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Botanicals soapbox

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Gently does it with Botanicals

Gently does it with Botanicals

One of the over-riding principles that influences everything we do at of Botanicals is our desire to produce products that are pure and safe, and as close to nature as possible.

We want to protect your personal health as well as the health of our environment, and so we are always very mindful of making sure that our personal care products are kind, safe and don’t cause any damage to your skin.

Our range includes a gentle face polish, which is available in Rose and Camelia or Chamomile and Marigold. It’s an effective scrub but it’s gentle for a reason – we believe that harsh exfoliation is damaging to the skin and we don’t want to produce any abrasive cleansers.

We believe that our organic rosehip shell and oatmeal exfoliators are just as good as a harsher ingredient would be, and softer and kinder to your skin.

The right decision

We know that we made the right decision, and this has been reinforced by coverage of a legal case in America. The makers of St Ives Apricot Scrub, Unilever, are being sued in the US by two customers who say that they damaged their skin by using it.

According to reports, they say they were misled into buying the scrub, which is marketed as being ‘dermatologist tested’, and that although it may have been tested by experts, it certainly isn’t recommended by skincare experts.

They also say experts have told them the ‘natural exfoliating ingredients’ used in the product could play a part in accelerating the ageing process.

Their £4million claim goes on to state that using St Ives Apricot Scrub to exfoliate the skin on your face can actually cause long-term skin damage, mainly because of the natural crushed walnut shell it contains.

Jagged edges may cause micro-tears

The walnut shell has jagged edges which they allege may lead to micro-tears in the skin when used in a facial scrub. St Ives have declined to comment on the legal action and are standing by their product.

At Botanicals, we will continue to resist using harsh abrasives in any of our cleansing products. Our customers seem to love our Face Polish range just as it is; Carrie, from What I Love Today blog, says,

“I love Botanicals Rose and Camellia range; it’s perfect for my mature skin. I’ve been using their Rose and Camellia Face Polish recently. This is a triple whammy of cleanser, moisturiser and gentle exfoliation! I hadn’t used this in some time and forgot how much I like it.”

We’re happy with that!

Confusing packaging is a ‘deal breaker’ for women

Confusing packaging is a ‘deal breaker’ for women

Would you understand what tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate was if you saw it on an ingredients list? Most of us wouldn’t, and according to research it would probably put us off purchasing a beauty product if we were looking for something natural and organic.

That would be a shame, because tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is just a liquid form of vitamin C, and nothing to worry about at all.

This just highlights the fact that beauty product labelling is an issue that manufacturers need to get right – not just because we don’t want to mislead people into thinking that they are buying an organic or totally natural beauty product when they might not be, but also so that they aren’t scared off by completely harmless ingredients on a bottle or jar.

79 per cent of women are confused by labelling

According to a recent survey carried out by Label Insight, an organisation that’s on a mission to help consumers understand what’s in the products they use and consume, 79 per cent of women in the US admitted that they were confused about ingredients listed on packaging at least some of the time.

Worryingly, 45 per cent of American women surveyed admitted that they were confused by packaging often, very often or ‘almost always’.

Kira Karapetian, Vice President of Marketing for Label Insight explained,

“While consumer demand for product transparency in food and beverage has experienced a groundswell, our study shows that interest in transparency for personal care products is also on the rise”

We couldn’t agree more at Botanicals – and we can see how a confusing ingredient list on a beauty product could easily impact a brand’s reputation; 45 per cent of those surveyed by Label Insight said they would trust a brand less if they found ingredients they didn’t recognise or were confused by on the packaging.

Vitamin C is a case in point – unsurprisingly, 88 per cent of consumers didn’t recognise liquid vitamin C when it was described as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and 49 per cent said they would not be comfortable buying a product containing it.

When it was properly labelled as the liquid form of vitamin C, with a description of its skincare benefits, there was a 43 per cent increase in the number of consumers who were now “very prepared” to buy a product containing it.

We believe in being completely transparent about what goes into our products, and our customers clearly appreciate that. It’s the same for the survey participants – 61 per cent of women said they were more likely to buy personal care products that contained ingredients they recognised, and 53 per cent would even swap products if they understood the ingredient list better.

When you buy a Botanicals product, you’ll find a complete list all of the high quality, natural ingredients that go into it. We don’t use colourants, silicones or parabens or any of the ‘Terrible Ten’ ingredients identified as part of the Soil Association’s ‘Come Clean about Beauty’ campaign.

Say ‘NO’ to animal-tested products

Say ‘NO’ to animal-tested products

As an ethical company, Botanicals is always enthusiastic about working with organisations that promote cruelty-free products. Which is why we’re delighted to support Naturewatch Foundation – a registered charity that campaigns to stop animal cruelty and advance animal welfare standards all around the world.

Naturewatch Foundation is passionate about campaigning to raise awareness of compassionate shopping. It’s an issue that’s close to our hearts too.

We know that many of our customers want to be able to find cruelty-free products. Naturewatch Foundation has produced a Compassionate Shopping Guide which makes it much easier to do just that.

It’s a scandal

Botanicals is 100% behind the Naturewatch Foundation’s campaign to ban animal testing in all cosmetics. It’s a scandal that so many large companies still test their products on animals.

Animal testing may have been banned in the EU, but any cosmetic product sold in China will have been tested on animals, as animal testing is a regulatory requirement.

And with a market the size of China, it’s easy to understand why so many multi-national cosmetics companies feel they have no choice but to test their products on animals.

This article on US media giant CNBS’s website reports that L’Oriel, Estee Lauder, Shiseido and Proctor & Gamble all test their products on animals so they can sell in China.

These companies may feel they can put profits before principles. But as consumers in the age of social media, we have the power to make them change their minds.

Botanicals Face Polish

The Naturewatch Foundation sent some of our products to bloggers for testing. Here’s what Zoe-Lee from A Secret Diary of a Scavenger has to say about Botanicals Face Polish;

“Made from 87% organic ingredients, this exfoliating cleanser has been the ultimate dull skin pick-me-up.

“I’ve been using this twice a week for the last 6 weeks and I’ve noticed smother and more radiant cleansed skin.

“It’s packed with various seed oils for a divine smell and seed powders for a natural alternative to evil microbeads.

“Hands down the best smelling cleanser I’ve ever used.”

Free Compassionate shopping guide

If you’re new to cruelty-free shopping, you can obtain a free copy of the latest Compassionate Shopping Guide. Just email with your full name, home address, and quote the voucher code 14CSG2017.

Sign the ‘Come clean’ petition

Sign the ‘Come clean’ petition

Last month we published a post about the problem of ‘greenwashing’ – when companies market products as being natural and organic when a quick glance at the ingredients shows they’re being deliberately misleading.

As the guardian of the UK’s organic certification for a wide range of products – including skincare – the Soil Association recently announced a campaign against the growing trend of greenwashing called ‘Come clean about beauty‘.

In a recent survey, the Association found that 76% of people felt mislead by labels on these products. And now they’re calling on everyone who feels this is an important issue to sign a petition against the practice.

They are calling on brands which make organic or natural claims to #ComeCleanAboutBeauty and use the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ responsibly – or not at all.

If you agree, simply click the button to sign the petition.


Sign the petition

Looking for authentic organic? Check the label

Looking for authentic organic? Check the label

Above: The giant multi-national cosmetics company, L’Oreal, is the latest to get on the ‘botanicals’ band wagon with a new range of haircare products.

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But there’s a world of difference between organic and non-organic ingredients.

With natural and organic skincare gaining popularity with concerned consumers, it’s not a surprise that mainstream health and beauty brands are getting in on the act.

In some cases, as we reported on our blog recently, this can lead to confusion, with well-known high street brands using words like ‘natural’ to describe products containing ingredients that would never be permitted in certified organic beauty products, like Botanicals.

Botanical Haircare

Some people have been confused by a new high street haircare range which claims to be ‘botanical’ because the manufacturers have removed silicones, parabens and colourants from their formulas and added a selection of natural ingredients.

Although it has a similar name, we can assure you that this range isn’t produced by us. If you’re concerned about buying natural haircare products, we suggest you look at the list of ingredients and make up your own mind.

Botanicals Natural Organic Skincare is exactly as it’s described. Our products will always feature our Botanicals logo – look for ‘Botanicals’ in bold, and ‘Natural Organic Skincare’ underneath it.

We don’t currently make a haircare range, but if we did, it would be like the rest of our product range, which is certified by the Soil Association – one of the recognised natural and organic certification bodies.

We’re proud to be certified organic and so we always display the Soil Association logo on our skincare products – we wouldn’t want there to be any confusion!

The organic difference

We’re extremely proud of the lovely skincare products we create, which is why when you buy a Botanicals product, we like to tell you about what goes into it. We list the high percentage of organic ingredients that we use on the front of each product.

If you investigate further, you’ll find a full list of all the high quality, natural ingredients that go into each product. We promise you that you will never find any controversial ingredients in any of our products. So we will never use colourants, silicones or parabens.

We also leave out other nasties like the ‘Terrible Ten’ ingredients as identified by a leading independent toxicologist as part of the Soil Association’s ‘Come Clean about Beauty’ campaign.

These ten skincare nasties have been implicated in causing allergies and hormone disruption, and have the potential to cause harm to unborn babies. We think they are better left out of products we put on our skin.

Always look for the logo – and do your research

How to make sure that your organic products really are organic.

  • Look for products that are certified by key natural and organic certification bodies.
  • Check the ingredients list carefully for synthetic or chemical ingredients and choose products which contain high percentage of organic ingredients instead.
  • Do your research – has the company won any awards or been recognised for its commitment to the natural and/or organic skincare industry?
  • Find out how a natural and organic product is made.  Usually they are produced with care, passion and dedication and in smaller batches, for greater quality products with better quality ingredients and enhanced benefits for skin. This sort of information is usually readily available online as true organic manufacturers are happy to tell you about what they do.

Don’t think about the price – it’s not true that organic skincare products are more expensive than ‘luxury brands. In many cases, organic products are a similar price or even cheaper, give you superior results, and are safer and kinder to your skin.

Botanicals’ Soil Association Organic Commitment:

  • No parabens, sulphates or controversial ingredients used
  • Only certified organic ingredients
  • Or from sustainably produced, approved sources
  • Safe ingredients, both from a human and environmental perspective
  • Fully biodegradable ingredients that are also certified non-GM
  • Reassurance there is minimum processing of ingredients
  • Clear labelling for informed choices about what to buy
  • Strict ethics based on personal & environmental health & wellbeing
Greenwashing; when organic isn’t always organic

Greenwashing; when organic isn’t always organic

Above: Boots Beautiful hair moisturise & natural shampoo with added organic organ oil came top of the Soil Association’s ‘name and shame’ chart (click to enlarge), scoring 19/25 with five thumbs-down marks against it.

Next with 14/25 and four thumbs-down was Coola’s Makeup setting spray green tea & aloe.

Unlike organic food, which must adhere to strict EU regulations to call itself organic, there are no legal standards in place for manufacturers of beauty products.

This means that many beauty brands casually use the terms ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ on their product labelling, a description that appeals to a great many consumers but is confusing and misleading them at the same time.

The Soil Association’s recent market report showed that sales of organic health and beauty products are booming right now, with an increase of more than 20 per cent in 2016.

The market is worth about £61.2m in the UK. But because technically it’s not illegal to describe almost any beauty product as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, even if there are virtually no ingredients in the product that fit that description, consumers are being misled into buying inferior products.

The Soil Association has ‘named and shamed’ eight cosmetics brands that it believes are culprits of what it calls ‘greenwashing’ in a report that you can download here: The Soil Association – Come Clean About Beauty

We agree with the Soil Association that misleading consumers this way is completely unacceptable. The companies accused of misleading consumers through labelling on specific products include trusted household names like: Boots, Rituals, Dr Organic, The Organic Pharmacy, Korres, Aloe Pura, Faith In Nature and COOLA.

Consumers could lose trust in organic brands

The Soil Association asked consumers how they felt about the way organic and natural beauty products were marketed, and unsurprisingly, 76 per cent said that they feel misled by some labelling on beauty products.

The independent survey also found that 72 per cent of consumers felt they would lose trust in a beauty brand if they knew the brand had made misleading claims about their products or ingredients being organic.

Soil Association Policy Director Peter Melchett believes that this study is just the tip of the iceberg. He said;

“The labels on products we encountered were littered with confusing terms. Our consumer research shows that it is very difficult for consumers to know they are making the right choice when doing their shopping.”

Organic standards are in place to encourage brands to use ingredients that are organic, sustainable and biodegradable in their beauty products, so it’s no surprise that most people said they felt misled when they were told that products claiming to be ‘organic’ in fact contained ingredients that weren’t permitted in a real, certified organic beauty product.

The brands carrying out this ‘greenwashing’ of their product ranges are exploiting the trust and reassurance that many people are looking for when they buy a product labelled ‘organic’ instead of one without that description.

Most people (74 per cent) thought that if they chose a product which stated ‘organic’ on the label, it should be free from ‘nasties’ but the research shows that it’s not always the case after all.

If you want to make sure that your beauty products haven’t been ‘greenwashed’, look for a genuine logo which proves the product has been independently certified, like COSMOS or the Soil Association, Natrue and NSF-ANSI.

These organisations all have strict criteria for beauty products. Botanicals was one of the first skincare producers to be accredited by the Soil Association. Which is why we’re proud to display their logo on all our labels.

Organic best at fighting free radicals

Organic best at fighting free radicals

According to King’s College London, the capital exceeded its annual pollution limit – just one week into 2016! It’s a sad fact; if you live in London – or any other city in the UK – you’re subjected to high pollution levels and this can affect both the health and beauty of your skin.

A recent Chinese study of 200 women aged between 30 and 45 found that polluted city air, anywhere in the world, contains a cocktail of 224 chemicals. Daily contact with this chemical cocktail can damage exposed skin, such as the face and hands, leaving it looking dull, dry and older.

This Chinese study also found that the appearance of skin of women living in cities, such as Beijing, aged 10% faster than those living in rural areas.

Accelerating fine lines and wrinkles

So what exactly does pollution do to our skin? As well as covering it in a layer of grime, which clogs pores and causes irritation, the tiny particles of pollution also penetrates the epidermis. This disrupts the skin’s barrier and moisture levels, causing inflammation, damaging skin elasticity and accelerating the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

What’s more, exposure to pollution promotes the production of free radicals, which wreak havoc with the natural balance of the skin and can even be carcinogenic.

So what’s the answer? The natural solution to countering the attack from free radicals is ‘antioxidants’. Antioxidants are vitamins, enzymes and minerals that occur naturally in plants and which are remarkably good at neutralising free radical damage to the skin.

A diet rich in antioxidants is therefore vital for maintaining healthy skin. It’s also important to apply antioxidants topically. Basically, feeding your skin from the inside out and from the outside in!

60% higher levels of antioxidants

Going organic is also vital, as a recent study by the Soil Association proved that organic crops, fruit and vegetables have up to 60% higher levels of antioxidants present than their non-organic counterparts.

If you love city living, but don’t like the effect it has on your skin, using Botanicals natural, organic skincare products therefore makes good, natural sense.

Using the pure power of plants, these antioxidant-rich skincare gems work in harmony with the body, supporting the skin’s natural ability to regenerate healthy new cells and protect against attack from damaging free radicals.

They’ll also help boost radiance, restore and rejuvenate as well as nourish and hydrate the skin.

Research shows natural is best

Research shows natural is best

Switching to natural skincare brands can have a huge impact on the levels of potentially damaging chemicals in our bodies, according to recent research published in the US.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkley, found that teenage girls who changed cosmetic products showed a dramatic drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals. And that was after only a few days.

The research team looked at four common chemicals used in cosmetics, lotions and shampoos which have been identified as ‘hormone disruptors’ and are known to interfere with both oestrogen and testosterone levels…

  • Phthalates: used in nail polish and fragrance
  • Parabens: a preservative used in cosmetics
  • Triclosan: an antibacterial agent
  • Oxybenzone: a sunscreen agent

100 girls in the study swapped their usual cosmetics for ones that didn’t include any of these ingredients. Young girls were chosen because they use more personal care products than older women. And because adolescence is a time of particular risk.

The results were startling. Overall, the girls showed a 25-45% drop in the levels of the four chemicals.

The research team was led by Kim Harley, Associate Director of UC Berkley’s Centre for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. Explaining how important it is to reduce exposure to these chemicals, Kim said: “they are associated with neuro-development problems in children, respiratory problems like asthma, and obesity problems”.

“Physical growth, reproductive development, brain development – they all happen in adolescence,” added Kim. “And there is no identified safe level of these four chemicals.”

One of the issues raised in the report is that these chemicals are often found in cheaper, mass-produced products, rather than organic alternatives which are often more expensive. And with less money to spend – and perhaps less inclination to check the ingredients list – this is why teenagers tend to purchase them.

At Botanicals, we try to keep prices as low as possible. But all our products are hand made in small batches, using the finest organic ingredients. So we’re always going to be more expensive than mass-produced alternatives. But this research shows it’s a price very much worth paying.


Halloween horrors

Halloween horrors

Halloween is just around the corner; a time of ghouls, goblins and all things that go bump in the night! And it now seems there may be other horrors that we should be doing our best to avoid. Particularly if we want to protect our children.

There have been several news stories recently warning that some popular face paints on sale for halloween may contain high levels of potentially toxic chemicals – particularly those imported from China and the Far East. They can contain dangerous chemicals such as lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium.

According to the New York Post, a report released by the advocacy group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed that all 10 of the face paints they tested contained lead. And six of them had nickel, cobalt and/or chromium. (Click here to read the article.)

Charles Schemer is a US Senator. The article quoted him as saying;

“These toxic ingredients can make a child sick, but they’re never listed on the package. Parents are totally clueless as to what they’re putting on their child’s face. If they see it on the shelf they think it’s safe, but it’s not. When you buy makeup for your kids, make sure it doesn’t say ‘made in China’.”

The Senator is pictured above displaying make-up palettes from a number of Chinese manufacturers, saying they are examples of potentially dangerous products. We don’t know whether similar products are sold here in the UK. But if you’re about to buy face paints, it sounds like it would be a good idea to check where they come from, and for any suspicious-sounding ingredients, before allowing them to be painted on a child’s face.

No Tricks; just treats from Botanicals

But one thing is certain; you won’t find us here at Botanicals cooking up a witches brew of toxic chemicals! We don’t play tricks; we just offer you treats. All our ingredients are carefully sourced and approved by the Soil Association. Each product has been lovingly formulated and made by hand to ensure that you and your clients receive the very best gifts nature has to offer. So perhaps we should start producing natural and organic face paints!

Botanicals for men

Botanicals for men

Del Brown is a blogger with a difference. He describes himself as an ‘ingredient-scrutiniser’ with a passion for natural and organic, chemical-free skincare. So we were delighted when he gave a big thumbs-up for our organic ‘Botanicals radiance serum’ in a recent online review.

Here’s an extract from Del’s post; (Click here to read the post in full. And click here to view the Radiance serum on our website.)

I’m going to start this review by declaring my absolute love for it! As you know with me, it’s ALL about the ingredients, so let’s start with that. The biggest ingredient in the bottle is organic apricot oil. Most of the big brands use olive oil as their carrier, as its cheap and widely available. Apricot oil is a natural anti-inflammatory when applied topically, so if you’re face is looking red, irritated or inflamed, this oil is perfect.

I’ve been using this for over a month and have found it help heal spots quickly, calm red irritated skin and rehydrate dry skin. There are several ways of using a face oil in your routine. You can use it on its own, replacing a cream moisturiser. Apply a couple of drops onto your fingers and smooth it into the skin. If your skin is feeling particularly dry or you’ve got some skin issues you want to tackle, apply one drop in with your moisturiser, combine, then apply. Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and even oily.

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