*NOW CLOSED* Shampoo and Conditioner from The Handmade Soap Company + A Giveaway!

Have you been thinking about changing your shampoo and conditioner to a more natural alternative since your cancer diagnosis?

Switching out all my cosmetics and skincare for more natural or 100% natural alternatives was one of the first things I started doing in the early months after my own diagnosis.

I started to wonder about all the many chemicals in all the different products I used and was exposed to during the course of a day. Then I went through all the drawers in my bedroom and bathroom and was horrified at the amount of products I had containing parabens.

What are parabens?

Parabens are a class of widely-used preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. They are typically found in shampoos, commercial moisturisers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, pharmaceuticals, spray tan products, makeup and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.

While preparing this post, I found the following very helpful information about Exposure to Chemicals in Cosmetics on the BreastCancer.org website:

While the chemicals in cosmetics make us look, feel, and smell better, research strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of these chemicals may contribute to the development of cancer in people. But because personal care products contain a diverse combination of chemicals, it’s nearly impossible to show a definite cause and effect for any specific chemical on its own.

Still, many of these chemicals are considered hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body’s hormonal balance. Because estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow, many women choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals that can act like estrogen.

Steps you can take

While cosmetics and personal care products are made up of a number of ingredients, there are two groups of chemicals that are being studied for links to breast cancer.

  • Parabens (the most common are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben) are chemicals commonly used as preservatives in many cosmetic products, including makeup, moisturisers, hair care products, and shaving creams/gels (most major brands of antiperspirants and deodorants don’t contain parabens). Parabens can penetrate the skin and act like a very weak estrogen in the body — potentially turning on the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Parabens have been found in breast tissue and breast cancers, but this really doesn’t mean much. Parabens have been found in many other tissues because of their wide use. 
  • Phthalates are commonly used to hold colour and reduce brittleness in nail polish and hair spray. They’re also a component of many personal care and cleaning product fragrances. Phthalates are a hormone disruptor. Phthalates don’t act exactly like estrogen, but they can disrupt the balance of other hormones that interact with estrogen, including testosterone.

To reduce your exposure to parabens and phthalates:

  • Visit the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep website to search for the cosmetic products that you use. Products are given a hazard score by EWG based on the ingredients’ links to cancer, allergies, and other issues. The EWG is an environmental health advocacy organisation based in the United States. You may not find all your exact products but you can also search for similar products or particular ingredients.
  • Start switching the products you use regularly one at a time (or all at once if you are so inclined!) to more natural alternatives (many of which will clearly state they are paraben- and phthalate-free).

And so I started switching out my products, one by one, as they ran out, and I’ve never looked back.

One of the first things I changed was my shampoo and conditioner.

Shampoo and Conditioner from The Handmade Soap Company

The Handmade Soap Company is an Irish brand which I first noticed in Avoca (my favourite shopping destination!). I was very impressed with their hand lotion which I bought for my terribly dry skin last winter.

Now The Handmade Soap Company have a Shampoo and Conditioner and I think they’d make great options to switch to if you’re taking the leap. Even better – Trish from The Handmade Soap Company has confirmed for me that neither of these products contain parabens or phthalates – so no research needed here.  

With vibrant essential oils, and naturally caring lemongrass, this shampoo gently cleanses hair, leaving it shiny and cared-for. The Handmade Soap Company have left out all parabens, SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) and synthetic colours, so it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils, and brings the naturally uplifting fragrances of lemongrass with earthy cedarwood. It’s priced at €15.95 for 300ml and you can buy it here.


Aqua (water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine±, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate+, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate+, Glyceryl Laurate+, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil*, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Oil*, Amyris Balsamifera (Amyris) Bark Oil*, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Peel Oil*, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil*

+ from plants & vegetables ± from coconut * pure essential oil

Treat your tresses (especially new hair after chemo) with this gorgeously natural conditioner. Infused with essential oils and soothing lemongrass, it hydrates and revives all hair types. Also priced at €15.95 for 300ml, and you can buy it here.


