During my three-month stint in the Philippines late last year, I had the great opportunity to discover a lot of Philippine-based natural beauty brands. One of them was Venus & Mars which I mentioned and reviewed on several posts (new product reviews still on the way). The other one was Bare Naturals. Well, I actually discovered quite a lot of noteworthy brands–and I was positively surprised and delighted– but due to my jackhammer schedule back then, I was only able to purchase and try products from V&M and BN.
My Bare Naturals Stash
Well, I really wouldn’t call this a haul since I only bought a couple of stuff. It was because I discovered Bare Naturals just a couple of days after I had my second V&M haul. I was fully-equipped with all the goodies I got from V&M–from soaps to body whipped creams and oils– so my BN purchase was really more out of curiosity than immediate need.
Product Claims Live to Expectations
I noticed that Bare Naturals usually mentions the benefits and claims of its products confidently. For some products, the claims even go as far as giving definite timelines on when to start seeing results. I’ve always considered such claims as highly risky yet very effective marketing techniques. However, none of the Bare Naturals products I’m currently using has disappointed me. When I read and expected “7 Days”, I really did start seeing improvements after “7 Days”! I’m rarely crazy about products which promise immediate results but really, who am I to complain when the results really come that fast?
Professional Website – Check!
If some of you read my introductory post about V&M, you’d remember that I commented on V&M’s lack of an official self-hosted website which, I believe, will have an impact on their international presence and credibility–but that’s just me assuming that they may want to extend their horizons later on. (Note: V&M also launched its official website recently.) Bare Naturals has an official “.com” website and they specifically mentioned on their site that they are ship internationally. They accept payments via paypal–which gets another cheer for me since I can only make online purchases. Their website is still a bit buggy at times but well, it’s a good start.
Am I Unlucky?
I am satisfied with my Bare Naturals purchases but one thing that might demotivate me from being a returning customer is my series of not-so-positive experiences with their service. Well, I perfectly understand that mistakes do happen and certain e-mails/questions get missed out every once in a while. I’m just not sure whether it’s alright for all mishaps to happen within such a short period of time.
I was agitated during my first purchase because I was due to fly back to SG in a couple of days. So during my purchase, when asked for any freebie requests–this is a question given to ALL buyers, I believe–I didn’t request for any. Instead, I requested for the package to be couriered out earlier (before Jan. 2) so I’d have enough time to check it out and bring it back to SG with me. I didn’t receive any reply saying this was not possible. I sent them a follow-up email on Jan. 2 and received a letter of apology on Jan. 4 (I was already on a flight back ), explaining they were moving to a new office so they weren’t able to settle the shipment on time. Perfectly understood and happy with the letter. They added that I shouldn’t be worried because they threw TONS of freebies. Now, I would have been sincerely contented just receiving a simple reply from them but when I read the word “tons” in all capital letters, I thought “Wow, It’s still Christmas season, eh? Fantastic.”
A couple of days later, my friend (package addressee), finally received the package for me–the products I ordered plus two soap samples minus one purchased lip balm. They forgot to include the Natural Pink solid gel (lip balm). I emailed them about this and they were again apologetic in their reply, explaining that the new packaging was quite confusing. They assured me that I shouldn’t worry because they were willing to shoulder the courier fee. They also asked me whether I’d like to order any other products so they could send everything in one go. Still cool with everything. I even thought of trying out their line of mineral make-up.
*Lack of Response
I sent them another email, asking if they could help me choose the right shade of foundation for me based on the pictures I posted on my blog. To make it clear, I didn’t ask them to check my blog to gain page views. I was using my iphone to send emails and it was inconvenient to grab the images from my blog and attach it with my email using my phone. They replied saying they will check the pictures in a while but I never got a reply after that. I lost interest purchasing any mineral foundation and just settled for simpler products which I wouldn’t need to ask them anything about anymore.
*Lack of Response… Again
I’ve been using the Dropper of Youth and Natural Pink lip balm religiously for a couple of weeks after my purchase and these were two of the products I was most eager to review. However, as I am very particular about revealing to my readers the ingredients of products I review, I was a bit apprehensive to do a review out of positive impulse and excitement from using these wonderful products without knowing the ingredients first–or at least, a partial list. I had asked them for the ingredients of Dropper of Youth twice already and for the Natural Pink once but my questions always seemed to get missed out, skipped through or just ignored. I still don’t know the real reason. But I’d like to believe that as a customer, at least, I deserved a reply even if it’s something like “we can’t reveal them due to company policies.” No matter how ridiculous it might have sounded, i think it’s still better than being given the silent treatment which I found quite off, if not rude. Anyway, this brings up another major disappointment I have with the brand. They don’t always list their ingredients.
Honesty & Passion for the Brand
It’s funny how I had my first e-mail encounter with Ms. Lami, the power lady behind BN. I sent a product inquiry and accidentally used my info (.at.) ecobeautysecrets.com email. Probably due to the strange, ‘official-sounding’ email add, Ms. Lami got curious and checked out my blog. Incidentally, during that time, my latest post was about my initial thoughts on V&M. She read my review and probably felt she needed to clarify some things about Bare Naturals before I start having false expectations from the brand. At that time, I actually felt as if she perceived me as a radical, cucumber-chewing green beauty extremist who intended to put V&M on the hot spot (…which, by the way, I didn’t. I LOVE V&M and to a certain point, BN, too). She told me that Bare Naturals has FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) approval and they never claim to be an organic brand. Never did. They use natural products –some may be organic, some may be not–or NOT use certain ingredients which health junkies like me avoid the most. But that didn’t and still doesn’t really matter much to me because I’m not a purist, anyway. As long as the product works, is relatively safe and fair price-wise, everything’s cool with me. Anyway, I truly appreciate her honesty and how passionate and confident she was in defending her brand.
Functional Product Packaging
Second to the well-kept promises of most of their product claims, I love how the brand considers the properties and quality maintenance of their products when packaging them. For example, their serums which contain Vit. C (I assume, in L-Ascorbic Acid form) are all packaged in bottles which don’t permit much light. I’ve mentioned previously that light and air speeds up the oxidation of L-Ascorbic Acid, making it useless or even counter-effective. I also like how they chose to use a pump bottle container for the emu oil. It definitely helps prevent the possibility of bacterial contamination.
Definitely Good but Can Be Better
When it comes to product performance and quality, I don’t have anything bad to say about Bare Naturals. I’m definitely a satisfied customer–at least, when it comes to the products themselves. However, I really value my relationships and vibes with any product I use–especially if it’s for my skin. I believe in “Feel Happy Therapy”, where happiness and happy memories attached with certain products seem to multiply their benefits. Call me cheesy but that’s just how it goes for me.