Subscription Boxes, the ethical way!

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Natural Brands for a Natural You!

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Several months ago I stumbled upon a new online beauty retailer that specializes in eco-friendly options, something that always excites me.  However, this one had something really special about it, something that made it really stand out.  It was entirely free from plastics.

Still not sure why going zero waste is the way forward?

There are actually a few main facets to the harmful nature of plastics -- their lifespan, absorption abilities, and the way in which they breakdown are the big ones that come to mind.

First off, plastics do not biodegrade like other materials.  Sure, they eventually turn into smaller and smaller pieces, but the chemical bonds mean that this process happens *very* slowly -- I'm talking up to 1000 years for some plastics!  This means teeny tiny fragments in the soil, the water... Bits of plastic in the food we eat and the air we breathe.  Because yes, these plastics end up in the stomachs of fish, birds, and larger predators (including people who eat these creatures) and it has been recently revealed that pollution has become so bad that these fibers are now airborne.

And, as they break down, all the nasties contained in the material (like BPA) are released into the surrounding environment.  The chemicals leach out and can be absorbed by crops, but there is more to it than that -- plastics also absorb what is around them.  They are like little sponges, and soak up substances that can be lethal such as mercury and lead.  Plastic fragments that were already considered hazardous become like little shards of toxic waste.  Then, through a process called bio-accumulation, these chemicals become more and more powerful, and more and more dangerous.  If you have seen Blue Planet 2, you know how fatal this can be for wildlife.  We are slowly poisoning our world, killing off species, and endangering our own lives.

I haven't even talked about the less scientific impacts like seals and turtles becoming entangled in soda rings or being impaled by drinking straws, or dogs dying from intestinal blockages caused by consuming plastic wrappers.  Birds nesting with plastic bag fragments that then poison their young.  Newborn babies being exposed to phthalates and BPA from heated bottles.  It is genuinely horrifying when you start going down the rabbit hole.

And if none of those reasons persuade you, then there is one more to consider.  Money.  When you buy a bottle of shampoo, part of what you are paying for is the packaging.  By switching to a shampoo bar that has no excess packaging (and no plastic in sight!) you can save up to £80 (or even more!) per month.  One shampoo bar can last up to a year (usually around 60-90 washes), meaning you only dish out your money once every twelve months instead of every 1-2 months.

But where do we go to find plastic free options like this?  Where can all these magical products be found?  Well, Plastic Freedom is one option (and a great one at that!).

Plastic Freedom brings together daily essentials such as shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, sun cream, and more, all without any plastic packaging.  No wraps, no caps, no crinkly waste whatsoever!  Every company featured on the website shares the same ethos, so you know that your purchasing power is supporting ethical brands out to make a difference.

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway hosted by Beth from Plastic Freedom, and my prize package arrived in a nicely arranged cardboard box, no plastic in sight.  Included were two solid soap bars and a knot wrap, all hand made, and all in minimal packaging.

The knot wrap is from Marley's Monsters, a brand that is focused on providing safe, colourful, reusable options for both mums and babies.  The material is 100% cotton and machine washable, and I love how multi-purpose this little bag is.  While originally used for bento, the satchel can be used for lunches, carrying produce home from the market, storing toiletries while traveling, or for housing all the little toys your little one "needs" to bring on that 15 minute car trip.  The pattern is super cute, and there are eight options to choose from on Plastic Freedom.

The other two prizes I have not actually been able to use yet, as I am currently finishing up my final plastic bottled shampoos and conditioners. However, I am very much looking forward to making the switch to these bars as soon as that last wash is done!  Both are small businesses that make all their items by hand, are based in the UK, and make products that smell amazing.

Wild Sage & Co offers an all natural vegan-friendly shampoo bar that utilizes the benefits of cold pressed soap making to ensure exceptional moisturizing powers.  Antimicrobial lavender helps prevent dry hair and hydrating rosemary aids with dandruff and dry scalp.  Together they work to stimulate blood circulation that can help with hair growth and prevent hair loss.  Plus they smell amazing when blended like this.  Perfect tag team!

The conditioner bar is a new concept to me, and I am really excited to test it out.  Funky Soap makes three of these bars (all vegan friendly!), one for each hair type, and also has a selection of shampoo bars that you can pair up with this product.  I chose the one for normal hair as I was not really sure whether my hair really classes as oily or dry (it's a weird mix of the two most days!).  Without even having used it I can tell it will be really moisturizing based on the feel of the bar itself, and it smells so good -- anything with cocoa butter I am down to try!

Shampoo Ingredients: Sodium Rapeseedate (Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil), Sodium Cocoate (Coconut Oil), Organic Apple Cider Vinigar, Sodium Castorate (Cold Pressed Castor Oil), Sodium Sunflowerate (Sunflower Oil), Sodium Mangobutterate (Mango Butter), Sodium Lactate, Glycerine (Naturaly occuring in the soap making process), Sodium Olivate  (Organic Rosemary Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool (*Naturally occurring in Essential Oils)


Overall I am so pleased with these prizes, and I am so thankful to Beth for hosting the giveaway and giving me the chance to try these plastic free zero waste goodies.  I have been browsing her shop almost daily, and so many fantastic brands and products have been added over the last few weeks that it makes me excited to see what more is to come.

If you are looking to start your zero waste journey, or if you just want a place where you can be assured that all the items will be free from plastic, check out Plastic Freedom.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Bellapierre shimmer eyeshadow not pictured

I have to admit, I was not sold right away on this month's collection from Love Lula Beauty Box.  I already owned two of the products, though I am always happy to have extra rosewater spray.  My skin is not suited to anti-ageing products, plus we just got the brightening eye gel from PHB in the January edition.  I am never super keen on sachets as they tend to not hold enough product to get a good idea for if it is suited to you or not, and many of them cannot be recycled so the packaging goes straight to landfill.  We have also been given a balm recently (last month in fact), so I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to use up so many products.

But, after a few weeks of mulling it over and trialing all the green goodies, I have to say I really do like the contents included in the May beauty box.  They are all fab quality, and I like that most of the items are genuinely multi-purpose.  I will use every single item except the PHB Anti-Ageing Eye Gel, and I was really pleased to be able to try out something else from Lyonsleaf.  I do not feel so restricted in terms of the items' use as I did when I first opened my parcel, so I have to give two thumbs up.

PHB Anti-Aging Eye Gel with Argan Oil & Rock Rose:
Size- 15ml
RRP- £16.95
CF, Vegan, Halal, Organic Ingredients, Made in the UK

Like I said above, I will not be using this product as it is not suited to my skin type, but if it is anything like the brightening gel I am sure it is a lovely and effective formula.  I like the consistency of these eye gels, as they are super light and do not leave any residue.  They sink in quickly, and since they are not a traditional cream they do not leave that white sheen under your eyes.

