Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Debunking Skincare Myths - Does our skin absorb 60% of skincare?

Sugarpuffish UK
Science is not my strength. Unfortunately, that does mean I must remember to not take everything on board as the gospel truth. In the past, I have been guilty of sharing articles claiming that 60% of the cosmetics we put on our skin ends up in the bloodstream. The concern is synthetic and toxic ingredients are entering our bodies and causing ill health. Only the other day, I saw a natural company using this same statement to market their skincare. They are by no means the only ones using this statistic. At the start of my green journey, I naively trusted that the people sharing this fact had done their homework but the more I learn, the wiser I become to those spreading "half truths". 

I highly recommend everyone reads the following excellent articles. Both explain why the statement about our bodies absorbing 60% is somewhat flawed. 

These articles explain that our skin is made up of layers (epidermis, dermis and hypodermis) so there is a distance which an ingredient must travel before reaching the bloodstream. Not every ingredient will be absorbed. It is dependent on the "chemical" and the size of the molecules as to whether it will pass through. I am guessing this is why hormone and nicotine patches work. These are treatments which are specifically designed to be absorbed. If an ingredient does make it into the body, some will naturally pass through our system as we are designed to reject what is not needed. What we must remember is when it comes to skincare we are looking to treat the top layer of skin so cosmetics are not deliberately manufactured to penetrate all the way to our bloodstream. 

Whilst I am looking at this topic, I wanted to once again highlight the issue of gluten and food allergens in skincare. It is widely debated whether there is a need for gluten free cosmetics/skincare. I certainly understand the demand for them, my sister is coeliac. Of course, I have my own allergies and do not use any skincare that contains milk and citrus. I understand the concern for allergens in lipstick but should I really be concerned about them in body lotion? I have read that gluten molecules are too large to penetrate through to the bloodstream and a reaction to a product containing gluten is more likely to be down to other ingredients in the formula. There was a case in Australia of a woman who used goat milk soap and went on to suffer a severe allergic reaction when she ate goat cheese. The reaction did not happen overnight, she started using the soaps to treat eczema in 2009 and reacted in 2011. It is also worth remembering that eczema can cause broken skin and the skin layers are not as robust as they are meant to be. I am guessing eczema would leave you vulnerable to ingredients penetrating into the bloodstream. It was an unusual case but it certainly gets you thinking.

Our daily lives are filled with undesirable synthetic ingredients which are not needed. That is why I advocate natural and organic skincare. I am not entirely dismissing the idea that some ingredients appear to be making it into our bodies but I am saying that some scary facts floating around on the internet are not always accurate. It is unlikely we are are absorbing 60% of what we put on our skin.

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Monday, 20 October 2014

Blue Labelle Biologique Chamomile & Avocado Cleansing oil

Blue Labelle Biologique Chamomile & Avocado Cleansing oil

You all know my favourite cleansing oil is from Blue Labelle (the dry/sensitive skin formula). I have lost count of how many times I have bought it but one thing I do know is it is a staple product in my beauty cabinet. Blue Labelle recently launched the Biologique range, a line of oils which are 100% Organics and includes Supercritical CO2 extracts of Amaranth, Sea Buckthorn & Chamomile as well as cold-pressed (raw) oils of Marula, Moringa, Red Raspberry Seed & Argan. I have been testing the *Chamomile and Avocado Cleansing oil. 

You are probably wondering what is Supercritical CO2 extract (I know I was). It is a method of extraction which produces superior plant oil that has not been altered by heat associated with steam distillation.

