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the merionwen blog

It is here that you will find all my thoughts, findings and musings on all things skincare related. I shall be adding hints and tips on keeping your skin in tip top condition. I shall share with you the findings of further research into natural skincare. I will post my thoughts and feelings on the ethics of the products and the skincare industry as I find it. I shall entertain you with my adventures in the Merionwen lab and now and again I shall even share with you the odd recipe or two.

a bountiful return

Category: merionwen's musings

Hello folks.

First thing first I feel I need to apologise for my absence. I come bearing a note from home to explain my tardiness.

Suffice to say I have not been sat idle here at Merionwen Towers, quite the opposite. I have in fact been a very busy bee over the last year. As you may remember from my previous blog post, I had taken on a BSc in medical herbalism. I am now a year into the course and am pleased to say I have passed all the exams for the first year.

To say that a full time course and running a successful skincare business has been hard would be an understatement. I am all too happy to put my hands in the air and declare it a steep learning curve. Juggling stuffy technical tomes with time at the formulation table has been tight. It was with this in mind I took the very conscious decision to pull back the on line marketing a little. I never wanted to find myself in a position where I could not bring the highest quality goodies to the shop and let my loyal customers down as I would have to strive for quantity over quality. This would go against every fibre of my being. It was this decision that slowed the marketing to keep up with the customer base I have enjoyed working with so far.

In time, I am sure you can all appreciate Merionwen will benefit from this as I will be able to bring the expertise I am gaining to the product on offer. There will be more and more nourishing and helpful qualities in the goodies I produce.

I am also pleased to announce that I have garnered some new qualifications in this time in reflexology, hot stone massage, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and of course nutrition.

I no longer feel that I am simply regurgitating pre-read advice when telling you that good skin and hair comes primarily from within. I now have a shiny piece of paper that confirms this. I have always been a firm believer that the hair and skin are wonderful indicators to good health. So, naturally it follows that good health with shine through and keep you looking good.

I have also struck up affiliation with Formula Botanica the expert skin science school that I was lucky enough to do my training with studying both the primary diploma and then the advanced diploma. Soon I hope to also complete the tutor training and a shiny new page will be found added to the website as I offer lessons and training in how to make your own goodies. Of course I wouldn’t want to lose customers but it is more important to us here at Merionwen that knowledge is wealth and that is to be shared. There will be a new blog pot and website buttons soon to sign up to the school and telling you all about the lovely owner and hardworking skincare expert, Lorraine Dallmere.

I am also lucky enough to have a dear friend, Karin who wished to stock Merionwen goodies in her up and coming herbal shop. I will also be found here offering therapies just one day a week. It is based in Metheringham and in good time I shall blog about it to tell you where, when and how. Currently it is being renovated before its grand opening.

Last but by no means have least the techie team and I decided to attempt to bless our family with some tiny feet. (I hope you have guessed by now I use the word team loosely and it is a team of one). You can read all about our trials and tribulations here.. It will be a wonderful new chapter to our life but as far as Merionwen goes it will afford me the opportunity to add a range of delightful tried and tested baby goodies to the shelves. I am thinking mild and gentle soaps for sticky toddler fingers, Calendula infused botty butter and other such goodies. I will also keep in mind that any other herbal affectations I adopt will do well here, so lavender wants to keep moths at bay and tiddly togs smelling divine could be seen in the shop too.

So on my to do list :-

Buttons for affiliation,

More sweet smelling goodies,

Stock for Karin,

Make a baby.

A pretty good list I think. I do love my job.

15:27:38 23-07-2014

my reply to samantha brick.

Category: merionwen's musings

I know this does not correlate directly to my business. However, I am in the line of skincare, beauty and nutrition.

Good natural products are not the be all and end all of good skin.

Good nutrition is essential. From eating plenty of vitamins and minerals to drinking lots of water, it is the key, and should be the first port of call.

