Del Brown Approved!

The ingredient-scrutiniser, Del Brown has a passion for natural & organic, chemical free skincare. Researching ingredients and talking with the manufacturers. "Free YOUR skin now!" with skincare free from petrochemicals, sulphates, parabens, phthalates, glycols, PEGs, DEAs, mineral oil, synthetic polymers, synthetic fragrance or colours. All personally researched, tried, tested and Del Brown Approved!

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Shea Butter Cottage African Black Liquid Soap


Shea Butter Cottage African Black Liquid Soap: Neem – 250ml (£7.60)

This black liquid soap from Shea Butter Cottage contains over 50% unrefined, fair traded shea butter.

Shea butter is a fat, extracted from the nut of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), native to Ghana on the east coast of Africa.  A co-operative of local women harvest and crack open the nuts by hand.  At this stage in the process, the shea butter is completely unrefined, meaning it has not been treated or mixed with anything else.

Shea butter is similar to coconut oil or olive oil in the way it can be consumed and applied topically on the skin. Although mainly used in cosmetics, it is also used as a cooking oil.





The biggest ingredient in the bottle is water, unrefined shea butter and unrefined neem oil.  Neem oil is particularly good at calming irritated skin and healing spots.  Then we find unrefined palm kernel oil and unrefined coconut oil.  Musa sapientum which is extracted from a banana like plant. Cocoa, yes that very same ingredient used to make chocolate and finally mango.

The look and texture of this liquid soap is just like molten dark chocolate.  The fragrance is naturally slightly smoky, but as the product is unscented, there have been no unnecessary ingredients added just to make it smell nice.

Black liquid soap can be used on its own as a liquid hand soap and body wash.  But my personal favorite use is as a beard shampoo.  One pump is all that is required, rubbed into damp hair, builds a thick white foam that cleanses your beard of grease and grime.  Rinse off to leave your beard looking and feeling clean and groomed. Use more than one pump when using it as a head shampoo.


Black Soap has been used for generations to help relieve spots and acne, oily skin, clear blemishes, rashes and various other skin issues.  Take dandruff for example, caused as a result of a dry, irritated scalp.  Try replacing your existing shampoo with this and see how you get on.

Ingredients: aqua, butyrospermum parkii, azadarichta indica, potassium palm kernalate, potassium cocoate, musa sapientum, theobroma cacao, mangifera indica


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Natural Empathy Top to Toe wash

Natural Empathy Top To Toe Wash – 200ml (£12.00)

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This is my second review for Natural Empathy, this time their ‘Top to toe wash’ for all skin types.  As the name suggests, this shower gel is designed for use both on the body and hair.

If you’re a lover of shower gels that foam, then this one is for you.  The foaming agents found in this bottle are naturally derived, avoiding the use of synthetic skin irritant sodium laureth sulfate.  The fourth biggest ingredient is Aloe Vera, then we see Quillaja Saponaria, more commonly known as Chilean Soap Bark.  Now Chilean Soap Bark is as you’d expect, extracted from an evergreen tree, native to central Chile.  The application of this ingredient are vast and it has been for hundreds of years.  It is used in this shower gel for its natural foaming properties.

Cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil is the base oil to which Lavender, Cedarwood and Patchouli essential oils have been infused.  Finally a couple of natural preservatives (no synthetic parabens here) and natural source vitamin E.

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The gel is clear thanks to no added colourings and it quickly foams up when added to water.  The natural cleansing and foaming agents leave the skin feeling clean and fresh and the blend of essential oils has created a primarily lavender fragrance, leaving the skin faintly scented.  The fragrance is clean and fresh and is a pleasure to use. I’ve been using this as a body and beard wash, highly successfully I hasten to add!

