Local Entrepreneurs Put Wellness in a Box

I've been researching wellness subscription boxes for awhile. I'm looking for that right mix of natural non-toxic products, handmade goodness and practical products I can use now.

One of the boxes I've been eyeing is curated by a group in my local market. SisterBoxes features natural products made by black-owned businesses. The box curators' mission is to support small businesses and recirculate dollars within the black community.

What You Get Produced bimonthly the $25 box features a mix of 3-5 samples and full-size products. Typically, you order the box from the SisterBoxes website. I grabbed the latest box at a recent marketplace, where the SisterBoxes founders had a booth.

The nice thing about this box is there is no need to lock into a subscription. It's a one-time purchase, so you can try it without a long-term commitment.

My box is matte black with "SisterBoxes" blazoned on top. Inside everything is nestled in kraft crinkle shred and covered with tissue paper. SisterBoxes puts a message on top and individual cards about some of the products in the box.

Any product that might leak is sealed with shrink wrap. Products with tools and accessories come in their own black nylon drawstring bags.

What I Think The Winter Box is full of products I need and want to try. There is a mix of six beauty, wellness and hair care products in this edition and all feature natural non-toxic ingredients.

One thing I wish this box included was a price for each product, so you know the value built into the box. I checked the web sites of the brands to find the retail values for full size products and samples (if available).

I like to use everything a couple of times to get an idea of how the products work for me. Here is my breakdown of each product in the box, how I use it and how the product works for me.

e'sine Naturals Nourish dry face mask & scrub This is a generous full-size product and comes with its own measuring and mixing spoon. Just add water and/or your own oils to create a paste, then work it onto your face.

The main ingredients are kaolin and rose clay. I own a rose clay mask and love it for how clean and soft my skin is after a use. Nourish had the same effect. I little bit goes a long way, so I will get many uses from Nourish.

Retail value: $8.95 for 1.5 oz

e'sine Naturals Bare Lash and Brow Serum This is another ample full-size product from e'sine Naturals and a beauty product first for me. I've been curious about how these serums work. The serum comes with two brow applicators and one lash-line applicator.

The product description mentions a secret formula of oils and other good-for-you benefits but that's it. I wish this e'sine product came with an ingredient list on the bottle and website. For something you put near your eyes, an ingredient list would be nice.

The directions recommend using this before bed each night, but it's not clear on what the beauty outcome is. I'm guessing nourished and healthier lashes and brows. I applied three drops of the serum to the applicator before bed and combed it through my brows, lashes for a week.

I didn't notice any dramatic difference in my brows or eyelashes, but one week likely is not long enough to see the benefits. I'll keep using the serum and report back if I see any significant changes in my brows or eyelashes.

Retail value: $17.95 for .33 oz

Confident Concoctions Hydrating Hair Water This is a sample size in a 2 oz spray bottle. I need as many natural detanglers I can get for my dry 4b/4c hair. Looking at the ingredients I was happy to see "water" was number one followed up by some yummy natural hydrating ingredients, namely flax seed.

I've been using the Hydrating Hair Water to refresh my hair before daily styling or to prepare for twists at night. It's not too wet, limiting shrinkage. My hair becomes easier to manage and comb through. Oils in the formula seal in the moisture, leaving my hair soft and supple.

My sample lasted through several uses. I am impressed with how this hair refresher works on my hair type and would like to try other products from this brand.

Retail value: none given (Full size $10.99)

Karess Krafters Apothecary Lavender Natural Deodorant I recently made a new batch of my own natural deodorant, so I was curious about the ingredients in this one. Karess Krafters' formula is similar to mine with the addition of arrowroot powder and zinc oxide.

My recipe is a paste. Karess Krafters puts their lavender-scented deodorant sample in a travel-size stick. I am trying this sample before I break into my new batch of deodorant.

Don't let the stick fool you. The application is more like a paste, and you only need a light swipe. You have to work in the deodorant with your hands. This is no big deal for me, since this is what I do with my own recipe.

A note about Karess Krafters: They are now R. Drew Naturals, so the product branding and packaging are different on the new website.

Retail value: $4.00 for .35 oz

Karess Krafters Whispers Feminine Spray I'm not obsessed with yoni odors. Lady bits are self-cleaning after all and should not have off odors if given proper attention.

But I like this light formula in a 10 ml size sample. It has a pleasant, subtle scent and soothing ingredients at the top of the list, including aloe vera and witch hazel. This product would work to calm irritated skin after a bikini wax or depilatory use, which is how I use it.

Retail value: none given (Full size $14.50)

Bea's Wellness Tea

Bea's Wellness Tea claims to be an anti-inflammatory elixir. I'm in the midst of a fitness and wellness challenge, so Bea's may come in handy.

There is enough for five servings in this half-ounce sample of herbal tea. It contains ingredients to support its claims. Tumeric is a top ingredient and known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as I use it in my Golden Milk recipe.

This tea is part of my herbal tea rotation. I plan to drink it on days when I work up a sweat doing cardio or strength or power yoga to determine if it affects my delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Retail value: $5.00 for .5 oz

My Recommendation This was a lucky score for me because the box contained products I either wanted to try or could use in my beauty regimen. After sampling all the products, my favorite product is the Confident Concoctions Hydrating Hair Water.

When I saw flax seed as an ingredient in the Hair Water, I hoped this product would penetrate my 4b/4c strands. It did not disappoint me. I plan to purchase the full size product.

Since the value of the full size e'sine Naturals products combined alone is $26.90, at $25 the price of this box is on point. The other samples in the box are a bonus from my view.

This is a solid, well-curated wellness box with a mission I can get behind and support. SisterBoxes gives you spoilers on social media for upcoming boxes, so follow them for updates. You can learn more about SisterBoxes here.

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