Get festival ready with our top 5 must-have cosmetics…

Whether you’re heading to Glastonbury, Download or any other music festival over the summer, we’ve put together our favourite products of the moment that’ll really make sure you’re festival ready. And what’s more, they’re all naturally derived, ethically sourced, and cruelty-free, which means you’ll fit right in with Glastonbury’s ‘Respect your environment’ and ‘Working together for a cleaner, greener, fairer Glastonbury’ mottos.

1. Mineral Sunscreen
Now we certainly wouldn’t advocate leaving your funky wellies at home but fortunately not all music festivals end up in a mud bath like Glastonbury 2009 – you may actually be lucky enough to experience glorious sunshine! So as UVA and UVB rays are the primary causes of skin ageing and skin damage, and are commonly linked to skin cancer, sun protection is literally the most important thing you can do for your skin. So it figures that the number one cosmetic on our must-have list is sunscreen. But not just any sunscreen, no, no, no, we only advocate physical (mineral) sunscreen.

So there are two types of sunscreen, chemical and physical. The former covers most of your common high street brands, but what they don’t tell you is that they’re actually putting both you and our environment at risk. There is an abundance of research that shows that the chemical filters contained in chemical sunscreen are toxic and damaging to our bodies, some having hormone disrupting qualities and some promoting the growth of cancer cells – ironically the very thing we’re trying to avoid by using them! In contrast, physical (mineral) sunscreens use mineral filters (normally zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that physically reflect and block the sun’s rays – they literally form a suit of armour on your skin. Their particle size is much larger than the chemical filters found in chemical sunscreen which means they aren’t even absorbed into your blood stream. So what’s great is that whilst they’re reflecting the UV rays back into the atmosphere, they’re completely inert, meaning they aren’t causing any other damage to your skin or body. To read more about the problem with chemical sunscreen, check out our previous blog post ‘Is your sunscreen actually doing you more harm than good?’.

So here are our favourite mineral sun care products…

Tropic Skincare Skin Shade
Tropic offer a broad spectrum (protects from UVA and UVB rays), water resistant mineral sunscreen range to keep skin protected from the sun, and prevent premature skin ageing. And with an SPF range of 15, 30 and 50, there’s something to suit all skin types. And what we really love about these sunscreens is that they apply easily like a cream but dry to a soft powder finish, so you’re not left with that sticky or greasy feeling.


What’s more, Tropic Skin Shade is jam-packed full of hero ingredients for your skin. Extracts of Australian kakadu and illawarra plum provide immediate and long term hydration, nourishment for the skin, and are rich in antioxidants that protect skin from free radicals. Kahai oil protects skin with high levels of essential fatty acids and contains a vastly higher concentration of vitamin E than any other natural oil! And then there’s Roucou oil which is 100 times richer in beta-carotene than carrots to provide protection against UV rays, and it also stimulates the production of melanin in your skin to help your skin respond faster to UV rays.

What’s not to like? Buy them here for just £28.

Tropic Skincare Tinted Skin Shade
Everyone’s talking about this tinted facial sunscreen at the moment. Featured in Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few, this 3-in-1 product not only keeps your face protected from the sun throughout the day but also acts as a moisturiser and provides lightweight, high coverage for radiant looking skin. So pack light and leave your daily moisturiser and foundation at home! It comes in two shades of tint and offers SPF 50 protection.


Too good to pass up? Buy Tropic’s Tinted Skin Shade here for just £24.

2. Aftersun
If you’re a diehard Radiohead fan and are planning on spending the day basking in the sun whilst glued to the barrier in front of the Pyramid Stage, you’re going to need something to cool and soothe your skin at the end of the day. Let’s face it, there’s nothing funny about the lobster appearance or the mere touch of clothing sending you into a pain induced rage! So the next cosmetic on our list of festival essentials is Aftersun, and here’s our favourite…

Tropic Skincare Sun Soothe
Tropic’s naturally derived, chemical free Sun Soothe is a deeply soothing, super cooling lotion to calm skin redness after sun exposure, and help prolong your natural tan. Why do we love it so much? Well, it’s really effective and here’s why…. Triple concentrated Aloe Vera juice rich in amino acids helps to cool skin and relieve redness. Bisabolol has been shown to exhibit dramatic anti-inflammatory effects, which helps to repair and calm skin. Menthol and Eucalyptus provide a super cooling sensation that’s an excellent soother for prickly heat. And Arian Oil and Vitamin E deeply nourish and condition the skin.


