Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Product Junkie Review: The Honest Company

I initially checked out The Honest Company at the recommendation of one of my readers.  They weren't completely new to me, as I had received their Honest Healing Balm in a Birchbox shortly before Winter, but I didn't know anything about the company and the other products they offer. 

If you haven't heard about The Honest Company, I'll give you just a quick background.  The company was founded by actress Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan (Chief Products Officer and nationally recognized environmental health leader, author, and Chief Advisor to the Green Product Innovation Institute) in an attempt to make it easier to find products that are, according to Alba, "safe, eco-friendly, affordable, and effective, as well as designed beautifully and delivered to my doorstep".

I admit, I was hesitant to check them out.  Last year my house helper decided it was time to get eco-friendly.  What ended up happening was a lot of trial and error with things like essential oils, baking soda, Dr. Bronner's soaps, and vinegar.   It was an interesting year during which I tried to embrace essential oils not just in home cleaning but also in body care and learned just how powerful they can be after I experienced what can only described as a burn earned by ignorance.  It was hard for me to even consider buying some of the more popular eco-friendly brands because of the cost and the fact that I believed I could create great eco-friendly products at home at a tenth of the cost...I just needed to find the right recipes.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of sticky floors.

I came to believe that perhaps when you clean like I do (rarely, and with all of the available elbow grease as someone with chronic pain can muster for as long as it can be mustered, which isn't much) that you either need to clean a little every day, or eco-friendly products are just not for you because everything I tried seemed to lack the power to deal with a neglected mess.  In the end, I just ended up going back to the chemical cleaners and to make myself feel better I returned to cleaning my house with vodka where applicable (which, for the record, is awesome because it is eco-friendly, antimicrobial, unscented and leaves everything sparkling).

But I digress. 

I was also hesitant to try The Honest Company because it is another subscription program and those always make me nervous.  I went to the site and checked out the Free Trial which included 5 trial size products and all I had to pay was $5.95 shipping.  I figured I would give it a try because if nothing else, I was only out $6 shipping. 

This is what is currently included in the Free Trial (pic courtesy of The Honest Company website).  

The Five products I received in my Free Trial.  From Left to Right:  Lemongrass Handsoap, Face + Body Lotion, Healing Balm, Shampoo + Body Wash, and Laundry Detergent. (You may notice that my Free Trial included Laundry Detergent instead of Multi-Surface Cleaner).

The contents of my first order from The Honest Company showing the total cost for my bundle including shipping and handling. 

Honest Hand Soap (12 oz/$4.95).  Natural, Hypoallergenic, Non-Toxic, Biodegradable and pH Balanced. Available in Lavender, Lemongrass & Mandarin.   I am very much a fan of the Lemongrass. This has a nice, soft lather and while I haven't attempted to tackle things like marker, ink and craft glue it does seem to hold up and wash away dirt, makeup grime, and hair product residue incredibly well.  The scent isn't overpowering but pleasant and strong enough to definitely take notice of.  While I don't know that it makes my hands softer, I definitely noticed that I didn't feel dry or "stripped" the way some hand soaps leave skin feeling. 

Honest Face + Body Lotion (8.5 oz/$9.95). Hypoallergenic, Vegan, Plant-Based, Biodegradable, pH Balanced, Naturally Non-Toxic.  Made with Organic olive, shea, jojoba and safflower oils as well as chamomile, calendula and aloe.  I wanted to love this lotion as someone who needs good unscented products (not for any reason other than sometimes I just feel bombarded with scent), but I really didn't.  The texture was a little different than most lotions, not in a bad way but I can definitely tell this product contains aloe.  While this is unscented, I did notice a little bit of a smell as did the people I asked to try the product with me; it isn't overpowering or unnatural but as one person said, "Not a pleasant after-smell".  Overall, I don't feel like this lotion is really helpful for someone like me who often has very dry hands and rarely felt like using it made any difference in my skin.  I do, however, like the way this feels on my face but I have yet to determine any results or possible benefits of that.  