With this in mind, I wish to revisit the outrageous article published by Samantha Brick in the Daily Mail. I am not a big fan of DM at the best of times and feel they go in for sensationalising and bigotry.

However, words like this are out there and I worry for the vulnerable people that read them and take them to heart.

So here is my reaction to the offending article. Some of you may have read it before but I feel it deserves addressing on here and not just on facebook.

For My teen daughter (my reaction to Samantha Brick's article)

My Darling Daughter,

I have just sat and read an article published by the Daily Mail (yes, I know, I know) by Samantha Brick.

I am sure you are aware I have strong views about the way the public is influenced by what they read and see. But, this particular article has left me with enough feeling to want to address her words. In particular, I want to address them with you and your beautiful friends in mind.

You are all of an age where body image is becoming important to you, and seeing this drivel in print alarms me. I know you are sensible enough to take it with a pinch of salt; but I would not want one single grain of this to enter your psyche.

The italics are the words of Samantha Brick.

"When my husband and I invited friends to dinner, I knew they'd want to bring something along as a contribution to the evening."

As is right and proper in polite society.

"and made a point of saying that wasn't necessary."

As we all do.

"So when one friend arrived and thrust a hefty box of chocolates into my hands, I rewarded her with ice-cold contempt rather than the grateful smile she was clearly expecting."

What a self centred and ungracious attitude. It is amazing there are any friends left.

"At the end of the evening, that very expensive box of hand-made French chocolates was consigned to the bottom of the kitchen bin, the contents ruined by the coffee dregs I had deliberately poured over them."

Would it have killed you to stop at a local hospital/nursery/hospice/charity and drop them off there, to the hard working staff who could do with a little treat and cheer during their day in, day out slog of caring for others?

"I am 42 years old and have been on a permanent diet for the past 30 years."

How sad and empty for you!

"The logic is simple and irrefutable: any self-respecting woman wants to be thin, and to be thin you need to spend your life on a diet. "

No, you don't! You need a balanced nutritious diet to maintain optimum health. The healthy size you should be will naturally follow.

"I don't believe overweight is ever attractive."

I feel it is what you *do* believe that is more of a concern

"Whether we like it or not, we live in an age and a part of the world where men and women regard thin as beautiful."

How many real men have you asked? I have always found that men prefer women to look healthy, and not look like the teaching apparatus from the biology lab.

"As an actress, this is something Joan Collins understands only too well, revealing last week that the secret to maintaining a perfect hourglass figure into your 70s is spending every day on a diet."

Perhaps she means a healthy balanced diet? Not the type of damaging self denial you are twittering on about.

"Joan, 79, said she controlled her weight during a long career so that she could stay in work - an entirely laudable attitude."

I expect she has. However, she has always been famed for her beautiful curves, not dieting to the point of looking like a hat stand.

"Like Joan, I have no intention of letting my body slide flabbily into middle age. I believe that any woman with a modicum of self-respect should watch her figure with the same vigour. Is it any coincidence that Joan is still attractive and in demand for work? "

It is my firm belief that any woman with a modicum of self respect should be aware of what she is eating. Maintaining a balanced diet to stay fit and healthy. Being aware of environmental issues surrounding the food on your plate. Not adding to the growing issue of food wastage while others starve.

"I was glad to see the back of Easter this month, as it seems to have been hijacked by the greedy masses who regard it as a free pass to gorge on chocolate."

Or perhaps a joyful time for families and friends to get together over a good meal, and treat each other with a gift of chocolate that they would not normally indulge each other in. Yes, some may over do it, but many still have Easter eggs in the house that will last a good while longer, and be treated as an on going treat to be enjoyed in moderation. Also, let's not forget that Easter is a Religious occasion and thus extremely important to some.

"Not a morsel passed my lips. Chocolate, cakes, sweets and any other calorie-rich, fat-laden 'foods' are banned in my home."

Clearly, self indulgent smugness isn't!

