Simple As That Natural Sunscreen – Reviewed



So we’ve just got the Simple As That sunscreen on the shelves at Hello Charlie, and it’s already my new favourite natural sunscreen. Not only that, my notoriously picky 13 year old loves it, too!

It’s not easy to get new sunscreen onto the shelves in Australia, and Simple As That have been developing this for two years. The time has been well spent, because they’ve really got this right.

Natural sunscreens are made with a physical blocker, usually zinc oxide. But zinc oxide is notorious for making your skin look white. Simple As That’s sunscreen goes on white, but it disappears when you rub it it.

I’ve also found that many natural sunscreens seem to be greasy. Moisturising is fine, greasy is not. You don’t want flyaway hair sticking to your face everytime you move your head. Nor do you want sand glueing itself to you when the wind blows at the beach. Once you rub Simple As That’s sunscreen in, it feels almost dry on your skin. Not drying, mind. Just dry.

I tested this under my makeup for a few days this week. Normal moisturiser, then sunscreen, then my foundation. No problems with greasiness, no stickiness, and my makeup didn’t go sliding down my face. I even wore it yesterday when it was 30 degrees here in Melbourne. No dramas at all. So I’m super impressed with the performance.

The ingredients are awesome, too. There’s rosehip oil, cucumber extract and some green tea extract. So there’s antioxidants, calming and moisturising properties right there. The really interesting ingredient in this is red raspberry seed oil. Red raspberry seed oil provides natural protection agains UVA and UVB rays, so it’s a lovely booster to the zinc oxide.

What else is great about Simple As That Sunscreen?

  • vegan
  • 100% natural
  • no preservatives
  • cruelty free
  • completely non greasy
  • suitable for face and body
  • gentle enough for the whole family
  • offers broad spectrum protection against UVA & UVB rays
  • made right here in Australia

I did receive a tester from Simple As That, and I love it so much that I’ve bought another 3 tubes to cover my family this summer.

I’ve covered the Simple As That range on the blog before, and I love all their stuff. I reckon this is a fantastic addition to this amazing natural skincare collection!

Ingredients: Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide. Inactive Ingredients: Aqua, Isoamyl Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Isostearate, Xanthan Gum, Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sucrose Cocoate, Rosa Canina  Fruit Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract

Price: $29.95 for 100mls (Buy it here at Hello Charlie)

Why Your Toddler’s First Bike Should be a Balance Bike



Most adults today learned how to ride a bike starting with a tricycle, then moving up to a pedal bike with training wheels before removing the training wheels and learning to ride on two wheels. However, recent research has found that this route may not be the best way to learn. Tricycles and training wheels don’t teach kids the balance skills they need to quickly learn to ride a two wheel bicycle.

What Are Balance Bikes?

Balance bikes are two wheel bikes made without pedals, so kids can use their feet to move, stop, steer and turn around. This gives them more control and maneuverability, as well as the confidence to keep riding. “There are two parts to learning to ride a bicycle: balancing and pedaling,” explains Cadel Evans, Australian winner of the Tour de France. “Balance bikes don’t have any pedals, so kids only have to focus on one thing – balancing. This makes the learning process a whole lot easier for them.”

Why Use a Balance Bike?

Balance bikes encourage kids to use their arms and lift their legs while moving forward, which builds strength and helps them fine tune their motor skills, coordination and agility. They’re much safer than tricycles or training wheels due to their light weight and small size. Their seats are closer to the ground, so kids don’t have far to go if they fall. The small size also makes them easy to transport. They fit perfectly in the backseat of a car, and can be easily picked up when your child gets tired of riding.

With balance bikes, children can learn to ride a bike at a younger age, as young as 18 months old. Most kids learn to ride their balance bikes right away, and begin coasting with their feet up after only one week. After developing their skills on a balance bike, kids as young as three years old can begin riding a pedal bike without training wheels.

What’s Wrong with Tricycles and Training Wheels?

Tricycles are heavier, slower and harder to maneuver than balance bikes. They tip over easily during turns or on uneven surfaces, which leads to more falls. Balance bikes roll smoothly on just about any terrain, and make it easier for kids to stop and turn without assistance. This video demonstrates perfectly.

Training wheels make a bike unbalanced. The wheels tilt to one side, creating a false sense of balance. Once a child transitions to riding a bike without training wheels, they have to unlearn how to ride unbalanced and learn how to ride balanced. With a balance bike, kids begin to learn balancing skills right away. They’re much more prepared for riding a pedal bike.

About Kinderfeets Bikes

The first Kinderfeets balance bike was created by Dutch designer, Oscar Mulder. Mulder grew up in the Netherlands, where bicycling is a way of life. He wanted to share that experience with his two year old son, Sebastiaan. The name Kinderfeets is a play on the Dutch word, kinderfiets, which means “child’s bike.” All Kinderfeets bikes are handmade from sustainable birch wood or bamboo. Some of them have a unique chalkboard finish that lets kids use their creativity to decorate their bikes with chalk.

