The Hemp Blog .

How to Use Hemp Oil

Hemp oil can mean a few different things, and we’re here to explain exactly the differences between the various types of hemp oil. So, when anyone is talking about hemp oil they could be talking about hemp seed oil, CBD oil or hemp essential oil. In modern times, the term “hemp oil” is increasingly used in place of “CBD oil”, whereas in the past it would have more commonly been used to describe hemp seed oil. It could also be used to describe the cannabis oil that is rich in THC, and illegal here in the UK. This is the oil that cannabis activist Rick Simpson championed, and claimed to treat his skin cancer with successfully.

For the purposes of today’s discussion, we’re just going to stick to talking about the 3 “hemp oil” products that are legal here in the UK. Hemp seed oil, CBD oil and hemp essential oil.

Hemp seed oil pouring

Hemp Seed Oil

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is a highly nutritious, protein-rich plant oil derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are cold-pressed to squeeze out all of the natural oil within while keeping all of the health-giving nutrients and enzymes intact.

Hemp seed oil contains high levels of omega oils including Omega-3 and 6 in the perfect ratio for human consumption. It contains all of the essential fatty acids that are bodies need to function. We cannot create these essential fatty acids ourselves, and so we must look to outside sources to acquire them.

Hemp seeds contain vital vitamins and minerals, along with the essential proteins that we need to function. Hemp seed has been called “the most complete source of nutrition on the planet” because of its incredible mix of vitamins, minerals and proteins.

Hemp seed oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, thanks in part to an omega 6 fatty acid known as GLA. Ingesting hemp seed oil is great for joint health, and can help to ease inflammation from conditions such as arthritis. We all know that Omega-3 and 6 are great for your joint health, and hemp seed has higher concentrations of these than a lot of other sources including fish and beef. So, if you’re looking for a natural solution to joint pain and inflammation that is free from side effects, then hemp seed oil might just be the thing you’ve been searching for!

How to Use Hemp Seed Oil

We recommend ingesting up to 5 tablespoons of hemp seed oil a day to get the maximum benefits, but you can always start with a lower amount and work your way up. You can always just administer the oil by itself, on a spoon. Close your eyes and swallow it down. This might not be the most pleasant way of ingesting the oil, but it certainly gets the job done. Of course, if you really don’t like the taste of the oil then you could always opt for the popular hempseed oil capsules, so that you can still get your intake of hemp seed oil, but neatly packaged in an easy to swallow capsule. In this case, just swallow two capsules with some water 2-3 times a day.

There are some more creative ways to get hemp seed oil into your diet. You can drizzle some on a salad or add it to your meals after they have been cooked, right before serving. Whatever it is you’re eating, try just adding a little of the hemp seed oil before you tuck-in. Obviously don’t drown your dinner in oil, but you might find that adding a little hemp seed oil actually brings a new and interesting flavour to your meals. Heating the oil will result in a loss of the nutritionally beneficial elements that we are looking to preserve, so try not to cook with the oil.


What is CBD Oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid present in the hemp plant, it is legal and non-psychoactive unlike it’s cousin THC which is illegal in most countries around the world (but increasingly becoming decriminalized and legalised in various areas of the globe).

CBD oil is mostly extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant, but is also present in every part of the plant. The natural oil is usually extracted using a technique known as CO2 extraction, a safe and chemical-free method also used to decaffeinate coffee. 

Inside our bodies, there is something called the endocannabinoid system, which runs through our entire bodies and interacts with cannabinoids to regulate all sorts of physiological and cognitive processes. It can have an effect on everything from mood, to fertility, appetite, memory, pain and more! CBD is just one of the cannabinoids that can interact with this system to help us to achieve a range of benefits. As well as CBD and THC, there are many other cannabinoids including CBG, CBN, CBC, CBL, CBDa and more. CBD oils often include a range of these cannabinoids which work together with terpenes to provide the effects that many people claim are beneficial to their health and wellbeing.

Now, this is important so pay attention class. If you find what you think might be a CBD oil product, and it is labeled as “hemp oil” and has a “mg” number on the bottle (10000mg for example) then you may want to reconsider your buying decision. Unfortunately there are many scammers out there looking to make a quick buck by confusing the issues of hemp seed oil and CBD oil, and they are often trying to sell you hemp seed oil (with no CBD at all) at a huge markup. Generally CBD oils will specifically be labeled “CBD”, instead of “hemp oil”.

How to Use CBD Oil

The advice for ingesting CBD oil in the most effective way is to simply drop the required dosage under your tongue allowing the oil to absorb sublingually, and then swallowing after 60-180 seconds. Sublingual absorption is the best way to get the most out of your CBD oil, and is widely believed to be the fastest delivery method for the oil. When talking about CBD, we often mention the term “bioavailability”, this is a term to describe how much of the CBD actually enters your bloodstream. Oral ingestion of CBD oil is estimated to have around 6% bioavailability, whereas sublingual absorption has been measured at 13-19% with some results as high as 56%. So if you administer 10mg of CBD oil sublingually, around 1-6mg of CBD is entering your bloodstream, vs 0.6mg if you are swallowing the oil straight down.

Evidence suggests that Vaping CBD would give you even greater bioavailability from the CBD, but that would require a different type of CBD oil than we are discussing today, never ever try to vape CBD oil that is intended for oral ingestion, it’s simply not made to be vaped. Also, not everyone wants to vape and so for thos that want to use CBD oil we suggest that the sublingual method is the best.

If you’re new to CBD then you will want to start at a low dosage, and gradually increase it if you feel the need to. Everyone is different and the effectiveness of any CBD dose relies on a range of variables. From your body weight, to your individual body chemistry and the condition that you are attempting to treat, there are many factors that affect how high of a dose of CBD you will require.

For example, try starting with 20mg per day and assess how you are feeling with that dosage on a day-to-day basis. After a week, assess how you felt and if not satisfied with the effects then increase the dosage by 5-10mg, try for another week, and repeat. Some people find that only a high dose will be sufficient for their needs, whereas others feel that they are getting what they need from CBD oil on a lower dose. It really depends on the individual, so be sure to be mindful of how you are feeling while taking your CBD, and consider keeping a record of your dosages and how you felt each day to help you to guage if CBD is making a difference for you.

Learn more about CBD oil in our guide to CBD here.

Hemp Essential Oil UK

Hemp Essential Oil

What is Hemp Essential Oil?

Here at the hemp shop, we sold hemp essential oil for years before CBD was legalised in the UK. Before the CBD floodgates opened this oil was sought out by people for much the same reasons as CBD is sought out today. People have been using hemp essential oil to treat health conditions for thousands of years. Hemp essential oil is a highly distilled essential oil from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. It contains hundreds of terpenes. These terpenes are the compounds of the cannabis plant that protect it from predators and funguses. These compounds are distilled into the Hemp essence to provide a range of health benefits including anti-depressant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

For a more in-depth look at hemp essential oil, you can read our guide to hemp essential oil here.

