Skin Care Awards

Judges' comments 2012


Body / Hair Care Shortlisted Products:
Judges' comments Part 1
Judges' comments Part 2

Earlier this year, SkinsMatter, in association with the Beauty Bible and the Allergy + FreeFrom Show, and supported by sponsors NATorigin, ran the inaugural FreeFrom Skincare Awards, which we launched to reward and acknowledge the best in natural, organic and ‘free from’ skincare, including those product suitable for eczema, psoriasis and other problem skin conditions. You can find out all the commended, shortlisted and winning entries – as well as details about how we ran the 2012 Awards, and our review of it – on the Awards home page here.

Out of an original entry pool of over 160 products, over 40 products were shortlisted in three categories, and went through to the final judging stages, which included intense, month-long testing at the hands of experienced Beauty Bible testers, most of whom had sensitive skin or a specific interest in ‘free from’ skincare.

You can read feedback from shortlisted products in the Face Care category here and the Make-up categories here, but below is a selection of some of the thoughts of our testers, in summary form, on the first half of the products in the Body and Hair Care Category, with the second half further down the page.


Abees  – Nourishing Honey Dead
Sea Salt Body Scrub

“Has a pleasant honey and vanilla aroma. The rich oils meant I didn’t need to use a cream afterwards. I used quite a lot each time, and the pot was quite small, so it is quite expensive for what you get.”

“Natural, pleasant, and a little goes a long way. Left my skin smooth, and got rid of some rough patches on my arms. Didn’t need to use a moisturiser afterwards. Has lovely simple packaging.”

“The aroma lingered, but I found it tricky to rinse – probably as there was too much ‘scrub’ and not enough oil for my liking. I didn’t find it moisturising, and felt it didn’t make much difference to my skin during the testing period.”

“Lovely scent, spreads widely, easy to rinse off, gorgeous on skin. My skin still felt fantastic seven hours later. Clear ingredients – but no instructions. Is it to be applied to wet or dry skin? Loved it though.”

Abees – Rose de Mai Ultra-rich Hydrating Cream

“Beautiful fragrance, texture between cream and a lotion, and my skin became less dry with ongoing use. Great for hydration and fragrance. I found it did leave a little white coating on my skin initially – and the size of the pot is a little small.”

“Absorbs beautifully. Very luxurious, love the richness and the rose aroma. My skin is softer. The plastic packaging doesn’t do this product justice.”

“I found it hard to absorb and I felt it dragged a bit. I felt it ‘hang’ on my skin all day.”

“Gorgeous, easily absorbed. Would definitely buy this. Very luxurious feel on the skin. Slightly strong scent to begin with but it quickly settles.”

Antipodes Antipodes – Saviour Skin Balm

“Rubs in easily, has light and subtle fragrance and texture. It smoothed and hydrated my skin, though was perhaps a little greasy. My partner tried it on a very dry eczema patch and it seemed to transform it in a few days. Good instructions – beautiful tin, but very hard to get lid off!”

“Easy to apply soft paste and readily absorbed. Really impressed by the rapid improvement in repairing my skin – it left it far more supple. Good labelling and good instructions.”

“Smoothed in easily, absorbed quickly, with no greasiness. I liked the subtle fragrance. My skin looked less cracked with this – had been dry as a riverbed before. Fantastic product which I would buy. The tin is lovely but I had to jam a knife in to open it!!”

“I felt it was a bit like rubbing vaseline onto the skin – it sat a little on my skin’s surface. It perhaps gave my skin increased elasticity though.”

“Instantly soothing and hydrating and really delivered. A premium looking, luxurious product with good ingredients and clear instructions.”

Apodea – Deodorante al Propoli con Olio Essenziale di Geranio

“Delightful, light geranium scent – which I didn’t react adversely to. An effective roll on which didn’t dry out or catch. The best natural deodorant I have ever used. Very gentle, non stinging, lovely. A bit expensive, and no English instructions, but much better than I expected.”

“Easy to use, dried in a normal amount of time. Worked well on ordinary (non-hot, non-workout) days – but on physically active days not so good. Compact and ideal for travel. Not great value for money and seems to use up quickly.”

“Left no patches, no residues, and lasted a long time. The quality of the ingredients is really good, which is important. To me it smelt of hibiscus. Only downsides are that it felt a bit sticky and is a bit expensive, but the size and shape are great.”

