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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Skincare in May – some new discoveries and a couple that were not so good

It’s halfway through June and I’m just getting my act together to talk about the products I tried and used up in May! As always, let me know if you’ve used any of these.

You may have noticed I’m trying out some new brands, and also trying to make my collection more cruelty-free. That doesn’t mean chucking out things that have already been purchased, because creating waste doesn’t help anyone, but I am trying to be more mindful with what I buy, and my Lovelula and Pip Box subscriptions are introducing me to some cool new brands and products.

All of these products were paid for with my own money, apart from the customer loyalty product, which is labelled as such.

Balm Balm

The little miracle cleanser was one of the first products I got when I started the Lovelula boxes again and it helped me to decide that yes, I actually do like oil cleansers. I’m not sure what put me off them before – I think I had a particularly sticky and unpleasant one, but this one isn’t like that. It is a budget-friendly gentle cleanser that removes make-up easily and leaves your skin feeling really soft and smooth afterwards. It also has a pump dispenser, which I like when it comes to getting the right amount of product, and it’s definitely one I’d buy again.

Body Shop

I’ve mentioned Heidi and her Body Shop pamper packages before. I’m a member of Heidi’s Facebook group, where it’s possible to earn loyalty points by either buying products, posting reviews, or interacting in the group. These points all add up and can lead to loyalty point gifts, such as my Spa of the World™ Tahitian Tiaré Hand Wash. This is out of stock as I write this, but it’s so important to keep our hands clean, especially now with increased hand washing because of the virus. This hand wash contains coconut oil to moisturise your hands, and it leaves them smelling of flower blossom – not in your face floral, but more of a subtle scent. Body Shop hand washes are not the cheapest, but they are a nice treat or a practical gift.

Of course Miss Mango has to have a mango product in here – this is my favourite scent from the Body Shop, and I used up another of their Mango shower gels. Not much to say really, other than it’s good quality, good value, and smells amazingly of mango goodness!

There was also an offer on haircare, and I got a set of the banana shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner always runs out first, so I finished up the banana conditioner to deeply nourish hair. I don’t have particularly dry or damaged hair, but it’s long and I have a lot of it, so I like a deep conditioner or hair mask for it. The strawberry and shea ranges are good too, but the banana one with banana puree from Ecuador is still my favourite.

Elizabeth Arden

This Green tea body cream was supposed to be a luxurious treat in the advent calendar that I put together myself last year. I really wanted to like it – it smells good, with the green tea, but it also had crushed up bits of something, which I can only assume is green tea leaves, in it as well. So I came out of the shower all fresh and clean, and ended up feeling dirty again because my body cream had bits in it. I tried, but I didn’t end up using this up. It may have been ok as a shower gel or something, but I can’t deal with a body cream that has bits of anything in it – I’m not a fan of glitter particles either for that same reason. Oh well.

Flawless Beauty

I haven’t been able to find this on a site that I know, so haven’t included a link, but we got a Parma Violet Luxury Body Cream in one of the Pip Box subscriptions. I’m not familiar with the brand, but it was a lotion-type cream, that did smell of parma violet, but not in a real sweet and sickly way. It had some other scent with it, that was a bit like cucumber. The bottle was kind of squishy too, so you didn’t feel as though you were wasting any. I’d try more from this brand, and I’d be interested to see what other ranges they have. That’s the nice thing about the subscription boxes – you don’t use the same things all the time and can find out about new products.

Kathleen

This natural bright mask was in one of our Lovelula boxes. I liked the sound of it, using white willow bark and hibiscus extracts, both of which are natural acids for exfoliating the skin. I always choose chemical exfoliators over physical ones, so thought this would be really good. The mask itself was ok I suppose, but it is sooo messy! It’s a bit like the cheese you get on top of a pizza, which sticks to itself, the fork, the knife, and is just a nightmare to cut. Whether you get some of this product on your finger, brush, spatula, or whatever you’re trying to apply it with, it has a long stringy tail and clings to the rest of the product in the pot. Or it hangs down precariously, threatening your top! Having this consistency doesn’t make it particularly easy to spread evenly either and because of this, although I liked the idea, it’s not something I would get again.

