The Many Uses of Egyptian Magic

The Many Uses of Egyptian Magic

The Many Uses of Egyptian Magic

It’s official – we’re in love with Egyptian Magic. You can use it for so many things, and the ingredients are great. Here’s what’s in it:Honey, Beeswax, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, Bee Propolis.

Simple ingredients, but you can do so much with it. Here’s our favourites:

Nappy Rash Cream

Smear a bit on sore baby bums to soothe and heal. The beeswax means that you can even use it as a barrier cream at every nappy change.

Moisturiser

Use Egyptian Magic as a general moisturiser. It melts really easily into the skin, so you can apply a thin layer really easily.

Lip Balm

Pop a bit on your lips before you go to sleep at night and you’ll wake up with smooth, moisturised kissers. Use it throughout the day to help prevent chapping and dryness.

Eye Cream

Pat just the tiniest bit of this around your eyes before you go to bed. There’s two of us in the Hello Charlie team doing this and we swear by it. Better than eye cream, and I don’t get any irritations from Egyptian Magic.

Intensive Face Mask

Put a generous layer on your face, leave it for half an hour, and then remove with a hot cloth. Bliss! Plus, deeply moisturised skin. You could also put it on under makeup if you know you’re going to be facing the elements – cold days especially.

Cuticle Cream

Rub a bit into your cuticles at night just before you go to sleep. No more dry, catchy cuticles in the morning. If you’re thinking that we slather this lovely pretty liberally before bed, you’d be right! I even use it in my next tip …

Cracked Heels

Yep, rub some Egyptian Magic into your heels, pop on a pair of socks and you’ll wake up in the morning with summer-ready feet.

Remove Makeup

Rub gently over your eyelid until makeup goes runny, then wipe off with a cotton pad or wet facewasher. Do the same with the rest of your face. As a bonus, you probably won’t need to moisturise after, unless you’ve got super dry skin.

Even more ideas …

  • Use it on breasts, belly and thighs during pregnancy to prevent stretchmarks.
  • If you get a tattoo done, use some on the tattoo to help with healing and to reduce scabbing.
  • Apparently it’s been used in the US by plastic surgeons to help reduce scars.
  • It’s also apparently great on eczema. There are no fragrances, so unless you’re allergic to bee products, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.
  • Use it as a replacement for Vaseline. No petrochemicals in Egyptian Magic, but there’s just as many ways to use it.
  • Use it as a hair treatment. You can even use it very sparingly to tame flyaway ends. Not too much, though, or you’ll end up looking oily.
  • Use it to set your eyebrows.

So there you have it – heaps of reasons why we love Egyptian Magic. What are your favourite uses for it?

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Fresca Natural Deodorants – Reviewed

Fresca Natural Deodorants - Reviewed!

Fresca Natural Deodorants - Reviewed!For many people switching to natural products, deodorant is the one thing that they’re scared to change. No one wants to stink! I’ve tried heaps of natural deodorants over the years, with varying degrees of success. I know now that you need to be patient, as it’ll take a couple of weeks for your body to adjust to a natural deodorant, especially if you’ve been using anti-perspirants for years.

Still, some natural deodorants work better than others, so before we’ll stock any at Hello Charlie, I give them a whirl first. When I spotted the Fresca Natural Deodorants, I was pretty keen to check them out.

I’ve given the Fresca deodorants a good run, and I’ve got to tell you – it’s a winner.

Fresca deodorants are all hand made in Western Australia, they’re 100% aluminium free and they’re made with all natural ingredients. Here’s what the ingredients list looks like for the Citrus one:

Ingredients:Purified water, aerated salt (saleratus), vegetable gum, essential oils of grapefruit peel, lime fruit peel, tangerine, mandarin, neroli, verbena, chamomile and geranium.

Saleratus is just another name for bicarbonate of soda, and it’s great odour buster. There’s some lovely fresh essential oils there, some water and some vegetable gum so that it’s thick enough to roll on, rather than spray on.

The essential oils in the citrus one are safe to use in pregnancy, too, although not all the scents are so it’s worth checking before you buy one. I’ve had a sniff of the other scents, and they all smell pretty good. There’s unisex, unscented and some more floral ones. All the ingredients are good, so Fresca passes the first test.