How to Use Hemp Essential Oil

This versatile essence is excellent for health and beauty products, cosmetics, perfumes, soaps, candles, and as an additive for foods. Many people warm the essential oil in an infuser for the health giving aromas. You can put a few drops into your bath or add 3 – 5 drops to 10ml of a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or olive oil, for use as a massage oil. Essential oils are used in food preparation – so for example Peppermint Essential Oil is used to flavour chewing gum. Apparently 1 drop of Peppermint Essential Oil is the equivalent of 70 cups of Peppermint tea!

Hemp Essential Oil is powerful and concentrated. Never apply it directly to skin (or hair), and never ingest it in its pure form.

So there you have it, those are the 3 kinds of hemp oil that are legal here in the UK. If you’re shopping for hemp oil, then you will want to make sure that you are getting exactly what you’re looking for, so instead of searching for “hemp oil” we suggest using the more precise terms of “hemp seed oil”, “CBD oil” and “hemp essential oil”.

You can buy all 3 types of oil right here at the hemp shop...

Is Hemp Fabric Waterproof? (How to waterproof hemp fabric)

There are many wonderful hemp fabrics available these days. Here at the hemp shop we’re proud to have the UK’s largest range of sustainable hemp fabrics, and since we’ve been selling them for 25+ years, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

Is Hemp Fabric Waterproof?

If you’re asking the question “are hemp fabrics waterproof?” then the answer is no. At least, not to the modern standard of waterproofing. If you get the angle right, due to the tight weave in a Hemp Canvas fabric and that the fibre itself swells and thereby creates a block to the rain coming in, you can keep dry underneath. Just like the hemp fabrics that covered the wagons that went west across the USA, or the tents that kept the troops dry in any engagement over the last 1000 years or indeed the very best examples are where hemp was used as the sealant of choice for plumbing the world over until PTFE tape was created and that all hoses used for fire-engines and in offices/hotels were made from hemp. So, there is a way of keeping dry with just natural hemp fabric.

Hemp is a highly absorbent fibre, and to bring it up to modern waterproofing standards it needs to be treated with a waterproofing agent to become water resistant. A tightly woven hemp canvas may keep out the water for a brief period, but will become saturated fairly quickly. If you’re thinking of using hemp fabrics to create a waterproof jacket, or perhaps you’re making a waterproof hemp shower curtain, then you will want something that is reliable and 100% effective.

How do I Waterproof Hemp Fabric?

There are a few different ways to achieve waterproofing for hemp fabrics. They range from natural options, through to more synthetic techniques. Let’s start by taking a look at the natural option; beeswax.



Beeswax has been used for a variety of uses for thousands of years. Created by honey bees, the wax When melted on to fabrics, it creates a barrier that makes the fabric waterproof. You can quite easily waterproof your fabrics using beeswax at home with just an iron and some greaseproof/parchment paper. If you’ve bought a block of beeswax, then grate it into small chunks. You can also buy pre-grated beeswax, which cuts out this first step. Then get your iron really hot, stick it on the highest setting and let it heat up to full temperature. Put down one sheet of greaseproof paper to protect your ironing board, and then lay out your fabric on top of the paper. Sprinkle some of the grated beeswax on to the fabric and then place a second piece of greaseproof paper over the top. Next, take your iron and run it across the top of the paper until the beeswax melts and absorbs into the fabric. You may need to add more gratings on top of the fabric to cover any missed spots.

Another way to apply beeswax is to melt the entire block in a container within a pot of hot water on the hob/stove, and then simply apply the melted wax with a brush using small firm circular motions.


  • Natural
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Easy to apply yourself


  • The wax may re-melt in extreme heat (>65°c)
  • Not vegan friendly

So there’s one natural option for waterproofing your hemp fabric, now let’s take a look at a man-made solution; Nikwax

Nikwax Waterproofing


Nikwax is a synthetic waterproofing spray that is based on the polymer 10x.10i. It is highly effective at waterproofing fabrics, and comes in an easy-to-apply spray form.

This elastomer based waterproofing agent is non-toxic and does not harm the environment. Furthermore, the company takes their responsibility for protecting the environment seriously. In 2017 they were able to announce that they were the first outdoor company in the world to balance their carbon emissions from their entire operation dating back to the very start of the company, 40 years prior. They’ve also worked with the World Land Trust to offset their carbon emissions by planting trees and preserving natural environments for wildlife to flourish.


  • Highly effective

  • Non-harmful to the environment

  • Breathable


  • Made from synthetic polymers (plastic), so not the best if you’re looking for that all-natural waterproofing solution.

There are lots of other options to waterproof hemp fabric, but these two are our favourites. The one that you choose will ultimately depend on your values, needs and end-use. You may want to try out a few different options on some sample swatches before you commit to one waterproofing solution over another. We suggest picking up A5 swatches of any of our hemp fabrics, and do your own waterproofing tests.

5 Hemp Foods To Boost Your Immune System & General Health

What are Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seeds are the small brown seeds from the industrial hemp plant, a species of Cannabis with less than 0.2% THC (the psychoactive component known for getting users high). Hemp seeds only contain miniscule amounts, we’re talking in the region of 0.06 parts per million of THC, so you will never in a million years get ‘stoned’ from eating hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They have a rich nutritional profile, with health-giving benefits. High in protein, fibre and containing a long list of vitamins and minerals, the humble hemp seed could be the answer to boosting your immune system without taking extra supplements. Not all hemp seeds are created equal, and the seeds with the highest nutritional profile can be found in all Hempiness hemp foods, which we just love here at The Hemp Shop.

Hemp Plants Growing in a Field

What are the Benefits of Hemp Seeds?

The benefits of hemp seeds are wide-reaching. They’re high in fibre, protein and healthy fats as well as having a great list of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to maintain healthy function, and a healthy immune system. Eating a balanced diet, with all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs is critical to maintaining a healthy immune system. Adding hemp seeds to your diet along with a balanced mix of foods is a great way to stay healthy and keep your immune system in tip-top condition.

Let’s take a look at a list of the nutritionally valuable elements that you are ingesting when you choose to eat hemp seed and their various benefits…


Hemp seeds are high in protein, and these come in the form of essential fatty acids, otherwise known as polyunsaturated fats, amino acids, or omega oils.

Hemp seeds are high in Omega-3 and 6, as well as the full range of amino acids required by our bodies for normal function. These essential fatty acids are not produced by our bodies naturally, so we must seek them from outside sources. Hemp seeds have all of the essential fatty acids that we require, and they contain Omega-3 and 6 in what is known as the “perfect ratio” for human consumption, meaning that our bodies can make the most efficient use of them. They also contain a fatty acid known as GLA or Gamma Linoleic Acid, which has been associated with benefits including improving heart health, joint pain, arthritis, PMS, cholesterol levels, brain function, skeletal health and maintaining healthy skin and hair.


