Soap maker, Crabtree and Evelyn, has gone into Chapter 11 amidst claims that is a victim of the recession and mismanagement. If you ask me (nobody actually has, but that rarely stops me), it is chintzy, out of date and the products betrayed the old fashioned, but upscale apothecary brand image. To see what I mean, take its Naturals range and pick a product at random, say, Botanical Body Butter, Cocoa Butter, Nutmeg & Cardamom ($26).

What's good about it is that there is a high proportion of cocoa seed. The cacoa bean’s ORAC rating (ability to scavenge free radicals) is right up there with our new best friend, goji berry, at 26,000. The addition of olive and grape oils bring in some more helpful antioxidants. But that's about it.

The rest of the ingredients are run-of-the-mill, plus there are several silicones and some preservatives belong in an industrial floor cleaner. First there's disodium EDTA, which is mildly mutagenic and helps other ingredients penetrate. It isn't reassuring to think that it might be giving a helping hand to BHT, a carcinogen. Then there is triethanolamine, an irritant and possibly carcinogenic. Benzyl salicylate is an irritant, dubbed an allergan by the European Cosmetics Directive and restricted by the Internation Fragrance Association. Finally, there is our old friend and irritant, phenoxyethanol.


Water (Aqua), Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), PPG 15 Stearyl Ether, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth 2, Glycerin, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Steareth 21, Fragrance (Parfum), Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil (Grape), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Extract, Myristica Fragrans Extract (Nutmeg), Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract (Grapefruit), Tribehenin, Glyceryl Behenate, Dimethiconol, 1, 2 Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Citric Acid, Triethanolamine, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Coumarin, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Caramel