Ingredients: Aqua, Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside (naturally derived surfactant), Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Xanthan Gum (natural viscosity agent), Quillaja Saponaria (Chilean soap bark), Brassica Campestris (cold-pressed, extra virgin rapeseed oil), *Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood), *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), *Pogostemon Patchouli (Patchouli), *Natural Parfum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol (naturally derived Vitamin E) (*denotes 100% organic essential oils), **Citral, **Citronellol, **Coumarin, **Eugenol, **Geraniol, **Limonene, **Linalool (**from essential oils)

Click here to see other Del Brown Approved products from ‘Natural Empathy’

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Warming black pepper shower therapy from Bodhi and Birch



Bodhi & Burch Pep Noir Bath & Shower Therapy – 200ml (£18.00)

The clocks have gone back.  It’s now dark when you get up, dark when you come home and the weather has turned cold and wet.  This season is calling for a product that’ll give you a warm hug in a bottle!  Intrigued?  Then I encourage you to try for yourself this Pep Noir Energising bath and shower therapy gel from Bodhi and Birch.  I’m already a huge fan of the Bodhi and Birch range as their ingredient formulations are consistently of a high quality.  Whenever I review products from their range, I get excited to find a high list of natural ingredients, essential oils and plant extracts.  You can read all my Bodhi & Birch reviews by clicking here.

This shower gel is no exception.  As always, it’s ALL about the ingredients so lets see what’s in it.  Where as in cheaper synthetic brands you’d except to read Aqua, then Sodium Laureth Sulfate, none of that here.  The four biggest ingredients in the bottle after water are Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Coco-Glucoside and Polysorbate 20.  These four natural foaming and cleansing ingredients are derived from fatty acids from coconut oil, sorbital (sugar alcohol) and fruit sugars.  Then we see the piper nigrum fruit oil, which is the Black Pepper oil.  This warming, spicy, comforting oil is infused with White Thyme leaf oil, frankincense oil, bergamot oil and warming Ginger root oil.  Then we see Oakmoss extract, cinnamon bark oil, patchouli leaf oil and coriander seed oil.

This list of oils and extracts reads like an exotic Ayurvedic recipe.  The result is a warm spicy perfumed liquid gel, which has as many notes to it as found in most eau de perfumes.   When you start massaging the gel onto the skin, detoxing and booting circulation, it releases yet more fragrant notes from the essential oils.  Take a moment to inhale deeply and enjoy.  The lightly golden coloured liquid gently foams, cleansing the skin without stripping.  When you finally rinse off you are left with an overall feeling of warm and comfort, together with the masculine fragrance.  This shower gel is truly a feast for the senses, perfect for this time of year and for use on tired or tense muscles.

All black pepper shower gels are not made the same.  Many manufacturers use synthetic foaming agents (SLS), which can cause skin irritation, then add synthetic perfumes to fragrance and artificial colourings, giving all of the illusion and none of the quality.  This shower gel from Bodhi & Birch contains none of these.  I’d go so far as to call this Bodhi and Birch Pep Noir shower gel, the king of winter bathing products with ingredients to match!

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (from Coconut Oil), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (from Coconut Oil), Coco-Glucoside (from Coconut Oil & Fruit Sugar), Polysorbate 20 (from Coconut Oil & Fruit Sugar), Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Fruit Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (White Thyme) Leaf Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Evernia Prunasti (Oakmoss) Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Bark Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Oil, Corrinadrum Sativum (Coriander) Seed Oil, Lactic Acid (from Beet Sugar), Gluconolactone (from Corn), Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol*, Eugenol*, Limonene*, Linalool* * natural component of essential oils

Energising ‘All-in-one’ hair and body wash from A’kin

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A’Kin Pureman Energising All-In-One Hair & Body Wash – 150ml (£9.50)

“Take two bottles into the shower, not me!” This All-In-One hair and body wash from A’kin ticks all the boxes. Never using SLS or synthetic foaming agents, A’kin have used a mix of five cleansing ingredients, all derived from coconuts. They have then mixed in Ginseng, Mandarin Orange, Clove and Cardamon oils, which leaves your skin feeling clean and smelling fresh.

The thick textured clear gel, melts creating small white bubbles making it ideal to wash both the hair and body.  Perfect for travelling, throwing in the gym bag or for fuss free showering.

