19 February empties

Well, I have quite a lot of empties to share with you this month, so let’s get straight on in!

1. Cherry and almond body milk

So this Bath set from Candy Spa was a Christmas present. I thought the mango powder would be my favourite, but no, it was the cherry and almond bath milk, which smelled great! The fizzy mango powder was good too, but I found you needed quite a bit of it to get a good mango scent going on!

2. Molton Brown gingerlily body wash

This was a little sample, but I wanted to include it because it is the first ever Molton Brown product that I’ve tried and although I don’t think you can wash a whole body with such a small sample, the product is a lovely treat.

I got mine in the Amazon beauty box, which you get free if you spend £50 on beauty. That does sound a lot, but I buy a lot of my beauty products and toiletries on there, so when I stocked up, I did hit the £50. In the box you get a body mud scrub from Rituals (70ml), day cream from Pai Skincare (10ml), this body wash (30ml), Elemis lavender repair mask (15ml), Gatineau radiance enhancing Gommage (15ml), Laura Geller make-up primer (15ml), Korres body milk (40ml), and Dr Lipp nipple balm (4ml).

This box is now unavailable – I guess they sold out – but if you see anything similar on Amazon and were planning to spend money on beauty treats anyway, it’s a nice way to try out some new products for free! Oh, but if you want the body mud, keep an eye out for the March give-away, either by following the blog or subscribing to the email alerts!

3. Age defying moisturiser

I think I got this in Latest in Beauty, but you can buy the full-size one from the Green People site. It’s certified organic and fair trade, and as a moisturiser it was fine. It claims to moisturise, as well as reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The only problem for me was the lavender scent. Lavender belongs in the bath or as an oil for relaxing – but not on my face. Still, if you’re ok with the lavender, it’s a nice product.

4. L’Oréal million lashes mascara

So sad this mascara ran out. I like its formula, the way it lengthens and separates my lashes, and I like the wand. I want to use a couple of others up first, but I will be buying this again.

5. Maskorea too many late nights sheet mask

Another find from Latest in Beauty, this 3-part sheet mask was a new experience for me! As I’m writing this, the mask is on special offer. I don’t think I’d pay full price for it, but if you’re going for a weekend away and space is at a premium, it does include a foaming cleanser and a night cream as well, which makes it a bit different from your standard sheet mask. I was happy with it on Latest in Beauty, because with the 9 product box, I only paid £2, which made it a bargain – and the mask itself was a good hydrating mask.

6. Body Shop banana shampoo

I have mentioned this before, but I wanted to add it into this post because there is now a larger option available for the banana shampoo in case you find yourself in the situation in which your shampoo runs out before your conditioner. I love this banana range and although it’s fine for all hair types, it’s a nourishing range, so good if you have dry hair, or just want to give it a pamper!

7. Satsuma body butter

This was enormous and took a long time to use up. I love the fruity scents from the body shop, and I don’t think you can go wrong with the satsuma body butter!

8. Eyeko mascara

This mascara came in the M&S beauty advent calendar. I liked the fact that it was waterproof. I liked the formula because it didn’t stick my lashes together. I did not like the curved brush, and as a result I wouldn’t buy the full size!

9. Kiwi, shea, aloe, and bamboo Innis Free masks

I use a sheet mask once or twice a week and used the above four from my Innis Free selection pack. There are 18 masks available and you get a selection of 16 which could be acai berry, aloe, bamboo, broccoli, Coconut, cucumber, fig, ginseng, green tea, lime, manuka honey, oatmeal, pomegranate, rice, rose, shea butter, tea tree, or tomato

I enjoyed all of these and so far there have been none in the pack that I don’t like. Last time I was reviewing sheet masks I was complaining about a sticky residue on the face, and this doesn’t happen with these Innis Free ones, which gives them extra plus points.

10. ginger shower gel

I picked up the Soaper Duper ginger body wash at the supermarket because I wanted to try a couple of products from this range and I was intrigued about the ginger. The body wash is thick and creamy, leaving your skin feeling soft, and the zingy ginger and lemon scent is refreshing. The bottle is an unusual shape, which means you have to give it a good squish to get the last of the product out. I would buy this again or see what else they have in the range.

