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So that you don't all become bored of my latest craze in review writing I thought I would return to an old favourite of mine. At Christmas I love getting nice bath products. To me having a nice long bath or shower is absolute heaven. One of the disadvantages of working from home is that you are at home all the time and sometimes you feel that you can't "escape" your surroundings. But an hour in the bath or a nice long hot shower takes me away from the routine of the house and work and is complete 'me' time. This year however I asked very nicely that I didn't get any more Sanctuary products and bless everyone they all came up trumps. One of the brands that I was least expecting (surprisingly considering how I love their hair care and hand cream) was a box set of Aveda bath and body products from my sister and one of the products in that box set was Aveda's Calming Body Cleanser.
I was quite excited about this as Aveda's skincare was something I had thought about trying but I am so hung up on their hair care that it has always been bypassed as I head to get my shampoos and conditioners. This product uses aloe vera and witch hazel - two well known natural "soothers" - to purify and condition your skin whilst your mind is balanced and calmed by rose, vanilla and lavender. I have to say that the fragrance was very soothing. It has a warm, sweet fragrance which helps clear your mind and as with all Aveda "smells" it is quite earthy and it feels natural rather than being synthetically prepared. When I first caught this scent I couldn't wait to go and try it out in the shower. I have to say I loved the smell - it filled the shower cubicle with its warm and soothing scent. Perhaps my only niggle was that the scent was actually quite overpowering and heady after a while. However my skin felt soft and moisturised after I had used this rich pearly cream coloured product - it didn't feel like it had been stripped clean. It's all sounding quite positive isn't it?!
So the question is do I like this product as much as the hair care? Well no I don't I'm afraid to say. It isn't that I don't like it but there is something not quite right about it as far as I'm concerned. This Calming Body Cleanser is designed as a shower and bath product - nothing unusual there. But the trouble is that this particular product has a bit of an identity crisis because it doesn't work well as either product but for different reasons.
The first reason for my concern is related to the packaging. Now like all Aveda products this is very simply presented - no fancy packaging. The 250ml bottle of cleanser comes in a cream coloured plastic bottle (which is fully recyclable) and is dispensed through a small slit in a pivoted lid. The bottle itself is actually quite rigid. That's fine for a shampoo where you squeeze a bit out or even a bath specific product where you can squeeze as little or as much as you like out with the benefit of dry hands but when it comes to using it in the shower it's a different matter. It's actually quite hard to get the amount out that you need repeatedly because of the rigidity of the bottle and also the consistency of the product itself. The actual product is the same consistency as a good quality shampoo (well in fact like any of the more nourishing Aveda shampoos that I have tried). It doesn't run out of the bottle quickly which is of course an advantage but trying to squeeze it through the small slit in the lid isn't easy either.
Again relating to the consistency I like rich shower products because generally a small amount goes along way. You normally get a good amount of lather from perhaps 2 squirts if you use a sponge or similar. However, with this product, although it lathers well, it doesn't lather far and so you need to use more of the product than normal. If you try and use it frugally you don't quite feel clean so you have to use it more liberally to feel like you should feel after a shower. This isn't good for a number of reasons. Firstly once your hands get wet it is really hard to squeeze the product out of the bottle, you end up spending longer on the whole washing process than you might perhaps want to and as with all Aveda products it isn't cheap at £13.70 for 250ml. In its favour though it does wash off quite easily and whilst you are using it in this more concentrated form the scent lingers in the shower with you and remains on your skin for a long time afterwards.
Now as a bath product the consistency is fine and it is easier to squeeze out of the bottle if you have dry hands. It foams quite well although it doesn't produce a huge amount of bubbles. But those it does produce last quite a long time without having to pep up them up with an additional blast of water. However, the real let down when used in bath form is that the actual fragrance is too weak. Considering the product is sold on the basis of being a shower and bath product that can calm your senses it would be nice when you are relaxing in your bath to be able to take advantage of this calming scent. The only way I actually got a decent amount of fragrance to make a noticeable impact on me was when I used half a bottle! Again not conducive to credit crunch times! But not only that the fragrance didn't last on the skin and there were no noticeable skin benefits from using the product in the bath.
Personally I think this product works best as a shower product even though there are issues with it. If the packaging were changed that would help considerably and make this a really nice product to use. But as a bath product it is a bit of a let down unless you feel like burning £6.85 to have a bath! If I was to recommend this to anyone I would say avoid using it in the bath as there are nicer products which claim to do the same for a lot cheaper. And actually if I'm honest, although I liked using it in the shower, I can think of plenty of other products that give you that sense of calm and are just as good a quality that don't cost that much. I can't say it is too expensive as I have been known to spend twice as much on bath and shower products but this isn't good value for money really. If you can get it to work better than me then go for it. Otherwise spend your money on something else.