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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Skin and Tonic London Beard Oil

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Skin and Tonic London Beard Oil – 30ml (£16.00)

I’m very excited to bring you this one!  My first review for East London based ‘Skin and Tonic‘.  They are a small, fast growing producer of natural skincare products.  Located in the home of the fashionable hipster and Shoreditch beard, they just HAD to make a beard oil.

This is their Skin and Tonic London Beard Oil, made with just five ingredients; Grapeseed oil, Thistle oil, Argan oil, Cedarwood essential oil and finally Rosemary essential oil. Every single one of them certified organic by the soil association.

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Now I’ve reviewed a number of beard oils since launching Del Brown Approved!, but not many of them can boast being 100% certified organic.  Why should this make a difference?  Well, with the certification, the ingredients have to meet the high standards of the UK based Soil Association.  They have a rigorous list which all have to be met, in order for the ingredients to be certified.  No synthetic pesticides used during the growing of the plants, not GM (genetically modified) ingredients, the list goes on.

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I’ve long sported a beard in a variety of shapes and sizes, but when it starts to get long, it does require some help to prevent you from looking like cat weasel.  So, how best to use this beard oil.  It all depends on how long and thick your beard is.  If you’ve only got a short one, you’ll need very little.  But if you’ve got a long one, you’ll need more.  Are you detecting slight innuendo here?  Well it’s true!

The thing about beard oil is, and I’ve experimented extensively with them, when you first apply it, you can fall foul of using too much because you can’t see or feel much difference.  But, give it an hour for the oil to warm to your body temperature.  The bristles of your beard will spread the oils all around your chin.  Use too much beard oil and you’re left feeling like an oil slick for the rest of the day.

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My first tip is to equip yourself with a comb.  Nothing fancy, just a bog standard hair comb will do, preferably with closely sat prongs.  Apply one or two drops straight onto the comb and brush evenly into a freshly washed, dry beard.  Comb the hair in the opposite direction of the hair growth, getting the oil right underneath, before neatly brushing the hair back down.  Again, don’t worry if it feels like not much has happened, or you haven’t used enough.  Take a moment to evenly distribute the oil by simply combing the hair through the comb.  Then my next tip is not to man handle your beard too much.  Allow time for the oils to penetrate and nourish the hair and skin.

Ultimately, you’ll notice your beard is looking well groomed.  Slightly glossy in appearance, thick, healthy and neatly styled.  To start with, you may reserve this ritual only for special occasions and date nights.  But trust me, the look and feel becomes addictive.  You’ll find yourself applying the beard oil as part of your daily grooming routine.  With regular use, this oil will keep your beard in tip-top condition and the skin beneath will benefit too.

This huge 30ml sized beard oil is an all round winner.  Its going to last you ages and is easy to use thanks to the pump dispenser.  The aroma is primarily Grapeseed oil with a sharp, zesty twang, it’s all fully Del Brown Approved!

Ingredients: Vitis Vinfera*, Cathamus Tinctorius*, Argania Spinosa*, Cedrus Atlantica*, Rosmarinus Officinalis*
*Certified organic by The Soil Association + Vegan

http://www.skinandtoniclondon.com/product/beard-oil/

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Siam Botanicals Lemongrass and Tea Tree Shave Oil

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Siam Botanicals Lemongrass and Tea Tree Shave Oil – 24.0g (£16.30)

I’ve discovered a little known secret, it’s called Siam Botanicals.  A brand that specialise in hand blending essential oils to create a range of skin and hair care products.  Made in small batches from their base in Bangkok, Thailand, using 100% natural ingredients sourced mainly from South East Asia, Africa and India.

I met the ladies from Siam Botanicals whilst at a recent trade fair and they introduced me to this, their Gentlemen of Siam, Lemongrass and Tea Tree Shave Oil.

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Obviously, the first thing I looked at was the ingredient list. Cast your eye over this little lot, in order of greatest amount; Organic Castor Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Organic Moringa Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Tamanu Oil, Rosehip Oil, Cucumber Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, natural source vitamin E, Organic Rosemary Oil, Juniper Berry Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Plai Root Oil, Lemongrass Oil and Ginger Oil.

Not a synthetic additive in sight.  No artificial perfume, colourings or preservatives. 97% of the total ingredients are certified organic.

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The concept is simple, apply a few drops into your fingers, spread over the area to be shaved, then shave.  The oil helping to protect the skin and lubricate the sharp blade.  Being a man who shaves his head, I gave this a whirl.  The problem I find with shaving oils is, you can’t always see where you’ve applied it. Then I fall foul of using too much.