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe barbadensis (Organic aloe vera**), Vegetable glycerine, Fucus vescilosis (Bladderwack) extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Coco-caprylate, Sclerotium Gum, Propandiol & Salix alba, Hippophae rhamnoides (Organic Sea Buckthorn**), Argania spinosa (Organic Argan**), Citrus dulcis (Orange), Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium), Lavendula angustifolia (Lavender), Cymbopogon martinii (Palmarosa), Benzyl alcohol, Cistus ladaniferus (Rock Rose), Ferula galbaniflua (Galbanum). *Limonene * Linalool *Citral *Geraniol *Citronellol *Farnesol *Occurs naturally in essential oils, **Organically grown ingredients.

Lyonsleaf Calendula and Marshmallow Balm:
Size- 30ml
RRP- £8.99
CF, Made in the UK

I have been loving this balm for my hands in particular, as they had been really dry from all the ups and downs in the weather.  They are really soft and healthy again, and I can only thank this little pot for that.  Next test will be my feet, as they are far from sandal-ready.  The balm has a very faint smell and is incredibly gentle, so it can be used on any skin type and even for babies.  Definitely a great find for me, and probably one of my favourites in the May Love Lula Beauty Box.

Ingredients: Organic Sunflower Oil, Babassu Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Avocado Oil, Cold Pressed Borage Oil, Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil, Calendula Extract, Marsh Mallow Extract, Natural Vitamin E Oil. Ingredients (INCI): Helianthus Annuus, Orbignya Oleifera, Cera Alba, Persea Gratissima, Borago Officinalis, Rosa Canina, Calendula Officinalis, Althaea Officinalis, Tocopherol.

Botanico Vida Omega Oil:
Size- 3ml (full size 120 ml, travel size 50ml)
RRP- 50p
CF, Vegan, Organic Ingredients, Made in the UK

While this is in a sachet, I do have to say I am loving the product inside.  Since it is an oil, it last a bit longer than other products because you do not need much when applying.  I have been using this on a few stretch marks I have, and while I can't say it has made 100% difference, it is helping.  The product sinks in quickly and has a light scent of citrus which is uplifting and really lovely.  It has made my skin incredibly soft and smooth thanks to the moisturizing qualities of the oil blend, and I will be sad when the sample runs out.

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Coco-Caprylate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Persea Gratissima Oil, Citrus Nobilis Peel Oil, Tocopherol, Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene

Bellapierre Shimmer Powder in shade Lava:
Size- 2.35g
RRP- £12.99

I am still debating on the shade, as I do not usually go for darker colours.  I love the burnt bronze it takes on under sunlight and flash, but in neutral or dark lighting it is a solid cocoa.  The shimmer is honestly gorgeous, and I have actually been using this less on my eyes than I have as a bronzer/highlight.  When mixed with a drop of oil it is fab for getting a sunkissed look on your cheeks or collarbones, and I will probably continue to use it like this as we move closer to summer.  For anyone who loves a smoky eye or is really good at blending out eyeshadow, this is probably a wonderful option for you, but for everyone else I recommend trying out my technique!

Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron oxides. May contain: Carmine.

Alteya Organics Organic Bulgarian Rose Water:
Size- 100ml
RRP- £7.20
CF, Vegan, Organic

I saved my favourite product from the May Love Lula Beauty Box for last.   I actually own a few bottles of this already, and have to say it is so light and refreshing and utterly delightful.  The smell is crisp, clean, and floral, and it is seriously amazing on a warmer day to spritz your face for a pick me up or cool-off.  It does come in a plastic bottle which is a huge downside, but Alteya have started offering glass bottle options now as well.  A big plus going for this rose water spray is that it is so affordable -- even more so than Balm Balm.  I'm happy to have a spare of this, and I am sure I will continue to buy from this brand in the future for a long time to come.

Ingredients: 100% pure organic steam-distilled Rosa Damascena floral water. Steam-distilled from fresh hand picked Bulgarian Rosa Damascena rose petals.

Overall, this box offers a wide variety and should have at least one or two items for everyone to enjoy.  The value of this month's edition was worth over £46, which for a collection that cost a subscriber only £13.95 is incredible.

If you are interested in subscribing to Love Lula Beauty Box, be quick, as you have to join before the start of the month to receive the next edition (so if you join in May, you get June).  You can choose from a month to month rolling subscription, or a pre-pay if you want a longer term option!

And as always, let me know what you thought of this month's box in the comments down below.  Did you like the variety?  What was your favourite product included?  I can't wait to see all your opinions!

Saturday, 26 May 2018

If you remember back to my last post, I explained how LowToxBox has dropped their monthly subscription service and has opted for a series of Ethical Gift Boxes instead to feature alongside their usual shop offers.  At the moment they have

Zero Waste Starter Kit
an Eco-Friendly Travel Essentials Box
Vegan New Mum Gift Box
and a Mindfulness Gift Box

Each collection is between £30 and £55 (plus postage), and hits all the marks in terms of being sustainable, vegan-friendly, cruelty free, toxin-free, zero-waste, organic, and natural.  And as an added bonus, LowToxBox has commited to plant a tree for every box sold!

Well, I loved my last LowToxBox so much that I knew I would be getting another in the future.  Lucky for me, that chance came sooner than I was expecting, as a while back there was an offer that meant that instead of one tree planted for the sale, there would be two!  It was genuinely this act of earth love that made me order ASAP.

It was not too long before my Travel Essentials Kit arrived at my doorstep, and I was just as happy about the minimal packaging as I was last time!  There was no plastic in sight, and all of the wrappings were made from recycled paper and card.  I also love how carefully everything was packed, as it really looked like none of the items had moved at all in transit.  This is a company you can trust to get your items to you quickly, carefully, and without threatening the planet in the process.  For anyone looking for a guilt-free treat, this is definitely one to get!

The Travel Essentials Kit contains eight items in total (though there is an option to add a ninth item!), and all have been picked to be the perfect eco-friendly travel companions.  There is no plastic packaging found in this collection, and everything is easy to carry and convenient without compromising the environment.  Plus, as always, each item is non-toxic, vegan friendly, and sustainable.

The products included in this Travel Essentials Kit are the following:

1 Que water bottle
1 bamboo toothbrush
1 Truthpaste toothpaste
1 LowToxBox tote
1 Nikki Strange A5 notebook
1 travel soap tin
1 Friendly shampoo bar (not pictured)
1 Earth Conscious deodorant

There is such a good variety of items, and I love that there are toiletry staples along with more creatively driven options like the notebook!  Overall I think this edition from LowToxBox has hit a home run, as this really does offer all the essentials for an environmentally minded adventure, whether that is backpacking, camping, or just an overnight trip to the city.