Honest Healing Balm (3 oz/$12.95)  Made with organic sunflower, olive and coconut oils work with  shea butter, tamanu oil, chamomile, calendula and beeswax.  I originally got the Honest Healing Balm in a Birchbox last December and instantly fell in love.  This stuff is amazing.  I use it on my feet instead of the Julep Mint Condition Pedi Creme sometimes.  This saved me from a lot of dry ski and hangnails over the winter and it is all around one of my favorite products EVER.  I've asked other people to try it, some people find it to be a little too greasy for their tastes and it is a little bit greasy but I noticed it seems to soak up fairly quickly.  I mostly use it on my hands, but I've used it on my feet, chaffed skin, incredibly dry skin, and on rashes with positive results. 

Honest Shampoo + Body Wash  (8.5 oz/$9.95)  Made with natural and organic ingredients including jojoba and quinoa proteins, coconut oil, chamomile, calendula and aloe.  The shampoo seemed to work and it got my hair clean.  However, because I got a bottle of shampoo and no conditioner, I don't feel comfortable commenting on the use of it for hair care because I never like shampoo by itself.  As a body wash, it has a light pleasant scent that fades fast and doesn't interfere with other scents you might be using.  I didn't notice that it left me cleaner or more/less moisturized.  It didn't seem to do much as far as body odor; I didn't feel like it necessarily washed away "body funk" quite as good as I would have liked which is a huge thing for me because I cannot stand climbing out of the shower only to find that I still smell.  

Honest Laundry Detergent (70 fl. oz/$12.95).  I got enough for one load in my Free Trial.  There was no scent.  The clothes looked clean enough but I'm really quite comfortable using my regular product without paying shipping and handling.

Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95).  White Grapefruit scent.  This is my FAVORITE cleaning product from The Honest Company so far.  It's AWESOME.  I lost all hesitancy about using green/eco-friendly products after trying this.  I used it to clean the Crayola Window Crayon drawings off of my bathroom mirror and it took it off with ease leaving it clean and shiny, unlike another name brand cleaner that forced me to wash the window three times and still left streaks.  It leaves things shiny and without residue.  I even used it on my incredible messy stove top after making tomato based sauce the night before and it came almost entirely clean in one swipe (like those commercials for chemical based products claim, but never actually do).  I love the White Grapefruit scent... it's refreshing but doesn't linger for hours.  I really, really love it and will be using this in my home from now on.

Honest Fruit + Veggie Wash (8 fl. oz/$6.95).  Claims to "cut through chemical residues & wax to leave fruits & vegetables truly clean!" with no taste or odor left behind while being a 100% non-toxic, plant-based formula that safely and effectively removes unwanted: toxic pesticide & chemical residues,pathogens, waxes, dirt, handling oils & bacteria surface contaminants (found on both conventional & organically grown produce).  It also allegedly inhibits browning and helps food last 200% longer according to The Honest Company's website.  This product was easy to use, just spray on and let sit then rinse off.  This was, admittedly, my first time using a product to wash my produce.  While I didn't exactly run an official "study", I did try it a few times on a couple of different types of produce.  While it says there is no taste or odor left behind, I felt like no matter how many times I rinsed I could still smell it.  As far as helping the food last longer... I didn't notice any difference with the cherries I used it on, and in fact I thought the cherries tasted kind of bad the very next day.  It might just be me.  I plan to use to on some apples and carrots tonight, but overall I'm not thrilled with this product, the scent, or the price. 

Honest Toothpaste (6 oz/$5.95).  Contains calcium to help protect and strengthen tooth enamel as well as baking soda and natural silica to gently polish & brighten teeth.  Organic aloe, organic ginger, and bisabolol help soothe oral and gum irritation as well as antioxidants from Green Tea.  I LOVE this toothpaste.  I was using a name brand sensitive whitening toothpaste, but I really like the flavor and the results from this.  I don't have the sensitivity issues I was having before, my teeth look really good, and this stuff tastes pretty good.  Though I admit that I can somewhat taste the baking soda.  