You will find vitamins E, A, D, K and all of the B vitamins (excluding B12) in hemp seeds, providing a rich variety of benefits to health. 

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protecting our cells against free radicals, which may play a part in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. 

Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining your body’s immune system. It’s involved in the production of white blood cells and a deficiency in Vitamin A can increase your risk of infections and delay recovery when you are ill. 

Vitamin D is highly important for the health of our immune systems. It’s famously the one that we get sunlight, but a deficiency in Vitamin D leaves us susceptible to cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. 

Vitamin K is needed for the body to produce the protein in our blood that allows it to clot when required, and for bone metabolism. A Vitamin K deficiency can lead to increased clotting time, so if we get a cut it will bleed for much longer. 

B vitamins have a direct impact on our energy levels, they are the building blocks of our bodies and help with cell health, muscle tone, heart health, hormone production, cholesterol, appetite, red blood cell growth and more.


When it comes to minerals, hemp seeds have you covered with a great range of healthy minerals that benefit our bodies. 

Phosphorus contributes to building bones and teeth, also building proteins that grow and repair cells and tissues. It plays a role in processing carbohydrates and sugars. It also has a role in the nervous system, kidney function, muscles, and heartbeat regulation.

Potassium is an electrolyte, conducting electrical impulses through the body. It assists in several bodily functions including blood pressure, water balance, nerve impulses, digestion, heart rhythm and pH balance.

Magnesium is needed by every cell in our bodies. It is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. It helps to turn food into energy, creates new proteins from amino acids, creates and repairs DNA and RNA, contributes to muscle movement and nervous system regulation. It helps to fight depression by playing an important role in brain function and mood. Magnesium also has benefits against type 2 diabetes, has been shown to lower blood pressure, and can help prevent migraines.

Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones. Our heart, nerves and muscles also require calcium to maintain normal function. Our bodies do not produce calcium on their own, so it is important to get it from outside sources. For those who avoid dairy products, hemp seed is a good alternative source of calcium.

Iron helps with many vital bodily functions including energy levels, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system and regulating body temperature. Deficiency can cause fatigue, heart palpitations, pale skin and breathlessness. During pregnancy more iron is needed as red blood cell production increases, and low iron intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Manganese is only required in small amounts by our bodies. It is beneficial for bone health, it’s a strong antioxidant and may reduce disease risk such as heart disease and cancer. Manganese helps to reduce inflammation, making it great for joint health and relieving pain from arthritis. It plays a role in blood sugar regulation and studies have shown that people with diabetes have lower manganese levels. It plays a role in a healthy metabolism, allowing other nutrients to be absorbed more easily by the body and is essential for healthy brain function. Manganese has also been found to contribute to good thyroid health, as well as aiding in wound healing by playing a role in collagen production.

Zinc is the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, and helps our immune system and metabolism to function normally. It’s important to wound healing and has an effect on our taste and smell receptors. It aids in metabolism, nerve function, digestion and a huge number of other processes. It is of vital importance to the creation and function of immune cells within our bodies. It’s an anti-inflammatory, and may reduce the risk of some age related diseases.

Copper is an essential mineral for the body. Alongside Iron, it helps in the production of red blood cells. It also helps to form collagen, aids in iron absorption and plays a role in energy production. Copper helps to maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves and immune function. A copper imbalance has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and low copper levels are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. A lack of copper in the diet can lead to a deficiency of white blood cells which fight off infection.

Hemp Seeds on Carrot Cake

5 Hemp Foods To Boost Your Immune System & General Health

Now that we’ve broken down the different proteins, vitamins and minerals in hemp seeds, let’s dive into our list of hemp foods to boost your immune system. There are lots of different ways to get more hemp into your diet, and you can find everything from hemp breakfast flakes to hemp chocolate bars but today we are specifically looking at a range of raw and unprocessed hemp foods from Hempiness. We believe Hempiness to be the finest quality organic vegan hemp foods supplier out there, and that’s why they are our preferred brand for top quality organic hemp foods, with eco-friendly packaging.

Hemp protein powder in a bowl

Hemp Protein Powder

Chuck it in a smoothie, use it in your baking or simply stir it into your meals. Hemp protein powder is a great source of vegan nutrition, and provides a super plant-based protein boost to your diet. Choose an organic high quality product such as Hempiness Hemp Protein Powder, and you will be benefiting from all of the good things that hemp has to offer!

Hemp Seed Flour

Hemp Flour

Produced by milling and sifting Hemp seed cake, which is produced after crushing Hemp Seeds for oil. Hemp flour is another fantastic source of protein, omega oils and fibre you can combine into any bread, cake or smoothie recipe. It is best used alongside your normal flour, and you can substitute as much as 50% of your normal flour with hemp flour to gain all of the benefits of hemp in your baking! Here at The Hemp Shop we recommend Hempiness Premium Organic Hemp Flour, made from only the finest European grown hemp seeds.

Hemp seed oil pouring

Hemp Seed Oil

If you ask us, hemp seed oil is an essential addition to any kitchen. It is a great replacement for olive oil in your pantry, and is best consumed raw (unheated) to preserve all of the nutrients and enzymes in the oil. You can cook with the oil as well and it is super tasty, but it diminishes the nutrients contained within it. High in protein and especially high in Omega-3 and 6, this health-giving oil is perfect for drizzling on salads, making your own pesto, using in stir frys or soups, cooking roast vegetables and more! Once again, our top choice is from the Hempiness organic hemp foods range, try their Premium Organic Hemp Seed Oil today.

Whole Hemp Seeds

Whole Hemp Seeds

If you’re looking for extra fibre in your diet, then adding some whole hemp seeds to your meals is the way to go! Hempiness Premium Organic Whole Hemp Seeds have 30.6g of fibre per 100g, the recommended daily intake is 30g of fibre, and most of us only manage to get around 20g a day, so adding a few whole hemp seeds to your diet is a great way to increase that critical fibre intake.

Try mixing hemp seeds together with other nuts and dried fruits to make yourself a healthy and energy-giving trailmix. You can add them to baked goods, sprinkle them on a salad. Or press them at home to make your own hemp milk.

Hulled hemp seeds in a bowl

Shelled Hemp Seeds

Shelled hemp seeds, otherwise known as hulled hemp seeds, hemp hearts, hemp nuts or hemp nuggets are simply hemp seeds with the shells removed. This leaves the deliciously and slightly creamy textured interior of the seed, which is great for adding to pretty much any meal! 

