I am not here to slate mainstream deodorants and harp on about the dangers of aluminium. That debate has been done to death online and I’m still not sure which side I come down on. But if, like me, you … Continue reading
If you have sensitive skin or a young child you really should try out Weleda’s Calendula Baby Care range. Products span from bath creams to massage oils and all are made using organic calendula, reputed for its healing effect on … Continue reading
I’ve become a bit obsessed with finding a ‘safe’ suncream recently, one that protects from the sun but isn’t packed full of nasty chemicals. I’ve been poring over horror stories on the internet about how skin cancer rates have actually gone up since we started using sunscreens, the dangers of nanoparticles and how many of the most commonly used ingredients are known to produce free radicals under UV light. Scary stuff.
I came to the conclusion, and this is very much a personal opinion, that plain old zinc oxide is the safest sunscreen out there. And that led me to US firm Badger, makers of the famous Badger Balm.
I’ve been putting their SPF 30 Sunscreen for Babies through its paces all summer, both on me and my 16 month old. It’s easy to apply, holds up to water exposure (it was actually quite hard to wash off) and has a pleasant smell. It also contains soothing chamomile and calendula, with sunflower oil and vitamin E to mop up free radicals produced in the sun. It does make you look a bit like you’re auditioning as an extra in a Twilight movie but I found that more of an issue for me than for the baby.
Badger also produces an SPF 15 for adults which is meant to be less whitening and they are reworking their adult lotions so I will be road testing these too and reporting back. To see all Badger’s sunscreens follow the link below:
In short, highly recommended for kids but grown ups might find the formula a bit white as an all over sunscreen.
Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen for Babies: £14.95 for 87ml
Natural credentials: 100% certified natural and 94% organic; non nano zinc oxide
Available from: 24/7 Healthfoods (£1.99 shipping cost)
Don’t let the fact it’s advertised as a baby bottom butter fool you. This is an intensely nourishing moisturiser with a rich, buttery texture that’s great as a night cream, body and hand cream, even a lip balm.
Comprising just four ingredients (olive oil, hydrogenated olive oil, vanillin and chamomile oil), it smells slightly of white chocolate, not unlike Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, and the chamomile calms dry, irritated skin. Researching the product I even found a review of how it had helped a psoriasis sufferer, confirming its gentle, soothing properties.
I’m actually a bit slow off the mark with this one. Vogue reviewed it back in 2008 (followed by every beauty editor in the UK and beyond) but it only came to my attention when my friend Smooch was stocking up on it to send to a friend in Australia. It’ll cost a fortune in postage, surely? It’s worth it, came the response. I have to agree.
Try decanting some into a small travel pot and keep it in your handbag for dry skin emergencies.
Waitrose baby bottom butter £2.89 for 125ml
Natural credentials: Olive oil and vanillin with chamomile oil to calm the skin
I discovered this mosquito repellent when I was pregnant and heading to a part of France that I knew was rife with mozzies. Realising I couldn’t use standard repellents I was desperate for a product that didn’t contain DEET, which isn’t recommended for use by pregnant women or infants under two.
incognito is 100% natural, meets UK safety and efficacy standards, and is repellent to ALL insects. It’s even safe for babies and those with sensitive skin (they suggest a patch test first, just in case).
The incognito website makes some fantastic claims as to its potency against insects. I can’t vouch for all the claims but it is easily as efficient as any other product I have used. Normally I am a beacon for mosquitos and I had read that pregnancy hormones would make me even more desirable, but on said holiday I was the only one out of a group of twenty who didn’t get bitten. I’ve used it ever since.
The smell – a lovely citrusy scent with a tinge of eucalyptus – means it doubles up as a summery perfume and is far less stinky than its more toxic competitors.
Incognito anti-mosquito: £9.55 for 100ml (product has a 24 month shelf life once open too)
Natural credentials: 100% natural ingredients; free from parabens, SLS and DEET
Whilst you’re carefully scanning the ingredients and chemicals in your food and beauty products there may be one area you’re not paying as much attention to.
natracare produce organic 100% cotton tampons, towels and related products, which are free from chlorine, plastics and nasty additives.
“natracare organic cotton tampons and organic and natural pads were developed as a direct response to health and environmental concerns about dioxin pollution caused by chlorine bleaching, the extensive use of pesticide spraying on conventionally grown cotton, and the use of rayon and other synthetics in feminine hygiene.” (source: natracare website)
I’ve been using natracare for years and would rate them just as highly for absorbency and comfort as other brands. And if you are genuinely concerned as to what you put into your body then I’d say they’re a must.
