When it’s cold outside and my lips are chapping, and my skin’s whining for some lotion, I found that Tracy Perkin’s vegan, handmade bath and body products provide much relief! During her college years, Tracy—like Autonomie Project’s founders Anne and Gina—found the lack of ethical, vegan options frustrating. Tracy began making 100% vegan soaps for family and friends, and eventually Strawberry Hedgehog was born. She runs this tiny business from her home in Arizona, where she makes all her luxurious soaps and other body products by hand in her kitchen! All of her products are free of preservatives, chemicals, animal byproducts, artificial dyes and fragrances. Also, they use all recycled and minimal packaging as well as being BPA-free and containing some organic ingredients.

Recently I had the opportunity to try eight different products from Strawberry Hedgehog: Pure Lavender, Tea Tree-Rosemary, Blueberry-Lavender, Creamy Complexion, Apple Cider, Green Tea-Lavender Hydrating Mist, Blemish Treatment, and Lavender-Tea Tree Moisturizer. My overall impression? I am completely blown away!

The Tea Tree-Rosemary facial soap is definitely my new must-have product. I love waking up and immersing my face in its luscious scent! It leaves my face feeling soft and rejuvenated. When I gave my housemate, Natalie, the Tea Tree-Rosemary facial soap to try out with me, she explains, “I’m very careful with the products I choose to use on my face since I have eczema. A lot of face wash irritate my skin.” She found that the Tea Tree-Rosemary, however, “didn’t irritate my face at all, it was really soothing.”

Another facial soap, Creamy Complexion did a very noticeable job at softening and detoxifying. It lathered incredibly well, considering the fact that it contains no sulfates whatsoever (the cancer-linked ingredients in conventional bath products that create suds). It produced a rich creamy lather that I probably could have left on as a mask if I wanted to! However, Natalie and our other housemate, Emily, found that Creamy Complexion slightly dried out their skin (though it wasn’t drying at all for my combination skin).

Next, the Pure Lavender and Blueberry-Lavender body soaps are just oh-so heavenly! Their scents are absolutely amazing; I find them practically therapeutic in the shower—very soothing after a long day. Normally my legs get really itchy after showering, especially during this cold, dry time of the year. After switching from my Dove liquid soap to these lavender soap bars, I immediately noticed a HUGE reduction in the itchiness! Plus, the lavender buds on one side of the bars act as a great exfoliator.

All of these soaps, including the cinnamon-smelling, Christmassy Apple Cider body soap, left me feeling squeaky clean and smelling lovely. Natalie pointed out something I eventually noticed as well: “With the liquid soaps I buy from CVS, I feel like they kind of just sit on top of my skin, like when I rinse it off there’s stuff still on my skin, but with these they felt very cleansing.”

I felt the Lavender-Tea Tree Facial Moisturizer was just the right density compared to thin drug store moisturizers and Lush’s SUPER heavy moisturizers. I applied it only once in the morning and I was set for the rest of the day. It worked wonders on all dry patches of my skin; I am definitely going to buy a full size one.

I gave my Blemish Treatment to Natalie since she has eczema, and she could probably rate it better than I could. She wrote this to me: “The Blemish Treatment worked REALLY well surprisingly; because of how soothing it was, I wouldn’t have the tendency to pick at my skin, and therefore it dried blemishes fairly quickly and the next day I was able to use cover up or go out without it showing almost.”

Lastly, the Green Tea-Lavender Hydrating Mist was a fun product—I sprayed it on my face and neck when I felt tired and sore, and I sprayed it on my pillow before I slept. It’s basically aromatherapy in a sleek bottle, perfect for when I’m in need of a quick pick-me-up.

I began using all these lovely products during finals week, and I really have to thank Tracy for creating these amazing all natural and vegan products because they really kept those stress zits away and made my showers so rejuvenating and refreshing. Thank you, Tracy!

-Michelle Thai