I'll start off by mentioning that Mei's customer service is fantastic. I forgot to enter a discount code when I placed my order, so I sent her a message on etsy. Within minutes, she'd replied, refunded my original purchase, and invited me to reprocess it with the discount code in place. My package was in the post and delivered by courier a few days later. I couldn't have asked for a smoother transaction.
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed it was that the packaging is simply top notch. The soap was individually wrapped with a professional looking label, and the tubs were all individually sealed. Having bought a number of hand- and home-made bath products before, this was a totally unexpected, yet pleasant, surprise.
Envy Handmade Soap
"Turn green with the clean, fresh scent of pine, cedarwood, rosemary, grapefruit and litsea, finished a touch of earthy patchouli. Black poppy seeds are scattered throughout to scrub away those bad feelings."
I love everything about this soap - the swirled texture on top, the delicate brown lines running through it, and the smell. Oh, the smell. It has a really fresh, strong scent, perfect for waking you up in the morning. It lathers up nicely, and leaves a squeaky clean feeling.
"Close your eyes as you sink into this fresh, ocean like blend of lavender, rosemary, bergamot, pine and litsea."
Now don't try and ask me what litsea is, but apparently that's what I have to thank for the distinctive lemongrass scent of this bathing whip. I've heard some inventive names for bath products - shower jelly, body conditioner - but bathing whip is a new concept to me.
It has a fairly dry and crumbly texture, but upon contact with water it becomes quite runny. I found that it worked best when used with a shower pouf. I used a couple of pea sized chunks, and it lathered up really quickly and easily.
The instructions say it can be used as a shampoo as well, but I'm reluctant to try it on my blue-dyed hair. It's an interesting concept though. According to Mei, the best way to use it as a shampoo is to start with a tiny amount and make a paste by rubbing it between your hands, then adding more water until it lathers up before applying to hair. Add more water or Whip as needed and just rinse and condition as normal. This sounds like a great multipurpose product for taking on holiday.
"A calming blend of lavender, cedarwood and rose geranium, with the added warmth of ginger and sandalwood."
This is your classic sugar scrub. The sugar granules are big, and don't melt straight away unlike other scrubs I've tried. This gives you time to really scrub away any dry skin. You do need to use quite a lot for your entire body, but because it's so effective you only need to use it occasionally.
The instructions say to allow time for the butters and oils to soak in, but I didn't feel very buttered up or oily afterwards. On one hand, this is a good thing because I wasn't greasy and slippery, but on the other hand I didn't feel like it was particularly moisturising.
It has a mellow woody scent, which is the mildest out of all the products in this box.
"A bold, captivating blend of ylang ylang, rose geranium, litsea, sweet orange and patchouli to bring out your inner siren."
I really like the look of this one. Mousse is the perfect word to describe it. The texture is light and fluffy, like whipped cream, but it's rich and thick upon application. It has a strange texture after being rubbed in though - it becomes somewhat tacky, and the thickness makes it a bit difficult to work with. However, it does its job as a moisturiser really well, and there is no greasy feeling afterwards. It has a mild, pleasant citrus scent.
Overall, I'm really happy with this gift box. The products are indulgent and they smell amazing. The packaging is so professional that you'll quickly forget that they are created by one woman in her Melbourne apartment. The only downside is that they are expensive for such small sizes, which will inevitably get used up quickly - if not by yourself, then by your boyfriend who keeps using them while you're not looking, because they smell so good!
The gift box is $45.55, and individually the soap is $8, bathing whip $9.50, body polish $12.50 and body mousse $12.50. All these products are available from the Vice and Velvet etsy store, with international shipping.