Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Visionary Soap: Incredible Vegan & Fairtrade Body Products [Wholesaler's Sample Box Review]

Visionary Soap Wholesale box full contents KatSick
The contents of my Visionary Soap Wholesalers samples box.

I have to admit that I am not a consumer who usually takes the time to think about the ethics behind the creation of my favourite beauty and body products. When the opportunity arose to review a selection of products from Visionary Soap - a company providing hand-crafted Fairtrade and Vegan body products - then, I was intrigued enough to volunteer.

I wanted to find out if ethical products containing a higher number of naturally-sourced ingredients produce better results. I am glad to say from my trials of the products sent to me in Visionary Soap's 'wholesalers sample box', that this - in my opinion - is so.

Upon researching more about Fairtrade products, I was shocked to learn that just 2% of ingredients in a product need to be Fairtrade in order for it to be certified as such. This sees me all the more impressed with Visionary Soap, since none of its products contain less than 19% Fairtrade ingredients - most are at least 60% Fairtrade, and some are even 99%. 

Beyond ensuring fair deals and empowering communities responsible for the production of its ingredients  Visionary Soap works to educate people about sustainability and women’s economic development, as well as give training and create jobs in local communities. Very commendable!

Here then, are my reviews for each of the products included in my package from Visionary soap...

Lemongrass mini soap

Lemongrass mini soap Visionary vegan KatSick

Lemongrass mini soap Visionary unwrapped

From Visionary Soap's mini soap gift box (8 x soaps, £11.20)

Ingredients (60% Fairtrade):  Coconut oil from India, olive oil from Palestine, sunflower oil, pure water, sodium hydroxide, Shea butter from Ghana, lemongrass essential oil, lemongrass flakes and turmeric from Sri Lanka and/or India.

I could smell the fragrant sharpness of this soap even before opening my Visionary Soap parcel. I'm not complaining! This soap smells AMAZING and I was pleasantly surprised by how much it foams up when introduced to water, considering it's almost wax-like feel when dry.

My hands feel incredibly clean after using this soap but the Shea butter sees skin moisture retained, improved in fact. I would describe the indulgent sensation as "antibacterial hand sanitiser meets intensive moisturiser." This soap is an absolute delight to use. I'll certainly be buying the large 100g bar in the future (£3.69)

Orange Geranium Hand and Body Balm

Ingredients (99% Fairtrade): Shea butter from Ghana, olive oil from Palestine and sweet orange and geranium essential oils.

I was expecting the contents of this tub to be akin to a traditional moisturising lotion but was surprised to find it's a solid product. This is no bad thing though and actually helps me to apply only as much as my hands require.

The reverse of the pot states 'Due to the richness of this product, a little goes a long way.' This is very true! This tub is sure to last ages (if I can curb how often I apply it - the scent of the organic sweet orange peel makes it very hard to resist!)

This balm leaves my hands soft, and my nails shiny and healthier looking. I have used this on my face a few evenings before bed too, and my skin has thanked me for it. My nostrils have too!

Visionary Soap Lemon Lip Balm

Visionary Soap Lemon Lip Balm Vegan KatSick

Lemon Lip Balm open Fairtrade Vegan

£3.45 (5ml)
Ingredients (35% Fairtrade): sunflower oil, olive oil from Palestine, Shea butter from Ghana, candelilla wax, vitamin E (as a natural preservative) and lemon essential oil.

I was surprised to open up this lip balm to find the concoction to be a solid one. Rubbing a warm fingertip over the surface however, sees this balm melt a little making it easy to apply to your lips.  The fact that this salve includes real lemon peel among it's ingredients becomes clear the second you take the lid off - the smell is so citrus it make your mouth water!

It must be said however, that this balm has a very subtle flavour (some might not even be able to detect it at all). It certainly makes your lips tingle though!

If you're used to petroleum based lip balms then this one might take a little getting used to, since the formula is a little slicker. This is good though, since you need to apply a lot less then you might initially think to get smoother, chap-free smackers. The balm's little yellow glass jar is a really nice touch.

Lemongrass, Rosemary and Mint Bath and Body Oil

Ingredients (19% Fairtrade): sunflower oil, sesame oil from Nicaragua, olive oil from Palestine and scented with lemongrass, rosemary and peppermint essential oils.

This is my favourite item of all those included in my Visionary Soap wholesale sample box. Not only does this oil smell delicious, but it really can be used in so many different ways. I have been rubbing a small amount into my freshly cleansed skin each night before bed, which has helped my overall complexion and kept my skin supple.

I also like to rub this oil on my pulse points before bed as I find the scent really helps me to unwind. I've been rubbing any remaining residue into my hands, and I believe this helping my nails (which I've previously mentioned on KatSick I'm in the process of growing) to become stronger. I've even used a small amount on the ends of my hair which can become a little dry from so much colouring. 