Avoid the lobster look with this absolute essential. Buy Tropic’s Sun Soothe here for just £18.

3. Hand sanitiser
Portaloo or ‘long drop’ (if you’re heading to your first festival, all we can say is “just don’t look down”!), however much you try to avoid them by not drinking or holding on until your bladder is at bursting point (we’ve all been there), you’re going to have to visit the dreaded festival toilets at some point. And afterwards, you’re going to need some serious hand sanitiser! And here’s our favourite…

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Defence Hand Spray
This certified organic cleansing hand spray combines a purifying blend of pure organic essential oils with witch hazel, to help protect and keep hands naturally clean and fresh. And it contains no harsh synthetic chemicals that’ll damage your skin either. So say hello to your gentle, yet effective, natural organic refreshing cleanser.

hand defence

An essential for any festival handbag, buy it here for just £6.50.

4. Deodorant
It’s simple, Eau de Festival is not pleasant! So deodorant is a must-have. And here’s our favourites (both natural, of course)…

Tropic Skincare Feel Fresh
This quick-drying deodorant and antiperspirant cream contains a unique blend of zesty, antibacterial citrus essential oils, soothing oat oil, repairing bisabolol and detoxifying bentonite clays to control odour and ensure your underarms stay nourished, soft and fresh all day long. And it actually smells good enough to eat.


Stave off the stench and buy it here for just £10.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Lavender and Aloe Vera Deodorant Spray
Cleansing, organic essential oils of lavender, tea tree and ylang ylang are combined with an extract of alpine moss (lichin) to prevent the growth of odour-causing bacteria – perfect for the festival environment! Aloe Vera is added for its cooling and soothing properties.


Oppress the odour and buy it here for just £8.50.

5. Shimmer
No festival goer is complete without a bit of shimmer! Ok, so maybe these aren’t ‘essential’ items – we wouldn’t recommend leaving your toilet roll at home in order to fit these into your already bursting at the seams backpack, but maybe you can justify losing one can of baked beans?! – but from illuminated cheekbones to glistening shoulders, glowing skin is always on trend, and these shimmering treats provide all the radiance you need…

Tropic Skincare Summer Goddess Shimmer Oil
This stunning body oil is infused with golden shimmer. With organic virgin coconut oil and golden jojoba oils to hydrate and nourish, and scents from Tahitian and bourbon vanilla topped with lime essential oils to keep you smelling delicious (also useful for covering that three day festival odour!), this body oil will leave you with smooth, super hydrated skin that dazzles with a golden shimmer. Being a goddess never looked so good!

Dazzle at Download or Glisten at Glasto – buy it here for just £28.

Tropic Skincare Cream Highlighter
Available in two shades – Spotlight and Sunlight – these soft shimmer highlighters will brighten and illuminate your complexion, while enhancing cheekbones, collar bones, shoulders and lips. They can also double up as an eye shadow and are perfect for a quick, convenient touch-up on the go. Extracts of bayberry fruit wax and jojoba esters create a smooth cream that provides long-lasting hold for your shimmer.

Want the spotlight shining on you? Buy them here for just £18.

So there we have it, our top 5 must-have cosmetics. You can order them all directly using the relevant links above, or contact us to find out about free local delivery. There’s nothing more to say than have fun, stay safe, and shimmer like you’ve never shimmered before!

