Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW: Haus of Gloi Skincare

It's probably a bit odd to see a review for Haus of Gloi popping up now, considering I've been using their products since my YouTube days and have posted about how much I love them on several occasions. It may also appear kind of out-of-the-blue, as I threw a fit on Twitter when the Hearth** scent wasn't brought back for the 2013 Yule (December hols) collection. But my skin gets dry stupidly fast, and after I demolished what remained of my Peach Mama Pumpkin Butter (I refuse to touch what remains in my Hearth jar), I had to re-purchase. What I got should easily last until the end of 2014--this stuff is that good.

A note on the scents: I know that scents are personal preferences, so I'm not going to talk too much about them in the reviews beyond how well they translate from one formulation to the next. I will note that most of Haus of Gloi's scents are gourmand or woodsy/herbal; they have a few floral and deeper, amber-based scents, but in my experience, they aren't what the company excels at. Visit the website ( for descriptions of each fragrance. If all else fails, try the products in the Aether (fragrance-free) version.

Packaging, Prices, and Service

Haus of Gloi is a vegan, cruelty-free e-tailer company that first caught my attention in its Etsy days. At the time, they were best known for their soaps and their effective service. I never hear anybody talking about the soaps anymore--and with my skin being the way it is, I never felt obligated to try them--but the customer service hasn't changed one bit. The owners, Matt and Britton, are very helpful if you have any questions, even if you're mildly psychotic like I am and you're prone to throwing tantrums when your favorite products aren't re-released.

Everything on Haus of Gloi is very reasonably priced, especially when you consider the quality of the products. I'm actually kind of surprised that they manage to make a profit and stay in business, because it takes absolutely forever to use up their products, so there's not a very high repurchase rate. (That being said, I do buy their stuff at least once a year and brag on it regularly; customer loyalty and new business, combined with seasonal releases, may be what keeps them in the green.) The shipping may make your eyes boggle, especially if you're an international buyer, but it's always been true-to-actual cost in my experience; there's never skimming-off-the-top there. In fact, I've actually gotten small refunds in the past when the shipping was cheaper than the estimated cost.

The packaging is just beyond lovely. Some of the labels are admittedly a little bland compared to others--Satyr features an old etching of Greek satyrs, whereas Moon Dog is just...the moon--but it's still clean and nice to look at. Each label includes a list of ingredients, a scent description, and a brief overview of the product and its purposes.

Everything except for the Body Emulsion has always come with some sort of safety seal to prevent leakage and contamination. I did have a slightly problem with the seal on my Moon Dog Pumpkin Butter this time: the bottom layer kind of...melted on top of my butter, and I had to scoop it off with a knife.

I'm going to assume that this has something to do with the extreme temperature and where this guy was in the box, because it didn't happen to any of my other products and has never happened before. It didn't harm or change the actual product, either.

 And of course, they always send a hand-written note with adorable little samples and extras. Mine this go-round were a few pieces of Asian candy and a sample of the Valentine's Day "Who Needs Love?" perfume.

The Haus of Gloi website--the only place you can purchase these products--is pretty easy to navigate. My only annoyance: you'll find something you really want that's advertised on the Specials or Reverie pages at $5 a pot, only to click on the link and see that the product is "Not Available." This is relatively minor, however, and is again limited to those two pages.

Pumpkin Butters

My all-time favorite body cream, Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butters (named for the star ingredient, pumpkin oil) come in two sizes: a 2 oz jar for $4.50 and a 6 oz jar for $10. I highly recommend starting with the 2oz jars if you want to test out a specific scent or see if the formulation works for you; even if you decide you love it, that little jar will last you for quite a while. I use roughly one tablespoon's worth of product per application, and that covers me from my shoulders to toes.

Pumpkin Butters have a very rich, thick, creamy consistency, so you'll want to really rub them in to your skin. They will leave a very slight oily sheen on your skin for a good 15-20 minutes following application. It's nothing too disgusting or overly slick--I put my pajamas on right after applying and have zero problems--but if you want something that immediately disappears in to your skin, this formulation isn't for you. This extra "soaking in" time means that the lotion will continue to moisturize for the rest of the night. In fact, I've never found another product as moisturizing as this one, which is why I continue to use them.

Most of the Haus' perfumes carry over well: Moon Dog, Elevenses, Vice, and Depravity have always smelled just like my perfume vials, Satyr is slightly stronger on the blood orange, but otherwise identical. The only scent that gave me a problem in the Pumpkin Butter formulation is Peach Mama. Normally one of my favorite fragrances, this guy just smells AWFUL in the cream version, like an overwhelming mix of wet paper and burning plastic. I used up the jar because I love the product, but everybody in my house complained about the stench when I wore it.