So, I’ll admit I went a bit rogue! With an ingredient list this good, it would have been a sin just to use it as a shave oil.  So, I tried it as a beard and face oil and it is amazing!  As a beard oil, the combination of ingredients meant I only required a couple of drops, brushed into my beard, to give it a healthy, glossy, soft look and feel.  I also used a couple of drops at night as a face oil and my face was left feeling smooth, hydrated and calm.

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The mix of different essential oils makes this a true multi-tasker.  The tea tree oil has anti-fungle, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.  Whilst the argon oil is great not only for the skin, but also to nourish the hair.  Perfect for men with beards!  Rosehip oil is rich in pro-vitamin A, mostly beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Omegas 3, 9 and 6 essential fatty acids.  I’ve also spotted three unusual ingredients like Moringa oil, an antioxidant, full of free-radical neutralizers and has one of the most concentrated natural sources of oleic acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  Tamanu oil, known for its unique ability to boost the formation of new tissue, Tamanu oil is often used to accelerate the healing of blemished or inflamed skin. Finally, Plai Root Oil, known as an exceptional healing oil with natural antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties

The oil is called Lemongrass and Tea Tree, as these are the two strongest aromas you can detect, despite the catalogue of other essential oils in the product.  The smoky dark brown bottle helps preserve the integrity of the oils from sun light.  Within the cardboard box is a handy little pipet, replacing the lid to make using the oil highly practical, allowing you to easily dispense the ‘just right’ amount.

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I really like the philosophy of Siam Botanicals.  They do not use ANY synthetic ingredients, are cruelty free, committed to responsible sources and where possible, use local providers.  So if you’re already a fan of using shave oils, you should certainly add this one to your try list.  A highly practical, multi-tasking oil, packed full of skin benefiting ingredients.  Fully Del Brown Approved!

INCI Ingredients: *Ricinus Communis Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, *Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, *Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, *Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, *Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Cucumis Sativus Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Tocopherol , *Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil, Zingiber Cassumunar Root Oil, Cymbopogon Citratus Leaf Oil, Zingiber Officinale Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral

*Certified COSMOS Organic

http://www.siambotanicals.co.uk/shop/lemongrass-and-tea-tree-shave-oil/


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Friendly Soap Shea Butter Facial Cleansing Bar

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Friendly Soap Shea Butter Facial Cleansing Bar – 95g (£2.49)

I previously wrote a review of the aloe vera soap from Friendly Soap, made with just four (five if you include water) 100% natural ingredients.  Well how about I now go one better!  Now let me introduce you to this vitamin A and E rich, facial cleansing bar, that contains just THREE 100% natural ingredients (excluding water).

Say goodbye to ‘made with ¼ moisturising cream’, with no reference as to what the moisturising cream is?  And welcome in 1/3 shea butter, 1/3 coconut oil and 1/3 olive oil.  That’s it!

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  • Shea butter, extracted from the African shea tree, is a natural fat, high in vitamin A and has been used for generations in a wide range of applications from cooking to cosmetics.
  • Coconut oil, extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts, has a high saturated fat content, making it great for softening the skin.
  • Olive oil, an antioxidant rich natural oil, high in vitamin E and a respected all round skin moisturiser.

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No essential oils in this one, so fragrance free.  As you’d expect, no colourings, synthetic or natural.  No preservatives, Vegan Society Approved and leaping bunny registered.  Ideal for the most sensitive skins, hence why the boys at Friendly Soap have labelled this one as suitable for face cleansing.

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I personally used it all over the body and loved the way it quickly foamed up with lots of cleansing white bubbles and left my skin feeling clean and comfortable.  Suitable for everyone, men, women and children.  Problematic skin, that reacts to even the mildest of natural ingredients should be fine with this one too.  So consider upgrading your body wash and allow your skin to re-establish its natural equilibrium.  One of the purest bars of soap I’ve brought you so far and totally Del Brown Approved!

Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii butter, Sodium olivate, Sodium cocoate, Aqua

http://www.friendlysoap.co.uk/products-page/facial-bars/shea-butter/

Click here to read my other reviews from ‘Friendly Soap’


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The Organic Pharmacy Moisture Cream for Men

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The Organic Pharmacy Moisture Cream for Men – 75ml (£35.95)

The Organic Pharmacy, a company founded by Margo Marrone, opened her first shop on the Kings Road in London, in 2002. One of the brand philosophy’s is to ‘absolutely prohibit the use of artificial preservatives, fragrances and colorants’. So let me introduce you to this Organic PharmacyMoisture Cream for Men.

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It has a naturally cream colour and a heady, masculine, slightly woody aroma. Dispense a small amount onto your fingers and smooth over the face. Less is more with this moisturiser; you really don’t need to use much. The cream quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving your face feeling hydrated, comfortable and smooth.

