In another blog post, we saw an example of what not to buy when it comes to harmful chemical ingredients. There are so many different examples that are similar, I thought it would be easier to explain the ones that are a healthier choice. That's not to say that these are good for everyone, as some people have allergies or sensitivities to certain plants or nuts. There are also Vegan choices, ecological choices, sustainable choices, etc. In the end, it's all about making the right choice for you and your family.
From the beginning, it was important for me to source out the best ingredients I could find on the market. I wanted natural, organic, and sustainable ingredients in order to handcraft everything we offer. As much as I'd like to have everything sourced from our great country, it's impossible. To my knowledge, we can't grow shea trees in any of our climates. And so, it comes from West Africa. That's where sustainability comes in. Palm oil (which I do not use very much) must be from a reputable source and part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil group or the Palm Done Right group which both govern the production of Palm Oil, so that the lands are not stripped from animals or indigenous people. Greenpeace called RSPO a blueprint of what to do for other organisations. Once again, it's about making the right choices for you.
When you embark on a journey to make conscious decisions about what you eat and use on your body, it can become daunting to separate fact from fiction. I believe doing the right thing has never been more important. We live in a time that has us spending more and more on organic ingredients. And so, to help you with decoding some of the ingredients in our products, have a look below for a basic description. We will keep adding to this list.
*It is advised to always do a skin test prior to the use of any ingredient or product for possible allergic reactions.
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS WE USE FOR SEVERAL OF OUR PRODUCTS
SHEA BUTTER: Shea butter is derived from the fruit of the shea tree, found mainly in West Africa and mostly from Ghana. The nut/fruit is picked, crushed, boiled and prepared by the women in the villages to make shea butter. It's known as a skin superfood. Very high in Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Cinnamic Acid Esters, Allantoin, and Polyphenols (Tocopherol/Vitamin E). This basically translates into skin nourishing butter at it's finest. The shea we use is natural, organic and unrefined so that no chemicals are used during processing.
SWEET ALMOND OIL: The Almond belongs to the same stone fruit family as plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. High in Oleic Acids (Omega 9), Linoleic Acids (Omega 6), Stearic Acid, and Palmitic Acid, sweet almond oil can keep skin supple, help to boost circulation, and purge the skin of toxins. The sweet almond oil we use is organic.
OLIVE OIL: With a life-span of up to 400 years, the olive tree is a Mediterranean marvel that dates as far back as 5000 BC. While not all olive oil is created equal, we aim to acquire organic extra virgin oil from reputable sources. High in Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Polyphenols, Vitamin E, Carotenoids, and Squalene, olive oil (other than to eat) has been used as an antibacterial agent, a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a massage oil. We use this oil often in many of our soaps.
DEAD SEA SALT: The main constituents of dead sea salts are Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Bromide, Calcium Chloride, and Sulphate. Our Dead Sea salt comes from the Dead Sea in Israel. Known to have many healing benefits as a relaxing addition to bath water. Relaxing, cleansing, nourishing, stimulating, and healing, those with health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, liver damage or skin disorders are advised to ask their health care professional before use.
COCONUT OIL: Coconut is not a nut but rather a fruit. Mature coconuts are processed to acquire oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell, and the fibrous outer husk can be used to create rope and matting. Our coconut oil is organic and comes in a semi-solid form in order to use in our soaps, balms, body butters, lip balms, etc. With high Lauric Acid, Capric Acid and Caprylic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Polyunsaturated Fats), Oleic Acid (Monounsaturated Fats), Polyphenols (Virgin Coconut Oil only), and Medium-Chain Triglycerides, this oil helps to soothe, repair and assist with anti-inflammatory needs. It helps with irritated skin and locks in moisture. We prefer to use organic virgin coconut oil.
