Thursday, 13 September 2007

Wash and go in record time with Pure Nuff Stuff’s Hair and Body Bar

purenuffstuff.jpgFor many of us in the twenty-first century time is of the essence and we never seem to have enough of it. Yeah, it would be great to blend some essential oils and make our own shampoo and body washes, but in reality we sometimes prefer to let someone else do the work. Buying natural beauty products need not cost a small fortune if you are prepared for multi-functional items. Pure Nuff Stuff’s Hair and Body Bar is a quick and convenient way to wash and go without leaving unwanted chemical residues behind and it’s a snip at just £2.95.

Why waste all your hard earned money on soap, shampoo and unnecessary packaging, when you can just buy a catch all solution. Pure Nuff Stuff sell hand-made natural skincare products without SLS, parabens, urea, synthetic fragrances, DEAs, MEAs, TEAs and the thousands of other chemicals that are ever more frequently prompting health concerns. They offer a handy bespoke service, altering the essential oil mixtures if you prefer something different, which is great for allergy sufferers.

Refreshingly, Pure Nuff Stuff also avoid making ludicrous claims about the appearance enhancing properties of their products, none of their items are tested on animals, they are tested on family and friends and they all originate from natural sources. They are not certified organic but claim that many of the ingredients they use have never been farmed inorganically because the growers and producers cannot afford the chemicals and pesticides in the first place.

I am impressed by Pure Nuff Stuff’s honesty, range of products and prices and will certainly be going back for more.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Hold your hair in place the natural way with Suncoat

suncoat.jpgFor those who have switched to natural beauty and hair care products and for those sitting on the fence, I bet you never thought you’d be able to find natural hair spray. I had resigned myself to using a slick of moisturiser to keep my locks in place, that is, until I discovered Suncoat Hair Styling Spray. Regular hairsprays are fundamentally liquid plastic and overexposure to the stuff has been linked with a respiratory illness known as ‘hairdresser’s lung.’ Other health concerns related to hairspray include contact dermatitis, breathing problems and nail abnormalities. The synthetic resins used in hair spray, such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer) and acrylate polymer are not very eco-friendly.

Suncoat’s hair spray is sugar based and derived from natural renewable sources, as well as being alcohol-free, to avoid dry hair. A quick look at the ingredients will reassure you of the innocuous nature of this styling product and a quick spray on your hair will have you converted. This hair spray provides plenty of hold without compromising your health or the environment. It certainly gets my vote and while you are perusing Suncoat’s website be sure to check out the other fantastic items, such as the sugar based mascara and liquid eyeliner. These are the most natural make-up items I have seen to date!

Porcelain Skin offer natural skincare solutions

porcelain%20skin.jpgFor beautifully packaged, richly textured and luxurious, (mostly) natural skincare products, Porcelain Skinis the brand to buy. The founder Alis McKay established Porcelain Skin to reduce the volume of chemicals she was routinely applying to her skin and utilises organic ingredients as much as possible in her skincare range. You won’t find a wealth of dubious ingredients such as mineral oils, SLS and SLES, DEAs and TEAs lurking within Porcelain Skin products. The main ingredients consist of cold-pressed oils, dried herbs and floral waters.

Some substances that have been identified as possible toxins are included in the range of products, such as: glycerin, lactic acid, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol, but Porcelain Skin items are highly preferable to the chemical cocktail imbued goods produced by the global manufacturers of the most well-known personal care items. Plus, some of these ingredients act as anti-microbial preservatives to avoid contamination.

Porcelain Skin products are perfect as a gift for that special person, or simply to pamper yourself, coming neatly wrapped in muslin and grosgrain ribbon, which you can re-use in numerous nifty ways!