“Lovely little bottle, with simple ingredients, and free from any nasties. It was pleasant, and not overpowering, with no sting on application. I felt it took a bit too long to dry, but I would buy it if the price were lower as the fragrance is just gorgeous.”


Barefoot SOS – Face and Body Rescue Cream

“The product sinks in easily within a minute or so leaving the skin very soft and protected. It has a fresh lemony smell, is smoothing and softening – and effect lasts all day – and there was no irritation from the product at all. It was a good skin conditioner. Good that it is a multi-purpose product for face and body. I would buy it again as it’s a reasonable price.”

“Very easy to use and work in. It’s more like a very intense milk than a cream, with very little fragrance to notice at all: I like a trace of fragrance personally, but the texture was spot on as it left no residue.”

“It didn’t absorb too well for me – and took a long time – but once it did it felt lovely and soft. I found it a bit itchy initially, but after a while I felt a real calming effect. There were no lasting effects after a week, however. After a while I felt I was putting the body cream on out of habit in my routine, as opposed to looking forward to using it or seeing any real changes.”

“I used the cream on two particular areas – one leg and a side of my face, where I have been getting very dry skin. After about five applications the face was much improved whereas it took about a week to relieve the dry scaly skin which is a side effect of my diabetes on my legs and certainly that leg is a lot less itchy than the other. It delivered well, though I was sceptical at first as it was not a rich heavy cream.”

“Very fresh, clean and pleasant fragrance. Cooling on application and on irritated skin. I would buy this product. It doesn’t make outlandish claims, just to smoothe and moisturise dry skin and that’s what it does. Clear labelling, no-nonsense packaging. Very impressive – nothing negative to say about this at all.”

Bentley Organic – Calming Body Lotion

“Lovely light fragrance, very soothing. Nice sounding ingredients. Good packaging. Good value too – though it was runny and took some time to soak into my skin.”

“I liked that it didn’t absorb quickly – as I like the massaging in. The texture was lovely and the combination of lavendar and chamomile is one I like. Good hydrative effects – but not really any ‘calming’ ones, as the product claims. I found the packaging a little old fashioned, but the subtle fragrance is very nice.”

“A bit disappointing, for me – thin, and didn’t absorb well. Sometimes, I gave up and wiped it off. It would sit on skin with white streaks. Fragrance a bit cloying. Only slight hydration. My skin felt dryer an hour after applying.”

“Skin felt healthier after use – much more supple and elastic after ten days, and softened ageing skin around my neck. Really delivered and so I’d definitely buy as it’s good value for money. Simple instructions too.”

Dr Bronner’s – 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap

“Very cleaning, very economical – and versatile. But the peppermint is far too strong – and leaves the skin cold. It claims to have 18 uses but unreadabily small labelling means I’m not sure what they are!”

“Lovely fragrance – although it blew socks off at first! – needed only a little for a good wash so is very economical, made a nice lather, and an easy rinse. ‘Different’ labelling and lots of info to read – but left my skin dry.”

“A little went a long way, but eventually the smell became clinical to me, although the product was very easy to rinse off, which I liked. I found it tricky to get more than a drop from the bottle, though.”

“Fresh mintiness, pleasant, refreshing, very ‘wake up’ – would be ideal for hot summer. A little lathers well, and rinses cleanly away. I hate to say it – but the packaging is silly and confusing: the most offputting label I have ever seen. Most of what was on the label was irrelevant to the product.”

Gentle Green

   Gentle Green – Ecz-tend Soothing Cream

“A thick balm, quite oily, but a miracle worker once you get used to the strong smell. Healed my hand rash – just amazing. I felt it supported my skin’s regeneration. A little expensive, but you need little.”

“Easy to apply, absorbs well, gradually helped manage a small eczema flare up, and another rash disappeared after a few days (although very slight burning on application, which quickly passed). Good, gentle, natural ingredients, though. Very tough to read white text on product.”

“Loved the fresh smell. A light texture, which soaked quickly. I found it worked really well after a bath. There were definite improvemnets and less dry skin overall. A dry patch disappeared very quickly. Lovely green glass jar. Also excellent as a cleanser.”

“This is a miracle cream. Absorbed well and healed my chapped fingers. Smoothing, moisturising, lovely packaging … full marks. I would definitely buy this.”

Body / Hair Care Shortlisted Products:
Judges' comments Part 2

Here goes with part two of the judges comments on the Body and Hair care shortlisted for this year's awards products.

