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

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

Andalou Naturals

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

Body Shop

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

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

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

Cowshed

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

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

Dr Botanicals

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

ELF

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

Madara

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

Lucky Cloud

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

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

Original Source

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

Rituals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaflet by email

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

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

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

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

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

What was in this month’s box?

In the January, “refresh edit” we had:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

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Pip box in October – cruelty-free subscription box

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

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

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

Skin care for the body

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

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

Skincare for the face

The pomegranate regenerating Sleeping Mask by Dr Botanicals

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

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

Haircare

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

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

Bathtime

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

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

Makeup

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

What do you think?

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

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

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Pip Box in September – cruelty-free subscription box

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

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

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

The sign-up process is accessible with a screenreader.

So what was inside?

Bali balm cinnamon and burnt orange lip balm

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

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

Nakin cleansing milk

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

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

Diamond eye pads from vitamasques

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mineral eye shadow

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

Overall thoughts

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

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

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These particular links are to the brands’ own sites for further information. They are not affiliate links.