I love receiving parcels. Unlike letters they can never be bills or confirmations for hospital appointments. So I can see the appeal of subscription boxes, where every month you receive a curated box of products. And as a beauty enthusiast a boxload of essential oils, face masks or moisturisers is the perfect pick-me-up to find on your doorstep. Discovering The Natural Beauty Box and its selection of vegan and cruelty-free skincare was a real highlight, so when I was approached by Leo’s Box I was all ears. Founded by a 16-year old Greenest Young Person in Hammersmith finalist, Leo’s Box is the kind of sustainable project that highlights Gen Z as THE generation we pin our hopes on to sort out the current ecological crisis. The mission is to increase sustainable development and protect the planet by:
- Reducing plastic consumption: the boxes are plastic free and where possible so are the products.
- Reducing carbon emissions by partnering with One Tree Planted: one tree planted for every new box ordered and every 3 months a customer receives Leo’s Box
- Increasing biodiversity: including insect-friendly products
So how is this box eco-friendly and how does it differ from all the other beauty subscription boxes out there?
I received a starter beauty box containing 4 full size skincare products plus a sponge. These arrived in a standard cardboard box, currently bleached paper due to stock issues but they are moving to the more eco-friendly brown box. The brand logo features on a label rather than printed directly on the box, meaning less set up wastage which is especially frequent when printing small quantities. Paper tape is used to close the box – this is the only tape that is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. And finally the leaflet inside is printed on recycled paper. Clearly the founder has put some thought behind the brand’s values and how to stay true to them. And what about the products?
What is the most sustainable beauty product on the market? Probably the solid bar of soap, which has seen a revival in the recent years in line with the rising awareness of more eco-friendly alternatives. Zero Waste Path’s eco-credentials are exemplary: the box is made using only recycled unbleached cardboard (recyclable or compostable) and the unisex product is made using 100% renewable energy. It’s natural, vegan, cruelty-free and palm oil-free, and is multi-purpose as you can use it to wash your hands, face and body. With hydrating olive oil, moisturising coconut oil, nourishing shea butter, sebum reducing charcoal and impurity removing French green clay, the formula provides a deep clean without drying out the skin, and you can definitely smell the peppermint oil. 100g RRP £5.00
I’m really impressed with the concept behind this face scrub. The company uses repurposed Arabica coffee grounds from London artisan cafes, and with 70 million cups of coffee drunk every day in the UK, it’s a no brainer to upcycle this material. The packaging is a recyclable aluminium tube, and although the cap is plastic, when purchasing on the Upcircle website there is an option to choose the plastic-free refill by selecting ‘refill: no cap’, which is an initiative I’ve not seen before. The vegan and cruelty-free scrub itself smelt deliciously of coffee and reminded me of my 6 months living above a coffee shop that ground its own beans. The exfoliating was quite strong so I would go easy on the rubbing, but lots of oils including moisturising coconut, vitamin E-rich jojoba, apricot, rosehip, geranium and soothing chamomile, I’m left with super smooth and nourished skin. 100ml RRP £12.99
What I appreciate the most in this hand cream is the scent. The natural sweet smell of honey that puts a smile on my face, even though I’m not a big honey eater. Beefayre gives 3% of profits to bee conservation and research, donating to organisations such as Buglife and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, as well as giving away thousands of packets of seeds encouraging people to create a bee-friendly habitat in their back garden. The founder’s passion for bee conservation really comes through, from the workshops offered to schools to the hand drawn bee designs on all packaging. Certified cruelty-free, this fast-absorbing hand cream is full of beeswax and nourishing grapeseed and sunflower oil. 60ml RRP £9.95
Bath salts seem to be a popular inclusion to beauty subscription boxes: I received a beautiful jar of Felicity McDonald’s salts in The Natural Beauty Box a little while back. I can’t remember the last time I purchased this type of beauty product for myself, but I’m glad Blushberry’s Calming and Balancing Bath Soak gives me an excuse to run a bath on a Tuesday evening after a long day and a tension headache that just wasn’t budging. This 100g resealable travel pouch supposedly provides enough for just 1 or 2 baths. I’d have thought I could get at least 4 soaks out of this, but I follow the instructions and pour half the pack into the bathtub. The scent of lavender and rose geranium instantly fills the bathroom and it feels truly relaxing and indulgent. Vegan and cruelty-free like all the other products in this box, these salts are also available in more eco-friendly glass bottles with natural cork stoppers – but then transport and posting costs increase considerably. 100g RRP £4.00
And lastly: a sponge! Not sure where it’s from or what it’s made of – it reminds me of The Konjac Sponge Co’s natural biodegradable offering. It feels gentle enough to use as a face sponge, alone or with a soft cleanser for a little exfoliation.
Leo’s box offers three package options:
- A starter beauty box at £20.00 containing 2 to 4 full size products worth around £35 (this one is worth £32 + sponge)
- A beauty box at £29.50 containing 4 to 7 full size products worth around £50
- A monthly home box at £20.00 containing 3 to 5 products worth around £40
It’s the first subscription box I’ve come across offering all full size products, and although an unwanted full-size may seem more wasteful than a sample size, I’d argue that it can make an ideal present for someone you know who would enjoy it. Have you subscribed to any beauty boxes? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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