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The biggest ingredient in this moisturiser is organic aloe vera, mixed with water, organic coconut oil, sesame seed oil, organic jojoba oil and organic shea butter.  Some of the other key botanicals found in this moisturiser include sunflower oil and Tamanu. Now Tamanu oil, from the Polynesian Islands, contains a host of neutral Lipids, Glycolipids, and Phospholipids.  More importantly used here in a moisturiser, it contains a natural anti-inflammatory.

Organic calendula has long been used to help heal a host of skin conditions. Organic St.John’s wart, anti-microbial organic propolis, natural antioxidant green tea and natural source Vitamin E.  This combination of ingredients helps to calm and repair the skin. The light texture and quick absorption makes it ideal post shave to re-hydrate the skin.

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This unusually large 75ml tube should last you a long time, the industry standard is 50ml.  Its compact size makes it easy to throw into a gym bag or take away whilst travelling. It contains an excellent list of natural ingredients, including 81% organic ingredients.  This is my first review of an Organic Pharmacy product and I’m confident, this won’t be my last!

Ingredients: Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis)*, Aqua (Water) , Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera)*, Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum Indicum), Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis)*, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii)*, Ceteryl Alcohol, Parfum (Fragrance), Behenyl Alcohol , Sunflower Oil (Helianthus Annus), Glyceryl Stearate*, Sodium Lactate , Benzyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Phospholipids*, Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum), Xanthan Gum, Soybean Sterols (Glycine Soya)*, Marigold (Calendula Officinalis) Extract*, Hypericum Perforatum*, Propolis Cera* , Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis), Vitamin E (Tocopherol) , Sorbic Acid, Limonene , Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Benzyl Salicylate, Farnesol, Isoeugenol, Eugenol, Coumarin,

http://www.theorganicpharmacy.com/health-beauty/moisture-cream/304


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Your essential guide to Olive Oil soap

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Having just returned from a week in sunny Rhodes, I wandered the streets of Old Rhodes Town and the white walled village of Lindos, where tourists are encouraged to part with their hard earned cash on all manner of souvenir.  Fake branded clothing, model statues, carved wooden phallus bottle openers, ceramic pots, leather goods and even genuine fur coats were all on offer.

But I had my sight set on something a little more authentic.  I was on the hunt for locally produced Greek products, in particular, Greek olive oil soaps.  Now, those clever marketing companies had already spotted this potential money maker.  We stopped off at several souvenirs shops and one or two olive oil factories.  There on the shelves, sat right next to the olive oil were bars of soap.  Now in Lindos, where donkeys transport tourists up to see the acropolis for 5 euro a ride, they had bars of soaps with little plastic donkeys on them.  Other bars were brightly coloured and had pictures of lavender, vanilla or strawberry on them.

So the first thing I checked were the ingredients.  It is within the ingredients section of any product that the truth is found.  The old saying of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been more appropriate.

Now, if you’re in the market for an Olive Oil soap and you’re stood in a country that grows more organic olive trees than you’ve ever seen, you’d hope this would be an easy task?  If you were stood in an olive oil factory where they produce their own oil right there on site, you’d hope the bars of soap they sell hadn’t been mass produced in another country and shipped over just for the tourists.

Upon closer inspection I was bitterly disappointed: Butylene Glycol, Parfum, Sorbitol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, colourings CI 19140.  Just a handful of ingredients I regularly spotted.  All chemicals added that your skin doesn’t want or need.  Synthetic perfumes and colourings, all rubbish!

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So, when you’re next looking at Olive Oil soaps, here’s my Del Brown Approved essential guide as to what to look for.

The first ingredient in the list has the largest amount in the product, with the smallest being the last.   So look out for these three: Olive Oil, Saponified Olive Oil or Sodium Olivate (which is saponified olive oil)

So what does saponified mean?  In order to make the liquid olive oil into a solid, it has to be mixed with water and an alkali (saponify).  In soap making, ‘Lye’ (sodium hydroxide) is used.  Once the soap making process is complete, there is usually little or no Lye remaining in the final product.  So what if you see the words ‘Sodium Olivate’?  Well that is the INCI (The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) abbreviation for Olive Oil mixed with lye.

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On the subject of ‘sodium olivate’, its handy to know that;

olivate is Olive Oil

palmate is Palm oil

almondate is Almond oil

cocoate is Coconut oil

What other ingredients are Del Brown Approved within a bar of olive oil soap?  Well Water (Aqua) of course, then you’ll also commonly find salt (sodium chloride) which acts as a natural preservative and acidity regulator.  You may also find Citric Acid which is a natural preservative found in citrus fruit.

