Hi, beauty lover! Thanks so much for coming to learn more about me!
I’m Helen, 40-something mum to Jonah and Cara, and wife to Martin. We live in Stockton-on-Tees in the UK. When Jonah was born in 2016, I took maternity leave from my job as a user interface designer and didn’t return. Now I’m a full-time stay at home mum and blogger.
I love coffee (of course), writing, music, photography, long walks, and nature. Blogging is a huge creative outlet for me, and I’ve met so many wonderful like-minded people through my blog and Instagram.
Why did you start a blog?
I started my blog because I love and want to share natural beauty products. I’ve had tricky skin in the past with both psoriasis and pregnancy triggered eczema. This led me down the path of searching for skincare to heal my troubled skin.
My blog helps me to share the brands and products I find. I really love the beauty and skincare I suggest on my blog, and I hope you’ll love it too.
My manifesto for natural beauty
Natural beauty is about my love for plant-based ingredients and how they can soothe and heal. Natural ingredients are full of life, history, and folklore.
For me, natural beauty isn’t about demonising individual ingredients or avoiding everything synthetic.
It’s about a holistic approach to wellness through skincare and beauty. It’s about asking, “how do I feel today?”, “what is my skin telling me about my health?”, and “where is my stress?”. I urge you to try this approach – it’s changed my life for the better.
Growing up in the countryside, but living in a town, I want to feel connected to our wonderful earth. I want my beauty products to care for me, animals, and the planet.
So I love brands who take a holistic view to beauty. Transparent, honest, caring, and gentle brands all get my attention and love! It means so much to support the makers – small independent beauty brands who share the same values.
Where did my natural beauty passion start?
My earliest recollection of beauty being “natural/conscious” or not, was when The Body Shop opened in my home town of Macclesfield. I was probably about 14 years old. This new and amazing shop with these gorgeous smelling products, caring for animals and the environment – well, it just blew me away!
I subsequently sought high street brands that were “natural” or cared for animals, like The Natural Collection by Boots, Barrie M nail varnish, etc. Oh, the memories!
Having psoriasis and being prescribed strong, skin-thinning steroid creams and insanely hard-to-use coal tar products really accelerated my interest in natural alternatives.
How do I feel about natural beauty in my 40s?
As I’ve aged I’ve become more interested in natural ways to firm my skin and soften my wrinkles. And as a mama, finding some me time in my bathroom is a must!
I also have a strong interest in reducing my environmental footprint – cutting my plastic consumption and always choosing cruelty-free.
What about science?
One of my pet peeves is hearing that beauty products are “full of chemicals”. Okay, I get it. But water is a chemical, right? And obviously not all chemicals are the same. Not all are bad. Older, “worse” chemicals may have been better researched over a greater amount of time.
That said, my advice is that if you want the cleanest and gentlest experience for your skin then look into water-free skincare. No preservatives = less harshness!
Yet, preservatives are absolutely vital in water-based skincare. They protect from the growth of dangerous bacteria, fungi, etc and extend the shelf life of your products.
And while I try to stay away from the most controversial ingredients, that’s not to say I would never use them! I try to look at the formula as a whole, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks.
One thing to bear in mind when considering controversial ingredients is concentration. The amounts of certain ingredients like preservatives are governed by law, for instance phenoxyethanol – a popular synthetic preservative often used in natural formulations that can only be used at concentrations up to 1% – the studied safe level. In a lot of animal studies, they’re using much greater concentrations than what’s allowed in your skincare, so of course it’s going to cause damage.
Can you see how this unfolds into something so much bigger than it seems from the outset? Phew! Ultimately I think it’s important to have an open mind and read as much as you can.
How did having children change your views?
When I fell pregnant I went into a complete frenzy, checking all ingredients. I threw out a lot of stuff! I really didn’t understand about concentrations, or the fact that many skincare ingredients – although they may be absorbed by the skin – simply don’t make it into our bloodstream (or only in trace amounts) – so are very unlikely to adversely affect our unborn.
I advise you, pregnant mama, to do your research, go with your gut, and if all else fails put your money with brands you know you can trust who have a good history of making skincare for pregnant women and children.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, you might find it calms your mind to avoid some essential oils. Many avoid retinol or salicylic acid through pregnancy.
Some women don’t change a thing! It’s your choice.
Children’s skin is more permeable than our own (source), so I always use the gentlest products I can find. I like to keep it simple too. My daughter doesn’t need a face moisturiser daily, so I don’t use one. If the wind is biting outside, I’ll apply a dab to her nose and cheeks.
My skincare kit includes zinc oxide sunscreen, a good balm, a nice oil for massage, an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, baby sleep aromatherapy products, and a detangling spray. Read more about this in my article nourishing your child through cleaner beauty.
Finally, it’s her skin not mine. I am mindful of that.