I always think that you can tell a lot about a company from the way they package the free products and samples that they send you for review. If they're willing to go the extra mile and put in some effort to make it all look lovely when you're not actually paying them a penny, it gives you a very good idea of the way they treat their paying customers. Well, just one look at the beautifully presented package from Shea Mooti, carefully wrapped in pink tissue paper and popped in a sturdy gift bag, gave me a very positive first impression of the company.
Reading the enclosed card, I learnt a bit more about the fabulous ethics of the company. They explain : "Shea Mooti's luxurious ethical skincare range has been specially formulated with mamas and babies in mind. We make our products with pride, using pure ethically sourced shea butter and other handpicked natural ingredients, to give you and your baby gorgeous, healthy, pampered skin. This makes Shea Mooti skincare perefect for use before, during and beyond pregnancy." I also learnt that Shea Mooti supports sustainable and Ethical Trade. Well, it all sounds great on paper - time for some hands-on testing.
I unwrapped the two mystery packages (oooh it's like Christmas !) and discovered Mama's Belly Rub Stretch Mark Oil and Baby's Pure Unscented Shea Butter Soap.
The Belly Rub Stretch Mark Oil is made with Organic Sunflower, Baobab, Rosehip, Shea Butter and Wheatgerm Oils. Now, I know they work really well for moisturing growing mummy tummies but I'm often put off by stretch mark oils because they're so ... well, oily. I always thought it was just par for the course with this type of product but I was amazed to see that this oil is strangely not at all greasy. It does say on the label that it is non-greasy but I have to admit, I didn't believe it until I tried some on the back of my hand ! It initially does feel oily but when you smooth it into the skin, it leaves a protective sheen on the skin, like you'd get with a cream or lotion, but absolutely no greasiness. None of that horrible slipperiness or clothes sticking to you and getting oil stains on them.
I love the instructions on the bottle : "Gently massage all over the bump, thighs and udders twice a day" ! You should avoid the nipple area if breastfeeding but it's made with all natural ingredients. It has a lovely lavender fragrance - I checked the ingredients list and it contains lavender oil as well as mandarin orange peel oil - which gives off a lovely scent while you rub it into your skin but which doesn't linger once it's been absorbed.
It promises to help prevent stretch marks, maintain supple skin and optimum elasticity and promote growth if used regularly. Whether or not it works at combatting stretch marks, it gets a thumbs-up for me for its fabulous non-greasy formula and soothing, moisturising formula.This would also double up as a lovely massage oil.
Next up was Baby's Pure Shea Butter Soap. The label explains that it is handmade using the traditional cold-press method, incorporating fair-trade oils and ethically sourced virgin Shea butter which will enrich and soften delicate skin. The shea butter is sourced from AfriKids' Daughters - a collective of women's co-operatives in northern Ghana which work with local charity AfriKids, addressing children's rights issues and securing the future of their families and communities, through dignified income generation. (You can find out more about the projects that Shea Mooti support on their website.)
The soap is perfect for babies or anyone else with delicate skin. It doesn't create a huge amount of bubbles but it does leave the skin beautifully hydrated. It's labelled as unscented, because it has no perfumes added, but it has a lovely light fragrance of shea butter.
I was intrigued where the name Shea Mooti came from and went investigating on the website. Founder Violet Reid, who started making natural skincare products when her baby son Alex had dry skin and skin problems, explains : "I named the company ‘Shea Mooti’ because every product contains the purest, natural form of ‘Shea’ Butter, ethically sourced from AfriKids’ Daughters, a multi-cooperative in northern Ghana. ‘Mooti’ comes from ‘Muti’ meaning ‘tree’ in Shona – the language of my native Zimbabwe. Put it all together and the Shea Mooti ‘Tree of Life’ was born.
It's a lovely story, a lovely company and lovely products. They're not cheap but if you want the best for your baby's - or your own - delicate skin, they're worth every penny.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : Pure Shea Butter Soap £6.50 for 100g, Mama's Belly Rub Stretch Mark Oil£14.99 for 100ml
for more information : http://www.sheamooti.co.uk
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