Mental Health and Massage

We all have ‘mental health’ just as we all have ‘physical health’, but for some reason, ‘mental health’ is still associated with social stigma and prejudice. Today marks the end of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 – a national campaign coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation to help shed the stigma associated with mental health and encourage more people to open up about their own mental health struggles. After all, ‘it’s good to talk’ and nobody should suffer in silence.


A recent survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation aimed to understand the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems, levels of positive and negative mental health in the population, and the actions people take to deal with the stressors in their lives. They found that nearly two thirds of people report that they have experienced a mental health problem. And more than four in 10 people say they have experienced depression, and over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks. In fact only 13 percent of the study population reported living with high levels of good mental health. The survey demonstrates that levels of good mental health are disturbingly low and that our collective mental health is only deteriorating.

This is quite clearly a huge epidemic that needs to be addressed, and soon. In addition to the wide variety of talking therapies, CBT, and psychotherapy etc that is available, there’s a growing body of evidence that shows physical therapies such as massage can also be beneficial in helping to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. In fact, a consumer survey undertaken by the Americal Massage Therapy Association found that 88% of individuals viewed massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness and 32% of consumers stated that their primary reason for receiving massage was due to stress.

Research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2013) indicates that massage therapy can reduce symptoms of depression for individuals with HIV. In fact, results showed that massage significantly reduced symptoms of depression at week four of the study and continued through weeks six and eight, suggesting that regular therapeutic massage sessions could be a useful tool in the treatment of depression for patients with HIV.

Research published in Military Medicine (2012) reports that military veterans indicated significant reductions in ratings of anxiety, worry, depression and physical pain after massage therapy. The results also suggest declining levels of tension and irritability following massage.

chair massage

Research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2012) shows that chair massage for nurses during work hours can actually help to reduce stress and related symptoms, including headaches, shoulder tension, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.

Overall therefore, this growing body of research suggests that regular massage therapy would be a hugely beneficial addition to an integrated treatment plan for mental health conditions. And as a holistic massage therapist myself, I’ve personally seen the benefits of massage therapy with my own clients, whether they’re suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, or bereavement.

Woman having a massage

So if you feel you may need help with your own mental health, it may just be worth seeking out your local massage therapist in addition to your GP and other medical professionals, to enable a fully integrated and holistic approach to treatment. Visit our website to find out more about Pura Vida and the wide variety of massage therapies we offer.


1. Polane RE, Gertsik L, Favreau JT, et al. Open-label, randomized, parallel-group controlled clinical trial of massage for treatment of depression in HIV-infected subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.2013 Apr;19(4):334-40. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0058.
2. Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Military Medicine. 2012 Dec;177(12):1477-85.
3. Engen DJ, Wahner-Roedler DL, Vincent A, et al. Feasibility and effect of chair massage offered to nurses during work hours on stress-related symptoms: a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012 Nov;18(4):212-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.06.002.

Supercharge your skin with Tropic’s little bottle of green goodness!

Winner of the Best New Skincare Product Launch 2016/17 at the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2017, Tropic’s gorgeous super green skin saviour is not to be missed.


It turns out, Mum was right…eating your greens really can improve your health! And now you can go one step further by massaging them directly into your skin! A few drops a day of this healthy green juice will boost your skin’s natural defences and nutrient levels, leaving you with a bright, healthy-looking complexion that’s full of vitality. This fast absorbing, lightweight serum is especially effective on skin that’s irritated, red, sensitive, blemished or tired looking. And what’s more, it’s 100% naturally derived (not even a synthetic preservative in sight), freshly handmade, cruelty-free and vegan friendly. What’s not to like?


Tropic have harnessed the power of 18 pure plant extracts within the Super Greens to deliver a myriad of skin benefits. Here’s just a few of the hero ingredients that make this serum so effective…

Super Greens Ingredients

Green Coffee Oil – Rich in natural caffeine to energise the skin, brighten your complexion and supercharge your anti-ageing game plan.

Tamanu Oil – Accelerates skin repair and reduces blemishes.

