Chemicals in cosmetics causing asthma increase

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asthma-2Asthma rates in UK children are said to have increased by a staggering 2-300% since the 1950s, and it’s a similar trend across both Europe and the US. Around 5.4 million Britons now have asthma, including 1.1 million children. And it causes up to 1,250 deaths each year.

Scientists in the US have recently identified chemicals found in cosmetics as a possible cause for the increase – particularly in children. They found that babies in the womb exposed to high levels of phthalates are up to 78% more at risk of developing asthma.

Dr Robin Whyatt of Columbia University said: “These chemicals are very widely used in very high volume. But they are generally not listed on labels.” Her advice was to cut back on using artificially-scented products – cosmetics, air fresheners and detergents. She also suggested that women should check their make-up on the internet for phthalates. But that’s not as easy as it sounds since there’s no requirement for producers to include it on their ingredients listings.
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Supporting the Rowan Tree Clinic

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Based in Central Ireland near Kinnegad in County Wexmouth, the Rowan Tree Clinic is a wonderful example of what a small team of dedicated volunteers can do, offering practical help to people living with chronic medical conditions. And here at Botanicals, we’re delighted to be able to support them in a very small way by providing them with our Botanicals body oils and balms.

Established in 2011, The Rowan Tree Clinic has a team of 10 professionals who volunteer their time and expertise in a range of therapies, attracting clients from all over Ireland. Click here to read more about their work on their own website.

Paula Hynes is both Manager and Therapist at the clinic. And she was keen to share some of the comments her team have made about using our oils in their treatment therapies. Paula emailed to say;

“We’ve been using Botanicals organic massage blends and foot balms in all of our touch therapies and reiki treatments at the Rowan Tree Clinic for over a year and a half now. As many of our clients live with multiple chronic conditions, it is very important to us that we use top quality products that are gentle and trustworthy.

“Botanicals provide us with a product that we feel very confident in using. We love its purity, gentleness and restorative qualities. The oils are a huge hit with our therapy team and clients alike!”

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Calming lotion reviews

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calming-lotion-3Our new calming lotion has been getting some wonderful reviews – from both customers and bloggers. To read the reviews on our website (26 at the last count!), simply visit the product page and click the reviews tab. Here’s one that caught my eye, posted by professional therapist, Louise Harkiss;

This lotion is lovely, applied after shaving my legs and felt really lovely – you don’t need loads. I had threading done last week and my skin had an outbreak. I applied some of this lotion & it eased off. The aroma is lovely – not over bearing like some products. I love the packaging too – well done Botanicals on another fantastic product.

And here’s a selection of excerpts from recent blog reviews (click on a link to read a post in full);
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Cleansing melt review

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cleansing-melt-roseChristina Caicedo is editor and founder of the US beauty magazine, ‘Evolving Beauty’ and has recently published a review of our two cleansing melts; Rose & camellia and Mandarin & chamomile.

Christina emailed to say; “Your products sound so amazing, and as someone who uses homeopathic remedies – and being part Native American – I fully understand and support what you are doing.”

Here’s Christina’s review:

Certified organic by The Soil Association, Botanicals Natural Organic Skincare Gentle Cleansing Melt in Mandarin and Chamomile has a super concentrated (as in no water), lush texture that luxuriates skin by effortlessly dissolving make-up, gently cleansing and balancing skin with perfect moisture.
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New: Botanicals Calming Body Lotion

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calming-lotion-3We’re delighted to announce the release of our latest natural bodycare product; Botanicals Calming Body Lotion (click here to view it on our webshop). It’s finally emerged after many months of stringent testing and has already received some rave reviews.

Professional therapist, Siobhan Carey told us; “I must say that I was very impressed – from the first pump! It absorbs so much better than other lotions I’ve used. It feels like silk on the skin, and my skin instantly looked improved.”

Explaining how the lotion has been formulated, Wendy explained; “We use a unique blend of certified-organic, plant essences, including extracts of calming marigold and aloe vera, together with soothing shea butter and lavender, and a hint of antiseptic tea tree.
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MI allergy on the increase

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There have been a number of reports in this week’s national press about people suffering allergic reactions to skincare products containing MI (methylisothiazolinone). It’s used as a preservative in products ranging from body scrubs to moisturisers, sunscreens to wet wipes.

mi-allergyWe highlighted the problem about a year ago (view the blog post) and immediately received a response from one of our customers, Gay Colenutt. She was brave enough to allow us to post a photo showing the effect one of these products containing MI had on her face and neck (right). Gay told us:

“This is what MI allergy did to me – plus cervical lymphatics were in total overdrive. Now I don’t buy any supermarket/chemist-type products for hair, skin or cleaning, etc. Absolutely love my Botanicals products, and once again have skin to be proud of.”

