This isn’t the first time I’ve written about my journey towards using more natural cosmetic products. I’ve written about My Top Five Natural Buys for a Family from Weleda where I detail some of the products I would go for if you’re on a budget and need multi-taskers that are suitable for the kids too. I’ve also mentioned in other posts my sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
As a teen, fairly unsurprisingly I wasn’t particularly good to my body. I favoured very heavy make-up (at one point favouring a spiderweb drawn on my face with black eyeliner – yes really, my mother has photographic evidence!), knee high Doc Martens and back-brushed-hairsprayed-within-an-inch-of-its-life, hair that I bleached and re-dyed a rainbow of colours on a regular basis.
I’d had intermittent eczema since I was a child, but didn’t really give my skin much thought until not long before I became pregnant with my now teenage daughter. Whilst pregnant I developed a host of sensitivities (its been a running theme through my pregnancies, with subsequent pregnancies leaving me allergic to some foods as well!)
The face and body that I had previously slapped all sorts onto without thinking too much about it, now prickled and burned in response. The tops of my cheeks burned and felt tight. My skin became dry and flakey.
At this point I might’ve included a thoughtful picture of me pregnant with my eldest daughter, but there aren’t any. I was really that miserable – instead here is a photo of one of the main driving forces behind my quest for skincare I could actually use!
I wondered whether it might settle down once my daughter was born.
My skin reacts to various chemicals added to cosmetics (common irritants include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making my skin suffer). My scalp is particularly sensitive and painful if I use a product with a triggering ingredient (there have been times it feels like my scalp has been on fire and I have wanted to claw off my skin). In desperation I have tried various approaches, including no poo (as in no shampoo) in order to address the sensitivity. There are many products that I cannot use and it can be problematic if I forget to bring something supposedly simple, like shampoo, with me when I am away from home.
I have to be very careful with my skin and have spent a lot of time trying to find products that I can use. Almond oil for my face was recommended by my mother (herself an aromatherapist, amongst other therapies). I tried it and have used it ever since, alongside other natural and home-made products over the years.
When my eldest daughter developed horrendous nappy rash as a baby, Weleda Baby Calendula Nappy Change Cream was recommended to me by so many people online (BB boards – remember them before Facebook and the like?) I tried it with her and have never looked back, using it with my three subsequent children (there’s a tube of it on the side all of about a few metres from me!)
It was the “gateway” product! From there I tried the toothpastes (Calendula was the way forward at the time) and the Arnica Bumps and Bruises Salve (it was called something else at the time). From there is slowly snowballed (not least because it’s such a relief to find products you can use that don’t make your skin constantly flare!)
Don’t get me wrong, I love making scrubs and bath salts (and the occasional lip balm, etc). I’m an aromatherapy student (due to qualifty in the next couple of months) and naturally a fan of making up supporting blends and it is an important part of my therapy practice, but Weleda is still a mainstay in my personal (and working) kit and is an ideal choice for the busy person who may not have time, or the inclination (!) to make their own bespoke homemade preparations! Weleda has almost 100 years experience in the field of natural skincare (and health care – they also offer a selection of natural medicines) and are leaders in the natural cosmetics field!
So What Do I Choose?
Here’s the various bits I’ve grabbed today, comprising of an (unsurprising) amount of Weleda, plus Sante, Dr Hauschka, Lavera, Logona and a Benecos kohl pencil. Missing is a powder (I’ve just ran out pondering what to try next and would welcome suggestions in the comments) and I do make my own bath salts, bath oils and face masks (although I am a fan of Weleda’s Wild Rose Cream Bath and the Citrus Refreshing bath milk especially when used together). I also didn’t grab the Pomegranate Firming Serum that I’ve been using, but by the time I noticed, I wasn’t going to go back upstairs and grab it as I’m typing in a peaceful moment with small children around… Also missing from the below are my partner’s and children’s choices (I’ll save them for another post).
As you can see from the above, I’m still a regular almond facial oil user. Weleda’s Soothing Almond Facial oil benefits from an addition of organic blackthorn extract and is something I use not only on myself, but as a part of the facial massages that I offer in my practice. It’s ideal to layer up in colder weather (when our skin often needs further support) and also doubles up as a cleanser (especially for the eyes), although I do also use the Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion (also pictured above). These two, with the Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash, toothpaste (I’ll note at this point my favourite is now the Salt toothpaste, not the Calendula pictured, but it was in the cupboard and needed using and is my original Weleda toothpaste variety choice from years ago) and Skin Food form the mainstay of my favourite Weleda products.