Because I ordered my box in May, The Honest Company included a Mother's Day card that included this Lip Shimmer in Pomegranate.  It is a pretty color and smells ok.  It doesn't have a flavor.  The stick itself feels very dry and goes on kind of hard, but once on has a very nice feel and definitely moisturizes my lips.  The color is very light, which is excellent because I hate tinted shimmers that look like lipstick.  Overall, it isn't my favorite tinted lip product and it actually reminds me of a similar product I own by Burt's Bees.  But... it was included free with my May box so I honestly can't complain. 

When it comes to value, I struggle to say whether or not The Honest Company is worth it because I really feel like a lot of the value is based on individual needs.  If I were talking about cost alone... $5.95 for a bottle of Multi-purpose spray is steep for my budget, but I'm also used to cheap chemical cleaners.  The Honest Company seems fairly affordable when compared to other eco-friendly cleaners I looked up.  I really felt like the Multi-Purpose spray worked better than many of the brand-name chemical products I was using that cost half as much (or less).  So... the value of the products for me is really based on effectiveness and how much value one puts on using non-toxic, eco-friendly products in their home.  If you can find a way to make the products fit your budget, they're definitely worth it if you're willing to pay a little extra for the comfort of knowing you're using non-toxic products that work well. 

About the individual prices and the shipping...this is a subscription service.  The cost per shipment is $35.95 plus shipping (total of about $42).  The Honest Company allows you to customize your subscription preferences including when your Bundle ships, how frequently & which products you receive each month.  You get 5 items per month at a 35% savings, and you save 25% on additional products.  

The Honest Company products are now supposed to be carried in Targets Nationwide as of June 2014.  I was really thrilled to see that the products would be carried there because then I could pick up products I needed and wanted to try as I ran out versus ordering every couple of  months.  I'm not that good at anticipating my needs, and then I wouldn't be paying $42 every single time I wanted cleaning supplies (after shipping).  Unfortunately, a friend recently went to Target and was only able to find The Honest Company's Baby supplies, not any of their other products.  I have not been able to verify this yet.  However, I did email The Honest Company to ask them what the specific benefits of continuing to be an online member were as it seemed that their products were being offered at Target.com for the same price as they were being offered on The Honest Company's website.  This is their response... 

Now, I'm not good at math, but I did a little of it just for you (please keep in mind that I really suck at math and you should do your own, not just take me at my word). What you need to know is that in order to make this a value you need an average price of about $6.95 per item, but if you're going to take advantage of the "deal" the answer is NOT to buy five $5.95 products because it won't be saving you money.  And, unfortunately, someone should tell Bryan to stop telling people they won't be taxed because I'm required to report online purchases so that I may be taxed on them when I do my taxes (though it might just be my state that requires this).  And while I would probably save shipping costs for gas money, you can't really put a price on avoiding people, even if it IS Target and not Wal-Mart.
Overall, I am incredibly satisfied with The Honest Company.  All of the products arrived as shown, and I really love the design of all of the packaging - simple, clean, fun.   What I really liked was that everything that was scented was natural, light and unoffensive, and while the unscented products still had a little bit of a scent (you can't really avoid that) it wasn't anything that someone would notice if they didn't deliberately sniff the product.  There were some things I didn't like and I probably wont be purchasing the Fruit + Veggie Wash again.  But for the most part I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly effective and really great the products were.  I know that I will definitely be purchasing The Honest Company products in the future, and I hope you'll try them!

The Honest Company also offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order.  That being said, I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if you use the link posted, just as you would if you shared your link with your friends after becoming a member.

If you are interesting in ordering a Free Trial, or trying The Honest Company Products, please use my link: http://www.honest.com/accept_invitation/472160

**I did not receive any monetary compensation to review these products; All products were purchased and tested by me (with the exception of the Free Trial which is available to everyone).  The Honest Company offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order using your link; I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if any of the links posted above are used, just like anyone else would.  All products were purchased at the price stated in the above review (if I were to receive a sweet deal, trust me...I'd tell you how to take advantage of that sweet deal for yourself).  I pick and choose what products appear on MoreThanCheesandBeer.com based on products I use or would consider using in my own home.  Receiving product samples does not influence the final review.  Period.  All opinions and experiences are my own and there is no guarantee with my review and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it.  My opinion is just that... my opinion.**

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