11. cranberry shower gel

I got this cranberry shower gel from Lavera just before Christmas, but have only just got round to using it up. Intensive moisture? I don’t think so. I found it quite thin. Yes, it smelled of cranberries and that was cool, but there are nicer festive products out there!

12. Shea butter and almond body lotion

This was from my swap box from Germany and it’s made by a German brand that you can’t get here. Still, I enjoyed trying it out and smelling of almonds. It was nourishing and gentle on the skin.

13. L’Occitane cream

This was the teeniest sample, but the best thing in the L’Occitane advent calendar as far as I’m concerned. I’ve had the full-size product before and loved it! It’s so gentle and soothing on the face, with a subtle scent. It leaves the face feeling soft all day, and soaks into the skin quickly. This is a lovely cream and I’m glad they included it in the advent calendar.

14. almond soap

I really am not sure about this! On one hand I love the smell of almonds in this soap from L’Occitane, but the crushed up almond shells that are supposed to help exfoliate were not my thing. They just made it feel as though the soap were dirty. Like the one we had at the riding stables that I never wanted to touch because I didn’t like to think of where it had been. I know the reason for the shells, but the almond oil on its own would have been better!

15. Maringa shower gel

I had this little mini from the Body Shop. All of the Body Shop shower gels are good quality and made with natural ingredients. The maringa line is for you if you prefer a floral to a fruity scent. I prefer the fruity ones, but it was still nice to try out a mini from the Maringa line.

16. strawberry shower gel

Another Body Shop shower gel mini – this time the strawberry one. I preferred this to the maringa, but it is a very sweet scent, and not something I would use all the time. Still, I do like the smell of fresh strawberries from time to time!

17. sunflower hand cream

I wanted to try out some products from Laidbare, so I got their sunflower hand cream. I love sunflowers – that was part of what attracted me! I had this on my desk and I liked the subtle sunflower scent. This isn’t runny, but it isn’t heavy-duty either. It sinks in quickly, but leaves the hands feeling moisturised. It’s not sticky, so a good one for your handbag or to use throughout the day.

18. Manuka honey sheet mask

This was my favourite item in the Pink Parcel box in February. It’s the Manuka honey sheet mask from Vitamasques.

Manuka honey has loads of great properties for your skin and hair. For example, it hydrates, locking in moisture and absorbs moisture from the air. It promotes skin regeneration, oxygenates pores to draw out bacteria, reduces redness due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and inhibits a group of enzymes that destroy collagen, a protein we need for firm skin – the opposite of wrinkles and fine lines.

19. Schreck apple lip balm

This apple-flavoured Chapstick was a lovely addition to my lip balm collection. I enjoyed the fruity flavour and it did its job, with the benefit of added SPF. This is a pack of 4, but they are cheap and it’s actually more cost-effective to buy a multi-pack.

So, what did you use up this month? I like a good empties post, so let me know in the comments if you have written one!

Listen to the podcast episode

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

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Skin care for coffee lovers

My quest to find coffee-based skincare other than coffee scrubs!

This post is for people who love coffee! People who love drinking coffee and people who love the smell of it!

I drink a lot of coffee and especially in the morning, I need it to get going!

When it comes to skincare, I keep hearing people raving about coffee scrubs, how amazing they smell, and how they enjoy using them. There’s only one problem with that – I don’t like scrubs! Any kind of scrubs! I just don’t like that gritty, scratchy sensation on my skin.

So I thought there must be some other products out there that use coffee, and I set out to find them!

1. Java lather coffee shower gel

To be honest, I’d never heard of Anatomicals before, and it appears that they do a range of products that I would enjoy. On the coffee theme, I found the Java Lather coffee buzz which smells absolutely amazing. Ok, everyone knows what coffee smells like, but this is rich and strong and almost good enough to drink! It’s called a body cleanser, which could be misleading as it’s a shower gel, not something like a face cleanser. It contains a soothing blend of aloe vera and witch hazel, and it’s definitely worth it as a treat for your coffee loving friend or for yourself!

It comes in a nice square bottle with a pump and I’m thoroughly enjoying using it!

2. Coffee lovers lip balm gift set

The next thing I found was something for the lips. It comes in a small cardboard box, the kind that is often used for necklaces, and inside the box there are three coffee-flavoured lip balms to suit different coffee preferences! You have Americano, latte and mocha! My favourite was the Americano, which isn’t surprising really as I never drink coffee with milk, and this was the strongest one. However I would use them all, and they all taste of coffee in their own way.

