January empties – grapefruit, banana, and one for the bin!

14 of the skincare and bath products that I finished up this month – what I thought of them and whether I’d buy them again.

I have 14 empty products for you – well 13 empties and one that I chucked because I hated it! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these things, what you thought of them, and what else you think I might like based on this selection! Also, If you’ve done a January empties post, you’re welcome to leave the link in the comments.

1. Malin Goetz moisturiser

I mentioned this Malin Goetz moisturiser back in October and I’ve now finished it up. First of all, I got this in Latest in Beauty, and it was a really decent size, which you can’t say about all of the moisturisers that you get in there! Vitamin E is good to have in face creams because it has antioxidant properties, which help your skin to fight the effects of wrinkle-causing free radicals, both from the sun an the pollution all around us. I liked this cream – it went on nicely, absorbed quickly, moisturised and had a slight scent. I can’t do with completely scentless moisturisers! 8/10

2. Radox grapefruit shower gel

I saw “grapefruit” and had to try this! I think I prefer Radox for its bubble baths, but this grapefruit shower gel is refreshing and will help to wake you up. I don’t like it as much as the pink grapefruit line from the Body Shop, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative, this one is fine! 6/10

3. Lavera cream highlighter

I don’t even want to link this! I got it because I was so happy with the Lavera night cream. I then got a couple of satin lipsticks, and they were fine. I was excited to see that this natural brand also did some cream make-up products and got myself one of the highlighters. It was a mistake. It felt like a cream with coarsely-milled powder in it, which meant that when I tried to blend it in, I was rubbing all the scratchy powder grains across my face. Great if you like the sensation of rubbing sandpaper across your cheekbones, but that’s not for me! Maybe there was something wrong with the one I had, but that’s all I have to go on and I couldn’t bear to use it again! 1/10

4. Madara mask

This was about the only thing that made me happy in the December Lovelula box which was full of samples and make-up I wouldn’t use! I was already a Madara fan and I enjoyed using this MADARA SOS Hydra Mask, which alone was worth over double what I paid for the box – so I did get my money’s worth! I did take the mask off, but some people used it as a leave-on treatment. Its main ingredient is northern peony, which is used because it moisturises, tones, smooths the skin, and protects it from environmental damage. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which is good for locking in moisture and preventing skin from drying out.

I’m still a sheet mask kind of girl, so I probably wouldn’t get this again, but I did enjoy using it! 7/10

5. Body Shop almond milk and honey body butter

I reviewed this whole range here, but used up my almond milk and honey body butter this month. Once I’d got over the fact that it didn’t smell like the almond hand butter, and the honey scent was stronger than the almond, I found that I really liked it. It’s not as strong as some of the other Body Shop scents, but it’s fresh and clean, and great if you want something a bit less overpowering. I know that a lot of people with sensitive skin love this range too. 8/10

6. Styling spray

We got this Agario London Styling mist in a Lovelula box. I used up mine, then a friend gave me hers. It’s not something I would buy because I don’t really need a styling spray, but it does contain nutrients that are good for the hair, so I mixed a couple of squirts in with my detangler. 6/10

7. Yes to Cucumber conditioner

I’ve mentioned this before, but then I realised that there are two of these cucumber conditioners – so I wanted to be clear that I mean the Yes to cucumber volumising conditioner. I like it and have already repurchased it. There is a colour protection one too, but I don’t need that so haven’t tried it. 9/10

8. Original Source shower gel

I was actually looking for something else when I noticed this but, being intrigued by green banana and bamboo milk, I decided to give it a go. I’m not vegan, but if you are, this is vegan certified and contains natural fragrances and moisturisers. I don’t like the sickly sweet banana smells that you can get because they’re too synthetic, but this one was not like that. I’m not loyal to shower gels and I like to switch things around, so I enjoyed using this for a while. 7/10

9. Nature republic sheet masks

The masks I usually get had run out, so I decided to try a set from Nature republic.

There are 13 masks, and you get a selection of 10, which could include Olive, Orange, Chamomile, Rose, Avocado, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Green tea, tomato, Acai Berry, Royal jelly, bamboo, or cucumber. Not a snail mask in sight – this makes me happy!

