Trying to make good choices with your skincare but confused about those ingredients? Cancer causing, endocrine disruptors, skin irritants?! How do you sift the rumour from fact?
We have talked previously about some of the flower and botanical oils that we love - so what about ingredients we choose not to use? And why all the confusion?
We think this is crucial when thinking about what to put on our skins - especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher from product labels what is in your favourite potions and lotions, the legislation around what can be described as 'organic' being very lax and the word 'natural' can mean that a tiny 1% only of the total ingredients may be natural. As more and more main stream companies cotton on to the fact that organic and natural beauty mean big bucks, so more effort goes into bigging up their green credentials on their labels.*
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its variants are essentially detergents that are found in a huge proportion of bath and shampoo products on your bathroom shelf. What makes SLS/SLES so appealing to most of us is their ability to form bubbles - they are the principal ingredient in bubble baths and shower gels for that exact reason, and who doesn't love sinking into a bath full of bubbles!
But there is a catch; they are known skin irritants, drying out the skin and causing irritation. They do not effect everyone to the same degree, some individuals will have no problems at all and others will find their skin becomes irritated; you will need to decide what works with your skin. There are milder alternatives on the market, or avoid the SLS completely and plump for one our organic cleansing bars or a luxurious bath oil!
It is also worth pointing out that there are other questions raised over the use of SLS/SLES - everything from concerns over them being contaminated by carcinogenic pollutants, and being damaging to the liver, lungs and immune system. There are also a lot of counter arguments to these, disputing such claims. What we do know is that SLS and SLES can both irritate skin - not all but some. Ultimately there is lots of further discussion out there, and it is up to you to make up your own mind about what you are happy to put on to your own skin.
*At The Rose Tree, for each product that we sell, we stipulate which of our ingredients are organic and give a total organic percentage to make it as clear as possible for you!
Soap has become a dirty word. It has fallen from favour and become the poor relation of skincare - soap is far too drying to use on your delicate skin, soap is harsh, soap strips the natural oils from the skin...
Sound familiar? There is some truth to these accusations - especially for many of the neat little wrapped packages of soap on sale at your local chemist or supermarket.
But I am not talking about the soap you can buy off the shelf in your high street, but rather natural organic soap or cleansing bars which are hand made.
There is a world of difference between the two! Have a look at the labels in your supermarket and you will see that actually many of these bars of 'soap' are actually harsh detergents with unpronounceable synthetic lathering agents, colours and scents. The good stuff, the stuff that you would actually want to use on your skin has been removed.
Soap manufacturers regularly remove the glycerine that is naturally produced during the soap making process (the chemical term for this process is saponification), as glycerine is a valuable commodity that can be sold on at a profit to be used on other cosmetic products like moisturisers and creams. (We don't!)
Real soap by comparison is made from pure butters and oils, water and lye. (And I am not talking about using the ready made up blocks of 'melt and pour' soap here).
It takes time to make soap the traditional way which is more expensive, taking weeks, sometimes months for the soap to cure before it is ready to be used.
But we firmly believe that the benefits outweigh the time taken; you get the beautiful properties of the plant oils used in the soap - mild and nourishing organic olive oil, luxurious almond oil for a rich and creamy lather, the conditioning properties of organic apricot oil..
Natural organic soap can be a life saver for problems and sensitive skins. Gentle and nourishing, it will work with your skin type, hydrating and moisturising non- irritating, working with your skin's natural defences. And you get therapeutic benefits of the essential oils used. Try it - you will never go back to a regular bar of soap I promise!
Find our own Apricot Geranium Cleansing bar here.
It's that time of the year when bare skin becomes a thing of the past (at least until the sunny days return) and opaque tights make a reappearance in our wardrobes. It also means that the twin perils of freezing air and central heating play havoc with our skin; even oily skins start feeling dry and dry skin takes on the texture of paper. So it becomes ever more important to up your game when it comes to your organic skincare regime.
For your body avoid any type of cleansing product that will strip your skin of the little precious oil it does have. Gentle is the watch word here - a natural organic soap or cleansing bar is good. Made with pure vegetable oils and scented with flower and plant oils, it will clean your skin super gently, and the naturally forming glycerine will help attract moisture to your skin. And not a harsh detergent (SLS) in sight! (See our organic cleansing bars here).
Another good option is an organic body scrub. Gently exfoliating skin, will leave it radiantly soft and hydrated - and better able to further drink in more moisture. Or a super hydrating body oil is a good bet. Gone are the days when you would end up feeling like an oil slick, today's oil blends are moisturising and quick - absorbing.
The best facial cleanser is a rich, hydrating product, eg, something in the form of an organic cleansing butter or oil. It takes a few moments longer to apply and remove - but is very gentle and nourishing. If that does not appeal, and you are happier with a quicker wash off product, again think about a handmade organic soap, we have our own with precious apricot and almond oils here.
And finally look to upgrade your organic face cream. You want something that will hydrate and plump up your skin - and which makes any make up you wear look great. For dry or older skins, a luxurious cream is probably your best bet (our best seller is our Radiance Cream with Rose & Frankincense). If you prefer something a little lighter, you could consider a facial oil, which I covered in a previous blog.
Don't forget now is the time to start dropping not so subtle hints if you are after a Christmas organic skincare gift set! We will even help the man in your life out and beautifully gift box anything you pick free of charge.
What are your winter skincare tips? We'd love to hear.