Your guide to natural and organic living

Where to buy natural products on the high street?

August 3, 2008

One of the most difficult things about switching to natural body care has been finding places high street retailers that stock natural products. Many of them sell their own brands of natural products but these often turn out to not be as natural as they claim and is more of a marketing ploy than a matter of truth. I have scouted around my local Boots store and had a couple of small victories – the most notable being a small tub of Balm Balm Rose Geranium Lip Balm. But there are limits to what a tub of Balm Balm can do for your personal hygiene.

I decided to give up looking around on the high street and buy online which is great because there is so much choice. I still buy about 98% of the products I use online but sometimes I just want to be able to go into a shop and try things about or see what they smell like before I buy them. Thankfully, I found a couple of local shops where I can do this…

#1 ‘Waitrose’ (my local high street). Waitrose is the only supermarket I have come across that stocks a good range of (truly) natural body care products. My local store stocks Weleda shower creams, bath milks, toothpastes and deodorants. They have a good choice of natural toothpastes and mouthwashes including Tom’s of Maine. Neals Yard products have gradually been appearing – in blue plastic bottles rather than blue glass ones. Although Waitrose is one of the few supermarkets that have a great range of natural products, it’s quite small so I started to feel like there wasn’t enough choice – I knew what I like and what I didn’t.

#2 ‘As Nature Intended‘, Chiswick (6 tube stops away). I discovered this place at the weekend. I originally went in because the sign said it was an organic food shop. I thought it would be worth a mooch around as I might find some tasty and unusual snacks (which I did). I got to the back of the shop to find shelves and shelves of natural body care products, they even had a small makeup counter! I recognised quite a few of the brands they stocked but also came across a few I had never heard of before. The majority of the products were very reasonably priced either being the same price they are online or a bit cheaper.

So I spent a little while smelling things, looking at other brands and testing them. I think this has been something I have missed doing since buying most of my body products online. It also takes the gamble out of it a bit because at least you know you will like the smell or the consistency and that is half the battle. I have bought quite a few products that were not what I was expecting or had as much sensual appeal as skunk odour.

Ethical Junction logo

If you want to find more stores that sell or produce natural body care products, check out Ethical Junction. Their website presents consumers with directories of various categories that list ethical companies and their details. They have a skin and body care directory which lists over 100 ethical skin and body care companies and includes Pure Nuff Stuff, Ecosoapia, Balm Balm and Green People.

2 Comments

  • Mike on September 16, 2008

    I have a question: I use Dermalogica products but can’t seem to find out what they have in them (other than the stuff they want me to know about). They say they don’t test on animals and all their products are “non-comedogenic and contain no occlusive mineral oil or lanolin, no irritating artificial colors or fragrance, and no drying S.D. alcohol”. But I’ll be honest, I have no idea how natural this natural sounding range is. I’m sure I can’t be the only either. Any help would be gratefully received.

  • Gemma on September 16, 2008

    This is a good question. An organisation called the Environmental Working Group have set up a cosmetics safety database called ‘Skin Deep’. I did a search for Dermalogica on the site and it returned quite a few results. Each product has an ingredients list and each ingredient has a hazard rating from 0-10. There are also overall ratings for the whole product. It’s a great site for finding information about products that don’t list their ingredients.

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