kleen pink clay soap

pink clay & lemongrass soap

Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and affected medical conditions, and avoid shea butter for latex allergies. These soaps are suitable for most older babies (plain water is usually enough before that – check labels). Don’t use these soaps on pets due to cocoa butter and different PH – read more on bathing dogs). 

Nearly all bar soaps sold in shops are made with sodium palmate (palm oil) which should be avoided to protect orangutans and other endangered creatures (there is no such thing as ‘sustainable palm oil’), this is just a self-policed marketing ploy that Greenpeace says is as ‘useful as a chocolate teapot’). Sodium tallowate means the soaps are made from beef fat. Here are some better brands. If you’re shopping on the high street, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything bar Oliva (a cheap olive oil soap sold in all good health stores or buy in bulk online – it’s a good soap that often can heal eczema in some people).

Coraline rose geranium soap

Coraline Skincare is a wonderful company that mostly sells soaps (they also offer calming oil-based lavender cleansing balm and a moisture balm (do a patch test, as immortelle oil contains natural allergens).  Avoid aromatherapy oils for pregnancy/nursing or affected medical conditions. Avoid shea butter for latex allergies (keep essential oils and cocoa butter away from pets). 

The company began when the parents of a little girl born with Down Syndrome, found her skin could not cope with conventional products. So they developed their own, which have become the go-to brand for people with sensitive skin. A couple are scent-free (chamomile or nettle) and others are scented with real essential oils. Proper handmade soap does not dry your skin as the moisturising glycerine is retained. As the soaps are quite soft after a few uses, store on a slatted soap dish to dry out between uses, to help them last longer. The range includes:

  1. Chamomile & yarrow (calming)
  2. Nettle & calendula (also calming)
  3. Rose geranium (mature skin)
  4. Lavender (organic & relaxing)
  5. Cinnamon, oat, almond (exfoliating)
  6. Mint lemon charcoal (oily skin)

It’s important to choose skincare with biodegradable ingredients (no fragrance oils) so items break down safely when they are rinsed down the drain, and go into the sea. Don’t pour neat essential oils down drains, these can still harm, safely dispose of in the trash. Your lifestyle is more important than what you put on your skin. So lots of water (over wine!), good food (with lots of plant-based protein and not too much refined sugar, gluten) along with regular sleep and gentle exercise, a bit of fresh air and avoiding stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, alcohol etc). These steps alone with transform your skin quickly.

Skin renewal eventually begins to slow down as we age, which is why dermatologists recommend regular exfoliation as likely being more important than slapping on moisture creams (most of which are mostly water anyway, so evaporate on your skin). If a product boasts itself as ‘age-defying’ or ‘wrinkle-reducing’, that’s usually a good reason to avoid it, as it will be packed with chemicals. Just spend a little more on quality items, but use less of them. Try all of the above tips combined for a month, and see how you get on, tweaking your beauty routine.

how to stop soap bars going squishy

metal soap tin with drip tray

This stackable metal soap tin can be used for soaps, shampoo and shaving bars, designed to last a lifetime, and perfect for the gym, camping or backpacking. It has a drip tray to prevent soap pooling in water, just remove to clean and rinse under warm water. Once shut, the clamp keeps it shut.

shower-friendly (vegan) soaps on ropes!

oat mylk soap on a rope

Kleen soap is vegan and free from palm oil, and includes a cotton rope, so you can hang it up after use in the shower to drain away water, saving the need to buy a soap tin, to stop it going smushy! Also available in Italian floral (pine, palmarosa, lime and ylang ylang and activated charcoal & kaolin clay.

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