Add them to your muesli, cereal or yoghurt at breakfast time, stick them on a salad for lunch, sprinkle on top of your soup or throw them into a sandwich with your favourite ingredients. When it comes to dinner, shelled hemp seeds can be used to top-off almost any meal. Put them in mashed potato, add them to burritos, sprinkle them on nachos, stir them into a stew, the possibilities are endless. But wait, there’s more! They also make a great addition to sweet dishes, desserts and baked goods. Use them in cakes and cookies, or sprinkle them on an ice cream sundae.

Try the Hempiness Premium Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds, for a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal!

Is This The Best Natural Vegan Sunscreen In The UK?

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun, who you trust with that responsibility really matters. The harsh rays of the sun can have extremely damaging effects on our skin, and finding a good sunscreen is highly important. The results of too much exposure to the sun range from simple dry skin conditions, right through to the more serious skin cancers. Of course, the best protection from the sun is to cover up with lightweight long-sleeve and full length clothing, stay in the shade and wear a hat. If you’re the type of bold sort that just wants to be out in the sun soaking up the rays then you’ll want a decent sunblock/sun cream/sunscreen product to help you to avoid getting a nasty sunburn!

Health Concerns of Sunscreen

A lot of people will simply grab sunscreen off the shelf based off the SPF rating, but not everyone considers the ingredients in the sun block that they are slathering on to their skin. Whatever goes on to our skin can be absorbed by our bodies, and make its way into our bloodstream. There is some question about the health side effects of chemicals used in many traditional sun creams, sunblock and sunscreen products in the UK and around the world.

Koh Phi Phi Closed to Tourists

Environmental Impact of Sunscreen

In addition to concerns about human health, there are also environmental concerns with chemicals found in sunscreen. When we go swimming in the sea, rivers or lakes wearing our sunscreen, some of it is washed off and makes its way into the environment. 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen are thought to wash into the ocean each year. The beach at Koh Phi Phi in Thailand had to be closed  to visitors indefinitely in 2018 after the presence of huge numbers of tourists caused alarming environmental damage to both the beach and the water in the bay. Sunscreen was one of the contributing factors to pollution of the water, and damage to coral in Koh Phi Phi. Studies have shown the ingredients in some sunblock products damage and even kill coral. Some chemicals cause permanent DNA damage to coral, interfering with their ability to reproduce.

Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

If you are seeking a natural sunscreen alternative that really delivers great sun protection then options are few and far between. It seems that to deliver truly fantastic sun protection some man-made elements are required. Our top choice is from a Bristol (UK) based company called “Yaoh”. Yaoh organic hemp seed oil sunblock uses only the bare minimum of the required chemicals to provide you with the best sun protection, balanced with wholesome organic natural ingredients. They found that by striking a balance between natural ingredients, and the least harmful, but most-required chemical components, they were able to make a vegan sunscreen that is as kind to our skin as it is good for the environment. Their formula is a safe and protective sun lotion that is free from harmful substances, free from parabens and free from any unnecessary chemical additives.

Yaoh SPF 15 Sunscreen Ingredients

Their SPF 15 sunblock has only ingredients derived from natural sources, or ingredients that have equivalents occurring in natural sources.

Ingredients SPF15: Aqua, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower Oil, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Mentha Piperita Oil, Glycerin, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

There are a lot of natural ingredients there, and the few that are synthesised also occur in nature. For example, Phenoxyethanol can be found in green tea. Cocamidopropyl Betaine is actually derived from coconut oil. So even some of those longer chemical sounding names are actually far more natural than their scientific terms make them sound. As sunblocks go, SPF 15 is not at the stronger end of the scale for sun protection, but re-apply it regularly and it should give you a good level of protection as long as you’re sensible about how much time you’re spending in the direct sun.

So, that’s the SPF 15 investigated, now let’s take a look at the SPF 30.

Yaoh SPF 30 Sunscreen Ingredients​

To achieve a higher sun protection factor, Yaoh had to bring in some more heavy-duty chemicals. Now, before we get into the big scary scientific names it’s important to remember that these are chemicals that are commonly found in lots of body care products and are not very harmful to us in small amounts. Also remember that Yaoh have worked hard to include the absolute minimum amount of these chemicals, while also maintaining good levels of sun protection. There is trade-off between sun protection, and potential harm from ingredients that has been balanced so that the risk is mitigated. In other words, you’re gaining more benefit from the sun protection than you are losing from any risk factors associated with the ingredients.

Ingredients SPF30: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Octocrylene, Octyl Methoxy Cinnamate Benzophenone-3, Dicaprylyl Maleate Zinc Oxide, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Glycerin, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Olea Europaea Seed Oil, Sorbitan Stearate, Cocos Nucifera oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract Citric acid, Dimethicone, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Iso-Propyl Myristate, Ascorbic Acid, Parfum.

Had a good read through that list? Good. Let’s take a look at some of the synthetic ingredients in more depth.

Octyl Methoxy Cinnamate Benzophenone-3 is a common UV-B filtering agent, it helps to keep the harmful rays of the sun from damaging our skin. It has been linked to some less than pleasing environmental issues when introduced to marine environments, and could be linked to potential hormonal disruption in humans. It is considered a moderate risk by food and drug administration bodies, but is approved and widely used in many beauty, body care and sunscreen products.

Octocrylene is a synthetic UV blocker and SPF booster, used in many sun creams. Our research shows that in some cases it may cause allergic reactions but studies have shown that it is absolutely safe for humans, especially in concentrations of under 10%. 

Dicaprylyl Maleate Zinc is another man-made component commonly found in skincare products. It is considered safe for human health, but in extremely rare occasions may provoke an allergic reaction.

As you can see the SPF 30 sunscreen has more man-made components than the SPF 15. As previously mentioned, Yaoh have included only the chemicals that are absolutely necessary to reach those SPF levels. Without the synthetic agents, the product would simply not be able to protect you from the sun as well as it does.

Natural Sun Cream UK

OK, so now that we’ve looked at the less than desirable components, let’s take a look at some of the more positive properties of the natural components to balance things out.

Hemp Seed Oil (SPF 15 and 30)

Hemp seed oil is our favourite ingredient, and it’s the main reason that you will find Yaoh sunblock for sale here at The Hemp Shop. On its own, hemp seed oil has a SPF of around 6, thanks to the natural ability of the plant to protect itself from the sun. It helps to deflect UV rays, without getting in the way of Vitamin D absorption. 

Hemp seed oil contains high levels of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega oils) and Gamma-Linoleic Acid. Two key factors in maintaining healthy skin. The oil is easily absorbed by the skin, making it a fantastic moisturising and protective ingredient. It’s widely used as a treatment for dry skin conditions, and has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe dry or irritated skin. It’s also antibacterial.

Hemp seed oil also makes a great aftersun care ingredient on its own. Try something like the Hempiness Hemp Body Oil to rejuvenate and revitalise skin after it has been exposed to the sun.

Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower Oil (SPF 15)

Otherwise known as rosemary essential oil. This natural oil is known to hydrate the skin, and helps to control oil production keeping acne at bay. This is another ingredient with antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Lavandula Angustifolia Oil (SPF 15)

Otherwise known as lavender essential oil. A popular and versatile natural oil with a wide range of benefits. Lavender oil soothes eczema and dry skin conditions. It’s full of antioxidants which help to combat fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, and promotes the healing of skin tissue.

Mentha Piperita Oil (SPF 15)

Otherwise known as peppermint oil, it has natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well as having a cooling effect when applied to the skin.

Panax Ginseng Root Extract (SPF 15)

Known for increasing circulation and bolstering the body’s immune system, this traditional herbal medicine ingredient has been used for thousands of years. It has antioxidant properties, helping to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also got anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for any dry skin conditions.

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (SPF 15)

The Ginko Biloba tree is native to China and has been used for thousands of years. Like other ingredients in this list, it has antioxidant properties, it’s an anti-inflammatory, and it is known to improve circulation and heart health. It also reduces symptoms of psychiatric disorders and dementia, while improving brain function and reducing anxiety.

Olea Europaea Seed Oil (SPF 30)

The fancy name for olive oil. Widely used in cooking and in beauty products, this oil has some interesting benefits that you might not have heard of. It’s rich in vitamins A, D, E and K which all bring their own unique benefits when it comes to skin care. It’s an antioxidant, antibacterial and has great moisturising properties.

Cocos Nucifera oil (SPF 30)

Otherwise known as Coconut oil. While not being particularly helpful for blocking UV rays from your skin, coconut oil does have a lot of complementary effects that benefit skin which has been exposed to the sun. It moisturises dry skin, prevents inflammation as well as having antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help to protect against harmful microorganisms. Studies have shown that coconut oil is an effective treatment for burns when combined with an antibiotic.

Best Natural Sunscreen UK

That’s just a brief look at some of the ingredients present in the Yaoh sunscreens, but there are plenty more for you to explore! We are big fans of Yaoh sunscreen, and the fact that it has so many natural ingredients means that it wins the day over many other sunscreens that you will find on the high street. Striking that balance between effectiveness of the product and care for the planet (and for human health) is not easy when it comes to sunscreen, but Yaoh have pulled it off here.

Everything from the Yaoh brand is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, all of their ingredients are ethically sourced and free from genetically modified organisms. The brand also has a wide range of other hemp seed oil body care products from moisturisers to shampoos, lip balms, conditioners, body butter and bubble bath. We absolutely love them for their ethical and environmental standards, and of course the fact they use hemp in every single product!

7 Reasons to Choose Hemp Underwear

When it comes to underwear, hemp has got you covered! Knickers, pants, boxers, underpants, panties, trunks, briefs – there are lots of words for underwear, and they are undoubtedly an essential item in everyone’s wardrobe. Underwear is perhaps our most-worn item of clothing. They are the items that we use every day and therefore we all want our underwear to be good quality, reliable and comfortable. With hemp underwear, you can have all of this, and make a difference to the health of our planet as well!

The most popular choice of material for mens or womens underwear is cotton, or a mix of cotton and synthetic fibres, but we’re here to tell you that there is another even better option for underwear; hemp!  Hemp underwear is made from hemp fabric, this can be either 100% hemp or often a mix of hemp and organic cotton. Hemp fabric is created by using natural fibres from the industrial hemp plant, woven or knitted together to form a fabric similar to cotton or linen. Gone are the days of the rough scratchy textiles that used to be associated with hemp, modern day hemp fabrics are just as soft as cotton, with a wide range of benefits that cotton lacks.

Read on below to discover 7 reasons to make the switch to hemp underwear.

Field of Hemp Plants

1. It's Good For The Environment!

Hemp plants are great for the environment. They require absolutely no chemicals to grow, and can be grown organically almost anywhere on Earth. They absorb more CO2 in their short lifetime than any other crop or forest. They help to prevent soil compaction and aerate the soil thanks to the large tap root system. They also bind the soil together preventing soil erosion, leaving the soil in a better condition for whichever crops come after them. Hemp plants also require less space than many other crops, yielding more fibre per acre thus saving space for other agricultural crops to be grown. Hemp plants also require far less water than other crops such as cotton.

Did you know that the cotton industry accounts for 25% of all agricultural chemicals used worldwide? These include, but are not limited to, chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and defoliants. The chemicals leach into the soil, and are washed into the local waterways causing pollution. The toxic chemicals are also not good for the workers tending the fields. Chemicals used in cotton cultivation have been associated with causing cancer, leukemia, reproductive issues and sometimes death. So now you can see why we prefer hemp over cotton, every time!

Hemp Slip Underwear

2. It's Antibacterial, Antimicrobial, Antifungal

The reason that hemp is so good at growing without pesticides or fungicides is that it is naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal. These properties stay true even after the plants are harvested and processed into clothing. This means that your womens or mens hemp underwear stays fresher for longer by actively destroying bacteria. It provides a layer of natural odour protection, and promotes healthy skin in a way that cotton can only dream of!

Hemp Boxer Trunks

3. Hemp Underwear is Thermodynamic

Hemp underwear is thermodynamic. This means that the fabric actually helps to regulate your temperature. The term “thermodynamic” is often associated with sportswear, or outdoor pursuits clothing. It is a clothing property that is much sought after as it keeps you warm when the environment is cool, and cool when the environment is warm. This ability to regulate temperature means that you’ll always be comfortable, whatever the weather!

Hemp Knickers

4. Hemp Underwear is Moisture Wicking

Hemp underwear has natural moisture-wicking properties. This is another term that you will find associated with sportswear or activewear. It means that the fabric is good at wicking away moisture from the surface of the skin, so that it may evaporate more easily. As you can imagine, for athletes this is very important as you do not want your clothing saturated with sweat for the entire duration of your exercise. Clothing that is wet will lead to discomfort and irritability, it will also make you cold. The moisture wicking abilities of hemp mean that it is quick-drying, helping to keep you fresh and comfortable, even on the hottest days.

Hemp Boxer Shorts

5. Hemp Underwear is Breathable

Hemp is a highly breathable fabric, very important when it comes to underwear. Maintaining healthy skin down there is helped massively by having a pair of breathable underwear. This coupled with the previously mentioned benefits (moisture wicking, antibacterial, thermodynamic) mean that your intimate health will be looked after in the absolute best way possible by your hemp underwear.

6. It's Strong and Durable

Hemp is the strongest natural fibre around, with 5x the tensile strength of cotton and 3x the durability! This means that your hemp underwear will still be useful for years after your cotton underwear has worn out. We’ve all had to say that sad goodbye to our favourite pair of underwear, and finally admit defeat after the 3rd or 4th hole appears in the fabric. Well, with hemp you are able to enjoy your favourite pair of underwear for much longer (and believe us, the hemp ones will become your favourite pair).

