As my own personal interest in natural beauty has grown and developed over the last decade I have also noticed a steady growth in this entire sector. This has now seemed to cross over fully into the corporate world of big business and multinational corporations and has now culminated by H&M releasing an entire range of natural products that seem on first inspection to be quite good and containing no nasties! The entire range is certified organic by Ecocert which is great news and called ‘Conscious’. Obviously I felt I had to investigate and see what I thought of what they had produced and if everything was as it promised to be.
I have an interesting history with the H&M brand that dates back quite a long way as not only has my Boyfriend Dj’d at lots of their store openings but, after some harcore tuition from him in this area and a bit of hand holding, i actually also Dj’d for them at their collaboration launch with Isabel Marant. They wanted a french female DJ to play a 5 hour set of french music at both their press party the evening before the launch and in store for the first morning of the event! We spent a long time searching out amazing french music from indie to rock to pop and electronic and put together a fantastic set that showed off all the best of french music over 5 hours to compliment Isabel’s clothing designs and highlight french talent. Anyway i digress, back to the products…….
I took a quick lunch break and moseyed on over to the H&M store on Oxford Street to have a look at their new creations. Upon arrival I began my usual investigations of reading through all the ingredients lists on the products and checking out any I didn’t know off hand through apps and research online. Now understandably this is a process that can take a bit of time but this is where H&M had their first black mark and yet it had nothing to do with the product range. As I was reading the labels and checking everything thoroughly one of their staff came over and stood directly in front of me blocking my ability to see the products and started pretending to rearrange the display and acting very strangely. She then turned to me and in a very aggressive manner “is anything wrong?”. I am pretty certain she was thinking I was going to steal something which is entirely fair enough but the way she dealt with the situation and the way she made a potential customer feel was terrible. Had I just been a casual shopper then I would have left instantly but then on the flip side of that if I were I probably wouldn’t have been standing there for ages reading all the ingredients in precise detail!
So upon first inspection I liked the way the products were branded and displayed at the point of sale. They fit quite well into the new ‘orglamics’ branding that I have watched develop over the years (I am planning an entire post on this soon so check back if you want a deeper insight into it). I felt the packaging was nice and appropriate, however my boyfriend really didn’t like the cheap plastic bottles they had used especially in contrast to the cheap plastic lids particularly on the dry shampoo.
I walked out of the shop with 5 products to try out: Vitalising All Over Oil, Texture Styliser, Hydrating Face Mask, Dry Shampoo and a Vanilla Lip Balm.
The Vitalising All Over Oil is a multi use oil and seems to be lauded for everything! I started by adding it to my bath as this is one of the three main things they advise for this multi use item. It had such a delicious citrus smell and after my bath my skin felt really well moisturised. You can use it for hair, bath or body lotion and basically just rub yourself from head to toe in it. It’s a brilliant one stop moisturising shop and probably the exact sort of product you would want to take on holiday with you as has so many applications in one small bottle. It contains certified organic jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, rosemary extract and sunflower oil and for 100ml is very reasonably priced at £7.99!
Next up was the Dry Shampoo which has a peppermint fragrance and is made from certified organic potato starch and fragranced with essential oils. Sadly I have to be honest and say it was awful. So bad that I think I may never use it again after this first attempt. From the offset the size of the hole made application difficult as far too much came out that was then really difficult to remove. Once applied properly it made my hair hard and sticky and basically turned my hair into a Lion’s mane. I honestly felt like Medusa and this is not a good description in anyone’s eyes. Not only was the aesthetic outcome terrible but it also seemed to manage to make my hair feel even dirtier than it was before I used the product. This seems to go completely against the entire point of a dry shampoo but perhaps I am mistaken? All in all it was a horrible experience and left me with a disgusting sensation. It kind of reminded me of very old dry shampoos when they first arrived on the market and were no good at all. Hopefully they will manage to improve the formula as this was one thing I was really looking forward to having available as a natural product. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost me as I lost the receipt and is quoted on the website in euros so I think I must have paid about £6.99 for it.
The Hydrating Mask I have used twice now and it really hydrated my skin and made it feel soft and plumped up. I am not sure what else to say than that really, just a thumbs up for a nice product! It claims to be a pampering face mask that gently removes impurities and moisturises the skin containing certified organic aloe vera, shea butter and jojoba oil and fragranced with essential oils. Once again it’s a really good price of £5.99 for 50 ml of organic natural ingredients and essential oils.
The Vanilla Lip Balm has a beautiful scent like a freshly baked cake and almost makes me want to eat it. It leaves your lips really glossy (which i think may be due to the inclusion of castor oil). It’s not sticky at all and feel so nice when applied. I really like it especially as it contains certified organic shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax and castor oil. It is fragranced with natural aromas and coloured with natural minerals and £6.99 for 7.5g of good organic ingredients seems to be quite well priced but still considerably higher than a majority of lip balms.
The Texture styliser I haven’t really tested enough to really give a full and in depth opinion of. I have tried it only once so far applying a little bit by scrunching it into the ends of my hair to try and add a bit of texture to them. I would already advise not using too much though as over application really will leave your hair looking and feeling greasy. I will try and come back and add to this review once I have had a chance to use it a lot and finished the pot! It cost me £6.99 and I am hoping I will start to like it more as the beeswax and coconut oil ingredients are usually two of my absolute favourites! H&M describe it as a mattifying and moisturising hair styler with great definition and medium hold but as my first attempt with it wasn’t great i will reserve judgement for the moment until further investigation has been carried out!
All in all though I am completely torn and in 2 minds about this development from H&M. On one hand I am so, so, so pleased to see natural organic certified products anywhere on the high street and I would be happy if everyone stopped using horrible chemicals in food and in products in general. However there always seems to be a trend that once the large corporations get hold of something then somehow the production processes and their continual fight to cheapen production and increase profit means that cuts are made (and perhaps even worse lies are told). There are already a growing number of people questioning the validity of organic foods/stamps claiming it to just be another marketing trick to charge people more money. I also worry for the small companies and manufacturers who really care about their products and their loyal customers moving over to buy H&M’s much cheaper alternatives that no small scale producer can match in price, volume or consistency. Ultimately I hope this move by H&M does a lot more good than harm. However this often doesn’t seem to be the way and usually means more people jumping on the bandwagon in an attempt at greater profits and a loss of trust in the eyes of the public in relation to the idea of an organic, natural lifestyle!
So if you too decide to try out H&M’s new Conscious range to see what you think then please do get back to me with your opinions. I would say I had about a 50% positive to 50% negative experience with the products themselves (and a 100% negative in store experience) but as this is the launch of an entirely new range I have no doubt that their formulas and recipes will improve greatly if the range is a success! Get in touch and tell me what you thought too!