Review: the wonder of Bodhi & Birch body oils

It is always intriguing to be on testing panel of brands whose products I love using, as it offers glimpses into the creative process that most consumers don’t get before the product appears on shop’s shelves, TV or press ads. Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch, is a man who never ceases to surprise me with the depth of his knowledge, but the trio of body oils that he recently launched turned out to be a much bigger revelation than I anticipated.

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Elijah created an aromatic trio of body oils to celebrate the scent, colour and culture of Europe and offer women (and men) a range of handcrafted products made of 100% natural botanicals and in small batches, thus offering the freshest quality. When I was on a panel of testers, Elijah sent all of us three samples and after using them, we filled in and sent him back a detailed questionnaire. I also talked to Elijah in detail about my experience with the oils, as one of them smelled particularly strong and another I wasn’t too sure of, as generally I am not a huge fan of rose-scented products, possibly finding them a little too ‘girly’. Having said that, this particular rose-scented body oil took me on a journey of such immense discovery, I was completely taken aback – but more on it later.

After all of the feedback was in, Elijah continued to tweak and refine the final formulas – always a perfectionist when it comes to his products and making sure they live up to customer’s expectations ! – while also enhancing their unique beauty and wellbeing. Only when he was satisfied, did the products launch and I hope you will find them as transformative as I did. One of my own biggest surprises when it came to those body oils, was a truly successful fusion of aromatherapy and perfumery, so much so, that now I wear two of those oils as a natural perfume, dabbing it on my pulse points, behind the ears and on my neck, after I apply it all over the body.

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Nordic White Body Oil: the name of this body oil made sure it had me at ‘hello’, and not because ‘hygge’ is the current buzzword. About three years ago, Elijah was in Stockholm, visiting Bodhi & Birch retailers. On his way to one of the meetings, he walked from his hotel, located in central Stockholm, all the way to a more hippie area, where the meeting was supposed to take place. Stockholm is one of Elijah’s favourite cities, as it allows him to walk from one island to another, while observing the beauty of nature, forests and decor of the houses, which he absorbs, nurturing his creative life force. In a way Nordic White is Elijah’s love letter to the city, with an assembly of notes that popped into Elijah’s head as he walked around the city, drinking it in. Original birch notes were taken out, but alpine notes – more wood than leaves, as well as berries, moss, hints of sea and fennel  were blended together creating, a ‘fresh, open, balanced white scent’. Elijah had the clearest picture of what this oil should smell and look like out of the three body oils he created , but he went through two versions, before the third satisfied him.

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Elijah sees this oil as ‘a curative tonic of Spruce, Cypress and Pine enlivened with the freshness of Sweet fennel with soothing undertones of Frankincense. The scent is clean and reassuring, balanced with a soft lingering sweetness’. To that I can add that to me it feels like a hug from an old, comforting friend who knows what to say on every occasion, be it sad or happy. Before I apply it, I warm it in my hands for a few seconds, savouring the smell and then apply it to my body, rolling my fingers over muscles and circling it in when a certain area feels a little tight or painful. I draw comfort from this scent and as my skin warms up from the massage and the scent settles and changes, I end up drawing my wrist to my nose, inhaling it, as the day progresses, in order to ground & center myself.

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‘Nordic White Body Oil is rather special to me. It read more

New product launch from Bodhi and Birch

Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch, never ceases to amaze me with his endless creativity and I am lucky to learn from this wise man through our conversations. I also am lucky to sometimes test some of the new things in development, so I got ‘familiar’ with the new launch, Botanic Dew Hand & Body Wash, because Elijah has kindly sent me a sample a few weeks ago, that I have been using it every day since then ( the product was officially launched this week on B & B website ).

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Botanic Dew Hand & Body Wash was developed to cleanse both hands and body with a purifying botanical infusion of flower essences, fruit oils and anti-bacterial herbal extracts. Elijah is a very keen gardener, so this product was partially inspired by cool, crispy, sunny mornings spent in the garden. It is a complex therapeutic blend of 19 pure essential oils that will refresh your senses and lift the spirits, with the initial burst of fresh mint is followed by citrus notes, leading to the gentle revelation of warm floral notes and grassy herbs at its heart.