Sea buckthorn – Helps to treat Rosacea and Acne.

Super Greens Ingredients 2
Kale, Chlorophyll, and Maca Root Extracts – These superfoods deliver essential vitamins and minerals to the deeper layers of your skin, to boost skin health and its natural defences. Bid farewell to unwanted blemishes thanks to kale extract’s high vitamin K content, and call on Maca root extract to increase collagen production for firmer, younger looking skin.

Marula Oil – This oil is incredibly rich in fatty acids, helping to calm skin irritation and soothe redness. Marula oil is traditionally used by Ovambo women in northern Namibia for its nourishing properties.

Super Greens Ingredients 3
Tropic’s Super Greens retails at £42 which might seem a bit pricey, but with only a few drops a day required and coming in an easy to dispense dropper bottle, this little beauty will keep you going longer than you think! And, from now until midnight on the 8th of May 2017, I’m offering a £10 discount off of the Super Greens when you spend £30 or more on any other Tropic Skincare products from my personal website…

Offer Super Greens

Eat Beautiful by Neal’s Yard Remedies

Beauty can mean different things to different people. For some it’s an outward appearance, for others it’s an internal feeling or quality and how these are radiated on the outside. After all, people are often described as being “beautiful on the inside and out”. So perhaps beauty is best considered a combination of factors, and ultimately the way we look on the outside as a reflection of what’s going on on the inside.

I was recently gifted the Eat Beautiful book by Neal’s Yard Remedies. Written by a nutritional therapist, a naturopathic herbalist and a qualified homeopath and naturopath, this book is all about enhancing beauty through diet to help us feel and look our best at any age. It tells us how we can cleanse and detox our bodies and details which foods are our beauty superfood heroes, even splitting them into categories; foods for the face, body, hair, hands and feet, and mouth. It also provides 100 mouth-watering beauty-enhancing recipes!

If you’re interested in clean eating and healthy living, this book is definitely worthy of its £16.99 price tag and a space on your bookshelf.


This week I tried out their Courgette Noodles with Basil Pesto recipe. They even include a dairy-free alternative recipe for the pesto suitable for Vegans and the dairy intolerant – as a Vegan, I opted for this version. This recipe was highlighted as being good for anti-ageing, skin smoothing, skin calming, and for healthy teeth and gums and here’s why…

Refreshing courgettes have an especially high water content that makes them super-hydrating for our skin and gums. They’re also naturally high in the anti-ageing antioxidant betacarotene and Vitamin C, which promotes clear, firm skin.

…Pine Nuts
“With anti-inflammatory properties, pine nuts help soothe and calm sensitive skin, and their high vitamin E content adds lustre and shine to dull hair”. They also provide important minerals for teeth health and the final sprinkling of pine nuts in this recipe will also help to remove stains by exfoliation.

…Lemon Zest and Juice
Citrus fruits increase saliva flow and contain a lot of water which helps to wash away bacteria in the mouth.

…Olive Oil
“A good source of skin-repairing antioxidant vitamin E, the fat in olive oil is up to 75% omega-9 (oleic acid), which aids the absorption of omega-3 fats, enhancing our uptake of nutrients. And cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is especially good for dry skin as it has anti-inflammatory properties”.

For the Courgette Noodles…
Place two spiralized courgettes (one yellow and one green) in a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and if desired, a little lemon zest. Combine with your hands.

For the Pesto…
Pulse together one clove of garlic, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt, and 30g of fresh basil leaves. Add 30g of pine nuts and pulse again. Add 30g of Parmesan (or 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes if Vegan) and then add 70ml olive oil and blitz again. (Browning the pine nuts in a dry pan for three minutes prior to blitzing can also add a deeper flavour which is lost if not using cheese). Season with freshly ground black pepper and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Put a dollop of pesto onto the noodles, add a sprinkle of pine nuts, and serve.

