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Thursday, 18 October 2018

*Ad Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, however all content remains honest, transparent, and representative of The ecoLogical's ethos.  Use of ALs is to assist with the funding of future material, and does not influence the way I present or review any given product.

It's that time of month again -- another Love Lula Beauty Box reveal!  The October collection features three familiar faces: Kathleen Natural, Madara, and Lyonsleaf.  I can happily report that there are no repeats this month, and there seems to be a weather appropriate theme running through the whole edit -- hydration, moisture boosting, and overall skin TLC!

Overall the October Love Lula Beauty Box contains two full size products, two deluxe trial sizes, and three sample sachets and is worth £54.  For a subscription that costs only £13.95 per month, that is an excellent savings!  Plus, everything included in the October collection is all natural and as always, cruelty free, and all the main items (minus the sachets) are vegan friendly.

Kathleen Natural Tranquil Fields Body and Massage Oil* (100ml):
This has to be one of the stars of the show in terms of the October Love Lula subscription -- worth £34 on its own, this full size product is seriously perfect to warm our hearts while the weather continues to cool.

The bottle has a traditional essential oil 'orifice reducer'.  This means that it has a little plastic cap designed to reduce the flow to a single drop.  This is great if you want a smaller amount of oil to use, but can be tricky to control, as sometimes the drops come out in quick succession.  However, once you get the hang of it the whole process is pretty simple and you never really end up with too much oil.

Tranquil Fields, though sharing a name with the gorgeous Bubble Bath and Shower Gel (a fast favourite in our house!), has a very different smell.  While the bath product carries primarily sensual vanilla notes, the oil favors calming lavender and heady frankincense essential oils.  The effect?  A product that is ideal for a much needed relaxation session.

The oil itself is the perfect balance between moisturizing and not too heavy -- it sinks in quickly and fully, and does not leave a slick residue on the skin.  I have used this post shower, and it is especially good for evening use.  I might even give this a run in the bath, blending a bit with its bubbly partner -- I imagine that will be a real treat!

Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)***, Lavandula Angustifolia Herb oil**, Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense) Oil**, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract**, Linalool**, Limonene**, Coumarin**, Geraniol**. *certified organic by Soil Association **from essential oils ***natural plant origin

Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm* (30ml):
We were lucky enough to get a 30ml pot of the Calendula and Marshmallow Balm from Lyonsleaf in a previous Love Lula Beauty Box, and while I have not yet managed to finish it, I really love the smell and consistency of the formula.  So when I saw that the October collection included the original Beauty Balm, I was pretty excited.  There are quite a few big differences between these items (primarily in look and smell), but the texture and weight of each are similar making them comparable.

While the calendula and marshmallow variety is almost orange, has a salve-like feel, and has a a very light fragrance, the Beauty Balm is creamy in colour, relatively solid prior to application, and has an herbal scent with strong notes of rosemary.  This product is a multi-tasker, and can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer, or as a treatment balm depending on what your need is.  I'm not usually super keen on cleansing with balms, but I did give it a go as there is no coconut oil involved, and it was a lovely experience.  The scent is really soothing and enlivening, and it is the perfect thing to breathe in when doing your skincare routine.

Ingredients: (95% organic/wild harvest): orbignya oleifera [cold pressed babassu oil] • butyrospermum parkii [raw organic shea butter] • macadamia ternifolia [organic, cold pressed, macadamia nut oil] • simmondsia chinensis [organic, cold pressed, jojoba oil] • prunus amygdalus dulcis [cold pressed sweet almond oil] • tocopherol [natural vitamin E oil] • cymbopogon martinii [palmarosa essential oil]• salvia sclarea [clary sage essential oil] • styrax benzoin [benzoin resin] • pogostemon cablin [patchouli essential oil] • rosemarinus officinalis [organic rosemary essential oil] • calendula officinalis • [calendula flower extract] • note: the essential oils naturally contain: citral, geraniol, benzyl benzoate, benzyl cinnamate, farnesol, limonene, linolool

Lyonsleaf Muslin Face Cloth*:
Also included in the box was one of Lyonsleaf's 100% cotton muslin face cloths, something I really appreciated as I tend to use a muslin when oil cleansing (it helps remove excess product in my experience).  The cloth is a great size, isn't too scratchy or rough, and is two-ply.  I thought this was a thoughtful addition to the box, and my collection of face cloths welcomed it happily!

Madara SMART Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask* (12.5ml):
Madara is a very familiar face for the Love Lula Beauty Box family, and it seems we get a selection of skincare treats from them every few months.  The Anti-Pollution Charcoal and Mud Repair Mask is one of the few masks I have not tried from the brand, and I was happy to get this mini sized bottle to try out in the October box.  The formula has been designed to treat dull complexion, congested skin, clogged pores, and overall cell recovery.  Containing black northern mud, seventeen amino acids and essential minerals, and vitamin B3, the repair mask works to "reduce the first signs of ageing and recharge the skin with energy and glow."

My first observation was that this mask actually requires a fair amount of product to fully apply over the whole face.  Unlike other options that spread smoothly and evenly, this one starts to dry pretty quick and I found myself using a fair amount of product for just one use.  I was not keen on the smell at all, as the mud seemed to take on the scent of the plastic bottle.  However, the mask felt pretty nice on my skin, and despite an initial tingling sensation, it did not irritate my ordinarily semi-sensitive face.  There was minimal redness after washing off (I left it on for the lower time limit of five minutes), and my skin felt surprisingly soft afterwards.  A word of warning though -- as this is a detoxifying blend of ingredients, I suggest not applying prior to important events as a few spots had broken out around my nose the following day.

Ingredients: Aqua Sapropel Mud Diatomaceous Earth Cetearyl Alcohol Glycerin Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Charcoal Powder Glyceryl Stearate Citrate Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady's Mantle) Extract Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Sphagnum Magellanicum (Moss) Extract Cetraria Islandica Thallus (Lichen) Extract Polypodium Vulgare Rhizome (Fern) Extract Sodium levulinate Sodium anisate Glyceryl Caprylate Xylitylglucoside Xanthan Gum Sodium PCA Tocopherol Aroma Propanediol Anhydroxylitol Sodium phytate Citric acid Xylitol Lactic Acid Limonene

Madara Sachet Trio Sampler Pack (2ml x3):
This three pack includes items that offer "Complexion Protection" and contain broad spectrum UVA/UVB shielding that can help keep your face safe from the sun's harmful rays year round.  The sampler includes two shades of the Anti-Pollution CC Cream with SPF 15 (one in Light Beige* and one in Medium Beige*) plus one Plant Stem Cell Age-Defying Face Sunscreen* with SPF30.  Both sun protection products are created to shield against pollution and protect the skin microbiome, are full of antioxidants, and offer age prevention (a claim I am always dubious and skeptical about, but that's for another post entirely).