SODIUM HYDROXIDE: Firstly, it is impossible to make soap without this ingredient but you won't see it in the soap. Magic? not really. Sodium hydroxide beads are highly caustic and protective gear must be worn while working with this substance. When it is dissolved in cold water, (not the other way around or it can explode) it becomes the liquid that is then carefully mixed with a formula of liquid oils. After adding specific and regulated amounts of colours or scents, it is poured into special moulds. This is when the saponification begins and after a certain amount of time (4-6 weeks) the bar has safely transitioned into soap. By the time the soap is ready to use, there's no danger of sodium hydroxide existing in the bar. Whenever you see the ingredients list beginning with "saponified...." it means there was sodium hydroxide used at the beginning of the soaping process.
ARROWROOT POWDER: Arrowroot is the starch derived from rhizomes of several tropical plants. It is gluten free and can be used in place of cornstarch for those with allergies to corn. Ours is an organic arrowroot to take it a step further, and used primarily in our deodorants.
MANGO BUTTER: Mango butter is derived from the seeds in the pit of the mango fruit. It nourishes the skin and boosts elasticity. The mango fruit has been used in South East Asia and Asia for over 4000 years. High in Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. It's high vitamin content protects the skin against harsh environmental stressors. It is great on sensitive skin and helps to reduce the appearance of any skin damage.
MICA: Mica is derived from grounding down a group of silicate minerals. It is used in many beauty products, especially make-up. There are few negative issues with mica, but the major negative is how it is sourced. Much of the mica comes from India, and certain mines have illegal practices including dangerous conditions for child labour. Several multi-national make-up corporations have dutifully implemented responsible sourcing and keep a close watch on undesired practices.
COCOA BUTTER: Cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa bean contained inside the pods from the cocoa tree. It has a chocolate aroma unless it has been deodorized. High in Oleic Acids, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, alpha-Linolenic Acid, and Phytosterols. It helps to soothe dry skin, has anti-inflammatory properties, and repairs damaged hair. It helps with discomforts associated with skin conditions such as eczema. We prefer to use organic unrefined cocoa butter whenever possible, but when we don't want the chocolate aroma present, we use refined.
ARGAN OIL: No doubt you've heard about the wonderful properties of argan oil. As early as 1550 BC, in the South Western region of Morocco, the argan tree was believed to have originated in Argan - hence its' name. The argan fruit is a stone fruit and not a tree nut, however, the oil is derived from the fruit’s nut, which contains the proteins that trigger allergic reactions. Patch testing should be done. For those without allergies, it is considered to be "liquid gold" and is an expensive oil to use in soaps, lotions, and hair products. High in Oleic, Linoleic, Palmitic, Stearic, and Linolenic acids. It has long been cherished as an oil which soothes irritated skin, helps nourish hair, and helps to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and facial wrinkles. It is fast-absorbing, non-greasy, and can be applying directly onto skin.
JOJOBA OIL: The jojoba shrub is a large, wild, woody plant that is native to the hot, arid regions of southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. Jojoba oil is derived from the cold pressing of its nuts, beans and seeds. Jojoba oil can be used on skin, hair, and nails to cleanse, moisturize, and prevent fungal infections. High in Gadoleic Acid (Eicosenoic Acid), Erucic Acid, Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Behenic Acid, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B Complex. It has high emollient properties, does not block skin pores, has anti-oxidant properties, moisturizes and delays the appearance of aging skin.
CASTOR OIL: The castor plant grows in the tropical regions of Africa, India and the Mediterranean. The oil is derived from the seeds/beans of the plant, which are high in Ricinoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Fatty Acid), α-Linolenic Acid (Alpha-Linolenic Acid - Omega-3 Fatty Acid), Stearic Acid, and Palmitic Acid. It is used globally, both medicinally and cosmetically. It has the ability to soothe inflamed skin, boost circulation, restore skin hydration, is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and soothes tired muscles. It is a great conditioning agent for hair, reduces the appearance of fine lines/blemishes/stretch marks, and helps to eliminate body toxins. It adds great lather to hard soaps.