For silky smooth skin the
Cleansing Milkis a good option and to soothe and moisturise your skin before bedtime try the Passionflower Seed Night Cream. If your skin is incredibly dry opt for the Nourishing Facial Oil packed full of super natural ingredients such as almond oil, sea buckthorn oil and borage oil and for drawing out impurities you can’t beat the Nourishing Clay Masque.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Raw Gaia gift sets

My favourite organic skin care brand Raw Gaia are launching three luxurious gift sets, available for purchase from September 10th. I know it seems early to be thinking about Christmas, but it will be upon us before we know it and Raw Gaia's gift sets would make fab pressies for your loved ones. Raw Gaia use only organic, vegan, fairtrade where possible, hand-made and unheated beauty products, which maintains the nutritional integrity and is great news for your skin. All of Raw Gaia's beauty products have a wondeful smell and consistency, as well as gliding effortlessly onto your skin and making it feel nourished and nurtured.

The three sets being launched are the Pamper Box for £48 - containing some of Raw Gaia's best selling products: For Her Daughters Living Moisturiser, Floral Face Toner, Living Facial Cleanser, Wild Crafted and Fairly Traded Shea Butter, Sun-dried Green Clay Face Pack and Sweet Orange Living Lip Balm, the Lovely Box for £29 - a starter pack which includes the For Her Daughters Living Moisturiser, Floral Face Toner, Detox Living Massage Bar and Sweet Orange Living Lip Balm and the Baby Box for £27 - allowing parents to provide their babies with pure, natural skin care, rather than chemical filled products. This set consists of: For Her Babies Living Cream, Massage Oil For Her Babies and Floral Water Spray For Her Babies.

I will definitely be buying my mum the Lovely Box this Christmas and I might even buy it for myself as a treat!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Get the crème de la crème of organic beauty buys at Kickfresh

kickfresh.jpgFor a selection of natural and organic beauty products, available online, take a look at Kickfresh offer a range of products for the skin, hair and body by well-known beauty brands such as: Aubrey Organics, Beauty Bible fave - Spiezia, Suki, Mother Earth and Weleda.

Kickfresh was established by Kerry Ojari. During her pregnancy Kerry became concerned about the nature of the products she was using on her skin and how these might affect her unborn baby. As a result, she refrained from buying most of her usual beauty products, which led to another problem, how to avoid smelling a bit whiffy. Kelly says,

“I quickly realised there aren't many places to shop where you could get a wide choice of really good quality skin care products, so there and then I decided to start my own business selling natural and organic skin care for all the family. Every product is tested out on my willing human guinea pigs to make sure they really are as good as they promise and if they don’t pass the grade they don’t get on the website. Every product on the website features a review by its guinea pigs.”

All the products available on Kickfresh are cruelty-free, natural or organic and many of them are Soil Association certified. Kelly is now passionate about using natural products,

“I have always been environmentally aware but becoming a mum is the most powerful incentive for ensuring that not only would you do your utmost to ensure the planet has a future but also to protect yourself and your loved ones. I am extremely dedicated to issues now that I would never have crossed my mind before. I think it's never too late for anyone to start getting interested in what they eat, what they put on their skin and the environment.”

There are some fabulous products available at Kickfresh and you can rest assured that you are purchasing skin care solutions that are both natural and excellent quality, without having to scour the internet for hours!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Brand of the week: Organic Botanics

Considering that 60% of what we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bodies and most conventional beauty products contain a cornucopia of synthetic chemicals that have been linked with a variety of illnesses, including cancer, it seems crazy not to buy organic beauty products. Almost 100% of all plant products used in cosmetics are grown with artificial chemical fertilisers and sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, leaving residues of these substances in non-organic ingredients and therefore products. If you think about it logically, a pestcide is designed to repel or destroy particular pests, whether insects, fungi or bacteria and so it follows on that these chemicals can cause adverse reactions in our skin cells. Such chemicals may not affect our body as a whole instantaneously, but over a period of time they have the ability to damage our infinitely smaller cells. More people than ever are suffering from sensitive skin and allergies, so those brands who stick their neck out and create genuinely natural products are a breath of fresh air in a world of mass-produced, chemical infused 'beauty' products.

My brand of the week, Organic Botanics, is an ethical, family run company, which was established by herbalist and vegetarian Celsi Richfield and her family, over eight years ago. Celsi has been producing natural skincare for over 20 years and eventually she came up with Organic Botanics, a range of unique vegan and cruelty free products with certified organic ingredients and thankfully without chemical nasties, such as: parabens, artificial colour, synthetic perfume, chemical UV filters and petro-chemicals.