Fresca deodorants don’t test on animals, they’re vegan and cruelty free. So that’s all good.

But the real test – does it work?

I took it to Queensland with me when I went to the Byron Bay Bluesfest. I put it on before I left the house, and when I got home very late that night after dancing my socks off in crowds half the day – no stink.

I’ve recently taken up ballet, and that’s a tough work out, let me tell you. I’ve worn it to every class, and guess what? No stink.

I’ve been for a run wearing it, and guess what? No stink.

There’s no alcohol, so it doesn’t sting even when you apply it to freshly shaved skin. It doesn’t leave white marks on my clothes, even if I put my shirt on while the Fresca is still wet. I’ve got to tell you, I’m impressed.

So if you’re thinking of ditching the anti-perspirants and switching to a natural deodorant, I can highly recommend Fresca to you.

We’re now stocking the range of Fresca Natural deodorants over at Hello Charlie, so hop on over and check them out!

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Toxic Beauty – Deodorants

Toxic Beauty - Deodorant

Toxic Beauty - Deodorant

Deodorants and anti perspirants are one of those personal care products you use on autopilot, every single day without much thought. Does it prevent body odour? Yup. Does it stop you perspiring? Yup. OK great, if that’s covered then it’s back to the hundred and one other things you need to think about.

Stop! Think about what’s in these products, and what it’s doing to your body.

Sweating is a natural function of our bodies.  We sweat in order to maintain our body temperature and keep us cool, as well as releasing  toxins. So it makes sense that if you stop something from working naturally, you’re going to have consequences. Blocking perspiration and the release of toxins means that we get a build up of toxins, and you end up smelling worse than ever. Then you cover that up with a whole heap of synthetic and toxic ingredients, which you apply to delicate and sensitive skin – your armpits. The smells get worse, and you use more and more deodorant and anti-perspirant to try and fix it.

What’s the problem with deodorants?

There are concerns about the possible links between the use of deodorants and breast cancer. Lots of studies have been done, but there’s no definitive answer yet. have led to numerous studies exploring the possibility. The jury may be out a conclusive link, but this study looking at the location of cancers in the breast shows that the number of cancers diagnosed closer to the armpit almost doubled between the ’30’s and the 90’s.

More alarming are studies confirming the presence of aluminium in breast tissue, including a higher content of aluminium on the outside of the breast closer to the underarm. There’s evidence in this study  that skin is permeable to aluminium when applied as an antiperspirant.

What’s in deodorants and anti-perspirants that make them so bad for you?

Aluminium, propylene glycol, parabens and triclosan are the key toxins to watch out for. Like many personal care ingredients, manufacturers argue that the amounts in the products are too small to cause problems. The problem is that the effects of small amounts of toxins over an extended period of time are simply unknown.

What do these ingredients do?

Studies sponsored by major deodorant manufacturers state that aluminium only covers the outside of the skin. This isn’t what the cancer prevention journals  and dermatologists say. They explain the same process, where aluminium ions are drawn into the cells that line the top layer of the skin, water is drawn in and cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat cannot get out.

There are other concerns that aluminium can build up in the nervous system, and there are many consistent studies linking aluminium ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer.

The other problem is that many studies only look at the effects of using only one or two chemicals at the same time, not the multitude of chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis.

Propylene glycol is a petroleum based penetration enhancer also used to prevent products from drying out, which when paired with harmful chemicals can increase their absorption.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent used in many consumer products. It’s been linked to fertility issues, birth defects, allergies in children and liver toxicity, as well as contributing to the rise of super bugs.

Parabens are used as preservatives, and there are concerns that they are endocrine disruptors which may interfere with male reproductive functions.

Then there’s fragrance. Manufacturers don’t have to list ingredients in perfume, as it’s considered to be commercially sensitive. There are 3,100 stock chemicals that can be used in perfumes, so how do you know what you’re actually buying?

What’s the alternative to toxic deodorants and anti perspirants?

Aluminium is an element found practically everywhere – in our drinking water, food and kitchen utensils, pharmaceuticals and more. But it shouldn’t be used near the sensitive skin of your armpits and breasts.

