Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: bodyBrana Organic Skincare

As a 53 year old woman, I have typical concerns about aging skin - years of sun and environmental damage, wrinkles, sagging and dry skin that never seems to be hydrated enough.  There are a lot of products on the market that are touted as The Answer to all these natural aspects of aging, each with ingredients lists that read like a chemist's lab, and many of which are caustic - on purpose, even!

But I'm a "Less is More" girl, and while I have a skincare graveyard full of commercial products that I've tried and abandoned, I find that I am much, much happier using very simple products with no scary ingredients.  Simple costs less, works better, and doesn't make me concerned with what I'm taking into my body through my skin.  I sometimes make my own, but I'm also very happy when I can buy from someone else who values simple, wholesome ingredients as much as I do.

BodyBrana is one of those companies.  BodyBrana carries skin creams, toners, face masks, deodorant sticks, baby care products and more, each made with understandable, organic ingredients, made to order at time of purchase and sent in recyclable containers (they'll even give you a $1 credit per container if you mail your finished containers back for reuse).

For review purposes, I was sent a full-sized container of bodyBrana Strawberries and Cream Facial Mask, a travel sized ItWorks Citrus Mandarin Antiperspirant stick, and two sample sized skin creams - Organic Bliss and Organic Rose Face Cream.

My first step, of course, was to open all the containers and huff in the good scents of the creams and the antiperspirant, before taking on the wonderful task of using each product regularly for a few weeks to see how well they worked.

BodyBrana makes antiperspirants and deodorants in full sized sticks and small travel-sized sticks.  Honestly, due to the nature of freshly made products, I'd select travel sized and reorder as needed.

According  to the website, products last about 6 months, and do better stored in the refrigerator.  Because there are no chemical preservatives, the essential oils will lose a lot of their scent over time.  I've been using the travel sized Mystic Mandarin antiperspirant for a month, and still have plenty left.

I stopped using commercial antiperspirants many years ago, due to concerns about what it is they do - sweating is a biological mechanism that has a sound purpose, so stopping it from happening doesn't seem like a grand idea. (I do not deal with excessive sweat, to be fair - if I am perspiring, it's so I don't keel over from heat stroke)

I can't say I actually understand the difference between bodyBrana's antiperspirants and their deodorants, but my experience with using this is  that I did not experience any sweating other than under conditions where it would be expected (long walks outdoors in hot, muggy Washington DC summertime), and the Mystic Mandarin scent is lush and wonderful - it definitely works as a very pleasant deodorant.

The texture is what you'd expect of a deodorant stick. By default, deodorants in the summer mnths are made using a 'summer formula.'  However, bodyBrana will let you select Summer or Winter, with the following instructions:
"If you prefer a softer, creamier formula, live in a cold climate, or your house temperature is below 70F at night, please ask for a WINTER formula, please indicate this with at NOTE AT CHECKOUT. Summer formula is for indoor (bathroom) temperatures that exceed 72F at night or for carrying around in heat (beach, gym bags, purses, etc...)"
I kept mine tucked in a backpack for a couple of trips, and it held up well to summer heat, so I think mine is a summer version. Since everything is made to order, you can request which type you'd like best for your situation.

You can also select formulas for regular or sensitive skin, which would avoid any potential skin irritants.  I have had no negative effects at all from using the regular version.

I did have one minor accident when I failed to fully twist the stick back into the container before putting the lid on - a bit of it broke off into the lid. (This is what happens when you don't take due care!)  I was able to scrape it out of  the lid, spread it back onto the stick, and then stow it in the fridge for a day or so, and it's worked fine since without any more coming apart.

There are a ton of lovely scents available for the antiperspirants and deodorants, ranging from Fir Forest and Men's Classic  to Rose Geranium, Warm Spice, and Spring Breeze.  You can by a 3-pack mix and match set of travel sized sticks for $12, and I think the hardest part would be deciding which three scents to try!

The Organic Bliss cream has been one of my favorite items - it works very nicely as a night cream for the face, and also does a fine job as a hand cream.  Since I only had a small sample to work with, I haven't tried it as a full body cream, though I am sure it would do very well.

It doesn't take more than a small dab, goes on smoothly and richly, and has long lasting softening and moisturizing qualities.

The scent is really pleasant to me - I haven't been able to really define what it is, but it is subtle enough that I can layer on other scents without clashing.

The ingredients are all organic: aloe vera gel, natural beeswax,  extra virgin coconut oil, grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic hydrosols, cold pressed hazelnut oil, natramules, rosemary extract, radish root preservative, essential oils, and rosehip seed oil.

