TRY AND SHARE - Comme Avant
Comme Avant had been one brand I wanted to try as it often popped in my Facebook timeline (to the point I first thought it was a dropshipping-related spam, until I actually had a look). And because we are stuck at home anyway, there is nothing better than mandatory home office for everyone to test new cosmetics and hair routines without suffering too much from social constraints. So when one of my dearest friends offered me this Discovery Gift Box, it gave me the right signal to pause my Lush routines and try what looks like the most natural cosmetics I have ever used so far.
Comme Avant is based in Marseille, France, and is supporting French craftsmanship and French suppliers to design its natural soap-based products. I will leave it to you to read the various pages in English to learn more about the story and people behind the brand.
One thing also that one does not find often on websites is a full disclosure about the brand's "imperfections" regarding their zero-waste engagement, the sourcing fo their products'raw material, their limitations etc...It gives a real sense of self-awareness and honesty to the customers, which is something that I fully support.
And at last, to all our non French-speaking, French-living readers: you will surely be satisfied by the quality of the English content, and the fact that Comme Avant ships internationally.
Let's have a look in more details in the Discovery Gift Box, which includes:
1 Natural Olive Oil Soap - 100 g
1 Natural Argan Oil and Rhassoul Shampoo Bar - 70 g
1 Natural mentholated Miswak powder toothpaste (refillable) - 45 g
100 g of Natural Olive Oil Soap Flakes
1 Natural shea butter cream bar - 50 g
1 Natural Orris roots powder deodorant (refillable) - 25 g
1 Presentation leaflet and product explanation - in French though
1 Beautiful organic cotton pouch 115g/m² woven and printed in France
As it is mentioned in the Imperfections page, the deodorant and the toothpaste powder are available in plastic containers; all the rest is packed in craft paper. However, the products are refillable and you will receive a sealed envelope with your refreshed stock of powders.
I waited to finish my basics to open and start testing the products 3 weeks ago; here are the ones I have been using so far:
The argan oil and rhassoul shampoo bar has been the greatest fear, and probably the greatest success from the package.
I had tried some weeks ago rhassoul clay powder to wash my hair (the powder was mixed with water, turned into liquid clay, applied then rinced as usual) but the result was quite scary, leaving me with a giant mass of electric hair like I never had before. It was an obvious fail so I was surely reluctant to try this one. But as I said above, it's not like I would meet anyone at work - apart from Skype calls maybe - so why not use this month of confinement to test something new, and especially more natural.
It took me around 5 days to reach a great result. At first, I experienced the same as the clay: greasy roots, electric messy length, wild volume and the need to hide all this in a tight ponytail. My friend told me it would take a little time for the skin and hair to get used to it, but she also said I was maybe using too much of it (i.e. the same quantity I would use with a Lush dry shampoo). So instead of expecting a foam or cream texture, I just make the bar wet in my hands, then go with the soapy water through my hair, light massage, and rince it all. As I said, do not expect foam, maybe a few bubbles only, but it's for the best. Do not expect either a strong smell afterwards. And unlike my friend, I actually did not need to use a conditioner afterwards to get the right feel of a nicely, freshly washed hair.
The drying is quick, and the brushing easy: static electricity is gone, my hair is soft and volume is now totally manageable. For someone with thin, flat, post-partum hair, this has been a victory.
The shea butter cream bar is also now fully adopted. It has been especially necessary in the past weeks of active hand washing with soap and hydro alcoholic gel to protect our hands, and the difference has been noticed fast. Thumbs up also from my husband who was skeptical at first but very happy as well, so we now share the bar.
The Miswak powder toothpaste has been however quite a strange experience. I am using solid toothpaste now for longer than a year, in the shape of tablets. Using a powdered one does not change much, as principle: instead of crushing the tablet betwee your teeth, you just dip your wet toothbrush in the pot and start brushing.
This one has not been the most exciting experience, to be honest. The menthol flavour is not too strong, which is nice, but the powder leaves a strange "earthy" feeling in the mouth, especially as it turns into a brownish colour at the end. I am sure my teeth are clean afterwards, but this is not the impression I have after all. Very, very strange.
The Orris roots powder deodorant is also not my favourite. I have been using my Lush bar for also quite some time, so going back to a roller was a blocker, mostly because one would expect liquid deodorant rather than a powder. I am also not an fan of the white trace it leaves on myself and my clothes, mostly because I do wear a lot of black at the moment. The results on a warm, active day, are not very conclusive yet, either: it is clearly stated that it can take a few weeks for the skin to adapt after a change in deodorant type. Three weeks later I do miss my Lush bar...but I will keep on and let my skin adapt to limited deodorant use.
The soap bar and flakes haven't been opened yet. I do need first to finish some products, and we are currently using a lot of liquid soap from a dispenser which prevents contact and therefore possibly reduces sharing germs in the house. I also want to use the soap flakes as an educative activity to either create detergent or cleaning products out of them. Great point here, the presentation leaflet proposes various "recipes" that can also be found online.
Conclusions: I am pretty happy with most of the items in the discovery bag. I have been testing these new products with curiosity, and I am glad to find a lot of information for each of them on the website (ingredients, production methods, why they are better than industrially-made equivalents etc...). There is also a clear "feel-good" feeling in this testing process: I know the quality of the products I am using as part of my daily routines, my hair and skin are doing great, and I am now aware of a brand that I will gladly support in the future.
Find Comme Avant online:
Important to note:
And in the context of covid19, Comme Avant is making sales on their online products. At OUTSIDE THE BOX we strongly support small, local, zero-waste brands and we encourage everyone to support them to go through such tough times.
Considered a service provider of "basic necessity" items, Comme Avant remains open - however delays might occur regarding order preparation and shipments (which is not their responsibility, but the postal services'). You will however be offered the possibility to receive your order when the lockdown is over; this is a great way to keep on supporting their business as well as reducing the infection risks on staff and postal services' employees.
And because this means a lot, Comme Avant donated their entire stock of FFP3 masks, gloves, and hydro alcoholic gels to district doctors and nurses in Marseille. This is another reason to support and love them for their heartful business.