I have to admit a big pull for me to order a second gift box was so I could get a spare Que water bottle.  I have used my grey one every single day since getting my Zero Waste Starter Kit, and I thought it would be great to have a back up for washing days or longer adventures that require lots of water.  The bottle is so interesting, as it can collapse down from 20oz (568ml) to 12oz (~340ml) for simple transport.  The 100% BPA and plastic free container can contain both hot and cold liquid since it is made from food grade silicone, and is super light weight, flexible, and leak proof.  

There are six colours to choose from, and this time I opted for the pink and white option as I thought it was nice and cheery.  Plus I thought I would never manage to lose something so bright!  Since I have been using my slate shade bottle for so long now, I have decided that it is definitely the best reusable I have come across.  I can pop it in my backpack or bag and not notice any extra weight, unlike the glass bottles I have previously used which felt like I was lugging around a brick.  While it can be tricky to wash if you do not have a dishwasher, I find if you fill it with warm water and a bit of gentle soap, let it sit, then shake it vigorously before rinsing, it effectively cleans the nooks and crannies inside. 

The other two products I was most looking forward to trying out were the bamboo toothbrush and the Truth Paste, as I have been searching for plastic free dental hygiene items for a while now.  The toothbrush is ridiculously light, and almost feels like you are holding a twig, so I was not sure how it would actually cope when it came to daily use.  However, I have to say I have been impressed by how it is holding up so far!  The bristles are made from nylon, but they can be removed when it comes time to change brushes.  I would say they are in-between a soft and a medium brush, so would be good for both sensitive gums and someone looking for a bit more oomph.  The handle itself is fully biodegradable, and since bamboo is able to grow so quickly, the material is also one of the most sustainable options on the market. 

The Truth Paste was not exactly what I was expecting, as it is a clay-like consistency due to the calcium carbonate and bentonite.  It is a little grainy, but this is actually a good thing as it helps tackle plaque build up and remove any food particles.  The clay also works to remove toxins from the mouth, while the essential oils kill bad bacteria, regulate the natural pH levels, and add a pleasant taste.  The formula is free from SLS, fluoride, artificial colourings and ingredients, bleaching agents, and other common nasties, so this is an option for someone who is looking to clean their mouth and teeth without any added bells and whistles.

The toothpaste is truly a paste so takes some getting used to both for the feel of it in your mouth (don't expect any foaming action with this all natural product!) but also applying it to your brush.  You use about the same amount as a high street option, but apply to a dry brush by either scooping some out with a spatula or spoon, or rubbing directly from the jar onto the bristles.  I found the second option less of a faff.  I have to say I am impressed by this so far, and I will definitely be repurchasing in the future!

*Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Bentonite, Xylitol, *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, *Melia Azadirachta Seed (Neem) oil, *Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf oil, *Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) oil, °d-Limonene, *Citrus Medic Limonum (Lemon) Peel oil, *Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud oil, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Bark oil, °Eugenol, °Linalol, °Benzyl Benzoate, °Citronellol.
*certified organic
°naturally occurring in essential oils

I have seen Earth Conscious on Twitter and Instagram for ages, so I was thrilled to get a pot of their organic natural deodorant in the LowToxBox Travel Essentials Kit.  This product is free from aluminium, parabens, carcinogens, and other nasties, but is just as strong as a traditional deodorant.  The citrus scent is really uplifting and lasts for ages, and in terms of effectiveness, I have to say this ranks up there with the best deodorants I have used.  The formula is not grainy like some of the others I have tried, which means it goes on smoothly and without any irritation.  For me, a single application works all day without the need for a touch up, but I am not a super sweaty person generally.  I have heard from others who do have more 'active' underarms that this is their go to natural deo, so it seems to suit a big range of needs which is great! 

Ingredients: Certified organic coconut oil, certified organic arrowroot powder, certified organic shea butter, sodium bicarbonate, jojoba wax, sunflower wax certified organic lemon essential oil, certified organic orange essential oil. (*Citral, *Limonene, *Linalool) 
 *Ingredients naturally occurring in Essential Oils

The Friendly shampoo bar is fantastic and one of the more affordable plastic free hair products out there.  I have used this in the past and loved it, and find it lasts ages -- a few months at least depending on how often I am washing my hair.  They have two options: Lavender & Tea Tree and Lavender Geranium.  I prefer the second as it smells lush and is more ideal for the dry ends of my hair.  Since it does last so long I still have a few in the cupboard that I bought during my last haul, so I requested not to be sent another.  I hate wasting products, and I try my best to make sure that never happens.  Best to use up what I have first before ordering more! 

Ingredients: Sodium cocoate, Sodium olivate, Sodium castorate, Aqua, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil contains linalool, limonene, geraniol, Pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) essential oil contains geraniol, citronella, linalool

I have to say that I love how the travel soap container fits the Friendly shampoo bar perfectly.  It is a great pairing for this box, but I found it can also fit slightly larger soaps which is nice for long trips.  The tin is made from aluminium so is really lightweight when empty, and is ideal for popping in a travel bag to keep your clothes protected from soapy residue or from smelling of essential oils.  If you aren't needing a soap container, you can use it for loads of other things, like packing up a mini sewing kit, storing emergency cash, or carrying a grab and go snack!

Another one of my most used items out of this Travel Essentials Kit was the Nikki Strange notebook - I have been using this to jot down my ideas and write myself little reminders, but I am thinking it will also be a great place to start planning future trip ideas.  The pages are lined which is great for organization, and the design on the front is just so tropical and exciting it makes me wanderlust for sunnier places hard.  I really like that the pages are made from recycled paper stock, meaning I am not contributing to the cutting down of trees, and the inks are vegetable based which is great for the environment.  No extra toxins will be seeping into the soil because of me thank you very much!  

If you are ready to head out on your trip, you can stash all these travel items in the lovely LowToxBox tote and either carry them to have in easy reach or wrap them up for safe storage in your luggage.  The natural cotton reusable bag is really sturdy I have found since I have been using mine for carrying shopping from the market and green grocers -- the amount of veggies, beans, and grains it can hold is honestly amazing.  

Overall I am so pleased with my experience with LowToxBox and found that they created yet another perfect gift collection with the Travel Essentials Kit.  You do not have to be a travel fiend to get use and enjoyment out of this, but it is also a great out of the box (well, sort of!) idea for anyone you know who does love to get out and about.  The edition cost £35 and has an overall worth over £48 (I could not find the price for the soap dish, so it contains a minimum RRP of £48.41).  I am once again more than happy with both the price of the box and the quality of the contents, and will be looking forward to seeing what other kits they bring out in the coming year.  