I haven't been leaving the house as much recently as it has been crunch time for PhD work, so I have not actually had a chance to try these sachets out quite yet.  I will be adding an update as soon as I've tested these Madara goodies out, and will weigh in on what shades worked (or didn't work) and whether or not the sunscreen is actually "self adjusting" to match skin tone.

Overall I was happy with the October edit of the Love Lula Beauty Box, and I thought it offered a great selection of skincare treats.  It was not as varied as the previous box, but I was pleased to see there were no repeats and that we got to try out another full size product from Kathleen Natural.  Everything I tried was effective and offered a real benefit to my skin, especially in light of this cooler weather we have had recently.  I have to say, this box was a real hit for me!

What did you think about the October edit of the Love Lula Beauty Box?  Is this a subscription collection you are happy with, and did you have any fast favourites from this selection of all natural and cruelty free skincare?  I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below!

And if you missed October'box, don't fret -- you can always grab next month's*!  Just be sure to subscribe before the end of the month, otherwise you will have to wait again.

Blogger Note: Every product mentioned in all of my posts are purchased with my own money, are gifts from friends or family, or were won in public competitions unless otherwise stated.  However, my posts may contain affiliate links. This will never change my approach to my reviews, nor will it influence how I represent the products I am writing about, as I only choose to represent or work with brands and companies that I 100% respect and trust.

Monday, 15 October 2018

I have tried a LOT of moisturizers, but none of them have ever been quite 100% perfect for my skin.  Too heavy, too sticky, or not even moisture have been the main issues, along with irritation from high concentrations of essential oils and unseemly spots brought on by ingredients high on the comedogenic scale.  Through all my trials, I've discovered I react to phenoxyethonal, that my face cannot handle coconut oil at all, and that I don't get on well with 'creamy' or rich formulas.  Honestly, I was getting to the point where I thought no moisturizer would ever totally suit my needs.  Then I got a sample tin in a subscription box that totally changed my mind.

Terre Verdi is an award winning certified organic skincare brand that uses the finest botanicals to create effective cruelty free and vegan beauty products.  Based in London and inspired by Sicily, the range covers all the necessities for healthy and glowing skin: serums, oils, masks, and more.

"Terre Verdi is committed to bringing you ethically-sourced products, lovingly crafted from organic ingredients. They reflect the respect and care for our own families, our concern for the environment, and the integrity with which we aim to treat our customers and business partners alike. We use organic ingredients because we believe that nature should be respected and not tampered with. We want to make products that heal your skin and soothe your soul and hope you will enjoy using them as much as we enjoy sharing them with you.

Terre Verdi is one of the earliest UK based companies to manufacture COSMOS Organic products, and the first to manufacture a water based face moisturiser to gain COSMOS Organic certification by Soil Association, our NeroliPom Moisturiser."

Not only was NeroliPom the beginning of a great future and innovative future for Terre Verdi, but it was also the answer to my moisturizer woes.  Never have I tried a formula that is so lightweight while also delivering a high level of nourishment.  My skin loved the stuff, and when my 5ml sample pot ran out I was gutted.  I knew I had to really test this out long term on my skin to see if it was as good as my initial experience hinted it was.  So when I was offered the chance to review Terre Verdi's NeroliPom moisturizer courtesy of Rare Beauty, I was over the moon.

NeroliPom is technically formulated for dry or mature skin, but my skin is neither of those things.  Normally, I would worry that a product targeting a skin type that is far from my own would be disastrous, but I had full faith in this moisturizer based on my original trial run.  And I was right to trust Terre Verdi.

The cream is a dream - light, smooth, fully absorbing, and satin-soft.  White tea, pomegranate seed oil, aloe vera powder, and neroli flower oil work together to make an antioxidant packed moisturizer that is both soothing and wholesome, and the formula helps tackle problem prone skin and sensitivities.  Just what my fussy combination skin needs!  The texture is a cross between a lotion and a serum, and it applies effortlessly.  The moisturizer glides across your face and neck and feels weightless once on, and not greasy at all -- what more can a girl ask for??

Oh, a moisturizer that also works well under makeup without the need for tons of other products, that's what!  I don't wear foundation often, but I did trial NeroliPom on a 'full face' just to see how it faired.  I expected my makeup to shift or 'melt' like it usually does, but that was not the case at all.  The moisturizer replaced the need for any primer, and since the formula is not oily my foundation and blush stayed matte all afternoon.  Just be sure to let the product sink in fully first before applying makeup, as otherwise you may find things get a bit messy.

I have a feeling this is going to save my skin this winter, as despite the moisturizer being delicate, it is also deeply nourishing.  I tend to get dry patches on my cheeks and nose as the weather turns colder, and I have confidence that NeroliPom will keep my entire face looking smooth and supple even on the windiest and bitterest of days.  Even just after a few weeks use I can tell my skin is looking more elastic and glowy, so just imagine what months of use will do...  I can't wait to find out!

Something else I love about this skincare product from Terre Verdi is the fresh smell -- it is uplifting and so delicately floral with a hint of sweet fruit.  The product is perfect for those mornings or evenings where you need a little boost but don't have time to light a candle or fuss about with aromatherapy treatments.  Just breathe in the excess from your fingertips and feel any bad energy leave you.

One thing that has become increasingly important to me when buying a new item is it being plastic free or as free from unsustainable materials as possible.  Well, not only does Terre Verdi use biophotonic violet glass, but the bottle is shipped box free meaning there is no excess or wasted packaging.  The pump applicator is the only plastic involved with NeroliPom, but to be fair it is difficult to find a moisturizer that is totally free from plastic.  

The pump keeps the product sterile and hygienic, and allows it to last longer as very little oxygen is exposed to the inside.  Plus, the applicator gives the perfect amount every time, meaning you don't over-apply.  Based on how long just the 5ml size lasted me, I think the full 50ml size bottle will keep my skin healthy and hydrated for a long long while!

I am beyond thrilled that Terre Verdi's NeroliPom lived up to my high expectations, and so thankful I have finally found my perfect moisturizer.  No break outs, no redness, and no faffing about using different formulas to address each part of my fussy face.  I am well impressed by this skincare product, and now I cannot wait to try more from Terre Verdi in the future.  Who knows, maybe my next favourite beauty treat is waiting to be found in this certified organic range!

