Frequently Asked Questions

We have the answers (well most of the time!) to your questions... What would you like to ask us?

Below you'll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Boo Cottage Botanicals; our products, services and our ethos. You can find more indepth information about individual products in our Shop, or our specific content pages. Where appropriate we've added 'read more' links to help you find what you're looking for.

For anything else or something we've missed, please get in touch; you may find your question appearing on this page in the future to help out someone else!

General Questions

We are really proud to say we develop all the formulas ourselves and make every single product by hand in our workshop in Somerset. Somerset is in the south west of the UK, a very rural county that we take our inspiration from every day! Our packaging is all designed by us too, and printed in the UK, including our soap labels which are made by an eco-friendly printer in Devon. Even our website is hosted in the UK - we love keeping things as local as we can.

Fancy coming to visit us? Find out where to find us.

Using natural ingredients means sometimes the colours and scents can fade if they are kept in bright sunlight or exposed conditions over time.  Soap is a good example of this, however once you start using your soap you should find more of the scent and colour locked away inside. 

All products obviously have a shelf life, as the natural ingredients used will lose quality over time. Check the labels for use by dates, however most products have a best before date of 1 year after they were made. Soaps do not usually have a best before date as they will last much longer than this if kept in the right conditions. Make sure you keep them in a dry, dark place to help keep them at their best.

We sometimes have 'short dated' products in our shop at reduced rates, (check the special offers section) so this is a great way to have a try of something new for a bargain price. Just be aware they won't last as long, so make sure you use them up!

Yes, absolutely! Such a sensory product definitely needs to be smelled to be appreciated.

We'd love to see you in person. We can help you decide which products are best suited to your skin type. We also have testers you can try out. Shopping for a bespoke gift, we can help.

You can shop in person either:

  • At our drop-in shop. Visit us here in West Bagborough. Find our more on our Location Page
  • At an event. We do lots of events around the South West, you can find one near you on our Events Page

We aim to dispatch all orders within 48 hours of them being placed. This may be quicker; often your order will be leaving our workshop on the day it was placed.

At weekends or during bank holidays this may not be possible but we will dispatch your order as soon as we can.

Once your order has left our workshop you will receive a dispatch note sent to your email address. If you're worried you haven't received anything, please check your junk inbox. You can check the status of your orders at any time if you have an account with us.

If you have opted to collect your order from us we'll let you know when it's ready. This is usually within a few hours, but if we need to make something to order for you it may be the following day. Keep an eye on your junk mail box as sometimes our email notifications end up in there by mistake.

When we let you know your order is ready to collect we will give you our opening times for the current week. If you are unable to come until the following week please check our opening hours on Google just in case we are shut when you plan to pop in.

Please let us know when you place your order if you have a specific time in mind to collect and we'll get in touch to confirm if that will be suitable.

We use Royal Mail to ship our orders.

At the checkout you will be able to select either 1st or 2nd class postage depending on how quickly you wish to receive your order.

We package up your items securely using shredded paper, compostable packing peanuts, recycled paper and cardboard. Please reuse these or dispose of them in an environmentally sensitive way. All of our packaging items are reusable or recyclable.

Sadly due to Brexit changing in the way the UK interacts with Europe (and the rest of the world), we are currently unable to ship orders outside the UK. We hope this will become easier to put back into place in the future.

Questions about our ingredients

No. That's an easy one!

It is possible to find responsibly sourced palm oil, but we enjoy using alternatives that have better environmental credentials.

Palm oil is often hiding in cosmetics as it is used as the basis for other ingredients such as cetyl alcohol, glycerine, many emulsifiers and surfactants. As and when we do use any of these we're very careful to check what they're derived from, so you can be sure that our products are palm oil free.

All product listings say if they are suitable for vegans or alternatively vegetarians.

Most of our products are vegan friendly. The main exceptions are the use of beeswax in some of our balms and some soaps. We use beeswax in all of our lip balms, Borage & Calendula balm and in all soaps except: Gardener's Scrub, Sunny Days, Clarity and Woodland Wander; these are suitable for vegans.  As we develop more soap varieties we will be introducing more vegan friendly varieties.

We use nut products in our workshop so unfortunately cannot guarantee our products are free from nuts.

      Nut ingredients include:

Hazelnut oil in Woodland Lotion Bar and Balance Face oil

Sweet Almond oil in all Lip Balms, Lavender Twist soap, Goat's milk, Oats and Honey Soap and Soothing Oatmeal bath truffles

Walnut shell in Gardener's Scrub soap

There is some debate in the scientific community whether or not gluten can be transferred across the skin membrane and into the bloodstream. This may or may not therefore be problematic to those with gluten allergies or intolerances. We totally understand that you may want to totally avoid gluten in your skincare products.

      Wheat / gluten ingredients include:

Wheatgerm oil in Woodsman Beard Oil, ALL products with Vitamin E (Face Oils, Beard Oils, Lotion Bars, Botanical Balm, Cleansers) as our tocopherol is derived and diluted in wheatgerm oil.

Oats in Goat's milk, Oats and Honey soap, Soothing Oatmeal bath truffles, Oat & Calendula Shampoo bars, Oat & Calendula Conditioner bars and our CALM bath soak.

