We reviewed the bestselling products from the animal-friendly and budget-friendly brand, The Body Shop, to find the best of the best products
A UK-born brand founded by Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop was decades ahead of the Gen Z beauty game. Focusing on ethically sourced, natural ingredients, cruelty-free products and social activism from the very beginning, its business model included refillable packaging too.
Today The Body Shop’s global range is 1,000 products strong including throwbacks and bestsellers, from the newly updated body butters, to fruity and floral scents, vegan body care and tea tree-infused skincare. Not to mention, there’s a full make-up line.
And it all comes in vibrant, fun packaging – think colourful bottles and recyclable pots. Price points are affordable to mid-range, and the brand’s latest activism is a very on-trend self-love campaign on social media.
With TikTok aesthetic #nostalgiacore exploring treasures of the Nineties and Noughties, The Body Shop’s white musk scent and shea body butter undoubtedly top the beauty category. But have these classics stood the test of time? And in an ever-evolving, often oversaturated beauty industry, how can we tell if their products still lead the pack?
After a month trying eight of The Body Shop’s bestselling buys, here’s our verdict.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best The Body Shop products 2021:
- Best overall – Drops of youth concentrate: £28, Thebodyshop.com
- Best for deeply cleansing haircare – Ginger anti-dandruff shampoo: £10, Thebodyshop.com
- Best cult classic – Shea body butter: £18, Thebodyshop.com
- Best for an uplifting scent – White musk eau de toilette: £25, Thebodyshop.com
- Best hydration hero – Hemp hand protector: £12, Thebodyshop.com
- Best for exfoliation – Himalayan charcoal purifying glow mask: £18, Thebodyshop.com
- Best skin soother – Camomile sumptuous cleansing butter: £11, Thebodyshop.com
- Best for a natural make-up look – Happy go lash mascara: £12, Thebodyshop.com
The Body Shop drops of youth concentrate, 30ml
When releasing these daily serum droplets from the green glass bottle using a pipette applicator onto the skin, you can see how weightless its sheeny texture is. Smelling to our tester like an invigorating fresh floral breeze, this is thanks to ingredients such as edelweiss, which is a plant found in the Italian Alps. Ninety-nine per cent of ingredients come from natural origins, and the formula is vegan too.
Not at all sticky or gloopy, the concentrate brings a veil-like effect to the skin which quickly soaks in. Because of this, we noted how well it layered without any annoying pilling when adding moisturiser as our next skincare step. Designed to hydrate and protect against pollution damage, antioxidant components also include moringa seed oil. Refreshing and nourishing, our skin looked brighter, balanced and much softer to the touch after use.
The Body Shop ginger anti-dandruff shampoo, 400ml
Best for: Deeply cleansing haircare
After pouring the clear jelly shampoo out from its recyclable brown plastic bottle, we found it frothed into a really satisfying foam on the hair and scalp. It released the scent of the blend of ginger essential oil from Sri Lanka and honey from Ethiopia, which together create a crisp, head-clearing fragrance. When rinsed off, our scalp and hair felt cleansed and our strands were smoothed. We noticed additional volume due to the clarifying removal of residue on our locks and scalp too.
It’s probably best if you like ginger – the lively scent lingers, and we can see why this bestseller is popular for scalp itchiness. Plus, even while washing our hair every other day, we only used half the bottle during a month of testing.
The Body Shop shea body butter, 200ml
Best: Cult classic
The newest incarnation of the cult classic buy, The Body Shop’s latest range of body butters is billed as the brand’s most sustainable ever. Originally launched in 1992, all 13 scents are now officially registered by The Vegan Society and made with at least 95 per cent natural ingredients. Using shea butter from Ghana, the famous twist-off lid packaging is completely recyclable. We picked up on a sweetly rich summery scent from the shea blend and the Brazilian babassu oil. It’s worth noting that many of the ingredients are sourced using the brand’s Community Fair Trade scheme.