I liked these masks because they felt a bit thicker than some of the others, which made them easier to apply. They also didn’t have such large tears, which you’re supposed to use to fit around your face, but which can result in the whole thing sticking to itself. These seemed a good size for me too – some are too big. The only problem was that two of the masks – I don’t remember which now – left my face feeling a bit sticky afterwards, so I had to remove the serum rather than just letting it sink in because I didn’t want to walk round feeling like I’d smeared my face with honey! But other than that I enjoyed using these masks. 8/10

10. L’Occitane foot cream

I cannot get excited about foot creams, but I got one in my advent calendar and used it up. Yay for citrus and not the usual peppermint scent! 7/10

11. Wileda almond body lotion

I discovered this through a sample size that I got in Latest in Beauty. This almond body lotion is good for sensitive skin and is made from a few ingredients to moisturise the body. It’s a mild formula and good for skin that gets irritated easily – I don’t have that, but it was created with this kind of skin in mind. I just liked the moisturising cream and walking round smelling like a cherry bakewell! 9/10

12. Grapeseed hand cream

I was curious to try a Burt’s Bees hand cream, so I got the honey and grapeseed one. It’s nice though and I had it on my desk because it’s not sticky and dries quickly – I’m just not a fan of the grapeseed smell, so won’t get it again. 5/10

13. Vitamin E night cream

I don’t think there’s anything in the Vitamin E range from the Body Shop that I don’t like. These products are lovely if you want your face to feel soft and silky in the morning and to treat any dry patches. I’ve been through more than one pot of this and I’m definitely a fa! Of the night cream. 10/10

14. Tea tree face cream

The last thing I used up was also from the Body Shop – the Tea tree night lotion. One of these will last me for ever because I don’t use it as a night lotion, but if I get a break-out, I just apply a bit of this to the area and it helps to take it down. 7/10

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Latest in Beauty – 3 month review

In this post, I review 3 months worth of Latest in Beauty products (21 in total).

So, I mentioned in my March favourites that I’d started getting Latest in Beauty, a monthly subscription box for make-up and skincare items. I like this box because you can build your own set of products, so you don’t end up with things that you don’t want or will never use.

You can choose 3, 6 or 9 products. AT the beginning I chose 6, but I’ve now moved up to the 9 product subscription, which at the time of writing works out at £2 per item. The bag comes with the first order. All subsequent orders come without a bag.

I’ve seen a couple of people going back to their old boxes and writing what they thought of the products when they’d finished them all up. I like a good unboxing, but I think that this way, you have more to say because you’ve actually tested them out. I decided to do this with my Latest in Beauty boxes. I started receiving These in March this year, so this is my summary from March to May.

You can’t buy individual products on Latest in Beauty, and in any event most of these will no longer be available because they switch out products all the time. Therefore I’ve included links to other places where you can buy the products online so you can read more about them, see what they look like, and of course buy if you’re interested!

March

I started off on the 6 product plan for £15.

1. Nourishing Lip Gloss in Evening Glow
This was from Burt’s Bees, and I am a big fan of this brand. You have to swish it around a bit to get some on the applicator, but it goes on well and isn’t sticky – a big plus point for lip gloss! I’m more of a lipstick than a lip gloss girl, but I’m glad I tried this out and I like to support the bees.

2. Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands (405)
This is another Burt’s Bees product. Some people have complained about these crayons because you have to reapply them, but as someone who can’t see, I’ would much rather touch it up than have to deal with a mistake on a 24-hour stay lip stain. Again I do prefer my Burt’s Bees lipstick, not from Latest in Beauty, but I like the crayon and am glad I got it.

3. Lift and Brighten Eye Cream
A bit of a bee theme going on here as this is from Bee Good! I didn’t use this up straight away as I had other eye creams on the go, but I am considering buying this one. It’s a fair price and not hideously expensive, as some eye creams are, and it has a light texture, which I prefer to some of the heavier, sticky ones.

4. Green Tea Sheet Mask
This was the first time I got something from the Masque Bar. I’m a big fan of sheet masks, and this one was soothing and moisturising. If other ones came on Latest in Beauty, I’d like to try more from the range.

5. Dry Skin cream
This product is from Catherine Daniels and I noticed it’s come back to Latest in Beauty. I’d say it was ok, but no better for dry skin than some of my normal creams. If you like scentless creams, then this would be good for you, but I personally like my moisturiser to smell of something. So I’m still using this up, but I probably wouldn’t get it again.

6. Seychelles Hand & Nail Cream
I love, love, loved this, as you’ll see when you see how many times I got it again. The full size of this was sold out for ages on The White Company’s website, so I kept getting these little tubes from Latest in Beauty. It smells wonderfully of coconut, is not greasy, keeps your hands moisturised for ages and I can’t get enough of it!

So overall this was a good box for me. I repurchased one of the items multiple times, and when my other eye creams run out, I’ll get the full size of that too. The most underwhelming product for me was the face cream, but there was nothing wrong with it.

April

Still on the 6 product plan!

