Monday, 28 March 2011

The Body Shop: The Return

Walking past The Body Shop, the smell conjures images from my childhood: heavily scented bath pearls, tootsie toe separators, magic flannels and cartoon animals. It does not make me thing excitement, glamour, luxury or relaxation- all the things I feel when I enter a department store cosmetics area. However, in the spirit of my Ethical Lent and missing my daily shopping trip on the high street I returned to my childhood stomping ground.
I knew that The Body Shop were anti animal cruelty (hence the little elephants that adorned all my flannels when I was little) but I had no idea just how driven the company is to be ethical. Animal protection aside they also have a vested interest in where the ingredients in their products come from, who grows them, how they’re processed and what impact they have on your skin and the planet.  Sounds like the perfect place for an ethically minded cosmetics junkie to stock up!
Now, as you may have gathered, I am beyond demanding when it comes to my cosmetic sales people, I want them to pamper me, lavish me with complicated information, interrogate my skin and leave me feeling hopeful that my face will never again be marred by a pimple or a wrinkle. I don’t mind paying £30 for a pot of moisturiser for this pleasure. On my first visit to the Body Shop in Kingston a lovely young man talked me through the moisturisers and managed to sell me a particularly gorgeous smelling Vitamin C one on the basis that “it’s good for young people like us if you’ve had a heavy night out.  Feeling very pleased with his enthusiasm, flattered by his well, flattery and buoyant from the cheap price (a mere £11!) I left the shop vowing to return to face my foundation demons.
Here’s where it began to fall apart. To say I’m pale is an understatement, I am practically translucent and The Body Shop does not cater for my end of the colour spectrum. After unenthusiastically showing me the colours of the foundations on her hand, the sales assistant told me to try Nicola “Girls Aloud” Robert’s brand of make up for especially pale people. Not impressed.
Conclusion: This is a place where people could make a small change to the way they live every day. Amazing to have ethics like these available on our very high street. I fully intend to go back and replace all my shampoos, shower gels, bath soaks, cleansers and moisturisers with their fabulously ethical and wonderfully priced versions. However, I remain unconvinced on the make up front and heading towards and as I hurtle towards an empty bottle of foundation, I am running out of options!

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