A huge thank you to Rare Beauty who sent this 50ml bottle out to me to review, and who continue to deliver exceptional service to all their customers.  If you have not checked out their online shop yet, definitely head over and have a browse -- they have amazing women-led beauty brands on offer, including Alexa Sky Botanicals, Mallow + White, FreyaLuna, Magical Tree, and MyRoo.  I reviewed both my first shopping experience with Rare Beauty and my thoughts on my selection of green goodies back when they launched in May, and I have continued to be impressed ever since.  New brands are being added regularly, so it is always worth signing up to their newsletter or following on Insta/Twitter/Facebook to keep up to date on all the latest news.

And if you are a new customer to Rare Beauty, be sure to grab your first order discount before checking out -- just pop over to their website, sign up to their newsletter, and you will receive a code for 20% off to use on your purchase!

Thinking of having your own spending spree?  Will you grab the perfect moisturizer from Terre Verdi?  Or is there something else you have been eyeing up from Rare Beauty?  I would love to hear what your wish list includes or even what you would like to read a review of next!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

I really just want to take a breath today and share a few things that have been going on in my life.  I have never done a post like this before, and I hummed and hawed about it for a while before actually sitting down to write these updates down.  But I want to be transparent about the good and the bad, and to share snippets of my life occasionally with all you eco-beauties.  

If something exciting happens in your life, you want to celebrate, and if something tragic occurs, you want to cry -- I want to show that these ups and downs are both perfectly acceptable to share, and that we should not try to hide our hurt or our pride.

So without further ado, here is what has been going on with me recently:

Judging: I was so thankful to be chosen to join the judging panel for the 2019 Beauty Shortlist Shortlist Awards.  I will be helping judge products for both the Beauty Awards and the brand new Wellbeing Awards, and so far I have been loving the experience.  It is so great to be involved, and I cannot wait to see the final award winners on the first of March!

Want a look at some of the brands and products I have been testing lately?  Be sure to follow on Twitter and Instagram for regular peeks!

PhD: It's coming along.  I have to have the entire project finished and submitted by September 2019, so I am in the final stretch now.  Am I near done?  Nope, not at all!  I had a terrible time of things my first few years, as I had pretty much zero supervision.  I finally requested a new supervisor, and things are better now, but that does not help make up the time I lost from being stressed and frustrated to the point where I wan't getting any work done.

A PhD is hard.  But a PhD with ADHD is like finding a needle in a haystack while pigeons swoop, your shoes are on fire, a storm rages, & you're blindfolded with one hand tied behind your back. Finding motivation for most things is difficult. Making PhD material stay interesting enough to hold attention for 3-4 years is near impossible. I know I mentioned this last week on Twitter, but my ADHD affects my memory big time. I struggle to remember what I wrote, read, planned, or edited the day before, meaning I have to re-read huge sections before starting to work each new session. When I'm writing (or speaking) I get stuck on words because vocabulary recall is an issue. I can almost taste the word, can sense what it starts with, but can't form it. It's embarrassing to admit that as a PhD candidate I always have a Thesaurus loaded up on my screen just so I can find the word I need. 

Plus, my brain struggles to fully function until afternoon, so I've had to learn how to work around that and set a schedule that means I get stuff done -- I don't actually start writing until around 1PM most days, but then I stay at my computer until about 6:30PM. I have a minimum word count set for each day (500 words) but try to do more than that as often as possible. And I have a LOT of products that help keep me focused and on track (want a rundown of my ADHD aids? let me know!).

Sometimes this PhD makes me feel completely useless. I feel terrible that I work slower than everyone else. I am embarrassed that this is such a struggle when it seems to come so much more easily for others. I feel alone and depressed and anxious and just straight out bad. But then there are also days where the challenge is exciting and feels like a puzzle that just needs to be worked on. Either way I am feeling, I refuse to give up, and I refuse to fail, so it's just a matter of struggling through every single day. My mantra? YOU CAN DO IT.

Blogging: I cannot believe my one year "blogiversary" is already coming up! I have made so many amazing connections through The ecoLogical, and am stunned by the opportunities that have arisen over the last twelve months. I was selected as a judges favourite for the Weleda Cleaner Beauty Blogger Competition, get to help as an admin for the Natural Beauty UK Facebook group, joined the 2019 Beauty Shortlist judging panel, guest posted for lovely bloggers and businesses, became part of the LLABP, have been asked to test pre-launch products, set up many collabs with brilliant brands, and I am even thinking I might go to my very first expo to network soon! I am so incredibly thankful for everything that has come my way, and I cannot wait for what the future brings.
I definitely have down days where I feel like it is an uphill battle -- how can I get more eco-lovelies interested in reading? How can I get my content out there even more? Is it normal to lose that many followers from Insta in just one day?? How can I/why can't I/what does it mean if..... So many questions! I do suffer from a bit of impostor syndrome every now and again. But then I remember how many great things I have accomplished in less than a year, and I pick myself up and tell myself not to worry about numbers or DA or any of the stats -- just write and love what you are creating! I have a handful of plans I want to implement for my second year running The ecoLogical, so expect a few positive additions in the new year. Plus, I ran a poll on Twitter recently to see what all you eco-lovelies wanted to see more of, and it turns out you want more brand and product reviews, posts about natural wellbeing, and a few more ethical subscriptions featured -- you spoke, and I will deliver!

Sadness: To be totally honest the last four weeks has been a series of rolling waves.  Each time I manage to surface for breath another one comes crashing down, and I've just been left trying my best to keep treading water. 

I had a huge work disappointment, with my contracted teaching being cancelled just days before it was scheduled to start, so I have no steady income at the moment -- great for the pre-holiday season..  Teaching is one of my greatest passions, so the news was really upsetting beyond just knowing I would not be getting a paycheck for months.  I love helping students grow, hearing them work through ideas, develop analyses over the semester, and start to discuss in depth together as a group.  I am really going to miss being a part of that, and feel like the university has let me down.

Our family dog is no longer with us, something that was totally unexpected and hit hard.  I wasn't able to be there to say goodbye, and I wasn't able to be there to help make his last day the best ever.  But I am incredibly thankful for my family who sent me videos up until the very end.  I just wish I could have given him a cuddle one more time.  He was such a good friend, and so incredibly patient and loving and protective.  He once bolted out of the house and across the road to fend off neighbor's not so friendly dogs who started to go after my sister when she got off the school bus.  He held up blanket forts, played dress up, sang along, wrestled, went sledding, and was just the perfect pal.

And then, less than a week after we had to say goodbye to our best buddy, the kittens disappeared.  You might have seen all my snaps and updates about the stray momma cat and her baby that my parents took in over the summer -- basically Momma was less than a year old and had a litter already, then before my parents could get her fixed she was pregnant again and had a second litter of five.  We raised them up, helped make sure they were safe and fed, built them all a cat paradise outside, and spent hours with them just snuggling up and playing.  So when I heard four of the babies had went missing I was distraught.  Thankfully, three have been found (a neighbor took one in thinking she was a stray, and two were in a nearby field) and are now safe and happy back at home, but little Sleepyhead is still out there by herself which just hurts my heart.  My family has looked everywhere nearby, alerted neighbors, and my sister has put up posters, and while I cannot be there to help search, I have posted in every single local Facebook group that might be able to help spread the word.