As you can see from the second picture above, I've used a good fifth of the bottle already! LOVE!

Cinnamon Orange Clove Soap

Ingredients (60% Fairtrade): Coconut oil from India, olive oil from Palestine, sunflower oil, pure water, sodium hydroxide, cocoa butter from The Dominican Republic, sweet orange essential oil, WFTO clove bud essential oil from Madagascar and cinnamon from India and/or Sri Lanka.

This is basically the smell of Christmas in a soap!

This soap has the same qualities as the previously discussed lemongrass soap - it's moisturising and has a lovely scent. I've avoided using bars of soap in the past, since too often they have dried out and uncomfortably tightened my skin.

I'm glad to say this soap causes no such woes and actually leaves my skin feeling soft and reconditioned.

Rosemary and Lavender Gardeners Hand Salve

Ingredients (34% Fairtrade): sunflower oil, olive oil from Palestine, Shea butter from Ghana, candelilla wax, vitamin E (as a natural preservative), with lavender essential oil and WFTO certified rosemary essential oil from Madagascar.  

While I am not a gardener, as I previously mentioned my hands have been suffering in the wake of the increasingly cold British weather. Like the Orange Geranium hand and body balm, this Gardener's hand salve has been helping me to effectively keep dry, chapped hands at bay.

The consistency of this salve is a bit different to that of the body balm. It's more Vaseline-like due to the inclusion of organic candelilla wax, which also makes it a slightly more intensive hand treatment. The fact that it smells just like a well kept garden, means those with green (read as rough) fingers would be really pleased to receive a pot as a gift.

The Visionary Soap products I've not yet tried

Since the wholesale box contained so many different Visionary Soap products, there are three I've not yet got around to testing properly. I thought I would give you my verdict on each regardless...

Geranium Rose Bath Melt

Geranium Rose Bath Melt Visionary Soap KatSick

£9.95 (for 6 x 25g)
Ingredients (37% Fairtrade): Shea butter from Ghana, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), citric acid, organic pink rose petals and organic geranium essential oil.

This bath melt - or 'bath bomb' as they are often called - smells absolutely divine and very sweet, thanks to the high amount of Shea butter in it, which also makes it somewhat pliable. Washing off the debris I got on my hands whilst playing with it this evening (yes...I'm a child!) has left my hands feeling amazingly soft , and I can't wait to try this melt out properly at at home in Mum's bath - I only have a shower!

If I was to buy a six pack of these, it would have to choose the lemongrass variant - Visionary Soap has left me somewhat obsessed with the scent! Lavender and Patchouli & Ylang Ylang bath melts are also available from VS.

Lavender mini soap

Visionary Soap Company mini vegan fairtrade

From Visionary Soap's mini soap gift box (8 x soaps, £11.20)

Ingredients (60% Fairtrade): Coconut oil from India, olive oil from Palestine, sunflower oil, pure water, sodium hydroxide, Shea butter from Ghana, lavender essential oil and lavender buds.

I've yet to use this mini soap simply because I've decided to use up the gorgeous lemongrass one first. This smells exactly how one would expect a lavender-based soap to smell (i.e. very lovely!)

I suspect it will be the ideal product to use before bed, due to the soothing and relaxing properties of the flower. The Shea butter within is sure to moisturise my skin as well as the other VS soaps I have tried so far too. This soap really does smell beautiful! Mmmmm...

Geranium Rose Soap

Geranium Rose Soap Visionary Soap Company KatSick

£3.69 (100g)
Ingredients (60% Fairtrade): Coconut oil from India, olive oil from Palestine, sunflower oil, pure water, sodium hydroxide, cocoa butter from The Dominican Republic, geranium essential oil and pink rose petals.

Just touching this soap leaves my fingers really soft. Again, I attribute this to the Fairtrade cocoa butter it contains, but also the olive and sunflower oils too. The coconut oil meanwhile helps to balance the scent of this soap perfectly between floral and sweet.

I really like that the rose petals can be seen through the soap and that they weren't crushed up into a powder for inclusion. This is even more reassuring that this soap is completely natural, and gives the soap a pretty aesthetic.

And there we have it - my take on everything included in the Visionary Soap wholesale sample box!

I am absolutely in love with this brand. The products are luxurious without sacrificing fair trade or vegan ethics, and they are incredibly indulgent which might surprises people - like myself - who are used to chemical nasties and artificial ingredients being included in their body products.

I'll definitely be buying some Visionary Soap goods in the future. I'd like to stock up on the lemongrass products (especially those I've not yet tried), and try all of the other VS bath and body oils too - I bet the Sweet Orange, Patchouli & Ylang Ylang one smells amazing!

Be sure to check out Visionary Soap for yourself: