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Soap and Herbs

Products we use

Here is a list of products I use and how. I’ll update this regularly whenever I can but please also keep an eye on the blog posts for other current products I come across. 

Please note that we live in Ireland. I found a lot of suitable products listed online but a lot of US sites don’t ship to Ireland, and if they do it’s for extortionate prices so I’ve had to test a lot of products more locally at the risk of not knowing if they are safe. Please use common sense as every baby is different and has different allergies/intolerances. 

Please note, this is for the purpose of ideas only and I am not endorsing any products. Eczema is a very individual based condition, what works for us, or didn’t work for us, could work differently for you. 


Products for Eczema/Dry/Irritated skin that we used for Torin: 

Aqueous Cream 

We tried it as a cream and as a soap. It didn’t seem to have any desired effect, also I wasn’t keen on using petrochemical products unless there was a really a significant improvement and there was no other option. 

BP Emollient cream (prescribed by paediatrician) –

Worked for the first tub we had and gave Torin some relief. The second tub had the same ingredients listed on it, and had the same label. Thinking nothing of it we rubbed it on him only to realise the process or ratio of ingredients or something must have been very different. He burned up red all over his body within one minute of application and screamed in pain like nothing I had ever heard before. We quickly put him in a warm bath to wash it off him and sooth his poor skin, and resorted back to using a little olive oil on the very dry bits. 

E45 cream –

Helped for about an hour, then his skin was just as irritated as before.

Hopes relief dry skin treatment –

Works great for short term relief & when lathered on overnight under scratchsleeves. We even used it to give him some relief on broken skin and it didn’t bother him.

Hopes relief moisturiser –

Tried this as the dry skin treatment cream was so good but Torin turned out in a red rash and got very itchy. My suspicions at the time were that he couldn’t tolerate Shea butter, but over time this has now changed.

Oils: Coconut/olive/sunflower –

When we first used organic first cold pressed oils on his skin it seemed to trap the heat caused by the irritated eczema and made his skin overhead and sweat. I then only put a thin layer on areas that were dry as opposed to everywhere. At two years of age he didn't have that overheating effect anymore when I put the oil on him. 

I’ve gotten tips from others regarding black cumin seed oil which is available on Amazon and that it can be very beneficial for eczema but haven’t seen any major difference with it personally. 

Organic babies soothing baby salve –

Brilliant for his cradle cap, but non effective on his eczema.

Paw Paw Ointment –

Thanks to one of my readers suggesting it, I have also found it to be an excellent natural barrier cream.

Salcura Gentle spray, followed by Salcura Zeoderm cream –

Very good, provided relief for him especially during the day. Do not use on broken skin though. Again, just a topical as opposed to a long term solution, but hey, sometimes a short term relief can give a little peace and rest. 

Steroid creams – yes. At our wits end we had to try them. I didn’t want to go back using it as I felt in the long run it made Torins sensitivities worse but there came a point where we got stuck and didn’t move forward with the eczema on his cheeks even though our house was detergent free. I was hoping using it sparingly for a short period of time would kick start a cycle of stronger skin cells that would in turn be stronger but it didn’t work. The steroid creams relieved the itching and the redness faded for an hour or two but then it looked just like before. This is when we started focusing more on healing from the inside out with herbalism. 

Sudocreme – works well sometimes on unbroken skin for nappy rash but too harsch for anything else. 

Vaseline – Although I try stay away from petroleum products, when I had no other moisturiser or barrier cream available I used this and it worked a treat at warding off detergent in public places. Once home I would wash it off with warm water and dry well.


Sunscreen, something which has caused a lot of debate with pro's and con's is a personal choice but we decided to steer clear of chemicals and do some research instead. I found this recipe for a homemade sunscreen which I make, substituting olive oil for almond oil and I have found it to work great on all of us. It takes a bit of rubbing in to blend it in, but who doesn't like a bit of a massage? Of course sun exposure should be done sensibly, finding a balance between absorbing much needed Vitamin D and getting sunburnt, but this sunscreen has definitely given us peace of mind if we are out and about. Make sure to get the non-nano zinc oxide as this is the active ingredient and is the type which does not permeate the skins barrier. I got mine on Amazon. 

The only other time we actually bought sunscreen we bought this one and as you can see it also has non-nano zinc oxide in it so as not to leave chemicals through the skin barrier and has a high SPF. 


Bath time:

Oatmeal baths –

Our homeopath suggested we try oatmeal baths. I had been cautious before as some people are allergic to oatmeal, but we decided to give it a try. It definitely helps sooth angry skin and for us adults it feels nice too  

For anyone wanting to try it here’s what we did: 

  • Put a cupful of organic oat flakes or oatmeal into an odd sock, tie together with a hairband 

  • Put into your bath as you fill the hot water first. Leave it soak a little before you add any cold water if you have the time. Correct bath temperature for babies is the same temperature as your elbow when dipped in. 

  • The sock will feel slimy and squishy, I use this as a sponge to wash him down, no soap needed. 

  • Once finished I just throw the sock in the bin, there will always be more odd socks!

  • Beware that after a bath you dry hands completly before putting on a barrier cream.

Chamomile Tea –

Sometimes I put about 8 teabags of organic chamomile tea into Torins bath for a soothing bath. 

Aalgo –

Also good stuff to put into his bath. It’s made from seaweed and sometimes I also use it as a mixture that I clean his bum with at nappy changes. 


Soap/Shower gel: 

Aldi & Lidl pure soap –

NOT any other soap they have. Does the job, and is very cheap. I use it for a load of things in our house, from washing up liquid to laundry detergent and shampoo.

DIY Soap – I use this recipe to make my own soap when I get a chance.

Soapnut soap

I also buy natural soap from this soap nut company - which are divine. Due to Torins nut allergies I get any that don't have any nut oil in them. 




Aphrodite Olive Oil soap –

I used to use this on my hair a lot, and still would if my current shampoo ran out. It seems to do a really good job. Takes a little getting used to to not have a massive lather when washing your hair, but it’s worth not having all the chemicals and sulphates. I get it from the local health food shop. 

Baking Soda –

I tried the no-poo method followed by apple cider vinegar. I found every once in a while it’s great to get residue out of your hair, but in the long run it made my hair very brittle and dry.


Dr. Bronners baby mild castile soap –

Diluted with chamomile tea (for blond hair), but I found it quiet drying so stopped using that. 

Morocco Method Shampoo –

Although it’s expensive, I have finally found something that is gentle and great for my hair, and also safe for Torin. It’s worth it if it means he’s OK, and if I finally have hair that is easy to manage and not brittle or dandruffy. I use this every second wash, and the soap nuts shampoo bar every other wash. 

Soapnuts Shampoo Bar 

Brilliant soap shampoo bars that work great. There’s also a good selection of them on their site. I use this every second wash and use Morocco Method Shampoo every other wash. 



Coconut Oil –

I used coconut oil as a deep conditioning treatment every once in a while and leave it on overnight. Takes a bit of effort to wash out with natural soap, but worth it.

Diluted organic apple cider vinegar 

Braggs is what I used. Just spray it on after washing out the soap, and then rinse. Once it’s dry it doesn’t smell like vinegar, and makes hair nice and soft.

Diluted distilled white vinegar 

Can be used once every two weeks or so to condition light/blond hair. Use same as the apple cider vinegar above. 

Dr. Organic Aloe Vera Conditioner –

I find this safe enough to use on my own hair now, though I wouldn’t have tried it when he was younger. I can also use the Rose and Bee Pollen ones. Their shampoos or other products are unsafe to be around him as far as I have researched. 


Facial cleansers/Toners:

Coconut Oil –

I also use this as a cleanser at times. Bit drying on sensitive skin when used on its own though. 

Olive oil with a hint of castor oil –

I use this thanks to the Wellness Mama website as a facial massage oil and oil cleansing method. Works great when you have 10 minutes to spare. 

Chamomile Tea –

I used this as a toner as I have very sensitive skin in my face but it seemed to encourage a few spots after a few days. If it works for you however, please note it needs to be kept in the fridge and can be kept for up to a week only.

Rose water – Works a treat as a toner.


Body moisturiser:

Oils & butters –

I use whatever I have at hand,…Olive oil, Sunflower oil, Coconut oil, Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Jojoba Oil. Please note I only buy pure oils and butter, no other ingredients. Why spoil something that’s perfect already, and that way I know it’s safe for Torin to come in contact with me too. 


Homemade body moisturiser –

I found this easy homemade recipe and it works well and also makes good presents. 

Homemade anti-aging cream –

I found this recipe and it is so amazing I have had people tell me I should set up a business of making it as everyone loves it so much. 


Make up & Nail varnish:

Companies that I found generally have safe products are listed here. Individual products have different ingredients so these need investigating. 

  • Dr. Hauschka

  • Samina Pure Make up

There’s no such thing as natural nail varnish, but a girls gotta be girly sometimes so after lots of looking online I now get this one: Suncoat and I guess its as close as I can get to being non toxic.

Update: At 7 years of age Torin is now ok if I wear normal make up. I generally don't wear any at home, and not much on the days that I do wear it, but that is one of the ways his sensitivities are lessening. 



