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Hand holding blue cleansing balm jar D

Do I need a Cleansing Balm?

Before I answer that, let me ask you a question back. Do you worry about your skin? Most of us do, be it anything from ageing through to the daily fight with blemishes. The truth is that to fix these you have to go back to basics. And that means, cleansing your skin every day & night.

Velvet melt cleansing balm in glass jar

Did you just roll your eyes then?! I know, I feel your pain – because we are ultimately a lazy species often doing the minimum required and yet still expecting amazing results. If you’re anything like me, going to bed with make up from the day is a regular occurrence! The only way to change a bad habit is to replace it with something amazing. Just like our cleansing balm that’s a luxurious experience and makes you feel like you’ve just spent £100’s at the spa.

Let’s face it our skin has a lot to deal with every single day: be it the pollution from our trips into the city, mud and dirt from spending time out in the field, through to when we cover our skin in a layer of make-up or the sweat and grime from time spent in the gym. And if that wasn’t enough, did you know that we excrete toxins through our skin? That’s why that heavy night out at the weekend shows up on your skin a few days later! Even if you’re sat there thinking – no none of that applies to me. Just think of every time you’ve touched your face and where your hands were before that…..

Good conditioned skin is clean skin. Clean skin rejuvenates and repairs itself and allows topical products such as serums and moisturisers to work that much better. As I have already said, in a perfect world you should clean your skin every morning and night.


What is a Cleansing Balm?

Our Velvet Melt Cleansing Balm is a decadent buttery rich formula that will melt onto your skin. It is oil and emollient based and since oil clings to dirt, it is amazing at removing all impurities from your skin without striping the natural oils.

I’ve heard about double cleansing, what is it?

Double cleansing is a popular technique recommend by dermatologists. Simply put it’s cleansing your face twice, often with two different products. Derms suggest your first cleanse should be with an oil based cleanser to dissolve excess oils, remove makeup and sunscreen. And then your second cleanse should be with a water based product to wash away the remaining dirt and any residue from the oil cleanse stage.

But that’s where our cleansing balm is a magical 2-in-1. We call it balm-to-milk. The first step is that luxurious melting balm that turns into an oil for your first stage. The second step, happens when you add water and turn it into a milky emulsion that you wash away. So not only are you saving time but by using a balm-to milk cleanser you’re also ONLY needing ONE product that does both.

What makes the Velvet Melt Cleansing Balm blue?

We use English Yarrow essential oil which is beautiful ink blue colour in its natural state. Yarrow grows on grass verges and wild meadows around the UK. When it is distilled to extract the essential oil, one of its natural chemical compounds is chamazulene which gives its its beautiful blue colour. We only use a small amount of yarrow (as we have strict dermal percentages to adhere to) so it loses some of its deep navy colour and ends up a beautiful light blue hue. Also, at this level there is no fear of looking like a smurf either! One final note on the colour, because we make small batches and only use natural ingredients, each batch may be slightly different in colour and shade of blue.

Yarrow is known for its calming properties on the skin, it has anti-inflammatory and is good for soothing irritated skin.

Our Cleansing balm is a magical 2-in-1. The velvety balm melts onto the skin and turns into an oil to lift all dirt off the skin. Add water and it turns into a milky emulsion that easy to wash away and leave skin feeling beautiful.

Do you have to use a toner?

No, toning is not necessary for skin health. Toners were originally developed to make skin feel soft again. They replaced lost moisture after harsh skin cleansers many years ago. These days, most cleansers are very mild. That said, if you like to use a toner after cleansing, we’d recommend using our 12 bore boost mist which would act as an amazing toner.

12 bore boost mist face tonic image
The 12 Bore Boost Mist would be a perfect toner adding a hydration boost to the skin after cleansing.

Can I use any cloth?

Yes of course! Just as long as it’s a gentle cloth and not harsh or scratchy on the skin. Our own muslin cloths are super soft and are made from organic cotton & bamboo. You could use a soft flannel if you’d prefer. Regardless of what you decide to use, we recommend washing your cloth regularly at a min temp of 40°C to clean any bacteria. But probably the most important point is to DRY your cloth out in-between each use to avoid creating a breeding ground for unfriendly bacteria and microbial nasties.

We also don’t recommend using disposable wipes as these only end up in landfill. Worse still are the so called “flushable” ones that actually block drains. Many also have plastic in them so they don’t biodegrade and actually put micro-plastic into our water system.

Is your cleansing balm good for sensitive or oily skin? What about mature skin?

Yes, we’ve formulated our Velvet Melt Cleansing Balm to be really gentle on the skin. Everyone has different types of skin so whilst we say it’s good for sensitive skin, you should patch test first if you are worried about it. We’ve added ingredients like calendula, apricot butter, bisabolol and Blue Yarrow to help soothe irritations and calm skin.

For oily skin, a cleansing balm is actually a good choice as it gently removes excess oil without stripping your natural oils. The milky emulsifier stage will help leave a beautiful nourished clean sensation on the skin that doesn’t leave it feeling like its covered in an oily film. The added vitamin E helps to balance sebum production.

For mature or ageing skin, we’ve formulated with British Crambe and Camelina oils to help give skin a radiant appearance and to boost elasticity. Hyperpigmentation is a common complaint as it can give your skin an aged look, even without the added wrinkles so we’ve added some castor oil to help keep this at bay. If you already have a hyperpigmentation or melasma problem, that often requires specialist products that are prescribed by a dermatologist or doctor.

