*This is a scheduled post as we are currently in London for the weekend. We'll try to keep up with comments etc. or get to them when we return!*
Two Viva Irish posts in a week? We're spoiling you! Since we started this series, we've been blown away by the number of Irish beauty brands that our eyes have suddenly been opened to. Who knew that the Emerald Isle had its own budding cosmetics industry?
One brand that we knew we wanted to feature as soon as we came across it was The Handmade Soap Company and we went out on a very tentative limb and asked them would they like to be a part of our attempt to spotlight Irish beauty products.
Thankfully, they were delighted to be featured and sent us an overwhelmingly generous amount of products to try, test and potentially review for you lot. The Handmade Soap Company was founded in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength, offering a 100% natural skincare products which were created with sufferers of psoriasis and other skin ailments in mind.
One thing we really want to point out about this brand is that the packaging is absolutely gorgeous and it is almost a shame to open and throw away the boxes! Everything is very vintage-esque and all of the jars are heavy glass which feels and looks very expensive. You can see all of the products we received and their packaging here.
It would be impossible to review each and every product we received, no matter how much we'd love to, so we are going to focus in on a few of the things that stood out to us the most. We chose the Body Butters as our joint favourite and Sinéad will also review the Shaving Soap and After Shave Cream while Dee will give her thoughts on the Hand Cream and Shower Gel.
We received two of the brand's Body Butters (€22.95) in Grapefruit and May Chang and in Aloe Vera. To cut a long post short, this stuff is divine in every way you can possibly imagine. It's more of a balm than a butter and melts on contacts with the skin, becoming almost oil-like. It soaks in really well, does not clog pores at all and is super duper moisturising. Scent-wise, both of these are absolutely gorgeous; really fresh and the smell lingers. A little also goes a long way so, although €23 seems like a big chunk of change, these massive glass tubs will last even the most liberal of users a very long time.
Sinéad: I chose to review the Shaving Soap For Her (€4.50) and After Shave Soothing Cream (€17.95) purely because these are relatively unusual products. I'm quite lucky in that I have fair hair and can get away with not shaving my legs for longer than the average person probably can. That being said, I do like to have smooth, Gilette-esque pins (In my imagination at least!) but, I'm up against another obstacle in that I have random patches of eczema on my legs which can become very angry looking and irritated by shaving creams and even by the razor blades themselves. So, for me, shaving is something of a fine art!
Knowing that The Handmade Soap Co. was founded with skin ailments in mind, I was excited to try out these two products in the hope that they wouldn't irritate me and would give me lovely soft legs. The shaving soap doesn't lather much, especially in comparison to the brand's handsoaps but, when I rubbed it onto my legs in the shower, it did leave a film which seemed to suspend the hair and act like a barrier between my skin and the razor blades. The result was a really smooth finish with no irritation whatsoever. However, I do have one teensy gripe in that it's next to impossible to see where you've shaved and where you haven't so, if you don't shave in some kind of pattern, you could end up with some fuzz patches dotted around your legs. But, for a product that aids a clean shave and doesn't mess with my fussy skin, I can easily overlook this minor issue!
The After Shave Soothing Cream can be used for both lads and lassies and is a light, almost whipped, cream that is touted as being perfect for anyone who suffers from dry skin (aka me with my patches!) or razor-burn. There is not much to say about this purely because it really does work and do what it says. The cream contains Wintergreen which, while it's stinky, it is very soothing and calming and, happily, it meant that I had no flaky eczema after shaving! I love these two products in conjunction with eachother and I feel like they work hard to protect and prevent skin irritation as much as is possible. Defo a must have for anyone who has skin issues!
Dee: The first product I tried and fell in love with was the Hand Cream with Aloe Vera and Jojoba. It comes in the most gorgeous pot that looks really nice on my shelf! (Fickle, me? Never!) The cream itself is nourishing and moisturising without being too heavy. It sinks nicely into the skin on my hands and is perfect for finishing off a manicure.
The smell is fresh and quite natural/herbal, but not offensively so. I think it's done really good things for my hands as they feel really soft and smooth at the moment. I've been reaching for this over all of my other hand creams since I received it and can't say enough good things about it!
Next up is the Cedarwood and Lemongrass Shower Gel. Shower gel may seem like a fairly boring product to include in this post, but believe me, this product has earned its place at the table.
The scent is just gorgeous and so fresh. It foams up nicely and made my skin feel really fresh and clean - more so than other shower gels. For an all-natural product, this really delivers. Again the packaging is superb and a little of this goes a long way, so a bottle will last a couple of weeks.
Let us know what you think!