Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Whimseybox March 2014 Review

This month, I didn't look at any spoilers before my Whimseybox came in. But because I have a 3 month subscription, I was able to choose the "theme" of my box. The choices were "lemon" and "lavender", so I immediately know it was going to be skin care or fragrance. What else are those two scents used in? Looks like my guess was right, because this box is all about skin care! 

Before I start the review, let me show you this picture of my cat, who really enjoyed the blue Whimseybox cardboard shell the box came in. 


Box Overview
Box: Whimseybox (Referral Link for $5 off your subscription!)
Price: $15/month, $45/quarter, $90/6 months, $165/yearly ($13.75 per box); $5 shipping surcharge to Canada
Ships to: US and Canada
What's inside: A monthly craft project with all/most of the supplies to make it, an art print, and the occasional extra. 

First look

A nice bright orange to ring in the spring. It's still really cold up here in Canada, but it's looking better! The art print/instruction booklet is a cute macaron print by Canadian artist Diana Evans. Check her out!

Inside information card, list of ingredients, bonus button
This month is really two projects combined to make a soft hands set. I got a honey lavender hand scrub and honey lavender hand cream. The other option was for honey lemon, which I strongly advise against. Lemon essential oil is phototoxic; this source will tell you more about it. The International Fragrance Association (IFA) states that lemon essential oil "should only be used when the level of peroxides is kept to the lowest practical level, for instance by adding antioxidants at the time of production." I highly doubt that Whimseybox took this into consideration, because most companies don't. It is "generally considered as safe", but with all the warnings about exactly what percentage (2% or less) to use, isn't it better to be on the safest side and not use it at all?

On the other hand, lavender is also "generally considered as safe" and most studies find very few reactions to its usage on the skin. Still, it's recommended by the IFA to keep peroxides low. Compared to lemon, lavender seems to be much safer for the skin.

Provided in this kit were two labels from kidecals that are super cute -- they even have a little "handmade by _____" for me to add my name! They're also waterproof, which is great. They also provide two little containers for you to store the projects in.

The ingredients for these projects are:

Cold pressed sweet almond oil: a common, and very good, carrier oil. A carrier oil "carries" other oils into the skin, such as essential oils. Sweet almond oil is well tolerated by many skin types, and doesn't clog pores because it's easily absorbed. It's rich in several vitamins and is a good emollient (read: moisturizer). Cold pressing is a method of oil production that leaves the oil with the most nutrients and fragrance. This oil is used in both the hand scrub and the hand cream to carry the essential oil.

Refined coconut oil: a great moisturizer thanks to its fatty acid content. According to Whimseybox, coconut oil is anti-septic and anti-microbial, and contains antioxidants. Whimseybox's website says this is cold pressed oil, but the information card says it is refined. This is a point of difference, since refined oil has less nutrients than cold pressed. This is used only in the hand cream.

Virgin shea butter: this shea butter is extracted without chemicals. I think nearly everyone knows the benefits of shea butter! In addition to being an emollient, it's also a humectant -- it keeps in moisture and increases the ability for other ingredients to penetrate the skin. This is used only in the hand cream.

Kraft pure honey: honey is a great humectant, has plenty of antioxidants and is antibacterial. Kraft pure honey is Grade A, which is the highest grade for typical grocery stores. But don't let that fool you: it's still pasteurized. Pasteurization is a heating process used to keep foods from spoilage and reduce the number of pathogens in them. But this also denatures a lot of the good enzymes in the honey! Instead of this, I suggest unpasteurized (good) or raw (better) honey -- for both skin and food! It's just better in every single way. I will definitely be using my own raw honey in this project instead, especially because the way it crystallizes at room temperature will make for a wonderful scrub. This is used only in the hand scrub.

Granulated white sugar: sugar and salt, both used in scrubs, are humectants. Sugar has a leg up on salt because salt also draws oils from the skin. However, the important part of using sugar is for mechanical (physical) exfoliation. This is used only in the hand scrub; I might cut down on how much I use since I'll be using the raw honey.

White beeswax pastilles: beewax is a common emulsifying agent -- basically, it keeps your mixture stable rather than separated into its various components. It also acts as a thickener. This is used only in the hand cream.

Lavender essential oil: I've talked about this already! This is commonly used for aromatherapy and has a whole host of alleged effects on the body. Evidence can be contradictory, I highly suggest you do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

My conclusion? I'm really happy with this box! The essential oil isn't necessarily essential, I could absolutely use some other, safer fragrance or just keep it honey scented. Every other ingredient is great in my books and I can't believe I didn't think of doing something like this sooner! I have half of the ingredients in my pantry already, after all.

The hand cream takes some time to make, so I'll leave this project for a lazy summer day. I of course have plenty of samples to use in the meantime!

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