Massage is one of the oldest forms of alternative medical treatments dating back to 3000 BC where the practice travelled from India to Egypt and onto various countries over thousands of years. Each country added their techniques, herbs and essential oils differentiating the therapy and its purposes. It was the Chinese who blended acupuncture with massage focusing on pressure points whereas the Romans added a massage after their bathing regime.

It has only been in the last 40 years that massage has been reignited in the Western world making it more mainstream than ever. Today massage is used in sport, spiritual healing and for relaxation in day spas and salons.


Massaging baby is not a new technique in places like India with the therapy being passed down from generation to generation. Daily massages are given to babies soon after they are born and this continues into their childhood. Of course for many of us we have not had the privilege of learning from a family member but it is comforting to know there are many courses now available to learn the technique which offers guidance in the amount of pressure you can safely apply without at the same time being too light which will only tickle the baby.

Massage time with baby is a time for both of parents to unwind for the day and relax. It is important for you to focus on the baby and not on all the things that have to be done after you've finished. It is a joyous time that will bring you closer together and aid in understanding your baby’s needs and what makes them happy.

Your baby will recognise your voice, your scent and your touch. The mother’s voice, scent and touch will be different to that of the father’s so a massage from either parent will always complement the other. A mother will always have closeness with their baby through breastfeeding. The father can also create closeness with their baby through massage.

Massaging baby will calm and relax baby, getting them ready for sleep time. Adding this to their sleep time routine after bath time will calm them knowing they’ll soon be in bed. At the same time it will calm you too.

Make sure your hands are warm before applying and always rub the oil on your hands so they glide easy, you don’t want to pour the oil straight onto your baby as this may surprise them reversing the calming effect. You can always add more oil if it’s not enough, keeping in mind a little goes a long way and the last thing you want is a slippery baby.

Gently talk or sing to your baby in a calming loving way as the sound of your voice will bring them happiness. This is also a time for you to listen to your baby as well as noticing their movements, so you can learn their reactions and needs as they grow.

Carla Riva has both natural and certified organic massage oils in their range, giving you the choice knowing we stand by both quality products. Carla Riva Baby Massage Oil 125ml has a gentle mandarin aroma, it glides beautifully on the skin and can be used safely by the whole family.

Carla Riva Organics Baby Massage Oil 60ml containing 98.8% certified organic ingredients, a gentle formula specifically for new born babies or babies with sensitive skin.

Massages are great all year round; they can be cooling and refreshing in summer time and warms the body in the winter. Once you have massaged baby be sure to use the massage oil on yourself keeping you calm for the rest of the night.


History of Cosmetics

Women and men wearing cosmetics date back to Egyptian times where they were used for spiritual reasons, to ward off evil spirits along with making them more attractive to each other and their gods. Using a combination of copper, lead ore and malachite would give them beautiful range of colours and defined their eyes.

The Greeks and Romans a few centuries later were not as romantic with their needs for cosmetics but adapted the Egyptian ways while adding their own ingredients and processes. The Romans particularly were more concerned with vanity and aphrodisiacs than spiritual needs.

From the Egyptian days up until 1920s, pale faces were always considered to be a sign of status. People labouring out in the fields would always have darker rougher skin, while the leisurely elite remained indoors. Trying to look the part, white lead and arsenic were powdered over many women and men’s faces causing headaches, vomiting, paralysis and many deaths. Fortunately in the 19th century zinc oxide was found to be a much safer alternative and is still used today.

Surprisingly the pale face trend ended with Coco Chanel accidently getting to much sun on a vacation. Her suntan was inadvertently interpreted as a fashion statement by many and has continued on today irrelevant of the known dangers of skin cancer.

It’s no wonder regulations were introduced

With many people dying to be beautiful it’s no wonder regulations are now in place.  Each country has regulations to abide by prior to putting your product on their shelf.  Every product imported into the country needs to go through a process ensuring all ingredients are safe and that they are used at safe levels before allowing to be sold.  Restricted ingredients vary from country to country so it is up to the manufacturer to be aware of these rules but also to be responsible that the final product will not cause harm to the consumer’s skin or health.

