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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Botanicals Nourishing Face Moisturiser Rose and Camellia

IMG_2590Botanicals Nourishing Face Moisturiser: Rose and Camellia – 30ml (£17.95)

Already impressed by the Botanicals Radiance Serum, which I reviewed last year, I am now very pleased to approve their Botanicals nourishing face moisturiser.

First, an observation on the packaging.  This small 30ml size comes in a smokey brown glass bottle. This already ticks boxes as far as I’m concerned.  Fully recyclable, no chemicals leaching out of plastic bottles to be concerned about and the brown glass, helps preserve the integrity of the natural ingredients from sun light.

If the glass had been left clear, the UV light would quickly degrade the ingredients, reducing the potency and longevity of them.

IMG_2592Now onto the main feature, the ingredients.  It contains an impressive 99% naturally derived ingredients, 91% of them, certified organic by the Soil Association. None of the ingredients are tested on animals and the entire Botanicals range is suitable for vegans. Suitable for both men and women, it is recommended for normal, dry and mature skin types.

The base and biggest ingredient is water, organic sunflower oil, organic shea butter and organic cacao butter. Unusual to find those three rich moisturising ingredients as the base ingredients. Then we see vegetable based glycerine, organic rose hip oil, organic olive oil and organic flax seed oil. In the middle of the ingredients list there is organic aloe vera powder and wild carrot root extract   Other key ingredients include natural source vitamin E and organic camellia sinensis leaf extract, more commonly known as the antioxidant Green Tea.

IMG_2593The aroma is clean, uplifting and not overly floral, despite being made up of the main ingredients, together with a mix of lavender, rose, geranium and ylang-ylang essential oils.

The convenient pump dispenses a small amount, so you can easily control how much you use. Only a couple of pumps is required. The light textured cream easily absorbs into the skin and does not leave a shiny, oily texture.

IMG_2595I particularly like how this moisturiser doesn’t suffocate the skin. Have you ever used a moisturiser that left your skin sweating underneath it? Well not with this. The cream maintains moisture levels throughout the day, without irritating or blocking the pores.

I definitely rate this moisturiser right up there in my top list of favourites, for a whole host of reasons, but particularly thanks to that list of 91% certified organic ingredients.  A pleasure to use and fully Del Brown Approved!

Ingredients: Aqua, helianthus annuus seed oil* butyrospermum parkii butter*, theobroma cacao seed butter*, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, glycerine***, rosa canina fruit oil*, olea europaea fruit oil*, linum usitatissimum seed oil*, sucrose stearate, sodium stearoyl glutamate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, camellia sinensis leaf extract*, daucus carota sativa root extract*, coco-glucoside, coconut alcohol, tocopherol, xanthan gum, benzyl alcohol, lactic acid, dehydroacetic acid, parfum*; rosa centifolia flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia flower oil*, cymbopogon martini flower oil*, cananga odorata flower oil*, geraniol**, citronellol**, benzyl benzoate**, linalool**, limonene**, citral**, farnesol**.

*Organic ingredient
**Natural constituents of essential oils
***Organic origin

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Are you washing with ANIMAL FAT?

So there I was, staying in a luxury five star hotel in Berlin.  Next to the bathroom sink, sat a collection of beautifully presented, complimentary hotel toiletries.  This particular range had written, and I quote: “natural and organic bodycare” products; shampoo, shower gel, body lotion and a little bar of soap.

The label on the ‘Citrus Facial Soap’ boasts; “Made with Organic Shea Butter.  Gentle triple milled soap with vitamin E”.  So far, so good.  I opened it and was hit with the aroma of lavender and citrus.  As you can believe, I was all ready to spread the word and write a review on it.

So of course, me being me, I went straight to the ingredients list and started reading:


Ingredients: Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Aqua, glycerin, sodium choride, parfum, lavandula angustifolia oi, linalool, limonene, pentasodium pentetate, tetrasodium etidronate, butyrospermum parkii*, tocopherol, benzyl salicylate, citral, geranoil. *certified organic

So the biggest ingredient is Sodium Tallowate.  But what is that?  Well, I started doing some research. It turns out the ‘Sodium’ bit means it has been mixed with Lye (sodium hydroxide), but Tallowate means animal fat.