"For three decades, self-denial has been my best friend."

You have some strange friends! I refer back to your first paragraph! Is it any wonder that you consider things like self-denial as friends when you treat people so shoddily?

"And one of my biggest incentives is that I know men prefer slim women."

No! Not a sentient, respectful and kind man!

"I have only ever dated men who kept a strict eye on my figure. My partners are not only boyfriends but weight-loss coaches. "

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! What an empty battery of relationships you must have slithered through!

"My first love continually reminded me that one can never be too rich or too thin, and my husband of five years frequently tells me that if I put on weight he will divorce me."

Would you like the number for relate, or a good divorce lawyer?

"In the workplace, male bosses will always give the top job to a woman who looks fit and in control, rather than one who looks like a bulging sack in danger of imminent cardiac arrest."

Fit and in control does not equate to "on the fast track to an eating disorder". Incidentally one of the long term effects of poor nutrition is cardiac arrest. When did you last have you heart checked?

"I have some insight here, as I was overweight until I was 14 years old. Bitter experience taught me that the world pays no attention to dumpy girls."

Overweight until 14? Unless you had a remarkably poor diet I suspect you looked much like your peers. I may be wrong in this, but your vitriol about being fat leads me to believe your problems are more psychological in origin.

"Little wonder that in my mid-teens I decided to lose my puppy fat, transforming myself as I lived, for the best part of a year, on Marmite on toast (no butter)."

Good god woman! I am amazed you didn't develop rickets or scurvy! And what did your parents make of this behaviour?

"The first summer I felt thin coincided with a family holiday abroad. While this provided an opportunity to show off my svelte new figure, I had to watch my calorie intake even more carefully."

I thought family holidays were for enjoying your family's company and doing things you wouldn't normally do; like sight seeing, swimming in the sea and trying local cuisine. Not just poncing around in your swim suit trying to catch the eye of the local lads. And did they know you were only 14?

"I am 5ft 11in and slimmed down to a size 8. One of my lecturers was so worried she pulled me aside to voice her concern. I put her intervention down to jealousy, as she was a size 16."

A sorry state of affairs when you think the genuine concern of a person in authority is jealousy of your unhealthy bony body. Especially when she probably looked fab as a size 16!

"The Polo diet paid off: I could wear whatever I wanted and looked fantastic. I stopped only after a stern lecture from my dentist about the damage I was doing to my teeth."

Really? Really? btw, if you were going for sugar free polos they cause diarrhoea if eaten in excess. Nothing says sexy like the runs!

"My 20s were dominated by dieting, and I managed to stay a steady size 8/10. If I put on a pound or two, I simplyskipped a meal. I actually enjoyed - and still do - the hunger pangs. Isee them as a reminder that I am not pigging out on pizzas and fast food."

Heroin addicts get a buzz of their antisocial addictions also, and that is an illness too! Hunger pangs are your body telling you you need to feed it before your cells atrophy!

"I even chose holidays according to the indigenous diet. India was a favourite because I lost weight on meagre vegetarian servings."

This is what you brought back from a visit from a heritage and culture rich country?

"Florida was a disaster, so obscenely huge were the portions. Never again."

Just because it is on your plate doesn't mean you have to eat it all. Eat until you are satisfied and NO LONGER hungry.

"In those days I didn't use scales to tell me if I'd gained weight: I went by the fit of my clothes. My benchmark was a pair of unforgiving, size 8, Agnes B skinny-fit trousers. "

Buy a slightly bigger pair. No doubt you could have used the money you saved by not buying food!

"A friend and I had a coded way of referring to the success of my latest diet. 'Ah! The Agnes B trousers are on!' she'd say, as I strutted across to the table at whichever restaurant we were meeting in."

If she was a real friend she may have been seeing this as a cause for concern? If she is encouraging you in this self destructive way of life then she is as bad as you and needs a good hard look at herself.