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Now other than those few ingredients, what more do you need in an olive oil soap?  Well if you’re standing in Rhodes, you might want to look for the words ‘product of’ or ‘made in’ Greece.  If you’re after a soap with a nice smell, you might look for added essential oils which will appear in Latin usually.  If it just says ‘parfum’ then be cautious as it could be synthetic.  So they’ve just added some artificial fragrance to the mix to make it smell.  Also, your skin never needs colourings, artificial or natural, so avoid bars with CI numbers.  CI numbers are similar to ‘E’ numbers in food.  If the bar is glowing bright colours of any sort, your radar should immediately avoid it!

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Now that’s the essential guide over and done with.  Next time you’re browsing what appears to be a good quality locally produced natural product, always check the ingredients!

To conclude this topic, let me tell you that after a week of searching out the best soaps to purchase, averaging around €2.50-€3.00 per bar.  We went into a large supermarket and I was amazed to find Papoutsanis 125g bars of olive oil soap with the purest ingredients I’d found all week and to top it off, for just €0.45 each, that works out at just 32p per bar!

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If you’re in any doubt, don’t forget to check out the ‘soap’ category on my website.


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True Organic of Sweden Under Cover Agent Deodorant

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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.

http://potassiumalum.com/natural-potassium-alum-and-synthetic/

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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.

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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.

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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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Lyons Leaf 100% Natural Beauty Balm

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Lyons Leaf 100% Natural Beauty Balm – 55ml (£12.99)

Stand by your beds, I’m particularly excited about this one and rightly so when you realise the quality of the ingredients, the uses and the price! But where are my manners? I haven’t even introduced you. Del Brown Approved would like to welcome you to this 100% Natural Beauty Balm from Ben and Vicky Lyons of Lyons Leaf, Mendip Hills, Somerset.

There are twelve 100% natural ingredients that go into making this balm and 95% of them are organic or from wild harvest. No water, preservatives, colourings or perfumes. All of the oils used are cold pressed, so no heat treatments were used during their extraction, preserving the quality.

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The base and biggest ingredient of the balm is cold pressed wild harvest babassu oil. Babassu oil is extracted from Babassu nuts which naturally fall in the amazon rainforest.  Then we find raw organic shea butter, organic cold pressed macadamia nut oil, organic cold pressed jojoba oil, cold pressed sweet almond oil, natural source vitamin E, palmrosa essential oil, clary sage essential oil, benzoin resin, patchouli essential oil, rosemary essential oil and Lyons Leaf’s very own home grown calendula flower extract.

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The smoky brown glass jar helps protect and preserve the integrity of the essential oils. It houses 55ml of solid balm. If ambient temperatures are warm, the texture of the balm may be softer. The glass jar is deceptively small, on first appearance you may be forgiven for thinking ‘that won’t last long’, until you start using it. You quickly realise a little goes a long way and this jar will last you a long time.

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The aroma is mainly of shea butter with a faint hint of rosemary oil.  The uses of this balm are vast. I primarily used it at night instead of a serum, oil or moisturising cream. Scoop out a pea sized amount into the fingers, warm together and watch the balm melt on contact with your body temperature (see photographs), then pat and smooth over the face. Allowing the oils to sink deep into the skin and do their work whilst you sleep.

The balm can also be used as an oil cleanser, scoop out a small amount onto the fingers, then work the balm onto dry skin. Allow the melted oils to work into the pores of the face, lifting grime and dissolving dirt. With the aid of a hot cloth of your choice, remove the oil and the debris of the day, leaving your face feeling clean and moisturised.

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But it doesn’t stop there. Apply a small amount of this balm onto dry and cracked skin, so lips, hands, feet, heels and elbows.

I’m full of big praise for this balm.  If you’re on a budget and looking for a Del Brown Approved ‘highly rated’ multi-tasker, this would be my first choice. If you’re already a fan of face balm, oils or serums, you’re going to love the quality of the ingredients. If you’re a sufferer of skin conditions like eczema, acne, irritated skin and react to a lot of ingredients, then check the ingredients list and give this a try.

Ingredients: orbignya oleifera, butyrospermum parkii, macadamia ternifolia, simmondsia chinensis , prunus amygdalus dulcis, tocopherol, cymbopogon martini, salvia sclarea, styrax benzoin, pogostemon cablin, rosemarinus officinalis, calendula officinalis

*Essential oils naturally contain: citral, geraniol, benzyl benzoate, benzyl cinnamate, farnesol, limonene, linolool

http://lyonsleaf.co.uk/natural-beauty-balm