We love using active ingredients such as Bisabolol (which is a powerful plant active from chamomile) as not only is is amazingly soothing on the skin but it also stimulates collagen production and inhibits the melanin production that’s responsible for age spots.

open glass jar of cleanser

Key ingredients:

  • High in Omega 6,  Apricot butter* is anti-inflammatory and softens skin
  • Calendula* infused Sunflower oil* is known for its gentleness to calm irritation and reduce the signs of fine lines.
  • Crambe Seed* oil & Camelina* oil are both excellent are pore cleansing and reduces pores. They also help brighten skin & improve elasticity.
  • Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and helps balance sebum production
  • Castor Oil – excellent at combating hyperpigmentation and lifting impurities from the skin.
  • Bisabolol – Calms redness. Stimulates collagen production and inhibits melanin production that’s responsible for age spots.

* English Oils


So back to the original question – Do I need a cleansing balm? Well what do you think? Get yours below….

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What’s the difference between Dry or Dehydrated skin?

What’s the difference between dry or dehydrated skin? We all know that water = hydration right? But if this is the case, why isn’t everyone walking around with glowing, plumped-up skin? Because when it comes to skincare it is slightly more complicated than that… 

Usually dry, dehydrated, hydrated and moisturised are terms that are frequently used interchangeably but they are vastly different from each other. It IS confusing, I will give you that, but understanding these subtle differences could very well set you on your way to replenish your skin to its former glory. 

Let’s start with the basic rundown. 

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Real Women: On a Mother level

Mum’s are the best! Often taken for granted, being a Mum is no mean feat – just take a moment to think about it. Your Mum gave birth to you, she nurtured you, she endured sleepless nights, constantly worried about you (most likely still does!) and faced endless piles of washing.

Maybe you’re a Mum yourself…. We know motherhood is a mixed bag of rewards and hardship, love and frustration but these lockdowns have added a whole new challenge into the mix. Whether you’re isolated with a new baby, have endured home schooling, are dealing with extra-stroppy cooped up teenagers or simply not being able to see your grandchildren – this pandemic has hit every single family unit hard but let me tell you this: you are all AMAZING! And I don’t doubt that in the usual mumsy way, you will have done this without complaining, granted that there may have been a fair few bottles of wine consumed as well!!

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Real Women: First Time Yummy Mummy

Victoria Knowles-Lacks

What better way to celebrate the Motherhood journey than to start at the very beginning with a brand new Mum! We chatted to Victoria Knowles-Lacks about coffee, her own Mum and of course the star of the show, Baby Rex.

Victoria is the founder of the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club and breakthrough coach for female entrepreneurs. She’s also a bestselling author and of course, Victoria’s new accomplishment is being a proud first time mum to baby Rex. Baby Rex was born in December so at the time of writing, he’s only 12 weeks old!

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Real Women: The Double Trouble Mum

Rhea Freeman

Does having twin boys mean you’ve got double trouble on your hands? We spoke Rhea, wonderwoman extraordinaire to find out more.

Rhea Freeman is an award winning PR adviser, social media expert, and small business cheerleader who focuses on the rural and equestrian industry, and is usually found on her computer or phone, with her horses, or in a field attempting to recall her opinionated trail hound… and two legged children.

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Real Women: The Farming Mum

Rachel Spensley

Being a Mum to human children is one thing but when you’re running a farm too, you have loads more mouths to feed and to care for every single day.

We chatted to Rachel Spensley about her farming passion and will her children follow suit?

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Real Women: The Entrepreneur Mum

Victoria Bodey

Our next Mum is another superstar (aren’t they all?). With so many amazing women setting up their own businesses alongside their families, collectively they show us that you can flourish whilst juggling professional and mum personas.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Victoria Bodey, Founder and Director of Equiboodle, Gloucestershire’s biggest Equestrian Emporium supporting other amazing small businesses. Vik is Mum to two wonderful boys, Felix who is 12 and Edward who is 10.

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Real Women: The Nanna Years

Louise Ktoris

There is something very special about watching your own children experience parenthood for themselves. We chatted to Super Nan and Gundog Breeder, Louise Ktoris (also known as Lois, Mrs K, Mamma K and now Nanna K!) about life as a young Grandma.

In her own words, Louise stumbled into the world of Gundogs as a Mum, Wife and Life Coach. She quickly became passionate about dogs, gundog training and breeding, along with spending time in the field shooting and picking up game. All this as well as being a doting Nanna!

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We’ve been shortlisted for a top Rural Award

We’re absolutely delighted to announce that we’re in the running to be named one of the best rural businesses in the UK after being shortlisted for a Rural Business Award.

Barker & Sloane has been shortlisted in the Best Rural Creative or Artisan Business category at the 2020/21 Rural Business Awards, held in partnership with Amazon. We will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises from across the country for the chance to be named a national winner.

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The Barker & Sloane brand

Sometimes pictures speak more than words. And no doubt you’ll have noticed yourselves that video is becoming part of our day to days lives so this is the Barker & Sloane brand story in visual form.

Simply put, this is our story. It’s the story of who we are, our ethos that is embedded into everything we do and what we stand for. It showcases our roots and celebrates our rural heritage. Enjoy!