The health pages in Tuesday’s Times newspaper contained a reader’s question asking: “Are many people allergic to moisturisers? I’m always careful to buy products designed for sensitive skin but my face has become puffy and itchy. And the more moisturiser I use, the worse it seems to get.”
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Blogger reviews

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We’ve had some great reviews recently by young bloggers who write about cosmetics. Here’s three of the most recent. To read any review in full on the actual blog, simply click on a the blog title. And to view the product on our website, click on the product link.

Botanicals revitalising balm reviewed on ‘No More Frizzy Hairdays

revitalising-balmI really love the revitalising balm; it is luxurious. I had eczema as a child and still suffer a lot from dry skin. The weather also makes my skin dry. This product worked like a treat.

I absolutely adore the lemongrass and mandarin fragrance; it smells fresh. My hubby said the smell was a bit to citrusy. But to me it was perfect. I liked the fragrance 100%.

I used the balm on my skin after I had shaved my legs in the bath and they felt a bit dry. It made my legs feel silky smooth, and smell fresh and clean. I also love the fact the balm contains 100% natural and 89% organic ingredients, that support the skin’s natural ability to heal and generate new cells.

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Tester comments on Botanicals body polish

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body-polish-200wdIt’s always great to receive customer reviews on our products. But in many ways, it’s even more interesting and valuable to hear the views of independent testers.

Our customers will usually know our products and like what they offer. For many independent reviewers, it will often be the first time they have have tried them. And they will also be comparing them to a whole range of similar products – with a particularly critical eye.

All three of the products we entered for the 2014 FreeFrom Awards won silver. We were told they all missed out on the top prize by just one or two marks. But since we won ‘Best Brand’, we really can’t complain. Here’s a selection of the independent testers’ comments on our Revitalising body polish: (View the product on our website.)

“Great morning shower product but a real luxury too! In my opinion it was just right; the crystals are said to penetrate deep into the skin and stimulating tissue. I would say this is a very accurate account. Sometimes beads or crystals can scratch the skin – this one didn’t! No irritation or sensitivity experienced. I would buy this product.
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FreeFrom 2014: the judging process

Wendy (left) receiving her gold award from Janey Lee Grace.

Wendy (left) receiving her gold award from Janey Lee Grace.

Wendy (left) receiving her gold award from Janey Lee Grace.

Many thanks to everyone who sent us messages of congratulations following our gold-plated success at last week’s FreeFrom Awards.

Getting the ‘Best Brand Award’ was the most important prize and accolade. But winning silver for all three products we entered was also just amazing. Especially considering there were more than 260 entries from over 100 brands.

Speaking after the event, FreeFrom Skincare Awards Co-ordinator Alex Gazzola said:

“Botanicals are deserved winners of the Best FreeFrom Brand 2014. They produce beautiful handmade products, in which natural botanicals and plants are allowed to shine.

Our judges admired the purity of the formulations, their labelling, their whole ethos and philosophy, and their shortlisted products performed exceptionally well during month-long testing – both this year and last year, in fact.

I think we would struggle to find any product among the Botanicals range which was less than excellent.”

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Best FreeFrom Skincare Brand!

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freefrom-2014-logoWe’re absolutely delighted to announce that Botanicals has won the ‘Best FreeFrom Skincare Brand’ award for 2014. This prestigious award was presented to Wendy by Radio 2 broadcaster and best-selling author, Janey Lee Grace, at the ‘Love Natural, Love Organic Show’ in London yesterday.

Selected from a long and illustrious list of companies offering natural skin care products – including Green People, Weleda, Neals Yard Remedies, and even Waitrose – here’s what the judges said about Botanicals:

“Beautiful handmade products, in which natural botanicals and plants are allowed to shine, and which always perform exceptionally well in testing. A 10th anniversary redesign has modernised this vegan and organic brand. Bronze medallists in this category in 2013, they are deserved winners in 2014.

We entered three products into this year’s awards – and each won silver. The judges told Wendy that they only failed to reach the top spot by just one or two marks. But we can’t be disappointed by that. It was an amazing result – especially considering the size and scale of the competition.

Here are the three products we entered, with some the judges’ remarks; (click a heading to view the product on our store).
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