Inlight  – Hand Easy

“Very moisturising and smoothing. It made my hands soft, and less irritated. Lovely that it’s organic and natural – and you can see that. I did find it a little medicinal though, and doesn’t feel like a ‘treat’ for the hands. The packaging was a bit like that of an antiseptic cream.”

“Nice consistency. Gave me soft hands. Has a pleasant botanical smell. My favourite product of all those tested, and will definitely buy this in future. Good clear labelling, and a recyclable pack. Very good allergy information on the leaflet. Handy size. I have nothing negative to say about this product at all.”

“I found it a little greasy and tough too absorb. I didn’t notice an improvement in the condition of my hands over a month, and I’m not sure the packaging really suits the product. The fragrance is pleasant, though.”

“Easy to apply, gave me soft hands – definitely more supple. I like the strong scent and organic ingredients and would buy this. It smells divine and glides easily on, though is perhaps best as a night treatment. I experienced no sensitivity from this product, the condition of my hands definitely improved and it delivered on labelling too: full instructions and ingredients.”

Body butter

Inlight – Organic Restorative Body Butter

“Very easy to distribute, left a delicate fragrance on the skin, delighted at the feeling it gave, lovely texture and fragrance, it was smoothing and soothing. Spatula is a great idea!”

“Easy to smooth in and absorb. A nice subtle fragrance. Very attractive pot. Brilliant texture. Immediately stopped my skin itching. Many hours after use my skin still felt nourished. Definitely less prone to itchy breakouts since I started using it. I have much smoother skin. It’s very expensive, so only would buy occasionally, but it delivered so much more than expected.”

“Smooth, rich, easy application. Buttery. Divine smell, like an apothecary shop. No improvement in stretch marks which is the main claim made, but very luxurious.”

“My skin tone and texture improved instantly after use.”

Kadria – Belly Balm with Rosehip and Neroli

“Loved this balm, it literally melted in hands, left my skin wonderfully and instantly soft, and cannot praise it enough. Gorgeous fragrance, wanted to keep smelling the pot. Calming and relaxing effect on my skin. It kept delivering more and more. It is a little expensive – but I’m first in the queue!”

“Smoothed in well, and I loved the neroli/patchouli scent. The texture I found a little greasy and I didn’t really notice improvement on my stretch marks. The small tall jar testers were sent made the product hard to get out. I’m absolutely hooked on the smell but it’s very expensive.”

“Amazing. Lovely fruity extravagant fragrance and silky to use. My angry red scar reduced – and it’s the first product that I have found that has ever helped it – it is quite miraculous. Good, pure, and it deserves singing praise and lots of press! Did me good, and it looks and smells good too.”

Inlight – Organic Restorative Body Butter

Miessaence soap

Miessence – Organic Foaming Hand Soap

“Lemony, clean, rinses easily, moisturising, gentle. This is gorgeous, a total delight, and cleans quickly and fully. Ultra kind to skin, no reactions. It’s magical. Just the right size packaging.”

“Citrus pleasant scent, effortless to rinse off and simple to use. Does not leave my hands moisturised, though. Not luxurious to use and not as nourishing as some soaps that I usually use. Wouldn’t rush to buy this product.”

“Light, refreshing. Lemony and lovely. A little goes long way. Good value for money. Easy to rinse off. A little expensive, so wouldn’t buy it, but the lemony smell lasted a long time.”

“Gorgeous thick foamy lather, smells heavenly – a lovely citrussy smell – lathers well, rinses well. Very cleaning, moisturising. I liked organic status. Love this soap – definitely buying it again.”


Salcura – DermaSpray Natural Skin Nourishment

“Nice light texture. Lightly moisturising. My skin was calmer, less red and smoother. It has a strong medicinal smell, and it stings slightly on eczematous skin, but there are clear instructions on the packaging, and the product seems very economical.”

“Easy to use, non-greasy, but only slightly moisturising – not enough to make a difference to highly cracked skin.”

“I would give this 11 out of 10 if I could. I felt the difference immediately – the urge to scratch reduced – the ONLY product I’ve ever found to work with instant effect. My badly effected wrists are so much better. Such a radical improvement I can’t describe. This is a miracle product – never thought I’d find anything to relieve eczema. The strong fragrance of pine and tea tree is a bit like a clean loo – but don’t care as it’s life-transforming!”

“Easy to use, quick absorption, nice fragrance, good texture. Less dry skin and less irritation. Cleared a patch of eczema within three days: a significant improvement. Lots of natural ingredients. Would definitely buy this as it’s good on flakiness.”