7. It Gets Softer With Time

As we mentioned earlier, modern hemp fabrics are comparable to cotton in their softness and comfort levels, but the great thing with hemp is that it actually gets softer with every wear and every wash. The favourite old saying is that “cotton wears out, but hemp wears in”. Like a fine wine, your hemp underwear will only get better with time, and since they are so durable, you are able to love them for longer as well, it’s all win-win with hemp!

We hope you enjoyed our 7 reasons to choose hemp underwear. If you’re looking for a classic slip, or midi knickers for women, or trunk-style boxer shorts for men then check out the options available on our website today!

Hemp Fabrics – We Answer the Web’s Most Asked Questions!

We have been looking at the most-asked questions about hemp fabrics on the internet, and we’ve tried to answer them for you below. With over 25 years of experience working with hemp fabrics, we have learned a thing or two about them along the way. Our hemp fabrics continue to be highly popular, and we are seeing more people than ever interested in trying these sustainable ethical fabrics for themselves. From hobbyists to businesses, we see a wide range of customers that are interested in hemp fabrics for their amazing natural properties and the fact that they are good for our planet. Without further ado, read on below to find answers to the most asked questions about hemp fabrics.

Jump straight to a specific question:

Hemp Fabrics on Rolls

Where can I buy hemp fabric?

You can buy hemp fabric from a range of reputable sources online, but of course we recommend buying it from us here at The Hemp Shop! If you’re looking at buying sustainable fabrics in the UK or anywhere in the world, then our web store is the first place you should look.

We send fabrics all over the world, to a huge range of different buyers. From hobbyists sewing in their bedrooms, to fashion labels, upholstery companies, hotels, restaurants and even for industrial uses, there are a huge variety of people buying hemp fabrics from us. We truly appreciate every one of our customers, and since we’re a small family-run business, you know that you are getting a personalised service from us every time.

Can you print on hemp fabric?

If you’re wondering if you can print on hemp fabric, the answer is yes! Of course it depends on the printing techniques that you are using. A general rule of thumb is if you can print it on cotton, you can print it on hemp. Whether you’re screen printing, stamp printing, transfer printing, using dye sublimation, pigment printing or reactive printing, hemp fabrics are up to the job!

With a huge range of hemp fabric blends available, you may want to experiment with different ones before settling on an organic fabric that is best suited to your fabric printing project. The good news is you can pick up a load of different A5 fabric swatches for just £1 over on our website.

How do you source hemp fabric?

You can source hemp fabrics wholesale through a supplier such as Hempiness (our preferred supplier) who source their fabrics from Romania and China, ensuring that the entire process is sustainable and ethical every step of the way. They’ve done all of the hard work in checking the supply chains and testing the quality of the fabrics to ensure that they’re supplying only the best hemp fabrics money can buy.

The process of sourcing hemp fabric in an ethical and sustainable way is far from straightforward. First Hempiness had to find reputable mills with the ability to provide the best quality fabrics at reasonable prices. Most hemp fabric mills are found in China, where they have been processing hemp into fabrics continuously for thousands of years, unlike other countries where bans on hemp production in (fairly) recent history have meant that skills of farming hemp and processing it into fibres suitable for fabric production have been somewhat lost over time. In China, they never stopped producing hemp fabrics, and so they are still way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to hemp fabric production. 

The process of contacting and interviewing all of the different mills is not quick or easy, and the huge checklist of ethical and environmental standards to meet is not completed quickly either. As well as ensuring that the mill itself is reputable, Hempiness also had to make sure that the farms were using only organic farming methods, plus treating workers fairly and ethically. Again, another tricky thing to do from the other side of the world, but they achieved it by liaising closely with all parts of the production and supply chain, asking all the right questions and demanding the highest standards be met.

How long does hemp fabric last?

Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton, or any other natural fibre fabric. Hemp fibres are the strongest in the natural world, with ~5x the tensile strength of cotton and ~3x the durability. Hemp fabrics have been found from ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iran and Iraq) from 8,000 BC. So the real answer to the question “how long does hemp fabrics last?” is; around 10,000 years…so far.

Of course, the lifespan of any hemp fabric depends on which type of fabric you are using (canvas, denim, cloth, linen, etc), how you treat it and what you use it for. Some heavy uses will see hemp wear out more quickly, whereas in the right conditions it can last for thousands of years. In general, it’s a highly durable fabric to work with, and with the right care and attention, it will serve you for a lifetime.

What is organic hemp fabric?

Organic hemp fabric is any natural fabric made from the hemp plant, grown using organic farming techniques and processed using only natural methods. This means that no chemicals were used in the growing of the hemp plants, and in the processes of turning them into fibre for fabrics. 

Organic hemp fabric is made by first growing and harvesting hemp plants using no chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. The soil that the hemp plants are grown in must be free from any chemicals. Once harvested, the hemp stalks are stacked in the fields and go through a process known as “retting”. This is the natural process that helps to separate the plant fibres by exposing them to the weather and elements for 14-28 days. Once the hemp plants have been retted, they are ready to be stripped for their fibres, and then have those fibres spun into yarn for fabric production. The entire process uses no artificial chemicals.

What colour is hemp fabric?

The natural colour of hemp fabric is an off-white, beige, cream sort of colour. Every hemp fabric is different, and even different batches of the same type of fabric will have slight colour variations in them. You may find that hemp fabrics have slight differences in colour within a single yarn, and this is due to the nature of producing organic hemp fabrics. You see, every hemp plant has differences in colour, and even within each plant fibre there will be a wide array of colour tones. We believe that this makes each piece of hemp fabric special and unique, like snowflakes.

Modern hemp fabric mills are pushing to make hemp fabrics whiter all the time, and over the years we have seen this to be true in the fabrics that we receive from suppliers. This race to pure white is due to the demands of the large-scale fashion industry, who want pure white fabrics every time so that they know 100% what colour the fabric will be after they dye it. Imagine you are a fashion house, who are looking at doing a run of 10,000 garments. You’ve selected a colour from your colour-chart and you want your garments to exactly match this colour after they have been dyed. Well, the dyes on your colour chart are calculated with pure white as a starting base colour, and if you use an off-white colour to start with you will end up with a different colour tone in the end.

We love the natural colours of hemp fabrics, and any slight imperfections in the colour tones are just added interest to us. We’re not alone in this love of all things natural, that and the environmental benefits are why we demand that none of our hemp fabrics are bleached using harmful chemicals. You will find a huge range of different tones of natural hemp fabrics on our website, take a look at them all here.

Can you sublimate on hemp?

