Thursday, May 24, 2007

Burts Bee Workshop and Review in Philly (All Natural Cosmetics)

Maybe posting this a bit late for anyone in Philly (visiting my sister right now) but just came back not to long ago from a Burt's Bees skin care consultation in the Whole Foods on South Street. Though I had already previously been to a Burt's Bees workshop in VA a year or two ago, I wanted to attend this one because in the last year or so Burt's Bees has come out with a slew of new products and I wanted to learn about them. Though I mainly craft vegan products, I still buy and use products that are vegetarian and not necessarily vegan. But I got confused about the time of the workshop: the flyer had said 11:30 am but when I reserved on the phone, the Whole Foods employee who answered said that it looked like there were specific signup times but he didn't sound too sure. The one in VA had been a group workshop so I showed up at 11:30 because I thought maybe the flyer was right and the guy who answered the phone was wrong. Turns out the guy was right; it was not a group workshop but a one on one consultation (the flyer wasn't clear on this).

The Burt's Bees rep (I can't remember her name) was very nice about the mix up and consulted with me early since the person who was supposed to be at 11:30 never showed. She was very informative about their products (but refreshingly not pushy and did not try to sell me anything but only suggested stuff for me), and clearly passionate about the company and her job. We mainly talked about the new products (since I was already familiar with and have used most of the old products), and I really want to try them now! They have a new cleansing cream (with soapbark and chamomile) that is good for drier skin types, but (according to her) doesn't clog pores. They also have a peach and willowbark scrub that she said was gentle. She also told me about the new radiance creams that contain royal jelly and that are much lighter than their other creams. They also have a relatively new shampoo and conditioner with pomegranate and soy that sounded interesting.

But what was the most interesting to me was how Burt's Bees is becoming more active in being green. She told me that Burt's Bees is now a neutral carbon company, meaning that they compensate for all the carbon they produce (mainly by buying credits). Also they are working with Habitat for Humanity to build a green development in North Carolina (near Raleigh). Totally cool! :)

So what do I think about their products: overall I like their products and their company. Their older creams can be heavy (so be sure to apply only a little to very, very damp skin), but many of their formulations are very nice and contain a lot of beneficial herbals. Their newer formulations, I am not sure of them yet: they contain some of the borderline natural/synthetic ingredients that (depending on who you ask) is either natural, semi natural, or synthetic (but often naturally derived). It depends where you draw the line. For the most part (for the older formulations) the percentages that they list on their products on how natural it is are accurate; for the newer stuff (especially the shampoos) I do not think they are as accurate (or at least according to the ingredients I define as natural), but all of their formulas are (I estimate at least) 80-100% natural depending on the product (I would say most of their products are 90-100% natural). But the borderline ingredients are for the most part non-toxic, non-irritating (except for those who are allergic to synthetic fragrances), and biodegradable. (Sometimes I think I am just way too anal in defining what's natural and what's not ;) ) Favorite products of mine: blemish stick, marsh mellow vanishing cream, beeswax day cream, carrot lotion, repair serum (wonderful for the under eye area), almond milk cream (this smells so good)

Just saw their website; it looks like they also have new sunscreens and a lip balm with pomegranate oil in it (sounds yummy). According to the rep, they are coming out with new products every six months.

At the end of our talk, the rep gave me a sampler of the Burts Bees products (a natural weaved bag filled with their older, much loved products). Totally awesome! So if you are in Philly, you may still be able to catch her today! :) If you are elsewhere, ask your local natural food store if they are coming soon, or check their website to see where workshops are being held. To learn more about new products you can sign up for their email newsletter on the website.

Note: the lip shimmers are not vegetarian (contains carmine, a red colorant from beetles), and also they are going to discontinue their vanishing facial tissues (I need to stock up on these)

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