Salcura – Zeoderm Skin Repair Moisturiser

“There was a slight difference in my skin: it looked slightly less inflamed. Product absorbed really well and didn’t require much rubbing, which was good for eczema skin. Definitely smoothing on eczematous skin – my daugher kept stroking her arms saying how lovely they felt. Dry patches were less noticeable. After a week definite change in skin – still red but less flaky/itchy. This worked where steroid creams failed on my daughter. Good bargain. The only thing I didn’t like was the smell, which seemed artificial even though ingredients are natural.”

“Pleasant herbal smell, it goes on easily, absorbs quickly, gave me much less itchy skin, and much smoother skin. There’s some new elasticity in my skin, so would definitely buy this cream. Love love love it! Does job and does it well – after hundreds of different creams after all these years, this little one does the job!”

“Good that there’s no fragrance to this, so there’s no smell to linger. You only need a tiny bit, and it’s cooling and relieves itching. Really helps eczema. Redness disappears. Delivers much more than thought and would buy and recommend it to friends.”

“Ideal texture, smooth, soothed my daughter’s inflamed eczema. Calmed flare-ups for her and reduced bumps, healing her skin and stopping the scratching. We found it hard to get the last of the product out, and what ‘zeolite’ was wasn’t explained. Initially put off by green colour, but soon got over it. A good value product, which we may well buy again.”

Salcura – Topida Intimate Hygiene Spray

“Does what it says on the ‘tin’. Easy to use and apply. Refreshing, soothing. Inoffensive packaging, with clear instructions. Bit of a ‘shock’ with the tingling on first application, but it lasts well and I have reordered it.”

“A discrete product, fairly priced as many similar products are expensive. It did tingle but I was reassured by this as I felt it must be doing something good.”

“I am prone to thrush but have been thrush-free since using this. The labelling is good, and the packaging is too. I don’t know how this compares price-wise to other products, but I would be prepared to pay for more for this as it is a natural product.”

“Very easy to use. Tingling quickly subsided. Stopped itching and eased soreness. Thrilled by this product – a natural alternative to an unpleasant problem which worked really well. Convenient easy packaging. Brilliant that I didn’t have to rub anything into sore skin. Nothing negative to say about this.”


Spiezia – Calendula Ointment

“I liked the strong smell of this product. Using it, my skin felt less dry and tight and more moisturised. No irritation from it at all. The smell may not suit all and there were hardly any instructions with the small pot version.”

“Only a tiny bit needed. A good topical ointment, which was great to keep in my handbag. Ten out of ten.”

“A wonderful and comforting smell. Made my scratchy scar tissue look normal. It’s oily so you have to be careful not to use too much, which is the only downside if you use a little too much.”

“Loved the texture of this, and the smell. It sinks immediately in to your skin and cleared up a patch of dry skin which was stubborn. My husband used it too and it had the same effect on him. I would definitely buy this product and have no complaints about it at all.”

“Fresh herbal fragrance which was lovely. Surprisingly soft texture. Easy to use and apply. Lots of improvements in condition of skin: less flaky, less red, less irritated. Really delivered – would buy. And 100% organic is fantastic.”

Sukin – Deodorant

“The smell is very sweet – like a soft drink, such as cola. My husband loved it, and think it is more suited to men than women. The product lasts a long time, but I had to reapply it regularly. The top falls off, so it isn’t portable, and it’s a shame it’s too big for hand luggage at 125ml.”

“Sweet, refreshing, did keep me deodorised. It’s more like a body spray than a deodorant, really. Comprehensive ingredient list, which was natural. It didn’t keep me as dry as other deodorants seem to, and the fragrance didn’t last for me. I liked the bottle, though.”

“I’m afraid this irritated my armpits. I found the direction of the spray a bit poor, and there was too much tea-tree fragrance for my liking – it’s more herbal/medicinal and not citrus as the label suggests. While I liked the ‘free from’ information and liked that it didn’t transfer to my clothing, it didn’t really mask my normal odour and wasn’t for me.”

“Tea-tree and citrus aroma is nice, and was surprised at how easy to spray and use it was. A little bit pricey, and it didn’t dry quickly – it seemed to ‘feel’ too wet. I’d buy it if it were quicker drying, but I did like the fresh fragrance and nice packaging.”


For further information please email the FreeFrom Skin Care Awards.

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