My only bugbear with these is availability. Waitrose used to stock them but now only carry the liners and you won’t find them in Boots. I’ve now started stockpiling them from organic fruit and veg delivery company Abel and Cole (treat yourself to some yummy organic food at the same time!). For more information on stockists check out the natracare website:
Price: from £1.79 for pantiliners (30 per pack) to £2.79 for tampons (20 per pack)
Natural credentials: 100% organic cotton; chlorine and plastic free; biodegradable
Available from: In the UK from Abel and Cole, Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon. Full worldwide stockists listed here: natracare – where to buy
*I hate the term ‘feminine hygiene products’ but am lacking a suitable alternative 😉
If there was one thing I badly needed last week it was a bit of pampering. And fortunately for me I live just around the corner from The Spa at Dolphin Square, a Moroccan inspired haven with a traditional hammam and rhassoul, and a range of treatments.
Once we had changed into the dressing gowns and slippers provided we took part in the traditional Moroccan hand washing ceremony before chilling in the relaxation room with mint tea, dates and almonds.
I had booked in for the Argan Facial, which uses La Sultane de Saba products. La Sultane de Saba take their inspiration from beauty secrets from far-flung places. As a result they smell AMAZING! (The Spa told me the brand uses only natural ingredients but I haven’t been able to check myself. They are paraben-free, according to the website.)
For the next 55 minutes I was treated to a supremely relaxing facial. As my face was ‘steamed’ Monica, my therapist, massaged my feet and during the face mask I was given a head massage. A facial, reflexology session and an Indian head massage in one treatment! At the end Monica left me to rest for a bit before taking me back to the relaxation room. Bliss. There was no hard sell on the products afterwards either. Just a friendly recommendation to use lavender oil on any spots to clear them up quickly and safely.
I’ve had a few treatments at The Spa and none have disappointed; the therapists are highly knowledgeable and very friendly to boot. What I particularly love is the way you feel like you’ve been transported to a genuine Moroccan retreat when you go in. Everything from the lighting to the decor lets you slip away from the hectic pace outside. Well worth a visit.
Argan Facial, £75 for 55 minutes, The Spa at Dolphin Square.
Baby, it’s (getting) cold(er) outside. So, here are a couple of moisturisers you might like to add to your bathroom cabinet to keep your skin summer soft all winter.
First on the list is almond oil. A good bathroom staple for all the family — it’s even suitable for newborn babies — I’ve been totally wowed by how soft it’s left my skin, especially my elbows which were going though some nasty scaly phase before I started using it. It’s speedy to apply and because it’s a vegetable oil it doesn’t sit on the skin like some oils (Bio Oil stains on clothes, anyone?). It’s unscented, so it won’t clash with your perfume, and you can combine it with your favourite essential oil for a bit of added luxe (it’s also a great massage oil). I’ve even used it to remove make-up and it makes a good pre-shampoo hair treatment (just rub into hair and leave for 30 minutes before washing out). A fabulous all-rounder.
Miaroma Sweet Almond Oil: £6.99 for 200ml
Natural credentials: Pure almond oil with added vitamin E.
Available from: Holland & Barrett, both in-store and online.
If you’re not a fan of oils then try Naked’s Coco de Mer Body Butter. It combines coconut oil, shea butter and passion flower oil to create a rich, buttery cream that smells sensational. It glides on and smooths even really dry skin instantly. A fantastic budget body cream.
Naked 24 Hour Coco de Mer Body Butter: £5.45 for 300ml online at Boots or £4.99 for 300ml on the Naked website.
Natural credentials: Claims to be 97% natural and is free from parabens, petrochemicals and sulphates.
The first thing that hits you is the lovely thick texture; it’s super creamy and as you rub it in the lavender scent blasts out. It soaks in well, leaving a nice oily sheen on the nails. My hands instantly felt softer and I couldn’t stop sniffing them!
Made with organic shea butter and packed full of other essential oils such as patchouli, lavender, bergamot and geranium, the key active ingredients are benzoin and yarrow, which the ancient Egyptians used to embalm people. Gross, but who am I to argue with history? If this mummy lasts half as well as those ones…
The slight greasiness might put some people off but I love it. And with calming lavender it’s a great one for keeping by the bed and putting on last thing at night.
At £14.50 for 100ml it’s not cheap, but you don’t need much as it’s really rich. Worth the investment.
Right, I’m off to have a browse of their website: https://www.balanceme.co.uk
Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream: £14.50 for 100ml
Natural credentials: 98.8% of ingredients are of natural origin (plus the shea butter is organic).