Organic Botanic's range of skin-care products consist of organically grown cool-pressed plant oils, herbal extracts, floral waters, aloe-vera, pure essential oils and other lush, natural ingredients. Having sampled a few of their products I am now officially a huge fan and their Moisturising Nutritive creams (rich in natural vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants with a natural UV filter) and Satin Body Lotion (rich in vitamin E and sunflower, almond and apricot kernel oil) will be taking pride of place on my bathroom shelf, alongside my other organic beauty brand favourite, Raw Gaia. If you haven't tried Organic Botanics yet, I suggest you do so right away!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Lula Lewis: Queen of the organic apothecary

Sourcing organic beauty products used to be a time consuming chore, but now it's becoming an absolute joy, thanks to brands like Love Lula, founded by Naturopath Claire 'Lula' Lewis, springing up and providing a plethora of choices in terms of natural skincare. Love Lula is a contemporary and subliminally stylish, online apothecary with Soil Association approval, which means you can be sure that the beauty products truly are natural and organic. None of the beauty products provided by the brand contain potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl and laureth sulphates. Forget about lack of options, Love Lula sells over 350 beauty products from leading natural brands such as: Lavera, Weleda, Trilogy, Spiezia and Badger, so you are spoilt for choice!

Lula is an eco entrepreneur, natural beauty expert, healer, naturopath and natural lifestyle advocate, who believes in using the power of nature to correct physical, emotional and spiritual imbalances within our bodies, of which our skin is a reflection. Here she reveals her organic beauty secrets to Dawn Mellowship.

Why should we all be using organic beauty products?

"There are so many reasons why I love organic beauty products – the organic and natural ingredients in organic beauty products offer all the active nutrients healthy skin needs and in the most absorbable and most alive, therefore most effective, form. The use of chemicals in beauty products became popular because they offered large cosmetic companies a cheap way of producing beauty products that they could sell in the mass market. Today innovation in natural skincare means that organic products can be created without needing to resort to chemicals that come with a big question mark over their impact on our health. For me health and beauty are all tied up together….how can something be called a ‘beauty’ product if what it contains are ingredients such as formaldehyde or phthalates that can damage your health?"

When and why did you first becoming interested in natural skincare products?

"As a teenager I fell hook line and sinker for the marketing promises of the big brands and spent my pocket money finding out that they didn’t work. It was clear to me even then that chemicals couldn’t nurture the skin to be glowing and naturally healthy. I was always intuitively drawn to more natural products, although in those days they were virtually impossible to buy, so I’d make my own products.

My passion for natural skin care was fully sparked on a wonderful year spent travelling the globe. Spending time in vast wildernesses untouched by man triggered a realisation in me of the sheer power and beauty of nature. For me natural skincare that is formulated with carefully grown and sourced ingredients offers a touch point to this magical power in our everyday lives."

What are your top three organic beauty products?

"Top 3? That’s hard! The products that get the most compliments from customers are Kimberly Sayer’s Ultra Light Day Cream with SPF 25, Lavere’s Lifting Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Naturetis’ Lily Oil Hand Balm."

What is your morning and evening beauty regime?

"Morning – Suki’s Lemongrass Exfoliating Cleanser (love love love this cleanser), Pangea Organics Argentinean Tangerine & Thyme Toner, Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Day Cream with spf 25, Kimberly Sayer Eyelift Gel & Balm Balm Rose Lip Balm. I’m prone to the odd out break so I use Harley Street Cosmetics Tea Tree Gel before applying day cream if I feel I need to treat my skin.

Evening – Pangea Organics Calendula Cleanser followed by Kimberly Sayer Restore Anti Aging Cream. I also apply a clay based mask a couple of times a week to keep my skin clear; I use Pangea Organic’s Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask."

What should consumers look out for when trying to source organic and natural beauty products?