Fortunately, there are heaps of natural deodorants available these days. Sure, some work better than others, and it might take you a while to find one that you love and that works for you. But when there are so many concerns about the ingredients in standard deodorants, this really is one area of your personal care regime that you need to clean up!

If you’re looking for a great range of natural deodorants, check out Hello Charlie’s Safer Deodorant Cheat Sheets, and shop here.

Image credit: Metro Centric on Flickr

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Toxic Beauty – Nail Polish

Toxic Beauty - Nail Polish

Toxic Beauty - Nail Polish

There’s a reason that your nostrils twitch and wrinkle and shrivel up when you walk within 15 feet of a nail salon. You know that chemical-y smell? It’s a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

You wouldn’t think that such scary nail polish could be sold on shelves all over the country – and not just sold – but flying off the shelves! We do have strict laws in Australia. But they’re labeling laws. Companies do not actually have to alert consumers to the possible risks around the ingredients and chemicals used in such products – they’re only obliged to label them. On top of that, chemicals that have been banned from nail polishes in Europe are still considered safe in Australia. Do you really want to take the risk?

So whilst we patiently wait for the science to travel ever-so-slowly from Europe (by boat, it seems, or possibly a message in a bottle), we’re going to help you learn more about the dangers of toxic nail polish. We’ll outline what look for, and where to find less toxic nail polish or pregnancy safe nail polish.

The most toxic ingredients to watch out for are these three:

  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene

Two more chemicals that are at the very least a skin irritant, with potential toxicity are:

  • Formaldehyde resin
  • Camphor

And because we’re not even sure how to pronounce some of these properly, let alone remember them, there’s a fantastic term that has emerged for summarizing safe nail polishes into what’s known as either three-free nail polishes or five-free nail polishes. Which, sadly, is not a giveaway, but is a nail polish that is free of either the top three chemicals, or the top five chemicals mentioned above. Butter London was one of the first companies to use the term.

What’s the risk with nail polish?

When the list of risks of these known carcinogens and toxins include cancer risks, developmental issues in babies and children, birth defects, asthma, hormone disruptors, nervous system damage and skin irritation, you can see why there is cause for concern. In fact, there’s enough cause for concern for the European Union, the United States and Canada to impose precautionary bans on such products in children’s toys, whilst further studies are undertaken to reach a more conclusive result. How many of us have played dress ups with the kiddies, painting a little nail polish deemed acceptable for adults but not for children who are still developing?

See, there’s what the ACCC has classified as a ‘safe’ or prescribed amount of these chemicals in products that pass the test for acceptable levels, taking into consideration its absorption and excretion rate, breaking down and being metabolized by the human body. But formaldehyde, for example, is also found in ‘safe’ levels in some textiles and clothing, household cleaning products, shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, cleansers, hair straightening solutions, timber materials, wall papers and plastics. How many of those do you come into contact with on a daily basis? Perhaps enough to perhaps surpass the ‘acceptable’ exposure limits? Thought so. Changes your perspective, doesn’t it?

The ACCC has also ruled that nail hardeners may have a much higher ‘safe’ limit for free formaldehyde, for example, compared to many other cosmetics. Nails are quite porous, so it’s not just the nervous nail-biters that are at risk here. There is blood flow directly under the nail beds where toxins can travel through to the bloodstream. Yet somehow, where 0.2 percent of formaldehyde is permitted in your facial cleansers, up to 5% is permitted in your nails, where there’s a pathway to the bloodstream. So how much do you really trust the current research?

What’s the alternative to toxic nail polish?

But this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your glamorous ways. Not even in the slightest. Because when enough people raise concern, something magical happens. New products emerge. The consumers speak and the manufacturers listen. So three free nail polishes and five free nail polishes entered the market. Remember that these terms don’t necessarily mean that they’re non-toxic. Nail polish should definitely be an occasional use product, but there are better choices out there.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • RGB (five free)
  • Pure Poppet (five free)
  • Honeybee Gardens (five free)
  • Scotch Naturals (five free)
  • Acquarella (five free)
  • Butter London (three free)

Oh, and another thing – avoid nail salons. Very, very few of them use low toxin nail polish, and the air in those places is enough to make you sick. Save the manicures for home!

