When I was contacted by Love Beauty & Planet to trial a selection of their certified vegan beauty products, I jumped at the chance of discovering this low carbon footprint, natural inspired brand freshly landed in the UK. Where does Love Beauty and Planet come from? Well it’s a beauty brand developed by consumer goods giant Unilever. If that statement seems to contradict what I wrote in the very first sentence of this blog post, you wouldn’t be the first to think it. How can Europe’s seventh most valuable company, distributing products such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Persil laundry tablets and Dove body care, be a credible source of ethical beauty? Last year I attended a talk by Planet Organic founder Renee Elliott. A member of the audience asked what she thought about big supermarkets jumping on the organic food bandwagon. Her response? In order to make a movement mainstream, you need the big corporations to get on board. She didn’t see Tesco or Sainsbury’s as competition, but instead recognised the key role they play in growing what was originally a niche offering into a huge trend that is now accessible to all. So here is a review of new beauty kid on the block Love Beauty and Planet, bringing a new form of beauty to a drugstore near you.
Still not convinced about a carbon conscious brand going hand in hand with a big corporation? The brand’s story may be fluffy – ‘we started with one simple goal: whatever we do must be good for beauty and give a little love to the planet’ – but the credentials are there:
1. Ingredients: whilst these products are not certified natural, Love Beauty & Planet does include some organic key ingredients such as coconut oil, natural tea tree oil and shea butter, and ethically sourced rose and sandalwood oil.
2. Packaging: bottles are 100% recyclable – they are plastic after all – but more than that they are made of recycled materials and come in large 400ml and 500ml sizes, meaning that you buy less often.
3. Carbon footprint: the company charges itself a Carbon Tax as an incentive to reduce its carbon footprint. This pot of money goes towards partnerships with organisations that set up recycling in communities, helping to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste.
Love Beauty & Planet’s generously sized 400ml shampoo offers hydration for dry hair thanks to nourishing shea butter and organic coconut oil. The bottle proves easy to use under the shower thanks to the large disk top cap (where you just have to press down one side of the cap to pop open the opposite side) and the exotic scent from sandalwood oil provides a welcome addition to my morning routine. The formula satisfyingly lathers up and leaves hair feeling clean but not stripped. I tend to wash my hair every 3 days and thankfully this Shea Butter & Sandalwood Shampoo was able to keep grease at bay for that length of time. 400ml RRP £7.49
To complement the Shea Butter & Sandalwood Shampoo I followed up with the conditioner in the same fragrance and same hydrating benefits. This 92% biodegradable formula has a high viscosity – I stay away from thin and runny ones as I just end up applying more. Post shower my hair was easy to style – well roughly blow dry – and soft to the touch with minimal frizz. Out of all the Love Beauty and Planet products I’ve tried this one to me is the weakest link: it doesn’t deliver super sleek, high shine hair, but does a credible job at taming it. 400ml RRP £8.49
Aaaah the joys of treating your face to a deeply hydrating sheet mask on a Sunday evening. Or Saturday evening come to that. This tea tree and vetiver one is supposed to help neutralise the effects of pollution on your skin. Anti-pollution is proving to be a bit of a buzzword in skincare right now, however it remains to be seen how effective these products truly are. Regardless of that claim, I tend to use sheet masks for their high hit of hydration rather than for anything else. Love Beauty and Planet’s one doesn’t disappoint, with a thin sheet that actually fits my face and stays put for 30 minutes, with large holes that easily accommodate eyes and mouth (unlike the Garnier Moisture Bomb one). The biodegradable mask is drenched in formula, leaving enough once you peel it off to rub over your neck and hands, using up every last bit. 21ml RRP £4.99
I’ve previously mentioned my magpie tendencies for attractive packaging, and I’ve found that eco-conscious brands increasingly have access to materials and printing methods that allow for beautifully crafted packaging with a low environmental impact, from moulded pulp boxes to vegetable ink printed labels. At first glance this 500ml pump dispenser is aesthetically pleasing, with a soft pink label highlighting the rose, the key fragrance ingredient in this product. Lining up all 4 bottles in my bathroom gives me a satisfying sense of unity and orderliness. But then I notice the label’s spot varnish which is supposed to highlight the rose petals and add depth and texture. Great idea in theory but the varnish is too sparse to have any real impact and is clearly misaligned with the rose imagery. Random varnish streaks aside this shower gel offers a feminine floral scent with a red berry sweet note. Ideal for dry skin, it feels gentle and surprisingly nourishing for a wash off formula thanks to coconut oil and muru muru butter (made from the white fat found in the nuts of an Amazonian palm tree). 500ml RRP £5.99
Did I tell you about the time when I used to work for a manufacturer of luxury hotel toiletries and all the handwashes and hand lotions we produced featured pumps with straight nozzles instead of curved ones? Guests of 5-star hotels all over the world were squirting gloopy handwash straight onto their silk tops and cashmere sweaters. Not the most luxurious experience. Instinctively I now examine every pump before using it and was pleased to note that Love Beauty and Planet’s one is very much curved, meaning the lotion lands in the palm of your hand instead of on your clothes. This coconut water and mimosa flower body lotion smells delicious: reminiscent of beach holidays but lighter and more delicate thanks to the sweet and slightly powdery mimosa. Light and quickly absorbed into skin, this hydrating lotion will give you a hit of moisture without leaving that tacky feel you can get from thicker formulas. 400ml RRP £8.99
What are your thoughts on Love Beauty and Planet? Are you tempted to give it a go? Leave a comment below to let me know.
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