When I started using the sample, I told Elijah that the product didn’t seem as ‘powerful’ in its scent, if compared to usual Bodhi and Birch ‘favourites’ like Jasmine Falls or Siam Ginger, which draw me in, like a powerful magnet, every time I get even a whiff of them. Elijah replied that he tries to respond to customer feedback and requests and this product was deliberately ‘subtler’, when compared to other Bodhi & Birch product scents. The fresh scent, or more delicate scent if you like, also corresponds  to the bottle design, which has a clear, frosted colour, as well as a lower price point, to allow people not familiar with the brand already, to have an additional incentive to do so.

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This product is also a multi-tacker, as you not only purifying the skin on your body, but can nurture your hands and make sure that germs are washed away without a negative impact on your health. Sadly, in part because of the strange weather patters this year, we seem to be nursing colds and flu, as well as tummy bugs, more often that we normally would in the springtime. Now, imagine coming back home from work, school or just running the errands, and starting with the ‘unwinding’ process with a delicately scented product that sets the tone for the reminder of the evening. As a mother, I also want to make sure that hands are washed with a product that has anti-bacterial benefits, but won’t make skin dry and introduce harmful chemicals to the skin ( this hand & body wash is free from sulphates & parabens ). Elijah formulated this product using a trio of mild cleansers derived from coconut oil and fruit sugars, plus it also contains Lactic Acid, an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA), known for skin rejuvenating properties. There is also a Gluconolactone, which is a Poly-Hydroxy Acid (PHA), which actively hydrates the skin. It’s worth adding here that I don’t believe in washing hands too many times a day, as I believe in balance when it comes to bacteria that we have on our skin and body and that has both positive and negative effect on our wellbeing. Washing hands after gardening or being out and about is one thing, doing it too many times a day is probably not such a great idea, in the same way as taking antibiotics for a common cold is not in your best interests.

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I like the gentle bubbles that lathering with Botanic Dew creates, which gently cleanse and effectively purify the skin and the anti-bacterial blend of essential oils helps to neutralise unwanted odours or stains, like I get from peeling and cutting vegetables like beetroot, on my fingers.

If you decided to share this product with the kids, please do a patch test, because kid’s delicate skin might react to high ratio of essential oils. Mine are big enough to use it and enjoy massaging it all over their hands and between the fingers, after escapes to the park, coming home from school or doing sports ( it purifies the skin beautifully after sweat producing activities, like football matches ).

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (From Coconut Oil), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (From Coconut Oil), Coco-glucoside (From Coconut Oil & Fruit Sugar), Polysorbate 20 (From Coconut Oil & Fruit Sugar), Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa) Oil, Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Pelargoneum Graveolens (Bourbon Geranium) Flower Oil, Canarium Luzonicum (Elemi) Gum Oil, Commiphora Erythraea (Opopanax) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Origanum Majorana (Marjoram) Leaf Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto) Flower Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil, Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) Fruit Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-ylang) Flower Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine Absolute) Flower Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (White Thyme) Leaf Oil, Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Lactic Acid (From Beet Sugar), Gluconolactone (From Corn), Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Eugenol

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Life gets busy and we sometimes forget to pause and enjoy precious moments. For me washing my hands after cooking, while listening to the radio or looking at the trees outside, is a way to briefly meditate. One of my past yoga teachers often told us during the class to turn ‘routine’ things we do every day into special moments that can benefit you mentally, so washing your hands with this wash or taking a shower in the morning can be a signal to pause, take deeper breaths, enjoying the scent and few moments of calm, before diving back into the real world. I also have to say that with time, the subtlety of the scent has actually grown on me – proof that some things don’t need to be loud, in order to be appreciated.