"I got a reminder last week how hard it is for consumers when I was sent some product samples from a company that markets itself as offering clean and natural skincare free from all the commonly listed ingredients such as sls or parabens. When I read the ingredients on the bottles though they were mostly petrochemicals; the main ingredient in the baby oil was liquid paraffin with no natural or organic ingredients in sight.

The only way to tell if a product is natural or not is to read the ingredient label (and don’t get fobbed off with a list of the active ingredients only). At Love Lula we always list the complete ingredients of the products we sell on our website because we believe this is the only way you can actually know exactly what you’re buying. Campaign groups such as WEN offer lots of great advice on ingredients to look out for and avoid.

Some products are also certified by various organic and natural bodies which helps to give weight to the validity of marketing claims. Reputable certifiers include the BDIH, the Soil Association and Ecocert. However be warned – there are brands that make up their own ‘certification standards’ so they look like they’ve been given 3rd party approval (cheeky!)."

In your opinion, what is the key to having healthy skin?

"Love yourself. Be kind to yourself…and then you can intuitively give your skin (and the rest of your body and soul) exactly what it needs."

Are there any good organic beauty books that you can recommend?

"Pure Skin by Barbara Close is a great book for helping to understand how organic and natural skincare works with your skin and what ingredients and regimes are ideal for different skin types. Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care: Including A to Z Guide to Natural and Synthetic Chemicals in Cosmetics by Aubrey Hampton is a passionately written book on natural ingredients and how chemicals interfere with the effectiveness of natural skincare products. The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book by Jo Fairley is a great introduction to making your own products and Authentic Woman by Leslie and Susannah Kenton embodies, for me, the spirit of what organic and natural beauty is about and applies it to the wider context of how women can access and live from their own unique beauty.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My dogs come and tell me when they think it’s time for me to get up.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Love Trilogy? You will do soon

I like to maintain a healthy scepticism prior to reviewing any products, whether beauty or otherwise, to ensure I don't fall for brand marketing hype that informs us of the indispensability of particular goods. So, with my usual reviewing nonchalance I cleansed my face with Trilogy's Cream Cleanser, before applying their Energising Face Lotion and Eye Contour Cream. I did this several times over a matter of days and I have to say, I actually noticed a distinct difference in the appearance and texture of my skin, which has started to look more vibrant and feel significantly smoother. My scepticism has transformed into amazement. Trilogy, I'm impressed.

Trilogy, established by New Zealand sisters, Sarah Gibbs and Catherine Wells, is a celebrity favourite and has received triumphant reviews from publications such as Red, Harpers Bazaar, She, The Sunday Times and Vogue. Now they can add me to the list of converts. I am one of those individuals who scour ingredients lists with a fine toothed comb, to ensure that nothing dubious is lurking within a product. Trilogy's products are cruelty-free and devoid of parabens, silicons, peg's and fillers, synthetic colours and fragrances, GMO derived ingredients, harsh detergents and surfacants and pesticide and herbicide residues. The preservative system they use is non-toxic and complemented with natural preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E.

You might think that oil based items are pore clogging and I have often found this to be the case with past products, but Trilogy's range of skincare is gentle on the skin, easily absorbed and feels intensely nourishing. Of course, if you want healthy, glowing skin in the long term, you need to address your nutritional needs, but Trilogy products are the perfect complement to a healthy lifestyle, so your skin reflects your inner well-being.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The synthetic hitlist

Beauty products are often laden with potentially harmful synthetic and chemical ingredients. So, where do you even begin? The prospect of scouring all your products for chemical nasties can seem daunting, but it is really not so bad and it is an entirely worthy endeavour if you are keen to protect your health and the planet. My secret is very simple, purchase beauty products that are certified organic and have as few ingredients in as possible. Most decent natural beauty brands provide ingredients lists on their websites and avoid using parabens, sodium lauryl and laureth sulphates and other chemical foamers and preservatives. To give you that vital kickstart here is a mere modicum of the suspicious substances you need to look out for.