Thursday, 24 May 2018

When it comes to subscription boxes, there are a few things that are musts for me: everything in the box must be cruelty free and all natural, and preferably vegan, the products need to be decent sizes, the value needs to be there (otherwise I would just buy myself 5-7 items!), and there needs to be some element of surprise.  For me, there is nothing worse than itty bitty products in sachets, an RRP price pretty much on with the cost of the box, and items that have featured heavily in other rival services.

Natural Wellness Box, a bi-monthly ethical subscription that started up in March of this year, hits all of my requirements and more.  Not only does it take a unique approach to natural beauty by tackling it from the inside out, but the box thoughtfully selects contents based on the seasons and the given theme each month.  Both editions so far have featured only full size and deluxe size products, have had contents worth much more than the paid price of the collection, and have been themed perfectly around aspects of holistic health.  Plus, as an added bonus for those of us worried about reducing what we waste, there has been minimal excess packaging and almost no plastic in sight!

The launch box for "Beautiful Skin" was worth over £70 and included a body oil from cult skincare hero Guiltless Skin along with several pieces from one of my favourite affordable organic brands, Balm Balm, a jar of beauty elixir supplement from Kiki Health, a guilt-free snack from Superfoodio, and a box of wellness tea from Pukka.  The items all targeted healthy skin, cell renewal, and complexion, and I loved how everything could work as a team to address diet, skincare routine, and vitamin and antioxidant regulation all at the same time.

Well, when I was asked to review this month's Fresh Routines edition, I knew I could expect the same level of perfection and I was so excited for the unboxing.  While I had seen a few sneak peeks, the majority of the box was a mystery waiting to be revealed!

The May edit is themed around the goal of spring cleaning our bodies -- it is all about starting new habits and kicking old potentially harmful routines.  Did you know that it is estimated that on average a person absorbs over 2,000 grams of chemicals just from beauty products alone?  Consider how many daily essentials we use, and how many of those might contain nasties that have negative effects on our health.  Now add in the synthetic additives and artificial ingredients found in the food and beverages we consume.  It is a scary thought!  Natural Wellness Box hand picks brands that do not contain any known toxins so that we can all start fresh and begin to lead a life without all the added junk.

The Fresh Routines box contains nine items overall, almost all of which are full size.  Of all the goodies that were included, I have only ever heard of two of the brands and only ever tried one of the individual products -- for me, this is a great start!  There is something to help rework every area of life, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and a lot of multi-purpose items as well which is always fun.

I loved the Organic Dark Chocolate Buttons from Cocoa Loco, and was so appreciative of a delicious vegan snack that even my partner could enjoy.  Quality dark chocolate comes with high levels of magnesium, fiber, iron, and other nutritious minerals, and is also a great source of antioxidants.  In moderation, it is believed that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, protect your skin against the sun, and even improve brain function -- just the sort of benefits that I want to see in Natural Wellness Box!

The buttons were the perfect size, and were the perfect level of bittersweet.  I found myself grabbing two or three throughout the day to curb my wish for something tasty, and felt they worked as a fab reward for when I got my work done for the day.

Ingredients: Dark Chocolate containing cocoa solids 73% minimum (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla powder).

The Simplee Aloe aloe water was probably the biggest surprise for me, as I was not expecting to enjoy quite as much as I did.  It is slightly sweet without having an extraordinary amount of sugar (2.3 grams per 100ml) and has a consistency almost like bubble tea due to the pulp (without the insane sweetness boba has after those capsules pop in your mouth!).  I knew aloe vera was great for healing and soothing sunburn, but what I did not realize was how good it was as part of our diet -- apparently it is known as an original superfood and was 'the plant of immortality' to the Egyptians.

The little information card that came with the product states the following:

- Contains anti-inflammatory enzymes to soothe those with an inflamed gut, including IBS and leaky gut sufferers

- A natural pre-biotic which helps feed your good gut bacteria

- Packed with vitamins and minerals geared up to boost your immune system

- One of the highest natural sources of polysaccharides which are used by the body to help absorb all of those beneficial nutrients

Plus, the water has over 200 biologically active ingredients and is 45 calories per 500ml size bottle.  All of that in one container of yummy refreshing goodness?  Yes please!

Ingredients: Aloe Vera (25%), Water, Cane sugar, Lemon juice concentrate, Natural flavourings, Natural stevia extract

There were also two individual packets of organic tea from The Van Ooordt, a name I have not heard of before but will definitely be looking out for in the future.  I got "Body Guard" which is made with green tea, cinnamon, elderflower, liquorice, and cardamom and works to vitalize the body and mind, and "Clean Care" which contains coriander, fennel, cinnamon, ginger, marjoram, and elderflower and targets de-acidification.  Both were unique in flavour, and I appreciated the very specific instructions on brewing temperatures and steeping times.

I have to be honest and say all of the above treats did not make it past the first few days of me opening the box -- the chocolate buttons disappeared with the help of my partner, as did the aloe vera water and both packets of tea.  What can I say?  They were all delicious!

I have also already used a good amount of the Morning Elixir nutrient boost, and have been using the other four items daily as well -- overall I would have to say this box was a hit for me.

Next up in the May collection is a Voyager packet from Alchemy Superblends worth £6.  Morning Elixir is an organic daily wellbeing blend that is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals ideal for keeping you 'satisfied naturally' from breakfast until it is time for your next meal.  This nutrient rich supplement is meant to be taken early in the day, and can be either a superfood shot or as a total substitute for breakfast.  What is really amazing about this powder is that just 10 grams contains 100% of your daily Vitamin C, as well as 15% folic acid, 20% iron, 35% plant protein, 30% fibre, and a host of antioxidants.  All that without any unnecessary fillers or added sugars!

I am always a little hesitant about superfood powders like this as I have had some pretty horrific tasting ones, especially ones containing spirulina, but this wasn't too bad!  I decided to mix it in with my smoothie, and I honestly couldn't taste too much of a 'green' flavour over my berries and bananas (and a bit of coconut oil - but I'll get to that in a minute!).  The full size bag of this is a little pricey, but I might have to take the hit as I haven't found too many other supplements that I can stomach!

Ingredients: Hemp & pea protein, baobab, wheatgrass,  psyllium husk, chlorella, spirulina,  goji berries, camu camu & acai

Coconut oil seems to be one of those things that was in fashion for a while but has quieted down some in the last year or so.  Well, I have never jumped off the train and so was thrilled to find a full size jar of Organic Raw Coconut Oil from Sister & Co inside the box.  This stuff truly is the ultimate multi-tasker, as it can be used like a body lotion, as an oil cleanser, in the bath, as a hair mask, for dental hygiene, or even in cooking.  

