Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Palmitic/Stearic Triglycerides, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Silica, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, Aqua (Water), Lecithin, Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl PCA, Menthyl PCA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Geraniol, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Farnesol, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Disodium Phosphate, Citral, Citric Acid, Citronellol
The first thing that struck me about the balm was the chunky, amateur-looking packaging. I mean, is that Times New Roman? It just looked like something a college student could have come up with design-wise. The jar is unnecessary bulky as well, with the actual container holding the product surrounded by a thick wall of plastic, a raised base and padded top, as if to give the illusion of something weightier and more luxurious.
When I opened it up, I noticed that part of the balm had separated and sloped to one side, with liquid oil surrounding the perimeter of the balm. It wasn't one solid mass. I'm not sure whether that's meant to happen, or whether it had melted and then resolidified unevenly in transit.
With those somewhat superficial quibbles, I was still very much excited to try out the balm. The smell wasn't what I was anticipating at all. I'm not sure what I was expecting in all honesty (probably a more fresh, uplifting scent), but it's much richer and more traditionally perfumed. It's extremely fragrant — the smell is as strong as a perfume oil. I'd describe it as the heart of an intense floral bouquet crossed with LUSH Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub (sea salt, jasmine, mimosa, orange flower). It's a genuine pleasure to use because it's like receiving your own spa treatment at home. The instructions suggest to mix a few drops of water with a bit of the balm in the palm of your hand to create a cream, and then to wipe it off with a hot cleansing cloth. I never do that. I use it in the shower, somewhat unhygienically scooping out way too much with my fingers and applying it directly to my damp face, then washing it all off with water. The amount I use is probably obscene, but I don't care. If I used any less I don't think it'd have the same effect or produce as much enjoyment, so I'd rather be wasteful with the product than skimp on it and barely feel anything.
My only gripe is that if I rub this all over my face, I do find that it does tend to get into my eyes, and the sensation is quite literally akin to having oil in your eyes. Not comfortable. It could be because of the amount that I use, but either way, I can't imagine using this balm to actually remove eye makeup. Not only would it be ineffectual, the balm would also likely irritate the eyes.
As for any noticeable effects on the skin, I've used this a few times, and at the very least, I know it doesn't break me out or inflame my skin (unlike the similarly thick Sanctuary Spa Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser which always seems to leave it red and slightly dried out). But I can't really attribute using the Emma Hardie to any marked improvements in my skin's condition, possibly because I don't use it with enough regularity, I'm not using it correctly, or a whole suite of other products are doing their bit to keep my skin generally happy. All I know is the balm is a treat to use, is highly aromatic in a relaxing, almost therapeutic way, and doesn't seem to cause my skin any issues. Just keep it out of the eyes and closed tightly on a flat surface.