I tried Balea’s summer body care for under €2 a month, and here’s what happened

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Diana Buntajova reviews the affordable vegan shower gel and body lotion from Balea, using it for her monthlong holiday for less than €2.

When on holiday in a foreign country, you ideally want to worry more about what cocktails to sip on than finding the right vegan body care. If you are travelling to Europe with only a carry-on, then you don’t have to fret about bringing the right travel-sized cosmetics from home anymore. The newest cruelty-free summer edition of dm’s Balea has got you covered.

What is Balea?

Balea was launched in 1995 as one of dm-drogerie markt’s brands with the promise of “affordable and high-quality care products for every taste”.

Dm-drogerie markt, with an almost 50-year-old tradition, has become one of the biggest drugstores in central and eastern Europe. Since the first doors were opened to welcome customers in Germany, it has spread to 12 European countries with its 3,349 stores.

With more than 600 products, Balea features nourishing and cleansing products for all skin types and ages. The “special” formulations hidden in its skin and body care are supposed to replace the feeling of dry skin with silk-like softness.

Animals’ Liberty has labelled Balea products cruelty-free several times with an intention to create transparency about cruelty on animals in Germany.

Balea’s new range

Balea’s new limited edition was designed for sensitive skin. The dermatologically tested range comes with three different scents offering summer self-care for a low price.

The three 300ml shower gels, priced at €0.50, are not only kind when it comes to testing on animals, but also to your skin as they are made without alcohol, aluminium salts, dyes, parabens, and more.

The formula enriched of moisturising elements like vitamin E, panthenol and coconut oil is supposed to protect the skin from dryness and make it feel soft.

The accompanying selection of 200ml lotions and a 100ml foot cream promise the same quality ingredients when it comes to protection from dryness and supporting your natural moisture level. The products are priced between €1.25 and €1.35, and are also made without harmful ingredients.

The lotions, packed in tubes from 50% recycled material, are “quickly absorbed and easy to distribute”.

The choice of scents includes Pacific Vibes, with the floral fragrance of frangipani; Caribbean Feelings, with a coconutty scent; and Bella Ciao, with a fruity whiff of pink pomelo.

What I look for in skincare

I’ve always had a really dry and irritable skin prone to rash. My skin gets even drier during the summer because of the sun and water, so I have to use more moisturiser than usual.

Even though my skin is very dry and sensitive, I look for products that are cheap but efficient. In my opinion, the quality of a product is not necessarily reflected in the price or a label. When looking for a new product, I read a lot of reviews and do my research. I try to look for people with similar skin type as mine and see what they swear by.

Because of my various food intolerances and allergies, I have to be careful when trying out new products. I usually find an ideal product and then stick with it.

But because I was travelling, I had to opt for something new and different. I was very keen to try this new range as it promises optimal moisture, a soft feel and ingredients that seem ideal for sensitive skin for a very good price.

After one month of using Balea’s Caribbean Feelings

I didn’t want to invest too much money as I was trying something new for a short period of time. Knowing I won’t be taking the products home, I decided to go for Balea’s cheap shower gel and body lotion dressed in a limited edition.

I stuck to my good experience with coconut-scented body care and reached for Caribbean Feelings. Not only have I not had a reaction to cosmetics with a coconut fragrance, but I also love the smell.

I think there’s nothing better than taking 15 minutes of self-care that ends up with the feeling of silkiness and coconutty aromas in the air. My very own little recipe on how to feel reborn.

Caribbean Feelings shower gel

The Balea shower gel offers everything that shower gel can offer. It didn’t irritate my skin and it didn’t make it even drier, which I often experience with shower products. The gel itself is quite soapy and light and sensitive to skin. It left me feeling refreshed and new.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t smell too strongly of coconuts. I suppose that’s what you get when not using too many artificial ingredients. You can’t have everything for 50 cents. But I still think this is very good value, and I definitely recommend it.

Caribbean Feelings body lotion

The latter part of the Caribbean duo was a bit more disappointing. The body lotion has a very thick consistency, making it quite hard to apply. When it is applied on the skin, it leaves white marks for quite some time before absorbing. So in my experience, the promise of quick absorption and distribution didn’t meet the expectations.

The fragrance is quite disappointing, as with the shower gel, and it doesn’t stay on your skin for too long. The only thing reminiscent of coconuts after few minutes is the tube you are holding.

The product didn’t irritate my skin, as promised. It made my skin a bit smoother and moisturised, but for my type of skin, it wasn’t enough. It worked as a remedy after long sunny days filled with water and heat. But after a month without my regular moisturiser, my skin feels drier than usual.

I believe for someone with less dry skin, this can be a holiday go-to considering the price. But for me, this didn’t really work.

Would I use the products again?

I see no reason to not stick to the conveniently priced shower gel. Maybe I would explore the other two scents in hope for something stronger-perfumed. As for the body lotion, I wouldn’t use it as my main moisturiser because of its properties.

Diana Buntajova
Diana Buntajova
Diana is always looking for the environmental aspect of every story. She is interested in health and lifestyle, hoping to point to issues that are often overseen. Diana has explored topics including B-12 deficiency in the vegan diet, fears about exotic skin farms sparking another pandemic, and the Oreo controversy. Currently studying Journalism at City University of London, she enjoys everything to do with visuals especially photography. Creative and detail-oriented in both her visual and written work. On a mission to find the best vegan cheese and can't resist beyond meat burgers.