Since coconut oil has antimicrobial qualities, it is ideal for protecting against skin infections like acne or athlete's foot, plus it can aid with chronic inflammation in conditions such as eczema and contact dermatitis.  It is great for keeping your skin moisturized, so any dry patches of skin beware, and has a naturally fragrant smell which is great for those who want to have a lightly tropical scent without packing on the perfume.

Personally, I cannot use the stuff on my face or scalp as those areas of my skin get congested very easily and do not seem to get on with coconut oil, but I have been having a great time using this in sauces and smoothies.  Coconut oil, while much higher in saturated fats than other products like butter and olive oil, is particularly good at raising HDL (the good cholesterol that can help protect against heart disease).  As a macronutrient, coconut oil can be a great addition to your diet in moderation and in responsible portions, as it can boost energy levels and cause a feeling of fullness that can lead to less calorie consumption.  Just don't start guzzling the stuff thinking it is the ultimate superfood.

Ingredients: 100% natural, organic, food-grade, vegan, vegetarian, dairy and gluten free.

I was super excited to see Evolve involved with Natural Wellness Box, as this organic brand makes high quality and high performing products that I have always been impressed by.  Inside the Fresh Routines collection was a full size 30ml jar of their Cotton Fresh Deodorant Cream (RRP £10) and a full size 120ml pot of the Gentle Cleansing Melt (£20).

The deodorant I have actually used before, and I really like it.  The cream has a little bit of graininess at the start due to the corn starch and bicarb, but goes on really easily and smoothly and the feeling melts away within minutes.  The scent does not resemble the key ingredients of shea butter or coconut oil at all, but is instead like newly washed linens -- you know, the ones hanging on a line outside on a warm summer's day.  I usually prefer unscented items, but this is genuinely nice and works to help keep you fresh all day long.

I do find this 99% natural deodorant is effective, and I also find it gentle enough to use directly after shaving which is not always the case with biocarb based items.  The best thing about this is that it does not contain aluminium, one of the nasties with potentially harmful effects found in almost all common deodorant brands.  For someone starting out in the world of green alternatives to high street brands, this is a great product find!

The cleansing balm was a nice treat, and while I have used one or two balms before for cleansing, it was still something relatively new for me.  I always worry about introducing heavier products into my face routine, as I do suffer from hormonal acne and congestion-prone skin in my t-zone.  I was especially tentative as coconut oil is a main ingredient in this product, and that never seems to get along with my face in particular.  However, the Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt did not leave me disappointed and left my skin clean and clear.

The cleanser smells faintly of vanilla which makes it feel extra luxurious, and has a very thick and slick texture.  It glides right over skin, and if you massage for long enough it does actually start to sink in pretty well which helps with the moisturizing properties of the baobab.  Since it is so heavy, you only need to use a tiny amount -- I would say about the size of a pea depending on your skin type.

The instructions say to massage onto a dry face and neck, then add warm water to "form light milk" before rinsing off.  I cannot say that I noticed any foaming or milkiness at all, but that did not make or break this for me.  What won me over in the end was how soft my skin felt after using this, and how healthy my face looked.  It definitely left me more radiant than when I first started using it.  I am really looking forward to seeing how this fairs during the warmer months, as this is when my skin tends to have the most issues.

Deo Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch*, Sodium Bicarbonate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Caprylic/Capric triglyceride*, Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Powder, Kaolin, Glycerin*, Farnesol, Parfum (NaturalFragrance), Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter*, Tocopherol, Sodium Caproyl/Lauroyl Lactylate, Triethyl Citrate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil. *ingredients from organic farming

Cleanser Ingredients: Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride*, Glycerin*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Oil*, Sucrose Laurate, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Tocopherol. *ingredients from organic farming

Last, but certainly not least, is the Organii Liquid Hand Soap, a perfect solution for those looking for a more natural option for the bathroom or kitchen.  I have used a few products from Organii before, but not their lavender hand soap, and I have to say I was really happy with this inclusion!  I got the lavender scent which is divine and fills up the room with the calming fragrance.  One thing I love about this is how simple the ingredient list is -- just seven components that work together to ensure clean hands that are free from germs without being stripped of natural oils.  No preservatives, no harsh additives, no colourings -- just soap!

The soap itself foams well without containing the dreaded SLS, and leaves my hands soft and refreshed.  This 300ml size bottle is going to last ages, and while the container is plastic, I have a feeling this will get me trying my hand at making my own formula once the Organii liquid is gone.

Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium Oleate*, Potassium Olivate*, Alcohol, Glycerin*, Potassium Citrate, Perfum*, Linalool**, Limonene**, Geraniol**, Coumarin** *ingredients from organic farming **as component of essential oils ***made using organic ingredients

Altogether this month's collection is worth over £60, and I was so happy with every single item.  Nothing left me wanting more (well, except maybe the chocolate buttons because they were SO good!), and I was really pleased to discover so many new names.  This is a subscription box I will definitely be following for a long time, and I will be dipping in and out of the one off boxes as needed.

If you are interested in the Fresh Routines box, be quick as there are only a few left before they are gone for good!  Subscriptions are £35, or pre-pay to score your boxes for as low as £32.50 each.  You can even grab 10% off your first order by using WELCOME10.

So what do you think of the May edition of Natural Wellness Box?  Do you think this is something you would be interested in grabbing?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this holistic approach to beauty in the comments below!

*These items were sent to me by the business.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own honest thoughts, and you can see my Disclaimer Page for more details

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

Sunday, 20 May 2018

As you might have guessed by now, The Natural Beauty Box is probably my favourite subscription I receive on a regular basis, and I genuinely count down the days to each new edition as each one is always a slam dunk.  Well, the May "So Pure & Simple" collection is no different, and as always Emma has topped all expectations and brought a perfectly coordinated selection of all natural goodies to us all!

Each product included in this box contains minimal ingredients, and no unnecessary fillers (though with TNBB you never have to worry about nasty additives anyways!).  And as always, the entire edition only contains cruelty free products that are also vegan-friendly.  What more could a green goddess wish for??

As always, the box was packed with love and care, and the items looked like they hadn't moved at all in transit.  I love that I do not have to stress about this box arriving in one piece, and that it is all done without plastic or unnecessary packaging.  A bonus surprise for May was a lot of informational inserts from each brand, and quite a few discount codes.  I love when we get extras like this, as it gets me even more intrigued and excited to explore each brand's full range and makes it much more affordable to do so!

