Monday, 26 April 2010

Are organic products really worth paying more for?

This question pops up in consumer surveys, magazine features, TV programmes... Most people answer yes, especially parents who want to give their children the healthiest start in life.

All parents get worried about nasty chemicals from the very beginning – which is pregnancy for most mums, if not the conceiving stage! That's when a mum-to-be finds out that she can't eat anything she fancies or use products she thought perfectly harmless until an antenatal midwife or an article in a parenting magazine told her otherwise.

I usually review baby/toddler gear for a parenting website, so it was lovely to be able to test two toiletry items from Green People, an award-winning company that specialises in organic bodycare products. 

On my bedside table...
...I have two deliciously scented, organic products: a Mandarin-flavoured toothpaste for Michela and a zesty moisturising cream for me.

The toothpaste is SLS and flouride free. SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is a harsh and irritating foaming agent not only present in most toothpastes but - prepared to be horrified - also in shampoos and shower gels. On top of this there is no aluminium contamination (the tube is lined with lacquer used in food packaging). This toothpaste's 100% organic ingredients include soothing Aloe Vera oil, Mandarin, Orange and Myrrh antiseptic oils.

The fragrant moisturising cream is a limited edition Day/night cream, with orange, rosehip and mandarin, plus several other soothing ingredients. Its organic formula aims to revive face and neck, while promoting a youthful complexion. As I'm no spring chicken, this is welcome news! The cream is free from lanolin, petrochemicals, perfume and parabens. Parabens, commonly used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry, are becoming increasingly controversial. Weight gain, certain types of cancers and skin aging are some of the suspected side effects.

Testing, testing
  • Toothy frutti: Michela didn’t take to the toothpaste straightaway. I wondered why, so I tried it myself. The texture is certainly different; this toothpaste doesn’t foam in the mouth and is less sweet than other brands. I checked her usual toothpaste and the answer was sodium saccharin, which is used in artificial sweeteners. This makes toothpaste really sweet, so obviously Michela was addicted to a 'sugary' toothpaste. However, after a few days, she started enjoying the Mandarin toothpaste more and more. As she doesn’t understand about spitting the toothpaste out, it's reassuring to know that she is not swallowing nasty chemicals. The Mandarin toothpaste, also available in Spearmint, retails at £3.30. It might sound a bit expensive, but as a young child needs a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day, the 50ml tube is bound to last for a long while.
  • Sweet cream: Most women have dramatic skin changes after having a child and three years down the line I'm still struggling to find a good moisturiser for my 'new' dry skin (I used to have quite oily complexion before). I have been trying various potions and lotions, some with antiageing properties, but my skin has become very sensitive and antiageing ingredients are often quite harsh. The Green People moisturiser sinks in easily, makes the skin soft without irritating it and smells delicious, like homemade lemon curd (lemon oil is among the ingredients). A little goes a long way and the price (£11.95 for 50ml tube) is quite competitive considering the prices of moisturisers. The cheapest branded moisturiser starts at £7 and the ones I have tried are greasy, irritate the skin and make it look shiny. Looking like a red, waxy apple is not a good look! So I just hope that this limited edition becomes a regular product - I'd hate not being able to buy it when this tube runs out.
If you'd like to pop a product on my bedside table, please get in touch!