There’s an array of products on the market for children but, before you throw any old bottle into your shopping trolley, it’s worth checking the label. Claire Spreadbury selects the kindest lotions for little people.
Buying soap adorned with children’s favourite TV characters might encourage your kids into the bath but they might also climb out with scratchy skin.
“Children’s skin is so delicate that a harsh chemical can readily cause a rash, or even an allergic reaction,” says renowned hair colourist Daniel Galvin Jnr. “I found that some of the horrible synthetic ingredients in kids’ and baby shampoos are used commonly.”
There is a huge list of nasties to avoid if at all possible. “Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are two most common ingredients found in baby and kids’ formulas, and these are highly irritating to the skin,” warns Galvin.
“They’re also used as industrial cleaning agents to get the grease off factory floors, so you can imagine what it does to baby skin and scalps,” he notes, adding that in the last few years, several children’s products were found to contain formaldehyde (which can trigger eczema) and 1,4-dioxane, both of which are known carcinogens. But because they’re not necessarily added to a product intentionally, they don’t have to be listed on the label.
Other ingredients that may cause children irritation include parabens, petroleum and propylene glycol (PEG), as well as artificial colours and flavours.
When it comes to bathing your babies (no matter how big or small), plump for one of these purer potions.
Bring on the bubbles
Many organic bubble baths fail to score highly on the bubble-ometer but, thankfully, this is not one of them. Childs Farm is an award-winning and affordable range born in Britain and supports the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) by donating 10% of all profits to the charity.
n Childs Farm Bubble Bath For Sweet Dreams, £4.69 (www.childsfarm.com)
Soft and silky
If your children suffer from eczema or dry skin, it’s better to opt for a bath oil over bubbles. After her daughter was given an eczema prescription for products full of nasties, Lisa Johnson decided to make her own. The result is an organic body range, including a hugely successful Scratchy Balm.
n LJ’s Organic Natural Scratchy Bath/Body Oil, £8.95 (www.lj-natural.com)
Suitable for the whole family, Origins products are made without parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petrolatum, paraffin, DEA and animal ingredients (except cruelty-free honey and beeswax).
n Origins A Perfect World Creamy Body Cleanser with White Tea, £21 (www.origins.co.uk)
Bar bar black sheep
Sometimes a good old-fashioned bar of soap is all you want to get kids clean, especially when they’re little. Bamford Baby is a capsule range which is Soil Association-approved and contains a beautiful blend of camomile, lavender and tea tree to calm and purify the skin, all sourced from the UK.
n Bamford baby soap, £10 (www.bamfordbody.co.uk)
Though this formula does contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate, the Johnson’s ‘no more tears’ promise means it doesn’t sting should it come into contact with eyes. The new bottle pumps out a foamy formula which makes for easy hair washing with a super-fast rinse.
n Johnson’s Baby Easy-Rinse Foam Shampoo, £2.99, Ocado (www.ocado.com)
After hair washing comes conditioning, but keep life simple with this spray-on product. Galvin & Galvin’s Dubble Trubble range is bursting with botanical extracts and natural and organic ingredients, meaning all the products smell good enough to eat. A few squirts of this conditioner and kids are ready for their PJs.
n Galvin & Galvin Dubble Trubble Cool Cucumber Detangling Spray, £2.50, Morrisons
After baths or showers, even young skins yearn for moisture. A simple lotion is all you need and Aveeno’s body products contain naturally active finely-milled oatmeal, which is clinically proven to restore the skin’s natural barrier, allowing it to retain moisture and keep out potential irritants more effectively.
n Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion with Lavender Aroma, £7.15, (www.boots.com)
To be or knot to be
Knots can cause big problems after bath time. Banish tantrums, tears and tangles by using a Michel Mercier Untangle Your Day hairbrush. The 428 bristles, positioned at 32 different heights and 16 different diameters, glide easily through wet or dry hair. And for extra comfort, hold down the root of the hair with the palm of your hand and brush.
n Untangle Your Day Kids’ Detangling Brush, available for fine, normal or thick hair, £12.95 (www.michelmercier.co.uk)
Scratch that itch
For those who suffer with eczema or severe dry patches, it’s a good idea to apply an additional balm before bedtime. MooGoo is a brand new range which has just landed in the UK, having taken Australia by storm, and is full of natural edible ingredients. Apply the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, wound-healing cream to any affected areas.
n MooGoo Irritable Skin Balm, RRP £12.50, independent pharmacies nationwide
Hush little baby
Once they’re clean, dry and ready for bed, give them a restful night’s sleep by spraying a relaxing scent in the kids’ bedrooms. This safety-approved, ultra gentle version of This Works’ award-winning deep sleep pillow spray contains lavender, vetivert and camomile, and is free from parabens, sulphates and phthalates. A few spritzes creates a cocoon of aromatherapy to lull little ones to sleep.
n This Works Baby Sleep Pillow Spray, £16 (www.thisworks.com)