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.
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, which leads to a perfect overall balance
August saw the presentation of Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa skincare trio in London ( in St.Martin’s Lane hotel and what a gloriously fun occasions it was, judging by my Instagram and Twitter feeds ). Sadly I was out of town, but luckily for me – that’s where the friendship bit comes in – I got sent the products by Elijah to test during my summer break. Rosa Rosa line was developed for normal to dry skin, as well as sensitive and comprises a Clarifying Cleanser, a Hydrating Toner and a Daily Moisturiser – simple, straight-forward daily skincare routine, beautifully distilled into heavy glass bottles with a pink ribbon line compassing each product, combining clarity and femininity.
Let’s start with the cleanser, shall we? Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa Clarifying Cleanser is a gentle product that will effectively cleanse your skin, morning or night, without the feeling of dryness or tightness. You apply it to your face ( one or two pumps is plenty ) and massage it all over your face, while the evocative scent of Damask Rose ( precious Bulgarian Damask Rose Otto ) and Orange Blossom uplifts your senses and makes you feel like a pure, content and radiant woman ( or man for that matter ). Add water, double massage the cleanser and wash it off with warm water, not forgetting to gently pat you face dry with a clean tissue or a dry face cloth.
You have Coconut Oil and Rosehip Fruit oil, as well as Roman Camomile that soothes the skin which might be tired or a little irritated. Added to that you have Shea Nut and Cocoa Seed Butters – are you getting hungry just picturing the ingredients ? – plus Meadowfoam seed ( it is rich in fatty acids, is a great emollient and has higher than average oxidative stability ), Bitter Orange Flower, Palmarosa, Petitgrain Leaf ( it is known to have a relaxing effect on the mind and restful effect on the skin ), Rosa Damascena and Ylang Ylang Flower oils.
After using this cleanser I find myself calm, yet uplifted and my skin feels plump, clean and radiant, even after a busy day. I find that it’s not just the texture of the cleanser which I use that is important, it is the scent as well. If you ‘don’t get on’ with the scent, no matter how good the product is, you will move on to pastures new. This cleanser gives you a perfect balance of cleansing power with a subtly strong scent ( oxymoron, I know !) that lingers for a little while, as well as a sense of rejuvenation and softness when it comes in contact with your skin.
On the practical side of packaging, the pump is perfect because it dispenses the right amount of product and doesn’t ‘spray you’ but while I love the sturdiness of the glass bottle and the feel of it in my hand, I must admit that the thought of dropping it on the tiled floor makes me hold it a little bit tighter in my hand.
Ingridients: Aqua (Purified Water), Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (from Coconut Oil), Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (from Coconut Oil), Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate (from Coconut Oil), Lauryl Betaine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Nut) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Flower Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Petitgrain) Leaf Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Citric Acid, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Limonene* * natural component of essential oils
Now, on to the second product in the Rosa Rosa family, the Hydrating Toner. The first time I used it, I was a bit taken aback, as instead of a delicate mist I felt significantly stronger drops on my face. I was puzzled and asked Elijah, who assured me that this was the intention and that I should let it dry naturally on the skin, enjoying the refreshing and plumping sensations. I don’t get easily swayed by toners though, so my appreciation of this particular one is an achievement in itself, considering yours truly is not a massive toner fan ( even though I understand its merits in our skincare routine ).
What is impressive in this product is that it combines the power of four floral waters: Rose, Orange blossom, Camomile and Witch Hazel, each bringing its own powers on board. You also have Aloe Vera Leaf water, which is akin to a liquid shot of good sugar ( polysaccharide ) that it contains. Together they are a formidable crew – not just unique, but impressively effective in making your skin not just happy, but turning it into a perfect canvas on its own or with an additional layer of make-up over it.
The joy didn’t stop here and here is a big reveal:
this toner is actually edible!
Elijah told me about it over the phone, so true to form, I rose to the challenge and started ‘testing’ – the more I spritzed it on my tongue, the more addictive it became ( I can taste some vanilla notes and a hint of grape ), so ultimately I tried creating different combinations of fruit juice cocktails ( drawing inspiration from Michael Isted, amazing creator of the Herball – you haven’t lived until you tried his cocktails !). I ‘flavoured’ my drinking water with the toner and ultimately created a punchy non-alcohol cocktail combining birch juice over some ice with a few generous spritses of the toner- that is actually what I am drinking, as I am typing away this review.
I actually surprised myself that of the three Rosa Rosa products, the toner is my personal favourite. I don’t know whether this is because it really does feel like the sea breeze on your face or the fact that you can also perk yourself up by adding it to your daily water or juice intake – your own glow inducing secret ingredient for future dinner parties?
Ingridients: Rosa Damascena (Rose) Floral Water*, Citrus Aurantium (Orange Blossom) Floral Water*, Glycerin, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Floral Water*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Floral Water*, Glucose, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase* organic ingredient
Last, but not least, the little princess of the range, Rosa Rosa Daily Moisturiser. This rich, yet light cream smells of a rose garden in bloom & includes Shea Butter, Meadowfoam Seed and Coconut oils that assist the skin’s renewing process. Extract of Neroli was added to improve the elasticity & refine the pores, that unfortunately get more noticeable as we age ( try looking for pores on the children’s skin, you will need a magnifying glass for that ). Beautiful Rose Otto was added not just for the fragrance but in order to revitalise skin’s texture and add luminosity.
I like the luxurious texture of this cream, which adds a little bit of a radiant sheen to your skin, as you massage it in and then when you draw your fingers away you feel lightness descend on your face and calmness envelope you. Within a few seconds the cream sinks in, so you can either apply the make-up or go to bed to get your beauty sleep that will only enhance the effect of the skincare.
Bare in mind that the products are blended using the finest natural ingredients, which are ethically sourced and all of Bodhi & Birch products contain potent levels of essential oils and active botanicals. This synergy will help improve your skin and enhance your well-being by improving your mood olfactory.
Ingridients: Aqua (Purified Water), Sorbitan Stearate, Glycerin, Oleyl Erucate, Sucrose Cocoate, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Nut) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Sorbityl Laurate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Flower Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Petitgrain) Leaf Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Citric Acid, Glucose Oxidase, Lactoperoxidase, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Benzyl Alcohol*, Citral*, Farnesol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Citronellol*, * natural component of essential oils
For Elijah Choo the paramount foundation on which Bodhi & Birch was built and continues to grow is the aim to enhance personal care rituals in order to improve the well-being and that is the reason why Bodhi & Birch products harness the powers of nature, as well as traditional botanical remedies. After the re-branding and the Rosa Rosa initial launch, it was a natural progression for the brand to partner up with the UK charity Breast Cancer Care. You can buy the Special Edition Rosa Rosa Skincare Set, which actually gives you a price saving on the Rosa Rosa trio, while Bodhi & Birch will be donating full profits from each sale to the charity that provides emotional and practical support to help people living with breast cancer.
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