Monday 14 September 2015

On trial | Odylique

It really is strange thinking back to the beginning of my organic journey, one of the first brands I tried was Essential care. There weren't that many brands on offer, but I was really determined to try everything before settling on anything in particular. With more and more new things appearing on the green beauty stage, I was very much seduced by all the shiny products, and Essential care was becoming less of a priority to go back to. When they rebranded to Odylique it was like a lightbulb went off, yes I remember them! But before I put two of their products on trial, Margaret, the founder of Odylique was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and I would like to share a little bit of their story.


A trip down the memory lane.


Essential care was one of the first 5 beauty brands to be certified organic with Soils Association. Going down this path was something that they wanted to do from the start, to give their customers an independent guarantee of how pure and skin friendly their products really are. At this point in time Soil association was of course not widely known as a certifying body for skincare, but their high standards and 30 years experience with food certification made them a natural choice. Specialising in skincare for sensitive and allergy prone skin, this seemed like the right way for the company to go.


After an intensive (and hard-won!) process spanning several months, they succeeded in certifying the entire range of 20 products. This lineup included cleanser, tonic, moisturiser, balms, body care, Spot-on-Serum and Gentle Herb shampoo. The shampoo it turned out was the very first to get an SA stamp, and remained the only certified organic shampoo for quiet some time.


Back to the future.


Everything from the original line up stood the test of time, and these products are currently presented in the new Odylique packaging. The number of products altogether has now more than doubled, but all are still certified under SA. The makeup, and mum & baby range still carry the Essential care logo. The ingredients used in the products are fair trade whenever possible, packaging is often made from recycled materials and is always recyclable. Almost half of their bottles, and jars and all of the product boxes are made in the UK. They also manufacture all of their own products including makeup, in their production facility in Suffulk.


My fifty cents.


As I've been trying to concentrate on the products that I already have, and only getting something new when it is genuinely needed, I've been going through my sample and travel size stash, discovering that I actually already possess some of the products that I've been wanting to try for ages. Odylique's new design really jumped out at me: the pestel and mortar logo (which I always think is a smiley face before my eyes properly focus on it, just me?!), really speaks to the origins and herbal expertise of the brand, and I absolutely love the illustrations of the herbal ingredients, that is different on each product. The great thing about Odylique is that they sell generous trial sizes (the two I'm trying are 20ml and are sold for £2.50 for the shampoo and £8 for the cleanser). In the interest of full disclosure I have no recolection of how I got my hands on these, possibly from a LNLO show, but they were not sent to me as a PR sample (I always have a list of who sent me what).


Gentle Herb shampoo. The formula is fairly runy, so if you do pick up a squeezy bottle and not the one with a pump, be gentle. The scent is fairly mild, not like a herbal tea or anything, but you can still tell it's just the scent of ingredients (makes sense since the brand is trying to minimise ingredients that could trigger sensitivities and allergies, even of the natural variety). While it does contain alcohol (for preservation purposes I assume), the overall formula is ph 5.5 balanced to that of skin, so it will not be stripping in this case. It is stated to be 100% natural and 70% organic. This shampoo comes in 3 sizes, 20ml (what I had), 200ml or 500ml. My super long hair, that at present is sort of caressing my behind when I push it all back, gets washed twice a week. I managed to stretch out the 20ml tube to 4 washes. Armed with a handy calculator, it turns out that 200ml would last me between 4-5 months, and here is the problem. After opening the bottle, the shelf life of Gentle herb is 3 months. I'm not sure if I was particularly stingy with the amounts I was using, I did not think so at the time, and 4-5 months is about right to how other 200ml bottles of shampoo normally last me. So yes I would like a 100ml bottle based on that, but I'm not sure how many people are out there who would be interested in having the smaller size like I am. To use you massage shampoo into wet hair, concentrating on the scalp, leave for 2-3 minutes and wash off. I did ask about the lack of conditioner in the range, and the reason I was given is that since this shampoo is so gentle it is unnecessary. If the hair is damaged or is chemically treated they suggest using a very tiny amount of Ultra Rich balm either to hair ends, or as an overnight scalp/hair treatment mask until it improves. I have not tried ultra rich balm, so can't really say anything regarding it, but I do agree to a point that conditioner wasn't really needed. By that I mean with my length you do need a little bit of something on the ends, just because the longer the hair, the less of natural oils from your scalp goes down to the ends, but something like a light leave-in spray for the ends only was more than enough for my hair. The surprise came with the amount of bounce that this shampoo gave my hair. Gentle/nourishing shampoos tend to way my hair down, I get zero volume at the roots and most of my natural wave disappears (and I don't like any of that one bit). When I woke up, I had all the volume I'm used to from a favourite shampoo, plus my natural wave looked practically curly, it sort of made go 'oh, so that is what my hair looks like'. It's really strange that even though I've been using natural shampoos for years, the texture of my hair still felt different after using this one. I really did enjoy using this, and I'm seriously considering buying the 200ml bottle to see if I can make it work, after I use up all the travel sized shampoos I've managed to collect that is (so far none of the others made feel like swapping). As you all know I don't really like to mess with my hair routine, and tend to stick with my shampoos for a long time, it will be a little while until I have to buy a full sized shampoo, but it will be a much harder choice to make this time around. I also want to make a point that I did test it in the hard and soft water, and while obviously I haven't been using it for months (as this is not a full review but a "on trial" to see if I would be tempted to invest in the full size), but it seemed to work really well under both conditions.



Silk touch cleanser. This is one of the newer additions to the line, and a product that I have been intrigued by since I saw it at last year at the SA beauty week event. I probably have mentioned the fact that I'm not the biggest fan of muslin/face cloths, so any non foaming cleansers that can be used without them are always of interest. This particular product is suggested for dry skin, naturally the fact that my skin is combo/oily made no difference, I wanted to try it anyway. And you know it works brilliantly well for my skin. At this point I had to ask why was it meant for dry skin, whe it works so well for mine? It turns out that it was positioned for dry and easily irritated skin because it is ultra gentle and gives up to 8 hours moisturisation, but I am correct in thinking that it would be suitable for non-dry skin types, especially since it can be used as a makeup remover. You use it by massaging gently in circular motion over your face, neck and around eyes, apply damp fingertips or cotton pads to transform gel into milk, and then simply rinse off. Personally I like not to use cotton pads unless absolutely necessary so I just use my fingers. This cleanser washes away cleanly, with no oily residue, and is a real pleasure to use. I did have to play around with quantities a little to get there, as when you use too much it becomes trickier to wash off, but thanks to the gel texture it spreads really well, so you actually don't need that much product in the first place. Again, it is 100% natural, and 98.4% organic. After opening it will last 6 months, I have been using it 3-4 times a week for the past 3 weeks, and I haven't finished it yet, but I'm guesstimating that a full bottle would easily last 3-4 months. I really like this as a morning face wash, on the days that I feel my skin needs a gentle cleanse and just water is not enough, and it is a great evening cleanser, or you can use it as the first step of your double cleansing routine, on the days that you wear makeup. I still use either coconut oil or something like a micelar water for eye makeup removal, my eyes are beyond sensitive. Skin always feels clean and soft, yet with 0 tightness after using it.


Odylique is a brand with great ethics and extensive knowledge of skin. There are plenty of products to choose from, and more than a few of those are on my personal wish list. Odylique have been kind enough to extend 10% off to all my readers, there is no minimum spend, so you can pick up a few minis if you are not sure what works for you yet, but it is one use per customer. Use code RAINBOW10 valid until the end of September.


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