1. Moisturising Lip Balm in Peach & Mango Burst
Anyone who follows this blog knows that I love all things mango. Unfortunately this lip balm from Carmex tastes more like something you are told to take as a child in the form of cough mixture that they tried, but failed, to make sweet and pleasant for children. I won’t get this again!

2. Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads
These were fab and I quickly bought the full size of this product from Nip and Fab. I don’t like exfoliants with particles inside, so I prefer to use natural acids to exfoliate. I bought a couple of bottles of product for this purpose, but the pads are so much better, and they’re also handy for when you’re going away. I’ll use up the other stuff I bought, but then it’s pads all the way!

3. Seychelles Hand & Nail Cream
Yes, I liked it so much that I got it again!

4. Citrus Blend Aromatic Wash
This was a refreshing hand wash with lemon, lime, basil and juniper berries. I would use this again, but I tend to swap out our hand washes all the time to keep things fresh.

5. POREfessional primer
Oh yes! I got the full-size of this as soon as the mini was empty. It’s from Benefit, so not the cheapest primer in the world, but it’s worth it. Actually I have two primers, this one and a cheaper one for days when I’m not making so much of an effort, but this has such a silky smooth formula that application is really easy and it also makes it easier to apply everything else on top.

6. Yes to cucumbers Calming Paper Mask
This was not good – usually I love Yes To products, but this made my face red and I had to take it off. I did get another one just to see if there was some other product underneath that had caused a bad reaction, but unfortunately I had the same reaction. I wouldn’t get this again.

So this box was a bit more hit and miss with some products that I loved – I bought the full-size version of two of them, and two that I would never buy again!

May

Now up to the 9 product box!

1. Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush in Hot Pink
This was a bit of a gamble, but I wanted to try something from Kiko. It was very pink – probably too much so for me. I’d heard some people say it was Barbie pink and others say it was nice and buildable. I do like the formula, but this was not the right shade for me. No link because I couldn’t find it on any UK sites.

2. Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
This product smells like the other one that I had from Caudalie and didn’t make my skin oily, so I’m glad I gave the brand another try! It smells clean and fresh, and is a fairly light product, so you can use it in the morning under make-up.

3. Radiance Face Mask
I made a mistake with this because I didn’t realise it had bits in it and I don’t like that in a mask. I think it was some type of clay. I gave it to a friend. I don’t have it any more, so can’t link it because I’m not sure who made it.

4. Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial
I was keen to try something from Ren. It smelled good – like oranges. I enjoyed using it, but the appeal of get it over in one minute doesn’t really work for me – I like to take time with my pampering. I can’t say I noticed a huge difference, but I enjoyed the experience.

5. Bergamot Pear Body Milk
I love Korres and this didn’t disappoint. I would buy this again and also try other things from the range. These body milks from Korres are lighter and more refreshing than the heavier balms and butters, so ideal for the summer.

6. Shower Gel in Jasmine & Bergamot
I’m also a big fan of L’Occitane and hope that Latest in Beauty will get more products from them. I enjoyed this and the minis are great for taking away.

7. Le Parfum L’Eau Couture EDT
This was ok from what I remember, but not totally “me”, so I wouldn’t get it again. Still, it’s good to be able to try new fragrances – you got two little testers of the same scent. I think I picked it because of the orange and citrus, but the vanilla is quite strong as well, and this is classed as a floral scent.

8. Cucumbers Calming Paper Mask
So I tried it again and had the same bad reaction. No idea why, but this is not for me. It’s strange though because I can use the shampoo and the face wipes from the same range without any problems.

9. Vitamin E Face Moisturiser
I wanted to try something from Malin Goetz. This was a generous sample size and it absorbs quickly, so it would be fine under make-up. It’s not oily and it promises to be hydrating and provide PH balance. I can’t give a full review of this because I haven’t finished it. Scentless moisturisers aren’t really my thing, but I’ll definitely use it up.

So, there were two products here that I really liked, 2 mistakes and another five that were fine. I’d never be able to try as many products as this if I had to buy full-size all the time, and I love the fact that I get to test out all these different brands.

How about you?

Have you tried any of these products? If so, what did you think of them? If you do Latest in Beauty reviews, either as blog posts or Youtube videos, feel free to leave a link!

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L’Occitane review – bringing Braille labels to visually impaired customers

After hearing that there were Braille labels on some of the L’Occitane products, I decided to find out more about them, and also to try some of the products myself. Braille is a tactile reading system used by blind people. It consists of patterns of raised dots which form the letters or groups of letters.

I was interested to know why the company had decided to use Braille labels, and I was also keen to try out some new products – a recurring theme on this blog!