Kinderfeets Balance Bikeskinderfeets_red_balance_bike have innovative foot pegs, which teach children where to put their feet when riding a pedal bike, and make gliding more comfortable. They also feature adjustable seats that grow along with your child.

Kinderfeets Tiny Tot balance bikes have three wheels, like a tricycle, but without pedals. They’re designed so that children as young as one year old can ride them. Kinderfeets Tiny Tots are great because they can be converted to a two wheel balance bike as your toddler grows.

Kinderfeets Bamboo BikesKinderfeets Tiny Tot Bamboo Trike Balance Bike are made from high quality durable bamboo, which is stronger and heartier than most hardwood. Bamboo produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees. It takes only 3-5 years to mature, whereas hardwood takes 30-50 years. Bamboo also requires no fertilisers or chemicals to reach maturation, so it’s great for the environment.

Why We Love Kinderfeets Bikes:

  • Classic bikes are made from sustainable birch wood from a replenishable source
  • Bamboo bikes are made from bamboo grown in developing countries, supporting a sustainable way of living for impoverished communities
  • Airless tires made of biodegradable rubber
  • Chalkboard finish paint is water based and the lacquer is nontoxic
  • Kinderfeets plants a tree for every bike they sell through Trees for the Future
  • Recently earned the Toy Man Eco-Recognition Seal

Image Source: Kinderfeets

Mainstream vs Natural Facepaint Smackdown


mainstream vs natural facepaint smackdown

With Halloween coming up, your kids are probably hassling you about costumes. Mine certainly are! And with costumes comes facepainting. As you can imagine, I’m very careful about what I put on my kids’ faces. It’s natural facepaint all the way for me.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m completely smitten with No Nasties Makeup for kids. But I thought it would be super helpful if I showed you exactly what was in mainstream facepaints. So while I was in Spotlight, I grabbed a pack of Colorific Face Paint Cream to investigate.  Here’s what I found:

No Nasties Makeup

no_nasties_makeup_niki_natural_facepaintIngredients: (Face Paint Mineral Powder) Mica, Zinc Oxide, May Contain (+/-) Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Ultramarines.

(Shimmer Balm) Organic Australian Beeswax, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Mica, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Essential Oil

The No Nasties natural facepaints are powders, so you can use them loose and apply with a brush. Or you can add a little water or oil to them to make the colours more vibrant. Keeping them in powder form means that you don’t need any preservatives, so there’s a win right there.

All the ingredients are good. The only thing that might make you raise your eyebrows are the ultramarines. Ultramarines are the colour pigments that give you the deep blues, greens and violets. They can be synthetic or natural. They’re safe enough, and although I probably wouldn’t choose to use them in makeup everyday, I don’t have a problem with them in facepaints.

Colorific Face Paint Cream

colorific-face-paint-creamIngredients: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Clyceryl Stearate & Peg – 100 Stearate, Paraffinium Liquidium & Tococopherol, Polyacrylamide & C13-C14 Isoparaffin, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben. May contain: Red – D&C Red 7 Calcium Lake, Yellow – FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake; Blue – Ultramarine Blue; Black – Iron Oxide Black; White – Titanium Dioxide; Orange – Red – D&C Red 7 Calcium Lake, White – Titanium Dioxide; Purple – White – Titanium Dioxide; Purple – Ultramarine Violet; Pink – Red – D&C Red 7 Calcium, Lake White – Titanium Dioxide; Silver – Mica, Iron Oxide, Titanium Dioxide; Green – Yellow – FD&C Yellow 5, Aluminum Lake Blue – FD&C Blue 1 Aluminum Lake, White – Titanium Dioxide

The first ingredient is water. Water based products go off, which is why they need preservatives. And in this case, those preservatives are parabens: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and Isobutylparaben. Parabens are endocrine disrupters, and they’re definitely an ingredient to avoid.

There’s also propylene glycol, which is a penetration enhancer. Penetration enhancers decrease your skin’s barrier resistance. Chemicals are more easily absorbed into your body. That’s not a good thing when those chemicals are parabens.

There are also petrochemicals with the liquid paraffin and the C13-C14 Isoparaffin. I choose not to use petrochemical derived ingredients wherever possible because of the environmental concerns.

Triethanolamine is a skin toxicant and allergen, and polyacrylamide has contamination concerns, among other issues. There’s phenoxyethanol as a preservative, too.

And finally, there’s all the FD&C colours. Some of these, as you can see, have been mixed with aluminium to make them insoluble and stay on skin longer. Blue 1 is coal tar derived, too.

Even if you’re only putting face paints on to your children once or twice a year for Halloween and dress ups, these are not products I would be choosing. Especially when there are much safer alternatives, like No Nasties Makeup, available.

