I was sent some Dr. Bronner's products to try and this review has actually become a bit of a family affair. My husband has been using the Shaving Soap Gel, the children have been trying the Pure Castile liquid soap and I have been trying out the Hemp Rose Pure Castile soap.
If you haven't come across Dr. Bronner's products before, they have gathered a bit of a cult following, especially in the States. The Magic All-in-One soaps are intriguing as you can apparently use in variety of ways. In fact, there are 18 suggested uses for the soaps, including brushing your teeth, washing clothes and hair and using as a pest spray! It's a very socially and ethically aware brand which makes an interesting change. They are certified as fair trade and are obviously committed to channelling profits in to causes or "Human Projects" as they refer to them on their website.
On to the good stuff. As I mentioned, my husband has been trying out the Shaving Soap Gel for me. Unlike most shaving products this comes in a tube. A rather large tube as it goes which should last a good few months. This soap has a thick liquid gel consistency. Be warned that it is sludge brown! It has a pleasant citrussy smell. It creates a thick lather and I'm informed that the shave is very smooth considering the thickness of the lather. My husband has been very impressed with how smooth this leaves his skin after shaving. Apparently you need to make sure you rinse off all of the residue thoroughly, once you have the skin feels very soft underneath (I can confirm this). Mr. MB's assessment was that it wasn't a nice as the high end shaving gels that he has tried but that it more than matches up to the quality of brands like Gillette. The advantage over those is the brands conscience.
I have been using the Hemp Rose liquid Castile soap in place of my usual shower gel. It's has a rose scent with a bit of something else, it's a little sharp and quite unusual. It's a liquid rather than a gel and runs freely. I use it with a shower scrunchie as I would my normally body wash and I find it foams up well initially but quickly runs out of steam. It leaves my skin feeling a little squeaky, although I don't find that it dries my skin. It certainly feels like using a traditional soap. Because of the way it felt on my skin, I didn't dare use it on my hair. In fact, I haven't tried any of the alternative uses yet. I think this sort of product would be great for travelling light, maybe on a backpacking trip or camping. I have a couple of the bar soaps to try and will be packing those when I go camping later in the year. No doubt my Mum will try and pilfer one, I know she would love these for all the handwashing she has to do during their stints in France.
Although, I didn't get on so well with the Rose liquid soap, I've been impressed with the Unscented Baby Mild version. I've used this on all of my children and it has a lovely gentle lather with no sign of squeakiness. It hasn't irritated their sensitive skin either which is something that is very important to me. There really is no scent which makes a change from a lot of highly scented baby products that I have used.
I have also been trying out the organic baby balm and the Patchouli Lime balm. These are designed for use on the body but I have only used these as a lip balms so far. The texture is quite light and not particularly greasy so I can see that they would work well on areas of dry skin in the winter months. As with the liquid Castile, I prefer the unscented baby version to the scented. I love the cute tin packaging they come in too.
The shaving gel and the unscented liquid baby soap have definitely been big hits and they are items I am likely to be re-purchasing. I'm intrigued to test the 18 in 1 uses on our camping trip later in the year. If any of you have tried it as a toothpaste, I want to hear about it. Does it feel strange? I do worry that I will end up foaming at the mouth!
Dr. Bronner products are available to buy from a number of retailers in the UK including Waitrose, Liberty, Fenwick, Bentalls and Harrods and they're likely to be found in their wholefoods sections. For those of you in the States, I believe you can order directly from the website, www.drbronner.com.
Disclosure: These products were sent to me without cost for review purposes.