Random: I am part of a local film club, and I got to present the most recent film we watched which was both nerve-wracking and fun.  I love anime, and after almost a year of pushing for this style of film to be shown, it finally won!  The group ended up voting to watch Spirited Away, one of the few Miyazaki creations that I did not immediately love and have only seen the once.  I definitely enjoyed it a lot more the second time around, and noticed a whole lot more in terms of cultural details.

I won a handful of giveaways last month which was super exciting and I cannot wait to post about some of the all natural goodies I received!  I don't usually win competitions, so that was definitely a nice pick me up.

I've not really been shopping for new clothing in over a year, but I decided recently I really wanted to get a few organic staple pieces that can last me years.  I had a bit of an ebay spree, and bought five solid colour dresses that can be dressed up or down.  One of them was a fail (it was mis-represented in the listing as a dress when it is actually a shirt), but the others are great and I can see myself wearing them for years to come.

Oh, and we went to a free wine tasting recently which was nice -- we had not gone out for a date night in a long while, so it was really good to have a fun (and super cheap) time out of the house.  We each bought a few bottles to take home with us, and have been enjoying them while playing the new Mario Party in the evenings.

And I think that is pretty much it for life updates at the moment!  I have been incredibly focused on getting work done, so I have not done too much else recently.  I'm happy to have found a workable rhythm for my PhD and blog, and I honestly just want to settle into the habit before adding anything else to my plate.  

So what about you eco-lovelies?  I would love to hear how things are going for all of you!  Any successes you want to share?  Anything hard you would like moral support for?  Let me know in the comments xx

Monday, 8 October 2018

I had a lot of products nearing completion in August, so September ended up having a LOT of empties -- 23 in fact.  Of these, four were not recyclable (or at least not clearly recyclable, and I don't want to cause any trouble for the facilities!) -- the Spacemask foil, AA Skincare wipe wrapper, Laidbare tube, and the Hurraw tube.  I decided to reuse the Hurraw balm container for my own lip product creations, so that means I contributed three plastic packagings to landfill - gutted!

While I definitely wasn't perfect in terms of my waste, I was pretty lucky in terms of what I thought about each product I used up.  There was not a single item I disliked.  Sure, there were things I liked more than others, but overall I was pleased with the formulas, scents, and results of everything I finished.  So that is a win for September's empties!

Spacemask (1 mask): I have used these little eye masks before, and while they take some getting used to, they are fantastic for relieving stress, easing headaches, and soothing the mind for sleep.  They are really easy to use, comfortable to wear, and last for almost an hour overall (possibly more, but I tend to doze off before the heat sensation wears off!).  I have a box that I bought a while back, so will continue to use these when needed.

Bloomtown Botanicals "The Cafe" Coconut Wax Candle (140g): This candles smells AMAZING and fills the entire room with the scent of vanilla coffee in minutes.  The flame is super high, something I have never experienced with a candle before, but the wax burns evenly which is my main concern with a lot of candles.  I love that there is no palm oil in this, and that the wick and wax are clean.  Burn time was really good (around 25 hours), and I will definitely be looking into getting another of these.  My only complaint was the glass ended up pretty black along the top edges as the candle got lower in the container.

Bloomtown Botanicals "The Spring" Blue Clay & Indigo Leaf Soothing Mask (90g): This mask was non-drying, worked well for my skin, and was definitely a unique texture which made this product pretty memorable.  It is pretty thick and a bit gloopy (not in a bad way) but it spreads well and makes for a perfect combination of detox and moisture boost.  I actually ended up loving this mask for my arms, neck and chest (any areas that are exposed to light/pollutants on a regular basis) as well as my face.  Plus it lasted ages!

Celtic Herbal Lavender Candle (30g) and Lime, Basil & Mandarin Candle (105g): I've been lucky enough to try two of Celtic Herbal's candles now, one travel sized that I got from the most recent Natural Wellness Box, and one full size that I got from the May So Pure & Simple collection of The Natural Beauty Box.  I have been really happy with both scents, and while the smaller size only burns for about 4 hours, the larger one goes for much longer (~25) -- for the price I think this is great.  I will definitely be trying out more of their full size candles in the future.

Bespoke Aroma Uplifting Bath Tea Infusion (25g): I got this tea infusion in the August edit from The Natural Beauty Box, and I used it almost immediately - it sounded too good to wait on!  The scent was incredible, I loved how it turned bath water into a silky tonic, and really liked that you could use the excess on your body using the bag as a muslin.  I want 29035810 more of these to be totally honest, but my only hangup is that these are single use.  I really wish Bespoke Aroma would make refills and make the 'tea bag' a little sturdier so it could be used repeatedly.  If that were the case, this would definitely become a staple in my routine.

Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil (55ml) and Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil (55ml): I've mentioned this before, but I will say it again - I haven't bought any AA products in ages because their CF status is not very clear.  I've been working my way through the bottles of things I was given before realizing this, and while some of them are great in terms of scent, I find a lot of them are actually pretty drying.  Even the bath oils feel pretty thin.  I will not be buying these again in the future, as there are so many brilliant brands on the market that are more transparent about their practices/ingredients.

Alexa Sky Botanicals Bath Oil (10ml): A fab way to sample the Rooibos and Roses bath oil from Alexa Sky Botanicals - this little bottle lasts 1-2 soaks depending on how much you use, and is perfect for a relaxing bath after a long week. See my review of the ASB Healthy Skin Essentials Travel Kit for more thoughts (and keep posted for an in depth review!)

Greenfrog Botanic Soapberry Bodywash in Geranium & Peppermint (100ml): I got on with this bodywash really well - the smell is uplifting, the formula nice and smooth, and I felt like it was pretty gentle on my skin.  It does not foam up like the handwash, but does leave you feeling clean so I can't really complain.  I also found this worked as a decent addition to a bath -- it makes the water a bit milky and feels cooling on tired muscles.  For the price, I think this is a great option.

Badger Foot Balm in Peppermint & Tea Tree (21g): Another quality foot product - this was cooling, healing, and moisturizing which is pretty much everything I want in a foot balm.  I like the tin packaging, and appreciate that there is a mini version of this as it is so easy to carry around for travel.  The balm takes a while to sink in, but if you pair with foot mask 'socks' then you don't have to worry much about that.

