We all know that when it comes to looking good, great genes are only half the battle. The rest can be achieved with a combination of a healthy lifestyle and a little help from advanced beauty products. Want a banging body? Get plenty of exercise, and massage and moisturise your skin. A beautiful face? Keep hydrated, eat fruit and veg, cleanse and moisturise daily. A fashionable wardrobe? Buy well-designed, quality clothes and have them cleaned professionally. Right? Yes, but now there's an alternative to that last bit of advice.
Dry cleaning is expensive, leaves a huge eco footprint, and the most commonly used chemicals can cause health problems. What's more, regardless of how pristine your favourite suite looks when it comes fresh from the cleaners', it's harsh on fabrics in the long run. At the same time, washing machines are becoming more sophisticated, and newer models feature everything from gentle to functional fabric cycles. Several boutique laundry detergent brands are now stepping up to the challenge of convincing us that even our most prized garments can safely be washed in a good washing machine, set to the correct cycle and using the right products. Not only are they eco-friendly and efficient, they also come packaged as beautiful products, looking and smelling like a treat. Here's our pick of the best boutique laundry detergents.
Caldrea laundry detergent
At first glance, Caldrea products are simply a joy to behold (and to be-sniff). From the simple yet functional packaging, via the pretty and colourful labels, to the fresh smell of natural essential oils, the entire range of home cleaning products instantly tricks us into thinking that it would be a huge pleasure to clean the kitchen, do the dishes and wash all the laundry in the house, immediately. Although we know better than to believe the company's mantra that "caring for the home should be a beautiful experience", we do believe that attractive products can at least make household chores less unpleasant. They can also make you feel like you're doing Mother Earth a solid, being free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde and other horrible ingredients, but full of eco feel-good properties that are biodegradable, responsible, renewable and sustainable. The Caldrea laundry range consists of washing agents specific to each type of laundry, like Delicate, Sports and Dark Wash, plus a Fabric Softener, Dryer Sheets and Linen Spray. You can buy all products in the one fragrance and even coordinate with other products used throughout the house to give your home a real signature scent.
The Laundress New York
The founders of New York-based company The Laundress are clearly on a mission to convert serious fashionistas into dedicated home-washers. Lindsey Wieber Boyd, one of the brains behind the chic collection of laundry care products, even put her favourite Chanel coat on the line to prove that any fabric, no matter how delicate, can be machine washed. In an online video, she takes us through the steps of removing stains and then washing the beautiful piece – proudly showing off the clean results at the end. Boyd and her partner Gwen Whiting both studied Fibre Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design and went on to work in the fashion industry, Boyd as sales manager for Chanel, Whiting as designer at Ralph Lauren. Their knowledge and experience shows in the highly specialised product range, with individual cleaners created for use with specific fabrics, from Swimwear Care and Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, to Sport Detergent and Denim Wash. All detergents, fabric conditioners, linen sprays, ironing water, stain bars and solutions are fully biodegradable, scented with essential oil blends rather than artificial fragrances and are free of artificial colours, dyes or unnecessary additives.
Rockin' Green's laundry detergents
As the name indicates, Rockin' Green products are less pretty and frilly, but rather edgy and fun. The company was started with cloth diapers in mind, but what's good enough to go next to your baby's skin is good enough for the whole family's clothing. And it is certainly families that will get the greatest enjoyment out of these products, thanks to natural scents that smell and sound like a rock festival at a fruit farm. Smashing Watermelons, Rage Against the Raspberry, Mötley Cleän and Lavender Mint Revival are sure to put a smile on both adults' and kids' faces. Each scent is available in special formulas for normal, hard and soft water types. In addition, if keeping the whole family clean is not enough, you can also wash the family pet's bed and toys with the Doghouse Rock laundry detergent.
TOCCA Laundry Delicate Collection
TOCCA is the only brand on our list that doesn't shout about its eco credentials. Originally founded as a fashion brand in 1994, TOCCA was named for the Italian word for 'touch', due to the tactile qualities of the label's early designs. The name is equally fitting for the laundry delicates line later added, along with a range of batty products. After all, the gentle cleansers were specifically created to wash fine fabrics such as silk and cashmere. They come in four different scents based on the TOCCA perfume range, but are adapted to create lighter and fresher fragrances. The Delicato da Viaggio Laundry Travel Set, which comes with miniature versions of all four scents, is particularly handy if you want to give them a try without settling on a fragrance.