Jasmine Shea Bar (2.5 oz)
Handmade Cartel’s Jasmine Shea Bar is a soft and creamy soap with a highly perfumed fragrance. The purple colour is quite pretty, and a great compliment to the scent. While the pink dye that is released when using this soap can be somewhat off-putting, there is no need for concern – it won’t stain your sink or tub.
The Jasmine Shea Bar creates a good lather and cleans extremely well. Even better, it is a great match for the Prickled Pear Whipped Body Cream that is also featured in the same box.
Perky Poppy Seed Bar (5.0 oz)
Lively and interesting aren’t words you would normally use to describe soap, but they are the two best words that can describe Handmade Cartel’s Perky Poppy Seed Bar. The scent is lively and sweet. The purple/lavender side is tempered by the white/lemon side, and together they create an ideal balance.
The poppy seeds give this soap an interesting texture – even more so than the salt crystals used in Handmade Cartel’s scrub bars. The poppy seeds feel great on your skin, and slightly ticklish on the soles of your feet. They are such a great addition to this bar that I now wonder why more soap makers don’t use poppy seeds. Kudos to Handmade Cartel for, once again, standing out from the crowd. The Perky Poppy Seed Bar is definitely going on my (ever expanding) list of favourite natural soaps.
Prickled Pear Whipped Body Cream (4.0 oz)
Handmade Cartel’s Prickled Pear Whipped Body Cream smells nice even though it joins an ever growing list of aspiring pear-scented products that smell nothing like pear. I double and triple checked to make sure this was not supposed to be “prickly pear,” which is an entirely different fruit, but the label and packaging both clearly say “prickled pear,” and the website says this body cream is supposed to smell like fresh picked pears. Whether it smells like pear or not, the fact remains that pear is a difficult scent to get right, and this body cream has an appealing scent.
Handmade Cartel’s website accurately says that this body cream smells sweet and fruity. The fruity scent has some complexity to it, and smells a little like perfumed grape. Quite prominent in the jar, the scent quickly fades upon application and is extremely subtle on the skin.
The formula of this body cream is moisturizing, but non-greasy. Like the website says, this body cream is not thick at all. It is more of a watery lotion than a body cream. This is not a complaint, but rather information for those who may be looking for a thicker body cream. If you’re in the market for a lightweight, moisturizing lotion you’ll want to give this a try. Given the consistency, the fact that this moisturizes so well is a pleasant surprise. A bottle would have been a more appropriate container than a jar. But as long as you are careful to close the jar properly, the packaging is not an issue. The lightweight, moisturizing, non-greasy formula makes this an ideal end-of-summer lotion.
Mean Green All Purpose Spray (2.0 oz)
Handmade Cartel’s All Purpose Cleaner Spray is a good all purpose spray for light cleaning. It cleans mirrors, light buildup and grease on countertops, while leaving behind a faint, chemical-free, vinegar scent. I love not having to inhale toxic chemicals just to clean my home. This all purpose cleaner is something I would most definitely repurchase for basic everyday cleaning, especially around the kitchen (though you will not want to use this on granite countertops).
Tougher stains, like those from working with turmeric, drinking red wine, and other such foods will require a more powerful cleaner. This all purpose spray doesn’t lift tough stains, even when used immediately. Nonetheless, it is a step in the right direction and definitely worth a try for those of us who want to replace our harsh cleaning supplies with cleaner alternatives.
Handmade Crochet Cotton Washcloth (1)
It took me a while to actually use this washcloth. Its pretty purple colour, neatly crocheted design, and thick texture do not exactly beg to be put in water. In fact, the thought of a crochet cotton washcloth made me imagine using a sweater as a washcloth. Eventually I put aside my silly hesitations, caved, and decided to give it a try. My experience using this washcloth was pleasantly surprising.
Handmade Cartel’s Crochet Cotton Washcloth is thick and has a pleasant texture for showering. It is comforting in the same way that chicken soup is comforting when you fall sick. Also, this washcloth easily helps to add lather to soaps, extending their life. The only drawback is that, due to its thickness and material, this washcloth takes longer than normal to completely dry. Try to open a window or make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated in order to help it dry, and avoid accumulating mould and other bacteria.