The Verdict

It’s easy to see why I choose No Nasties Makeup and Facepaints for my kids. My youngest loves play makeup and dress ups, and with a safe choice available, I’m happy to let him use them as often as he wants.

Colorific? Not so much. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be letting my kids use this one at all. I’m sticking with natural facepaints, thank you!

About No Nasties Makeup

No Nasties Makeup is a range of all natural facepaints, play makeup and hair colours. They’re hand made in small batches, right here in Australia. There’s nothing toxic, no nasties and they all wash off with water. They’re perfect for the creative child!

Shop the range here at Hello Charlie.

Simple As That Skincare Reviewed



I’ve recently starting stocking the Simple As That skincare range at Hello Charlie, and I’ve got to be honest with you, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long. I love everything about this range – it’s all about keeping your beauty routine simple, with great natural ingredients. Even the packaging is fab. There’s no plastic, just simple, clean lines and glass containers.

The ingredient philosphy is great – it’s all about organic, fair trade and vegan. Most of the products have just 3 or 4 ingredients. There’s no fillers, just great natural ingredients that work so well!

simple as that skincare range

Here’s a few products that I love from this range!

Simple As That Makeup Remover

Simple As That makeup remover really is simple – it’s just safflower oil, extra virgin olive oil and jojoba oil. I put a few drops on to a damp cotton pad or facewasher, swipe it over my face and my makeup’s gone. It’s the best thing for removing eye makeup, too. I put a couple of drops on my fingertips and gently massage it into my eye makeup, then wipe it off. Gone! Even mascara. And the best thing is that my skin feels moisturised, not tight and dry.

Simple As That Baby Vapour Rub

The baby vapour rub sold out within days of getting our first shipment in. I shouldn’t have been surprised (and should have ordered a lot more in the first place!) because it’s so gentle. And it smells so good! Because it’s been formulated especially for babies, it can be used even on newborns. The shea butter and coconut oil make it super moisturising, too, which I also love.

Simple As That Exfoliant

Simple_As_That_Facial_ExfoliantI have to mention the exfoliant – I love, love, love this product. I find that chemical exfoliants tend to irritate my skin, but a gentle physical exfoliant stops me from looking flaky and yurgh (technical word for about 25 years older than I actually am). I’m loving the Simple As That exfoliant – it’s just rice powder, cacao and sea salt. I combine it with facial oil and scrub in the shower. Because I’m using oil with it, my skin is instantly moisturised – no issues with feeling dry!

Simple As That Moisturiser

I’d like to be able to let you know about the moisturiser, but we sold out of that straightaway, too, so I haven’t had a chance to give it a test run! It’s just shea butter, coconut oil and jojoba, and I reckon this would be just about perfect for our Melbourne winters, when you really need a rich moisturiser.

Simple As That Cleanser & Toner

The cleanser and toner are being tested by one of the Hello Charlie guinea pigs (that would be a team member, BTW, there’s no animal testing around here, thank you very much) and I’m getting excellent reports. The cleanser (orange blossom water, vegetable glycerine, tea tree oil, may chang oil – smells divine!) is apparently wonderful on her slightly oily skin, and the toner (rose otto water, french lavender hydrosol, witch hazel – also smells amazing) is even better.

Simple As That Match Mask

Simple As That Matcha Mask

I’m intrigued by the Matcha Mask. I drink loads of green tea, but never thought of putting it on my skin. Matcha is loaded with antioxidants and catechins (which help stop the breakdown of collagen and elastin), so maybe I should be swimming in it! When I get around to testing it out, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Simple As That Mocha Body Scrub

The Mocha Body Scrub is high on my list as well, but I just haven’t got there yet. It’s got coffee beans, himalayan pink salt, coconut oil, cacao, hemp seed oil and vitamin e. Forget using it on my body, I want to eat this stuff. Yum!

The whole Simple As That skincare range has been formulated by a Melbourne pharmacist, made right here in Melbourne, and it’s vegan, natural, fair trade, not tested on animals and packaged in glass. I swear, if this range was a person, it wouldn’t drink, smoke or swear and it would never go to bed with its makeup still on. It’d be the goody two shoes sitting up the front of the class with her hand in the air. But in a good way!

Shop the Simple As That Skincare range here at Hello Charlie.

Bioserie Toys: Made from Plants!

bioserie toys made of plants

bioserie toys made of plantsA few years ago I came across a startup that was developing a line of baby toys that were completely free of oil based plastics. That startup was Bioserie, and so you can imagine that I was pretty excited to finally get this line of baby toys on the shelves here at Hello Charlie.