"In my early 30s I lived in Los Angeles. The entire city is permanently on a diet, heaven for a serial dieter like me. I was a size 8, and became accustomed to surviving on fewer than 1,000 calories a day. "

Like a concentration camp?

"I'd have a large black coffee for breakfast, so strong the caffeine would make me tremble. For lunch I'd eat a bagel with the bread inside scoopedout and replaced with salad. Evening meals were either sushi or egg-white omelettes."

Anything that makes you tremble when consumed is clearly a poison and should be treated with caution. Your diet seems to have a serious lack of protien.

"To avoid culinary temptation, I even made a point of renting a house without a kitchen."

I'll bet the landlord was laughing all the way to the bank!

"Of course, constantly denying myself food was not and is not easy, but it has always brought enough rewards to make it worthwhile."


"In Los Angeles, for example, where I worked as a television producer, I was never out of work and never without a boyfriend."

You clearly lack the need for a deep and meaningful relationship. You certainly elude to there being a string of boyfriends. I wonder why none of them lasted?

"My self-control has slipped, on occasion, and I have found myself putting on weight. When I married my French husband, Pascal, in 2008, I wasn't at my thinnest. I suffered a bout of depression after losing my television company the previous year, and had gone up to a size 14."

Blimey...what a porker! I'll bet your internal organs were breathing a sigh of relief to finally be given the nutrients they need..

"Luckily for me, there is no better weight-loss incentive than a Frenchman. Pascal would not tolerate a fat wife and has told me that if I put on weight, our marriage is over. What more motivation do I need?"

You don't need motivation, you need couples counselling! Also looking at the photo of you two, perhaps he should put the same rigorous conditions on himself. The large belly is not indicative of a healthy diet, and he could have at least had the respect for you to have had a bit of a shave and tidy up before being photographed with you for a national newspaper.

"Today I am a size 12 and I never eat between meals. Elevenses isn't an excuse to gorge on carbs - it's just another hour on the clock."

Many others live by the same self discipline and don't feel the need to spout such rubbish. You are misguided if you think the rest of the nation are gorging on carbs mid morning. The majority are hard at work earning a living or raising their families. The majority of people don't have time to stop at eleven for a snack.

"Typically, I eat porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and meat or fish with vegetables for dinner. Occasionally I allow myself some cheese, and I often have a yoghurt after dinner."

Well, it sounds like someone made your realise that protien is essential. You *allow* yourself some cheese, or even a yoghurt? blimey! reckless! I do wonder if you drink? Do you *allow* yourself that glass of wine?

"I maintain a food diary. I never shop when I'm hungry, I always read the packaging, and I weigh myself every other day."

I also have successfully kept a food diary, and discovered certain foods that made me ill. I never shop when hungry as being hungry is a sign of poor nutrition and will be adressed. I always read packaging, to check the food I am buying is ethical. I also try to buy things with minimal packaging. I also weigh myself once a week when the mood takes me. Obsessing about your weight is pointless when you are healthy!

"Like my female French in-laws, I follow an extreme low-calorie diet four times a year - one each season. I lose at least half-a-stone each time, though the side-effects mean that I don't have the mental or physical fortitude to work."

Surely this is showing you that it is a stupid way to treat your body? Side effects of a good diet should be more energy, clarity of mind and clear skin! Not an inability to work!

"The world admonished Kate Moss for claiming that 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' but I'd go further. As I see it, there is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat."

Shall we ask the many beautiful "fat" celebs out there? By "fat" I man your bench mark for "fat"! Lets call Nigella, Dawn and Adele to the stand! I feel their success, vibrancy and beauty far outshines yours, missy!

For what it is worth I feel almost certain the Samantha Brick is a parody of today's celebrity attitudes. I think she is a joke! But if there is one grain of truth in these opinions of hers I would want my daughter (and son for that matter) shielded from them.

I would wish you, my darling daughter, to grow up to be happy, healthy and full of life.