I like the variety that you get in this box from Pinwheel Balms and the way that the coffee flavour stays around and doesn’t disappear as soon as you put it on. The lip balms are in stick form and glide on easily, giving you a lasting moisture boost.

3. Maybelline Baby Lips café mocha

Staying on the subject of lips, there is also a coffee balm in the Maybelline Baby Lips range. I found this one to be quite sweet, probably because of the chocolate. To be honest I preferred the other lip balms, but if you like sugar in your coffee, or you don’t want a set of 3, the Baby Lips might be the one for you.

4. Evelin cosmetics coffee balm

This coffee body balm is from Eveline Cosmetics’ Spa Professional range, which includes body balms, butters and hand care products in a number of scents. The products are intended to moisturise, protect the skin and leave it feeling soft and smelling great!

It comes in a generous squeezy tube and should last a decent amount of time. I’d say this is actually more of a lotion than a balm, because it isn’t as thick as some of the other body balms that I’ve used, but it does leave the skin feeling soft and smelling wonderfully of coffee.

5. Fair squared Coffee lotion

I also had high hopes for the other body lotion that I found, but this turned out to be the product that I liked the least.

Let’s start with the positives – the packaging was practical with a squeezy pump for easy application. It’s fair trade and organic, and if you’re a vegan, which I’m not, but if you are, this would be suitable for you.

But that’s where the good comments end because I really don’t like the smell of this stuff and if I don’t like how something smells, I know I won’t use it! I can’t figure out what it smells of, but the coffee isn’t at all prominent.

The main ingredients are rich olive oil and grapeseed oil, which apparently provide moisture and smoothness, and the coffee bean extract revitalises the skin.

Maybe it’s the grapeseed oil. Sorry Fair Squared, but this one wasn’t for me!

summing up

So, I had heard of Maybelline Baby Lips before, but the other five brands were completely new to me. This was a bit of a risk because I didn’t know how good they would be, but I really liked four out of the five new brands, which means it was definitely worth the risk.

I really liked the shower gel, the balm and the set of three lip balms, and would buy all of them again. I was happy with the quirky t-shirt. The Baby Lips was ok, but I actually like some of my other Baby Lips products more, such as the grapefruit one, so rather than buying another coffee one, I’d probably buy the grapefruit again or try out some of the others in the range that I have my eye on, such as the lemon or the cherry one.

What do you think?

How about you? Have you tried any of these products? Can you recommend any other coffee products for me to try?

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Baths, mocktails for the skin, and some citrus sents

Why I have been enjoying baths and caterpillar cakes, and the beauty and skincare products that I’ve been enjoying this month!

Baths, mocktails for the skin, and some citrus scents

These are the things that I’ve been enjoying this month. Have you tried any of these products? Do you like any similar products that you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Bath and shower

This first favourite isn’t a product, but it’s always the way – if someone tells you that you can’t have something, you just want it all the more! I wasn’t allowed to have a bath for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the month because I’d had a hospital operation and the wound needed to heal. But when I was allowed to have them again, I appreciated them all the more! I know some people always just hop in the shower, but there is something luxurious about a long, relaxing bath. They really help me to unwind!

I was very excited to discover that the Body Shop has brought out two product lines for the summer. Actually I think they’ve brought them back, but this is the first time I’ve tried them out. The pinita colada line is a fresh and fruity set of products that smell like holidays – pineapple and coconut! It reminds me of drinking pina coladas in Cuba and is definitely a summer scent. I got the shower gel and body sorbet, which is a more lightweight body lotion, perfect for the summer. I also got the shower gel in the virgin mojito range, which is lime and mint. I preferred the pineapple, but both of them are good!

You can look for these products on the Body shop site or, if anyone is interested in buying from a Body Shop at Home consultant, I recommend Heidi’s Facebook group. However, I am a bit late with this review, and due to their popularity, these products have been selling out fast. So if it’s too late, watch out for them next year – I know I will be!