The Bioserie toys are made entirely from natural and plant based renewable resources, and the manufacturing process means that there’s no need for harmful additives. These toys are completely free from:

  • phthalates
  • PVC
  • styrenes
  • bisphenols (including BPA and BPS)
  • heavy metals
  • oil based chemicals

Plastic definitely has some advantages over wooden toys. It’s lightweight, durable and easy to clean. But it doesn’t biodegrade. So in a world of petrochemical based, non biodegradable plastics, it’s so great to have an eco friendly alternative. All the Bioserie toys are USDA certified 100% bioplastic, and they’re fully biodegradable.

bioserie toys petrochemical free plastic

Another thing that I’m impressed about with Bioserie is that the toys have been designed with the help of infant development experts, childcare professionals and parents. They don’t just look good, they’re ergonomically designed and coloured to match babies’ developmental needs.

All the colours are moulded in to the bioplastic, so there’s no risk of paints or coatings chipping or flaking off. The colours also come from sustainable raw materials.

And just like other plastic toys, they’re super easy to clean up. You can even put them in the dishwasher, because they’re heat resistant.

The Bioserie toys are durable, and can be handed down from child to child. But if you did want to throw them away, they can be safely incinerated, recycled or even composted.

bioserie bioplastic toys rangeBioserie Toys

So far, there’s five toys in the range from Bioserie.

There’s a star teether, perfect for teething babies who want to chew, chew, chew on everything. The star shape makes it easy to grasp, and the textures help to relieve aching little gums.

There’s a cool little dumbbell rattle with a bell at each end, and bright contrasting colours to help very young babies’ developing eyesight. You can shake the rattle to help baby track the sound and help develop their auditory skills, too.

Bioserie’s round rattle has high contrast colours, with balls inside to shake and make a noise. The shape makes it easy for even very young babies to grasp.

For toddlers, the 2 in 1 stacker has lots of ways to stack, sort and learn colours. The rounded base rocks back and forth, to give toddlers motor skills a workout!

And finally, there’s a classic shape sorting and stacking cube. Your baby can stack the pieces on top of each other, or match the shape to the correct hole and put it into the cube.

It’s so exciting to see well designed, durable toys that are not only good for your baby, but good for the environment, too. You can shop the whole Bioserie range of toys right here at Hello Charlie.

Wotnot Baby Products – Tried, Tested & Reviewed for You!

wotnot baby products reviewed

wotnot baby products reviewedWe’ve been testing out the range of Wotnot Baby products. I took it home and a had a play around with it, because I don’t have a baby tester any more, and then I passed it on to Christine here in the office. She took it home and tested it all out on her delicious 6 month old baby.

I’m a big fan of the Wotnot range. The wipes and the biodegradable nappy bags are amongst our biggest sellers here at Hello Charlie. We’ve covered the sunscreen before in our Sunscreen Cheat Sheet (and I love it), but I thought we should have a look at some of the other products in the baby range.

Here’s a bit of a rundown on why we love this range:

  • no parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, glycols or caustics
  • no artificial fragrances or preservatives
  • biodegradable
  • GMO free
  • not tested on animals
  • Australian made and owned
  • ACO certified organic products (not just the ingredients)
  • more than 70% organic ingredients

Wotnot baby products tick all the eco boxes, and we’re always recommending these based on their wonderful ingredients. But how well do they actually work? Keep reading!

wotnot baby products baby balmWotnot Baby Balm

Price: $16.95 for 100ml (Buy at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: aloe vera leaf juice*, beeswax*, olive oil*, stearic acid, sorbitan olivate and cetearyl olivate (vegetable emulsifiers), vegetable glycerine*, flaxseed oil*, carica papaya (pawpaw) extract*, purified water, xanthan gum, d-alpha tocopherol (certified gmo-free vitamin e), rice flour*, chamomile oil*, tea tree oil*, comfrey oil*, potassium sorbate (food grade preservative) *certified organic ingredients

It’s got certified organic pawpaw extract, as well as organic comfrey and tea tree. The Wotnot Baby Balm can be used to help relieve symptoms of nappy rash, cuts, scrapes and bug bites.

I tried this and really liked it. I didn’t detect much of a smell, and although it was very thick coming out of the tube, I found that it melted easily in my hands. In colder weather, you may want to knead the tube a bit and squeeze it to get the balm out. It warms up easily and spreads really well. The beeswax in this means that it leaves a physical barrier, so it’s perfect as a nappy balm. This does mean that it’s not vegan.

I didn’t detect much of a smell, but Christine thought that it had a slightly fermented smell from the pawpaw. She says that it was really effective as a baby balm. Her baby is the most gorgeous little guy, lovely and chubby with the most divine fat rolls! Christine says that he can get a bit red in his fat rolls around the nappy so she used the Wotnot Baby Balm on that. They were soothed the next morning and had a normal appearance (no redness). She did find that it was tricky to apply on a wiggling, grumpy baby ready for sleep. Christine found that rubbing it between her fingers first to really get it soft worked best.

This was Christine’s favourite product in the range and she said she’d be using this again.

