The Spa Spies try vegan products


With more emphasis than ever on products that avoid animal cruelty, the range of vegan products on offer is ever-growing. The Spa Spies try six vegan products from different spa brands, from bath oils and cleansing balms to bottles of fizz and serums

Elemental Herbology Hyaluronic Booster Serum
(30ml, £60)

Elemental Herbology Hyaluronic Booster Serum

Key ingredients:

Hyaluronic Acid, olive Squalane and apple extract.

First impressions:

The white box with touches of deep teal is instantly alluring; the serum itself comes in a stylish silver tube with hidden pump-action pump. It’s slim enough to throw it in your handbag and use as a blast of moisture after a swim or ride on the tube.
 
What’s it like?

One pump delivers the tiniest amount, but that’s all you need. Hyaluronic acid, as we all know, is vital in maintaining skin hydration; I was also pleased to learn that olive Squaline encourages cell turnover and apple extract improves skin tone.

Does it work?

I’ve avoided buying serums in the past for fear of adding yet another element to my morning and evening routine, but jostling this serum between my twice-daily cleanse and moisturise definitely made my face feel softer and more hydrated. The product soaks in instantly, leaving no greasiness, and the scent is pleasant. 

Verdict:

Having always had parched skin (must drink more water), my face must think its Christmasses have come at once - I don’t have the heart to upset it now and will be ordering more of this product when it runs out. Brownie points for being vegan, too.
 

Comfort Zone Sacred Nature Cleansing Balm
(110ml, £35)

Key ingredients:

Sweet almond oil, Buriti oil.

First impressions: 

The white recyclable cardboard box has images of green moss on the top and front, and black script on all three sides, as well as the lid. If putting the information here means no paper insert then I’m all for it.  There are stamps notifying that the product is vegan, CO2 negative and directly traceable. 

What's it like? 

The balm itself comes in a clear thick glass jar with a silver metal lid.  A wooden spatula in a card sheath is included – presumably to avoid contaminating the product with dirty fingers. The 100% natural and organic balm is a slightly opaque yellow and has no detectable fragrance. 

Does it work? 

The product turns milky on contact with water, is easy to massage in and, once washed off, leaves no residue. It took a few attempts to get my face the ideal amount of ‘wet’: too dry and the balm felt gloopy; too wet and it ran too freely. There was no reddening or drying of my sensitive skin after use either.

Verdict

I’ve used this balm for two weeks now and have barely made a dent in it; I’m looking forward to using it morning and night for a good while to come.

Image Skincare ORMEDIC balancing bio-peptide crème
(57g, £75)

Key ingredients:

Organic Japanese Green Tea, botanical butters (mango, shea), hyaluronic acid and organic plant oils (grapefruit, mandarin, orange peel). 

First impressions: 

The vegan-friendly, bio-peptide crème comes in a white box with silver and black Image Skincare logo at the top, green plant illustration on the front and a wooden lid. The design is emulated on the pot inside; the crème itself is yellow.

What's it like? 

The velvety crème smells fruity, with strong notes of mango and citrus, and an undertone that I can’t quite place, possibly the turmeric or green tea leaf extract. I applied the crème liberally to my face and neck (using my fingers tips, rather than the plastic applicator provided); it sinks in quickly, and feels rich and nourishing. 

Does it work? 

My dehydrated skin lapped up the thick, silky product to leave my skin feeling smooth and hydrated; almost dewy but with no greasy residue. The anti-inflammatory ingredients also work well to calm a hormonal chin breakout.

Verdict

I’m a fan of the brand’s VITAL C hydrating anti-aging serum so was eager to try this crème. Despite being thick and luscious, it absorbed quickly into my skin to leave it hydrated. Loaded with antioxidants, as well as sodium hyaluronate and shea butter for hydration, it’s perfect for the winter months ahead.
 

Ilapothecary Beat the Blues Shower and Bath Oil
(150 ml, £31)



Key ingredients:

Essential oils containing Tuberose, Geranium, Clary Sage and Petitgrain.