Hair care

I’ve already talked about one Avon hair mask in a previous favourites post. This month I discovered the Avon hair treatment mask with grapefruit, passion fruit, and vitamins, which is said to give hair shine and radiance. I have very thick, long hair. It’s not damaged, but I like to give it some love in the form of a mask a couple of times a month, because who doesn’t want some extra shine and radiance? And of course, it’s got grapefruit in it, so it must be good. I was really happy with this mask and would definitely get it again.

Make-up

As someone who can’t see the colours or read the packaging on my make-up, I like to have lipsticks and eye shadows from different brands, so they’re easier to tell apart. This means I get to try out different brands, and I can quickly identify things by their packaging. Now that my collection is getting bigger, I am starting to need to label some things with Braille or markings on the packaging, but some brands have very distinctive lipstick cases and I know them straight away.

My Rimmel the only one, you’re all mine lipstick has the word Rimmel in embossed letters on it and I like its creamy formula. When I discovered the moisture renew sheer and shine range from the same brand, I decided to try one of those too, so I picked Red-y set go. People have said good things about the colour on me, and I like the formula.

I also got the Wet n Wild raunchy red lipstick because I wanted to try out something from Wet n Wild. I don’t like it as much as the Rimmel one, but I’m still glad that I got it and it’s a good low-cost addition to the collection.

Food and drink

Totally unhealthy, but totally cute! When my mum came to visit me after the operation, she brought, among other things, some mini caterpillar cakes from M&S! I can’t find them online, but seriously you should try them if you haven’t already. Like a mini roll, but with more chocolate and a little caterpillar face! Who remembers the very hungry caterpillar from primary school?!

Perfume

I have decided not to do unboxings for Latest in Beauty and Lovelula, but each month I’m going to pick out my favourite product from each one and talk about the rest in my empties or other posts. My favourite from my Latest in Beauty build your own subscription box was Thé Vert & Bigarade from L’Occitane. This is how the fragrance is described on the website, seeing as I’m not the best at describing scents: “A lively encounter of aromatic and citrusy freshness. Sparking citrus notes burst forth in an accord of sweet and bitter orange while hints of green tea and yerba maté give a softening touch before the aromatic base.”

I think I like it because of the citrus scent. I hadn’t tried any perfumes from this brand before and I love the way that Latest in Beauty gives me the chance to try out new brands and types of products.

Skincare

This was a case of “Twitter made me buy it!” I was reading an article about lip products when I found out about the Lanolips banana lip balm. It’s not the cheapest balm on the market, but it is packed with banana extract, shea butter, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep the lips smooth and healthy-looking. It’s a very rich, creamy formula and although it doesn’t say so on the packet, I like to use it at bedtime so it can soak in whilst I’m sleeping.

I watch a lot of unboxings on Youtube. Not really so that I can sign up for all the boxes, but so that I can find out about what’s out there in terms of things I’d like to try. Staying with the lip care theme, I found out about the Baby Lips sweet apple lip care from Maybelline. It is marketed as a winter product, and I think the spicy apple scent is more of a winter thing, but I found out about it in June and didn’t want them to sell out. I like the texture and the scent, but maybe this is something that I’ll get out again in a few months when the nights are getting colder!

My favourite product from Lovelula this month was the daily defence cream from Madara. This seems to be something for protection from the winter weather too, but it can be used anywhere where you have dry skin and something in it smells good enough to eat. It’s a rich, moisturising cream and contains ingredients that I’ve never heard of before such as northern cloudberry and sea buckthorn, which soothe, hydrate and restore the skin in cold or dry weather. I use it anywhere on my hands and body that feels dry.

I mentioned my Sanctuary Spa lemon and orange blossom hand cream a while ago because it was a Christmas present. I had to finish up some other hand creams first, but I’ve really been enjoying this. It’s fairly lightweight, so you don’t have to wait for ever for it to sink in, which means it’s a good one to have out when you don’t have time for a full hand ritual! I love the citrus scent – I haven’t yet smelled anything from the Sanctuary that I don’t like – and my hands are softer too!

What have you been enjoying this month?

Be sure to let me know about your June favourites in the comments, whether that’s a few lines, a link to a blog post or a Youtube video! I’m nosey and I love to hear about new products, or just things that I haven’t tried before.

I’ve got a few things planned for July, such as a skincare post for coffee lovers, the story of my friend Holly the Labrador, and an interview post about a different kind of holiday experience. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, or sign up for my emails if you’d like to read any of these posts.

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