Ingredients: Aqua (purified Australian water^), sorbitol*, glycerin*, lauryl glucoside*, disodium cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut), sodium cocoyl glutamate (from coconut & sugar cane), sclerotium gum*, sodium isostearoyl lactylate*, panax ginseng root extract, panthenol (pro Vit B5), quillaja saponaria bark (panama bark), sodium citrate*, sodium gluconate*, citric acid*, glyceryl laurate*, sodium stearoyl lactylate*, chlorphenesin, sodium dehydroacetate, ethylhexylglycerin, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract [CO2], elettaria cardamomum seed oil (cardamon), eugenia caryophyllus (clove) flower oil, d-limonene#, eugenol#. ^BP standard *botanical sources #from essential oils

Shea butter liquid black soap with tea tree oil

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Shea By Nature Black Soap Tea Tree & Peppermint Shower Gel – 250ml (£7.99)

I’ve long been a fan of black liquid soaps as they contain high amounts of shea butter and work great as a foaming beard shampoo.  But they also are good as an over body wash.

This particular black liquid soap from ‘Shea by nature‘ comes in a rather unexciting white plastic bottle with an old fashion, but practical, flip up spout.  The texture is certainly nothing like a gel, but more like running water.  It has a naturally muddy brown colour and has a fragrance of peppermint with a hint of tea tree.  It foams up gently and easily.

For my ingredient purists, you’ll love this excellent list: water, organic (fair trade) shea butter and coconut oil.  Cocoa ash, tea tree and peppermint oil.  That’s it!  No SLS, no preservatives and Vegan friendly.

So if you want all the benefits antibacterial/antimicrobial tea tree, moisturising shea butter and like your skin smelling of natural peppermint, give this one a try.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Unrefined Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil, Cocoa Ash (Theobroma Cacao), Tea Tree Leaf (Melaluca alternaifolia), Peppermint (mentha piperita), *Limonene, *Linalool. *Occurs naturally in essential oils.

Remember to use the key words ‘search posts’ box to look up and compare my other ‘Del Brown Approved black liquid soap‘ reviews.

Multipurpose liquid soap from Dr Bronner

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Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree & Hemp Liquid Soap – 946ml (£12.95)

As it seems tea tree shower gels are particularly popular, I thought I’d highlight this from Dr Bronner.  This Tea Tree Body Wash does not contain any SLS, Parabens, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates or Phthalates. The antibacterial / antimicrobial tree tree has a host of benefits, including working well on smelly spots and smelly bodies!

The Dr Bonner’s liquid soap comes in a range of fragrances, if tea tree and hemp (yes.. Cannabis) are not your thing.  Don’t expect a thick gel, think more a runny liquid. It also has multiple uses, for example, with this nearly 1 litre bottle, you could use it as a hand wash, body wash, bath soak and even as an anti bacterial (thanks to the tea tree) laundry liquid.

Particularly good If you’re looking for a natural antibacterial hand wash for use in the kitchen.  The bottle states it has 18 uses!! So when your shower gel or hand wash next runs out, get yourself some of this and re-fill the bottle.

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Tea Tree Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin

For my ingredient purist friends; You’ll notice within the ingredients it states Tea Tree ‘Extract’ and not Tea Tree ‘Oil’.

Rose Otto body wash from REN

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REN Rose Otto Body Wash – 200ml (£17.00)

Whenever I fly away somewhere hot, this body wash comes along with me. Particularly soothing on sun burnt skin (I’ll be reminding you all of this in the summer!).  The biggest ingredient in the pot is Rose Flower Water extracted from Moroccan roses. It has a silky texture (that’ll be the glycerin) that glides over the body and leaves both the bathroom and your bits and pieces, smelling of a rose garden.

The delivery system for all the REN shower gels is a clear bag containing the product, within a clear tube. The pump squeezes the product out of the bag, requiring less preservatives in the ingredients as the product remains air tight. Another brucey bonus is that you’re able to squeeze (almost) every last drop out.

The most expensive shower gel from REN, the cheapest being £14.00 for their Seaweed & Sage body wash. An expensive luxury, not to be wasted!

Ingredients: Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Parfum* (Fragrance), Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Aminoacids, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Lactic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin. 

*100% Natural Fragrance Parfum 100% Naturel

Foot note: For my ingredient purists, I have spotted ‘Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate‘ in the ingredients list here, but having done my research and am happy for it to be ‘Del Brown Approved!’.

Click here for all my ‘Del Brown Approved Shower Gels