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Rude Wonders

Ask Away: independent health store advice on natural toiletries

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Helena Murphy, manager of Loop de Loop in Castletownbere, Co. Cork about natural toiletries, personal care products and feminine hygiene

Hand soap, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorants, shampoos and moisturisers are just some bathroom products we use on a daily basis. These can be filled with chemicals, many of which are not good for us. So how can you avoid or minimise your exposure to these chemicals?

Always read labels and consider the ingredients in the products. Switch to more natural products, especially ones that have some organic ingredients. Your local health food store will stock a wide range of products that will be more natural, organic and contain less chemicals.

Natural deodorants are a good place to start. Most deodorants contain aluminium, a metal used to make things such as foil, drink cans, boats and planes. Aluminium plugs your sweat ducts and prevents you from sweating, which is your body’s natural process of removing toxins from your system through your skin. A good place to start is by choosing an aluminium-free deodorant. There are plenty of options out there with lovely scents or even unscented to suit you.

Try to find a good natural soap or body wash for the shower with few ingredients or more natural organic ingredients. By doing this you are cutting a lot of the nasty chemicals out. Remember your skin absorbs 60% of what you put on it, so the less chemicals the better.

Another product is shampoo. Your local health food store will have plenty of options to choose from – some are made with essential oils and there are plenty of different formulations for your hair type too. There is also a wide range of children’s and baby shampoos to start the next generation off the more natural way.

Oral care is so important but do we realise the chemicals that are in toothpaste? There are plenty of fluoride-free options available and more natural toothpastes are made from ingredients such as mint, silica, neem, plant gels and salt.

Increasing numbers of health stores are stocking more natural make-up, hair dyes and nail varnish. Choosing natural cosmetics is a great way to avoid putting nasty chemicals on your skin.

Tampons and sanitary pads can contain a lot of chemicals and now you can choose from organic brands with no added chemicals.

Who's who and what’s what in Loop de Loop

Loop de Loop opened in December 2006 in Castletownbere, Co Cork with stalwarts Frederica Lecain and Claire O’Neill as staff. Four years ago manager Helena Murphy joined the team.

“We’re up a bit from the main square and beside the post office,” says Helena. “We get tourists doing the Wild Atlantic Way in the summer, but in the main our customers are locals.

“We have a wide range of customers right from mothers looking for natural remedies and vitamins for their children, to older people looking for health foods and supplements. We know our customers really well and will order in anything for them that we don’t have in.

“About a third of the shop is food and we sell a wide range of dried, tinned and prepacked foods including legumes, spices, cereals, oats, superfoods such as wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, goji berries and maca. We have a fridge and a freezer stocked with milk alternatives, cheese, soya butter, coconut oil, tofu, vegan alternatives and speciality breads.

“We pick the best supplements from a number of ranges. We have a massive range of herbal teas to suit any situation. Our eco cleaning ranges are popular and we do a lot of natural cosmetics including make-up, skincare products and bathing products as well as essential oils.

“We have a therapy room upstairs where customers can get massage therapy or acupuncture treatments. Nutritional therapists and Irish Heart Health come in to talk to customers and about every two weeks we hold tastings for any new edible products.”

Visit: Bank Place, Castletownbere, Co. Cork
Look for: Local honeys, local seaweed spaghetti, handmade candles and jewellery.
Speak to: Frederica, Helena and Claire.

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