1.4- Dioxane - Can potentially cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract and depress the central nervous system. High levels said to cause headaches and dizziness. The US Environmental Protection agency has cited 1.4- Dioxane as a possible carcinogen.
Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40) - Linked with premature skin aging and skin dehydration.
DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine)TEA (triethanolamine) - Used in cosmetics to alter the pH balance and as a base in some cleansers. Can cause allergic responses. One study in 1994 found that when topically applied to rats DEA caused anaemia, nerve damage and kidney degeneration.
Formaldehyde - Potential eye, throat and skin irritant. Linked with headaches and chronic fatigue.
Fragrance - Can be a sign that many toxic ingredients are present. Some observations have shown detrimental effects on the central nervous system.
Lanolin - Cosmetic grade lanolin can be contaminated with pesticides and insecticides.
Mineral Oils (Petrolatum, Liquidum paraffinum, Paraffin oil, Paraffin wax) - Can clog the pores and reduce the skin’s ability to detoxify. Linked to premature aging.
Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, ethyl) - Used to increase product shelf life. Potential skin irritant. Researchers at The Department of Biology and Biochemistry at Brunel University have found parabens to be mildly oestrogenic and suggested that their safety in products should be re-evaluated.
Phthalates - Two types of phthalates have already been prohibited in cosmetics (DEHP and DBP). Linked by some studies with liver, kidney and lung damage as well as damage to the reproductive system of developing foetuses. In a study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 5% of the 20 – 40 year old women tested were shown to have concerning levels of phthalates.
Propylene Glycol - Used as a humectant to stop products dying out. Some research at the American Academy of Dermatologists has shown to be a skin irritant.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (see also Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, also watch out for Ammonium Laureth Sulphate) - Used in shower gels, shampoos etc to make them foamier. Linked with skin irritation, hair loss and impaired hair growth according to the American Journal of Toxicology.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (also watch out for Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate) - Can strip away the skin’s surface oil causing dryness and allergic reactions. Tests on lab animals have indicated that SLS can cause the degeneration of cell membranes. May possibly react with other chemicals in products to form potentially carcinogenic dioxins and nitrates. Possible damaging effects on the immune system, liver and lungs.
Synthetic Colours (Coal tar dyes – FD& C colour pigments, colours followed by a number such as blue 1, yellow 6) - Said by some to be carcinogens when ingested or applied to the skin. Also said to cause skin sensitivity and irritation.
Talc - Cosmetic grade talc has been linked with an increase in the development of ovarian cancer.
Toluene - Used in hairspray and nail polish. Is a potential skin irritant. Has been linked with liver damage.
Xylene (look out for xylol or dimethylbenzene) - Used in hairspray and nail polish. Linked with liver damage and irritation of the skin and respiratory tract.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Skincare Café: Providing organic and vegan skincare

My natural beauty product du jour is Skincare Café. Their products are Vegan and Vegetarian Society approved, cruelty-free (as they are not tested on animals) and handmade in the UK with Ecocert and Soil Association certified organic ingredients. The brand's aim is to provide quality, affordable, organic skincare that avoids the inclusion harmful and toxic substances. Skincare Café's products are completely free from all: Petrochemicals, alcohol, lanolin, DEA, TEA, MEA, PEG’s, propylene glycol, benzoates, synthetic perfumes and colourants, GM ingredients, talc, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate and all parabens.

My favourite Skincare Café products are: the Organic Grapeseed and Aloe Vera Cleanser, for £11.99, which incorporates grapeseed, aloe vera and organic lavender essential oil and the Organic Lemongrass Purifying Face Mask, for £10.99, which contains organic lemongrass (obviously!), natural clay (great for drawing impurities out of the skin) and rosemary organic essential oil. These products are easily absorbed, nice and light and fabulous for those suffering from sensitive skin or other skin conditions. Highly recommended!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Go all natural with Viola Organics

It's not always easy sourcing genuinely natural beauty products that don't come with a long list of suspicious looking ingredients, so Viola Organics is a breath of fresh air. The New Zealand based brand was established in 1986, after the founder, Pam Blowers, suffered from a re-occurrence of cancer (she was initially diagnosed in 1985), inspiring her to produce a range of natural beauty products. Viola is now managed by her daughter, Janine Matchett. Viola only use pure ingredients, which means no parabens, artifical preservatives, stabilisers, emulsiers and other nasties and in 2003 the brand received BioGro Organic Certification, so their products and processes are audited and monitored.

