Tag Archives: aloe vera

My easiest green switch yet…

Clay newborn

So, if you don’t know all that much about how our green journey started, it had to do with a really bad bum rash, on a teeny tiny newborn, with a panicked mom and nothing that seemed to help us. Until a new natural product arrived at my midwives clinic and she suggested I give it a go. I had honestly tried a plethora of creams, medicines, ointments, powders and nothing had helped, and so I was willing to give anything a shot. And it worked. Clay powder and calendula cream. That was it.

That word calendula holds a million emotions for me. It was the first thing I googled when this bleeding, blistering, bum rash started healing. How do I get my hands on more of this goodness, and can I smother it all over my newborn to keep him safe for-ev-er? And as my research into calendula grew, so did my knowledge and understanding of natural products; what they do, why they’re so effective, how much safer they are than regular store bought products… and and and.

During my exploration of how to care for this tender tush, I was advised to not use any wet wipes, often not even a towel directly on his bum. Picture the scene: There I am, a nervous 28yr old first time mom, holding my wriggling, gurgling newborn (like Rafiki does in The Lion King) under lukewarm water (with one hand) to wash his bum (with the other hand, that’s right, no cloth), and only to have pre-placed a towel in the slither of ‘sun’ on the 1m x 1m patch of grass found in the average Vancouver backyard. Straight from the bathroom, we headed outside to the towel, where we air-and-sun-dry the naked bottom. I spent many an afternoon chasing the sun with my newborns bottom, and reading magazines. This tush was the topic of most conversations between my hubby and I. Life was exciting.

Have you ever checked the ingredients in the packet of wipes you’re currently using?

FOR EG, Huggies Cucumber and Tea Tree Wipes… (don’t be fooled by the soothing sound of cucumber and tea tree).

Ingredients: Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, DMDM Hydantoin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Malic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance.

These wipes have a hazard rating of 7 out of 10 and ingredients have been linked to cancer, immunotoxicity, allergies, developmental problems, reproductive toxicity, organ dysfunction, endocrine disruption and cellular changes. (Source)

And so I scrapped all the wipes in the house – even the ‘sensitive’ ones (oh man, how deceived we were. I dare you to read the ingredients in ‘sensitive’ wipes). And I investigated making my own. I stumbled across Wellness Mama‘s recipe, and making ones own wipes became second nature in our house, and we used them for everything. I wrote a blog about it here.


I was a wipes making machine. I could do it in my sleep, and as long as we were stocked up on good quality paper towel/tissues, we never ran out. Ever.

And then we moved back to South Africa. And life got busier, and we now had 2 kids, and my local grocery store didn’t sell the Bounty brand of thick paper towel, and once I ran out of my original raw supplies (bought online from the States), I was stuck. I found South African ingredients that worked, but for some reason it all seemed a lot harder to continue. It wasn’t as cost effective, and wasn’t as second nature. I cringed and closed my eyes as I bought regular wipes, knowing full well how much nonsense they had in them. Until, I found, quite possibly, my ALL TIME favourite Pure Beginnings product, their Biodegradable Baby Wipes (with Organic Aloe).

I absolutely LOVE this product. We have a pack of wipes in every school bag, handbag and car. First off, they’re biodegradable, so they’re not contributing to the destruction of our earth. And secondly, they contain organic aloe and organic tea tree. They’re properly legit, and affordable! And recently, Pure Beginnings brought out the triple pack. I didn’t think it was possible to get any more excited about their wipes until I saw the triple pack.

PB wipes 3

Pure Beginnings Organic Wet Wipes:

  • 64 wet wipes per pack (or 192 in the triple pack),
  • Soft and gentle on delicate skin,
  • 100% biodegradable plant fibre,
  • Organic Aloe extract with soothing and anti-bacterial properties,
  • Organic Tea Tree oil with natural anti-septic and fungicide properties as well as wonderful healing properties.

If there was one thing I’d buy new moms, it’s these. They’re SO good for bubs, they’re safe, easy to use, they smell amazing and are biodegradable. Everyone wins!

You know how some people buy a box of nappies every month before their baby arrives? Well since we cloth diaper, I’ll be buying a Pure Beginnings Triple Pack (and some wine, and some camembert… because… I can’t wait for cheese and wine again).

(…And for the record, I haven’t made my own set of wipes since using these).

Homemade & Happy Baby Wipes

Have you ever read the ingredients in commonly used store-bought wipes? It’s terrifying. When my bub had his realllly bad bum rash back in the day (yes, you’ve heard this story a million times), I was told to use NOTHING on his bum other than water – and so this sparked my first homemade challenge… baby wipes.

Wellness Mama’s homemade baby wipes were the first thing I made myself when I started on this journey towards better health, reducing chemicals in our home and saving the earth (can you picture my super woman t-shirt?), and it has since become second nature.

Of course, while moving countries I fell off the wagon completely and am now fiiiiinally picking myself back up. Shame on me. My poor number 2 has had store-bought wipes with all their yukkiness for so long, the mom-guilt in me was screaming to do something, and FAST.

