Lavender, that distinct smelling purple flowering plant that grows on long slender stalks has been a firm favourite in my family home for as long as I remember. My granny adored it as does my Mam and evidently I do too. My Mam, still to this day will have some form of lavender-scented hand-wash, hand-cream and candles in the house at all times. She even continues to put a drop of lavender oil on her pillow every night to help her sleep. She is a terrible sleeper like myself. I find the beautiful aroma that lavender provides really relaxes me so I tend to sprinkle a few drops in warm running water before I pop into the bath to relax. I love the delicate scent it leaves on my skin especially before going to sleep.
I discovered the lavender lads quite randomly on Facebook at the very start of the year and contacted them personally to enquire about their range of lavender products. I had a lovely chat with them and they very kindly sent out a few of their products for me to try. As I haven’t been too well these past six months the majority of product reviews were sadly put on hold hence the delay writing up this and many other posts. I can safely say that I have started trucking away once again with the reviews especially on the more natural side of beauty. The products that were kindly sent to me included three Savon de Marseille lavender soaps, a French lavender essential oil and a jar of lavender bangin’ bath salts. Unfortunately I have now used up the majority of these products but still have one soap set aside. I am aware that there are a variety of different species of lavender each providing a slight variation in scent. Some are more potent than others and hence can cost more to purchase. I find French lavender to be more potent than others so a bottle of essential oil can last a long time.
So firstly who are The Lavender Lads? Well they consist of a charismatic duo named Eoin O`Raghallaigh and Simon Krieger. Simon was born in Köln but lived in Greystones for 25 years. He has a holiday home rental business in the south of France that essentially became the birth place of The Lavender Lads. Located in the beautiful Gard-Provencal and surrounded by fields and fields of beautiful scented lavender, Simon quickly got to know the local lavender farmers and savonnerie’s. Eoin visited the area in June 2015 where Simon showed him the many wonderful products available on his doorstep. He became so inspired by what he saw that he decided to set up an online store with Simon so other people could experience a taste of the area too. All the lavender used in their products come directly from a lavender farmer and his family run enterprise in St. Privat de Champclos.
Savon de Marseille Soap (lavender) – €4.50 for 120g bar
Savon de Marseille soap is traditional to the south of France and is hand-crafted using only pure ingredients and time-tested techniques passed down through generations of master soap makers. This hard soap contains at least 72% vegetable oil (olive and palm) and no synthetics or detergents. It is made with natural plant extracts and is available in a variety of scents not just lavender, including peach, jasmine, olive, honey, coconut and almond. It is also extremely soft and gentle on the skin so perfect for those of you like me who suffer with sensitive skin.
I really enjoyed the delicate scent of lavender from each bar of soap. It wasn’t overpowering but at the same time you knew exactly what scent it was. I liked how moisturised my skin felt after each use. I popped one of the bars on the side of the bath to use in the shower and one at the sink so my family became my guinea pigs. In a world obsessed with liquid soap it’s refreshing to be able to physically hold a chunky bar of soap in your hands. Not only does the soap look good but lasts for ages. It literally took a good month of continuous use (by 4 people) for each bar to shrink down to a sliver. Small enough to one day disappear down the sink hole and never be seen again. I feel for the price you well and truly get your monies worth here.
French lavender essential oil – €6 for 10mls/€11 for 30mls/€15 for 50mls
I’m no stranger to lavender oil and you will always find a bottle firmly visible on my bedside table. As with any essential oil you pay for quality. French lavender oil is more expensive than say Bulgarian lavender oil but it is much more potent and has in my opinion a nicer scent. I must point out the importance of never using an essential oil neat (pure/undiluted) on your skin. Always mix it with a barrier oil first to avoid damaging the skin. Also it’s not uncommon for some people to be allergic to essential oils so always do a little patch test first just to make sure. Various essential oils can interact with chemotherapy so please consult your doctor prior to use.
The lavender lads lavender oil is the nicest smelling lavender oil I have ever used. So much so that I’m dying to get my mitts on another bottle. Unfortunately at the moment they seem to be out of stock. Their oil is produced from 100% distilled French lavender. I found two drops of this oil (mixed with some water) in an oil burner scented the entire room for hours. When the weather was a bit cooler at the start of the year I would put a few drops of the oil on some damp socks (straight off the clothes line) and place each sock on radiators around the house. When the central heating came on and the socks started to dry the entire house would start smelly of this wonderful scent. I also like to dilute a few drops in a basin of warm water when I steep my feet. I know there are many claims out there saying lavender oil is a great antibacterial agent, great for inflammation etc but I don’t know how scientific or medically proven these claims are. All I know is that it produces a lovely calming scent and I would highly recommend trying the lavender lads lavender oil. My 30ml bottle lasted a good few months. I found a few drops was all that was needed as it’s quite potent. It’s no surprise really that these lads wanted other people to enjoy the beautiful scent of the locally produced lavender.
Lavender bangin’ bath salts – €5 for 150g/€10 for 300g
I’m sure the words ‘epsom salts’ will send shivers down some of your spines, I have heard ghastly stories from my parents. For me it instinctively evokes a memory of relaxing in a warm bath. It is also a natural product composed of magnesium sulphate crystals that I’m sure many of you have in your bathroom cabinet. The name Epsom coming from a small town in England where it occurs in natural springs. It is claimed to help release toxins from the body and help ease muscle and joint pain but once again I don’t know how scientifically just these claims are. The lavender lads bangin’ bath salts are composed of epsom salts infused with their beautiful French lavender essential oil and some real (dried) lavender flowers. I tend to sprinkle roughly a handful of these salts under warm running water to help them dissolve before I pop into the bath. I would only have a bath containing epsom salts once every few weeks as I find them to be quite draining. Maybe that’s because I’ve been herxing really bad on treatment.
Overall I really enjoyed using the lavender lads lavender-scented natural beauty products. It’s safe to say I’ve been completely converted into using their lavender essential oil over any other brand. The only slight negative for me is waiting patiently until the next batch is made so I can buy some. The lads are also lovely to deal with and sell these products at various farmers markets around Leinster, please follow their Facebook page here for more information. I would love to see them expand their range to include a natural lavender-scented body or hand lotion and maybe some lavender-scented soy based candles too.