Viola incorporate shea butter and jojoba oil into their products, as well as a whole range of other lush and natural ingredients. Shea butter contains essential fatty acids (EFA), which are known for their moisturising, softening and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K, which are great for protecting and regenerating the skin. Jojoba oil contains proteins, minerals and a waxy substance that behaves like collagen.

There is quite an extensive range to choose from and Viola also sell men's beauty products, many of which are very reasonably priced. If you want to avoid getting out a list of potentially harmful ingredients and checking it against every beauty product you consider purchasing, take a look at Viola. Their ingredients are so natural you will not need to bother!

Tried and Tested: Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial

Location: The wholly holistic Organic Pharmacy in High Street Kensington.
What is it? This remarkably luxurious treatment enlivens the senses, firms the skin and stimulates your lymphatic system using Accupressure massage, cleansing, AHA exfoliation (buffing off those dead skins cells), steaming, extraction, Rose Crystals and a range Organic Pharmacy products. The Organic Pharmacy, true to their word produces a variety of totally 100% natural products utilising the finest natural ingredients.
Results: This was my out-and-out favourite facial for product quality, pampering and relaxation. Celebrity devotees include Kylie Minogue, Yasmine Le Bon and Jerry Hall. My face was manipulated into near skin perfection (my skin will never be completely perfect!). The face steaming and extraction were not quite so soothing as my blackheads were duly eased out, but the foot and leg massage and the 4 lush face masks (rose hip, seaweed, honey and jasmin and collagen) completely made up for this. My skin was cooled and melted to a butter soft texture. I walked out of the Organic Pharmacy on a big fluffy white cloud and floated to the train station.
Cost: £100 for 90 minutes, £75 for 60 minutes.

To contact or for more information see or call 020 7376 9200.

Green People Organic Body Spa range

Green People have launched a luxurious new range of beauty products, called Organic Body Spa. They utilise natural oils, with delicious aromas so that you can have a virtual spa in your very own home. As with other Green People products the Organic Body Spa range is free from nasty synthetic additives and has been certified organic by the Soil Association and The Organic Food Federation (although I do not recommend eating the products).

Key active ingredients in the products include: Pomegranate Oil (chock full of polyphenol antioxidants), cranberry oil (with Omega-3&6 fatty acids and vitamin E and Rosehip oil (rich in essential fatty acids, for super smooth, healthy skin.)

For a weekend of self-indulgence, get yourself the Weekend Pamper Gift Set, including four mini products from the range.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Tried and tested: Organic Microdermabrasion

Location: Metrospa at FordhamWhite, an acclaimed Soho salon shortlisted for Best London Salon by HAIR magazine Awards.
What is it? Skin for Life have crafted a fabulous machine that offers microdermabrasion, LED Light Therapy and liquid oxygen concentrates either individually or unified to create one phenomenal face treatment. This provides super exfoliation, shots of oxygen to plump and re-hydrate the skin and light to heal imperfections and promote collagen growth. The organic grains used are less harsh than traditional microdermabrasion crystals and are highly therapeutic. Aveda products are incorporated into the facial.
Results: I was apprehensive about having grains blasted against my skin but the reality of organic microdermabrasion is a rather more enjoyable experience. The sensation of the machine refining my skin with the tiny organic grains was unusual but pleasant. The oxygen shots felt delightfully refreshing and the light therapy soothed my skin. A refrigerated Aveda face-mask was applied cooling my skin, followed by one of Aveda’s tourmaline charged creams. The tourmaline is said to make the beneficial ingredients in the products more potent. My skin certainly looked and felt glowing after the treatment. This is a welcome alternative to traditional microdermabrasion, but having looked at the ingredients in Aveda products, they are not as innocuous as some of the other natural brands.
Cost: £60 for the first session and £80 for subsequent sessions or if you purchase 5 sessions you get the 6th one free.