Definitely not! We have lots of other options for scrubby particles, we certainly do not need to be adding microbeads to the global plastic problem.

The scrubby particles in our Gardener's Scrub soap are pumice powder and walnut shell. We also use rosehip powder, herbs, ground oats and poppy seeds to give exfoliating qualities in soaps.

The colours in our products are all naturally derived. 

Often the colours come from the oils we choose to use; for example sea buckthorn oil is very dark orange, avocado oil and hemp oil are very green; or we infuse botanicals in the oils to add a colour. Calendula petals will turn oil yellow, paprika will add an orange hue, herbs add a green colour.

We also add natural colourants like beetroot, spinach, charcoal, nettle or clays directly into the mixture. Due to the nature of natural ingredients our products can vary in colour slightly from batch to batch.

We never use any synthetic colours. We definitely prefer to use nature's colour palette.

No we do not.

Parabens are a class of preservative widely used in the beauty industry.  Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up, parabens are often associated with causing cancer, hence people try to avoid them. 

We only use preservatives in our shampoo and conditioner bars rather than all products as we produce 'anhydrous' products i.e. those without water.  Although our shampoo and conditioner bars do not contain water, they are stored in humid environments where they are likely to stay wet for long periods of time and are susceptible to mould and bacteria growth. As such we feel a preservative is a necessary addition. We have chosen a naturally derived preservative rather than a paraben based one.

No we do not.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a foaming agent often found in shampoos, soaps, bubble baths etc. and is often known to cause skin irritation.  We love the natural lather of our soaps so don't need to add any SLS. We have chosen a couple of gentle alternatives in our shampoo bars, namely SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) and Coco Glucoside, both of which are derived from coconuts.

We love using essential oils in our products or allowing the natural scents to come through from the ingredients. Essential oils are all distilled directly from the plant material.

Strawberry or coconut or even vanilla is not something that can be produced as an essential oil and we would therefore have to use a synthetic fragrance oil for these, so we don't. It's that simple.

Questions about soap and soapy subscription boxes

Cold process soaps need to be 'cured' before they are used. This is to basically allow them to dry out so they last longer when you use them. We make sure all of our bars of soap are allowed to cure for at least 6 weeks before they go on sale.

There are a number of things you can do at home to ensure your soap lasts as long as possible. Here are our top tips:

  • Store unopened soaps in a dry place. Soap will absorb water from the atmosphere if it's kept in a damp cupboard. If it's been sat somewhere damp and feels a bit sweaty to touch, allow the air to get round it and it will dry out again.
  • Invest in a freely draining soap dish. If you have your bar of soap sat in a puddle of water, it can quickly turn very soft as it absorbs the water. 
  • Allowed the bar to dry out between uses. We've all experienced a soggy soap.
  • Have a couple of bars in use on the sink at one time. If one is getting a bit soft, you can switch to another bar.
  • Keep your bars standing on end for as long as possible. This will help to get as much air around the bar as possible and allow it to dry quicker.
  • Chop your bar in half so you can rotate which piece you are using if it's getting a bit soggy.
  • Wet your hands before you pick up the bar so you don't need to hold it under the water for as long.

The name glycerine (or glycerin) soap is often applied to clear soaps, however cold process soaps all contain glycerine as a by-product of the reaction. A lot of big commercial soap producers remove this glycerine before the soap sets. They then use it in high-end products as glycerine is fantastic for our skin!

Glycerine is a humectant which means it draws water towards itself. In skincare products glycerine can help your skin retain moisture. All of our soaps naturally contain glycerine - if you've never tried a handmade bar of soap before, you'll be pleasantly surprised how different it feels to a mass produced bar.

Glycerine in soap does mean it can absorb water quicker, so follow the tips in the question above to get the longest life out of your bars.

Sorry this is not currently possible.

We hand pick and pack all our soapy subscription boxes and it would get too complicated if everyone was choosing different soaps each month. Instead, you will receive our selection which will be a surprise when it turns up through the post. Each month's soaps are carefully selected based on what you have received in previous months so you won't get the same soap every month. Some of our most popular varieties may be sent more often as we are making batches more regularly.

As and when we have new soap varieties our soapy subscribers will always be the first to try them out.

Yes of course! Handcrafted natural soap makes such a wonderful gift.

When you are setting up your subscription just let us know who will be receiving it - each month (or two) the box will be posted directly out to your recipient. Please be aware, it doesn't matter what date in the month you set up the subscription; the first box will be sent at the beginning of the following month. If you'd like us to, we can send you a note to add into a card so the recipient knows what their gift will be. 

If you'd like them to receive a set amount of boxes, just let us know at the beginning and we'll do the rest.

We understand that circumstances change.

Have you got soap coming out of your ears?! If you're struggling with too much soap and would like to receive boxes less regularly, we have multiple subscription plans to let you reduce the regularity of your boxes. We can also put a pause on your subscription if that would help..

If you do decide to cancel completely, just let us know and we'll sort it out for you. If you've already paid for your next box we'll cancel your subscription but send out your outstanding box as usual. If the subscription fee hasn't yet been paid, we'll cancel your subscription and that's it, you won't receive another box.