And here’s my result…


Ok, so I may not have had both yellow and green courgettes as the recipe recommended, and I may not own a spiralizer, so had to make do with julienne courgettes instead. But although my attempt may not look quite as pretty as it does in the book, it was incredibly tasty! This really is a winning recipe if you’re looking for a quick, filling, healthy, beauty-enhancing meal. Delicious and nutritious!

For more beauty-enhancing recipes, get your hands on Neal’s Yard’s Eat Beautiful book here

Is your sunscreen actually doing you more harm than good?

With summer soon to be upon us, sunscreen is a pretty hot topic at Pura Vida at the moment, and one I’m keen to share with you.

We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, right? It’s something that’s been drummed into us from an early age by our parents, doctors, teachers, and a multitude of marketing campaigns. In fact UVA and UVB rays are the primary causes of skin ageing and skin damage, and are commonly linked to skin cancer. So, there really is no question – sun protection is literally the most important thing you can do for your skin. But, what if I told you there are two kinds of sunscreen – Chemical and Physical – and that the former could actually be putting you and our environment at greater risk?


The Body Burden
So let’s think about things from a health perspective to start with.

Chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients (chemical filters) which absorb UV radiation to prevent them from penetrating the skin. However many of these chemicals are actually highly toxic and damaging to our bodies. After all, let’s not forget our skin is a semi-permeable membrane which means much of what we put onto it is absorbed into our blood stream, and fast. And what’s worse is that these chemicals have the ability to bioaccumulate in our bodies, gradually increasing our toxicity over time and disrupting normal bodily functions.

A study in the US called the National Biomonitoring Study is the world’s largest test to determine just how much our bodies are burdened by these synthetic chemicals. The researchers assess exposure to 200 man-made chemicals in 2500 test subjects of varying ages, ethnicities and geographical locations every other year. Through biomonitoring they can assess the environmental chemicals to which people have been exposed and also the amounts of these chemicals that are actually in people’s bodies. The latest results detected known carcinogenic (cancer-promoting), synthetic chemicals in almost 100% of the test subjects, including those chemicals found in chemical sunscreens. In fact, it’s been found that the amount of time these synthetic chemicals can remain in our bodies can be anything from a number of hours up to a number of decades after exposure!

One of the most common and troublesome chemicals found in most high street brands of sunscreen is Oxybenzone. Whilst it’s effective at absorbing UV radiation, it’s also been found to have hormone disrupting qualities and promote the growth of cancer cells (source) – ironically the very thing we’re trying to prevent by using sunscreen in the first place! And worryingly, due to its small molecular size, this is one of those chemicals that can potentially remain in our bodies for years!

According to the Environmental Working Group, “commonly used in sunscreens, the chemical Oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like oestrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of Oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked Oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of Oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters”. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty more studies like these linking Oxybenzone to a vast array of serious health concerns.

Then there’s Retinyl Palmitate (a form of vitamin A). A report published in 2012 by the National Toxicology Program suggests that Retinyl Palmitate may speed the development of skin tumours and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight. Again suggesting that “sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A and its derivatives, Retinol, and Retinyl Palmitate” (Dr Mercola, 2014).

The Environmental Concern
But things don’t just stop there. If all of this wasn’t already scary enough, let’s now look at the environmental issues of using chemical sunscreen, in particular the detrimental impact it’s having on our coral reefs.

The well-being of our coral reefs and marine life is a hotly discussed topic at the moment and it’s easy to see why. Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet and are really important in the ever-increasing fight against global warming. They serve as ‘carbon sinks’, absorbing carbon dioxide and helping to alleviate climate change to protect the global environment. 90% of the Great Barrier Reef is already dead – a very sad, but true fact.

A recent study published by the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found that Oxybenzone (yes, the same Oxybenzone that promotes cancer cell growth and hormone disruption in people) has toxic effects on young coral that causes endocrine disruption, DNA damage to the coral, heightened coral bleaching (a process by which coral lose their pigmentation and subsequently reject symbiotic organisms), and even coral death. And according to the Archives, between 6,000 and 14,000 TONNES of sunscreen end up in coral reef areas each year from swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkellers! Lead researcher and author Omri Bronstein explained how this was a huge amount of sunscreen considering how little it takes for toxic effects to occur – the research shows that toxicity to coral reef occurs at a concentration of 62 parts per trillion. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic sized swimming pool! Ultimately, the study concluded that “Oxybenzone poses a hazard to coral reef conservation and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change”.

