natracare feminine hygiene products*

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 organic tampons and towels
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:

natracare – where to buy

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 😉

Moroccan retreat in SW1

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.

New organic range from Nuxe

Nuxe is a staple in the bathroom of many French women. Its Huile Prodigieuse has long been the go-to for adding shimmer to a Mediterranean tan and I’m very excited that they’ve recently launched a fragrance version. In general, I’m a big fan.Bio Beaute 24HR Moisturizing Emulsion

So when I hit the Paris pharmacies to pick up a face cream their new Bio Beauté range caught my eye (bio being French for organic). I decided that the Bio Beauté Smoothing and 24HR Moisturizing Light Emulsion with clementine cells was for me. And I was very taken in by the packaging promises:

  • 98.8% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
  • 72.4% of the total ingredients are from organic farming
  • 87% of testers said their skin was more supple, 90% said more velvety, and 86% said smoother

I was also taken in by the big box which actually holds a rather small 40ml tube!

The cream, sorry, ’emulsion’, smells amazingly tangy (so avoid if you’re not a fan of citrus scents). Designed for normal to combination skin it strikes just the right balance of lightweight versus hydration, which some natural creams definitely struggle with. Great if you don’t like greasy creams or for use in the summer (especially under a natural UV cream). I like my face creams super rich so I will probably go for their dry skin version next time. But my skin feels very soft. I didn’t use it religiously day and night as suggested, but I would highly rate this as a natural face cream. And my face smells delicious!

Unfortunately you won’t find this on Nuxe’s UK website yet, but it is available on the French pharmacy website cocooncenter.co.uk (along with Weleda’s cold cream, which I highly recommended a while back). Delivery is €9.90 which is about £8 so might be worth it if you felt like stocking up. I’ve got a feeling the Nuxe Bio Beauté brand might have some real pearls amongst its products and I’ll definitely be picking up their emulsion for dry skin on my next trip (or asking my mother in law to bring some over!). I’ll chase them to see if there are any plans to introduce this to the UK market and update you here.

Bio Beauté Smoothing and 24HR Moisturizing Light Emulsion: Approx €16.90 for 40ml

Natural credentials: Clementine cells and poppy petals to moisturise along with pear seeds to smooth lines. 98.8% of the total ingredients are from natural origin and 72.4% are organic.

Available from:
cocooncenter.co.uk

Soothing eye balm with calendula

Indie Lee Eye BalmIf you’re looking for a rich and deeply soothing eye product then Indie Lee’s Calendula Eye Balm is worth trying. I’ve been using this little wonder balm for about a month now and it’s just as healing on chapped lips and other problem areas as it is around the eyes.

As with all Indie Lee products it’s entirely natural: mango seed butter to reduce dark circles and calendula oil, beeswax and lavender oil to aid skin elasticity (calendula is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties).

I’d recommend applying about 15 minutes before you put on eye make up as it does leave a bit of a sheen, as you’d expect with all those natural oils.

I’ve got very sensitive skin and it’s cleared up a bit of ezcema I had on my eyelids. And, despite having a young baby, people keep telling me how fresh I look so it must be good! It’s not cheap but a little goes a long way.

Indie Lee Calendula Eye Balm: £26 for 0.5oz

Natural credentials: 100% natural with mango seed butter, calendula oil, beeswax, and lavender oil.

Available from: abeautifulworld.com

What Grandma knew all along…

Happy New Year! Just back from Paris where the pharmacies are beauty treasure troves — I’m like a kid in a sweet shop. French women are always ahead of their skincare game and, like us, they are embracing natural and organic products. And amongst the goodies on display one in particular kept appearing: cold cream. Every brand from Nuxe to Nivea seemed to have repackaged this old faithful.
Weleda Cold Cream
I plumped to try Weleda’s offering, which is 100% ‘au naturel’. As cold creams tend to be quite rich I used it as part of my nighttime beauty routine. The cooling properties were calming on my skin and the geraniol gave it a lovely rose scent. I’m not exaggerating when I say my skin felt velvety afterwards. Et voila! Another bathroom essential hits the shelf.

