The very mention of the words, ‘the body shop’ instantly conjure up images of nourishing body butters, hydrating lip balms and invigorating body washes. Each product tickling the senses with beautiful fruity scents, eye-catching packaging and soothing ingredients. I have always been a fan of the body shop not only for their high quality products but their company ethics. They are very passionate, vocal and active with regards not testing their products on animals, something which I really admire and believe the entire beauty industry should adopt and adhere too. I have tried out various products from their ever-growing skincare, body care, fragrance and cosmetic collections over the years and I have discovered a few gems. I have chosen to feature five different products that have really stood out to me and that I would happily recommend. Some of these products are new editions to the skincare range but I am happy to add them to my list of favourites.
Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask – €25 for 75ml
First up is a new addition, a green tinged creamy facemask enriched with matcha tea, aloe vera, shea butter and dandelion, all of which are calming and soothing on the skin. Each of these ingredients combined with one another formulate a deep cleansing, purifying and exfoliating mask*. As I suffer with sensitive skin, I am always cautious about using a new facemask especially as I have a bit of a week spot for them and tend to want to try all the latest one’s on the market. Marketed to remove impurities from the skin and create a fresh glow, I decided to put these claims to the test.
Firstly I must point out that anything remotely exfoliating and I mean with even the hint of a mild exfoliant will cause my skin to react. Even the mildest forms causing a break out. Bearing that in mind I decided to be very careful applying this face mask and started off by using it weekly. I also only let it sit on my skin for 10 minutes at a time. Call it being overly cautious but I did not want angry-looking inflamed skin. The cream based mask is cooling and soothing once applied to the skin. It tingles ever so slightly but in a good way I promise. It smells slightly earthy but it isn’t an unpleasant smell. It dries in ever so slightly over the course of ten minutes but doesn’t make the skin feel tight like a clay mask would. It doesn’t cause my skin to itch or feel any way aggravated and washes off easily with tepid water and a muslin cloth.
Results wise, yes the skin does appear softer and somewhat brighter after application. As the first two applications seemed to go so well, I got a little too excited and increased the frequency in which I used it. This was entirely my fault and I really should have known better but it caused my skin to purge in the form of white heads and pimples. I think I was a little too enthusiastic, overused it and pushed my skin tolerance to its limit. I was expecting some purging but didn’t expect to feel like a teenager again. With my lesson learnt and applying only the most gentle of skin products my face has now started to heal. Would this put me off using the mask again? No, as it was entirely my fault. I just used it too much, too quickly and should have known better. When used on a weekly/fortnightly basis my skin really benefited from it and I saw great results. My only other slight criticism is it is quite expensive, however, I have only used about a quarter of the jars contents (in 6 applications). The packaging i.e the darkened glass jar to protect the masks active ingredients is very effective and appealing. As is the green brightly coloured label.
* This mask is 100% vegan and contains no silicones, mineral oil or parabens.
British Rose Petal Soft Gel Toner – €15.50 for 250ml
I had stopped incorporating facial toner into my skincare routine as I found it difficult to source one that felt gentle on my skin and was alcohol free. The vast majority of facial toners on the market contain alcohol which dries out my already dehydrated skin. I was delighted when a new toner containing gentle rose petals and most importantly containing no alcohol landed on my doorstep. When my skin has a bad flare up regardless of where it occurs on my body, I tend to use natural rose infused water to help soothe it so I am a big fan of rose based products as it is.
This facial toner*, housed in a transparent bottle contains aloe vera and organic rose petals from Mexico. Its slightly sticky gel consistency delicately scented with the aroma of freshly cut roses. It is both cooling and gentle on the skin. All you need to do is soak a cotton facial pad in the slightly golden coloured solution and gently sweep it across your face to remove any residue left behind from cleansing. Even though it is very gentle on the skin, I would still avoid the eye area. My skin does feel clean, soft and smooth after use, a perfect base to add the rest of your skincare products onto. The cleaner your skin is after cleansing and toning, the better it will absorb the nourishing ingredients from your facial serum and moisturiser. The toner is both affordable and a decent size. I find you only need to use a small amount of product to get good results so the 250ml bottle should last a while.
* This toner is 100% vegan
French Lavender Massage Oil – €23.95 for 170ml
I discovered this beautifully scented massage oil by complete accident last year. I was stocking up on some fruity body washes and some body butter’s when the new spa of the world range caught my eye. Obviously I had to check it out and was blown away by the beautiful lavender aroma from this massage oil. Anyway in the midst of discovering this range I got a phone call and was completely sidetracked. The combination of having the massage oil in my hand, being distracted and rushing to the til to pay for the other products resulted in me purchasing the massage oil. It was only when I got home that I realised that one, my order total was way more than I thought it would be and two a shiny new brown bottle was looking up at me from the contents of my shopping bag. I am not going to lie part of me kicked myself for getting so distracted as the massage oil is not cheap by any means and really what would I be doing with a massage oil?