This month subscribers were treated with six items, all of which are generous sizes.  There are some familiar faces here, like award winning Mallow & White and the ever-popular Pure Purpose, and some new names (at least to me!) like Ilex Wood and Moksa Skincare.  I was also pleased to see two artisan brands in here that I have been lucky enough to try once before but have not been able to explore thoroughly -- Celtic Herbal (whose pink clay and geranium face mask is heavenly) and Conscious Skincare.

I have to say, I have been playing around with all these skincare treats for a few days now and I have not been able to pick a favourite -- everything is delightful and seems to be perfect even for my slightly sensitive skin.  It is not often I get a subscription box that I will use and love every single item, but I have never once been disappointed by The Natural Beauty Box.  That being said, let's jump into the contents and get a closer look at everything!

The first product I used was Celtic Herbal's natural soy candle, as I am a sucker for anything that fills my home with mouth watering smells.  Like I mentioned above, I have tried this Welsh brand before, so I was really excited to see how another style of item would fair.  The candle uses ethically sourced soy wax, a material that burns cleaner than traditional candles and is ideal for allergy sufferers, and is made with a blend of lime, basil and mandarin essential oils.  The scents are ideal for uplifting mood and refreshing the mind, and as The Natural Beauty Box reminds us, is a perfect smell for spring and summer.

It smells very citrusy with some herbal undertones, and according to Celtic Herbal's listing the candle should burn upwards of 25 hours.  For a £10 handmade candle, I find this stunning and I will definitely be looking into getting myself a few more -- perhaps the exotic wood and ylang ylang, as that sounds too intriguing not to test out!

This candle is definitely a lovely addition, and I am always thrilled to find non-beauty items in these boxes as there are only so many oils and creams a girl can have before she starts to look like one of those hoarders on channel five.  I love aromatherapy based items especially, as I find them really helpful for my off days -- if I am feeling down I can just light the wick, let it burn, and feel my body respond to the power of plants.

You all know I love me a face oil, so this 10ml bottle from Mallow + White was so welcome.  I have been wanting to try their range for ages, so I am very happy to be adding this Restore Facial Oil to my growing collection.  I am even happier that this is 100% organic and contains one of my holy grail ingredients: rosehip oil!  My skin just drinks the stuff up, and I have never had an issue with congested skin when using anything rose based. 

In line with Mallow + White's '6 or less' ingredient policy, Restore is made with just five simple natural oils -- rosehip seed, apricot kernal, jojoba, grapeseed, and rose geranium.  But the process is anything but simple, as each batch is hand blended to ensure perfection.  This award winning facial oil is truly something extraordinary, as it smells so delicately sweet and sinks fully in to my skin to moisturize and protect all day long.  The five powerhouse oils assist with cellular rejuvenation as well as nourishing the surface layer, and leave your face looking radiant and oh so healthy.

While the bottle does say "for normal/dry skin," I have found it works great on my combination/sensitive face, and has not caused any breakouts or left me feeling oily at all.  That is the thing about a well-made product - it should help balance out your skin and work in tandem with your natural oils.  This has definitely impressed me, and I can't wait to explore even more of the range now!

Ingredients: Rosehip Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Rose Geranium Essential Oil

Item number three is also an oil, but this time one for your body.  Conscious Skincare, another small batch British brand, creates skincare products that focus on providing gentle, toxin-free solutions for all skin types.  Their Frangipani & Sweet Orange Body Oil is great for dry skin (so perfect for all of us coming out that incredibly long winter!) but as I have found it is also suitable for combination skin that is in need of just a little extra boost.

At first I was not too sure about the scent of this -- it sort of reminds me of my grandma (in a good way!) -- but after a few uses I adjusted to the frangipani and now find it pretty uplifting and soothing as long as it is not too close to my nose.  The blend works well together, as sweet orange works to brighten, nourish, slow the effects of UV damage, and promote the production of collagen, while frangipani and frangonia work to relax the mind, reduce stress, and assist with optimizing skin moisture levels and anti-aging.

I do sometimes find body oils a bit too slick for frequent use, but this one absorbs quickly so I am not left feeling like a slimy mess.  It actually works really well as a massage oil if you use a little extra, and since it is relatively light it does not leave your back/shoulders with unseemly spots like some heavier oils can.  I have also used it in the bath which was incredibly relaxing!  I love how multi-use this body oil is, and I will definitely be checking out more of what Conscious Skincare has on offer.

Ingredients: sunflower (helianthus annuus) seed oil*, sweet orange (citrus sinensis) essential oil, frangipani (plumeria acutifolia) essential oil, agonis fragrans essential oil, sandalwood (santalum spicatum) essential oil  * denotes organic

I LOVE this Calendula Skin Salve from The Ilex Wood -- I loved the smell so much when I first opened the tin that I immediately went to use some without realizing that this salve is not the consistency of a standard balm.  I ended up with a giant finger gouge in the product, so say bye bye to any picturesque image of the inside!  I have to say that this is the surprise start of the May edition of The Natural Beauty Box for me -- everything else I sort of knew what to expect, but this one stands out as bringing an element of the unknown.

Holly, founder of The Ilex Wood, handmakes every product in Northhamtonshire and promises to deliver high quality, low cost, all natural goodies that all contain less than 10 ingredients.  I have to say this salve delivers on all of those ideals, and I can't find a single fault with it.  No plastic in sight, and such a gentle formula.  For 100ml, I find this product really reasonably priced (£8), and the quality is exceptional.  It is products like this that make subscription boxes so worth it for me -- I might never have discovered The Ilex Wood without The Natural Beauty Box, and that would honestly be a travesty.

The salve is incredibly delicate -- a hybrid between an oil and a balm -- and has such a light texture that it almost feels like air.  It is much more 'wet' than a typical salve, but this makes the moisturizing properties that much more effective.  I love the little detail of the calendula petals sprinkled on the top, and I find this the best smelling calendula-based item I have ever used.  I think the mix of lavender helps balance out the scent, and it makes the floral qualities just so dainty and refreshing.  Serious perfection here, and I can already say I will be repurchasing this pot when it runs out.

The salve is geared towards those who suffer from eczema or other skin irritations, but it can also be used to soothe chapped lips and insect bites, treat mild rashes, and even help heal sunburn.  Another fab multi-purpose product that can be used for a variety of skin types and needs!

Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Calenulda Officinalis, (Calendula), Glycine Max (Soy wax), Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender Essential Oil)

If you know anything about me (other than I love green beauty and living ethically), you know I live for coffee.  I drink far too much of the stuff, and find the smell of black coffee just mouthwatering.  So when I opened this bag from Pure Purpose I wanted to make a cup of joe ASAP -- don't worry, I used my own beans and saved this for a lovely all over body scrub as intended!

