Welcome to my series of blog posts where I analyse ingredients of various skincare brands aimed at babies, children and pregnant/ new Mums.
As a Mum myself, I understand that the sheer volume of products in high street shops and supermarkets can really give you a headache when choosing the best ones for our kids or for ourselves. I also know that we often rely on opinions of others as well as magazine and TV adverts so it really isn’t an easy task when there is so much choice and information around us.
However, it is so important that we are just a little bit more mindful of what we buy and what ingredients go into our products (check out my post Keep away from children about ingredients which should be avoided in baby and children products, and my post on how to avoid being “greenwashed” by skincare companies).
In this post, I’m looking at Child’s Farm, a popular brand of skincare products. According to their website, their baby skincare range promises to:
- be vegan (all baby range products are “registered with the vegan society” but a couple of the other Childs Farm products aren’t vegan),
- contain “naturally derived ingredients”,
- contain “organic essential oils”,
- be “suitable for newborns and upwards”, and
- be “dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for sensitive and also eczema-prone skin”.
Let’s have a look at each of the seven products from the Child’s Farm baby skincare product range:
KEY to ingredient lists:
Ingredients known to have positive benefits
Ingredients that may cause irritation (especially to sensitive skin)
Ingredients considered potentially harmful/ toxic
Baby moisturiser, mildly fragranced (250ml, £4.50)
Product description: “Childs Farm award-winning, mildly fragranced, baby moisturiser contains some of nature’s finest ingredients. It’s been specially formulated to help protect and hydrate baby’s delicate skin. With gorgeous shea and cocoa butter, adults can’t resist our Childs Farm baby moisturiser either: who wouldn’t want all over fresh-smelling, soft and hydrated skin!”
Ingredients: Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Dicitrate/Stearate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Benzyl Alcohol, Parfum, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamon, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
Verdict: This isn’t an awful list but there are a few ingredients (highlighted in amber) which can cause irritation so I’d patch test this cream on my children. Shea butter and cocoa seed butter have excellent moisturising properties and it’s great they’re on the list but they’re listed just before perfume which means the amount will be minimal (the first third of ingredients, as a rule of thumb, tends to account for 70% – see my list of 6 golden rules for analysing ingredient lists for more information).
Nappy cream, unfragranced (100ml, £4.00)
Product description: “Childs Farm nappy cream for happy bottoms contains organic aloe vera, cocoa butter and shea butter to moisturise all skin types, helping to ensure baby’s bottom is protected from nappy rash. These super-moisturisers keep skin cells plump helping form a barrier against bacteria. While designed for babies bottoms, this cream is also a fantastic moisturiser for grown ups too – particularly great for topical use on dry and irritated skin on any part of the face or body. Listed as ‘cloth safe’ by the UK Cloth Nappy Library Network.”
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Benzyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Saponaria Officinalis (Soapwort) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Potassium Sorbate
Verdict: Once again, this isn’t a bad list as there’s no harmful ingredients that you tend to get in other conventional brands but there are a few that can cause irritation. However, there’s no perfume (which often contains 10s, if not 100s, of individual ingredients) and all beneficial ingredients are quite high up on the list.
Baby wash, unfragranced (250ml, £4.00)
Product description: “For your baby’s first wash onwards, this super mild hair and body wash will clean and moisturise baby’s skin from the very early months and beyond. Using natural cleansers, it cuts through dirt gently and effectively leaving nothing but nourished and hydrated hair and skin.”
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Argan Oil Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lauryl Glucoside, Lactic Acid, Sucrose Laurate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Alcohol
Verdict: Cocamidopropyl Betaine is quite a well-known irritant so I’d be cautious with this body wash. As for beneficial ingredients, glycerin is quite high up and has moisturising properties, and there’s some argan oil too but that’s about it. A little disappointing.
Baby bedtime bubbles, organic tangerine (250ml, £4.00)
Product description: “Childs Farm mild, foaming bubble bath makes bubbly bubbles fragranced with organic tangerine oil. Designed to clean and moisturise all skin types. Use in every bath for happy skin and relaxing bath times!”
