[sample] I am saying ‘new look’ because I’ve been out of touch with the brand for so long that it’s new to me and I’m not sure when this transformation took place. However, gone are the flowers and frills and instead, a pared back, straight from the Farrow & Ball colour chart, offering instead. Shiny is replaced with matte for the packaging of some products and the ingredient list has got far more adventurous.
You might think that Crabtree & Evelyn is a quintessentially British brand – it’s not; it’s American in origin and is now owned by a corporation in Hong Kong. They’ve kept a nod to the past with their Archive collection where you can still find La Source, Nantucket Briar and Goatmilk & Oat products but on the whole there has been a huge product shift with facial care and ‘serious’ fragrance. I am still scratching my head as to why C&E would put their hand scrub into a category (Gardener’s) that alienates anyone who doesn’t garden or certainly plants (see what I did) the idea that it’s only for people who garden. For anyone who hasn’t used this, it’s a pumice infused hand wash that is instantly skin softening with an invigorating fragrance – I am as sure as I can be that it’s not the same as the original La Source which I remember as having more oil content although you would see an immediate difference with this version – it’s excellent and would be my top pick from the entire collection and worth every penny of the £19.50 price. I also liked the Buff & Smooth Lip Exfoliator which works a treat at providing a barrier that stays, but not so much in the exfoliating department. I’ve looked at the ingredient list and it’s not clear what’s providing the ‘scrub’ element (it can’t be apple fibre can it?) but there are some decent if unexciting oils in the mix – olive oil and grapeseed oil, namely. It’s £17 which I find expensive for this – it does the smoothing and protecting job beautifully but so do many at half the price.
Quality wise, I really like the Luminous Cleansing Balm that you can use either as a balm or with some water to transform to a milk. It’s not particularly pungent so if the many highly fragranced essential oil infused balms aren’t for you this might offer a welcome alternative although it does contain eucalyptus and rosemary that make a kind of woody smell. Ingredient wise, not bad at all – meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil help to make it a loose balm although from the picture it looks very solid. I can’t complain about this at all. It’s £27.
I can, and am, complaining about the Velvet Body Melt. I don’t want to open a tub of anything to find half of it missing – except, obviously, it’s not missing – the amount of product just doesn’t fit the size of the tub. So, it’s a slack-fill by another name with a pot that fools you into thinking you’re getting more than you do. The formula is delightful – a cream to oil consistency that’s a dream on the skin with rosehip, mallow and murumuru. If your body skin is dry this will give you some welcome relief. It’s a whippy consistency that feels cool on the skin and makes it instantly calmer and more flexible. A bit of a find if you can get past the fact it looks like someone else has pre-used your tub. It’s £31.50 which probably puts it out daily use and into luxury treat but it does feel treaty for sure.
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Although I like most of the products, formula wise, I can’t clearly see the direction this brand is headed. The packaging is nice enough but it doesn’t fall into the ‘must have’ category. The fragrances are £71.50 each – sorry, but I’d head almost anywhere for premium fragrance before here and the new look Gardeners collection (the hand scrub lives in the Archive collection) features products such as Falling Stars Body & Hair Overnight Oil which has absolutely sod all to do with gardening or gardens. If they’d called it the Falling Stars collection, I’d be instantly in, especially if they’d put some stars on the packaging. The new look branding feels muddled and without a confident stride and yet within it, there are some gems to discover. Find them HERE.
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