Hello Ecobeauties! How was your Christmas?
My Christmas had been a spend-crazy ride. With bazaars here and there, it wasn’t so hard to go way beyond my Christmas wish list. One of my recent noteworthy stashes were body, face and hair beauty products from Venus & Mars Botanicals.
V&M is an all-natural beauty product range from the Philippines. They import some of their main raw organic ingredients abroad probably because there is still no standard legal body in the Philippines that certifies organic products/ingredients. I’m really not sure whether the final products are formulated in the Philippines though or whether they are just growing the brand locally but manufacturing the products overseas.
All in all, I spent around P2800 or around SGD$85. Considering the range of items I had purchased, I’d say the price isn’t bad at all. I used to spend 75 singapore bucks for my moisturizer alone!
Bare it All Emu Cream (100g tub) P225/SGD$7, Bikini Bomb Power Whitening Balm (40g tub) P230/SGD$7
Raw & Unrefined Shea Butter (50g tub) P470/ SGD$14, Spa Milk Vanilla (200g bottle) P145/SGD$4.50, Lulur Bar (120g bar) P195/SGD$6
Clear y Rosy Tease Sugar Glow Scrub (100g tub) P315/SGD$10, V&M Highest Grade and Virgin Rosehip Oil (20ml) P795/SGD$24, V&M Anti-Dandruff Emu Shampoo (130 ml bottle) P425/SGD$13
My experience from using the products from my first haul (I wasn’t able to make a post about it :<) and some from the recent one has generally been quite good. In fact, I’m loving V&M and I’m quite positive that I’ll be their customer for more years to come. I am yet to use their products long enough to write fair individual reviews but here are my initial thoughts on V&M.
A Heavenly Treat
Most V&M products are a treat to use! It’s hard to be disappointed with the immediate effects of the products, texture and smell included. Quality-wise, their prices are reasonable, too. I’ve been using their 100% Pure Refined Emu Oil and loving it! Their Total Potion seems promising, too. The Lulur bar is definitely a keeper. Really, I’ve almost got nothing bad to say when it comes to the actual experience of using any of the V&M products I have right now.
Concerns on Preservatives & Certification
However, I’ve got a few whinges, too. First, although V&M claims to use some organic ingredients, I would have to say that as a consumer, I’m banking on them out of faith as they are not certified by any legal body–just like the other Philippine-based organic/natural products I know of. Aside from that, sometimes, I find it hard to believe that they are only mostly using Vit. E as a preservative considering that their products, according to them, can last for up to 18 months after opening. Vit. E is an effective natural preservative but it’s definitely not THAT powerful, especially on its own. I’ve used a lot of organic and natural products using other natural preservatives combined with Vit. E and most of them are recommended to be used up within only six months after opening.
Packaging & Labels Need to be more Stringent
Another issue I have with V&M is the quality of labels. I was shocked the first time I used the Bare it All cream because the ingredients list printed on the label didn’t include ‘peppermint’ yet the cream had a very strong minty smell and it left a rather intense post-application cooling sensation. Although they mentioned on their site that BIA had peppermint, I think it’s still crucial for them to be extra careful in making sure the ingredients are properly printed on the labels. Imagine if this were given to someone allergic to peppermint as a gift. It would be a disaster.
They should also be more critical in choosing suitable packaging for some of their products. Someone asked on their message board why one of their products was turning brownish in color from being yellow. That product, incidentally, contains Vit. C as one of the main ingredients. Now, as some of you know, Vit. C in it’s L-Ascorbic (most common) form is highly unstable. It oxidizes once it’s exposed to light and air and one of the signs that it’s oxidizing is the change in color. In Vit. C’s oxidized form, its effect reverses, making it rather harmful to the skin. Thus, I suggest for V&M to greatly consider repackaging their products high in Vit. C such as the CPC + G, Total Potion and Rosehip Oil in dark-colored containers and informing their buyers of proper storage.
International Online Presence
I’m not sure what business direction V&M is planning to take but if they want to get more organic and natural beauty junkies to take and consider their products seriously, they might want to consider looking into the above issues. Jamie, co-owner of V&M, replied to me via email that an official website is in the pipeline when I suggested for them to muse over putting up one since Multiply, although greatly effective in the local Filipino market, is very inconvenient for prospective foreign customers. That’s definitely one possible positive development to look forward to ’cause their Multiply store really gave me a headache.
Still, Skies are Bright & Clear for Venus & Mars
In fairness to V&M, it’s a fairly new company and I understand that things like proper packaging, labels and an official “.com” website with a checkout counter might not seem cost-effective now from a short-term business perspective. But being a new fan of their products, I would definitely love to see V&M grow into a more stable, well-trusted beauty brand, locally and internationally.
Although not through formal introductions, I had personally met Jamie and Justin, the amazing sisters behind V&M, at the recently held Noel Bazaar and, judging from how patient they’ve always been in answering questions from customers, both online and during bazaars, they are more than passionate in helping people solve their beauty woes the natural way. I have no doubts that they will continue doing so while finding new ways to further improve the quality of V&M products and customer experience in the years to come.