The definition of the word ‘Tallow’ [tal-oh]:


the fatty tissue or suet of animals

the harder fat of sheep, cattle, etc., separated by melting from the fibrous and membranous matter naturally mixed with it, and used to make candles, soap, etc.


So let’s start by looking at the facts.  Tallow is animal fat, it could be beef, lamb or pork.  A by-product of the meat industry, just like the feathers in your pillows and the leather on your shoes.  Tallow is not a new thing.  We have been using animal ingredients in soaps and other beauty products for donkey’s years.  Think about it.  We used to make soap from whale and seal blubber.  I’m sure somewhere in the world this practice is still going on.

Tallow can legally be classed as a natural product.  After all, it wasn’t created in a lab by mixing chemicals together.  It was merely cut off the carcass of a dead cow and melted over a low heat.

I was genuinely shocked to think I might have been washing my face with animal fat, from a bar of soap that is presented as being a natural and organic, citrus facial soap.

This revolution started me thinking, I wonder where else this ‘Tallow’ or ‘Sodium Tallowate’ might appear?

Surely not in ‘Simple – Pure soap for sensitive skin’?

IDShot_225x225-2Ingredients: Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Aqua, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Etidronic Acid

How about ‘Shield Fresh Aqua’ Soap?

IDShot_225x225-1Ingredients: Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua, Glycerin, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Triclocarban, Tetrasodium Edta, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Coumarin, Amyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl-3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, CI 77891, CI 74260, CI 74160, CI 17200.

‘Palmolive Naturals Moisture Care’ Soap:

IDShot_225x225Ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Oleate, Aqua, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Pentasodium Pentetate, Pentaerithrityl Tetra-di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sine Adipe Lac, Olea Europaea Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool, CI 77891, CI 47005, CI 61570

So friends, it’s about time we all started facing facts.  We are being bombarded by advertising and marketing.  We need to ALL be clever consumers and start reading the ingredient labels and understand exactly what goes into the making of products we purchase and use.

Del Brown Approved (the ingredient scrutiniser) is ALL about the ingredients, not about the packaging or misleading marketing.  Click here to read my reviews of soaps that qualify for being Del Brown Approved and DO NOT containing any animal derived ingredients

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True Organic of Sweden Under Cover Agent Deodorant


True Organic Of Sweden – Undercover Agent Deodorant – 50ml (£10.00)

My second review for ‘True Organic of Sweden‘, who offer a range of top quality products all containing excellent natural ingredients and perform superbly.  This ‘Undercover agent‘ roll-on deodorant is no exception.

Now on the topic of deodorants, the ingredient you want to search out and avoid is synthetic ‘Aluminium Chlorohydrate’.  Not to be confused with ‘Potassium Alum’.  Potassium Alum is a natural salt that prevents the growth of odour causing bacteria, making it an ideal ingredient to use in an under arm deodorant product.  There’s an interesting website I’ve found which goes into lots of detail about the difference between natural potassium alum and synthetic aluminium.


True Organic of Sweden have developed this aluminium and alcohol-free deodorant using 99% natural ingredients.  This base and biggest ingredient in this deodorant is Water, potassium alum, organic triethyl citrate and organic vegetable based glycerine.  Being organic we know it is naturally sourced and not synthetically created.  Then we see the only non-natural ingredient in the product, bicarbonate of soda.  Natural thickener Xanthan Gum and organic Glyceryl Caprylate are next, with parabens replaced with natural preservatives Sodium Levulinate and Sodium Anisate.  Finally we see calming organic Aniba Roseaodora Wood essential oil and antiseptic organic Cupressus Sempervirens leaf oil.


