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Summer splash

Dive into summer looking your best from top to toe and without a chemical in sight. Here’s to natural beauty...

Stunning summer hair

“Avoid using foaming products and shampoos with sodium laurel sulfate as an ingredient,” says holistic health and beauty tutor Mary Berkery – Intelligent Nutrients. “Where hair grows on the body, pores are more open resulting in more absorption of toxic products into the blood stream.”

“There are many natural shampoos on the market made with mild, gentle foaming agents that clean effectively without causing irritation and inflammation of the scalp,” according to Ian Taylor, cosmetic scientist at natural beauty company Green People. “Many of these include active ingredients to soften and condition the hair, to repair damage caused by UV rays, to help protect against free-radical damage and to restore shine and lustre.”

“Whether you want to cover grey, update your look for summer or revitalise and condition dry lifeless hair, try a henna semi-permanent hair colour,” says Sundara O’Higgins of Nourish in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. “Henna is packed full of nourishing natural and exotic herbs and fruits and 100% toxin free. Argan oil can be used as a moisturiser, conditioner and softener for skin and hair. Simply warm a drop in between your palms and rake through your hair, paying special attention to the ends. It contains vitamin A, vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids.”

“I like to do a conditioning treatment once a week using a natural oil product before I wash my hair,” says Nancy Flexman of Eats of Eden in Limerick.

Fabulous feet

“If you get cracked skin or calluses on your heels, just apply a balm immediately after showering,” says Nancy Flexman. “If you do this every time you shower, you should never have to file down calluses again, except maybe for the first time.”

“Go barefoot! Allow feet to breathe this summer while connecting to earth’s vitality,” says Mary Berkery. “Get a regular foot reflexology session to assist in breaking down lactic acid build-up on reflex zones in the feet. A real health boost.”

“Magnesium flakes or Epsom salts are a fantastic way to soothe tired aching feet, soften rough skin, remove odour, heal cuts, draw toxins from the body and relax the nervous system,” according to Sundara O’Higgins. “Mix a half-cup of Epsom salts with warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes. Afterwards why not make your own foot and body scrub by mixing half a cup of brown or white sugar with a quarter cup of coconut oil, a few drops of vitamin E oil and essential oils such as grapefruit, lemon myrtle, peppermint or lavender. Mix together and store in an airtight jar for future use.”

Bye bye foundation

Why not try Bb Cream – a moisturising cream with light coverage that evens out skintone and hides imperfections. Choose one packed with skin-loving minerals such as Vitamin C for collagen production and Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that repairs and protects, many also have natural SPF.

Did you know?

“Perspiration is a natural form of elimination that should not be blocked. Deodorants work by decreasing the growth of bacteria that causes odour – they do not block perspiration. Deodorants are a healthier choice than antiperspirants, and a natural product is far better in this delicate area.” - Nancy Flexman

Sun protection

“Vitamin D is the one essential nutrient that’s linked to getting routine sun exposure,” according to Mary Berkery. “The body and skin needs a certain amount of sun – 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a day before 11am or after 3pm will create all the vitamin D you need.”

“In Ireland we can only make vitamin D from April to August, so don’t miss your chance by keeping yourself permanently slathered with sunscreen,” says Nancy Flexman. “The rule of thumb is that if you are taller than your shadow, you can make vitamin D. This is in the middle of the day and the more skin you expose, the more vitamin D you can make in less time.”

“Most experts now believe that SPF15 provides adequate protection for most people, with higher levels of SPF30 for children and people who are especially sun-sensitive,” says Ian Taylor. “You need to reapply every 2-3 hours to maintain protection. Properly applied, an SPF15 product will filter out 93% of UVB, and an SPF30 will filter out 97% of UVB. Higher SPF levels offer very little extra protection.”

“There is some evidence to suggest that some chemicals used in chemical sunscreens are linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage and can be absorbed into the body,” says Sundara O’Higgins. “When choosing a sunscreen make sure there is always UVB and UVA protection. UVB rays are primarily responsible for causing sunburn, and UVA leads to premature ageing and sun damage, but all contribute to the development of skin cancer.

“Mineral sun filter creams don’t penetrate the skin, they sit on the surface and deflect the sun rays,” says Sabina Jennings of Skin Health Clinic, Bandon, Co Clare. “They contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide and are effective immediately after application. Be sensible – never allow your skin to burn.”

Stubble-free summer

“For hair removal there are many natural shaving oils available with essential oils such as lavender, tea tree and rosemary which help prevent razor bumps and irritation,” says Sundara O’Higgins. “They also contain cooling menthol which leaves the skin feeling fresh and smooth as well as aloe vera to calm any redness. My favourite natural shaving gels are made from organic shikakai, sugar, grape juice and nurturing essential oils combined with castile soap. Shikakai has been used for hundreds of years in India as a gentle and nourishing cleanser for both skin and hair.”

Did you know?

“The skin is our largest organ and it’s estimated that it will absorb 60% of what is applied on it. What is often ignored is that it’s not selective between toxic or nourishing ingredients.” - Sabina Jennings

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