Aqua (water), Cetearyl Alcohol±, Glycerin+, Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride±, Polyquaternium 7, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil*, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Oil*, Amyris Balsamifera (Amyris) Bark Oil*, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Peel Oil*, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil*

=+ from plants & vegetables ± from coconut * pure essential oil


The Handmade Soap Company has offered to give away a set of their Shampoo and Conditioner to one lucky Happy Magazine reader!

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below – tell us if you have switched your products or if you are planning to.

The winner will be announced on 24 August here on Happy Magazine. Good luck!


  1. Geraldine Cahill
    10 August, 2018 / 7:18 am

    Thanks as usual for this very helpful article. I haven’t changed my products yet but after reading article, I will do more research. Geraldine

  2. Bridget Bolger
    10 August, 2018 / 7:29 am

    #happymagazine #handmadesoapcompany brilliant offer and yes I would be thinking about changing my soap and shampoo 🤞🤞🤞🤞❤️❤️❤️

  3. Eimear
    10 August, 2018 / 7:52 am

    Love this brand, always feels like a luxury rather than ‘being good’! Biggest change for me was the move away from traditional anti-perspirants, a challenge but worth it!

    • Angel Tonge
      10 August, 2018 / 8:54 am

      Another helpful article. I haven’t changed hair products yet but have changed body/hand cream to Dr Hauschka after your review.

  4. Judy
    10 August, 2018 / 8:30 am

    Yes I have changed many of my regular products to paraben free, the first one being my hair colour. Now I’m looking to change to Irish brands also so would to try these products.

  5. 10 August, 2018 / 9:21 am

    thanks for the great article, its very concise and informative. I love the alternative products that is suggested. 😍 Definitely will keep an eye out for these.

  6. Ellen Murphy
    10 August, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    I love the Handmade Soap Company Products, they are just delicious! Thanks for the tip. Ellen

  7. Niamh
    12 August, 2018 / 10:56 am

    Hi Holly, I would love to win this fabulous prize, I have slowly but surely started the journey of changing products I use…its a long journey but will be worth it! Thank you Niamhx

  8. Nikki
    12 August, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    Such a helpful article, i have just finished treatment for breast cancer and am now wanting to change all my products to natural ones. Its great to have this kind of information to help guide me in the right direction! Thanks Holly

  9. Sabina Reddy
    12 August, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    Definitely planning to switch after reading your article. I have changed all of the household products so personal care is next. Thanks for info

  10. Catherine
    13 August, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    Love reading your article, have changed moisturiser to organic surge, its really nice. Would love to try more and will definitely check it out after reading this

  11. Sorcha Anderson
    22 August, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Yes hoping to change also. Love this brand, all their products smell gorgeous!

  12. Sorcha Anderson
    22 August, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    Planning to change to more natural products also. This brand is brilliant, would love to add to my collection!

  13. Yasmin
    22 August, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    Hi Holly. Yes made the switch a few years ago, i’ve tried Faith in Nature, Saach Organics and Weleda shampoos but i’ve never tried The Handmade Soap Company’s products.

  14. Brenda Woods
    24 August, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Starting chemo on Monday, got a couple of inches off my hair as I’m going to use the cold cap “fingers crossed it works” as I already feel this is taking my identity. I need to start using a gentle shampoo and conditioner so winning this would be a lovely treat. Thank you for the blog….I’m glad I found it.

  15. 24 August, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Yes Holly I’m following your one a week and hope to do that, keep up the great work, you are a blessing to all of us

  16. jaki
    26 August, 2018 / 7:24 am

    Slowly but surely I’m getting there! The Handmade Soap Company make it easy though. That lemongrass and cedarwood smells amazing!

  17. Niamh
    5 September, 2018 / 7:53 am

    Thank you so much The Handmade Soap Company and Holly for The wonderful prize. I know where lots of my Christmas pressies will be coming from This year! The products smell beautifully and are very attractively packaged. Thank you

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