You want to go all "natural" and avoid "chemicals". But what does that really mean?
To you, the consumer it means that you want to be able to pronounce the word. You want to look it up on EWG and decide if it is ok for you to use or not. But when you say natural, to those of us in the industry of making bath and body products that is kind of an empty word.
The FDA does not have a set standard for "Natural" Therefore, I if I chose, I can pick a standard or none at all and slap "ALL NATURAL" on my label. Or if I chose, I can align my self with organizations that do have set standards and follow them, or I can even create a set of my own.
The problem with the EWG is, in a nutshell, they really are scaremongers. And very often, their ratings come without solid science, or they use outdated science. You can read more about them Here
There is one thing I like my customers to know right off the bat. Natural is not always safe. And the safest products are not always natural. In making my products, I have to find a balance that works for me and you, my customer. I won't make anything for you, that I will not use myself.
The reason I began making my own bath and body products was due to my own allergies to synthetic fragrance. And now, here I am. I have learned more about chemistry,and all of those big words on the back of every bottle than I ever thought I was capable of. It took me over a year to finally make a lotion, Why? Because making lotion is scary, it is a commitment to learning everything you can about that stuff you take for granted and slather on every night after a shower. And with it comes a very big responsibility to you and ensuring it is safe.
When one decides to make lotion or any product containing water, the first fantasy they have to get over is making an "all natural" or "preservative free" lotion. It stings a little bit when you first hit those boards on making cosmetics and the veterans hand you your cute little fantasy sliced and diced right back to you and why it is not possible.
There are many ingredients that are naturally derived from plant or animal material. The problem is that many times they do not perform well. They may not be silky feeling or go on smoothly, They may not rinse off well, or foam, or separate. Lip balms may melt, be too soft or not last long. And more importantly the products that have water will not have a proper broad spectrum preservative in them, will have a very short shelf life and must be refrigerated.
So here is where we are going to talk about some of those big words. And you can find more info on ALL the big words Here
Both of these ingredients when combined are a single product called emulsifying wax. A.vegetable based Emulsifying wax is sourced from naturally occurring fats and esters, Without an emulsifier, most lotions would separate. This is the ingredient that blends water and oils together and keeps them that way. In addition it provides consistency and texture.
These ingredients combined are a broad spectrum preservative. With out this, in a few hours the product would begin growing many different types of yeast and mold. For a while you may think that your product is just fine because it looks ok. But in reality, nasty little microbes and bacteria are there and you would be putting it on your skin, or your baby, until one day you notice, it doesn't smell right or there is a little yellowish or green spot, maybe it's a black spot before you realize, your lotion has gone bad. In the mean time, you had an unexplained rash. In a worse case scenario, an un- properly preserved lotion or cream (or anything containing water) could cause a blood infection that could make you very sick or even cause death.
The amount of a good preservative is 0.01% - 0.05% of the total recipe. For the batch sizes I make, are merely milligrams.
Regardless of where you buy your products you should always ask if there is a broad spectrum preservative. Things that are not preservatives are. Any Essential Oil, Grapefruit Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Alcohol, Coconut Oil, Lemon Juice, Citric Acid..., this list could go on and on. But keep this in mind. If there were solid all natural based preservatives available, the large commercial brands would be taking advantage of that. But there isn't, and those big national brands can not afford for you to sue them.
The problem with national brands is they are over preserved. Not so much to protect you, but them selves. Their products are shipped all over the world sit on boats and trains, trucks and in hot warehouses for months before they make it to you, Under those conditions, the product has to last. Then when it comes to you, it has to last through your purse, the diaper bag, in your car or desk drawer, wet and or dirty hands and your humid bathroom. How many times have you taken off a lid and stuck your finger in to try to get the last bit out... every day for a week? Same with your makeup foundation, which really, is nothing more than a lotion.
Cottage industry products are typically made in small batches or to order and not often in more than 8 ounce bottles. So we are able to use the right amount of preservative giving you a safe reliable product. I cringe each time I see a mommy blog or pintrest pin that makes a product that uses a food item or water. It just is not worth it. I charge you good money for the products I make and I use great ingredients. I want you to be happy, but most of all I want the product to be safe for you and your family.
What is not in your cottage brand body product is far more dangerous most often, than what is.
It is time to start saying YES to properly preserved products.