Verdict: thumbs up from both of us!

baby products baby washWotnot Baby Wash

Price: $14.95 for 250ml (Buy at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: aloe vera leaf juice*, decyl glucoside, glycerine*, purified water, xanthan gum, flaxseed oil*, d-alpha tocopherol (certified gmo-free vitamin e), sweet orange oil*, essential oils of rose, chamomile oil*, rice flour*, citric acid, potassium sorbate (food grade preservative) *certified organic ingredients

Next from Wotnot Baby products is the Wotnot Baby Wash. I tried this one as a hand wash and also as a body wash. Again, I liked it. It’s not super lathery (which I like, as it means no sulfates), but it washes nicely. It smells lovely, thanks to the essential oils, but it’s not strong. It left my skin feeling clean, but not dry. I think it would be perfect for little ones.

Christine had similar feedback. She said that it goes on nicely and washes well. The scent is lovely, but not overwhelming and doesn’t remain on the baby after he’d been dried. She added that the scent didn’t even remain in his fat rolls (his fat rolls are a source of great amusement around here!).

Verdict: thumbs up from both of us!

wotnot baby products baby lotionWotnot Baby Lotion

Price: $14.95 for 150ml (Buy at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil*, cetearyl olivate and sorbitan olivate (vegetable emulsifiers), glycerine (vegetable), stearic acid (vegetable emulsifier), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, purified water, linum usitatissimum (flaxseed) oil*, cetearyl alcohol (vegetable emulsifier), anthemis nobilis flower (chamomile) oil*, citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange) oil*, tocopherol (gmo-free vitamin e), xanthan gum, sodium citrate, citric acid, glyceryl caprylate and potassium sorbate (extra mild preservatives) *certified organic ingredients

I tried the Wotnot Baby Lotion as a handcream and body lotion, because I don’t have babies to test on any more! I found that this absorbed quickly so that your skin feels soft but not greasy. It’s not thick, so it’s easy to apply straight onto your skin (or baby’s) without having to rub it in between your hands first. It’s got a gentle scent from the essential oils.

Christine says that the lotion works well. She popped some onto her baby’s notoriously dry forehead and it absorbed easily. He woke up with soft skin the next morning. She did say that she thought there was something about the scent that she didn’t like, and neither did her husband. She thought that would put her off buying it again.

I didn’t notice anything at all about the scent, so I’m not sure what she’s talking about!

Verdict: Thumbs up from me, Christine thought it worked well, but she didn’t like the scent (which did disappear).

Have you used any of the Wotnot Baby products? What’s your verdict?

Teen Deodorant Smackdown: Natural vs Mainstream

Teen Deodorant Smackdown Natural Vs mainstream

Teen Deodorant Smackdown Natural Vs mainstream

I have a 13 year old boy. He’s a lovely kid – makes me a cup tea when I ask, isn’t embarrassed when I kiss him goodbye in front of his mates, and is generally sweet to his younger brother. But if you’d told me a year ago what a sweaty, smelly TEENAGER he’d turn into (seemingly overnight), I wouldn’t have believed you.

Thank goodness for 808 Dude. I’ve written about this fantastic range before, when I got a bunch of teen boys to test it out for me. I still love it, and most importantly, so do they.

So of course, when the topic of deodorant came up recently with my son and one of his mates, I couldn’t help myself. I’ll admit, I do tend to go into ‘lecture mode’ when I get worked up about something, and deodorant is no exception. They were talking about Lynx. Now the smell of Lynx makes my lungs seize up. Spray it around me and I immediately have trouble breathing. (And no, it’s not because of memories of boyfriends from my teens!)

Anyway, I thought I’d do a smackdown on teen boy deodorants for you, so that you can see exactly why you shouldn’t be buying Lynx for your sons!

808 Dude No More Stinky Pits

808 dude natural teen deodorantIngredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice Organic, Heptyl Glucoside, Zinc Gluconate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Dehydroxyacetate, Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil Organic, Cupressus sempervirens (Cypress) Leaf/Stem Oil Organic, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/Twig Oil Organic, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Oil Organic, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil Organic, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil Organic, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil Organic, Vanilla Planifolia CO2 Extract Organic, Citronellol,* Geraniol,* Linalool,* Limonene (*from essential oils)

The zinc glutonate is the only ingredient that I could find any issues with. EWG Skindeep Database says that there is some evidence of toxicity, but I couldn’t find any information on this anywhere else. It’s listed as a low to moderate hazard, so I’m not too concerned about this. There are a lot of essential oils in this, so it’s worth having a read through to make sure there’s none that will cause sensitivity.

This is a good list of ingredients, though, and it’s certainly one that I recommend.

Price: 70g for $7.95 (Available at Hello Charlie)

Lynx Apollo Deodorant Spray

lynx apollo teen deodorantIngredients: Alcohol, Butane, Isobutane, Propane, Water, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, T-Butyl Alcohol

Ingredients list from here. Butane, isobutane and propane are all propellants, designed to get the stuff out of the can. But they’re also irritants. They’re skin and lung irritants, and this is especially concerning when you consider that you’re spraying it on your skin, but also breathing it in as you spray it around.