Korres

I’d tried a lot of bath and body products from Korres, so decided to try one of their face creams as well. I went for the almond blossom moisturising cream for very dry skin (I think they do two formulas using the almond blossom, because there is one for oily skin as well). Following some changes to medication, my skin isn’t very dry any more, so this is no longer the best choice for me. As such, I ended up using it more like a mask if I felt my skin needed some care. It’s a good moisturiser though, and I would be interested to try more skincare from the brand.

Natura seberica

The rich Siberian body butter also came in a Lovelula box. We had quite a few body butters, but I use them all the time, so this didn’t bother me! According to the site, ” Siberian cedar and Red Juniper oils improve blood circulation, while Siberian Fir Oil rejuvenates and smooths skin. Altai Oblepikha and Arctic Cloudberry oils protect skin from environmental impacts, making it soft and enhancing natural glow.” It was a fairly thick butter with a faint citrussy scent. Due to its buttery consistency, it is rich and you do need to take the time to massage it in, but if you do, it leaves your skin feeling soft for a long time.

Ooh-Arr

I haven’t found where you can buy these individually, but Latest in Beauty were offering both the strawberry and the orange face masks from this range recently. These are single use masks, but my LiB choices end up being £2 per product, so this is ok for a mask. It’s a thick, creamy mask that smells deliciously fruity. I usually do them in the bath and just wash them off after.

Pai

Another LiB choice is this rosehip cleansing oil. The only thing we seem to get from Pai in calendars or beauty boxes is the throat cream, which is ok, but I’m still not convinced we need a separate one. So I was interested to try something else from the brand. It’s a cleansing oil, and as I’ve reviewed two this month I do prefer the Balm Balm one, but this one did the job and I wouldn’t mind using it again.

Rituals

Another of my own advent calendar treats was finished up in May – my Ritual of Ayurveda Hand Lotion. There’s always something luxurious about rituals products, and this one has Indian rose and almond oil in it. It smells amazing, and is a pretty good hand cream too. This is definitely something that I would get again.

So there we have it – a couple of misses, and I think my favourite products were the first and the last in the list. How about you? Have you tried any of them? Let me know in the comments!

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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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Lovelula subscription box – February 2020

This post is neither sponsored nor gifted.

I’ve written a couple of posts about the Lovelula box before – the last was in October 2019 – so I decided to tell you something about the February box.

I have mine on a rolling monthly subscription, but there are also deals if you want to buy subscriptions for longer periods of time. I like the products because they are all cruelty-free and natural, and they tend to offer different choices than the similar products that tend to crop up in a lot of the other beauty subscription boxes.

Out of the February box, I’d only used one of the products before. I have decided to keep all of the products this month, and I’ve tried four out of the five so far.

Cleanser and toner all-in-one

This DIY cleanser and toner from Laidbare is a handy travel-size, ideal if you’re pushed for space in your suitcase or you can’t take too many products with you. I have reviewed it on the blog before. I don’t generally go for two-in-one products – I like my skincare ritual with all its many steps, and a cleanser and toner do quite different things, so I don’t really understand the science behind something that claims to do both.

Having said that, I’ve already used this up, and it’s the nicest-smelling product in the box (probably due to the apple secret extract, which is nice and fresh). It also contains aloe and liquorice extract, both good for reducing inflammation, cleansing and toning the skin. It’s like a cleansing gel and due to the inflammation-reducing ingredients, I got it out when hormonal breakouts showed their ugly heads!

Face mask

Another product from Laidbare, which if you haven’t heard of it is a budget-friendly brand with some really nice products, is the for richer for porer face mask.

According to the Lovelula site: “Kaolin Clay draws out impurities and toxins, Japanese Seaweed Extract detoxifies and smooths the skin. Shea Butter gives hydration and conditions skin, whilst Liquorish helps minimise inflammation and Rose Water soothes irritation.”

You apply it to cleansed skin and then leave it on for 10 minutes, before rinsing off. It’s unusual because it does have small particles in it that work as a kind of exfoliant, but a gentle one, and at the same time it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry as some masks with clay can do. I like it!

Face oil

This time we got the new release from OOH (Oils of Heaven), which is the natural raspberry repairing face oil. This is the third face oil since I’ve been getting the box, so they’re averaging at one every couple of months. I don’t mind this as I do use them, but I’ve seen a couple of people saying that they’re not getting through them. Still, I like them, and the value of this product alone is more than I paid for the box. It’s definitely a good way to try out products as they are released, and all of the oils are marketed as doing different things, so you could swap them out, depending on what your skin needs.