Weleda Cold Cream Visage: from £5.79 for 30ml

Natural credentials: 100% natural with beeswax, sweet almond oil and peanut oil.

Available from: Only French websites unfortunately. The best deal I found is here on Le Guide Sante, £5.79 for 30ml. I’ll follow up with Weleda and report back.

Update from Weleda:

The cold cream is available in the UK, but is specially imported in from Germany. This is priced at £10.61 for 30g and the postage and packing charge is £3.95, but this is free if your order totals £40.00 or more.

The cold cream is not available to purchase via our website, but can be ordered by telephoning Weleda Customer Services on 0115 9448200 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm).

Nivea face cream for thirsty winter skin

At this time of year my skin starts crying out for more moisturiser. For me, a rich face cream is essential and one I always keep on my bathroom shelf is Nivea’s Pure and Natural Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream. 95% of its ingredients are of natural origin and it easily matches up to any regular face cream I’ve used.

Nivea

Rich enough for use day and night, it’s made with extracts of argan oil and burdock fruit, which has been touted for its powerful anti-ageing properties. It’s not got SPF but what it lacks in UV protection it makes up for in skin thirst quenching punch.

Nivea Visage Pure and Natural Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream: £4.99 for 50ml

Natural credentials: 95% natural with extracts of argan oil and burdock fruit.

Available from: Boots, currently at the reduced price of £4.99 (normally £8.90).

Tease those tangles out!

It’s a bit outside the remit of what I’d normally review but this is such a great product that I’m making an exception.
Photo
The Tangle Teezer has been around for a while but since I only tackle my mop when I wash it the craze sort of passed me by. But now Tangle Teezer has released Aqua Splash, designed for the shower. I’ve never used a brush like it; it (mostly) glided through my knots in a fraction of the time a standard comb or brush would take. Use it with your conditioner and you’ll feel like you’ve had a treatment. It could be a coincidence, but I also lost less hair than usual.

Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash: from £10.25-£13.99

Available from: The cheapest one I found was on Amazon (search for Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash) but Boots, Tangle Teezer and Feel Unique are all stockists.

Budget body moisturisers

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. Almond Oil and Coco de Mer Body ButterIt’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.

Available from: Online only from Boots and Naked’s own website.

Hand it over

balancemeNow this is a goody: Balance Me’s award winning Super Moisturising Hand Cream

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).

Available from: Balance Me; John Lewis; LookFantastic.com (free delivery)

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Dr. Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve used quite a few Dr. Organic products (available at Holland & Barrett) over the years with varying results. In general, I’m not a big fan of their shampoos…

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Unfortunately, their Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo is no exception. It’s very difficult to work through the hair and lather, despite the fact it’s got sodium lauroyl sarcosinate in it (so not that natural). My (dry and curly) hair felt really “stripped” after I rinsed it, which isn’t what I expected from a product with ‘oil’ in its title. Maybe this would suit very greasy hair types.

The smell was another bugbear; I felt like I’d been transported back to one of those hippy shops from the 90s where you buy incense sticks and suns and moons to hang on your walls. Woof.

But I had a total Jekyll and Hyde moment when I used the conditioner! Pow! It smelt divine: spicy, (that’ll be the clove oil), exotic and good enough to eat! Its detangling properties were also fantastic – I used less than I normally would and it was knots out and smooth hair in. No mean feat when you consider my curly and coarse mop of locks.

There’s lots of hype about argan oil and I wouldn’t like to say whether this was the magic ingredient or not. But I would certainly rate this conditioner. On a recent trip to Morocco we picked up gallons of argan oil and I’ll be putting it to the (not terribly scientific) test soon. More in coming weeks.

Dr. Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner: £5.99 each

Natural credentials: Lots of natural and organic ingredients and free from parabens but contains sodium lauroyl sarcosinate to get the shampoo foaming, which didn’t even work. Think of these as naturally inspired and striving to be as nasties-free as possible without compromising on performance, rather than 100% bona fide chemical-free.

Available from: Holland & Barrett