Propylene glycol is less of a concern, but it’s another skin irritant. And of course fragrance is another big one. It’s not the fragrance itself (otherwise essential oils would be a problem) but the undisclosed ingredients in fragrance.

What concerns me even more about this product is that teenagers are selfconscious. They’re concerned that they smell, so they use way more of this stuff than an adult does.  Which means that they ingest more of it.

As a parent, I’ve tried to get into my boys’ heads that as long as they shower every day, wear clean clothes and practice general hygiene, they won’t smell, so they don’t need this stuff. You’d think it would be common sense, wouldn’t you? But teenage boys don’t seem to have a lot of common sense!

Price: 100g for $6.29

Of course, 808 Dude deodorant is not the only good choice for teen boys. My son and his friends like this one because it looks ‘normal’ and they have a horror of being seen to be using organic stuff that mum’s picked out for them. 808 Dude looks cool, so it passes the test.

But if you’re looking for other safe teen deodorants that work, check out my Safer Deodorants Cheat Sheet.

And if you know of any other great teen deodorants, let me know in the comments!

Hand Sanitiser Smackdown: Natural vs Mainstream

Hand Sanitisers Smackdown

Hand Sanitisers Smackdown

It’s winter. Everyone’s getting sick, and you don’t want to be next. So you reach for the hand sanitiser. But wait! Before you slather that stuff all over your hands, and probably your kids’ hands, too (because who wants sick kids?), what’s actually in that stuff?

Today I’m smacking down two hand sanitisers, and in the interests of fairness, I’ve chosen two alcohol based ones.

Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser

Ingredients: Pure Milk Whey Alcohol 62% (the active antibacterial agent), Purified Water, Rosehip Oil, Bladderwrack Extract (Sea Kelp), Aloe Vera, Vegetable Glycerin, Cellulose Gum, Oleic Acid (Omega 9), Palmarosa Oil, Lime Oil.

The ingredients in this are pretty straightforward. There’s alcohol to kill the bugs. Then there’s some moisturising ingredients like rosehip oil, seaweed extract, aloe vera and glycerin. The palmarosa oil and the lime oil both smell good, but they also have extra antibacterial and antiseptic properties. There’s nothing to be concerned about in this list of ingredients, and it’s been tested and it kills 99.99% of germs.

Price: 75mls for $8.95 (Available at Hello Charlie)

Aqium Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser Gel

Ingredients: Alcohol, aqua (water), glycerin, panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), acrylates /C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, aminomethyl propanol, parfum, limonene, butylphenyl methypropional.

The Aqium starts with alcohol again, and then there’s some glycerin and panthenol for skin moisturising. Then we’ve got some acrylates to give it that gel feel. The aminomethyl propanol balances the pH, but it’s also an irritant. Perfume is an irritant, too, as is limonene. And finally, the butylphenyl methypropional is a fragrance ingredient, and it too, is associated with allergies and contact dermatitis.

Wondering why your hands are getting dry and irritated in winter? It could be because you’re using a hand sanitiser like the Aqium.

Price: $3.50 for 70 mls

It’s more effective to wash your hands than it is to use a hand sanitiser. But we’re all busy. You’re out and about, and you’re touching stuff that you don’t really want to touch, but there’s nowhere to wash your hands. Hand sanitiser is a good choice in these situations, and it’s certainly better than nothing. Don’t use it too often, though, and choose a good one, or you’ll end up with dry, sore and irritated hands.

If you’re looking for a safer hand sanitiser, check out our Cheat Sheet on Safer Hand Sanitisers. Or you could just jump straight over to Hello Charlie to shop our tried and tested range of natural sanitisers!

Do you use a hand sanitiser? Have I made you think about which one you’re choosing? Share your thoughts!

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PawPaw Balm Smackdown

Paw Paw Balm Smackdown Natural vs Mainstream

Paw Paw Balm Smackdown Natural vs Mainstream

I love pawpaw balm. It’s one of the things that’s always in my medicine box at home, and I’ve usually got a tube floating around in my handbag. I use it as a lipbalm, on scrapes and scratches, and on dry skin. My kids go and grab it whenever they’ve got something wrong, too.

Pawpaw (or papaya, as it’s also known) is a popular traditional medicine in many parts of the world. The whole plant has medicinal benefits – the roots, bark, skin of the fruit, the seeds of the fruit and the fruit itself can be used. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that the fruit of the pawpaw has all sorts of different therapeutic properties for skin. It’s beneficial for use on burns, for wound healing, and has been used traditionally for other skin conditions like eczema.

In Australia, pawpaw balms and ointments are very popular as a topical skin application. But there are big differences between brands. Some pawpaw balms aren’t much more than moisturisers with paw paw flavouring.