Background information

According to Sophie OLIVER, Group PR and Communications Manager, “as a sensorial brand, L’Occitane chooses to support the visually impaired by offering braille on most of its packaging. L’Occitane has always sought to make its products available to a broad spectrum of the population and the blind represent a category of people for whom access to consumer goods is often very difficult..

“The inspiration for having Braille on the packaging came from Company Founder, Olivier Baussan. In the 1990’s, Olivier was visiting a L’Occitane store and at the same time a blind man was shopping. Olivier witnessed the difficulty the man had choosing his products and from that day began the commitment to have Braille on L’Occitane packaging.”

I found this fascinating because as someone who shops online, I wouldn’t think of using Braille packaging to pick out my products. It does, however, help a lot in terms of identifying the products once I’ve got them home. I admit, this wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t have such a ridiculous amount of cosmetic and skincare products, but that’s a choice that I made! It occurs to me that the labels help people in a way that Olivier Baussan hadn’t even thought of. Having said that, not all blind people are as fond of online shopping as I am, and I can definitely see how being able to identify the products whilst still in the shop would help.

The products that I tested

I tried five L’Occitane products. Two of them had Braille labels stuck directly to the bottles, in fact these were the two that are used in the bath or shower, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t be kept in their cardboard boxes. The other three came in boxes with Braille on the side. I usually bin boxes for products straight away, but I kept them because of the Braille!

My favourite out of the products I tried was the shea light comforting face cream. It smelled good, and is a lovely, light moisturiser. I’ve been using it at the moment, but I could imagine this as a light and refreshing product for the summer. This cream is for combination skin, so next time I will try the other one in the range, which is the shea ultra-rich comforting face cream with a higher percentage of shea butter, which makes it better for dry skin.

If I were having a particularly dry day, I’d probably reach for something more heavy-duty, but I love this light, fresh formula and would definitely recommend it. It absorbs well and is moisturising without being greasy.

My next favourite was the verbena foaming bath soak, which is great for anyone who loves citrus fragrances, such as lemon, as I do. It’s wonderful to relax in the lemony bubbles, and the bottle is a good size, so you get a number of uses out of it. I also like the raised design on the side.

The third thing is something that I had never seen before, the lavender relaxing roll-on. I have friends who put lavender oil on their pillows to help them relax and have a good night’s sleep, but I put this on myself instead and can smell it whichever way I’m facing. The roll-on action means that you don’t end up wasting oil or getting soaked in it if too much comes out at once.

You can see a picture of the shea butter hand cream on this post. I’d say it’s more of a hand butter, with 20% shea butter in it. It’s thick and rich and I’d say particularly good for the winter, when your hands can get really dry. I have also taken it away with me when I’m travelling, because flying and hotel air con can have a real drying effect on your skin (travel sizes are available). There are a range of other hand creams, and this one is particularly good for those who don’t like strong scents.

The only thing that didn’t quite convince me was the almond shower oil. I love the almond scent, but find the texture a bit too rich and oily. Not so bad in the shower, but it leaves quite a mess in the bath, so I think I’ll stick to my shower gels! Still it was good to try something new!

New soap

As well as providing Braille labels on its products, the charitable part of L’Occitane is also involved in preventing avoidable sight loss. More than 2 million people have received ophthalmologic care thanks to the NGO programmes that the L’Occitane Foundation supports.

According to a L’Occitane press release, “L’Occitane is committed to fighting avoidable blindness around the world. To date, we have directly helped more than two million people to receive quality and sometimes sight-saving eye care.” This includes helping to fund the Orbis Flying Eye hospital, which travels the globe, providing sight-saving eye operations in developing countries, and giving practical training to health professionals. During the last 16 years, L’Occitane has contributed around £1,386,000 to support the work of Orbis.

I haven’t actually tried this soap, but I wanted to mention it because it’s raising money for a good project. If you buy the shea milk solidarity soap, 100% of the profits (excluding taxes and transport costs) will be donated to NGOs dedicated to fighting preventable blindness.

Final thoughts and question for you!

I like the idea of Braille labels. I wouldn’t say they’re a necessity, as I do label things myself, and try not to buy too many things that feel the same for use at any one time, but if I like the products, the Braille labels would definitely be a reason to buy them, and I love the fact that L’Occitane have decided to do this.

I’d recommend trying out some of these products, whether or not you’re visually impaired, but if you are, this is the only skincare company I know of that produces Braille labels, and I definitely enjoyed being able to read what was in the products. If you have any friends who can read Braille, these products would make a lovely gift.

Also, I like the fact that L’Occitane works to prevent avoidable blindness. If I had the chance, I would want to be able to see. My eye condition needs a lot more research before this is possible, but I am happy to support a company that is working to enable other people to see.

This post contains PR samples. All opinions are my own.

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