Those last two ingredients Rosewood and Cypress oil, help provide this roll-on with one of the nicest fragrances I have found in a natural deodorant product.  It smells fresh and clean and quite unlike any other product or fragrance, totally unisex, no floral notes here.


No special application method required, shake before use and apply to clean, dry skin.  For maximum benefit, allow a moment to dry before pulling on clothes.  Another thing I love about this product is the 100% recyclable glass bottle, especially if you’re concerned about the chemicals found in plastic containers.

I’ve been using this daily for the past month and love it.  Its compact size, ease of use, fresh fragrance, lack of nasty chemicals and clean packaging.  Highly recommended and fully Del Brown Approved!

Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium Alum, Triethyl Citrate*, Glycerine*, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan gum, Glyceryl Caprylate*, Sodium Levulinate*, Sodium Anisate*,  Aniba roseaodora wood oil*, Cupressus sempervirens leaf oil*, Aroma from essential oils: Linalol, Limonen, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate

*Certified organic ingredients

Undercover Agent

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Glycerine based shaving soap with propolis and honey

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Simply Bee Shaving Soap – 125ml (13.50)

Being a man who chooses to wear his hair short, oppose to being bald, I shave my head regularly. As this is a weekly task and covers a substantial surface area, I invested in a quality shaving brush and have tried a variety of shaving soaps over the years.

The qualities of a really good shaving soap are the following; primarily lubrication! The soap needs to encourage the easy slide of a sharp blade, cleanly over the skin, without drag or irritation. Foam, the soap should foam up and stay foamy for as long as the shave is taking place. This enables one to clearly see the areas already shaved. Bonus qualities include ingredients that calm the skin, because we all know the shaving process can promote redness, irritation and even spots. So anti-inflammatory, soothing and healing properties are all good.

This hand made shaving soap from Simply Bee natural products ticks all the boxes. It is primarily a vegetable derived glycerine based soap made with coconut oil, castor oil and palm kernel oil with added bees wax, antimicrobial propolis and honey. No synthetics, no perfumes, no artificial colours or preservatives.

It comes in a clear plastic 125ml pot with screw lid, making it practical for use when travelling. Unscrew the lid and apply a damp shaving brush, whip up a lather of long lasting, honey fragranced bubbles that soften the skin, lubricate a blade and soothes the skin. pop the lid back on and the soap is hygienically sealed ready for next time. The effect is a clean smooth shave and soothed, irritation free, moisturised skin.

If you’re already a shaving brush and soap user, take a moment to read the ingredients in your current brand of shaving soap. If you find it full of unnecessary additives, fillers, artificial colours and perfumes, then it’s time to throw it away! If you struggle with shaving creams or gels, get through them too quickly or are left with skin irritation, consider this more natural alternative.

Ingredients: Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut Oil), Castor Oil, Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Elaeis Guineensis Kernel Oil, (Palm Kernel Oil), Sorbitan Oleate, Sorbitol, Aqua, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Propolis Cera (Propolis), Maltodextrin (Honey)

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A natural ‘chemical free’ deodorant spray from Crystal Spring

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Salt of the earth Natural Deodorant Unscented Spray – 100ml (£3.84)

So the topic today is deodorants and antiperspirants. Firstly lets clarify the difference. A deodorant is tasked with ensuring we don’t smell. The ingredients within the product are formulated to destroy odour-causing bacteria. An antiperspirant on the other hand is designed to prevent the skin from sweating. It does this by temporarily blocking the pours that allow sweat to pass through them.

Now, equipped with that information alone, I decided years ago that I didn’t like the idea a product preventing my body from performing naturally. So I stopped using antiperspirants all together. I don’t however want to smell, so if there is a natural way I can destroy or mask odour causing bacterial in my arm pits, then I’m all for it!

Two ingredients that are regarded as ‘danger’ signs on an underarm product are ‘Aluminum’ and ‘parabens’. But, I challenge you to find an underarm product that contains parabens, as I can’t find one! You will however find aluminum, as this synthetic man made ingredient, has proven to reduce perspiration. But, it is this synthetic version “Aluminium Chlorohydrate”, which has people concerned.

