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Rude Looks

Bodycare without the nasties

Natural bodycare ranges have really grown in recent years and now there’s real choice if you want to buy a moisturising lotion, body scrub, hand-made soap or shower gel. But why is natural best?


Always read the label

Vivienne Campbell BSc(Hons), MNIMH, is a medical herbalist. She treats clients, teaches herbal medicine and makes a 100% natural skincare range. “When it comes to cosmetics it’s vital that you check the label to ensure that products do not contain parabens, SLS, phthalates and other chemicals. Many products claim to be ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ but contain mostly synthetic ingredients. This is because there isn’t any legal standard for claiming to be ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ when it comes to cosmetics so consumers have to be vigilant.”

Does the skin absorb chemicals?

John Collins is co-founder of Irish Rain Cosmetics, a skincare range that uses natural ingredients. He also teaches t’ai chi and runs retreats. “Using natural chemical-free cosmetics as opposed to synthetic cosmetics helps ensure that we are not subjecting the body to chemicals that can have an adverse effect on our system. While people are becoming more conscious about what they are putting in their bodies, equally important is what we put on our bodies.”

Rebecca Goodyear is a natural lifestyle expert who writes an award-winning blog, Biteable Beauty “This is a highly debated topic, and one that is not black and white! There are many factors to consider – the size of the molecule, whether any penetration enhancers are in the product to assist, and so on. My personal advice is if you are not using 100% natural products, try and at least ensure the products you use in the bath and products you don’t wash off are natural.”

The best ingredients

Vivienne Campbell: “Genuinely natural cosmetics are made from ingredients such as plant butters and oils. They are nourishing and safe. Usually they have a shorter shelf-life than synthetic cosmetics because they don’t contain harsh preservatives. When it comes to cosmetics it’s just like food: the fresher the better.

“Shea butter is a natural plant butter, pressed out from the seeds of the karite tree. It is very moisturising and nourishing. Rosehip seed oil is a light, regenerative, non-greasy oil. Borage oil is rich in anti-inflammatory omega oils. Evening primrose has similar properties to borage oil. Avocado oil is a rich, heavy and nourishing oil. Vitamin E is renowned for its anti-ageing properties. Floral waters are naturally distilled from the plants and have their own delicate scents and therapeutic properties. Essential oils have many different properties e.g. lavender is soothing, geranium is rejuvenating, tea tree is antiseptic etc.”

John Collins: “Rooibos tea extract, one of the key ingredients in our facial serum has been historically used for its skin-healing properties, it is rich in anti-oxidants, zinc and is a powerful tool for anti-ageing.”

Rebecca Goodyear: “Natural products will often feature fats and oils from seeds, nuts and fruits that are rich in fatty acids and help to truly nourish the skin. Botanical extracts may be selected to aid certain skin complaints, such as calendula and chamomile, rosewater, and herbal extracts including rosemary, thyme and sage.”

Eczema relief

Vivienne Campbell: “In my experience the best cream for eczema is chickweed cream. It really soothes the skin and helps to relieve the itching. Or have an oat bath. Put some porridge oats into an old sock, tie over the tap of the bath then run the bath water through this. The water becomes cloudy and milky. Oats contain silica which softens the skin and helps to ease sore, irritated skin.”

Rebecca Goodyear: “There are some great products out there that help with eczema and contain skin health-promoting ingredients such as gentle, calming calendula; manuka honey, to guard against infection whilst healing; and soothing, nutrient-rich aloe vera. Keep the affected areas moisturised with a skin balm or cream with ingredients such as butters and oils from fruits and nuts. Liquorice root in products is an excellent and safe natural alternative to cortisone creams, as it reduces inflammation, offering pain and itch relief.”

John Collins: “Rooibos tea is a natural healer for eczema. Aloe vera is great for soothing the skin and calendula is perfect for dry, chapped skin.”

Cellulite busters

Vivienne Campbell: “To reduce cellulite you can’t beat a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, if you are still struggling with it then essential oils that improve lymphatic function and stimulate circulation can help. Try oils such as rosemary, lime, lemon, grapefruit, geranium and ginger. You could add a total of six drops to a bath or blend your own massage oil using these essential oils in your favourite base oil.”

Rebecca Goodyear: “For cellulite look for fat-busting and stimulating ingredients such as ivy, horse chestnut, grapefruit, hyaluronic acid and squalene.”

John Collins: “For cellulite dry brushing is great. It’s important to realise that there is no magic potion that will do everything.”

www.irishrain.org
Check out Vivienne Campbell’s skincare range at www.empresscosmetics.com and herbal work at www.theherbalhub.com

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