 

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Crystal deodorants – are they safe?

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub – Reviewed

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub - Reviewed

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub - Reviewed

I’ve been lazy, I’ll admit it. I’ve been meaning to try the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub for a while, but then I grabbed another tube of the same old facial scrub I’ve been using for a year or so. I wasn’t even that happy with the one I’d been using, because of a couple of questionable ingredients, but sometimes it’s just easier to go with what you know. Then I ran out of that one a couple of weeks ago, and still didn’t get around to buying the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub until yesterday.

So I haven’t scrubbed my face properly in a couple of weeks, until I jumped in the shower this morning with the Acure scrub. And all I can say is – why did I wait so long?

I love it – the smell is gentle and fresh, and not at all fake (the fragrance comes from essential oils) and it’s definitely not overpowering.

You don’t need to use much of the scrub at all. I was surprised at how little I needed. I put a dot about as large as a 10c piece in my palm, and exfoliated my face, my chest, the tops of my shoulders and both arms with this amount. Clearly, you only need a tiny bit if you’re just doing your face, which makes it very economical, too.

It was a little bit more drying than I’m used to, but then I have super-dry skin. I jumped out of the shower and immediately applied a serum, then my usual moisturiser and my face was fine – not dry at all.

The chlorella, chlorophyll and sea kelp make it a spinach-y green, and the French green clay and lemon really help to scrub.

But the best thing was how much better my skin felt and looked! It has been a couple of weeks, and I usually exfoliate twice a week, so my skin was looking a bit rough. A bit of a polish with the Brightening Facial Scrub, though, and it was good as new! My skin feels so much smoother and fresher.

I love exfoliating – it removes dry and dead skin cells, and gets rid of dirt and blackheads (especially for oily skin). And now it seems that I have a new love – the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub!

Ingredients: Organic Curoxidant™ Blend [(Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry,  Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Fair Trade Organic Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)], Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile), Organic Aloe Barbensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, French Green Clay, Organic Lemon Peel Granules, Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Cellulose Gum (Vegetable), Organic Olea Europaea (Olive Oil), Organic Ascophyllum Nodosum (Sea Kelp), Theobromo Cacao (Cocoa) Powder, Organic Chlorella Pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Chlorophyll, Glucono Delta Lactone (Fermented Sugar), Carageenan, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Potassium Sorbate (Food Grade Preservative), Essential Oil Blend of Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Mentha Spicata (Spearmint).

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Handcream Smackdown – we review natural handcreams

natural handcreams tried and tested

natural handcreams tried and testedWelcome to the first of the Hello Charlie product smackdowns, where we’ll test out a heap of products and let you know what works best, and why.

This month, it’s hand creams. And because it’s Hello Charlie, we’re looking at natural handcreams without the nasties, that will give you great moisturisation and take care of your cuticles as well.

I have to admit that I have a real thing about dry hands. Hate them. And because I also have a bit of a thing about clean hands I’m constantly washing them. Add to this my super dry skin,  and hand cream is just about the one skincare item I use most. Oh, and lip balm. But that’s a story for another day.

So I’ve been using A’kin Hand & Nail Cream for years. I have multiple tubes all over the place – hand bag, bedside table, kitchen sink, desk, car … you get the picture. But I’m getting more and more icky about using products with phenoxyethanol in them, and my beloved A’kin has phenoxyethanol. So for the last few months I’ve been on the hunt for a natural hand cream that I can use throughout the day.

I grabbed a couple of decent looking natural handcreams at my local chemist, and I put a couple of the Hello Charlie ones to the test.

Badger Cuticle Balm

$14.95 for 21 g (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Essential Oils of *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium), *Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin), *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), *Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom), *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Verbenone), *Litsea Cubeba (Litsea), and CO2 Extracts of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) & *Zingiber Officinale (Ginger). * = Certified Organic

Pros:Badger Cuticle Balm

  • 100% USDA certified organic
  • Ingredients are fab
  • It’s USA made and cruelty free
  • Smells great
  • Really works!