Hurraw Papaya Pineapple Lip Balm (4.3g): I love the Hurraw balms, and was very happy with this version.  The smell is so juicy, the texture super smooth, and the balm very nourishing.  It is the perfect way to keep summer going that little bit longer.  While not as moisturizing as the Moon Balm, it is a great one to have in your coat pocket or those days where you just need a little bit of a healthy shine.

Indigenous Beauty Uplifting Natural Deodorant Cream (5ml): Was well pleased with this natural deo - I brought it on my travels and it worked perfectly.  Not grainy, lasts all day, and the full size comes in a glass pot which gets a thumbs up from me.  I don't have to buy any deo for a while as my cupboard has been filled thanks to subscriptions, but this is definitely on my 'to try again' list.

Beauty Kubes Shampoo for Normal to Dry Hair (3 cubes): I have already purchased a full box of these as I love them so much.  They clean hair perfectly, are vegan friendly and plastic free, have a non-drying formula, and lather up loads without having any nasties included.  I have found that my hair only needs half a cube most times as it is fairly thin, meaning the box will last me ages (since I only wash about 2x a week).

John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo for Dry Hair (236ml): As I have mentioned in previous empties posts, JMO makes my favourite bottled shampoos, and when I heard they were changing their ingredients I panic bought a bunch for cheap.  I switch between the evening primrose and the stimulating scalp formulas depending on what my hair needs, but have decided already that I will not be repurchasing once I run out only because I want to keep things as plastic free as possible.  If this was in a glass bottle that might be another story, as my hair genuinely loves this stuff.

Lola's Apothecary Delicate Romance Balancing Body Souffle (30ml):  This body souffle is GORGEOUS.  I have another 30ml pot left, and once that is finished I will definitely be tempted into buying the full size as this just smells and feels incredibly luxurious.  It is super hydrating for my skin, has a lush scent that reminds me of a warm summer's day spent in the garden, and has such a delicate texture.  It really is unlike any other product I have tried before, and quickly became a favourite.

Glossworks 3-in-1 (9ml): I really like this clear coat, and think it does work well as a 3-in-1.  The formula dries relatively quickly, works as a great base or topper, and helps double the length of time your manicure/pedicure lasts.  The only negative is that the longer you have it the stickier and thicker it gets.  After having it open for just a few months it had a noticeably different consistency from when I first used it.  It is not 'off' it is just thick.  I have another bottle of this, so will use that up and then decide if I want to repurchase.

Delune Coconut + Rose Facial Mist (100ml): This was a new brand discovery through The Cruelty Free Beauty Box, and one that I really ended up enjoying.  While I wasn't super keen on the apparent colouring, the mist itself was lovely and dispersed evenly.  The scent is incredibly subtle making this good for anyone who doesn't want a strong smelling hydrosol, and while it is not ultra-hydrating, it is a great refresher throughout the day.  I probably won't repurchase the Coconut + Rose variety, but I am loving the Green Tea + Jasmine one I have going now.

Laidbare Pack Your Bags (30ml): This one was actually my partner's empty as it was too heavy for my skin.  He, however, loved it.  It is perfect for tired eyes and really does sort out puffiness and leaves you looking bright eyed and ready for the day.  He has another eye cream to finish up first, but I think this will be a repeat buy as it is such a good price and gives great results.

AA Skincare Green Tea & Aloe Vera (25 wipes): I reviewed these back in June, and stick to my original thoughts.  They are a great wipe that is free from plastic (though the packaging is sadly plastic) and they work great for refreshing the skin and getting off grime.  Something I missed in my original review was that they do indeed contain phenoxyethonal -- this is why I had that tingling sensation, not the alcohol!  As I said before though, I used these mainly for my arms/neck/chest rather than my face and find them a good option for traveling or long days out.

Evolve Hyaluronic Eye Complex (5ml): I was really unsure about this at the start when I got it from The Cruelty Free Beauty Box, as the formula is a liquid and I was really unsure how to apply and keep the pot sanitary.  Plus, eye products tend to be hit and miss as many leave me breaking out.  However, I did end up really liking this eye complex in the end - it was gentle enough for my semi-sensitive skin and while I did not notice loads of difference in terms of brightening, my under-eye area was definitely looking healthier.  I may purchase the full size version to see how I get on with it longer term.

Earth Harbor Naturals Aloha Love (10ml):
I reviewed this a while back, and while I do wish I had waited to use it up during the colder weather, it had a crack in the lid so I had to be quick so it didn't go bad!  It is really lovely and moisturizing, and left my skin feeling soft and very nourished.  I think it would have been a bit heavy in the heat of summer, but worked great for cooler mornings and evenings when my skin needed a bit of a pick me up.  My favourite thing about this cleanser (other than it being in glass rather than plastic) is that it is 89% organic -- no having to worry about GMOs or harmful pesticides!

Trilogy Age-Proof CoQ10 Booster Oil (5ml): I love Trilogy, and this little bottle helped convert my partner as well.  This is another one of his empties, and his skin drank this stuff up.  He has mature, dry skin and the Trilogy oil really helped hydrate his parched face and left him looking more radiant.  You only need a few drops of this as it is super potent, so even this tiny bottle lasted quite a long time.  He has a few other creams and oils to make his way through at the moment, but this is at the top of my list for him once my stash for him thins out a bit.

Like I mentioned at the start, I was pleased with pretty much everything I used up in September, and there was nothing that stuck out as being on my naughty list.  I won't be repurchasing the Aromatherapy Associates oils again as their CF status is really hazy and I don't find their ingredients and ethics very transparent (you really have to hunt for everything, and even then it is not entirely clear).  I probably will pass on the AA Skincare wipes because they contain phenoxyethonal which really irritates my skin, but I did find them useful for travelling as they kept me fresh and feeling a bit clean, something that is impressive after 24+ hours of journeying!

Did any of my empties catch your eye?  I would love to hear which you are wanting to try, if any, and what you ended up finishing last month yourself.  It's great sharing information and seeing what to skip and what to add to my ever-growing wishlist!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

#OrganicSeptember may be over, but that does not mean choosing organic options comes to a stop!  While food and drink are becoming more and more widely available in high street shops, beauty and personal care can still be a hard find.  Luckily, retailers like Love Lula make it much easier and have a wide offering so you can make all the switches, from period products to makeup, in one simple shop!

But where to start??  How do you know that what you are getting is properly organic and not just the sweeping and misleading 'with organic ingredients' statement many brands have started plastering on the front of their labels?

1] Check for certifications: this is not as simple as it sounds on the surface, but it is pretty easy if you know what to look for!  Each country has their own certifying bodies (such as Soil Association, BioGro, EcoCert...) and set of regulations, so there are a lot of organizations to choose from.  Some have natural AND/OR organic criteria that need to be met, and some focus solely on the farming aspect.  However, a quick Google check can answer any questions you have about any labels you are unsure about.

