The Instagram logo

Close for comfort

Natural period solutions, intimate wipes, deodorants, cleansers and moisturisers that are kind to your body

Toiletries are among the most impactful products on the environment, considering most of what we use does eventually end up in the ocean or landfill,” says Niamh Larkin, beauty specialist at health store Evergreen in Mainguard St, Galway. “With this in mind, many are now leaning toward plastic-free and reusable bathroom bits. All your bathroom essentials can now be sourced from eco-friendly, reputable brands who go the extra mile for the environment.

“Yes there really is an effective and healthier alternative to chemical-laden toiletry products,” agrees Leanne Stephenson, beauty consultant with Pravera. “This is a better option than products with toxic chemical laden ingredients such as SLS, sulfates, parabens, silicons and synthetic fragrances and colours which can aggravate the skin, causing skin irritations, redness and sensitivity and may cause further health problems.”

Your skincare basics

“A natural and organic moisturiser will enhance the skin’s function,” says Leanne Stephenson. “With the addition of all-natural ingredients and without ingredients such as parabens or mineral oils the skin will increase hydration, nourishment and moisture levels and prevent the skin from drying out.

“Many skin cleansers and shower gels are made with harsh detergents and foaming agents which can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. Using a natural and organic alternative with a mild washing surfactant derived from coconuts will provide a toxic-free experience to your daily shower or bath routine. It is essential to make sure you choose skincare products that are enriched with natural and organic ingredients, that will not only protect your skin but also your health. Also look out for brands that are certified natural and organic.”

“Always check ingredient lists for the usual nasties like SLS, SLeS, parabens, mineral oils and phthalates in moisturisers and cleansers,” says Niamh Larkin. “Natural skincare is kind to skin and the environment – it may cost a bit more but your skin is worth investing in.”

Sweat it

“Regular conventional deodorants or antiperspirants are worse for your health than natural deodorants,” says Leanne Stephenson. “They contain harmful ingredients such as tricolsan and aluminium compounds. Aluminium compounds found in conventional deodorants block the sweat duct in the underarm and stop the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface which then forces toxins to flow back into the bloodstream. These toxins can cause skin sensitivity, irritations and rashes. Natural deodorants contain ingredients that can help absorb moisture and do not block the sweat ducts. Look out for natural deodorants that include natural anti-bacterial ingredients such as tea tree. Shop for products that are paraben free or certified natural/organics.”

“Conventional deodorants contain aluminium chloride which prevents sweating by entering the pores, causing them to swell and prohibiting them from perspiring,” says Niamh Larkin. “Even though nobody wants to smell like sweat, we need our bodies to release these toxins, and preventing your body from doing so can lead to a number of health issues. Natural deodorants are not anti-perspirant, meaning that when you use them you will still sweat, but the odour will be controlled. They contain ingredients like bicarbonate of soda to neutralise odours, essential oils to create a pleasant aroma and arrowroot powder to absorb excess moisture. It can take your body a while to adjust to a natural deodorant after years of using conventional ones, but trust the process and your body will thank you.”

Period solutions

“Around 12 billion pads and seven billion tampons end up in landfill every year, which I’m sure we can all agree is outrageous,” says Niamh Larkin. “Not only are the numbers staggering, but they are also completely avoidable. There are period cups available which last the user up to five years, so contribute not only to less rubbish in landfill but also big savings. Reusable pads are also gaining popularity, not to mention period knickers – there really is no excuse to continue the huge plastic waste that occurs due to single use sanitary items.”

“Natural period solutions such as certified cotton pads and tampons, period cups, and period pants are better for us and the planet,” says Leanne Stephenson.

“Certified cotton sanitary products take five to six months to decompose in a compost pile, however regular pads and tampons, which contain plastic, can take up to four lifetimes to decompose. The plastic can also irritate our intimate areas. Period cups and period pants can be washed and reused repeatedly. Saving money and the planet at the same time.”

Wipe it away

“Face wipes are convenient, but conventional face wipes may contain plastic and a whole host of toxic chemicals,” says Leanne Stephenson.

“Intimate wipes are pre-moistened towelettes for use on intimate areas,” says Niamh Larkin. “They are usually pH balanced and gentle enough to use on the most sensitive regions. Some women use them as a quick means of freshening up or to ease discomfort or itchiness. These issues can be addressed with specific (wipe-free) products for the eco-conscious. If a wipe is absolutely necessary for personal preference however, there are natural biodegradable varieties available from most health stores.”

“The good news is that there are natural alternatives on the market,” says Leanne Stephenson. “Many natural alternatives are made from soft renewable plant fibres and natural plant extracts to effectively remove make up and control oil production on the skin.”

Articles from our latest issue...