Packaging standards also need to be followed. Again these can vary per country and can include such things as product claims, font sizes, company information and most importantly the ingredient list.

How to Read Ingredients

Having worked in this industry for quite some time I always took it for granted people knew how to read an ingredient label but have found this is not necessarily the case.

There are a few things to look out for:

Ingredients should be listed in INCI format. INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) is an international system for cosmetic labelling. This system ensures consistency across all cosmetic type products by using a combination of scientific, Latin and English words.

E.g.: Lavender Oil would read as Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil

The order of ingredients is always from highest to lowest. Anything under 1% can be printed in any order followed by colours. By law the company does not need to declare the percentages of each ingredient and so it will be unlikely you will know where the ingredients at 1% starts.

(As a side note, keep in mind there are similar regulations in food, so if sugar is one of the first ingredients you have a fair idea of what you will be eating, no matter how fat free they claim to be) .

A TGA (Therapeutics Goods Administration) product has gone through a rigid testing process. Once approved the product is allocated an Australian License No which must be displayed on the front of the packaging. The only ingredients that need to be displayed are the active ingredients and the %; all other ingredients do not need to be displayed.

When looking at certified organic products always check for the regulator’s stamp on the packaging but also know your regulators. If you find a very cheap certified organic product you may want to read the packaging a bit closer to find out why.

Many manufacturers avoid certification by saying contains certified organic ingredients and if water is the first ingredient it is more than likely they will not meet the 70%+ certified organic ingredient requirement, although they may highlight the certified organic ingredient with an * or similar.

Buyer Beware

Marketers’ true aim is to inform the consumer with the aim that the consumer will buy their product over another. It is up to the consumer to do the research as you would when buying any item be it an electrical compliance or a cosmetic item. Understandably there is a plethora of information out there making it difficult to make a decision even after all the research is done.

False claims will be met by the law and although there is consumer protection from any company making unsubstantiated claims, the consumer also needs to be careful of items particularly if placed on the skin. No manufacturer can be aware of everyone’s’ allergy or intolerance so testing a product prior to full application is always a way of protecting your skin from any adverse reaction.


Perfume dates back to the birth of Jesus Christ and beyond when he was given Gold and the fragrances Frankincense and Myrrh from the Kings of the East. At a time when perfumes and oils were used as commodities their prime uses were for personal, religious and medicinal. East Asia used fragrances for incense; but it was the Arabs and the Romans who refined the art of making perfume centuries ago .

Today perfume is a fashionable accessory and is more accessible to the masses while still having the power to evoke great memories and at the same time create a mood for the day. Available now through a wide variety of products, fragrance is now a big part of our lifestyle through soaps, lotion & creams, candles, diffusers and oils burners. It is something that will always be a part of our lives.

Starting from the day we are born, the sense of smell is one of the first senses to be developed. The baby’s recognition of their mother’s scent instils safety and calmness. Our sense of smell grows to a memory of over 10000 smells, much stronger than our sense of taste where we group our tastes into sweet, sour bitter, salt while all the other tastes are detected by our sense of smell.
From the first smell a scent is stored in our memory and can be associated with events and times in our lives of both good and bad.

For me the memory of coconut brings me back to a time when I was given a coconut flavoured medicine. Today I cannot smell coconut without feeling nausea. For many others however, coconut evokes happy memories of times at the beach and sunny days.

My mother often made me chamomile tea as a child, so today the smell of chamomile reminds me of home, love, calmness and well being.

When Carla Riva was first developed, the fragrance of the product was paramount. It was discovered that Mandarin was a simple aroma that kept babies happy & alert and calming to the baby at the same time.
Complemented with Chamomile, Lavender and Geranium, the essential oils were introduced for their healing and soothing properties but also for their gentle fragrance.

It was important for Carla Riva to be a part of their happy memories and it is with this intent that the next time they smell Mandarin or Chamomile it will bring them back to a happy childhood time, a time when they were carefree and didn’t have the pressures and worries that they may find when they become adults.