Tried and Tested Skincare Products

Who’s a Pretty Boy, Then?


Kelly Rose Bradford doesn’t need to order her ten-year-old son into the bathroom. The problem, with all these natural skincare goodies to try, is getting him back out again …

All my life I have been led to believe that boy-children are averse to washing, preferring to loaf around emitting a savoury odour and grubby knees until their exasperated parents hose them down in the garden.

I was either lied to, or I have a very odd 10-year-old. Wilf LOVES showering and bathing to the extent that a cooking timer has now been deployed to limit his bathroom sessions, which, at their worst on a school morning were reaching TWENTY FIVE minutes under the shower. And that was before he had even washed his hair ...

So given his love of personal hygiene, he was chomping at the bit when kids’ skincare products began arriving on the doormat, and all for him to get his (not so) grubby little mitts on.

Wilf is fair skinned, blonde haired and green eyed, but does not have a particularly sensitive facial skin. As the first throes of puberty are setting in, his baby-like complexion has suffered some congestion around the nose and chin – something I am very keen to deal with before it turns into full-blown ‘problem skin’.  His hair is enviably long and thick, and shampoos really need to cut the mustard with it, while his body is as fair toned as his face but with some sensitivity issues – some mild eczema behind the knees (just like mum) and a proneness to random, itchy patches from super-strong soaps and bubble baths.

He usually uses whatever I have on the go in the bathroom, which could be anything from high-end luxe skincare, through to something from the supermarket, and he is not yet brand aware or fussy (I once caught him washing his face with my very expensive glycolic acid face wash...).

He started his natural routine with DGJ Organics Kids Top to Toe 3 in 1 (£3.99, 250ml) which is billed as a ‘conditioning shampoo and body wash’ which is ‘formulated for regular everyday use’.  Its double-ended packaging immediately appealed to W, as did the fruity grapefruit (one end) and orange (the other) fragrance. Wilf used it both in the bath, poured under running water, and in the shower and loved the zingy smell as a morning ‘wake up’. It was unremarkable in so much as it left no stickiness, residue or lingering fruit aroma on his body, and did a good job of getting him school-clean. It was less successful on his hair, but then given its length and thickness, nothing much outside of industrial strength shampoo and conditioner will leave it silky soft and smooth.

At 10, Wilf fortunately is not yet plagued by sweaty pits, but despite that, I was keen for deodorant to make its way into his routine sooner rather than later. The two he tried – one roll-on and one spray – both had their merits.

The Keep it Kind Blast Deodorant Spray (£3.59, 150ml) was in a very appealing bottle – black with green and white writing – and had enough cool appeal to make him want to give it a spray straight away (er, on a dirty, rugby-ravaged pairs of pits thus necessitating a general chat about the order one’s ablutions must be carried out in).  It had a REALLY nice fresh smell without being too aftershave-y, or, thank the Lord, ‘Lynx-y’. A winner on the smell factor, packaging and pit-appeal. Plus it has no chemicals which I’d rather he avoid – no aluminium, no parabens and no alcohol. (I could see me having a swipe of this in an emergency and enjoying every second of it.)

The second BO-battler he tried was the Fresh Kidz Deodorant (£3.29, 50ml), a roll on, again by Keep it Kind. Same drill no-undesirables-wise as the former – and this was fragrance free, so good for any kids with skin sensitivities related to fragrances. This we felt was a much better option for the school bag and on-the-go freshen-ups, and would probably appeal to girls as well as boys.
As Wilf has long, thick locks, conditioners and leave-ins are a regular part of our haircare routine. Naked for Kids Orange Lollies Untangle Me Spray (£2.99, 200ml) is a post-hair wash leave-in conditioner free from many undesirable chemicals and hair-weighing-down silicones, so it was perfect for his heavy, and often fluffy and wild hair. As we LOVE anything orange scented, the orange lollies fragrance was a huge plus, too. The trigger action container was robust enough for W to use unaided, and its ‘fun’ rather than overtly childish logo means it would look fine in anyone’s swim or gym bag (as in, MINE). It left William’s hair shiny, tangle free and with a distinct whiff of oranges and sunny days. A winner.  

Childs Farm Hair and Body Wash for Dirty Rascals (£4.69, 250ml) has the most amazing smell ever. If you don’t have kids buy it just to sit and sniff on troublesome days – the tangerine (they say it is sweet orange, but it is like tangerine to me) fragrance completely lifts the spirits and smells of Christmas and that big round chocolate so favoured by Dawn French. It also gets grubby children squeaky clean and leaves the bathroom smelling divine – and with natural and organic ingredients including argan oil, what’s not to love? You can wash your hair as WELL as your body with it too – and if you are a mummy having a quick leg shave and it’s the only product in reach, it’ll do a pretty good job on that front, too. Also free from parabens, SLS, mineral oils and artificial colours.

As mentioned above, Wilf is just starting to notice changes in his facial skin, and I have been trying to school him in the importance of a good skin care routine for the past few months. The Green People OY! Organic Young Foaming Face Wash (£11.95, 100ml) looked reassuringly ‘teenage’ in its plain blue and white packaging and pump dispenser, and gave off a no-nonsense air. However, I am not that keen on foaming products for the face generally, and wondered whether W would over-dispense given it is quite fun to do so where foam is concerned... there were stern words exchanged about amount (10p piece sized, I advised) but we found a little went a long way. The wash contains tea tree, willow bark and green tea – all good anti-bacterial products against burgeoning hormonal break outs, but I did feel it was a little bit drying on William’s skin at the moment – one to revisit in a couple of years once the congestion has turned into a full on margarita pizza-like zit-fest, I feel.

The second face cleanser he tried, the 100% Natural JooMo Honey and Orange Face Wash (£6.95, 100ml) for sensitive skin suited him more at this stage – it was low lathering, non-drying to the skin, and left it feeling supple and without tautness. The only slightly off-putting thing was the fragrance: it reminded us of the smell you get when you go to living history museums and go into ‘street scenes’ or medieval houses with ‘authentic’ smells, all piped tobacco, snuff and medicinal herbs… It does, as you’d expect, have an impressive list of ‘free from’ claims, though, promising no preservatives, petrochemicals, parabens, SLS/SLES, soaps, alcohol, sythetic perfumes or colourings.

This winter’s raging winds and cold air has on occasion left W with ruddy, chapped cheeks and sore lips, and the central heating blasting out at school along with his perpetual runny nose, has rendered the skin betwixt his top lip and nostrils flaky-pastry-esque in appearance. The Naturally Cool Kids 100% Natural Lip & Cheek Protector (£7.99, 50g) was a fab rescue product for this, packed full of natural butters and oils including parkii butter (shea butter), arnica flower extract and calendula. Its chunky, fun design was easy for him to use, much like a giant push up lip balm. It gave good moisturising relief from peeling skin and was odour and ‘sting’ free. A school bag essential, we thought, although some older kids might be put off by the babyish packaging and ‘cheeky chops’ logo. (I found it was great for mums with dry lips too!)

So there we have it – my pre-teen has has overhauled his ‘beauty’ routine with an exciting array of good-for-the-body lotions and potions. Just a pity not one of them did anything to speed up his morning shower, or lessen the number of soaking towels he leaves on the floor. If there’s a product to solve THAT problem, I’ll buy it by the bucket-load ...


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