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Coco- Glucoside, Glycerin, Parfum, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Limonene, Sucrose Laureate, Lauryl Glucoside, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil*, Tocopherol, Alcohol, Citric Acid.
(* Denotes Certified Organic Ingredients)
Verdict: Once again, we have Cocamidopropyl Betaine and this time, there’s also perfume, so this bubble wash can prove irritating for babies and children with sensitive skin. I’d patch test before use. There is some glycerin and Vitamin E (Tocopherol) which do have beneficial properties.
Baby oil, organic coconut oil (75ml, £8.00)
Product description: “Childs Farm baby oil contains four oils including organic coconut oil to moisturise all skin types. It’s light, luxurious, mild and gentle – perfect for baby massage!”
Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Cocos Nucifera Oil*, Tocopherol, Parfum, Adansonia Digitata [Baobab] Seed Oil
(* denotes certified organic ingredients)
Verdict: This is a lovely list and would be perfect if it wasn’t for perfume. While fragrance might be derived from natural sources (essential oils), it can still prove to be an allergen for those with sensitive skin so to be on the safe side, I’d patch test it before smothering my children with it.
Baby shampoo, unfragranced (250ml, £4.00)
Product description: “Childs Farm unfragranced baby shampoo is mild enough to use on the tiniest of heads to clear away dead skin and grime without irritation. Even babies with very little hair need their scalps washing but only with the gentlest of shampoos. Special care and attention is needed to prevent irritating or upsetting the delicate skin on their scalps.”
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Argan Oil Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lauryl Glucoside, Lactic Acid, Sucrose Laureate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Alcohol
Verdict: Very similar list to the baby wash and bubbles wash with the use of Cocamidopropyl Betaine but at least there’s no perfume.
Biodegradable baby wipes, unfragranced (64 pack, £2.50)
Product description: “Childs Farm biodegradable wipes are unfragranced to be as gentle as possible on baby’s bottom, face and hands. Take with you when out and about to clean up after life’s little accidents. “
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Parfum, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Citrate, Argan Oil Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sucrose Laurate, Lactic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Oil*, Citric Acid, Alcohol, Urea, Sodium Lactate, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate.
(*certified organic ingredient)
CORRECTION: Childs Farm have contacted me after I posted this review to inform me that the above list of ingredients on their website was incorrect so here’s the correct list of ingredients for the wipes:
Aqua, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera ) leaf juice, Levulinic acid, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium levulinate, Disodium cocoamphodiacetate, Glycerin, Sodium chloride
Verdict: The reason why I’m giving this product thumbs down is because there’s really no need to add so many ingredients into a product that comes into such close contact with your child’s genitals. Also, the description states the wipes are unfragranced but there’s clearly perfume in the formulation so that’s factually wrong and very misleading in my opinion! I personally prefer to use cloth wipes which are much more efficient, reduce the amount of unnecessary waste and mean I only use water to clean my little boy’s bum. While there might be occasions where disposable wipes come in handy, these ones wouldn’t appear in my changing bag due to the amount of ingredients, especially those in amber which are likely to cause irritation.
CORRECTION: Based on the corrected list of ingredients, I’m changing my verdict to a middle ground as the formula is not too bad (bar the amber ingredients which could cause irritation), however I do stand my ground that reusable wipes are a much better option.
~~ Overall verdict ~~
The body oil is definitely the winner here, with practically all ingredients having a beneficial impact on your baby’s skin. The nappy cream is also not too bad either. However, the body washes and shampoo contain too many potential allergens for my liking but they’re definitely not worth discounting completely. I’d just do a patch test on my children and perhaps avoid using them in the first couple of years when your baby’s skin is most sensitive and only requires water. Which is a little ironic as the range is catered for babies…. As for the wipes – I do advocate avoiding wipes altogether where possible so I’m sticking to my guns here, not just for environmental reasons but also because there are better disposable biodegradable wipes out there.