Now if like me you’ve experimented with ‘natural’ under arm products and have been mortified to discovered you’re ‘less than fresh’ by the end of the day, I encourage you to consider this offering from Crystal Spring. This Salt of the earth spray is an unscented natural deodorant. The ingredients are water, potassium alum, which I’ll come onto in a moment. Organic Aloe Vera leaf juice, two types of antibacterial Honeysuckle flower extract and finally p-Anisic Acid, which has antiseptic properties and is found naturally in Star Anise.  Also important to note that this doesn’t contain any alcohol, colors or perfumes.

The main ingredient to look at here is the potassium alum.  Now this ingredient is a naturally occurring mineral salt, typically found as encrustations on rocks in areas of weathering, putting my geography A-level to good use there! The properties of this ingredient are that it has a natural deodorant effect by inhibiting the growth of bacteria responsible for causing body odour. This natural source ingredient has been used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for generations.

Happy with the ingredients, I put the product on test. Firstly I love the fact it is unscented. I literally hate (strong word there) the synthetic aroma of cheap underarm products, be they roll-on or body sprays.  It baffles me how people think they smell nice?  To my nose they are a cocktail of synthetic chemicals.

Applying to fresh out of the shower clean skin, the product acts, looks and feels like water. I sprayed five pumps onto each pit and allowed a few minutes for it to air dry and absorb into the skin before pulling on my t-shirt. Obviously, if you don’t allow this time, the product will just wipe off onto your clothes. Then I forgot all about it. 12 hours later and the most crucial conclusion, no body odour.

If you apply too much, the product will run down your body like water. Apply to little and you may find it doesn’t perform as well as you’d like. So perceiver and find the right application technique for yourself.  The short and long term benefits of using a natural deodorant such as this, far outweigh that of the cheap synthetic offerings from the supermarket.  The ingredients in this are far kinder to your skin and body.  Fully Del Brown Approved!

Ingredients: Aqua, Potassium AlumAloe Barbadensis Leaf JuiceLonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower ExtractLonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extractp-Anisic Acid (from star anise or Indian basil)

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Warm Orange & Shea Soap from Wild Sage & Co

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Wild Sage & Co – Warm Orange & Shea Soap – 100g (3.95)

If you that think bars of soap are just for washing your hands, or associate the word ‘soap’ with the bright white, astringent, chemical filled bars that appear on your supermarket shelves, I encourage you to reconsider.  As I’ve said in previous reviews, soap made using natural ingredients such as olive oils, coconut oils, shea butter etc, provide some of the most gentlest and kindest ways to cleanse the skin.  It should always be ‘about the ingredients’, not the packaging, the marketing, how pretty it looks or smells.  It’s all about what ingredients are put in to benefit the skin and more importantly, what synthetic, chemical ingredients are kept out!

So let me introduce you to one of the good guys, the base and biggest ingredients in this bar of ‘Warm Orange and Shea‘ from Wild Sage & Co are Olive Oil, Coconut oil, Castor Oil and Sunflower Oil.  We then see Shea Butter for moisturising, Calendula Oil for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties and Sweet Orange Essential Oil for its warming fragrance.

Two particularly interesting ingredients are Benzoin Styrax oil, which is extracted from the Styrax Benzoin tree and is said to boost the skin’s elasticity, while calming redness, itchiness and irritation and Bixa Orellana (annatto) seed, which gives the bar its orange colour.

Add warm water and the bar quickly foams up providing cleansing, moisturising and soothing properties to the skin.  Rinse off to leave you feeling clean and comfortable.  I’ve also successfully used this bar to shave with, when combined with a shaving brush.

Ingredients: Olea europaea (Olive Oil), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Ricinus Communis (Castor Oil), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Calendula Oil), Benzoin Styrax (Essential Oil), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange Essential Oil), Bixa orellana (annatto) seed, Aqua (Water), Sodium Hydroxide