After my many haircare/scalp woes, the Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash really has made such an immense difference to my wellbeing (where I have been very, very down and lacking in confidence in the past). Skin Food has been fantastic for my oft-washed and prone to dryness hands, but also works well as a balm to tame any “sticky-up-bits” on my newly chopped crop. I use it as a mask in some of the facials I do and it’s very helpful on those dried, cracked areas (soles of my preference for bare-foot feet for example).
So after trying more than a few natural products over the years, what would I recommend if having read my previous post, “What Has Your Skin Had for Breakfast” you are looking to move towards #cleanerbeauty?
My Top FIVE Weleda Recommended Swaps
My best advice is to start with those products you use the most of, for me that would be the following:
Toothpaste: I’m a big Salt toothpaste fan, but I’m not going to lie, it is, well, salty. Yes, this did come as an initial surprise to me (I know, I know), but now I love the fresh feel it leaves in my mouth. However, if you’re just starting out and have additional family to ease in, maybe go for the Plant Gel toothpaste, it’s gently minty and favoured by the rest of my family.
Cleanser: I just love, love, love the creamy Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion – fantastic for sensitive skin! As well as on myself, I use it in initial cleanses when I do facials (alongside the almond oil for removing eye make-up).
Shampoo: I’m going to say it again, the Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash is my top choice shampoo-wise. Weleda offer a range of hair care, but, IMHO, this is the one to start with and rebalance your hair and scalp (as it can take a little adjustment time for your body to get used to not being subject to some of the harsher constituents of more conventional shampoos and conditioners). It also has the side benefit of doubling up as a body wash too. As a busy mum with four of my six children still at home, that’s naturally appealing!
Deodorant: I personally like the sprays (easier to give an additional spritz wherever you need it through the day, plus the rose one is fantastic spritzed on a pillow case before bed), but the Weleda Citrus Roll-on is a good all rounder with the benefit of being in a non-smashable bottle (and yes, I say that because it’s happened to me…) Side bonus is that it’s not as prone to be “stingy”, post shaving!
Facial cream or lotion: If you’ve had problems with facial skincare in the past, you may find that it is best to start with Weleda’s Soothing Almond range for sensitive skin. This range helps to “reset” and rebalance your skin (as it adjusts to find its own more natural equilibrium). Although I’ve been using the almond oil for my face for a while, when I first tried Weleda’s other skincare ranges, I found a couple of them too strong for my sensitive skin. Almond was gently soothing and supporting and, although I am currently using the Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream (alongside the almond oil), every so often I move to the almond cream again to help support my skin deal with the changes (typically in winter when the weather changes).
Of course, there are probably many other cosmetic products that you may choose to use (and as you can see from my miscellaneous pic, I do too!) This is where finding your local Weleda Wellbeing Advisor is an ideal opportunity. Chances are your skin isn’t as flarey as mine and you have your own specific skincare requirements. Contacting your local Advisor means you can organise a one-to-one or Wellbeing Event and have the opportunity to sample from the range with advice on hand to make the best choice for you (all with a 30 day money back guarantee!) With Almond, Iris, Wild Rose, Pomegranate, Evening Primrose (and, indeed, the Men’s, Calendula and White Mallow Baby Derma) face creams and lotions to choose from, there’s bound to be the ideal facial skincare products for you (and more!)
What Cleaner Beauty Means to Me
(From my previous post: “What Has Your Skin Had for Breakfast?”)
I’ve had an interest in a more natural approach to my skincare for over a decade and a half (indeed it is one of the reasons I’ve retrained in complementary and beauty therapies). Many of the brands I choose to use both personally and professionally are certified by NaTRUE, including: Weleda, Dr Hauschka, Lavera, Sante and Logona.
I find it hard to understand why so many conventional cosmetics companies persist in using ingredients that are known irritants or have potentially damaging effects on the body when there are other, clearly safer, options available.
For me, “cleaner beauty” is about choosing brands that are not only conscious of the ingredients that they use and their impact on our bodies, but also that look towards improving their practice, striving towards a more sustainable approach. This includes fair treatment and accountability along the supply chain and a consideration for the partnerships that they make and work with. It’s an holistic approach to beauty and healthcare that should be the norm.
Weleda meets these requirements and I hope, in future posts, to expand upon the brands I spotlight to include some of the others I regularly use, plus further explorations of ingredients.
If you’d like to read some of my suggestions for a whole family swap, why not pop over to My Top Five Natural Buys for a Family from Weleda or contact me for more specific advice or to book a consultation or treatment.
Thank you to Weleda for the various product images.