The coffee scrub smells amazing, as it mixes the smell of fresh grounds with zesty orange and earthy turmeric.  The product is perfect for buffing away dead skin cells and leaving a fresh, radiant surface, and the caffeine content is actually great for the skin as it helps boost circulation.  The scrub also helps aid elasticity, tone uneven skin tone, and protect against environmental stressors.

To use, you just wet the area you want to use the scrub on, take a handful of the product, and massage it in.  Since it is really messy, you should not use this standing in the middle of your bathroom, but in the shower or tub.  Just be sure the water is not running otherwise you will find it pretty tricky to fully coat your body and leave it on for the recommended five minutes!

I did find this scrub has a great texture to it thanks to the blend of coffee, sugar, sea salt, and sweet almond oil -- it was not too scratchy and actually left me feeling pretty moisturized as well as clean.  I do really like exfoliants like this, but always find the trouble to be with clean up as this is really bad for plumbing.  I have found laying a little filter or face cloth over the drain helps keep the grounds from going straight down the drain, but it is a bit of a faff.

Ingredients: Coffee seed powder, Sugar, Sweet almond oil, Sea Salt, Turmeric powder, Vitamin E, Orange essential oil, Limonene, Grapefruit seed extract

Now for the item I was looking forward to the most when I first saw the reveals on The Natural Beauty Box's Insta!  I love facial mists, I love rose skincare products, and I adore finding new brands, so the Wild Rose Toning Mist from Moksa was something I was super excited to try out.

Moksa is a British-based brand that was inspired by founder Chloe's travels to India.  Valuing sustainability, minimal packaging, ethically sourced raw materials, and pure ingredients, this range is right up my alley!  Plus, after a quick browse on their website I saw everything is more than affordable -- another plus, as this means the brand is accessible to a wide range of budgets.

The toning mist contains just three ingredients and no preservatives, which is the type of hydrosol I most like to use as I find it gentle, refreshing and effective for daily use.  The floral water is designed to be used after cleansing as a replacement for a toner, meaning it helps remove any excess oil/dirt/product from your face before you move on to your final skincare steps.  The mist does not have a strong scent, making it perfect for those who are sensitive to smell, and can be used on any skin type.

I use products like this throughout the day to keep me focused and awake (I am a very sleepy person -- I blame my iron deficiency!) so the 30ml size will definitely disappear quickly, but if you only use it as a toner it should last a fair amount of time.  I am already looking into buying the larger 100ml bottle, as I do really love the feel of this spray.  While not as cheap as Balm Balm or Alteya, it is 100% organic and contained in a recyclable glass bottle, plus it has a slightly more involved ingredients list which make it great for maintaining moisture levels in the warmer weather.

Ingredients: Organic Rose floral water, Glycerine (from coconut), Vitamin E

The Natural Beauty Box's So Pure & Simple edit not only brings high quality products, but an overall value of over £56.  This means subscribers have saved about £32 (and gained six fabulous green goodies in the process!).  Everything is suited for use together in a skincare routine, making it a really cohesive collection.  I love that each item is perfect for the changing seasons, and that there are a lot of multi-use products that are suitable for every skin type -- this makes it a very inclusive box so no one is left out!

Which item was your favourite from the May box?  Like I said, I couldn't pick just one, but I would love to hear what you thought about the products this month!  Or, if you haven't subscribed yet, let me know which you would most like to try :)

If you are interested in grabbing your own box, you can subscribe here and get 10% off your first box.  Plus, if you are super quick you can still grab the May edition!  But move fast -- there are only 10 boxes left for this collection!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The beauty world is always discovering new buzz words to sell their products more quickly, and unfortunately the most recent fix seems to be plastering the word organic on the label.  However, since the term is not regulated in the health and beauty industry like it is for food and beverages, what you think is free from nasties may not actually be what it says it is on the packaging!

When items from Boots, Tarte, Liz Earle, Korres, Coola, Aloe Pura, Rituals, and others slap the word organic onto a label, the everyday consumer assumes this means the product is better for you -- it is clean, it is green, it is great!  Right???  Unfortunately, most of these brands included only a single ingredient derived from organic farming, and took advantage of the surge in demand for natural and organic cosmetics.  Even worse are the names that imply their range all contains organic ingredients (*ahem* Dr Organics) while actually being part of the greenwashing problem!   While some have changed their tune after being called out for false advertising (Jason being one of note!), others have simply switched things up enough to be able to avoid further controversy (like Organix changing their name to Ogx -- you are still not fooling us!).

So what does 'organic' even mean??

Well, it is entirely up to the consumer to decide unfortunately.  There are certification bodies, but it is honestly a bit of a mess at the moment, as there are both internationally recognized bodies like COSMOS along with individual country's own certifications.  And guess what -- they all have different rules, regulations, and standards for what it means to be organic.

Frustrated?  Confused?  I was too, don't worry!  I had a look through some of my cupboards, and in just five minutes found eight different labels all stating in one way or another to be organic.  Some logos are from accredited agencies while some are vague descriptions, but each one makes claims about the product's status as organic.

I decided to look them all up, and found that out of the eight, six were registered bodies that carry out tests to ensure the product is indeed natural/organic.  And for these labels, the common factors for organic certifications are

- a minimum of organic ingredients (always between 70% and 100%)
- no harsh/dangerous ingredients included
- no GMOs
- no pesticides used in farming practices

But what about those general statements about being organic?  Are those lies? 

Well, for my stash the claims do seem to be genuine after doing some searching, though it is incredibly hard to tell without the seal of approval.  Some brands do opt out of getting certified as the process is lengthy, costly, and can run into complication due to certain ingredients falling into another assessment category or certification body.  Yet, their product ingredients can still indeed be organic if obtained from suppliers who ARE regulated.  Most of these businesses are run on trust and are very transparent about where they gather their ingredients and how they are then processed.  See what I mean by it being up to you to decide what you are looking for when it comes to buying organic?

It does not have to be super complicated though.  Just be sure to check the ingredient label before buying and you should be set.  If a product claims to be organic and the INCI does not reflect this, RUN.  And if you want to be extra safe and have an easier way of figuring out which brands are good to go, look out for the most common logos which are from COSMOS, Soil Association, USDA Certified Organic, EcoCert, and NaTrue.  But be aware that many of these labels can show a product's all natural content OR organic content.  Most will state which type they fit into, but when in doubt, hop online as most of these certifications have a complete listing of the brands they have approved for organic status with a quick and easy check!

It is also important to point out that some businesses that are operated outside of North America and Europe will use their own systems (like Australia's OFC and AsureQuality!).  If you are ever unsure, just do a quick search or have a look on the brand's site -- if they do not link to any certification bodies after claiming organic status, you know to do some more digging!