You cannot sublimate on hemp fabric. Sublimation dye is a synthetic dye that is used for synthetic clothing materials such as polyester. You can try sublimation dye on hemp fabric, but it is likely that you will get a dull print, and it will wash out quickly. It is best to go for other printing methods such as silk screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG), or transfer printing.

Is hemp fabric sustainable?

Hemp fabric is the most sustainable of all fabrics on the planet! Hemp is the greatest carbon sink in the plant world, meaning that it absorbs more CO2 than any other crop or forest. It even continues absorbing CO2 when it is harvested and processed. This sets hemp off to a great start in terms of its carbon footprint.

Hemp not only cleans the air, but the soil as well. It actively pulls toxins out of the soil, and aerates the soil at the same time. The large tap root system helps to prevent soil compaction, while also binding soil together to prevent soil erosion. Hemp returns valuable nutrients like nitrogen to the soil when leaves and organic matter fall to the ground. All of this makes hemp a great crop for rotation farming, as it leaves the soil in a better condition than before it was planted, making way for other crops to have an easier time of it when they are rotated into the areas where hemp was previously planted. Simply put, most crops grow better, bigger and stronger in soil where hemp was previously grown.

Hemp requires no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers to grow large and strong. It will grow almost anywhere on the planet and in conditions where other plants might struggle, hemp thrives.

Fabrics made from organic hemp are entirely sustainable. So much is said about reducing harm to the environment, but not only does hemp reduce harm, it actually makes a positive impact on soil, air, human health and the general wellbeing of our planet! That’s why we have been promoting the use of hemp fabrics for decades!

Water Droplets

Does hemp dry quickly?

Despite being super absorbent, hemp fabric dries quickly thanks to the hollow fibres and moisture-wicking properties. Of course it depends on the thickness and weight of the fabric. A hemp t-shirt dries much faster than a cotton t-shirt. Hemp’s moisture-wicking abilities mean that when used for clothing it wicks sweat and dampness away from the body, where it can evaporate more easily through the warmth of the sun and the heat of the human body. In comparison, cotton is known as the “anti-moisture-wicking” fabric, it holds water and will remain saturated for far longer than hemp fabric.

What does hemp clothing feel like?

Hemp clothing and fabrics can feel very different depending on the processes used to create them. Modern day techniques are getting better all the time, making some hemp fabrics just as soft and comfortable as cotton. Gone are the days of the scratchy sack-cloth hippy clothes of decades past! Modern hemp jersey fabrics are great for making t-shirts and tops, hemp linen is a great material for making shirts, skirts or shorts, hemp denim is perfect for jackets and jeans. The possibilities are endless!

The old saying is that “Cotton wears out, hemp wears in”, meaning that with each wash hemp clothing becomes softer and even more comfortable than before. Hemp is also incredibly durable so when you’re throwing away your cotton clothing, your hemp clothing will still be going strong, and in fact it will be softer than ever!

Is hemp better than cotton?

Yes, hemp fabric is better than cotton in so many ways! There are two areas to consider when answering this question; fabric performance and environmental impact.

When it comes to fabric performance, hemp wins the day. Hemp fabric is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. It is thermodynamic, meaning that when used for clothing it helps to regulate your temperature keeping you warm when it’s cool, and cool when it’s hot. Hemp has hollow fibres, making it breathable and also a fantastic insulator. It is highly absorbent and has natural moisture-wicking abilities, making it great for removing sweat from the surface of the body. It is an extremely durable, hard wearing fabric with 5x the tensile strength of cotton and 3x more durability. It also gets softer with age.

You may think that all sounds great, but wait until you hear this next part! The environmental impact of the cotton industry is a serious problem in the world today. Cotton is a very intensive plant to grow, and 25% off ALL agricultural chemicals worldwide are used for growing cotton. Nasty pesticides, herbicides, defoliants and chemical fertilisers are used. Huge amounts of water are required (3000 litres for a single t-shirt). The coupling of large amounts of chemicals and water means that the chemicals are often carried into the surrounding ecosystems, permeating the soil and making their way into waterways, causing untold damage to nature and to the workers tending the fields.

On the other hand, hemp is one of the most eco-friendly plants out there! It requires NO chemicals at all. It requires less than a quarter of the water than cotton requires to grow and it actively improves the environment. Hemp improves soil quality through removing toxins from the ground and preventing soil compaction thanks to it’s large tap root system, it also binds soil together to prevent soil erosion, keeping soil in good condition for whatever crops come after it. The plants are known for being the single greatest plant at absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, in their lifetime they absorb more CO2 than any other crop or forest. Hemp can grow organically in almost any environment on the planet, and it does!

Does hemp shrink like cotton?

Hemp fabric can shrink a little when washed in a similar fashion to cotton or any natural fibre, unless it is “pre-shrunk”. The majority of our hemp fabrics here at The Hemp Shop are pre-shrunk for your convenience. You will want to look out for “pre-shrunk” fabrics and clothing to ensure that they will not shrink further after washing or drying processes. In particular, high-heat washing and drying in machines is the most likely way to cause shrinkage. Any natural fibre will shrink under certain circumstances, so we always recommend washing hemp fabric before you work with it, just in case.

Why is hemp fabric so expensive?

Organic hemp fabric can be a bit more expensive than other alternatives. The main reason that you will see some other fabrics at such cheap prices is because they do not take into account the environmental and human impact of the processes that go into the creation of that fabric. In short, these fabrics don’t have a high monetary cost, but they do have a high cost for our planet and for the health of the workers involved in the production. You may not be paying a premium for it now, but someone somewhere down the line is paying a price for you to have that cheap fabric. Be it exploitation of cheap labour, or careless destruction of the environment, there is a price being paid.

We ensure that our hemp fabrics come from organic, eco-friendly sources. We also ensure that working conditions and wages through our supply chains are fair and good. The price you are paying for your hemp fabric is helping workers on the other side of the world to lead a comfortable life on a fair wage, it’s helping to make it a viable crop for farmers to be able to maintain a decent profit, keep their families fed, and keep on doing what they love.

Another reason that hemp fabrics come at a premium is that there simply isn’t the large-scale infrastructure for producing hemp fabrics in the same way as other materials. Hemp requires different machinery with different calibrations to harvest, and turn it into yarn suitable for creating fabrics. The machinery and the processes all require industry investment to develop further but since hemp is not such a widely used material, the investment is less than that of, say, the cotton industry. This means that hemp fabrics are a specialist product, requiring specialist skills and equipment. Not just anyone can come in and start producing the kind of top-quality hemp fabrics that you see on offer here at The Hemp Shop. This puts those skills at a premium price-point.

So the answer to the question “Why is hemp fabric so expensive?” – is that your money is going to support a specialist industry, for the betterment of your planet and for the health of the people involved in the production process. We hope that with more and more people becoming switched-on to the benefits of hemp, the industry will continue to grow and with that growth, prices will come down over time. If you choose hemp fabric, we salute you!