I'd like to quote Joan Collins myself, "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why it is called the present". Life is too short to spend it moithering about your weight.

Follow the simple ideals you have been brought up with and you will always have the correct figure for good health. Maintain a balanced diet and you will be able to continue with the metabloism you are blessed with. Indulge in life's little treats but do it in moderation. Keep an eye on the ethical aspects of what is on your plate. All in all do not conform to the perception of the "ideal".

Be yourself and you will always be beautiful.

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”



16:46:18 05-08-2013

the oil cleansing system

Category: hints & tips

Well, I promised more information about the oil cleansing method and here it is.

Many people cleanse their skin with soap and water, some with expensive cleansing soaps, some use pricey facial scrubs.

Now, I'm not saying these things are wrong or bad for you. I'm simply offering an alternative.

All too often people go through a battery of products trying to find the right one for their sensitive, dry, oily. problem skin. They think they have cracked it but soon enough they find themselves with dry patches, black heads or breaking out in rashes or spots.

This is because you may be changing the chemistry of your skin and over time your skin becomes stressed. It starts to over or under produce it's natural sebum.

This is where the oil cleansing method steps in.

It's not a new fad incidentally, it's been around for centuries. After all we all know how ancient Greeks and Romans cleansed. That's right...they used oil.

The science behind it is quite simple. Oil dissolves oil.

Now I can appreciate the knee jerk reaction of "EWWW" to the idea of slathering your face with oil. Try not to think of it as adding an oil slick, more a beneficial soothing facial massage. Oil will not bring about pimples, zits, blackheads. That is the job of grime, bacteria, hormonal imbalances. This is why we need to keep our faces clean. However, with the constant scrubbing, rubbing and cleansing using chemical products we can make our poor skin so confused it doesn't know what to do. first we strip away the natural oils, Our face feels tight and dry so we slather on some perfumed gunk. Our skin (which is of course our largest organ incidentally) will react to the stripping of it's oils and rapidly produce more oil. Cue big shiny moon face. So we strip it again and all something to replace the oils it can produce itself, thus often blocking pores. Skin become clogged and toxins settle down for a feast. Cue big shiny cratered moon face.

So, the answer is to support the skin in it's chemistry. Don't wash away it's natural oils, support them.

Of course, I'm not suggesting you stop cleansing your face. I simply want you all to try a different way of thinking.

We have a plethora of wonderful plant oils in the world that the skin loves.

Castor oil is naturally cleansing, anti inflammatory, and soothing. It's ideal for cleansing delicate skin. I use it a lot. However, you don't want to use this alone. This will leave you with skin so dry you may feel it will come off in flakes. In fact a little goes a very long way.

The supporting carrier oil can be an oil to suit you skin. I personally prefer safflower oil. It's so light and delicate, and helps to reduce the size of pores.

Then of course there are more specialised oils. Jojoba oil is almost identical it it's make up to the skins natural sebum. It's ideal to rebalance the skin.

Rose hip oil has vitamins A, C and E. It naturally nourishes and protects. It helps repair scarred and damaged skin.

Argan oil has vitamins, anti oxidents and fatty acids. It has a wonderful ability to assist in keeping skin young and healthy. Dare I say it? Anti-aging?

So, the next question is "how do I do it?"

Well, it's really rather simple.

all you need is a clean natural fibre (we are all about the natural here) cloth.

A sensible dollop of oil (your not roasting a chicken) you want a pool in your hand about the size of a fifty pence piece.

Hot water, hotter than you would think but not hot enough to scald yourself with. Think steaming.

Plenty of time. It's not something you can rush. It takes between 5-10 minutes but once it's part of your routine you will relish the pampering and use the time to drift off and daydream.

Now take the oil and massage it into you skin, take care not to blind yourself by rubbing oil into your eyes. It won't do any harm but it will smart and you will feel blinded.