Cons:

  • Too greasy for your whole hands (but that’s not really what it’s about)

Love this! We’ve been stocking the Badger Cuticle Care for a while at Hello Charlie, but I hadn’t actually tried it. Christine (our gorgeous Customer Service Guru) keeps a tin on her desk and raves about. After testing it out myself, I have to agree. Perfect for putting around your cuticles, your hands look so much better and no more hangnails. You couldn’t use it for your whole hands while you’re working as it’s a little oily, but it’s perfect for dabbing around cuticles.

Verdict: Thumbs up

Akin Hand and Nail Cream – Lavender

Ingredients: Aqua (purified Australian water), Cetearyl Alcohol*, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate*, Glycerin*,Glyceryl Stearate*, Sorbitol*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Lecithin(from GMO free soy bean), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Squalane (from olives), Stearic Acid*, Behenyl Alcohol (from GMO free Rapeseed), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (Certified Organic), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate*, Glyceryl Laurate*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Sodium Citrate*, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate)*, Citric Acid*, Sodium Gluconate (from GMO free corn), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phytosterols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/Twig Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Citronellol#,Geraniol#,Limonene#,Linalool#,*derived from botanical sources,#from essential oils.

Pros:Akin Hand, Nail and Cuticle Cream

  • Not too greasy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Smells good

Cons:

  • It contains phenoxyethanol as a preservative
  • I think this is drying my hands – I have to use it all the time

Verdict: I like it, but I think there’s better choices out there.

People for Plants – Lemon Myrtle, Camellia, Manuka Honey Hand Cream

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Glycerin*, Cetearyl Glucoside^, Sorbitan Olivate^, Beeswax*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil*, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract^, Honey (Manuka)^, Xanthan Gum^, Arctium Lappa Root Extract*, Lactic Acid^, Backhousia Citriodora Leaf Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Potassium Sorbate^, Citric Acid^, Alcohol*. *Certified Organic and 100% Natural ^Natural Source.

Pros:People Plants Hand Cream

  • Reasonably priced ($12.95 at my local shop)
  • 90.6% ACO certified organic
  • Ingredients are good
  • It’s Australian made and cruelty free

Cons:

  • It feels sticky, like there’s too much beeswax
  • It’s too watery and light
  • It doesn’t give me enough moisture

I really wanted to like this one, but I hate using it. It goes on watery, then goes instantly sticky – so sticky that you can’t rub it in, which I think is the beeswax. I get no moisture from it, either. I passed it on to my husband, who’s not nearly fussy as me (and gets super dry hands from all the washing up I make him do!) and he hated it, too. I love natural handcreams, but not this one.

Verdict: Thumbs down

Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream

Ingredients:  Aqua (water), glycerine (vegetable), persea gratissima (avocado oil), macadamia ternifolia (macadamia oil), wheat straw glycosides, ceteryl alcohol, calendula officialis (calendula/marigold oil), sophora microphylla (kowhai extract), tocopherol (Vitamin E), gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, calcium gluconate, fragrances of sweet orange and cedarwood: benzyl benzoate*, benzyl salicylate*, citronellol*, d-limonene*, farnesol*, geraniol*, linalool*.

Pros:Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream

  • smells great
  • good ingredients
  • Organic? I can’t tell from the tube, and I threw the box away. There’s nothing on the website, either.

Cons:

  • Expensive! I paid $31.95 locally

I really like this one. The smell is lovely – orangey and then kind of woodsy. It goes on well and is easy to rub in, and it’s not too greasy, so I can get back to work without my fingers slipping on the keyboard. It’s also nice and moisturising, great to put on last thing at night before I go to sleep. But the price – ouch! Much more than I’d be willing to pay regularly.

Verdict: Thumbs up

Weleda Skin Food

$21.95 for 75 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Alcohol, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Glyceryl Linoleate, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Cholesterol, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Coumarin*. * from natural essential oils

Pros:Weleda Skin Food

  • Smells gorgeous
  • Works brilliantly!
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • Price is okay ($21.95), considering how good, and useful, this product is

Cons:

  • Greasy

This is brilliant! I can’t live without this – it fixes everything. Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but I really, really love it. Dry feet – rub Skin Food on at night, sleep with socks on and you’ll have baby soft feet in the morning. Same with elbows, and dry patches anywhere. The only thing is that it’s greasy, so you need to apply it to your hands last thing before you go to sleep (and ideally, wear some of those cotton glove thingies to stop you getting grease marks on the doona cover). You wake up the next day with super soft, younger looking hands (yes, really!) and I find that you don’t need hand cream again until the next night.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream

$16.95 for 50 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Tapioca Starch, Lysolecithin, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Benzyl Salicylate*, Geraniol*, Citral* (* from natural essential oils).