"The CO2 extraction process consists of pumping pressurized carbon dioxide into a chamber filled with plant matter. When carbon dioxide is subjected to pressure it becomes "supercritical" and has liquid properties while remaining in a gaseous state. Because of the liquid properties of the gas, the CO2 functions as a solvent, pulling the oils and other substances such as pigment and resin from the plant matter. Thus, the difference between CO2, or supercritical, extraction and traditional distillation is that CO2 is used as a solvent instead of heated water or steam. The temperature involved in the supercritical extraction process is around 95 to 100 degrees F as opposed to 140 to 212 degrees F in steam distillation." (source -

The Chamomile and Avocado cleansing oil contains sweet almond, caster oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, amaranth (CO2 extract) Chamomile (CO2 extract), geranium oil, palmarosa and rosemary (CO2 extract). For me, it is a lovely blend and a pleasure to use. All the ingredients offer great benefits to my skin. If I compare the Biologique to my old faithful from Blue Labelle’s original range, there is not a significant difference in terms of performance. Both contain ingredients that do not disrupt my skin and without putting the product under some sort of laboratory testing, to the naked eye there is not a dramatic difference. 

Overall, I like the Biologique cleansing oil but I am also very happy with the original formula (review link). I feel that the decision of which range to purchase from would be purely based on personal preference. The Biologique does contain a higher quality of essential oils because of the extraction technique and is 100% organic. I imagine that is a selling point which will be embraced by some customers. I highly recommend Blue Labelle products, which ever product you buy, I do not think you would be disappointed.

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Across the Pond - Etsy Wish List - Natural & Organic Skincare

Back in March (link), I wrote a post about Global Natural & Organic brands I discovered on Etsy. Fast forward to the present and I spent another lunch break snooping around and here are the gems that caught my eye. 

I think we can all see why I was drawn to Frecklefarm Organics. The super cute designed packaging is a winner but the product range also looks divine.

With products like Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Body Scrub and Spiced Vanilla Glaze Massage Oil, Herb & Root makes me hungry for dessert.

With Herbivore Botanicals, I like the look of the modern and minimalist packaging. Katie of informs me that their Blue Clay soap is one of her favourites.

I don't wish to bombard this post with lots of pictures but can I also suggest checking out - ELUCXMetta SkincareGinger ChiCoast & Clearing

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Disclaimer - not sponsored, no affiliated links, selection based on information provided on seller Etsy page and/or websites, I am trusting these companies have good ingredients.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Dairy Free Dream - Almond Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream

Almond Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream

I can not remember who was chirping loudest on Twitter but the news that Almond Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream had launched into Waitrose caused quite a frenzy. I had to beg Waitrose social media team for a store list and whooped with delight that several stores within my reach were stockists.

You are probably thinking what's the fuss about. For me it's all about the flavours. Mint chocolate chip was a childhood favourite pre-allergy diagnosis. As much as I love Swedish Glace (I will certainly not be abandoning it) I wanted, hell I needed, mint choc chip back in my life.

Almond Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream Praline Crunch
Almond Dream ice cream has slowly been arriving into stores (full store list is on my Facebook page (link) post dated 6th October). The flavours available are Salted Caramel, Praline Crunch, Velvety Vanilla and Mint Chocolate Chip. They are free from dairy and gluten and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. At the moment the introductory price is £3.74 a tub.

The luxury dairy free ice cream market has suddenly become competitive with Coyo, Jollyum, Bessant & Drury (Coconut Collabrative) and Booja Booja. My verdict is I think Almond Dream is wonderful. I brought three flavours, I passed up Vanilla because it's not very exciting to me. I am really enjoying the tub and spoon experience. Each flavour is creamy and tasty. I will say that the Praline Crunch is very similar to Jollyum Maple & Pecan. Normal dairy ice cream is a long distant memory but I can tell there is an after taste which gives a hint of almonds. It's not a criticism, just worth noting. 

So what are you waiting for? Run now as fast as you can to the nearest Waitrose. Perhaps you are already with spoon and tub in hand, what do you think? Are you enjoying Almond Dream non dairy ice cream? 

Sugarpuffish with Almond Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream
Warning - this dairy free crazy person can be seen wandering the supermarket searching for ice cream, approach with caution! 

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