The formula is thick and indulgent for smothering into the skin. We particularly love using it to soothe dry patches such as cracked heels, elbows and knees as well as for a foot rub or full body moisturiser. Our tester found the product spread as expected – like butter – with its hydration lasting for hours. There’s no oiliness, just glossy nourishment.
You may want to wait a while before getting dressed after application, however, as skin can feel slippery during absorption. A little goes a long way, and so does the enveloping fragrance.
The Body Shop white musk eau de toilette, 60ml
Best for: An uplifting scent
Probably The Body Shop’s most famous scent, it originally launched back in 1981 and has always been vegetarian. Recently certified as vegan to celebrate its 40th birthday, the eau de toilette now also comes in a recyclable bottle made with 42 per cent recycled glass. The speckled cap is recyclable too, and ingredients are 95 per cent natural in origin.
A refreshing floral fragrance boost, its a blend of jasmine and musk. Plus, we noticed the alcohol compound aldehyde brings out a bright scent sharpness. Still a winner with the teenage audience, our tester’s daughter particularly rated its subtly light and uplifting notes. For an eau de toilette we found this product has staying power on the skin too, which can be topped up throughout the day if you favour a louder fragrance.
The Body Shop hemp hard-working hand protector, 100ml
Best: Hydration hero
Packaged in an aesthetically pleasing squeezy silver tube with screw top lid, the pale-mint-coloured formula has a rich, creamy texture. Gliding onto our tester’s dry hands, we found it offered a silky effect that wasn’t at all greasy.
Absorbing easily, the integral hemp seed oil has a sweet and earthy scent. This ingredient is part of a French crop helping to regenerate land and local wildlife in that area. Our tester found the hand protector to be nurturing and nourishing, smoothing down rough skin and cuticles, all while offering ultimate hydration.
The Body Shop Himalayan charcoal purifying glow mask, 75ml
Best for: Exfoliation
After opening the brown glass jar, we immediately noticed the energising scent of tea tree oil alongside green tea leaves. With bamboo charcoal in there too, you will see the dark green wet consistency set to a lighter shade that doesn’t feel uncomfortably tight on the skin. We immediately noticed a tingling feeling, showing the formula was getting to work over its recommended 10-to-15-minute treatment time.
We found the intense tea-tree sensation quite strong, which we weren’t a fan of. If you do have sensitive skin, we’d suggest trying the product sparingly at first. Removing the mask by rinsing off in circular motions, it exfoliated our face causing a little initial redness, but it wasn’t abrasive. The overall result was our complexion looking and feeling tighter, with our pores appearing minimised.
The Body Shop camomile sumptuous cleansing butter, 90ml
Best: Skin soother
Taking packaging tips from the brand’s body butters, this silky cleansing butter comes in a slimline tin with a twist-off lid, which is compact for handy storage. Although suitable for sensitive skin, we would say that its buttery ability to melt away all make-up means there’s an element of glossy greasiness. Camomile extracts come from Norfolk, and the scent is understated which makes for a gentle buy. After use, our tester’s skin felt softened and soothingly cleansed.
The Body Shop happy go lash mascara
Best for: A natural make-up look
Presented in a fun pink tube with green leaf detailing, the straight mascara brush coats lashes well. The formula itself is a little runny, so we had to be careful not to smudge it onto hands or surfaces. Ingredients include organic beeswax from Cameroon and organic virgin coconut oil from Samoa, with 93 per cent of its ingredients coming from natural origins.
Our tester noted that happy go lash is a non-clumpy mascara that spreads evenly onto lashes, as well as defining undereye ones too. Gently lifting, it provides a natural rather than excessive look, and it isn’t volumising. Staying put all day, minus any smudging or flaking, this is a lightweight mascara at an affordable price.
The verdict: The Body Shop products
For lightweight and brightening hydration that makes a difference to the skin, the drops of youth serum impressed us.
Meanwhile, on the haircare front, the ginger anti-dandruff shampoo was deeply cleansing and surprisingly volumising. We’ll be keeping a tube of the easily absorbed and silkily nourishing hemp hand protector in our bag or on our bedside table, paired with shea body butter for the moisturising win.
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