There seems to be an anti-inflammatory theme with this box, because the raspberry seed oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also good for dehydrated skin. It is absorbed well with no sticky residue. It doesn’t smell of raspberries, because it’s made with raspberry seed oil, not the fruit itself – it just smells of nature, like when you go for a walk in the countryside!

Exfoliator

The final product that I tried was the Ayumi Turmeric & Bergamot Face Scrub. I’ve never heard of this brand before, so it was nice to try something completely new. However, I’m a fan of chemical exfoliants rather than face scrubs, so whilst I’ll use up this travel size, it’s not something I would buy.

It would be nice to see another product from the brand though – they do hair and bath products too.

Shampoo bar

This pollution patrol shampoo bar from Rescue My. Hair™ is the only product that I haven’t tried yet – just because I don’t want to get it wet once and then not finish it off, and I have another shampoo on the go.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about shampoo bars in general, but nothing yet about this one. I definitely like the idea – less waste and something that’s better for the environment. I’m quite fussy about hair products though, so I really need to give it a go and see if the results I get from a bar are as good as my favourite bottled shampoos. I’m definitely glad to have the chance to try it and will let you know what I think in a future empties post.

So, have you tried any of these products? Let me know 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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New skincare in October – the Lovelula subscription box

It’s November already, but I like to give things a try before I write about them. That’s why I’m talking about the October Lovelula box today. This is not a sponsored post – I paid for the box myself and wanted to talk about its contents with you in case some of you are interested in trying out a new natural and cruelty-free subscription (I don’t receive a commission if you do!)

So, what was in the box this month?

Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil

This facial oil is my favourite product from the box this month. I hadn’t heard of the brand before, and I’m only really just getting back into facial oils. Apart from the ingredients, the packaging really makes or breaks them for me, because I don’t like the ones that have a big old neck and can make a mess because they come out too fast. No chance of that happening here though because it comes with a pipette, so you can get as much as you need in an easy, controlled way.

The product costs £22 at the time of writing, which is more than I paid for the entire box. It says you can use it as an overnight treatment, which is what I’ve been doing.

It contains rosehip oil, lavender, palmarosa, chamomile essential oils, along with cold-pressed sunflower and calendula oils. It doesn’t have an overpowering lavender scent and leaves my face feeling really soft after use.

Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask

This was my second favourite this month. I’ve tried a couple of products from Dr Botanicals before, but I hadn’t heard of this wash-off mask before.

You apply it to a clean face, leave for five to ten minutes, then wash off. It contains cocoa butter to moisturise, and coconut oil to rehydrate and protect the skin. I really think my skin is enjoying some of these more gentle products and although I usually tend to go for rehydration masks that you leave on overnight, I enjoyed trying something new and will keep this in my skincare routine.

Seascape Island Apothecary Uplift Body Lotion

Laidbare Pac

I was a bit surprised to see another body lotion because we had one in the September box. I don’t mind, because I get through quite a lot of the stuff, but I can imagine some people not being so happy about another one so soon.

To be honest, I ddid prefer last month’s one because it had a citrus scent, whereas for me, this one is predominantly lavender. I do like lavender, but more in my bath than on my skin afterwards.

It’s a nice body lotion though, and something that I’ll definitely use. It also contains lime and eucalyptus, along with beeswax and shea butter to moisturise the skin. Maybe if the lime could be a little more promenant?

Laidbare Pack Your Bags Eye Cream

Laidbare is a budget-friendly brand, and anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while will have seen me raving about their sunflower hand cream! I hadn’t tried their eye cream before, so I was interested to give it a go. It’s a generous size and aims to target dark circles, as well as provide moisture around the delicate eye area.

To be honest, I have more eye creams than a girl could need, but that isn’t Lovelula’s fault, because they didn’t come from these subscription boxes.

Mossa Glow Cocktail Serum

We also got a sample of the glow cocktail serum, but I think you’d really need to try it out for longer to see whether it really works. It is something that I would consider using though, and contains vitamin C for a brighter complexion. I keep seeing cloudberries coming up in ingredients and really should find out more about them.

Overall thoughts

I think it’s another good box. I’ve discovered two new brands, and tried out some products from three that I was already familiar with.

Most of the products came in cardboard boxes, but I took them out so that you can see the products themselves mor clearly.

