Product Reviews (Body Shop, Lush) and a Second Word on Parabens

by - 12:37

Here are just a few quick reviews on products I have been using recently.

**Please note I am currently in the process of replacing the images in this post. In the meantime you can view images of the products using the links provided**

Body Butters from The Body Shop

I had chosen these body butters based on the fact that they contain no parabens (though from the website it would seem that the blueberry one does contain parabens after all, so I must have just missed that when I looked at the ingredients the first time), as well as the fact that I had used a couple before and really enjoyed them. This time I tried the passion fruit, raspberry and blueberry scents.

[Image sources: raspberry, passion fruit, blueberry]

The passion fruit scent was my favourite of the three. It smells exactly like fresh passionfruit and has a very buttery soft texture. It applies nicely and moisturises fairly well on normal skin. The blueberry for me was fairly comparable in terms of texture and quality of the scent. Again, it moisturises fairly well on normal skin. 

The raspberry for me was still nice, but not as good in terms of texture or scent as the other two. The scent was recognisable as raspberry but seemed more synthetic than the others, and the consistency of the product was thinner and creamier (more like what I would think of as a 'moisturiser' than what I would think of as a 'body butter'). 

Overall I really like these products, but I wouldn't recommend them for problem skin as I didn't feel that they hydrated my eczema well enough to keep me feeling comfortable.  

The ingredients for each of these products can be found on their respective pages on The Body Shop website, as linked below the picture.

Price: £13.00 for 200ml (but I bought these on sale)

Overall Rating: 3/5 (I knocked off points for what I consider to be a high price, and only average level of moisturisation on my skin)

This is the first of Lush's shower smoothies that I have ever tried. It feels very nice on the skin, and has a pleasant scent although if you dislike calamine then it might not be the product for you. It dries to a silky matte feel so really helps to keep "wet" eczema under control but I did find it quite drying on the skin so a good moisturiser is an essential product to go alongside this. I didn't see any improvement to my skin while I was using this product, but nor did I see any decline in the condition of my skin. All in all I thought it was a nice product, but I personally won't be repurchasing this as I didn't see any benefit to using it on my own skin.

Ingredients: Calamine Powder, Water, Fair Trade Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Rapeseed Oil and Coconut Oil, Glycerine, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Hydroxide, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Blue Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Linalool, Perfume

Price: £9.75 for 250g 

Overall Rating: 2/5

Lush Oatifix

I don't use face masks very often but they make a lovely treat every now and again. In the past I have only used Catastrophe Cosmetic but I was persuaded to try Oatifix instead as a face mask for dry skin. After working my way through a pot of this I can happily say that I absolutely loved it. Everything from the scent to the texture to the cooling and moisturising sensation you get when you apply this product was perfect for me. It smells good enough to eat and leaves your skin feeling amazing afterwards. The almonds in the mixture are gently exfoliating so help to get rid of any dry bits without feeling harsh or scrubby. I would definitely purchase this again the next time I need a treat for my skin. 

Ingredients: Glycerine, Fine Oatmeal, Fresh Organic Bananas,Water, Ground Almonds, Illipe Butter, Kaolin, Talc, Vanilla Pod, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Sandalwood Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Coumarin, Benzyl Cinnamate, Linalool, Perfume, Gardenia Extract

Price: £5.95 for 75g

Overall Rating: 5/5

Angels on Bare Skin is a gentle cleanser based on almond milk. It comes in a solid form as shown in the picture above and turns to a cleansing milk when you add water to a small amount in your hand. Like with Oatifix, the almonds in the mixture act as a gentle exfoliant while the lavender and essential oils give the product a light fresh scent. Although I like the way this cleanser behaves and makes my skin feel, I find it a bit of a pain to use as it's easy to get the consistency wrong and lose all the product from out of your hand. It also doesn't take your makeup off, so a makeup remover is needed alongside this product.

Ingredients: Ground Almonds, Glycerine, Kaolin, Water, Lavender Oil, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Blue Oil, Tagetes Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Lavender Flowers, Limonene, Linalool

Price: £6.35 for 100g

Overal Rating: 3/5

This is my favourite of Lush's cleansers that I've tried. It's very gentle and calming on problem skin, and I do enjoy the scent of calamine as well. It's very easy to use - it's works exactly like a bar of soap, just lather up and apply to the skin. I've found this fits into my routine much better than Angels on Bare Skin as it's quicker to use and I can take it in the shower without worrying too much that all my cleanser will disappear. It doesn't do a bad job at taking makeup off, but it's not exactly a makeup remover either (it doesn't deal well with mascara) so having a makeup remover as well is still a good idea.

I do find it a little bit drying, but so far I've not had any major problems as long as I remember to moisturise my face as soon as I've finished washing.

Ingredients: Calamine Powder, Propylene Glycol, Chamomile Decoction, Elderflower Decoction, Rapeseed Oil and Coconut Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Hydroxide, Water, Lavender Oil,Chamomile Blue Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Rose Absolute,Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume

Price: £4.75 for 100g

Overall Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, nor am I affiliated with any named companies. Some products were provided as free samples in store to test out prior to purchasing full size products. All other products were bought by myself with my own money and all opinions are my own.

And a word on parabens...

A while ago I wrote a post with some information about the use of parabens as preservatives in cosmetics and the health concerns involved. As a person with very sensitive skin, it’s important to me to have products which don’t cause allergic reactions or aggravate my eczema. I had come across enough health concerns about parabens to make me want to avoid buying products which contain them.

For those that don’t know, I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in Forensic Science; as a part of this I read several scientific journals and magazines. Well, as luck would have it, the August issue of the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) News featured an article about the risks of certain chemicals. Due to this article I am now able to provide you with some updated information from my last post, for anyone who is concerned about parabens in their products.

  • Although the use of parabens has been linked to the development of certain cancers, there is no evidence to show that parabens are harmful in this way. More research is underway into the long-term health effects of their use.
  • In clinical trials, around 1% of people showed an allergic response to parabens. When applied to normal skin, parabens contained in cosmetic products should not be the cause of an allergic response.

So my opinion on this, for what it’s worth, is that if you do not suffer from any skin complaints then you probably don’t need to go to the trouble of avoiding parabens. For myself, I think I will continue to avoid them when my eczema is bad, but perhaps I don’t need to bother about avoiding them as much when my skin is clear. If you are concerned about parabens in your cosmetics and skin care products, paraben-free products such as those I have reviewed, or products containing alternative preservatives such as grapefruit seed extract (GSE) are available.

Further reading

This information on parabens is adapted from the following two RSC publications:

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  1. This was such a well written, enjoyable review post, my dear. I have always been a big fan of Body Shop's body butters. Like yourself, I have very sensitive skin (and eczema, plus some other skin conditions) and usually can't do scented products, but I've had pretty good lucky with the Body's Shops butters (twelve or so years ago, I discovered this and was hooked on their cranberry scented one for ages afterwards!).

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your wonderful comment on my post about 1980s does 40s/50s fashions. I'm with you completely. The price of vintage pieces - if you should haven to luck out and find some at all - around these parts are very, very high. With online prices skyrocketing everyday online, I really think more and more of us will keep weaving lovely "80s does" pieces into our vintage wardrobes.

    1. I don't think I've tried the cranberry one but my favourite of the above three was the passionfruit, and I also love their vineyard peach one. :)