A Love Affair x Body Shop Body Butters

Since I was a kid, I’ve had an on-again/off-again love affair with The Body Shop.  The love part being that their products smell yummy enough to eat—at 13, I jokingly convinced my friend that their mango body butter was edible (he was not impressed haha).  The hate part stemming from the fact that paying $20 per tub seems outrageous to a 13-year-old, and also because I shifted away from wanting to smell like a fruit and began to prefer more complex fragrances.

In my last post, I debated the merits of switching over to all natural beauty products.  While fully making the switch is not for me, I think that it is important to incorporate more all natural (or at least naturally based products) into my routine, as long as there is no sacrifice in effectiveness.  Lucky for me, I came to that conclusion the same day that I walked by a huge sale at The Body Shop!

Body Shop Love Affair

Out of sheer curiosity, I slathered a bit of mango body butter on the back of my hand and was instantly sold.  It has a light, clean scent that is very natural and quite different from the artificial and overly sweet fruit scents often found in other products.  The body butter is a rich, heavy cream that absorbs nicely, feels incredibly luxurious and most importantly, is not as greasy as I originally remembered it being.  The Body Shop apparently changed their formula in the years that I deigned to enter their stores, and now that I think of it, I remember their original formula as being more of a translucent, regular yellow salve as opposed to the current opaque, pale yellow cream.  While I’m sure some people hate the change, I personally adore the new, less greasy formula.

Suffering from perpetually dry skin, you should know that I take an obsession with moisturizing to a whole new level.  Not only does slathering on a good moisturizer have to happen immediately after stepping out of the shower, but the last thing I do before going to bed is lotion my hands and feet.  I’ve gone as far as using very moisturizing but horribly inconvenient products such as Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (so difficult to spread!) and even virgin coconut oil (so greasy!) all over.  As weird as this may sound, I’m kind of a lotion snob, which makes it all the more surprising that I’m so impressed with this body butter.  The scents are delicious and long lasting, but are never overpowering.  Although these body butters are not dirt cheap, they don’t break the bank either (Laura Mercier Soufflé Body Crème, I’m looking at you!).  Most importantly , they are one of the few products I’ve found that doesn’t leave oil stains everywhere and isn’t impossible to apply, while still managing to give me noticeably softer and suppler skin.

Body Shop Body Butter Haul

Here are the goodies that I walked out of the sale with… (and yes, there is probably enough body butter here to moisturize a small family for a year!)

Mango Body Butter

Mango Body Butter (Large Size) – I was looking for a fresh scent to use over the summer and this was my favourite of all the fruity ones.  The mango body butter captures the smell of a fresh mango without being artificial or overly sweet.  The scent is very noticeable at first, but not overpoweringly so, and is more fragrant when applied than it is in the tub.  Although it fades slightly throughout the day, it definitely lasts longer than many other body butters I’ve tried.  It’s a simple and sweet scent that can play well with other fragrances if you wish to layer it with another perfume or body spray.

Shea Body Butter

Shea Body Butter (Large Size) – The sale was just too good that I couldn’t resist getting another big one.  On sale for $15 each, both this and the mango were double the size, but $5 cheaper than the regular body butter tubs.  My workplace is “scent-safe” (we aren’t allowed to wear scented products to protect those with fragrance allergies), and this one seemed the least offensive while still managing to smell delicious.  It’s a very warm scent with some milder floral notes that will be lovely to use once summer is over and I either retire or finish my mango butter.  Shea butter is known for its cell regeneration and healing properties as well as the moisturizing and calming effect it has on skin.  This body butter formula features community trade shea butter and is thicker and less wet (more along the lines of a salve) than its mango counterpart.  Despite the product’s stiffer texture, it’s still as easy to apply and quickly absorbs into your skin without leaving behind a greasy residue.

Macadamia Duo Body Butter

Macadamia Body Butter Duo – I love the ying yang swirl packaging and the way the tub is sectioned off into product for normal or dry skin areas.  To be frank, I wasn’t too sold on this one because the dry skin butter was a little too thick—even thicker than that of the shea body butter—but since it was on sale for only $5, I couldn’t resist.  Upon using it, however, I was pleased to find that it spreads and absorbs surprisingly easy with little to no greasy residue (macadamia nut oil is touted for not being too greasy).  The regular sized tub will be perfect to keep on my desk at work and once I finish it up, the split container will be great for taking longer trips as I often like to swap out scents according to my mood.  Some customers have commented that the corners of the ying yang container make it difficult to get the last bit of product out and also that the ratio of product should have been more along the lines of 75% body butter and 25% salve.  Neither of these issues bothers me too much since I don’t mind using a knife to get into the corners, and i’m more likely to use one side all over depending on the weather outside rather than each side for specific dry/normal body parts.  The scent is creamy and natural without being too earthy or  musky, and is probably the mildest of all the scents I purchased.

Sweet Lemon Body Butter

Sweet Lemon Body Butter (Travel Size) – I’m not usually a fan of citrus scents, but this one pulls it off quite nicely.  Rather than being overly tart, I find that it is nicely balanced and more along the lines of a sweet and creamy lemon scent.  This is probably my least favourite of the body butter scents, but it was the only travel sized scent on sale.  The container is the perfect size for carrying around with you or for weekend trips away, and the bright yellow makes it very easy to spot at the bottom of your handbag!

So would I recommend these?  Absolutely!  I can’t seem to get enough of these body butters because they smell delicious, are easily applied and absorbed, and most importantly, they work better than any product I’ve come across in a while!  I adore that they are a more natural—although not completely natural—beauty product, which works perfectly with my new goal of trying to incorporate more of these types of products into my routine.  I won’t make any promises that The Body Shop body butters are the only ones I’ll use from now on as the scent range is quite limited, but this is a fantastic product that will be a staple in this lotion addict’s beauty cupboard.