Gently massage your skin and small circular motions, be thorough and as indulgent as you can. The massage will also help with the removal of toxins but stimulation the blood circulation. Sit back for a few minutes to allow the oils to do their thing. They will be feeding your skin, dissolving the days grime and even removing make-up. Any blocked pores will be softening and the oil will be working it's magic.

Next soak the cloth in hot water. Not too hot mind. You are aiming for clean and steamy not a rapid boil!

Place the wash cloth over you face and relax until the cloth has cooled. Feel the oil do it's work, gently steaming the pores open.

Then take the cloth and gently wipe the oils away. Don't be tempted to scrub, there really is no need.

Rinse the cloth in hot, clean, running water and repeat. Do this two of three times, Don't worry the castor oil really will cleans and help remove the other oils now they have done their job.

Once you have finished pat your skin dry.

If you skin feels a little tight you can either pop a small amount of the same oil back on your face and leave it to moisturise or you can use a more specialised natural moisturiser or serum. However, using this method, in time, you really will find less and less need to moisturise daily.

One word of caution, you may need to persevere with this method for a couple of weeks before you see the difference. After all, you skin does need to reset and relearn how to care for itself.

Let you skin free! It will thank you in the end.

In time honoured style I'd like to point out there will be a variety of cleansing oils on the shop. I am aiming to suit all skin types and add a specialised oil for eczema and sensitive skin.

17:30:36 04-08-2013

busy buzzy bumble bee

Category: merionwen's musings

There is never enough hours in the day here at Merionwen Towers.

I have been popping things into the shop as an when I can. However, this also involves a lot of backstage organising. There is the shop, pifs (product information files), EO sensitisers to work out and lets not forget the new EU fun and games of uploading all information on a spanking new EU cosmetics notification portal. All this to make sure that every thing is in place the way it should be.

However, that is not all that is happening here at the towers. I am also completing a few courses. I do love to learn and research. I already have a few relevant qualifications but I like to tick boxes and make sure I am fully informed. I have to date a HND in phytotherapy (master herbalism); and high level diplomas in a variety of other therapies; massage, cosmetology, aromatherapy, hot stone massage, anatomy and physiology to name a few. My long term goal is to secure a HND in clinical nutrition and a BSc in phytotherapy.

All in all this makes for a very busy bee, but I am loving it.

Perhaps it is time I told you a bit more about myself?

Well, I am a mum of two splendid kids and devoted my early twenties to them. When I went back to work I forged a career in the history and heritage sector. I often found myself playing a medieval or tudor herbalist and found a new love of herbs and all things natural.

I had always loved the more natural way of life and had been a keen gardener for many years. I have always been aware of what I was putting into my body and what I was putting on my skin.

In this particular sector I found myself tasked with growing a medieval herb and pleasure garden. I went about it by researching the appropriate plants and herbs and why we used them. My knowledge base grew as did my passion.

Then due to unforeseen circumstances my life took a bit of a left turn. I gave up my much loved job to concentrate on my children, home life and health.

I found myself floundering and in need of something to stimulate my passions for nature and it's relationship with human health.

In the next couple of years I completed my HND in phytotherapy. This grew into further training and qualifications in complementary therapies including cosmetology.

And that, dear reader leads us nicely to here.

I am now the proud owner of a growing business. A successful complementary therapist and an eternal student.

I don't think I will ever stop learning. But it makes me happy.

Next up I think will be advanced reflexology, botany, horticulture and of course the HND and BSC. (I have an extensive list).

Everyone needs a hobby, right?

23:19:10 17-07-2013

would you like salt with that?

Category: products

Today's fun in the blending room of Merionwen Towers as produced a delicious bath salt.

If, like me, you live in a hard water area there is nothing better than a generous scoop of salt in the bath to add softness. Coupled with that is the mineral benefits of adding natural salt to a bath.