Bodhi & Birch Botanic Dew Hand & Body Wash, 200ml, £16

Botanic Dew New

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Triply fragrant launch: Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa skincare

As beauty is one of the subjects I write about, I always do my research and form opinions but sometimes, as a consequence of talking to the brand founder, other subjects enter the conversation and the relationship builds up. Bodhi & Birch founder Elijah Choo & I didn’t recognise each other when we met in person ( prior to that we had some Twitter exchanges ) but when realisation came, it broke the ice and I can now say that he is not just another beauty brand founder on my radar, but a friend as well. However, reviewing something that a friend creates is not easy, because I need to be objective for my readers, as well as be honest with my friends who depend on honest feedback in my role as a customer.

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I don’t hide the fact that I adore many of Elijah’s creations because he is a truly creative man and a perfectionist. He doesn’t rest until the Bodhi & Birch product or the packaging or some other detail related to the product, is as perfect as can be. Until a few months ago you probably knew his products under the name Bodhi and when Elijah told me about re-branding I was surprised but only for a second, as when he told me the reasons and the new name, a circle became complete. In my mind, as well as Elijah’s, something innately wasn’t complete about the brand’s original name and was confusing for some customers as well.

Bodhi & Birch combines Eastern philosophies and Western knowledge, read more

Rebranding & a new pioneering product: spotlight on Bodhi & Birch

Sometimes, even with the best intentions, we can start developing an idea only to realise later that it needs tweaking and that is how, three years since its birth, eco-luxury brand Bodhi became Bodhi & Birch, drawing inspiration from the balance of nature and its botanical healing remedies. Elijah Choo, the brand’s founder, is not the type of man who rests on his laurels, ever. In addition to running Bodhi & Birch, offering support to his colleagues and friends, creating new products, he also manages to launch a new online digital platform BodhiLuxe ( where yours truly is proud to be a contributor ), is slowly and painstakingly restoring his home, 16th century Bittell Farm ( where he also has a garden which demands his tender loving care ). How Elijah manages to do it all in 24 hrs slots I don’t know but I can vouch that he doesn’t launch a product unless he made sure it’s as perfect as can be.

I have been very lucky to test Bodhi & Birch’s new launch a few months ago and in the middle of winter, when nights were cold and hands felt rough, this hand serum has been a welcome warming delight for my dry hands, as well as the senses, giving an uplifting boost to the whole body with its powerful aroma. Lime Blossom Protecting Hand Serum is oil- based and was created by Elijah, who uses his own hands in the lab, at home and in the garden, so he perfected it thinking about both men and women, and pushing forward with the idea for a hand product that will moisturise, soften and protect the hands.

Lime Blossom Protecting Hand Serum is the first hand serum I have ever come across in the beauty market and it is one of the products in the eight piece collection of

Bodhi & Birch Artisan
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Review of Bodhi Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt Scrub

While many experts preach their love for Epsom salts, I have been a long-term fan of Himalayan Detox Salts from Michelle Roque-O’Neil, which truly are magical and treat anything from stress to coming down with a cold, so I know that 84 minerals that those magical salts contain are worth every grain. When I heard from Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi skincare that he was due to launch an addition to his Artisan series, called Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt scrub, I got beyond excited because even before I tried this product, I knew that it will be everything I expected it to be and more-mistaken I certainly wasn’t !

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You smell the wonderful oils contained in this product even before you open the jar and once you do, you see a pale pink, grainy scrub but it doesn’t look like any scrub I have tried before-take my word for it, I have seen and used a few of them, in my search to find the perfect one. It smells enticingly refreshing and you just can’t wait to start scrubbing with it. You need to spray yourself with water and then apply the scrub with gentle circular notion from your neck downwards, including the soles of your feet. I prefer to do it part by part, almost meditating, while I apply the scrub and let it melt all over, getting read of the dead skin, opening my pores and releasing stagnant energy. Your head clears, your vision becomes somewhat clearer, as your body starts to release and flush the toxins out ( some of my fellow blogger friends, yes, I mean you Danny and Jessica .) want to use this scrub daily, as they love it so much-in my case I restrain myself to using it twice weekly but do I enjoy every minute of that experience !). You then rinse it off with warm water and I actually don’t even bother to put on any oil or body moisturiser as my skin feels newborn soft, even, clear. After using this scrub your skin has a beautiful sheen to it and water drops linger on its surface, making for a facinating site. The smell, while gentle, lingers on, lulling you to sleep and when I wake up in the morning it still catches my senses and makes me smile, as I get ready to start another hectic day. You can also follow Elijah’s advice and instead of rinsing the scrub in the shower, submerge yourself into a bath and read something nice, while salt scrub granules get dissolved in water and you end up with a deeply relaxing soak-hence I say read something, don’t just close your eyes, as you will be in danger of falling into a dreamy slumber .)