Ecover –

Contrary to popular belief, this IS NOT suitable. Ecover contains sodium lauryl sulphate, the major detergent irritant for our son. They say they are natural but that statement has no legal meaning whatsoever. I have emailed Ecover and they replied saying detergents are not actually harmful. I tend to disagree, as anyone in my situation would! Marketing officials are obviously on their own mission. 


Soap nuts –

I order them in bulk from Our washing machine is on for roughly 2 washes a day, and a bulk 5kg order lasts us for 20 months. That’s about €60 for nearly two years of washing, plus it’s natural and safe for your skin! Please note however, soap nuts can make your clothes darker over time, so for whites/lights I used homemade laundry soap or Dr. Bronners liquid soap. 


Home made laundry soap –

I make my own laundry detergent for whites/lights using this recipe, using any pure soap bar, usually the pure one from Lidl or Aldi, or if I have time I make my own soap and use that. 

Fabric softener –

Clear distilled vinegar. I get Tesco’s own brand, cheap and cheerful. With every wash just put one cup full into the dispenser and voila. It is anti bacterial and anti fungal, leaves your clothes nice and soft and fresh. Once dry any remaining smell of vinegar is gone. 


General cleaning: 

Aldi & Lidl pure soap –

NOT any other soap they have. I use this to wash any dishes by hand and to also to wash baby bottles before putting them into the steriliser. 


Dr. Bronners baby mild soap -

Diluted with water in a spray bottle 

Clear distilled vinegar or Lemon Juice –  

Diluted with water in a spray bottle with a few drops of tea tree essential oils shook in. 

Window cleaner – 

Vinegar, and instead of cleaning with cloths, clean with newspaper. 


Washing up liquid: 

This is what I miss most from the chemical world! I have yet to find a washing up liquid that works. At the moment its just a bar of Lidl/Aldi pure soap, and I rub the sponge in it every few minutes, clean the dish, and rinse with hot water. 



I used reusable bamboo cotton cloth nappies for Torins sister Jolie as a baby, but of course I washed them in detergent so I couldn’t use them again for him, and buying another set would be too expensive, never mind the added work when there’s already too much so I went for disposable nappies. At the start I got them from the The Organic Cotton Shop but the biggest size in this brand then got too small for him so I moved onto Beaming Baby nappies but these became too small so then I got these Naty Babycare eco nappies in the biggest size.

At four years old Torin only needed pull ups at night time and was a lot more resistant to chemicals in nappies and he used normal Dunnes/Aldi standard pull ups again. 


Baby wipes:

I don’t want chemicals or fragrances on Torins sensitive skin so I use Waterwipes or organic cotton wool and water. Waterwipes are now also readily available in Tesco/Dunnes and SuperValu


Baby formula:

Since Torin was four months old we had to feed him Neocate (AAF) formula as he was allergic to dairy, goats & soy milk. Luckily he took to eating solids well and has always been a strong boy. At nearly 18 months old we decided that it was time to stop giving him this formula. We had been doing so much to make his diet as organic, pure and healthy as possible but the Neocate was the only thing that was still processed and highly ‘unnatural’. It was a necessity at the time, but then we felt he was old enough, and had a balanced enough diet that we could find an alternative. So I made what I call ‘seed’ milk for him for the night time bottles that he still had. A weak mixture of organic sunflower, pumpkin & hemp seeds, blended and strained in a nut milk bag. On top of two oz of this he got 4oz of organic rice milk and 3oz of our well water in each bottle. Not only are the seeds full of essential amino acids, but it is a healthy alternative to Neocate if it is part of a balanced diet of solids which he has throughout the day. 


Additional notes: 

While I’m sure Lush is a natural alternative for some people, they still have sodium lauryl sulfates (detergent) in most of their products so I have deemed them unsafe in our household. I think last time I looked (September 2019) there was only a limited amount of products in their range that were suitable for Torin and his surroundings. 

I have also been trying to understand surfactants on a molecular level, and it’s all a bit mind boggling. First I thought that anything ‘anionic’ may be safe, but it’s not that simple. Only traditional anionic SOAP is safe. Detergents can be made from plant, animal, and petrochemicals. So the whole family of ‘plant based surfactants’ is still not suitable for our mission. Looking at the products available, there’s not much left to choose from, but in a way that’s ok. Thank goodness there’s such thing as castile soap!

We need to learn to look at the ingredients in products. Its crazy what they sell us. The words ‘Natural’ and ‘Hypoallergenic’ don’t mean anything when it comes to eczema. They can simply be put on packaging if the products marketing department sees it fit. ‘Organic’ products also don’t escape the detergents…. Please have a look at solve eczema for a fuller understanding of products and their ingredients. 

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