The beginning of Beginnings, handmade, natural, organic and luxurious soaps & body products made in Mid-Ulster, Northern Ireland. 100% Natural.
I first became interested in natural bath and body products when my son developed eczema when just a few weeks old. I went through all the usual steps, dairy free diet, loads of prescription creams and bath products, but it did not work. Yes, a prescripton milk powder and dairy free diet did show a good improvement, but the eczema never went away. The prescription creams were not popular with my wee son, and he often cried when I put them on as they caused stinging. Although they seemed to help they did not make the eczema disappear.
So, I started buying creams and baby bubble baths that were more "natural". In other words they didnt smell like perfume, they weren't brightly coloured and they were more naturally preserved. The trouble is that the more I read up about the ingredients, the more restricted I became in what I wanted to buy. The truth of the matter is that our chemists and supemarkets are laden with products that are potentially very dangerous and not without controversy. Online shopping became a necessity for me, and my son soon got to the stage where he simply did not need cream applied every day, his skin was clear. He does still have the odd mild patch or break out, usually at Christmas and Easter due to eating too much chocolate!
As for when I crossed the line in starting to make my own products, I can't actually remember, but I soon became fascinated with the old traditional method of cold process soap making. I remember so well the first batch of lavender soap I carefully planned and made in an old shoebox! You are much more likely to see colourful displays of "Handmade" soaps in shops that have been made by the melt and pour method. You will recognise this type of soap easily, if it is brightly coloured and smells of things like strawberries, honeysuckle or baby powder you can be sure it is made from a bought in soap base that is melted, laced with synthetic dyes and fragrances and labelled "Handmade Soap". Ridiculous, but true! I do have a good advantage in having a degree in Biological Sciences, soap making is a scientific process that requires careful planning and adequate health and safety precautions. Cold process soap making is certainly not for the faint hearted, but for me it is by far the best method for producing natural, effective soap bars. I also have great faith in the potential healing properties of herbs and other botanicals, and try to introduce these to my soaps, however, I do not associate with so called alternative therapies in any way.
As I read more and more, I became aware that creams and lotions often contain about 50% water. Not only are the producers charging a lot of money for a water heavy product, but because of all this water which allows microbial growth, chemical preservatives must be added. However, I then became aware of balms and butters, which do not contain water and so do not need preservatives. Eventually I began to make some simple combinations of oils, butters and essential oils. What surprised me was the fact that eliminating chemicals from products does mean less in terms of performance and effectiveness. The natural ingredients produce amazing products that actually work, that have numerous benefits and nutrients and that can that be enjoyed safely. It can be confusing sorting the truly natural from what is labelled as being natural, this table is added as a rough guide.
Please note that this list is by no means comprehensive, if you come across an ingredient and are unsure if it is safe, do a little online reseach. There are websites such as the skin deep cosmetic database that provide a hazzard rating for individual products.
Some good general advice is to open your mind as to what is going on. Just because something is legally on sale, by well established brands, sadly does not mean that it is good, wholesome and trustworthy. Often it is simply down to cost, the cheaper they can produce something the better. Once you have used a truly natural product you will realise that you have been paying a lot of money for products which often fail to produce the desired effect.
You may be reading this and thinking that you don't need to use natural products, as you don't suffer from skin problems. Unless I am badly mistaken I would assume that you like to use body products that work, that feel great and improve your skin! Beginnings products do all this and more.