Every time I go into Sephora, I can't resist trying at least two products out on my skin -- one on each forearm. If I'm lucky, I'll only walk out of the store resisting to itch just one arm, and this time, I was lucky. I put Korres Brightening Sleeping Facial on one arm and I loved the scent, no reaction, skin looked great an hour later. On the other arm I tried Kate Somerville Nourish moisturizer, since I received a sample of her Oil-Free Moisturizer when I bought EradiKate (post to come) and, although it tingled a bit too much when it went on, didn't have an allergic reaction. Lo and behold, the Nourish moisturizer made me break out in red, blotchy, nasty hives within minutes of application. Guess I learned my lesson for trying one of the more chemical brands out there.
But back to a more natural brand that I enjoy: LAVANILLA (no I'm not screaming it at you, their brand name is all caps). Their description on the Sephora website reads: "Today, their growing line of healthy products continues to brim with everything that's good for you and absolutely nothing that's not. LAVANILA delivers a new generation of 100% healthy products formulated with the highest quality of natural and organic ingredients. They're packed with vitamins and minerals, and completely free of harsh chemicals. Indulge with confidence."
While I would say that "completely free of harsh chemicals" is a bit of an overstatement, I've tried several products from Lavanilla and am generally happy with their Healthy Deodorant, fragrances, Body Butter, and Body Wash 2-in-1 Shower & Shave. My armpits get irritated easily from most deodorants, with Dove being the least irritating, so I've tried several natural deodorants without aluminum such as Tom's and Alba Botanica. Unfortunately, I've found that they do absolutely nothing if you actually sweat. Lavanilla's smells nice and is decent, but if you start to sweat, you have to reapply frequently during the day in order for it to be effective, which for me was very disappointing. It also is a little powdery, and pretty much everytime I used it a little of the product would flake and fall off, so it can be messy.
Their fragrances all smell nice as long as you're into vanilla, with the vanilla lavender and the pure vanilla being my favorites and vanilla blackberry being my least favorite. I actually used a whole tube of the vanilla passionfruit body butter -- which as you should already know, is a big plus for this product. It smells delicious, is fast absorbing, and non irritating. I would probably repurchase if there weren't so many other body lotions waiting to be tried. :)
I recently purchased Lavanilla body wash after my Lush The Olive Branch shower gel ran out. It's just OK. It doesn't irritate my skin, but the fragrance is very very mild, almost nonexistant. I also don't really understand the "shower & shave" tagline, since any shower gel or cream or oil can be used for shaving, and this one certainly doesn't get thick like shaving cream.
Overall verdict: LAVANILLA is a nice, natural-ish brand. While I'm not convinced as to the "naturalness" of the line, I like what they're trying to do, and since I haven't reacted negatively to any of their products, that pretty much has me sold. I may even consider a repurchase of their body butter. Yum.