Pros:Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream

  • Gorgeous smell
  • Not at all greasy
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • Price is reasonable ($16.95)

Cons:

  • Not quite moisturising enough for me, but I have very dry hands so might not be a problem for someone else

I rather like this. It’s not quite as moisturising as my hands need, but it’s still pretty good. This is a good cream for everyday use. I can apply it and get back to the laptop immediately, too, because it’s not greasy.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream

$17.95 for 50 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Petal Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol*, Coumarin* (* from natural essential oils).

Weleda_Pomegranate_Hand_Cream_50mlPros:

  • smells divine
  • very moisturising
  • don’t need to apply it often
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • reasonably priced ($17.95)

Cons:

  • too greasy to use and then get back on the keyboard

I love this. It’s too greasy to be used during the day, but I apply it every night before I go to sleep. It’s so moisturising that it’s very rare that I need to use hand cream during the day, even if I’m washing them heaps. This hand cream really does seem to restore moisture, not just put a layer of moisture on my skin that washes off next time I wash my hands.

Verdict: my favourite for night

Lavera Basis Handcream

$11.95 for 75 mls (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alcohol*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Stearic Acid, Cellulose, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Xanthan Gum, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Lysolecithin, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Fragrance (Parfum)**, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Citronellol** (* ingredients from certified organic agriculture, ** components of natural essential oils)

Lavera_Basis_Hand_Cream_75mlPros:

  • smells lovely
  • light yet moisturising
  • very reasonably priced
  • NaTrue certified with lots of organic ingredients
  • not greasy at all

Cons:

  • can’t really think of any!

This is the ideal day time hand cream, where you need to apply some and then grab your phone or keep working. The Lavera Basis Handcream isn’t at all greasy, so it’s perfect for this. I’ve taken to keeping this on my desk at work, and in my handbag, too.

Verdict: my favourite for day

Hand Cream Smackdown Results

When I first wrote this review in 2015, I had ditched the A’Kin one and was using the Antipodes one (although I haven’t bought it again – too expensive for me), the Weleda Sea Buckthorn and the Weleda Skin Food at night.

Since revisiting the Weleda Pomegranate handcream (which I wasn’t using when I first reviewed hand creams) I’ve pretty much switched to that. I usually have a tube of the Lavera handcream on my desk or in my handbag for handcream on the go, but the Weleda Pomegranate restores moisture so much that I don’t really need hand cream during the day. How’s that for a win?

So it’s bye bye to the once beloved Akin – sorry, Akin, but I’ve moved on.

Which is your favourite natural handcream? Let us know in the comments below!

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Is your lip balm drying your lips?

Autumn Lips - Is Your Lip Balm Drying Your Lips?

Autumn Lips - Is Your Lip Balm Drying Your Lips?

I’m a certified lip balm-aholic. I have them everywhere – purse, car, bedside table, bathroom, kitchen … you name it, I’ve got them stashed everywhere.

But when I was chatting to one of my brothers the other day, he said to me that he never uses lip balm because it dries his lips out. Oh honey, I said, have I taught you nothing over the years? And promptly sent him off with a batch of my home made lip balms (of which more, later!).

Acure Organics Choc Mint Lip Balm
Acure Choc Mint Lip Balm

It did get me thinking, though. I know all about what ingredients are nourishing and moisturising, but I didn’t know which ingredients are drying. And call me cynical, but I know that big cosmetic companies want you to use as much lip balm as possible, so they make it feel smooth going on, but it’s drying so that you have to use more and more lip balm. Which means they sell more. Hmmm.

 

What to look for when buying lip balms

Go natural! You’re eating that stuff – putting it on your lips, then licking your lips, biting your lips and rubbing that lip balm off on the apple you’re eating.