What is your favourite Body Shop Body Butter scent?  What do you think about the new formula? Love it? Hate it? 

With Love,
Veronique♥

 

[Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥]

All Natural Beauty x Is it worth the switch?

all natural

For one reason or another, I’ve never seen much appeal in using all natural beauty products.  I love experimenting with this and that, but what matters most is whether or not I see results.  If I love a product that just so happens to be all natural, then that’s FANTASTIC, but I’ve never sought them out specifically for that reason.

In my experience, I’ve found that natural products are often more expensive, have a shorter shelf life (they often lack preservatives) and rarely result in dramatic improvements performance-wise when compared to their regular counterparts.  Between mashing an avocado to use as a hair mask or using an avocado based deep conditioner that has been specifically formulated to penetrate your hair shaft, I’ll take the more effective—albeit less natural—one every time.  While the reasoning behind switching to all natural products makes complete sense from a health perspective, I’ve always figured that it probably isn’t that worth it if I’m still willing to chow down on a McDonalds burger.

Avocado Hair Mask

Re-examining the Benefits

In a recent attempt to find a miracle cure for the bags luggage that has made a permanent home under my eyes, a little digging revealed that they might be excess fatty tissue.  While fat in the eye area is normal and helps to support the eye, the puffiness of my eye bags seemed excessive.  Regardless of how much sleep I get or how long I place cold compresses on them, they never fully go away (especially when I smile)!

I came across a few articles that indicated that the fat in this area—as well as the stubborn exercise/diet-resistant fat everywhere else—may be so difficult to shed because of the chemicals we consume daily and… wait for it… the “nasties” that are being absorbed into our skin through beauty products!  That got my attention.

These nasties, as they referred to in the beauty industry, are supposedly also to blame for a lot of the skin ailments people are experiencing nowadays.  While the extent of that particular statement may be questionable, the David Suzuki Foundation took a look at the “Dirty Dozen“—a list of the 12 most often used chemicals in cosmetics and their effects when absorbed into our body.  According to the article, almost 80% of products contain one of these dozen toxic chemicals, which can include carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants.   Okay, so that got a little too depressing a little too fast (I actually had to stop reading articles because it made me want to purge every less than organic product I owned) but it did shed a new whole light on my natural vs. not natural product dilemma.

I have come to the conclusion that for me personally, it IS important to make a more conscious effort to use natural products regardless of the extra cost—but NOT at the expense of seeing results.  The good news is that although natural beauty products aren’t new, the resurgence of their popularity means that cosmetic companies have been forced to step up their game and create all natural products that are better and more effective than ever before.  There are also a few product lines that I’m also very interested in exploring further such as Ren Skin Care (found in Sephora), Michael Todd True Organics (bloggers have been raving about this), and of course, the always creative Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

michael todd

Here are a few quick tips for purchasing natural beauty products:

♥ Be diligent about reading reviews!

The trend towards greener cosmetics means that a lot of new products that have come out aren’t tried, tested and true.  This should go unsaid, but I want to emphasize the importance on doing a little digging on new products to find out if they really work, if they smell funny, expire quickly, etc.  Avoid making the same mistakes as other consumers by reading up on what they have to say about each product.  A quick Google search of “[product] review” is all you need.

♥ Be aware of GREENWASHING!

If you’re going to go all natural then it’s important to do your homework because cosmetic companies have been heavily accused of greenwashing (claiming to be more natural or organic than they really are)!  If you’re simply working more all natural or naturally based products into your routine, then this step isn’t as critical, but is still something you should be aware of, especially if it’s the “natural” aspect that you’re paying premium prices for.

♥ Swap out when possible

Swapping products out is easiest with those where results aren’t as important—for example, swap out your heavily fragranced Bath and Body Works shower gel for a more natural one from The Body Shop.  Also, try to swap out some of the products that are the worst for you, like shampoos containing sulfates (sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)).  I’ve used both of L’Oreal’s sulfate-free EverPure and EverCreme lines, which are easily found in drugstores and grew in popularity during the Brazilian Keratin Treatment trend as the sulfates in ordinary shampoos washed away the treatment’s smoothing effects.

♥ Purchase in smaller quantities + refrigerate when possible

This rule mostly refers to Lush products, because although I absolutely adore many of their items, I’m often put off by the extremely short shelf life (resulting from the lack of preservatives).  As a result, I always try to buy the smallest amount of product and keep items in the refrigerator whenever possible.  A week or so before a product’s expiration date, I separate the products into single uses and stick everything into the freezer, taking out only what I need for a week at a time.  I’ve heard that this is not recommended by the staff, but personally, I’d rather use the rest of the product up with lower expectations than toss something away that could still have some potential benefit.  I’m also more likely to keep purchasing from the store if I actually use up their products, rather than consider shopping there to be a waste of money by throwing half away each time.

Note: Whether or not you should freeze items will vary from product to product (e.g., freeze a face scrub or a cleanser but not the fresh face masks since freezing will kill the enzymes in certain ingredients)

lush-cosmetics-office

So even if going all natural isn’t for you, try working a few more natural products into your routine—it’s definitely not an all or nothing thing as I had previously thought.  There’s absolutely no harm in doing so, with a world of benefits to be gained if you’re able to find some good ones.  Don’t discount beauty products or makeup for being less effective just because they’re all natural.  There has been a dramatic increase in the quality and effectiveness of natural products in response to the growing market for this trend!

What are some natural beauty products that you have fallen in love with?  Are there any that you’ve tried that are absolutely terrible?  Share your recommendations below!

With Love,
Veronique♥

 

[Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥]