Thursday, 21 March 2013

Samantha Brick - Is She Right?

I've been thinking about Samantha Brick and her comments about women's jealousy over her self-acclaimed beauty and I think she's right, but not necessarily in the way she thinks.  It's not that we deny her beauty, if she feels it that's fantastic for her and we don't need an opinion on that, but the problem is if the rest of us cannot stand to hear a woman proclaim that she IS beautiful - why do we have a problem with this?  So few of us have the confidence to actually say that we look okay, let alone beautiful, that when one woman dares to say such a thing why don't we think "Good for her, how lovely that she feels that way."

Why we don't is the really interesting point of the whole thing.

I meet a lot of women in my world and many of them make the very best of what they've got, yet they still pick on some part of themselves to fixate about - why? We women constantly self sabotage and have low self esteem and there's really no need for it.

I read somewhere yesterday (possibly Daily Mail, possibly Pure Beauty magazine) that women are turning away from model images and increasingly want to look the best they can at their age and with what they've been given.  I'm not totally convinced this is true as the aspirational images fed to us by the beauty industry are very unlikely to go away, but how wonderful would that be if we all said "Shove it, I don't care what the 20 year old model promoting the anti-ageing range or the 50+ clothing line looks like, what matters is what do I look like when using these products?"

Samantha Brick may be onto something...

Natural Beauty

There is so much confusion surrounding organic beauty that I don’t even know where to start.  Different international accrediting bodies have different standards so what might be allowed by the Soil Association might not be allowable by the OFC in Australia.  Likewise, “you out there” seem to be moving away from pure organic products but instead, you seem to want products that work – who’d have thought, eh?  So, here’s a selection of “natural” products that I think will tick your boxes and two others that I give a standing ovation to – read on to find out why.

 Weleda Skin Food
Created in 1926, long before petrochemicals began to find their way into women’s cosmetics (gosh, don’t start me off on that one) this is an enduring “must have” to help dry skin.  62% of the plant ingredients in this range are cultivated in organic or biodynamic environments and they don’t use artificial preservatives.    In short, people whom care about what goes into their product and how it’s made.
Price: £5.95 for 30ml
Green People Daily Aloe Shampoo
West Sussex, we need to gather this brand to our bosom as it is based in West Grinstead.  Organic shampoos are difficult to make as we consumers don’t understand shampoo with low foam and so presume they don’t work.  In reality, this shampoo will do the job very nicely thank you and will even foam a little to keep you happy whilst being very gentle on your scalp.
Price: £9.95 for 200ml

Dr Hauschka Facial Toner
This is a certified “natural” range, but what we do know is that it is celebrity-adored.  Looking beyond this, the word “anthroposophical” crops up (as it does with Weleda) and this is all about how the products are made – in short holistic, respectful of life, in harmony with life.  Plant based, this toner lives up to its reputation.
Price: £22.47 for 100ml

Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser
Soil Association approved and 99.9% organic this is a great product.  Use it in the same way you might use other solid cleansers, massaging into dry skin before removing with a hot damp cloth.  I’d be tempted after to use a micellar cleanser or regular toner afterwards to ensure that all traces of make up/grime are gone, but it’s not necessary.  This will not only cleanse but feed your skin with lots of good stuff – not many cleansers can do that.
Price: £29.95 for 70ml
Peony Gold Juniper Exfoliating Crystals
I love this brand for admitting that they are organic and natural by default!  The company chose to base their brand on the healing properties of White Peonies, but as a protected flower these are grown in very carefully controlled biodynamic environments and so the supply is, by default, organic.   This exfoliator mixes peonies with Gold Juniper to create a blend that detoxifies, eliminates dead skin cells and stimulates skin cell renewal
Price: £20.00 for 15mg

Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser
Micellar water is one of the newest style cleansers and contains small oil molecules in spa water to lift dirt, make-up and oil from the skin.   I’ve been testing this product and I love it.  It could be a toner as it has the same type of feel so it takes a bit of getting used to but it’s packed with Avène Thermal Spring Water and soothing alpha-bisabolol to leave the skin clean, soft and soothed.   
Price: £12.50 for 200ml

Monday, 4 March 2013


I was looking to write an entire piece about beauty for - and here you have to forgive me as I'm bound to put my un-PC foot in it - the physically challenged.

It came to my attention that the gorgeous brand L'Occitane had Braille on the outside of all their boxes and I thought this was brilliant.

The top image is one they very kindly took for me - it's not something they have standard product shots of (although it is on every box) as they don't do it for show and their photos are about product, rather than packaging.  This is clearly not an EU directive, otherwise all brands would do it, it's just something they do - I'll find out why.

Bioderma is the other brand that has Braille on the box so top marks to them.  I'll post on them when I get images.

I'm still on the search for easy to open bottles etc. to help people with one hand, tremors or muscle wastage but I think we'll be looking for a long time.  Likewise, I can't find a brand that has an audio list of their ingredients and instructions.

I don't think we can draw any conclusions from this as there are many product categories from washing powder to breakfast cereal that don't cater for the needs of the physically challenged.  I do think it's interesting that cosmetic companies enter into Breast Cancer Month with products (from which they donate funds but still make a profit), but only these two in my search actually make a real effort to engage physical challenges as a core value of their range, rather than as a "pink product" add-on.

It has been suggested to me (by a non-beauty professional) that perhaps physical disability is not something the beauty industry embraces, in the same way mainstream fashion doesn't.  I don't think this is true, I think it's much more about economics.  However, as it seems we're all going to get type 2 diabetes from the incredible rate of obesity engulfing the country, perhaps the potential symptons of this disease might become much more mainstream, which will focus the collective beauty industry mind.

I could make suggestions for physically challenged beauty aficionados but I think they'll sound patronising - facial wipes are easier than cleanser bottles; pump action bottles are easier than twist or flip tops; lash extensions will save mascara disasters etc.  I'm sure they know this already through years of experience. 

I've contacted CEW (beauty industry trade body) the RNIB, the MS Society and Radio 4's In Touch programme to see if I've missed anything.  I'll keep you posted.