First and foremost these homemade wipes are safe for your child. To me that’s the most important thing. And secondly, even with an initial outlay on all the tupperware, gels, soap etc. this will most certainly save you money in the long run if you go through wipes like we do. Health, saving money and the environment. Winning at life.

Here’s what you need:  Adapted from the Wellness Mama recipe. (I bet she has multiple superwoman shirts).

WIPES All ingredients


– Paper Towels (R33.50). OF UTMOST importance: You cannot use cheap paper towel – it will tear and you’ll be left with a sludgy mess. Essential Green work well.

– A Container. I use these amazing Tupperware wipes containers (large wipes containers, as seen here, R109 or R89 for small – ideal for school bags) or a 2l ice cream container with a hole punched in the top will also do. (An excuse to eat some ice cream while you protect your family from harsh chemicals).

– 1 3/4 cups boiled water (or distilled), cooled but still warm. (You can just use regular water if you use them in less than a week like we do).

– 1 T Castille Soap (I use Dr. Bronners from overseas. I use this to wash my kids too).

– 1 T (pure) Aloe Vera Gel (see my note about aloe below).

– 1 T Witch Hazel (Pharmacy R42).

– NEW ADDITION (for me):1 t natural oil such as Baobab Tissue Oil (ohhh, yes I did). This is optional, but highly encouraged. 


1) Have your wipes container ready. Open your box of paper towels and divide them into 4. You will use 1/4 box of paper towels per wipes container, and so, since I make two batches, I use half the box.

Oops… as you can see, they don’t quite fit. Not to worry. Once I poured the warm liquid over them, I gently, but firmly, shoved them in – and made them fit. Voia la.

2) In bowl or 500ml jar mix the water, aloe, witch hazel, castille soap, and oil and stir.

As you can see, t’was the perfect day for some afternoon outside DIYing.

3) Put the paper towels in your container and pour the liquid over until they are well soaked (remembering to divide the liquid mixture in two). You can flip the containers over to make sure they’re soaked through.

IMG_0461.JPGDon’t forget to halve the liquid (since you’re making two batches). You don’t want very watery wipes.

4) Open it back up and pull the first wipe out – it might be a bit tricky but go with it.

5) Use as you would regular wipes, and smile, knowing you are not causing your beautiful children any future health problems! I use these wipes for EVERYTHING: from grubby hands and food covered mouths to bums and sandy feet – I know what I’m using on my kids skin is safe and effective.

Isn’t it beautiful? 

Let me reassure you: 

This might sound like its fairly complicated and a lot of work. It’s not. Once you get going, it literally takes 5 minutes to make. I buy the paper towels in bulk and then always have them on hand. You know that terrifying, panicky feeling when you realize you’re almost out of wipes… well you’ll never have that again (as long as you have the ingredients on hand). All you need each time you make a batch is water, soap, witch hazel and aloe vera. Mix and pour. Done.

Let me break it down:

– The castille soap cleans and makes the wipes slippery and easy to use. (You can use less if you find them too soapy),
– The witch hazel acts as a mild astringent and antibacterial,
– The aloe vera has long been an important and indispensable ally for all skin conditions or maladies. It’s just the most perfect soft, loving and caring ingredient for a precious bum.

WIPES 3 liquid ingredients


Hold the (proverbial) phone. Let’s crank this up a notch.

While thinking about this post and driving to pick up my kids, I was AS-TOUN-DED as to how many aloes I saw growing freely in the Southern Suburbs. My friend who lives in Sun Valley had about 20 in her garden at one stage. It is easy-PEASY to make your own aloe vera gel – and cheap as. If I had not had the boys in the car I would’ve jumped out the car and nicked a big fat leaf from off the side of the road, but didn’t think that was very role-model like. Fortunately I got my thrifty paws on some samples from Alcare Aloe.

‘Whoaaaa, hold up’, you’re saying. ‘I’m barely able to wash my hair one a week and brush my teeth twice a day. I’ll never be caught dead making my own aloe vera gel and even these wipes are a push’. That you? Then, breathe a sigh of relief and read on…

Store bought Green Eco Wipes I’m loving…

Cherubs Eco Friendly Baby Wipes: Cherubs baby wipes contain aloe vera (we love aloe vera) and are gentle on delicate skin and the environment. They are flushable, biodegradable and alcohol, paraben and fragrance free. Yes please. (R31.12)


Cherubs have brought out a wonderful eco range. They have hand and face wipes, cotton rounds (nice puffy, durable rounds) and cotton buds (with a unique paper-based stem which is 100% flushable and biodegradable!).

Must be honest, I have a phobia about squeaky cotton rounds. A bit like I have a phobia about teeth and wool (together). Gives me the absolute grrrills. I’m happy to report Cherubs’ cotton rounds passed the non-squeak test. Phew.  

Pure Beginnings Baby Wipes with Baobab and Aloe Vera. (Are you starting to see some familiar ingredients appear here?). These gentle bamboo baby wipes are 100% biodegradable. With organic aloe extract and baobab fruit extract, they are very gentle on delicate skin. (R39.50)

One small change is one small change. Do it!