This all seems like a lot, so to get you started (or to keep you going!) I wanted to share a sampling of some of my tried and true organic brands and products!


For makeup I tend to go for Inika and PHB for a lot of options because they have such a wide range to choose from.  Remember my full face attempt?  I was able to order all of the products for that from one place -- so convenient!  Any brand that offers a variety of products or that is a one stop shop I am so there for.  PHB's pressed eyeshadows, mineral foundation, mascara, and eyeliner are probably my favourites from their cosmetics line, and for Inika it is all about the lipstick (though as you can see I also love their other items!).

I have also recently discovered Akar Skin and Aura Organics, both of which have lovely lip balms -- the one from Akar is especially nice as it is tinted!  While neither of these brands are certified (at least that I could find), their ingredient labels are packed with organic ingredients, and they have both earned my trust.

For those of you looking to keep a tight budget, Benecos and Green People are ones to look into, as neither break the bank and both have such high quality stuff!  I love pairing the Green People lip crayon with the Benecos lip liner as they compliment each other perfectly.  They also have some great eyeshadows, blusher, and mascara, plus so much more I haven't even tried out yet.

Vapour is one I haven't tried too much of yet as it was a bit tricky to get my hands on anything until recently.  However, their highlight is seriously magical, and while not entirely organic, it has the minimum 70%.  If you are struggling to find an organic glow, this could be the one!


I have so many go to organic skincare brands it was hard to narrow it down to just a few!  Antipodes is one of my newest loves, and I can vouch for their cleanser and eye cream so far.  They are certified by one of the Australian agencies I mentioned, and like many of my favourites, have no plastic involved in their packaging.

The other new additions to my skincare family are Alexa Sky Botanicals, which contains primarily organic ingredients, and Guiltless Skin, a Soil Association/COSMOS certified brand that has blown me away.  Right now Guiltless Skin have face oils, cleansers, serums, and body butters, and I cannot wait to see what else they release in the future.  The charcoal cleansing powder is so unique, and it has really been helping my skin since starting using it last week.  And the eye serum from ASB is truly something else -- I love the rollerball application method and it has been helping me look awake and not destroyed despite not sleeping much.

A great budget brand that is also amazing quality is Balm Balm -- I have almost their entire catalog of products at this point, and not one has a fault (well... other than smell for some of them!).  I use their rose hydrosol daily, and adore their face oil, bath oil, perfume, and more.  They also have a fragrance free option for a lot of their items, so it is very inclusive for all skin types and needs.  Plus they have a great choice of samples to pick from so you can try before you buy the full size.

Okko is another organic brand with generous sample sizes -- I love their foot balm and face balm sticks, and find they are good for other uses as well (like cuticles and dry patches on elbows!).  If you need a handy size for travelling, this is one to look up.

Two other long time loves of mine are Madara and Ooh! Oils of Heaven.  I first discovered both of these in Love Lula Beauty Boxes, and I have been lucky enough to try loads in their range.  I especially like the scrub and peel mask from Madara, as both are gentle enough for my sensitive skin, and the avocado oil from Ooh! as it is a perfect multitasker.  I tend to use it in my hair most often, but it can be used on the face, body, or bath too!

If you are looking for an organic range that spans all beauty categories from bath oil to lip gloss, Neal's Yard Remedies is probably your best bet.  NYR is a Soil Association certified brand that has staples offered online at Love Lula and other online retailers, but also smaller batch products in their physical shops.  They have been making waves in the UK thanks to their high quality items and high end look, and have even collabed with Deliciously Ella to create some gorgeous smelling items that combine Ella's favourite ingredients (rose and lime).  Definitely a name to check out if you haven't already!

I feel like I can't do a post about organic brands without mentioning Naveen, another SA certified skincare range that created the first sustainable and all natural sheet mask.  Naveen is a Taiwanese business that focuses on creating effective products that don't skimp on ingredient quality.  They are preservative free, contain no nasties, and are -- you guessed it -- organic.  If you like sheet masks but haven't found any safe, nontoxic options, this is the one for you.

Hair, Bath, + More:

Again, I have to say how tricky it was to limit what I was going to show all you eco-beauties to just a few organic brands.  There are so many amazing options out there, both certified and without a seal of approval, so I highly recommend just browsing your local shops or favourite online retailer to explore what is available.  This is how I discovered Willow Organic Beauty, and I would be so sad knowing I skipped over such a lovely bath oil.  The Jasmine & Geranium oil is 100% organic, and it smells gorgeous and makes my skin feel so silky.

The next few are all names I discovered through various beauty boxes, and I am so happy to have found them.   Evolve has so many to choose from - the hair oil is fantastic, deodorant is super effective, and the samples I have tried of their moisturizer and face mask have been brilliant.  I haven't had any issues with the items I have tried from Evolve, and will keep exploring what they have to offer!  Rawganic make plastic free organic face wipes that cleanse, tone, and hydrate all in one, and I can't imagine being without them at this point.  And Earth Conscious I recently got in a Low Tox Box (full review is on its way!!) and I couldn't be more happy with it.

MOA is probably my best find through a subscription, as I seriously LOVE everything they make.  Their green balm is a true multi-tasker, as I use it for removing my eye makeup, sorting out cuts and scrapes, moisturizing my cuticles, and occasionally oil cleansing.  This is another one that is not officially recognized, but every ingredient on the list is certified organic.

I have recently started using some Skin & Tonic products as well which are approved by the Soil Association -- I can't get enough of the Gentle Scrub and look forward to using it in the shower twice a week every week.  They also do lip balms, face masks, mists, and oils, so there is a whole organic skincare routine ready and waiting for you!  And if you need some hair styling options for after your skin is all pampered, EcoCosmetics has got you covered!  Their hair spray contains a total of 93% organic ingredients, and is actually really affordable!

I hope this post has helped sort out the 'organic' label confusion at least a little bit, and that you will find hunting down your favourite organic brand easier in the future!  I know it took me a while to learn the ropes, and to be honest, I am still finding out more information all the time.  Like all things to do with living a greener lifestyle, it takes time and it is a continuous process.  And hopefully we can look forward to further legislation that more concretely determines what is/isn't organic and how the term can be used in marketing!

Still wanting even more organic brands to check out?: Terre Verdi, Voya, Elli, Tabitha James Kraan, Cattier, Avril, Organii, Botanicals, Chobs, Odylique, By Sarah, Earth Mother Soul Sister, Herbfarmacy, Alteya Organics, Pai, Naissance, Pink's Boutique, Mu London, Zao, Weleda, Dr Hauschka, Lavera...

Feel free to add even more below!! Just be sure they are at least 70% organic so we don't end up with even more confusion about what 'organic' should be :)

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