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Cleanly does it

Keeping clean and hygienic is at the forefront of everyone's minds at the moment. Natural toiletries and personal care products will keep your family clean and be kind to skin and hair too

Clean hands and body

“Soaps can be drying on the skin and can strip away the skin’s natural moisture barrier as they contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a chemical that causes skin irritations and reactions,” says Ingrid Hume of beauty company Pravera. “Using a natural and organic soap formulated with organic oils and plant-based ingredients will cleanse the skin, keeping hands soft. Many health stores stock a range of certified natural and organic hand soap.”

“Conventional soaps usually contain ingredients like mineral oils, SLS, artificial fragrances and harsh preservatives,” says Niamh Larkin, beauty specialist at Evergreen in Mainguard St, Galway. “Natural versions are better as they are not only kinder to the skin but are made with biodegradable ingredients. Natural soaps contain foaming agents that are derived from plant and vegetable sources, with fragrances coming from essential oils and plant extracts. They are made from oils and butters that nourish the skin as well as gently cleansing.”

Eco skincare

“Conventional exfoliators often use plastic or man-made scrubbing ingredients to allow for a cheaper price point,” says Niamh Larkin. “Even though Ireland has recently banned the use of microbeads in all cosmetics, if you are ordering a scrub online you may be contributing to plastic pollution of our oceans. To avoid this always read the label, and buy natural brands you know you can trust. Natural companies will use ingredients like nuts, seeds, sugar or salt in their exfoliators instead of plastics, to keep your skin looking radiant without costing the earth.”

Clean kids

Introduce good hygiene habits in your children from a young age – that way they will wash their hands when in others’ homes and out in the world. Show them how to wet their hands in clean water, then get soapy, next rub together while they sing Happy Birthday in their head twice, rinse under clean running water, shake and dry.

Natural moisturiser

“Many conventional moisturisers contain parabens as a preservative - these can disrupt the hormone function by mimicking oestrogen,” says Ingrid Hume. “Parabens can also penetrate into the skin and cause irritation. Natural preservatives include benzyl alcohol.”

“Conventional moisturisers by big brand names are often over 60% water with added unnecessary ingredients like mineral oils, parabens and synthetic fragrances,” says Niamh Larkin. “Natural moisturisers are usually rich in nourishing oils and butters, paraben-free and fragranced with essential oils. They leave the skin feeling silky smooth with a radiant glow, and genuinely benefit the skin with long-term use."

Make your own natural body scrub

An essential oil salt body scrub is an excellent way to exfoliate, energise and help to detoxify your skin. It’s so easy and affordable to make and free from any nasty or undesirable additives leaving your skin thoroughly moisturised:

  • 6tbsp Epsom Salts
  • 6tbsp sweet almond oil (or other vegetable oils)
  • 30 drops (total) essential oils *(For sensitive skin types, children or pregnancy use 15 drops)

Relax/calm blend

  • Lavender – 10 drops; roman camomile – 5 drops; imortelle or carrot seed – 15 drops

Revitalise/detox blend

  • Geranium – 15 drops; juniper berry – 10 drops; grapefruit – 5 drops

For best results apply to dry skin, massage the body gently and rinse off in the shower. Store in a glass container and use within 8 weeks.

By Ellen Cox of Irish essential oil company Atlantic Aromatics

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