The most common bodies in my experience are COSMOS, EcoCert Organic, NatTrue Organic, Soil Association, USDA Certified Organic, AsureQuality, and BioCert.  If you see these labels, you can trust that the product you are looking at has met a variety of requirements and has been accredited according to strict standards.  And guess what -- Love Lula has an entire section dedicated to the UK's leading food and farming charity and organic certification body, Soil Association!  That way, you can search for sustainable brands that value integrity all in one place.

2] Transparency: if a brand claims to be organic but does not have the certification to back it up, check into the brand's ethos and mission, scan the ingredient label, and read through their FAQ section if they have one.  Organic certifications are expensive and time consuming, so many small artisan businesses chose not to go that route, at least when starting out.  However, that does not mean that they have not adhered to the regulations to create a high quality, nontoxic product.

If the label represents primarily organic/organically derived ingredients, that is a great sign.  Also, check the company shows a strong dedication to environmental impacts and is incredibly clear about how and where they source ingredients from.  IN that case, chances are they are the real deal.  If, however, they make vague promises or skimp on detail, odds are they are just jumping on the bandwagon and trying to score some extra sales from the green community.  Still unsure?  Send a quick email and just ask for clarification -- an ethical business will take the time out to reassure you about any claims they have made and explain in detail!

3] And if all else fails, just shop the following brands!
Alteya Organic
Balm Balm
Bowe Organics
By Sarah
Earth Mother Soul Sister
Green People
Inner Senses
John Masters Organics
Kiki Health
Kimberly Sayer
Laboratoire du Haut-Segala
Living Nature
Mia & Dom
Narynda Skincare
Nula Soy
Ooh! Oils of Heaven
PHB Ethical Beauty
Skin & Tonic
Tabitha James Kraan
The Rose Tree
Therapi Honey Skincare

I have tried a LOT of these brands, and have been impressed by most of what I have used.  I love how even a budget brand like Balm Balm creates high quality skincare -- you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for organic beauty anymore! 

Some of my favourite organic products from Love Lula at the moment are the MOA Green BalmVestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask, Nula Soy Maui Beach candle, Earth Mother Soul Sister Chamomile and Calendula Facial Wash, Organyc Sanitary Pads, and the Alteya Organics Rose Water.  What organic goodies have you tried and loved in the past?  I would love to get more ideas of things to try!

Monday, 1 October 2018

#OrganicSeptember has brought a ton of amazing content, statistics, conversations, and a renewed excitement to organic living, but it also brought something totally new -- a collaboration between The Natural Beauty Box and Ana from Ana Goes Green!

Emma announced this collab at the start of September saying "I asked Ana who blogs at @anagoesgreen if she would like to be involved as I knew she had a love and passion for organic skincare products and she said yes, so this month, your box of gorgeous green organic goodies has been specially curated by the lovely Ana and all the products are certified by Soil Association.

Well, the boxes have all landed and I have to say this collection is an amazing way to celebrate the beauty of organic goodies!  With four full size products, four deluxe sizes, and two sachets, this box was jam packed with all natural, cruelty free, and vegan gorgeousness!  Let's take a look:

Bentley Organic Rose Geranium Hand Cream (75ml):

Here is something I have not mentioned on The ecoLogical before... I am incredibly fussy when it comes to hand cream.  I have no idea why that is, as it's not like my hands are super sensitive like my face can be or that I am picky about scents.  I just seem to have a love/hate relationship with hand products!  So when I saw the first reveal for the September "Organic Beauty" edit from The Natural Beauty Box, I was a little nervous.  Would this be another cream I ended up passing off to someone else??


Bentley Organic's rose geranium cream actually fits the bill, being vegan friendly and 88% organic, free from nasties, delicately fragranced, and totally non-sticky.  There are no harsh alcohols in this formula, just nourishing butters and oils, meaning you can depend on it to restore and protect just like it promises on the label.

While I did not find this hand cream the most moisturizing I have ever tried, it is a great option for anyone who just needs a bit of an extra boost during harsher weather or who just wants a nice treat for their skin.  Anything that adds moisture and helps protect the hands is worthwhile, especially something like Bentley Organic's cream that is full of plant based ingredients that help fight dryness.

The texture is super smooth and spreads easily without being oily, and it sinks into the skin so quickly which is a huge plus for those of us who can't wait for a product to dry down!  Plus, it smells lovely, like a rose bush.  Overall, I am well pleased with this hand cream and am very happy to have been introduced to a brand I had not experienced before.

Ingredients: Aqua, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Oil*, Glycerin**, Benzyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil*, Parfum*, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Dehydroacetic Acid
* Certified Organically Grown Ingredient    ** Derived from Certified Organically Grown Ingredient

Herbfarmacy TLC Balm (30ml):

This is a brand I discovered a long while back, but have yet to review on the blog.  When I saw this reveal, I was hesitant for a moment, as my first experience with Herbfarmacy is when I excitedly bought a mist only to discover the formula contained the dreaded phenoxyethonal -- talk about disappointing!  I appreciate that the brand addresses the use of this ingredient in their FAQ, but even though this preservative is allowed by Soil Association and is used sparingly, it still causes a reaction and I steer clear of it. 

I have since looked into each of Herbfarmacy's products' ingredient lists individually, and found which are free from this sensitizing preservative and have had great results (perhaps a brand spotlight should be in the works? what do you think??).  And luckily, the TLC Balm is on my list of Bryanna approved Herbfarmacy goodies, so I happily get to try another lovely creation from this vegan-friendly brand.

The first thing I have to mention is the gorgeous packaging, as it is just too pretty to skip over.  While I am not usually keen on 'extras' when it comes to products, Herbfarmacy's boxes are so cute that I will go out of my way to find a second life for the cardboard (in this case, I will be storing dried petals inside!).  The brand's focus on utilizing the power of nature to create effective skincare is perfectly represented in the creative packaging, and it suggests a homely element to the business that is so refreshing.  And indeed, Herbfarmacy is a brand that is both personal and domestic.

"Tucked down a narrow country lane, our five-acre farm is home to a range of skin-conditioning herbs and flowers. From the rows of bright Calendula to the soothing fields of our signature herb Marshmallow, time and patience is our secret to harvesting the finest ingredients to use in our award-winning skin care range."

This sentiment is captured in the simple artistic design on both the outer box and the product label itself, and  And best yet?  It is all plastic free!!