(Image courtesy of R. Vevers, XL Catlin Seaview Survey).

So where do we go from here?
I expect you’re wondering why chemical sunscreens are so popular? Well, it’s simple – money. They’re quick and easy to formulate which means they’re cheap. And that’s all.

But fear not, there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel – and it comes in the form of Physical sunscreen! Physical sunscreens use mineral filters (normally zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that physically reflect and block the sun’s rays – they literally form a suit of armour on your skin. Their particle size is much larger than the chemical filters found in chemical sunscreens which means they aren’t even absorbed into your blood stream. So what’s great is that whilst they’re reflecting the UV rays back into the atmosphere, they’re completely inert, meaning they aren’t causing any other damage to your skin or body. Seems like common sense to me, whilst you’re protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, you shouldn’t in the process be causing it any other kind of damage, right?

And furthermore, due to their naturally derived ingredients, using a mineral sunscreen is kinder to the coral reefs and marine life and thus avoids contributing to the problem of climate change as well! Win-win.

Top 5 Reasons for choosing Mineral over Chemical sunscreen:
1. No nasty chemicals absorbed into our bodies.
2. No risk of cancer-promoting cell damage.
3. No hormone disrupting properties.
4. No risk to coral reef and marine life.
5. Does not contribute to climate change and global warming – in fact by switching to a mineral sunscreen, you’ll help to protect the coral reef and slow the rate of global warming.

Introducing Tropic Skin Shade Mineral Sun Protection…
Tropic offer a broad spectrum (protects from UVA and UVB rays), water resistant mineral sunscreen range to keep skin protected from the sun, and prevent premature skin ageing. With an SPF range of 15, 30 and 50, there’s something to suit all. They’ve even got a tinted sun protection for the face when foundation isn’t required.


10 Reasons why Tropic Skin Shade should be your go-to sunscreen…
1. Naturally derived.
2. Chemical-free.
3. Fragrance-free which means they’re perfect for children and anyone with sensitive skin. (In fact, before I knew any better, I spent years trying to find a sunscreen that I wouldn’t react to, and it was near impossible! Now I realise that I probably have a sensitivity to Oxybenzone so mineral sunscreen and Tropic Skin Shade in particular has been a game changer for me – no stinging, no rash, no blotchiness!).
4. Water resistant.
5. New innovative technology in the formulation process means Tropic’s sunscreens are much easier to rub in than other mineral sunscreens – even the factor 50.
6. Skin-coloured lotion makes them blend translucently onto the skin, which means you aren’t left looking like a snowman for 10 minutes after application! Always a bonus!
7. Applies as a cream, but dries with a non-sticky, powder finish that’s great for those who hate collecting sand on the beach! (I swear this stuff was made with me in mind!)
8. Extracts of Australian kakadu and illawarra plum provide immediate and long-lasting hydration and nourishment for the skin, and are also rich in antioxidants that protect your skin from free radicals.
9. Two shades of tinted skin shade for the face – perfect for those who want a little bit of coverage whilst make-up free.
10. Cruelty-free and Vegan friendly.

Sound too good to be true?
In a word, No. The only downside is that mineral sunscreen is more expensive to formulate and so it’s a little bit pricier than chemical sunscreen. Tropic’s Skin Shade retails at £28 for 200ml.

There’s no question that we all love a bargain, but surely we’ve all got to start asking ‘at what cost?’. With all things considered, £28 seems like a very small price to pay, doesn’t it?

You can purchase your Tropic Skin Shade direct from Pura Vida here or contact us to find out about free local delivery in the Bath and BANES area.