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The scrub itself contains Himalayan salt crystals that are hand-harvested from the Kashmiri Himalayan mountains. Elijah believes in hand-blending in small batches and using minerals and botanicals that he chooses for their potency and holistic, as well as skin/bodycare benefits. I think what makes the whole Bodhi range very special is that Elijah has boundless creativity and seeks inspiration and ideas from not just the countries around the world, but beauty, botanicals, medicinal traditions & remedies.

According to Bodhi press release, accompanying Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt scrub, ”Himalayan Salt Crystals contain the full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements that are essential to human life. Formed 250 million years ago, the powerful mineral salt boasts healing energy to help re-balance the body and flush the toxins” that we all accumulate on the daily basis. Bodhi managed to utilise ”unique mineral ions to help equalize the body’s bio-energetic fields, stimulate cell regeneration, enhance lymphatic flow and induce meditative sense of calm”.

Himalayan salt crystals are combined with a synergestic ( such a popular beauty word this year ! ) blend of Rosemary ( nature’s detox remedy, as it boosts liver function and helps to remove cancerogens. It also acts as a brain and nervous system tonic ), Geranium ( it helps to cleanse our lymphatic system ), Petitgrain ( helps to calm the mind, as well as clear the skin ) and Cedarwood ( it is a good anti-septic and is known for its diuretic properties as well ) essential oils that help to revive and balance the senses- I can happily confirm that, as I am inhaling the scrub’s aroma, while typing this article, all in the name of giving you a very distinct, personal experience ! There are also anti-oxidant Grape seed oil ( it also helps to stabilise collagen and management of elastin that we start loosing in our 30s. It also encourages production of hyaluronic acid that keeps our skin supple ), Organic shea butter ( rich in Vitamins A and E, it softens and nourishes the skin ), Olive Squalane ( protects and strengthens the skin matrix, preventing oxidation, free radicals damage and slowing down the ageing process-hence a snake like experience of shedding old skin in the shower .) and Apricot Kernel Oil ( naturally rich in Vitamins A, B1, B6, B17, E, as well as oleic and linolenic acids, all of which help the skin to retain elasticity and suppleness ).

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Full list of ingredients:

Sodium Chloride (Himalayan Salt Crystals), Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Nut) Butter, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca, (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Squalane / Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Juniperus Virginiana (Virginian Cedarwood) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Red Mandarin) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium var. Amara (Petitgrain) Leaf Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf OIl, Alpina Officinalis (Galangal) Root OIl, Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetyver) Root OIl, Citral*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Limonene*, Linalool*

*natural constituents of essential oils

I have been using thing wonderful scrub for a few weeks now and I have to say that it is a Body Beauty Keeper on a major scale. It makes the skin look renewed and supple, without stripping it of the vital moisture, it relaxes your mind and clears your head and it enveloped you in a wonderfully fragrant, protective cloak that is both nurturing and encouraging at the same time. It really is a multi-tasker that surprises me every time I open the jar and inhale its aroma. You don’t need to go to the spa, you create your own sanctuary in the privacy of your own bathroom, where transformative magic happens. Some scrubs are too soft and some are too harsh and this one really delivers, so for now my search for the best scrub is over-spring or winter, I know that my body is ready to deal with day’s intricacies that lie ahead.


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