Is hemp fabric water resistant?

In general, hemp fabric is not naturally water resistant. Some tight-woven fabrics like our heavy hemp canvas or ecru hemp canvas have a slight level of water resistance. When I say slight, I mean very slight. In a fine misty rain they would keep water off you for a short time, but water will always permeate them fairly quickly. The tight-weave can only do so much, and hemp is a highly absorbent fabric to begin with.

The good news is that you can apply treatments to hemp fabrics to make them waterproof. There are lots of ways to do this, the traditional method would be to “wax” the fabric with something like beeswax, or soy wax if you’re looking for a vegan alternative. Modern methods involve waterproofing creams or sprays like “Nikwax”. A quick bit of research in to waterproofing treatments for fabrics will turn up a huge range of options for you to choose from.

Does Hemp grow faster than bamboo?

No, hemp does not grow faster than bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth! Some varieties of Bamboo can grow up to 2 feet per day in the right conditions. However, hemp does grow very quickly, requiring only 4 months to grow from seed to its full height (up to 4 metres!).

Hemp is also more sustainable than Bamboo. In order for raw Bamboo to be processed into fabric, it undergoes a chemical process turning it into viscose, essentially a man-made fibre that originated from a plant source. Hemp does not require any of these processes, the fibre is simply stripped from the stalk and this is what is used to spin the yarns to make the fabric.

Is hemp more sustainable than cotton?

Hemp is much more sustainable than cotton. Non-organic cotton uses 25% of all of the world’s agricultural chemicals,it requires 4x more water than hemp to grow the same amount of fabric, and all of that water erodes the precious topsoil, washing it away into waterways along with the chemical fertilisers, pesticides herbicides and defoliants used on non-organic cotton.

When compared to organic cotton, hemp still wins the day. Although organic cotton does not use any of the harmful chemicals mentioned above, it still requires huge amounts of water and land. We are talking about 4x more water and over 2x more land required compared to hemp.

Hemp Fabric

How can you tell if fabric is hemp?

There are a number of ways to tell if a fabric is hemp. The best way to tell if your fabric is hemp, is by asking the manufacturer or supplier. But if that is not an option, there are a few other things you could try.

The only certain way to identify hemp fabric is by inspecting it under a powerful microscope to identify the hemp fibres, or using a chemical process to prove that it is hemp. Under a microscope, hemp fabric has a characteristic polygon shape to it, compared to other fibres such as linen which has seven peaks with sharp edges. Of course, you will really have to know what you are doing, and have a powerful microscope at your disposal to use this method.

If you don’t have a powerful microscope at hand (and let’s face it, who does?), then there are a few other methods for testing if your fabric is made from, or contains hemp. It is said that hemp can be distinguished from flax fibres by checking the direction that the fibres twist upon wetting. Hemp rotates anti-clockwise while flax fibres twist clockwise.

Then there is the burn test. For this you will require a flame (we suggest a candle). Take a pair of tweezers and a small sample piece of your fabric and burn it with the flame.

  • Hemp fibre burns instantly with a bright flame while not leaving any beaded residue. The smell will resemble burning leaves or wood.

  • Cotton takes a moment to burn, and the flame gets brighter over time. No molten beads. The smell resembles burning paper.

  • Linen (flax) takes time to start burning and is easily extinguished by blowing. Leaves a wood-like smell after burning.

  • Silk takes time to start burning and curls. It leaves dark molten beads and can smell like burned hair.

  • Wool burns slowly and curls, leaving dark molten beads. Smells strongly of burned hair. Dark smoke.
  • Artificial fibres (such as polyester) burns quickly, with a plastic-y burning smell.

Is hemp a breathable fabric?

Hemp is a highly breathable fabric thanks to its hollow fibres and moisture-wicking abilities. Breathability in fabrics is defined as “the ability of the fabric to permit water vapour to pass through it”. In clothing, hemp fibres actively remove water vapor from the skin, taking it to the outer surface of the fabric and allowing it to evaporate more easily. Hemp is more breathable than cotton, allowing for more water to pass through the fabric at a quicker rate. This contributes to the “thermo-dynamic” ability of hemp fabrics to keep us cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s cool. If no water were able to pass through the fabric, that would mean that there was an impermeable barrier, which would very quickly result in our skin becoming hot and sweaty. Thankfully hemp fabrics are highly breathable, which is what makes it such a great temperature regulator.

Is hemp fabric plastic free?

All 100% hemp fabrics contain 0 plastics of any kind, and most hemp fabric blends also contain no plastics. For example, here at The Hemp Shop we stock a huge range of fabrics, some are 100% hemp, some are 55% hemp 45% organic cotton, other contain silk, or bamboo, these are all natural plant-based fabrics. The only hemp fabrics that contain any kind of polymer based synthetics are those that contain a percentage of lycra/spandex to add stretch such as hemp and bamboo lycra.

Does hemp add microplastics to the sea?

Hemp does not contribute to microplastic pollution in any way. Hemp is a natural resource, and as such it biodegrades back into non-harmful elements at the end of its life. Any microfibres that come from hemp fabrics are 100% non-harmful to the environment, and break down to actually be beneficial to the environment, returning carbon to the ecosystem. When you choose hemp fabrics, you can be sure that you are not contributing to microplastic pollution of our oceans, rivers or any part of the environment.

Fibre Reactive Fabric Dyes

Does hemp dye well?

Since it is a highly absorbent material, hemp takes dye very well. Hemp is excellent at retaining colour from dyes, and does it much better than cotton or linen. A hemp t-shirt dyed with fibre-reactive dyes will continue looking as rich and vibrant as the day it was dyed, even after years of use.

Does hemp wrinkle like linen?

No, hemp does not wrinkle like linen. Although hemp and flax fibres are very similar, you will find that hemp fabrics wrinkle less than linen. Hemp fibres are what is known as “elastic fibres” meaning that they return to their original shape after being manipulated, in comparison flax fibres (the natural fibres in linen fabric) are a non-elastic fibre, meaning they do not try to return to their original shape. The elastic nature, coupled with the strong structure of hemp fibres results in less creasing and wrinkles when compared to linen fabrics.

What is hemp used for in clothing?

Hemp is used to make fabrics for many different types of clothing. Fibres from the stalk of the hemp plant are wound together into a yarn and then woven or knitted into fabrics. There are a huge range of hemp fabrics available from canvas to denim, linen, jersey, cloth, towelling, hessian and more! This means that hemp can be made into any type of clothing that you can imagine including coats and jackets, trousers, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, socks, underwear as well as accessories like scarves, hats, gloves, footwear and much more!

Now that you’re done learning about hemp fabrics, head over to our website to view the full range of sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly hemp fabrics!