Self-proclaimed product junkie since birth, Claire Molyneaux has always been drawn to beautiful packaging and claims of efficacy. As a former buyer for Anthropologie and the merchandiser for a southern California-based women’s collection, she knows the importance of elegant design and aesthetics. But after suffering from allergies and skin sensitivity for years using traditional beauty products, she started to research the ingredients and turned to healthier, safer options. The recently launched blog Art of Organics shares honest product reviews, lists of toxic ingredients to avoid, and sheds light on today’s beauty industry.
She created the Clean Beauty Box as a “love letter” to the importance of the self-care ritual. Each organic, natural, non-toxic and cruelty-free product is carefully chosen with the intent to create a meaningful experience with every luxe detail.
I was sent the Valentine’s Day – Adored Edition*, part of a limited edition gifting series for special occasions and holidays, to try. (They’re also currently creating a bridal edition for brides to bestow upon their bridesmaids or as a bridal shower gift.)
My Valentine’s themed Art of Organics box* came neatly packaged in a cardboard box, wrapped in string and recycled paper. When I slid the lid off, the smell of roses wafted up to me.
It was a lovely little ritual to lift each object out and examine it – my personal box of natural beauty booty. Inside I found a mini Valentine’s Day card by idea chíc in Denver, a bath bomb by Remy & Rose with real rosebuds inside a pretty cloth bag, a bamboo charcoal heart cleansing sponge by One Love Organics, Ginger & Cypress Soothing Beauty Mud by Pretty Cosmetics, body whip by Harlow, Lip & Cheek Tint in Parisian Pink by Au Naturale, and Habit natural nail polish. Everything was nested in a bed of dried grass, on top of crumpled paper. The only plastic in the whole box was the lid to the body whip, the plastic sleeve for the card, and the interior bag to the beauty mud.
What follows are reviews for all the contents within the box, by me and EcoCult contributors Rosy and Nichole:
Alden: The heart-shaped charcoal cleansing sponge is amazing. It’s made of konjac-mannan plant fiber and bamboo charcoal. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without it! I put my oil cleanser on there to add some light exfoliation to my oil cleansing routine. Then I hang it up to dry on my towel holder where it hangs prettily until the next time I use it.
Nichole: The Soothing Beauty Mud by Pretty Organic Cosmetics comes in a powdered form in a cylindrical, paper-based container. I mixed the powder – composed of French Montmorillonite clay, kaolin clay, green tea extract, aloe extract, chamomile, ginger, cypress, and grapefruit – with water until a paste was formed, applied a thick layer on my face and décolletage, and waited ten minutes for it to harden. The mask actually turns very hard, which I like because I feel like it’s really getting into my pores that way. The smell is nice and earthy, not too overpowering. Rinsing it off does take a little bit of scrubbing action, which I think helped exfoliate my skin as well, and my face felt soft as a baby’s afterwards. The mask comes in a tube for $24 and I would guess you could probably get about four good uses out of it. I’d say that’s a pretty fair deal for a treatment. The one and only qualm I have is that the mixture is wrapped in plastic. Everything else about it is clean, green, effective, and worth a try!
Alden: The Harlow Whip in Daydream really is a light, oil-based moisturizer that feels dreamy on my skin. The lavender scent isn’t quite enough to overpower that “natural oils” scent you probably are familiar with. (Whether that’s a bonus or drawback is up to you.) I like how the label looks, though it quickly gets smudged. I just wish the jar had a metal instead of plastic lid.
Rosy: Overall I was very happy with the Au Naturale lip stain. I appreciate the short list of ingredients I actually recognize, and I like how compact and smart the packaging is. The color has impact – I would wear it when I want to look a bit dressed up, and I was pleased with how it looked. As cheek stain, it lasted well and did not distress my slightly dry skin. As a lip stain it needed touching up now and again, though in my experience most lip colors do. One negative was that it didn’t moisturize my lips enough by itself – in this frosty weather I found I had to use a lipbalm underneath it.
Alden: The Habit nail polish, which has myrrh extract to nourish and strengthen nails, plus naturally guard against inflammation, bacteria and fungus, was a gorgeous color, a seemingly simple greige that revealed a hint of red shimmer on closer inspection. It came in FSC Certified paperboard, with a bamboo overcap. I took it to my favorite nail salon to try it out. It went on nicely, and stayed on well, for a five-free polish. It was a bit chipped by a week later, but not egregiously so.
It’s clear that Molyneaux cares about the quality of the products she chooses to include in her boxes, and knows how to engage all the senses with pretty, tactile scent, and visual treats. It would be an amazing ritual to receive a box with her curated items each month, especially since she introduced me (jaded natural beauty product tester) to several new, lovely brands.
The Clean Beauty Box monthly subscription is launching this week with the first box focusing on the theme of “Renewal” to align with the onset of Spring. There will be a limited number of boxes available for $58 subscription price or a one time purchase of $68.
*I got this for free to try.