To contact or for more information see or call 020 7287 8484

Truly Organic

The organic beauty industry is big business with a growing number of people concerned about the nature of the ingredients lurking in beauty products. Dawn Mellowship susses out the hottest organic beauty buys to leave you fresh faced and glowing.

On a daily basis we readily slather ourselves in an array of beauty and skincare products containing a cocktail of chemicals. The skin is the largest organ of the body and according to research some of the ingredients in these products can be absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated around the body. Studies show that one of the main offenders is phthalates found in a range of cosmetics, perfumes and other beauty products. Phthalates have been linked with health problems such as liver and kidney failure, heart problems, testicular damage, infertility and other health risks for newborn babies. This is not to mention all the other chemicals and preservatives linked with health scares including: parabens, sodium lauryl and laureth sulphates, mineral oils, DEAs, TEAs, MEAs and formaldehyde. So, it would appear that beauty products are more than skin deep and going organic is the way forward!

The main problem in purchasing an organic option is that different countries have diverse definitions on what constitutes an organic beauty product and European law only extends to regulation of organic food produce. This has resulted in some manufacturers making dubious claims about the organic content of their products. However don’t fret! There are approved certification bodies that have established standards for organic beauty products. These include the
Soil Association, the Organic Food Federation and Ecocert. If an organic labelled product has the Soil Association logo and certification it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. If the logo is displayed and the product claims to contain some organic ingredients at least 70% of these must be organic. The remaining ingredients are subject to stringent guidelines including the prohibition of genetically modified contents.

To save you all the hard work we have taken the liberty of seeking out some great organic beauty buys that harness the awesome power of nature. You’ll be pleased to know that none of these products have been tested on animals.

Circaroma, founded by Barbara Scott rely on a simple philosophy of utilising the finest natural, organic skincare ingredients sourced from small farms and organic suppliers. They are certified as a Soil Association supplier and no synthetic ingredients are used.

Hot Buys!

Calming body wash - A gentle soap free body wash infused with luscious oils such as: almond oil, rose, lavender, geranium and patchouli, along with super skin nourishing aloe vera.

Uplifting Skin Serum - This Bergamot and Purple Sage serum stimulates the senses to leaving you thoroughly energised and your skin glistening.

Nourishing Face Cream - This rejuvenating face cream with wild frankincense and orange blossom is fantastic for some intensive skin nourishment.

Skin Gentle Facial Serum with Rose Otto and Apricot - is a wonderful light soothing oil with healing St John’s Wort and Echinacea to calm sensitive skin.

Green People was founded by Sandra Vohtz after realising how damaging man-made chemicals and poor diet were when her daughter developed eczema and severe allergies. Green People’s mission is to promote an organic lifestyle and provide high quality organic formulations. Their products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, are Soil Association Certified and 10% of their net profit each year is donated to charitable causes.

Hot Buys!

Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner - Combining the healing powers of aloe vera with the soothing properties of lavender, this duo will leave your locks so soft that you won’t be able to stop touching your hair!

Vita Min Mask - This alcohol-free face-mask will enrich your skin with natural vitamins to leave tired, dehydrated or dry skin intensively nourished.

Stimulating Organic Sugar Scrub - This sensational exfoliator helps to purify the skin and remove those stubborn dead skin cells, leaving your skin baby soft and enviably silky smooth.

Cool Lips Mint spf 8 - For soft, protected, ultra kissable lips go for this protective, cooling and conditioning lip balm.

The Organic Pharmacy, founded by Margo and Francesco Marrone the Organic Pharmacy in Kings Road, London is dedicated to health and beauty using organic products and treatments with no synthetic contents. Organic ingredients are sourced from around the world and must each individually meet with Margo’s specifications. The Organic Pharmacy is certified as a Soil Association supplier.

Hot Buys!

Lip & Eye Cream - Reduce puffy eyes and dark circles and nourish the lips with this fabulous cream containing eye bright, bilberry, fennel, frankincense and neroli.