This leads me to my next point: the fragrances are quite strong in Pumpkin Butter format, and they WILL be smellable to those around you. That potent fragrance, combined with the slight oiliness of the product, means that you'll "rub off" on your clothes and sheets. So if you don't want your bed to smell ever-so-slightly like Honeysuckle Lemon Curd or Imp in the morning, go for a Body Emulsion instead.

 Body Emulsions

The Body Emulsions were recommended to me by several people on Twitter. Supposedly, they're just as moisturizing as the Pumpkin Butters, and they always carry the Haus of Gloi fragrances perfectly. I'm funny about trying new skincare, though, so I went with the fragrance-free Aether version, just in case I ended up with a huge bottle of smelly gunk a la the Peach Mama Pumpkin Butter fiasco. Now I'm kind of sad that I didn't order some scented emulsions, because this is another wonderful formulation.

The Haus of Gloi Body Emulsions come in two sizes: a 2 oz mini jar for $3.50 and an 8 oz bottle for $10. You can also purchase a pump to use with the bottle for an extra $1, which I opted to do; it doesn't come attached to the product (to avoid messiness), so make sure you let your bottle sit upright for a few minutes before you screw the pump in to avoid overflow. Also, some of the product pages don't have the pump option in the drop-down menu, even though it's in the description, so be prepared to shoot them a message if need be.

My guess is that the Body Emulsions are cheaper than the Pumpkin Butters because they contain less of the expensive moisturizing ingredients and more water; also, they contain coconut oil instead of pumpkin oil. They definitely have a thinner texture and are easier to spread. But are they just as moisturizing as the Pumpkin Butters? Not quite. They're definitely soothing and moisturizing, don't get me wrong, but when my skin is at its absolute driest, I still need my Pumpkin Butter. That being said, the Body Emulsion will be perfect for me for 9 months out of the year or for "touch-ups," and people with skin less scaly and dry than mine may prefer this formulation. The product also soaks right in to the skin, leaving it soft and smooth, so if any residue is a no-no to you, go for a Body Emulsion.

Again, I went for the scentless Aether version. Some people have suggested that this ISN'T a fragrance-free product, but I think what they're picking up on is the smell of unrefined shea butter, not an added perfume.

Sugar (Emulsifying) Scrubs

Right off the bat, I'll admit that this was an indulgence purchase. Nothing will ever scrub-and-moisturize you as well as brown sugar and olive oil, and nothing is as cheap but effective as the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. But you know what? I like this product. And it was on special for about half price, sooooo why not?

The Haus of Gloi sugar scrubs cost $4 for 2 oz or $10 for 7.5 oz. I normally buy the little jars as an occasional treat, but again, this guy was on special. The texture is like wet sugar--not surprising, given that the first ingredient is cane sugar--and it has a very slippery oil holding it together. It's surprisingly gentle when rubbed in to the skin, partially because it kind of "melts" under heat and water. If you use this product after your soap, be prepared for a bit of an oily residue on your skin.

The one thing you want to be careful about with this product is...well, it's made to melt under water. When you use it in the bath or shower, keep it away from the water and always cover it back up and put it on the shelf after you've scooped some out. If a lot of water gets in there, the product will melt/"oil up" in the jar, rendering it useless.

I've honestly never smelt Plotter's Breakfast before, but I can definitely pick up on the wood and smoke scents. The porridge is either nonexistent in this formulation, or it's a very light, neutral base note that I'm having trouble detecting. Some of the fragrances will "cling" to your skin more than others with this product: my Peach Mama scrub always left me smelling a bit spicy, but the Moon Dog and Plotter's Breakfast scrubs were barely noticeable. In any case, the fragrance is never super-strong.


you can't go wrong with Haus of Gloi. They're an incredible company that makes top-notch products at dirt cheap prices, and the service is always impeccable. If you're looking for a new lotion or perfume to try, give these guys a shot.

RATING: 5 out of 5.

** If you're wondering why I fuss so much about Hearth, it's because the scent has a special place in my relationship. I started using the Hearth Pumpkin Butter when I began dating my boyfriend. The scent would linger on his pillows or in his apartment, and it would remind him of me--a big deal, considering we live a thousand miles apart. When he left for Norway, I gave him a small jar full of it so he could smell it and feel a little less lonely. This is why I was so upset when it wasn't re-released for Yule 2013.

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