Avoid the usual suspects:

  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • synthetic fragrance
  • petrochemicals
  • synthetic colours

If you’re putting it on your lips, you’re putting it on your mouth, so avoid the synthetics altogether!

Some more ingredients that you’re going to want to avoid: camphor, phenol, menthol. They’ll cool your lips and give them a nice tingly feel, but they’re very drying, so best to avoid.

Alcohol is another drying ingredient, so avoid lip balms with this.

Salicylic acid might be exfoliating, but it’s super drying, so skip this one, too.

Here’s what you do want to look for when you’re checking lip balm ingredients:

  • natural oils like avocado, jojoba, macadamia, coconut
  • natural butters like cocoa butter, shea butter,
  • a natural humectant (which will increase the moisture and prevent irritation) like glycerin
  • natural waxes like beeswax, candelilla or carnauba waxes or lanolin

Are you going to be out in the sun?

Then you need a lip balm with sunscreen. Avoid the chemical absorbers and go with a physical barrier like zinc or titanium dioxide (and make sure they’re non-nano!).

Some citrus oils are phototoxic and will make your lips more likely to burn in the sun, so choose carefully.

Hurraw Tangerine Chamomile Lip Balm SPF15
Hurraw Tangerine Chamomile Lip Balm SPF15

Do you want night time lip moisture?

Go with something a little heavier and super moisturising that’s going to give your lips a moisture bath while you’re sleeping.

Weleda Everon Lip Balm
Weleda Everon Lip Balm
Dr Bronner Organic Lip Balm - naked
Dr Bronner Organic Lip Balm – naked

Want a hint of colour?

If you’re after a bit of colour, but good moisture, then you need a tinted lip balm. Avoid synthetic FD&C colours, and look for micas or plant based colours.

Hurraw Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm
Hurraw Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm
ecotints rose quartz tinted lip balm
ecotints rose quartz tinted lip balm

If we’ve inspired you to switch to a natural and organic lip balm, you’re in luck! Jump on over to Hello Charlie and check out our great range. Do your lips a favour!

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808 Dude Skincare for Teens – Reviewed by Teens!

808 Dude Teen Skincare Review

I was so excited when our shipment of 808 Dude arrived at Hello Charlie. Excited because I’m kind of geeky about organic skincare, but even more excited than usual because I have a teenage boy who’s been asking me if I can buy him Lynx. Eeeek!

Once I’d stopped hyperventilating (have all my years of preaching taught him nothing?), it turns out that he wanted something, ‘like Lynx, mum, but without all that crap you’re always going on about’. Phew.

So I started searching. And searching. And searching. Who knew it was so difficult to buy organic skincare for boys? I knew I was on a winner when I found 808 Dude. Not only is it made right here in Australia by a Melbourne mum, and it’s organic, but … and this is the tricky part … it doesn’t look like it’s organic.

Apparently teen boys are embarrassed about organic. Well, the ones I know are. If that packaging has so much as a leaf on it – mortal embarrassment, dude. All this came to light when I was chatting to the three teen guinea pigs, sorry, boys who have been testing 808 Dude for me over the last couple of months.

The other day I told them I was interviewing them about 808 Dude and what they thought about it. Son, cousin, and son’s friend all shuffled feet, coughed, mumbled and punched each other for a while. Then they mumbled a while longer. Eventually one of them offered, “It’s hard to, like, explain.” “You feel cleaner when you’ve had a shower,” said another. Hmmm. So far, so typically teenage boy.

Teen Review 1.

Eventually, my son decided that he liked it because it smells good, much nicer than Lynx (which he says gives him asthma when other boys spray it around). He likes the roll on deodorant, because you can throw it in your bag, and it works when you use it. He also loves the fact that it doesn’t look like something mum would buy, and it looks like stuff boys his age would use (peer acceptance being very big at this age!). His actual words were that, “it doesn’t look sorta young.”

Like the good little label reader I’ve taught him to be, he also reckons there’s good stuff in it.

Hilariously (to me, anyway) he loves the shampoo and body wash because you only have to use one thing in the shower! Apparently, this is another big thing for boys. My 8 year old piped up at this point and said he had been finding showering very confusing because you were supposed to use shampoo, conditioner, and soap and now he can use just one thing. Boy, the things you find out when you start asking questions.