Anyway cutting a long story short, I got a brain wave one night to massage this lavender-scented oil into my feet just as I was hopping into bed as I thought it might help me relax and keep my feet nice and soft. This proved quite the treat and quickly became a nightly ritual. I have to admit a year on and I still have the same bottle albeit three-quarters empty but it still smells wonderful and keeps my feet super soft every night. I really like the scent of French lavender as it is that bit stronger than other varieties of the purple flowering plant. A small amount (approx one teaspoon full) of the massage oil certainly goes a long way and I have gotten great value out of the 170ml bottle. In terms of ingredients, the oil is composed of sweet almond*, sesame seed and jojoba oils (each oil being incredibly kind and soothing to the skin) infused with French lavender. I also really like the unique shape of the bottle and the secure screw top lid. Even though the bottle itself is composed of plastic, it contains a darkened tint to protect the delicate ingredients inside.
* Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers
Shea Nourishing Body Butter – €20.95 for 200ml
I am trying to rack my brain to see if I remember how or even when I got introduced to the body shops range of body butters. I think I may have gotten a body care gift set as a birthday present during my teenage years. All I know is it is a long time ago now. It is safe to say that since then I have tried out many varieties of the beloved body butter. If a new fragrance is introduced into the range I just have to try it out. I reviewed a body butter from the seasonal frosted plum range a couple of years ago. It was one of my very first blog posts.
One of my favourites and dare I say trusty reliables is the shea body butter. It is so simple and to the point. It is not overly fragranced and feels incredibly creamy on the skin. If your skin (on your body) is ever in need of some serious tlc then I would highly recommend cocooning yourself in a liberal layer of this body butter. It definitely keeps the skin soft and supple. My top tip would be to have a nice warm bath, tap your skin dry, apply a generous layer of your chosen body butter to your entire body excluding the face and pop on your pj’s. You will wake up the next morning to gloriously soft skin. I must point out the reason it is not recommended for facial use is that it is very heavy on the skin and can block pores leading to spots.
The body butter itself is composed of community trade shea butter from Ghana and community trade organic babassu oil from Brazil. The only thing that bothers me about this particular skincare product is that it contains parabens. A lot of attention has gone into sourcing some of the beautiful ingredients contained in this cream but the addition of methylparaben and propylparaben (both preservative agents) puts a negative spin on things. As I mentioned before the topic of parabens in skincare is a conflicting area. Regardless of any proper scientific and medical based literature backing up these claims, I will still continue to use these body butters but the use of parabens is an area that I am concerned about. I have researched a lot of literature myself over the years and it is difficult to get a definitive answer as to what the right thing to do is. I think in general more natural based preservatives could be used to substitute these man-made chemical preservatives. I think it would put a lot of people’s mind at ease. The body butters are also available in different sizes and scents, my favourites being vineyard peach, passion fruit and coconut. Each one leaving a delicate scent on the skin.
Shower Gel – €8.95 for 250ml
I am a big fan of the body shops fruity shower gels in particular the strawberry, raspberry and satsuma varieties. They definitely help lift your mood and awaken your senses during the morning shower. As they are soap-free they won’t dry out the skin but gently cleanse it. Your skin is then left with a beautiful fruity aroma as you toddle on with your day. An entire bottle of shower gel will generally last me a couple of weeks with daily washing. I would suggest using proper soap for em the underarms as I don’t find the body washes strong enough to tackle that particular area.
The fruity shower gel’s contain real fruit extract which make them even more appealing. They really do smell delicious. I was gutted to recently discover that one of my favourites has now been discontinued. I am a huge fan of the raspberry range and loved combining the shower gel with the gentle exfoliating body wash but it appears that particular variety has now been discontinued. I understand that this happens in order to make room for new launches but I am still sad to see it go.
These are just a few products from the many ranges available in the body shop and I am sure I will be constantly adding to my list of favourites. My top tip if you are planning on stocking up or buying in bulk is to keep an eye out for special offer events in store. I know these tend to occur a couple of times a year but exclusions may still apply. I find these events are the best time to stock up as you get more value for money. Unfortunately the body shop Ireland does not have an online store but they do provide pricing and general information regarding all products over on their website. The UK site is different as the Irish store is a franchise so what may be on offer over there may not be on offer in Irish stores. The body shop are forever passionate about animal welfare and strictly adhere to all of their products being cruelty free.