Beauty the natural and organic way

May I draw your attention to Organic Beauty Week, which starts tomorrow? Many of the organic cosmetic brands that Jo Fairley and I highlight in The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible (Kyle Books, £19.99) are offering special shopping events and offers (online and in store), demos, workshops and talks So, why consider organic cosmetics? For some, it makes sense to put environment- and animal-friendly, ethical and sustainably sourced products on your body as well as in it. But for many, the compelling factor is skin irritation. In the experience of Dr. Rabia Malik (, who specialises in natural solutions to skin problems, ‘Synthetic chemicals in skincare, combined with the pollution our skin faces daily, can trigger or exacerbate sensitivity.’

When doctors told high-flying PR Sarah Brown that the only treatment for her chronic urticaria (a serious skin allergy) was a daily high dose of antihistamines, she started investigating her beauty products to identify any ingredients that might be triggering the attacks. What she found shocked her: ‘Synthetic ingredients very commonly used in cosmetics can cause skin sensitisation and allergies, either immediately or through prolonged use.’

Sarah’s solution was to launch Pai (, an organically certified, plant-based skincare range, in 2007. ‘It was important to have organic certification because I discovered that some so-called natural skincare companies were using the same synthetic chemicals, while making misleading “organic” claims,’ she says.

Odylique Gentle ShampooSkincare can be therapeutic in its own right. Suffolk-based herbalist and aromatherapist Margaret Weeds, co-founder of Essential Care (now rebranded as Odylique,, began creating products by hand in the 1980s to soothe her own and her family’s highly sensitive, eczema-prone skin. Her concoctions, made from pure plant oils with herbs from her garden, were so effective that friends and clients queued up for remedies. A request for shampoo to treat scalp psoriasis led to Gentle Herb Shampoo, the world’s first organically certified shampoo. A decade later, these multi-award-winning products are still formulated by Margaret and handmade in Suffolk.

For more information about events nationwide in Organic Beauty Week, visit



Organic vegetables, fruits, cereals - and the food made from them - are between 19 and 69 per cent higher in key anti-oxidants, which are linked to health benefits. They also contain significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals and pesticides, according to new research. International experts, led by Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, carried out the analysis of 343 studies on the nutritional differences between organic and conventionally grown crops, the increased antioxidants could be equivalent to eating one or two more portions of veg or fruit daily, say the experts.



Pukka IlluminateSebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs (, shares his favourites

BRAHMI may improve memory and concentration and strengthen the nervous system. Perfect for anyone studying, under stress or suffering autumn blues. Take long term to support neurotransmitter communications and reinvigorate the brain. For age 18-plus. Try Pukka Illuminate, £14.95 for 30 capsules.

ELDERBERRY deactivates the cold virus and strengthens cells so that our bodies can better resist a virus multiplying; also effective for removing congestion from the respiratory tract. Take daily through the winter. For age two-plus. Try Pukka Elderberry Syrup, £12.46 for 100ml.

ANDROGRAPHIS is a potent antiviral and antibacterial with immune-stimulating effects which may reduce the length and intensity of a respiratory infection or flu. Use at the first symptoms of cold/flu until they disappear. For age 18-plus. Try Pukka Organic Andrographis whole leaf, £14.95 for 60 capsules.

Pukka Ginger TeaGINGER improves circulation thus warming hands and feet and also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, as well as quelling nausea. Try Pukka Three Ginger tea, £2.29 for 20 sachets.

LIQUORICE helps remove congestion and mucus from the body (so good for catarrh), is deeply nourishing for people who are tired and/or stressed, good for the digestive system (for acidity and ulcers in particular), among many other properties. Try Pukka’s Peppermint & Licorice tea, £2.29 for 20 sachets.