The product itself is just as beautiful as the materials housing it -- so smooth, ultra-calming, and nourishing.  The TLC Balm is an utter dream in all aspects.  Herfarmacy says "We wanted to make a balm that was suitable for every body: young or old, female or male, vegan or not, even those with ultra-sensitive skin" and they certainly delivered just that.   So far I have successfully used this balm on my cuticles, dry patches on elbows and knees, my legs after shaving, and on my temples as a soothing aromatherapy treatment.  This may be my favourite balm yet actually, and I can't wait to discover even more uses as I continue to work my way through the jar.

Ingredients: Sunflower oil, Jojoba seed oil, Carnauba wax, Shea butter, Marshmallow root extract, Wild Pansy extract, Chickweed extract, Calendula flower extract, Chamomile flower extract, Burdock root extract, Roman Chamomile flower oil, Rosemary leaf extract, limonene* * Essential oil component

Pinks Boutique "Try Me" Duo (7ml/5ml):

I have been wanting to try Pinks Boutique range of products for absolute AGES, so when I saw Ana had chosen to include this duo in the organic edit for The Natural Beauty Box I was over the moon.  Finally I would get to experience this lovely brand for myself!

Both the Hydrating Deep Cleanse Melt and the Anti-Ageing Serum have such an uplifting smell which was just what I needed the last week. The aromas are calming yet boosting, and both feel so luxurious on the skin.  I was honestly really thankful the September edit of The Natural Beauty Box arrived when it did, as I was in serious need of soothing and energizing scents to help get me through a rough time.

The cleanser is not your average balm, as it is so quick to melt into a super silky texture that just glides across the skin.  While it is very oil-heavy, I was not too worried about my skin getting congested as the ingredients are all relatively light (no coconut oil thank goodness!).  I can usually tell after a few hours if my skin will break out, and I had no such feeling after cleansing with Pink Boutique's Deep Cleanse Melt.  And no spots the next day either!  One thing I do recommend though (unless you have extremely dry skin) is to either double cleanse when using this product or to skip the extra moisture boost afterwards, as this does the trick on its own.

While I do not need anti-ageing skincare, I was curious to see how this serum would work on my semi-sensitive face.  Most products like this tend to be too heavy and lead to unseemly spots, but I figured the cleanser was such a hit that I had to give it a go!  Well, as gorgeous as the oil itself is (it smells of a fab infusion of tea tree and lavender and is so so hydrating!), unfortunately this one is indeed a little slick for me at the moment.  However, this means my partner lucks out and gets another new treat!  I have been using a little on my neck and décolletage with positive results though, so at least I get to enjoy it too!

Sidenote: I am so tempted to add a footer to each of my blog's with his comments about products as they are just so entertaining.  What do you think of that idea?  Would you be interested in hearing his thoughts on any goodies he ends up being pampered with?  Here is a peek at Tim's insight/comedy gold when it comes to beauty products....

Me: What does it smell of?
Tim: Breakfast bars!
Me: What??
Tim: Or maybe raisins?
Me: ........

Cleanser Ingredients: Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, glycerine***, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil,* decyl glucoside, cocos nucifero (coconut) oil*, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, calendula offcinalis leaf extract*, tocopherol, zea mays seed flour*, parfum*; lavendula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil*, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil*, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**. (*Certified organic. **Natural constituent of essential oils. ***Organic origin).

Serum Ingredients: Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, rosa canina fruit oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, camellia sinensis leaf extract*, parfum*; lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil,* pelargonium graveolens flower oil*, pogostemon cablin oil*, cananga odorata flower oil*, tocopherol, citronellol**, geraniol**, linalool**, (*CERTIFIED ORGANIC.) (**NATURAL CONSTITUENTS OF ESSENTIAL OILS.)

Odylique Coconut Candy Scrub (20ml):

The few Odylique products I have tried have been so lovely, and the Coconut Candy Scrub is no exception.  100% natural, 98% organic, and totally mouth-wateringly scrumptious to smell, this vegan body scrub is just what we all need to get in the mood for colder weather (and Christmas if I dare say!).  And while I have not yet tried out the bonus sample of Timeless Rose Moisturiser, I have high hopes that it will be just as delightful to use!

"A deeply exfoliating and luxurious organic body scrub that offers exceptional results and compatibility with the most challenged skin. Feel transported to a tropical island with the heavenly fragrance of virgin coconut and cocoa bean butters whilst cell renewal is gently stimulated, your skin is polished and left silky smooth."

I might not describe it as a tropical island, but the scrub is definitely candy-licious.  And it doesn't just smell good, it feels good!  Unlike some scrubs that are far too grainy and gritty, this one is gentle and extra hydrating due to the oils and butters.  In fact, it is more like an exfoliating mask more than a standard scrub!  No matter the term, this formula is one my skin loves and I will be looking into getting a full size later down the road.

Scrub Ingredients: 
Sucrose* Δ, Cocos nucifera oil*, Helianthus annuus seed oil*, Glycerine**, Theobroma cacao seed butter* Δ, Cocos nucifera fruit*, Sucrose laurate, Aqua, Papaver somniferum seed*, Myrtus communis leaf oil* *Organically grown & produced (98.8%) **Organic origin (total 98.8%) Δ certified Fairtrade suppliers

Moisturizer Ingredients: 
Aqua, Rosa centifolia flower water*, Simondsia chinensis seed oil*, Cocos nucifera oil*, Butryospermum parkii butter*, Helianthus annuus seed oil*, Glycerine**, Cetearyl alcohol, Hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract*, Cetearyl glucoside, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, Rosa rubignosa fruit extract*, Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract*, Pelargonium graveolens oil*, Rosa damascena flower oil*, Lactic acid, Sodium anisate, Sodium levulinate, Sodium lauroyl lactylate, Xanthan gum, geraniol * & eugenol* (in the essential oils) Plain English: Aloe vera juice*, Rose flower water*, Jojoba oil*, Coconut oil*, Raw Fairtrade shea butter*, Cold-pressed sunflower oil*, Concentrated extracts of Rosehip*, Rosemary* and Sea buckthorn*, Non-palm plant glycerine**, Essential oils of Geranium* and Rose*, Plant origin moisturisers & emulsifiers *Organically grown & produced **Organic origin (total 94.14%)

Tabitha James Kraan Clean Conditioner (200ml):

This is another brand that has been on my radar and wish list for ages now, but I just have not been able to afford to splurge.  Tabitha James Kraan is British made, multi-award winning, and 100% pure, and it is a name I have heard paired only with compliments.  Their range of hair care products follows three main principles: oil-balancing, moisture layering, and correct cleansing.

But I have to be honest -- when I first learned how much this cost I thought there was no way it could be worth it.  A conditioner that is £32???  I struggle to rationalize spending over a tenner on shampoo and conditioner on a good day, so this was a shock to the system.  But, then I saw the really generous size and thought at 200ml it was definitely a bit more reasonable considering how long this type of product usually lasts me personally.

