never!”

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and if so, what you thought of them!

Skincare

Products: 8

I’ve talked about the Body Shop® almond milk and honey body yoghurt before but it’s worth mentioning again. This range is so kind to the skin. It’s not as strongly scented as the others, and it’s recommended for those with more sensitive skin. I don’t have sensitive skin, but my allergies to other things can make my skin flair up at times, and this is when I especially enjoy using the almond milk and honey line of products. The body yoghurts are much lighter than the butters, they absorb quickly, and are great for the Summer and Autumn.

I discovered two more hand creams through my Latest in Beauty box –first the orange blossom one. You can’t buy individual products directly from Latest in Beauty, so I’ve included the link to Boots. Not the cheapest out there, but it does a good job, isn’t greasy, and I am a big fan of the citrus scent.

Then there was the Gardeners’ hand therapy from Crabtree and Evelyn. The link is to Feelunique. This was a bigger tube, so more value for money, but I found it a bit greasy, which was a shame because I do like this brand. I’d use this again as a night treatment, just before bed, but after I’ve used a handcream, I don’t want my hands to feel sticky, so for me this one lost points on not being an all-purpose kind of product.

I wanted to link the Body Shop ® vitamin C serum, but it doesn’t seem to be on the site any more. I’m not sure whether it’s been discontinued or is just out of stock, but as someone who likes the vitamin C moisturiser, I decided to try the serum as well. This is an oil-based serum, so I found it better for use in the evening or on no-make-up days. I like the moisturiser more, but as someone who doesn’t like using face oils, an oil-based serum that isn’t so oily that you spend the rest of the night with a shiny face is a good thing to have.

I raved about this Lavera serum in this Latest in Beauty review. You can really get some good finds in there if you are lucky. Of course some boxes are better than others, depending on the products available, but this was a full-size serum and one that I would definitely buy again.

As I loved the serum and the night cream from this range, I decided to try the toner as well. (The link goes to Amazon). I wasn’t as happy with this product though. The product itself was fine, but it smelled like cough mixture, and I can’t deal with that in my morning facial routine. So, it’s a personal preference, and it lives up to the name of being gentle (at least I thought it did), but if there’s an ingredient that I don’t like the smell of, I don’t buy it again!

Another Latest in Beauty product was the Morning Dew moisturiser from Aimie. I think it’s aimed more at people with oily skin, because it does absorb fast, and promises to control excess oil and shine. I don’t think someone like me with normal to dry skin will see the best results from this, because I do like something a bit more moisturising, but that’s more about it not being the right product for me than it being a bad product.

I’ve talked about this Malin and Goetz moisturiser before, but as it was on offer on Latest in Beauty for a while, I picked up a couple of them. They were really generous sizes too, and I had no problems with applying this moisturiser over other products.

Haircare

Products: 5

I’m not even going to link these – I really wasn’t impressed! I was so glad to try some products from Noughtie, especially as a full-size shampoo and conditioner duo counted as only one product in the Latest in Beauty basket. Out of the two sets I tried, I liked the Blondie locks shampoo more than the “to the rescue” duo, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy any of them again. Rather than being super-nourishing, I found the “to the rescue” products quite thin and watery, which meant I ended up getting through them much faster.

Something I did really enjoy though was the Korres sunflower shampoo. I got mine from Feelunique, but it’s available in supermarkets such as Waitrose and Ocado too. I got this because sunflowers are my favourite, and didn’t actually notice that it was for coloured hair – which I don’t have – but even so, it’s a lovely range and definitely one that I’d recommend.

At the same time, I picked up the Korres almond and linseed mask. This is intended for dry and damaged hair, but you can also use it from time to time as a treatment if you want to give your hair some extra moisture and nourishment. I would definitely get this again as my hair felt great afterwards. It’s not damaged, but it’s so long – down to my waist – that I like to give the ends some love once in a while.

Perfume

Products: 1

I loved the Shea and blue “blood oranges” perfume that we got in the 2017 M&S advent calendar. It’s so fresh and well – orange-scented! Definitely one for you if you like your citrus scents. Once I’ve used up some other products, I’d definitely buy this again. I think this is one of the great things about advent calendars, especially the non-branded ones – you get to discover some new brands that you’d never heard of before. (See this post for my thoughts on the advent calendars this year).

Bathtime

Products: 2

I actually forgot that I had this Cowshed Gorgeous Cow shower gel – I found it when I was doing the massive tidy-up operation when the new drawers came. It is part of the Cowshed range and contains Madagascan rose and Indian palmorosa oils, along with lavender to relax you. I love the Cowshed and always recommend their products. They are quite strongly-scented, and some of the scents are unique, using plant extracts that other companies don’t, but I think they’re great.

I tried out the ginger and clementine bubble bath from Waitrose. Actually I got mine from Ocado, but it’s available in both stores. I’m not loyal to bubble baths, but this was a refreshing change, had a good deal of bubbles, and is one that I would cycle round to again.

Discounts

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. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20.

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