I wasn’t feeling the love for the plastic wrapping outside the box for the body lotion, but overall there isn’t a lot of excess plastic in this box.

If we add these products to the ones from the September box, that’s 10 products, and 10 that I will use. I don’t expect this run of good fortune to keep going – it’s natural that one or two things will come up that I’ll need to pass along to someone else, but so far I’ve been really pleased that I can, and want to, use everything. These two months have given us a decent number of full-sized products two – which is great when you consider some of the comparibly priced boxes are mainly sample sizes.

Did you get the Lovelula box in October? What did you think of the products? If not, is it a subscription box that you would consider getting? Let me know in the comments.

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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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Lovelula subscription box September 19

Lovelula was the first beauty subscription box I tried. I’ve had a break for a few months, but I decided to re-subscribe last month after seeing some great products from previous months on various blogs and YouTube channels. This is not a sponsored post – I just like the box and wanted to tell you what I got in mine.
Lovelula is a beauty box for natural and cruelty-free skincare and make-up items. There are various plans which mean you can save money the more boxes you sign up for, but a rolling monthly subscription costs £14.95 at the time of writing and the value of the products was around 4 times that.

My favourite product this month

When I got this box before, I was introduced to Madara – a brand that produces a wide range of moisturising face and body products. I didn’t know that they did body creams too, so I was really happy with the Infusion Vert intense anti-oxidant body cream that we got in the September box. It’s a generous size (200ml) and it’s my kind of scent as someone who loves all things citrus. It contains horsetail, thyme and lemon balm, with the main scent being the lemon. The cream absorbs fairly quickly, but your skin is soft all day.

Something for the cold autumn evenings!

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know that I love baths! I love them all year round, but especially when we get to autumn and cosy nights in!
The Kathleen Tranquil fields bubble bath and shower gel was also a generous size – 150ml. It’s more something that I would use as a bubble bath because the main scents are lavender, vanilla and frankincense. I have paid its full price for bubble bath before, but it would have to be a special treat and one that I really liked!
I tend to be a bit more generous with it than the instructions suggest, because I like lots of bubbles. That means I’ll get through it a lot quicker and the price per use will go up – so if you really like your bubbles, this might not be the best thing. Still, I think the lavender will help me to relax when I’m taking time out to soak, particularly if I do it before bed.

Something new to try

My aunt once told me you can only say you don’t like something if you’ve tried it at least once. She had a point!
I don’t usually use oil cleansers and I didn’t think I was going to like the Balm Balm little miracle cleanser, but I wanted to give it a fair chance. The cleanser comes in a little glass bottle with a pump. You apply it with your hands and then remove it with a damp cloth or cotton pad.
The first time I tried it, I thought I’d never get the oil off and it would be greasy for the rest of the day! I also wasn’t sure about the rose scent. But I was pleasantly surprised! It did come off and my face was so soft afterwards. I think this is one of the nice things about the subscription boxes – you may get things that you can’t or won’t use, but it’salso a way to try out new products or types of product that you otherwise wouldn’t have picked up.
So I was happy with this one and am now more open-minded about giving oil cleansers a fair try!

Make-up

I’ve never used a soy mascara before, but this month I got to try one! I’ve never heard of the Brand Imani before either, but we got an full-sized midnight soy mascara..
Plus points were no flaking or clumping and I liked the packaging. Not so sure about the no smudging though and I did apply a second coat. The biggest problem for me is that I’m fussy when it comes to my wands and I like a big fluffy one rather than a curved one. So although I’ll use this, it doesn’t tick all the boxes it would need to for me to buy it again.

Sample

We also received a sample of the UrbanVeda reviving body wash, which I took away with me this week. It was creamy and the product itself was nice enough, but I found the scent a bit too floral. Still, if they have other scents in the range, I’d be interested to try them out.

Overall thoughts

You never know what you’re going to get in a beauty box, and some months you may end up with things to pass along or put in a giveaway. I was happy that I can and will use everything in this box – so that was an automatic win for me and it made me happy!
My clear favourite was the Madara product and I would buy that again. The Balm Balm product was a pleasant surprise – I need to try it out for longer than a couple of days, but I like it more than I thought I would. The Kathleen bubble bath isn’t something that I’d buy, but I will enjoy using it.
What do you think about this box? Have you used any of these products before? Let me know in the comments!

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Latest in Beauty choices – August 2019

I thought I’d let you see what I picked for my Latest in Beauty choices in August.