I recently came across a new pawpaw balm from a brand I love, and decided that it was time to do a pawpaw balm smackdown. I’m comparing the Little Innoscents Organic PawPaw Balm with the popular mainstream brand Lucas’ Papaw Ointment.

Little Innoscents Organic Paw Paw Balm

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cherry Coconut Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract. *Certified Organic.

Price: 50gms for $7.95 (Available at Hello Charlie)

The ingredients in this are lovely. There are great moisturising oils like sunflower seed and avocado oil, and a high percentage of shea butter to add even more moisturisation. And unlike many pawpaw balms, Little Innoscents has a lot of pawpaw in their formula –  10% pawpaw.

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment

Ingredients: Carica Papaya 39mg/g Fresh Fermented Fruit, Pharmaceutical Grade Petroleum Jelly and Wax, Gum Balsam Peru

Price: 25g for $4.95, 75g for $9.95

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is mostly made from petroleum jelly, with a smidge of Peru Balsam for scent. The Peru Balsam is natural and there are no issues with it. There’s 39mg/g (3.9%) pawpaw in the formulation, so it’s nowhere near as high as Little Innoscents.

The issue is the petroleum jelly. While it’s very neutral and is unlikely to cause irritation or allergy issues, it’s not a great environmental choice.

What’s the problem with petroleum jelly?

A quick internet search comes up with lots of articles saying that petroleum jelly is banned in the EU, but this isn’t quite correct. Purified petroleum jelly is fine, it’s the improperly refined petroleum jelly and mineral oils that can’t be used in cosmetics. The issue with improperly refined petroleum jelly is that it can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Some PAHs may be carcinogenic, which is why unrefined petroluem jelly is a concern. However, if the petroleum jelly is properly refined, PAHs aren’t present, and so aren’t a concern.

EWG’s Skindeep Database lists petroleum jelly as a 4 (moderate hazard) due to contamination concerns.

Petroleum jelly is of course a by product of crude oil. It’s not a renewable resource, and there are environmental concerns about the way crude oil is extracted and processed. There’s a good article here that outlines some of the environmental impact of drilling and processing petroleum.

Of course, plant based products can also have issues. Palm oil is a prime example of a plant based ingredient causing major environmental problems because of the way it’s being grown.

However, choosing responsibly sourced, plant based ingredients is preferable, at least in my opinion, to using petroleum based products.

The prices are the same. So when you’ve got a choice between an ACO organic plant based product like the Little Innoscents PawPaw Balm, and a petroleum based product like the Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, why would you go with the Lucas?

What’s your favourite pawpaw balm? Share below!

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Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro Review

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro review

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro review

I agreed to review the new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro vacuum cleaner for Dyson. Now, I’ve never done a review like this before. Normally, I only review stuff that I’m thinking of stocking at Hello Charlie. As regular readers know, I’m pretty fussy about what we stock in the store, so I applied that thinking to my review of the Dyson. I wanted to make absolutely sure that I’d recommend it.

A couple of years back, I did a series of posts on detoxing your home. One of the things I recommended was getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter. At the time, my research showed me that the Dyson vacuums were one of the best available. So I was pretty keen to try it out.

Is the Dyson Cinetic easy to use?

First of all, I asked my 13 year old son to unbox it and set it up, thinking that if he could do it, anyone could. He did, and immediately began telling me he was a technical genius. I took this to mean that it was pretty simple to put together.

He was keen to use it, so he took it for a spin and told me that he found it easy to use. It does move easily, and it’s not heavy to pull around, plus it doesn’t kill my back. So far, all good.

We were very impressed by the amount of suction on that thing. I tried it out on my cow skin rug, and couldn’t believe how much more suction there was compared to my old Miele vacuum cleaner. Apparently you’re not supposed to use it like that, but I didn’t read the instructions until later. Still – pretty awesome suction!

pets with the dyson cinetic big ball animal pro
A couple of reasons why the Dyson had to work hard at my house!

I have a fluffy cat, who loves to leave fur everywhere. I have another cat, who refused all attempts to photograph her. And I have a very large dog, who’s not really allowed on the carpet, but of course he doesn’t always stay on his mat! I also have two boys, and an exchange student staying this year, so our carpet takes a bit of a pounding. I’d only vaccumed 2 days before when I started testing the Dyson, and I have to say that I was a little freaked out by the amount of dust and muck swirling around in that cylinder! It makes you realise how much dirt is actually on the carpet, even when you don’t leave it that long between cleans. Eek.

My 13 year old and I tried getting rid of the dirt in the Dyson, and it turns out to be super easy to empty. One click gets the dust cylinder off the vacuum, then you take it over to the bin and another click opens it up and empties. There’s no filters to wash with the Dyson Cinetic range, so this is a really simple process.

Dyson’s filters

Speaking of filters, one of the reasons why I really like this vacuum is because of the filtration system. All Dyson vacuums have HEPA filters. But as they explain on their website, it’s not just the filter that’s important – making sure that the dust doesn’t get blown straight back out of your vacuum cleaner is what’s really essential. I noticed when I was using the Dyson that I didn’t get any smell of dust, which I definitely do when I’m using my usual vacuum.