Himalayan salt is hand mined, washed and dried at the foot hills of the Himalayas in Pakistan. I personally do my best to seek out a sustainable source and make sure it is fairtrade certified wherever possible.

Himalayan pink salt contains an almost identical set of elements to those in our body - in the same proportions as occur in our blood. The distinctive rose pink colour is a result of the high mineral content in the salt (iron, potassium and magnesium). So in my opinion why would you put in your bath something you would not put into your mouth. With this in mind I find this particular salt ideal.

I am blending it with a variety of good aromaceuticals, for both properties and wonderful scent. Of course there will be blend with finely ground rose petals. We all love roses right? Anti ageing, soothing and they smell great.

However, I am also looking at a spice blend, something floral, a botanical aspect and a citrus zing.

These salts have a dual aspect as they can also be used as gentle shower scrub. What better way to start a morning or sooth an evening?

Served up in a sweet kilner jar to make your bathroom look pretty. Or, if you so choose you can add to the experience with an ethically sourced wooden tub and scoop. These will also be available through the shop. I will also be making available bags of refills so you don't need to worry about having to ship a new jar each time.

I have tried to think of everything!

10:32:43 21-06-2013

parabens, why not?

Category: choosing natural skincare

Parabens, Why not?

Well first of all we need to know what a paraben is, and where to find it.

Parabens are a group of compounds (methyl-, butyl- and propyl- paraben, they are also known as hydroxybenzoic acid such as methyl-para-hydroxybezoic acid).

This class of chemicals is widely used across the board in cosmetic manufacture as a preservative.

They are also to be found lurking in the pharmaceutical industry. Found in off the shelf shampoo, moisturiser, shaving gel, deodorants, make up and toothpaste. These compounds and their associated salts are commonly used for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

It all sounds good so far doesn't it? After all who wants musty deodorant or furry moisturiser?

There are arguments going for and against the use of parabens. It has been widely circulated that the use of these compounds is mostly safe. However, it has also been widely publicised that parabens have been heavily linked to cancer. Personally I would rather err on the side of caution. Through research carried out at Reading University upon the breast tissue of patients who have undergone mastectomy due to breast cancer it was found that 99% of all the samples contained parabens 60% contained all five types of paraben that were being tested for.

Here is alink to NHS site that carries the relevant information.

Parabens can mimic the hormone oestrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. The paraben propyl paraben has been linked to a decrease in sperm level. This is with a daily intake of the accepted EU level of this paraben. The way it mimics oestrogen has been linked to young girls going through puberty at a younger age. An age where they may not be emotionally developed enough to cope with such changes without distress.

The jury is still hung over the effect of this chemical on the development of young adults and babies. However, I for one do not wish to take these risks with either my own lifestyle or in Merionwen's products.

It is for these reasons you will never find parabens in Merionwen's products.

If you want to get involved yourself have a look at the

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Indeed, there are much kinder forms of preservative out there. Due to EU law we have to have a preservative in hydrous products as the very presence of water can encourage fungal and bacterial growth. Rest assured, Merionwen will only use the most natural, gentle and kind preservatives.

One such preservative I shall be using is Preservative Eco. The ingredients are as follows :-

Benzyl alcohol. An organic compound, benzyl alcohol is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. It is also found in a variety of essential oils including jasmine, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang. It acts as a bactericide.

Salicylic Acid. An organic acid the term salicylic comes from the latin salix meaning willow. It has historically been extracted from willow bark and meadowsweet and used as the active ingredient in aspirin. It acts as a bactericide.

Glycerine. A by-product of soap making. Even soap made with natural ingredients! It is a clear, viscose liquid that is harmless and used across the board as a suspension for other compounds.

Sorbic acid. Isolated from unripe rowan berries this is an entirely natural compound. It is antimicrobial in it's action. It has the added advantage of degrading quickly in soil so it has long been considered extremely environmentally friendly.

Now enough science and back to the blending room.

19:37:04 20-06-2013