SWEET GRASS FARM DISH SOAP The label adorning this bottle of lemon verbena dish soap features an old-timey etching of a man on horseback, trotting by a rustic cottage. Is this bucolic image supposed to make you feel better about the fact that your roommates never help with the dishes? (If the folks at Sweet Grass Farm think so, they need to fire their brand consultants.)
The fragrant, lemony Farmhouse cleanser should have been called Grouphouse: That is, the super-suds are strong enough to clean the piles of food-encrusted plates your roomies left festering in the sink while you were on vacation. This stuff is biodegradable and free of harsh detergents and chemicals; better yet, unlike similar environmentally friendly dish soaps, it can cut through the greasiest goo your pots and pans serve up. Now the eco-warrior upstairs and Old Dishpan Hands down the hall have no excuse for not pitching in -- leaving you plenty of time to ride your horse around the front yard.
-- Chris Richards
VON NATUR FACIAL TONER Von Natur's toner boasts a list of claims that would make any hippie happy: It's 91 percent organic. Certified vegan. Sulfate-, toxin- and cruelty-free. And it won't clog your pores. All great stuff and conveniently packaged, too, with 70 presoaked pads to a jar. Unfortunately, the toner smells (and feels) like a slice of cucumber rubbed on your face. Which makes sense, since the third ingredient listed is -- you guessed it -- cucumber. The veggie combines with chamomile to help reduce redness and puffiness, though my skin didn't look or feel much different. Also in the mix? Aloe, plus white and green tea extracts. More great stuff, but with Von Natur, the results are too wet, too salady and oddly scratchy. Sometimes too much of a good thing is just . . . too much.
-- Michelle Thomas