Collagen Boost Mask - This ‘instant lift’ gel contains über anti-aging ingredients to leave your skin looking radiant and youthful.

Rose Plus Face Cream - Pamper your skin with this luxurious cream that has a whole host of benefits including, improving micro-circulation and elasticity and promoting cell regeneration.

Spiezia. Mariano and Loredana Spiezia the founders of Spiezia fervently believe that “nature holds the key to health and wellbeing.” Spiezia products are 100% organic and chemical free. All Spiezia products have been approved by the Soil Association and Vegetarian Society so you can be sure that what you are buying is as natural as possible.

Essential Bath Oil - For a deeply relaxing and heaven scented bath use this restorative and relaxing bath oil combining organic herbs, oils and essential oils.

Daytime Moisturiser - This easily absorbed moisturiser containing only jojoba oil, wheatgerm oil, rose petals and vanilla will leave your skin luminous and smelling good enough to eat!

Foot Balm - A must for tired feet this peppermint foot balm is soothing, softening and will soon have you bouncing down the street.

Night Time Extra - For some overnight wrinkle busting go for this wonderful balm full of potent natural ingredients.

Body Firming Oil - Firm and tone yourself the simple way with this body firming oil containing ingredients such as: green tea, kernel oil, sesame oil and wheatgerm oil.

Tried and tested: Living Nature Prescriptive Facial

Location: Float well being centre in Notting Hill, a haven of sublime tranquillity.
What is it? This facial utilises the deliciously natural Living Nature product range. These products use no artificial preservatives and only the purest of ingredients sourced from native New Zealand plants. The packaging is even recyclable. Your skin is cleansed and pampered with a honey mask and then pummelled into ultimate softness using a range of other products. Afterwards the therapist suggests potential products for your skin type.
Results: I am all for natural beauty products being a sensitive skinned soul myself and I am ever conscious of the damage many products can cause to our well-being and natural environment. Thus this facial was ideal for me. The manuka honey face-mask smelled so delectable I had to resist the urge to lick my lips. Hydrating oil with nourishing ingredients such as macadamia oil and jojoba re-hydrated my de-hydrated skin. This was topped off with a luscious moisturising cream. Living Nature products are a breath of fresh air in a largely inorganic beauty industry and this facial is the icing on the cake.
Cost: £.115 for 150 minutes.

To contact or for more information about Living Nature Products see or call 01794 323 222. To contact Float for a facial see or call 020 7727 7133.

Raw Gaia: Giving us body confidence

My favourite (I heart) ethical and organic beauty brand, Raw Gaia have re-launched their range of living, organic skincare products, removing any references to anti-ageing, wrinkles and rejuvenation from their labelling. This is to counteract the idea that getting older or having a few lines on our faces is somehow...well, disgusting.

We are constantly told by the media and marketing gurus that aging is a bad thing that makes us saggy, baggy, bad people and to be honest, that’s just not true. We are so used to seeing pictures of airbrushed models that we have forgotten what it means to look like a ‘normal’ human being.

The Managing Director of Raw Gaia, Lisa Lennon elaborates,

“We are constantly bombarded with images of the ‘perfect woman,’ that literally don’t exist. The problem is, this makes women feel inadequate, unhappy and unsure about themselves. I do not know of any woman who in confidence won’t admit that she feels unhappy about some part, or all, of her body, who would feel happier if she could change it. That is awful.”

It certainly is awful. Market research has shown that almost all women do not feel confident about the way their skin looks. This is exacerbated by the advertising industry and beauty product manufacturers who try to convince us that the signs of aging are unsightly.

Holding (and waving) the banner for making woman feel good about themselves, Raw Gaia have carefully scrutinised all their marketing literature to remove anything that would make women feel uncomfortable about their bodies. They have also provided consumer information on their website, detailing how to achieve a healthy complexion through nutrition, natural skincare and positive thinking. What is more, they create wonderfully organic, vegan and natural beauty products that are kind to your skin and the environment.
I think this is fantastic and I hope that other brands follow suit.

[via Hippyshopper]