Frequently Asked Questions



Shea butter, also known as ‘karite butter’, is a cream-coloured fatty substance made from the nuts of karate nut trees that grow in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa. Karite trees, or shea trees, are not cultivated. They grow only in the wild, and can take up to 50 years to mature and live up to 300 years.

Shea butter has moisturising benefits and has been used to help heal burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff and stretch marks. It may also diminish wrinkles by moisturising the skin, promoting cell renewal and increasing circulation. Its soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin.

Essential oils are therapeutic-grade oils distilled from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds and are composed of tiny molecules. Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant they were derived from. They are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way.

Essential oils are able to enhance both your physical and psychological wellbeing at the same time. Its distinct chemical composition, which determines its fragrance, colour, volatility and the way in which it affects the system, gives each essential oil its unique set of beneficial properties. For example, the chemical component ester acts as a sedative, a calming agent, an anti-fungal and an anti-inflammatory. Esters are found in lavender, chamomile, bergamot and sage.

The molecules are easily dissolved which allows them to penetrate the skin easily and work into the body by mixing with fatty tissue. Meantime, as the essences evaporate they are inhaled, entering the body via millions of sensitive cells that line the nasal passages. These send messages straight to the brain and affect the emotions by working on the limbic system, which also controls the major functions of the body.

Vitamin E is vital in protecting skin cells from ultraviolet light, pollution, drugs and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals, as it is an antioxidant. Vitamin E helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of stretch marks. It can also help prevent the appearance of age spots, strengthen the skin’s barrier function and help maintain the skin’s oil balance during the cleansing process.

Glycerin is one of the most versatile and valuable substances known to man and has no known negative environmental effects. A water clear, odourless, viscous liquid with a sweet taste, it attracts moisture to the skin and is an ideal ingredient to include in soap.

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in cosmetics to prolong shelf-life by stopping the growth of bacteria and prohibiting mould. They are regularly found in hand creams, shampoos, moisturisers, shaving gels, and many more types of toiletries. Parabens are also commonly used as food additives to achieve the same effect.

Sulphates, or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), are commonly used in soap, shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath, and act as a foaming agent, creating the rapidly foaming soaps that we are so used to.

Because of their ability to dissolve oils, sulphates can remove the healthy oils from your skin that help to keep it well-nourished. This can cause dryness and dehydration of the skin.

By removing parabens and sulphates (and using a little secret know-how!) the same preservative and foaming action can still be achieved. So you can still benefit from high quality hand cream and bubble bath that lasts for as long as you need, with all the foam you enjoy, without unnecessary chemicals, and as nature intended.

At Heathcote & Ivory all our toiletries are free from parabens and sulphates, designed to suit everyone.

Animal Care

None of Heathcote & Ivory or Cath Kidston products are tested on animals, only on us! Our products are certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA.

Customer Care

The H&I Customer Care Centre opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. Call 0207 483 8383 (UK only) or +44 (0) 207 483 8383 (outside UK).

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