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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.

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

techie heaven

Category: merionwen's musings

The techie team at Merionwen Towers are happy bunnies today.

We have taken delivery of some exciting new equipment. Funded by the hugely successful crowdfunder pitch.

Chief tech wizard, the barefooted one, is busy unloading and positioning. He is itching and waiting to get his paws on the tech and make it do his bidding. Unfortunately, it is the middle of the working day and he will have to wait just a few short hours until he can play.

We have become the proud owners of a silhouette cameo and a spanking new laser printer. This exciting new addition will enable us to keep all packaging and labels in house. Affording us the luxury of entire control. We don't have to conform to standard shapes or colour, and will be able to do justice to the remarkable and wonderful designs provided by the talented Ann Lewis. Square labels? Pah! We laugh in the face of normal!

This weekend we are planning a marathon photography session. I consider myself very lucky that even this can be done to a professional standard in house. There is clearly no limit to the barefoot one's talents! Heck, he can even put together the perfect sarnie, and his tea is the business.

So a big hurrah for the Barefoot boy. Techie wizard, accounts manager, chief guinea pig, photographer and tea boy. What a guy!

13:50:33 18-06-2013

sugar and spice

Category: products

Merionwen Towers is awash with the scent of sugar and spice.

Today's formulations consist of foaming body polish.

The sun has got his hat on and we want to go out to play. However, we all want smooth skin to give us the daring to get our shorts and cossies on.

If, like me you suffer with milk bottle legs after a long and chilly winter you will feel the need to jump in the shower and give the skin a bit of a buff before indulging in some vitamin D forming rays.

Of course, the last thing I would advocate is lounging around under the midday sun and damaging our delicate birthday suits with too many photons. I do, however, advise you all to think sensibly, cover up when necessary and get out there and enjoy it.

So, it's time for a skin M.O.T!

In my previous post I talked you through body brushing. (link)

What could be better than following this up with a warm shower and a hand full of foaming body polish.

There are three formulations about to hit the shelves. all blended with their unique properties in mind.

Base Formula.

An organic coconut oil and fairtrade light brown sugar base. I have always had a penchant for sugar scrubs but have rarely come across and that has a secondary benefit of foaming in place of soap. I have addressed this issue with organic, pure and delicate castile. Gentle and cleansing it doesn't add any worry of SLS to the formula.

Strawberry and Black Pepper.

Strawberries can help the skin feel softer and more supple, while black pepper is a natural detoxifier. This scrub utilises finely ground peppercorns and strawberry seeds as an added bonus to exfoliate and slough those dead cells away.

Vanilla Coffee.

There is no better way to start a lazy Sunday than with a rich and heady mixture of vanilla and coffee. The vanilla naturally balances the rich bitterness of good coffee. Leaving you skin singing and a delicious lingering aroma of vanilla. Coffee is packed with antioxidants and acts as an anti inflammatory. Utilising the blend of rich ground coffee and whole vanilla beans for their exfoliating properties. Polishing the skin to a luxurious shine.

Vintage Rose and Frankincense.

Roses and frankincense have been uses through time immemorial in valued and luxurious skincare. Rose is a classic scent that evokes an image of age old country gardens and lazy afternoons. Frankincense brings a touch of the exotic to the other wise traditional. However, it is no accident that I have brought these to gems together. Rose has many therapeutic properties. Not least the wonderful effect it has on dry, sensitive and ageing skin. Frankincense mirrors this beautifully with it's hydrating and rejuvenating properties. There is a delightful addition of ground rose petals in this polish. It gently exfoliates while leaving you beautifully yet delicately scented.

12:53:37 18-06-2013

body brushing for beautiful bottoms

Category: hints & tips

I do hope that Merionwen will become a name that brings to mind image of quality and indulgent skincare. Products that feed the skin and give a healthy glow. However, products can't do it all alone. We need to help our skin be at it's best.

I'm sure we all know how disheartening the sight of dimply orange peel skin and pale cellulite thighs come the arrival of the sunshine can be. Our poor skin can be starved of sunlight during the winter months and longs to drink in the vitamin D enhancing rays. Of course, we all wish to take good care of our skin and protect it from harmful rays, but we must not forget that we need the sunlight for the synthesis of Vitamin D. A sensible approach and moderation is key.

However, I digress. Cellulite! The bane of the lady's bottom!

Well, I have discovered (rather late in life) that one of the most effective ways of combating excess cellulite and dull grey skin is to body brush.

When you are waiting for the bath to fill or the shower to reach it's optimum temperature grab that body brush and go to work. It stimulates tired circulation and helps to flush toxins out of the skin. It assists in the break down of fatty pockets that give the appearance of cellulite. You can use a variety of things to "brush" but a purpose bought body brush is ideal. However, you can also use a loofah or even a sisal mitten.

Start at your toes and sweep upwards, be firm but gentle. Brushing your knees in small circles. Work upward to your thighs and buttocks in smooth circling motions. It's really rather a good feeling, energising! move upward towards your heart, taking special care to use gentle sweeping strokes over your stomach and breasts. After all, you don't want bruises!

Then sweep up your arms from your finger tips. Using small circling strokes upon you elbows. Don't forget your back! A long handled brush is ideal for this but you can always ask a handy partner to assist if you don't have a brush to hand. Always working towards the heart and starting at the bottom.

Then when you skin is singing with pleasure hop on into the shower or bath and slough off those dead cells.

You will see the benefit over just a small amount of time if you can take just a couple of minutes to make this part of your daily routine.

Don't forget though. There is more to skincare. One of the most important parts of healthy skin is a healthy diet and to keep well hydrated!


14:22:42 13-06-2013

the future is bright

Category: merionwen's musings

Here at Merionwen Towers things are going at a pace. The primary safety assessments are in place, the challenge testing is going great, the formulating is inspired and of course the products are filling the shelves.

I am looking forward to the official launch of the on line shop. This is scheduled for the 14th July. Vouchers for the crowdfunder investors will be issued upon the same day. I plan to break these down into manageable chunks of £10 and £20, with the 20% addition. Of course if those of you who have more than one voucher wish to use them all at once that is fine, but I would not wish you to feel you had to spend it all at once.

The stock shelves smell heavenly and I hope to share it with you all in the near future. I must say, I'm rather excited!

I would love to hear from you. Any requests are welcome.

In the fullness of time I shall also be offering a bespoke consultation for your skincare. I shall endeavour to assist where I can and provide you with optimum skincare while keeping your ethics intact.


13:54:08 13-06-2013

welcome to the blog

Category: merionwen's musings

Hello and welcome to the all new 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.

It is my honour and privileged to be able to share with you the path to wonderful skincare.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who have assisted me in my quest to reach this point.

Thank you to Andrew Howard for his assistance and expertise in building this beautiful website. I also owe him heartfelt thanks for his unfailing belief in me, not to mention his willingness to be my primary guinea pig. He seems to take great delight in making himself available to be smothered in creams, lotions and potions. He never complains and is open and honest with constructive advice.

Thank you to Ann Lewis for her inspired artistic vision. She has a true and remarkable talent and I feel very lucky that she has shared it with me.

Thank you to Star Khechara, and the school of holistic cosmetology. A truly inspirational mentor who has given me the confidence, training and knowledge to be able to make my dream a reality.

Last but by no means least, thanks also goes to every one of my customers past, present and future. You are all WONDERFUL!


13:16:44 13-06-2013