So is this worth the price?

My bank balance must sadly admit it is.

The smell is divine (I get a hint of vanilla, but there is no vanilla -what is this magic??), the formula really moisturizing, and the results are smooth and soft hair without any oily residue.  While I still prefer using an oil for my hair as opposed to a traditional conditioner, this has got me thinking that maybe it is worth going back to revisit, at least every now and again!  Oil is really cost effective and packs a massive hydration punch, but it can leave your locks looking a little grungy if you don't use a tonic to rinse.  With this conditioner, I do not need a second product as it rinses out fully while also locking in moisture.

This will probably become my 'in between' hair treatment, for the nights before I have to leave early in the morning or for days when I shower right before going out.  That way I can nourish my hair but not have to worry about looking like a grease pit!

Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice* , brassica alcohol, brassicyl isoleucinate esylate, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil*, rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil*, argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil*, glycerin, citrus bergamia melarosa (bergamot) peel oil expressed*, hydrogenated ethylhexyl olivate, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) seed oil*, citrus nobilis (mandarin) peel oil*, citrus reticulata (tangerine) peel oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) flower oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, arginine, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract*, calendula officinalis (marigold) extract*, hydrogenated olive oil unsaponifiables, citrus aurantium amara (petitgrain) leaf/twig oil*, commiphora myrrha (myrrh) gum oil, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, aqua (water), sodium levulinate, levulinic acid, arctium lappa (burdock) root extract*, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract*, betaine, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil*, tocopherol (vitamin E), sodium anisate, limonene**, linalool** --- * organic ingredient --- ** naturally occurring components of essential oils

Green Scents Minty Castille Soap (60ml):

Green Scents is a totally new brand to me, and one I will be investigating more in the future as I love the wide range of products they have on offer.  From multi-purpose soaps to loo cleaner, they have every area of the household covered when it comes to keeping this fresh, sanitary, and sparkling.

The All Purpose Castille Soap is a great multi-tasker, as it can be used for cleaning hands, teeth, sinks, clothes, hair, and more.  Castille soap is a a vegetable based soap that contains olive oil and other 100% natural ingredients.  They are free from chemical detergents, artificial foaming agents such as SLS, synthetic colours and fragrances, petrochemicals, and harsh antibacterial agents like triclosan, making it gentle on the environment and on the skin.  

This "Minty" version from Green Scents is so lovely and uplifting, and super potent -- it actually reminds me of the in your face peppermint smell of the Dr Bronners soaps.  All you need is to open the bottle and the smell fills the room!

The soap is really concentrated, so you only need a few drops for most purposes.  There are actually really helpful hints on their website for how much to use and when, so if you are at a loss you can check those out!  I also appreciate that the brand is upfront about castille soap being drying on sensitive skin, as many would skip over this fact.

While the bottle is plastic, I was happy to see the material is recyclable.  Plus, with this being the smallest size available, you can imagine how long the 300ml, 5L, or 20L bottles would last, meaning less plastic is used over time.  The 20L option is meant to sort 1,000 machine washes or 4,000 shampoos -- pretty impressive!

I am actually a lover of soap nuts, but I may give this a try next time we do our washing as I know my partner prefers a more 'traditional' method.  This could be a helpful middle ground that we could compromise on, plus it would save me from having to add essential oils to our washing bag -- I will update as soon as we give it a go!

Ingredients: potassium oleate***, potassium cocoate***, glycerine***, sucrose cocoate, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil *, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oil*, potassium citrate, citric acid  * organic, ***organic origin

Fushi Wellbeing Shea Butter (10g)

Fushi is not a new brand to me, but it is surely one I have not delved into enough.  I mean, I didn't even know they did a 100% pure and organic shea butter!  I occasionally try my hand at making my own body and hair butters, lip balms, skin masks, and bath truffles, and this try me pot from Fushi will be the perfect addition to my potions box.

I have already started trying some new lip treatment recipes, and I am loving the extra nourishing qualities provided by the shea!  My favourite concoction at the moment?  Lemongrass and rosemary!

Ingredients: Organic Unrefined RAW Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter).
Origin Ghana. Handpicked and made by The Yumzaa Women Association.

Inlight Beauty Face Oil (2ml):

Inlight Beauty is another new one for me, and I am happy to have been introduced to another organic brand that is both focused on creating high quality natural beauty products and also primarily free from plastics in their full size products.

"Dr Spiezia's [Inlight's co-founder] 100% organic skincare and wellness products capture the vital power of natural ingredients to regenerate the skin and uplift the soul, bringing beauty to life."

The brand was the very first to gain COSMOS certification, and has consistently produced natural beauty treats based on years of research, expertise, and scientific knowledge.  Their range covers oils, balms, tonics, cleansers, masks, teas, and more.

I have to admit, when I first read the ingredients on this sample I wasn't super excited -- let me explain.  The full size 30ml bottle of this costs £42, and for that price range I expect something pretty fantastic.  Yet, the ingredients here are very simple and nothing super precious.  Don't get me wrong, they are brilliant (and organic) ingredients, and if this were a less expensive product I would be super into it.  But who knows, maybe the formula is so expertly blended that simplicity becomes something unexpected.  Either way, I have a feeling I will love this oil -- it sounds like it will be great for my skin type and will leave me moisturized without making me break out.  I will definitely provide a full update in my empties post when this gets used up!

Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis, Rosa rubiginosa, Rosa damascena, Oenothera biennis, Vanilla planifolia, Malva sylvestris, Rosa canina, Lavandula angustifolia, Rosa damascena, Linalool*, geraniol*, citronellol*, limonene*.
*Natural constituent of essential oils.

This is the first collaboration The Natural Beauty Box has ever done, and I think Ana did an exceptional job selecting Soil Association certified skin treats.  Everything is perfectly suited for the changing weather, with all products targeting hydration and healthy cell renewal.  I love that many of these brands are new to me, and that this collection included several surprise samples -- it is always exciting to have some bonus products added in!

Overall, the Organic Beauty edit of The Natural Beauty Box is worth £73.45, making this an INCREDIBLE savings (over £48!).  I thought this was a brilliant edition, but I want to know your opinions -- did you love all the organic goodies? What was your favourite item?  Were you as excited about this collab as I was??  Let me know in the comments below!

If you are looking into subscribing, be sure to do so before the edition sells out.  Each month there is more and more interest and the boxes sell out pretty fast!  Don't worry though, you will have time to see a few spoilers of the upcoming theme over on The Natural Beauty Box's Instagram account before you have to decide if you are still a little unsure.  But when you are ready, remember to use this link to grab 10% off your first box!

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