First impressions:

I love vintage packaging and ilapothercary – with its brown bottles and cream labels with black script – reminds me of trips to the chemist as a child.  Each product has a number; in numerology 27 is apparently about believing in yourself. The pump action top makes extraction easy and mess-free.

What’s it like?

The white creamy liquid smells like an English country garden and is as silky as you like. One pump delivers enough product to wash a leg or an arm; the thick consistency prevents residue running down the bottle after use.

Does it work?

I wouldn’t normally use an oil-based product in the shower but this little gem cleans and moisturises at the same time - products that save me time are always a winner. Add a few drops to the bath to turn the water silky. The blend of oils is said to balance the mood – after an hour in the tub, I certainly felt serene.

Verdict:

Often products are all packaging and no substance but not this one. Not only does it look the part (put it somewhere obvious in your bathroom) but it does three jobs to perfection: it cleans, it moisturises and it lifts your mood. And, of course, it’s vegan. I’m a fan.


Gaia Skincare Cleansing Balm and Purifying Mask
(both 50ml, £38)
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Key ingredients:
 

Balm: Shea butter, jojoba, lemon & rosemary; Mask: Rose quartz, vitamin C, kaolin & hibiscus

First impressions: 

The cleansing balm and purifying mask are both presented in frosted jars with 100% natural bamboo lids and product names on the front.

What are they like? 

The yellow cleansing balm has a citrusy scent that reminded me of lemon sherbet. Once applied, it smoothed onto my skin, effectively removing make-up and clearing my pores in preparation for the purifying mask. This is pink in colour with a heady smell of roses. After leaving it for 10 minutes, my skin felt soft yet firm.

Does it work? 

The balm is gentle enough to remove mascara without irritating your eyes; I tried it in the evening and left it on for two minutes, using a warm, damp muslin cloth for removal. The result: deeply cleansed, radiant, and hydrated skin. Use the mask regularly to prevents breakouts – it reduces redness and inflammation, while encouraging collagen production.

Verdict:

I loved using the cleansing balm after a long day in the city as it melts impurities away; the mask was just what my problematic skin needed. A little goes a long way, too, with each 50ml jar set to last a long time. Both products being vegan means my conscious is now as clear as my skin.
 

Wild Life Botanicals ultra-low alcohol sparkling wine
(750 ml, £15)


 

Key ingredients:

Active vitamins (C, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 and Zinc), botanicals (Damiana, Lemon Balm, Ashwagandha, Rosemary and Damask Rose) and minerals.

First impressions:

The box is very attractive with a watercolour design, the brand’s logo across the middle and “Bubbles with Benefits” at the bottom. Choose from either Sparkling Nude or Sparkling Blush.

What’s it like?

Once poured, the Blush is more peach in colour (than pink) and very dry on the palette despite a hint of strawberries. The Nude looks like a glass of Champagne once poured and is just as dry, with a hint of citrus.

Does it work?

Low-alcohol wines are usually too sweet to be a contender for the real thing but this hits the spot. Being 0.5% also means it has fewer calories than Champagne or Prosecco (up to 60% per 125ml glass); the vitamins inside also account for 15% of the recommended daily intake.

Verdict:

You certainly can’t argue with the health benefits; the lower calories; or the crisp, dry taste. At £15, the 750ml bottles are a little spenny for a mid-week tipple (opt for the mini bottles or cans instead) but make perfect gifts for pregnant ladies, tee-totallers, regular drivers or anyone just looking to cut back. If only all low alcohol wines tasted this good.

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Spa Likes

"Picturesque views; firm massages; friendly therapists who make you feel at ease; stylish interiors; attention to detail; outdoor hot tubs; infinity pools; fluffy robes and towels; a good selection of spa treatments."

Spa Dislikes

"Any attempt to hard sell; inconsiderate therapists; areas in need of a clean; rowdy guests; cheap toiletries; restaurant menus that are overly healthy; cold swimming pools; no private changing areas; paper pants."