Latest in Beauty is a subscription box with a difference – you can choose your own products.

I think this can make it a better option because although you can’t guarantee in advance that you’ll love everything, you can definitely make sure that you don’t get products in your box that are the wrong shade or that you will just leave sitting in a drawer for ages because you won’t use them.

I don’t make my choices on the highest value products, although I do try to make sure that they’re good value for money. This works – partly because you do end up paying less than the retail price, but also because I’m not wasting money on things I won’t use.

You can choose a 3, 6 or 9 product box. I get 9 products for £18, which means that the products work out at around £2 each.

Every month there is a star product, which means there is enough of this product for any subscriber who wants one. I didn’t get the August star product because it was an eye liner and I don’t use those, but September’s is a Nars lipstick and I’ll be snapping that up!

I didn’t get any make-up this time, but on the site there is skincare, makeup, haircare, tools, and bath stuff. Products are added all through the month, so you’re not at a disadvantage if you get your box at the end of the month like I do. New products are being added each day, but some of the ones mentioned here are still available.

A quick note about accessibility – as a blind customer I have no problem picking out my items and checking them out each month. This should be the way it is for all sites, but unfortunately this isn’t the case with all beauty boxes, so I like to highlight good practice when I find it!

Face masks

I like to use my LiB subscription to stock up on face masks because there are often new ones in the edit, and it’s a really cost-effective way to buy masks. I have only ever had one bad experience in about 3 years of trying different masks, and that was with a well-known brand. This didn’t put me off trying others – particularly the more natural ones.

  • It’s skin fresh mask avocado – with natural ingredients and over 25 vitamins. I’ve had this one before and it’s a nourishing mask for when your face needs some hydration.
  • It’s skin fresh mask olive – a firming and refreshing mask, again for dry skin. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I liked the avocado one and this is from the same brand.
  • Mitomo soy bean mask – to keep pores clean. I love Korean and Japanese skincare and although I haven’t tried this mask before, I’ve had another one from the brand. I got this because it’s said to reduce irritation and improve skin texture. My skin’s been a bit sensitive lately, so I thought something that was both detoxifying and soothing would be a nice treat!

Hair

  • Jo Hansford intensive hair mask – to be used as a wash-off mask or an overnight treatment. This isn’t strictly for my type of hair because my hair isn’t coloured, but I wanted to try something from the Jo Hansford range and I generally give my hair a mask treatment every one or two weeks because it’s very long and I want the ends to get some tlc! This mask contains Ethically harvested Castanha do Brasil and sunflower extract.

New to try

Every month I like to try a few new things just because they’re there and I can! Sometimes this means full sizes, other times it’s a sample – but even with samples it’s good to try something out first before buying the full size.

  • Sebamed clear face mattifying cream – because hormonal breakouts! Reduces the skin’s oily shine and the formation of pimples, blackheads and skin impurities. I thought this may help, particularly at the times of the month when the hormonal breakouts like to raise their ugly heads!
  • Weleda sea buckthorn body wash – my favourite from Wileda is the pomegranate range, but I thought I’d give this a go too because generally the brand makes things that smell great and that are also gentle on the skin.

General things that I need

Sometimes I pick up general things like deodorant, cotton pads, shower gel etc because they are things that I always use and want to keep topped up.

  • Sure advance protect antiperspirant roll on – not very exciting, but it’s something I use every day, so why not pick one up when they’re here?

Yardley London lily of the valley hand cream – I tend to get through hand creams because I have one on my desk, one in my bag, one by my bed etc. Also, if my hands are covered in hand cream, I’m less likely to bite my cuticles. Well it’s a strategy at least. So I picked this up because I hadn’t tried anything from Yardley and I thought it sounded good. It has a floral, but not overpoweringly floral scent. The cream rubs in well and isn’t greasy.

Fragrance

I don’t often get fragrances, but I will if I think something looks interesting.

  • Kieren NYC perfume bundle – I got this because I thought it would be a good way to get to know the brand as there are four fragrances in the set. They come on cards in a little bag. I am not sure if any of them are going to be my new favourite scent – I need to test them out a bit more. I automatically liked Sunday brunch because of the citrus notes, but I also liked 10 a.m. flirt because it’s fruity.

Have you tried Latest in Beauty? If so, what did you get in August? If not, do you think it’s a good idea?

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