Teen Review 2.

Teen cousin said that he loved 808 Dude because it has a nice smell. (It really does. And it’s a definite boy kind of smell.) He also helpfully suggested that it’s a great brand because you feel a lot cleaner after you’ve had a shower.

He thought that the packaging was “artistic and fancy”, and it matched the name. He thought it was cool, and not embarrassing to have in your sports bag. He liked the deodorant, and thought it worked well.

The face wash has really helped his pimples, he reckons, and it doesn’t dry his skin.

This teen is on his third lot of 808 Dude, so he’s either using it heaps or his older brother is helping himself, too!

Teen Review 3.

Teen friend of son thought that the shampoo and body wash was awesome because you don’t have to think. Multiple shower products are clearly too much for teenaged boys to deal with, so I think 808 Dude has really hit the nail on the head with this one. Teen friend also thought it made his hair really, really soft. Chatting to his mum later, it was revealed that he hadn’t actually been washing his hair at all prior to 808 Dude, so the softness may not be entirely due to the product, and more to do with the fact that it’s actually encouraging him to wash his hair!

He also liked the deodorant and thought that it worked well, and that the packaging was pretty cool or sick, or rad, or skeg or something else unintelligible, but basically translates to good.

So there you have it. Three teen boys mumble their way to a big thumbs up for 808 Dude. It’s an ideal brand for teen and pre-teen boys, with great organic ingredients and no nasties. Check it out here at Hello Charlie.

 

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Redmond Earthpaste & Lead Warnings – What’s Going On?

Redmond Earthpaste and Lead Warnings

Redmond Earthpaste and Lead Warnings

We had a call from Anna, one of our lovely customers, the other day. “I’ve just received my Redmond Earthpaste from you guys,” she said, “and I’m confused. On the package it says that it may contain traces of lead. Should I be using this?”

I love getting calls like this from customers. I love that our customers read packaging, and I love that they come and ask us when they’re not sure. (I also love that they’re just so lovely when they call and ask us stuff like this!)

Here’s what the packaging on Redmond Earthpaste says:

[California Residents Proposition 65] WARNING: This product may contain trace amounts of lead, a substance known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. This product may not be appropriate for consumption by children or pregnant women.

Now, of course, I’d done my research before adding Redmond Earthpastes to the Hello Charlie website, so I was completely happy to be stocking this one, and indeed was already using it at home.

But I’d forgotten that people can’t read my mind (doh), and I really should have written an explanation and posted it. So I’m very grateful to Anna for bringing this to my attention, and here’s what I explained to her.

Start by having a look at the explanation on the Redmond Earthpaste website: http://www.earthpaste.com/prop65/ (love the handy infographic on here, by the way!)

And there is also information on Proposition 65 on the California Government website: http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html

Basically, as Redmond Earthpaste is made with bentonite clay, it contains trace elements of naturally occurring lead. Under California law, companies have to notify customers if there are particular chemicals in products that they purchase, whether or not those chemicals are natural or synthetic, and even if there are only tiny amounts.

For further reading, you can also have a look at the EPA (the US environmental protection agency) on lead: http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead
Natural levels of lead in soil are about 50 and 400 parts per million, and the Redmond Earthpastes have about 12 parts per million: http://www.redmondtrading.com/pdfs/RedmondClay_MineralAnalysis.pdf

So it’s a trace element, very low indeed, and is safe for use.

As an aside, we don’t stock the Wintergreen Redmond Earthpaste, as methyl salicylate (which is one of the chemical compounds in Wintergreen essential oil) can be very toxic for children, and not safe for pregnant women, either, although it does have great therapeutic benefits for adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. I felt that it was safer not to stock this one but to stick with the spearmint and peppermint flavours instead. Anyway, in my opinion, the wintergreen essential oil IS an issue, but the small trace elements of naturally occurring lead is not.

We’re loving the Redmond Earthpaste at home, by the way! Even my terribly fussy ‘if it doesn’t foam it’s not toothpaste’ husband.

If you’re keen to try it, you can get it here at Hello Charlie.

With thanks to Anna for bringing this to my attention!

Vanessa

 

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