Thursday, May 28, 2009

Whatever Happened with all the Free Stuff?

It’s time to write the review for all my free stuff! In case you’re new to the storyline, I received some free products to review from the company Ecostore. Ecostore is a New Zealand based company that recently began offering their products in the US. Check them out at

When I was first invited to pick out some products to review I spent some time on the site. It’s relatively sparse and simple, which I appreciate because I’m overwhelmed by too many bells, whistles, and details. That said, I would love for them to give just a little more description on their products. It was hard to figure out which shampoo and conditioner to review because none of the descriptions seemed to fit my hair. I have very fine, straight hair that is relatively normal. The selection included products for “fine, oily hair”, “limp, greasy hair” (who admits to hair like this?), “dry damaged hair” or “dandruff control”. I opted for the aloe vera shampoo because it seemed the most appropriate for a wide range of hair. It was a good call because when the products arrived the bottle itself said it was good for “normal” hair. Note to Ecostore: You might want to expand your product descriptions.

Ecostore’s tagline “No nasty chemicals” is reassuring but somewhat vague, so I asked a Phd Chemical Engineer I know (thanks Dad!) to look over their claims and list of ingredients. He found some of the claims a bit confusing (some of the “nasty chemicals” they omit are not necessarily bad for you and one can be found in drinking water), but overall they seemed on the up and up. A few of the ingredients are listed as potential risks in the book “Cosmetics Unmasked” by Dr. Stephen & Gina Antczak. My take is that this company’s products are WAY better for me than the average product. Many of the organic body products I’ve investigated contain just a few organic ingredients and then lots of “nasty chemicals”, so it’s nice to see a company that is attempting to produce a truly good-for-you product.

I also checked with some folks I know in New Zealand to be sure this was a real company and not some mom& pop operation in someone’s garage (nothing against mom&pop operations, though). The general consensus I got from my extensive contacts (all four of them) in NZ was that the company is well-known and well-respected, makes a nice product, but is pricey. Hmmm.

But what you really want to know is whether it works or not, right? My experience has been a mostly good one. I loved the scent of the shampoo and conditioner – clean with a kind of cilantro-like scent. The shampoo lathered up pretty well for an “organic” product. It did a great job and I like the feel of my hair after using the shampoo and conditioner, but as I’ve said, I have very fine hair. A detangling conditioner this is not. It was really tough to get a comb through my hair and I had to resort to a spray-in detangler that my kids use (lovely artificial strawberry scent that totally killed my nice cilantro-scent, the combination was not good). So I guess I can say they make a nice product, but maybe not for my particular hair.

The other product that I tried out was the automatic dishwashing detergent. This I did really like. It worked much better than the 7th generation and Ecover products that I’ve used in the past. I purposely tried to mess with it by leaving things like encrusted oatmeal on the kids’ bowls and peanut butter on the knives, but I couldn’t trip it up. The most amazing thing was that it could clean my tiny yogurt jars. None of my other detergents have been able to do that and I’ve had to wash them by hand, which is annoying because it hurts to get my hands down in to them to get the stuff on the bottom. I would buy this product based on this fact alone (we eat a lot of yogurt). There were times I wasn’t completely happy with how clean the outside of my glasses were. This must have something to do with the rinse cycle. Sometimes there were little specks of unidentifiable objects on the outsides. The insides were squeaky clean though.

All that said, I have to come to my bottom line. This stuff is pricey. I don’t generally pay $11 for a small bottle (6.8oz) of shampoo. I do buy a bottle of expensive shampoo to keep for special occasions, but not for every day use. I run almost every day, so I have to wash my hair almost every day. I can’t afford to do that at $11 a bottle. But maybe you can and I’m jealous. I think the dishwasher detergent is equally pricey, but you use such a concentrated amount, it seems to last forever. I might go in for that. I love that the company offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Paying a fortune in shipping is a deal breaker for me when it comes to ordering online.

I’ve really enjoyed my first foray in to evaluating FREE products and hope a few more companies stumble across my blog. I’m glad Ecostore has come to the US. We need more companies like this that are serious about making a safe, effective, earth-conscious, healthy product. So many companies are jumping on the green band wagon these days and producing products that look green and make grand claims, but in reality are simply the same old product with a few changes. Many times they’ve only added a few organic ingredients or removed a couple toxic substances, changed their packaging and raised their prices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad companies are hearing us and moving in the direction of what’s better for all of us and the earth. The thing is we need complete change and it doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t change your manufacturing process instantly; that takes time. We need more companies, like Ecostore, who understand the dangers and have been doing the right thing all along.

Just a reminder – Ecostore has given me a $25 e-gift certificate to award to one of my readers. We’re going to do the drawing this weekend. It’s not too late to get your name in the drawing. All you have to do is send me an idea for my blog and I’ll enter your name once for every idea you send me. You can enter by commenting on this post or sending your idea to me directly at

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd go for the dishwashing detergent! I'm not unhappy with mine, but am open for another version! Here's an idea for another blog...freezing fresh picked berries!