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As promised in my last article ‘What Happened to Crabtree & Evelyn?’, I put a mixed order into Crabtree & Evelyn to see if behind the modern branding, the product excellence the brand was built on is still there and in short: sort of. Also do people even call these hauls anymore? I’ll stick with it but asterisk if there’s some new zoomer phrase I’m unaware of.
I tried to put in a reasonably eclectic order with each item being something I haven’t tried before, but that sits in bath, body/skin and fragrance:
- Cleanse + Awaken Shower Gel, £16
- Nourish + Renew Lip Balm, £14.50
- Herb Candle, £25
- The Gardeners Ground Exfoliation Powder, £22.80
Crabtree & Evelyn Cleanse + Awaken Shower Gel
I wanted to get this one out the way, it’s awful. The fragrance aside, the gel is good and it’s a reasonable cleaner; but the fragrance can’t be put aside and it’s truly terrible. It smells like a hybrid of cheap hotel all-in-one body wash/shampoo and washing up liquid. Crabtree & Evelyn describe it as “a burst of fresh green, woody notes with a hint of citrus” which is absolutely true, but is also a great descriptor for a toilet cleaner or dishwasher tablet.
It’s frustrating because the gel really is good containing exfoliating apple alpha-hydroxy acids as well as malic, glycolic, lactic and citric acids they say is designed for “scrub-free exfoliation”. They also include things like apple water supposedly for hydration and other apple extracts that are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants; but the effect of these are minimal as this is a wash off product you’ll likely have on your skin for a matter of seconds although a nice inclusion nonetheless.
Crabtree & Evelyn have a whole range of shower gels and I’m prepared to believe I likely I just picked a bad’en. There’s Gardener’s, Pomegranate and Argan, Pear and Pink Magnolia, Goatmilk and Oat and Verbena and Lavender. Each of the others retail for around £20 whereas the Cleanse + Awaken was £16, so maybe this is the ‘cheap one’. But for £16 for a dud shower gel leaves me a bit salty when I can buy a delicious bottle of The Body Shop Satsuma for around a fiver.
Crabtree & Evelyn Nourish & Renew Lip Balm
I love this, I absolutely love it and everything about it. I swear by the La Mer lip balm as my daily driver as someone with very eczema prone lips; it’s one of the only things that’s strong/thick enough whilst not being greasy/lubey and/or shiny. But this Crabtree & Evelyn Nourish & Renew lip balm is a bloody good contender and it’s in a much more convenient stick form. The lip balm is housed in a magnetic and solid aluminium case which feels absolutely beautiful; it’s really weighty and oozes luxury – the magnetic snap of the lid is bizarrely satisfying.
Nourish + Renew has a base of shea butter, but there’s some other natural and synthetic waxes/oils in there to harden it up as otherwise shea alone often just dissolves into mushy nothingness. This is a very firm lip balm. There’s then conditioning apple and blackcurrant extracts in there too. Fragrance-wise it’s very neutral/non-existent and it has good lasting power and for me creates a great barrier that doesn’t lick away in seconds.
Crabtree & Evelyn Herb Candle, The Gardener’s Candle
This one is OK. It’s not mind-blowing but is definitely pleasant both to smell and to look at. The Herb Candle, also known as The Gardener’s Candle is described by Crabtree & Evelyn as having fresh, floral and earthy notes and like walking through a herb garden. I’d say I agree but it’s not as earthy as I’d like, it’s a little more light and airy than I’d hoped for being more top note heavy.
It’s a soy wax blend meaning it’s a nice slow burner and the glass jar is beautiful. It certainly looks the part and it’s very lovely to just have on in the background and forget about (not in a dangerous way, but you know what I mean). This’ll likely migrate to the bathroom where on the bath tray, I have a candle burning most of the day.
One thing I loved was the box it comes in. The cardboard is lined with basil seeds which can be planted in moist soil around February time for harvesting around June. I’ll be saving this box to do just that next year. I like this type of packaging, but I do wonder about the manufacturing process and, as it seems is often the case with environmentally conscious things, wastes more resource to make than it saves – I’m thinking solar panels and electric cars etc. But, as a nice little novelty, I like it and think anyone receiving this as a gift would too.
Crabtree & Evelyn The Gardener’s Ground Exfoliation Powder
This isn’t anything massively special being pretty much a coffee ground body scrub, but it’s a pure powder rather than one of those sachets filled with coffee grounds and greasy almond oil. Those usually leave a nasty buttered film on your body which if you’re a guy with body hair, is an absolute no.
Although The Gardener’s Ground powder looks and smells like pure coffee grounds, the base is primarily ground raspberry seeds, then coffee grounds, and then a mixture of blackberry and cranberry seeds as well as walnut shell.
This is designed to be mixed with your favourite shower gel (so not the Cleanse + Awaken, lol) to create your own level of exfoliation. If you’re like me and prefer your body exfoliator to take 9 layers of skin off, then I can see you flying through this reasonably quickly. But there’s a fair old bit in that brown bottle and as it’s mixed with your shower gel, it stays stuck to your body for a good while giving you plenty of time to exfoliate before rinsing it off.
Are Crabtree & Evelyn products still worth buying?
I’d definitely say so. If you can overlook the silly/faddy Balinese branding that is 0% to do with the brand, it’s founder or its heritage, as well as the weird additions to the catalogue like earrings and bookends, then there’s some good stuff here. I’ll definitely be ordering some bits and pieces to go in people’s Christmas stockings this year that I’m sure will be met with surprise.
If you’re yet to give the ‘new’ Crabtree & Evelyn a try, I definitely would, some of the magic is still there and the product quality is excellent. If you’re still not convinced, before I ordered I found a 15% discount code on a voucher site, Honey or some such money-saving doodad with BRAVO15. It might not work when you come to try it but it seems they always have something running and asked me to sign up to emails for an initial 10% off.
So what do you think? Have or would you try the ‘new’ Crab & Ev. and is there anything here that would tempt you or would you still be missing an old favourite?
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