Another thing I love is that the Dyson Cinetic rights itself if you manage to tip it over. This is especially useful if you’re training the kids up to do the vacuuming, because they just don’t get that you’re not supposed to go careening around corners trailed by a vacuum. Of course, once they realised that the Dyson righted itself, they did plenty of careening around corners. It worked every time. Does it make the vacuum work better? No. Does it make vacuuming easier? Absolutely!

And that’s one of the things that I really like about this – so many little details have been thought of. It’s really easy to switch tools over, or to make the handle longer, or even to ease up on the suction while you’re vacuuming.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Tools – In the Box

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro Tools

Now, plenty of vacuum cleaners come with tools, but I have to admit that I don’t really use them all. But once again, I was impressed with the tools that are included. I gave them all a test run, and I reckon you’d use all of them.

Carbon fibre turbine floor tool. Okay, so now I feel like a revhead type bloke talking about how my car goes. Yeah mate it’s got one of those carbon fibre turbine floor tools and a double carburetter and air cooling. This is your everyday standard tool because you can use it on carpets and hard floors. It really does seem to pick heaps of dirt and dust up, too.

The combination tool is kind of cool – it’s got the skinny crevice tool and the brush in one. You slide the brush up and down when you need it. I found this very handy for doing things like skirting boards, and the tops of the curtain rails.

The reach under tool underwhelmed me at first. I had trouble pulling out the flexible rubber bit and had to resort to the interweb to find out how exactly you did it. I was still underwhelmed and very nearly put it back in the box, but I thought I should try it. I’m glad I did. What a useful little thingummy. All those dusty places, that let’s face it, you just can’t be arsed to clean even though you know you probably should, like down behind the kids bedheads. This little gadget reaches in and dusts the lot.

Carbon fibre soft dusting brush – this may be my favourite tool. I have those wooden blinds that look lovely, and do nothing but trap dust. My vacuum cleaner seems to do nothing but shift dust around on these. You can use the brush thingy and give them a once over, and then run your hand over them and still leave trails in the dust. I tried out the Dyson with the carbon fibre soft dusting brush – best result EVER. I was so impressed I started trying it on other things in my bedroom – hard to reach space down the back of the chest of drawers. Done. Top of the curtain rail? Done. Bedside lamp with covering of dust? Done. I may have gone on a little dusting brush frenzy – it’s so damn useful! And it picks up so much dust. Wow.

The stair tool gets right into the edge of the stairs, so that you don’t have to vacuum the larger area of the stairs with one bit, and the corners of the stairs with another bit. A small thing, but a thoughtful one.

Once I actually worked out the swivel head was for hard floors, (aren’t instructions marvellous?) I was sold. This little sucker (pun fully intended – sorry!) is amazing. I had a go with it in my ensuite, which is small but has annoying little gaps. There’s one about 10cms wide between the vanity and the shower, and of course it was home to a whole warren of dust bunnies because who can be bothered to pull the head off the vacuum cleaner and get down there? Ha! The swivelly head just went in sideways. Take that, dust bunnies. By this stage, I was starting to talk to the Dyson – we’d become quite friendly.

The tangle free turbine tool is actually an upholstery brush to get rid of hair. I decided to test this in the back of my friend’s car. She fosters dogs, and her latest is an enormous mastiff cross with short white hair that gets everywhere. Before we tested the Dyson, she’d had a go with her vacuum and got nowhere. Ten minutes with the turbine tool, and the back of her car was looking better than it had before she’d got the dog!

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro turbine tool

What’s the verdict on the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro?

I feel like I’m raving about this vacuum cleaner so much that you’re going to think that it’s because Dyson gave it to me to try out. But I have to say that I’m genuinely impressed with this thing.

  • it’s really easy to use (even if you don’t read the instructions!)
  • it’s not heavy, and you don’t get backache using it
  • the suction is amazing – I can’t believe how much dust and debris this thing has picked up off my carpets
  • the tools are actually useful
  • it’s light enough for kids to use
  • emptying the dust out is unbelieveably simple
  • it’s well designed

What didn’t we love?

  • My husband wasn’t keen on the fact that there was no place to store the tools
  • My kids don’t love the fact that it’s so easy to use that now I’m making them use it!
  • There’s no denying that these are expensive vacuum cleaners. But if you’ve got allergies, asthma or pets and kids, I reckon it’s worth it.

I actually looked into buying a Dyson late last year when my asthma flared up. If I’d realised how good they were, I’d have bought one then. And as for my friend with the foster dogs, she’s going shopping this weekend!

Disclaimer: Dyson sent me the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro to review. I’m glad I loved it, but you can be assured that if I didn’t, I’d have let you know! All opinions are my own.