A 2 oz jar of Organic Bliss Cream costs $23.00, and should be kept in the refrigerator to extend its life long enough to use it all - it should easily last months unless you get into a daily all-over body routine.

The Organic Rose Face Cream is slightly thinner in consistency than the Organic Bliss Cream, and I like using this in the morning as a light moisturizer for my face.

As you might guess, the scent is roses!  Rose Otto Essential Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Rose Hydrosol all work together with a variety of moisturizing oils to make a delightful scent and a moisturizer that nourishes without feeling heavy.

Again, a small dab does the trick.  The first couple of times I used this, I experienced a very minor bit of irritation and was afraid I might be sensitive to something in it, but after that first couple times, that stopped completely and hasn't returned.  I would use caution with this one if you have any known sensitivities, though.

A 2 oz container of the Organic Rose Face Cream is $25, and again, should be kept in the refrigerator to maximize its shelf life (it also feels so good to put on cooled moisturizer in the morning!)

While I have enjoyed both of these creams, when it is time to order a full sized version, I think I'm really most in love with the Organic Bliss Cream, both for its long lasting skin softening benefits and its multi-functionality.

Last, but definitely not least, I've been using the Strawberries & Cream Clay Facial Mask a couple of times a week for a few weeks now, and I absolutely adore it.

One of four varieties, each designed for different facial needs, the Strawberries & Cream Facial Mask removes impurities in a gentle way without causing drying of the skin - each time I've used this, my face has been left firm, yet smooth and soft to the touch as if it had been buffed, without any sort of skin peeling caustic nonsense one often finds in commercial smoothing treatments.

There are a number of ways to customize the face mask - it comes as a dry powder blend of pink kaolin clay, white clay, organic milk, organic dried strawberries, arrowroot and honey powder.  To use it, you simply mix a teaspoon of the powder with an equal amount of a moistener of your choice. The company suggests a few options, such as their Strawberry Toner/Mask Activator, or milk, yogurt, witch hazel, juice, tea or, of course, water.  You can also add some honey to it for additional nourishing properties.

I have tried both milk and yogurt, and prefer the yogurt, as it makes a thicker, creamier spreadable mask than the milk - but each of them work perfectly.  There is no need at all to slather this on thickly, as it is only the part of the mask that touches your skin that actually does anything.

Once the mask is mixed up, simply spread it over your face.  I find that this rinses cleanly and easily, so I am fine with getting good coverage without worry.  It goes on cool and wet and I have had no issues with it running before it sets, even when it starts out more as a liquid than a paste.  Within just a few minutes, it begins to dry, without cracking or flaking off - another reason to use a thin layer rather than wasting the facial mask powder to create something thicker than needed.

Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes, and then rinse it off (I use a microfiber washcloth to gently wipe away all traces with warm water.  The picture on the left is just after it's been removed - all dead skin and roughness is gone and my face feels like silk, no kidding!  It has a great firming capability that doesn't at all feel like stretched, dry skin.  I love that I can get this effect (and it lasts for well over a day) without any rough abrasive scrubbing.

I like to follow up the mask with a light application of the Organic Rose Face Cream, and then head into the rest of my day feeling pampered and knowing I've done something good for my skin.

BodyBrana's Facial Mask powders cost $10.50 each for a 2oz container.  Using only a teaspoon of the powder at a time, this is very cost effective, and it works better than any clay mask that I've ever tried.

All in all, I have enjoyed working with these products, and expect to purchase them again (as well as try some of their other products).  I really like  that each batch is custom created at the time of ordering for maximum freshness, and that there are built in options for sensitive skin and other concerns.
If you're looking to get into natural skin care, I suggest trying a few of bodyBrana's organic products as a great way to get to know how they work for you.  I've been really impressed and pleased with their results for me!

bodyBrana Website
bodyBrana Etsy Shop
bodyBrana on Facebook

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  1. These sound wonderful! I think I would like to try the citrus mandarin antiperspirant stick! Thanks for the review and for your honest opinion.

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  3. I definitely want to try the deodorant! I hate thinking how bad the ones today can be!

  4. I love organic skin care lines. This one looks so luxurious. The mask is so neat that you mix up yourself. I have very sensitive skin so the less ingredients the better!

  5. Wonderful review, Lynda - I'll have to check into this! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

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  7. Nice organic products to use. I have also used the organic body care products of Mooseberry and the products are really good.