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Looking for "Natural" Bath and Body Products? April 19 2014, 0 Comments

I often get people asking me if my products are "natural" and I often have a very hard time answering that question.  Not because I am trying to hide anything but because the word "Natural" has no legally defined meaning in its application to the products we both use and consume.   The definition of "Natural".

 

Does the above definition help you?  Probably not as you read through the ingredient list on your favorite shampoo and realize that you cannot even pronounce many of the names yet, the bottle says that it is "100% Natural".  Well, how can that be?  How can manufactures market their products as being "natural" when you know that ingredient list contains things that are chemicals?

Well, the FDA has the authority to admonish manufactures whose labels and marketing efforts make false and misleading claims, but it has never imposed a standard definition for many healthy sounding terms used to market consumer products.  Therefore, the term "natural", "100% natural", "naturally derived"  etc. can be slapped onto any product out there without any repercussions from the FDA.  Not so with the term "Organic" which has strict guidelines for its use in product labeling and marketing.

So, I have to ask these inquirers, what do they mean by "natural" or what is is that you are looking for?  Most of the time they have no idea what I am talking about or what they are really looking for.  Many of the ingredients in bath and body products sound natural (olive oil, cocoa butter, essential oil) but none of these are used in their truly natural, unrefined state.  They are created from something else.  Olive oil is derived from olives, cocoa butter from the cocoa bean and essential oils from plants.  These ingredients don't magically transform from their natural state into their usable state, but have to be processed and/or extracted - meaning created by people and machinery.  The extraction process used to take an ingredient from its natural state to its ingredient state is accomplished via several methods including mechanical and chemically with solvents.  So, would these ingredients be considered natural?

I personally only consider an ingredient "Natural" if it is in its original state or was derived or extracted from its original state without the use of chemicals or one that is not synthetically created in a lab (fragrance oils for example).  In fact the creation of pure soap is from the chemical reaction of mixing oils with an alkaline (Sodium Hydroxide) - it is the only way to make pure soap, but is the end result then "Natural" or is the use of the term to be based on just the ingredients used to create the end product?  This is why the question is not easily answered.

So, be cautious when seeing the terms "Natural", "100% Natural", or even"Naturally Derived" being used on your bath and body (and even food) product labels and in marketing.  The product could still be filled with chemicals (and not all chemicals are bad - in fact many are necessary to insure a safe product.)  Read ingredient lists, research ingredients and understand what is in the products you buy. Don't be fooled by this marketing tactic and don't be fooled by manufactures that insure you their product is natural (it may only include a trace amount of ingredients that would technically be considered "natural").  Decide what you are looking for in a product (no artificial or chemically created fragrances, colors, detergents, conditioners, and on and on).  Many of the ingredients necessary to create a bath and body product and to keep it safe, must be chemically manufactured.

~ Faith


Ingredient Spotlight - Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) March 20 2014, 0 Comments

 

Solid Conditioner Bars

Panthenol - I am sure many have heard of this ingredient referred to as either Panthenol or Pro-Vitamin B5 when it comes to hair care, but did you know it offers many benefits to skin too. What is panthenol?

Panthenol is the alcohol analog of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and is thus a provitamin of B5.  You will see it referred to as Panthenol, Pro-Vitamin B5 or Vitamin B5.

Panthenol is a humectant (keeps things moist by attracting and retaining moisture from the air), emollient and moisturizer (keeps layers soft and more pliable by increasing hydration due to reducing evaporation or loss of water).  Panthenol offers us these wonderful benefits without creating oiliness or greasiness on the skin or hair.  It is an excellent addition to hair and skin care products.

In hair care, panthenol binds the hair follicles and coats and seals in moisture which is great for dry hair or to prevent dry hair and scalp.  If builds a very thin layer of moisture along the surface of the hair to add shine, softness and pliability without added oils or greasiness.  Some studies have also shown that it swells the hair shaft giving more volume to your hair.  This benefit is best seen when products are left on the hair for at least several minutes making it a great addition to hair conditioners.  You will get some benefit from panthenol in shampoos, but as they are wash off products designed to remove substances from the hair it is not as enhanced. You get the most benefit from panthenol in hair conditioners as those products are designed to deposit ingredients onto the hair.

In skin care, panthenol offers similar benefits of moisturizing and sealing in that moisture by adding hydration to the skin and then sealing in that hydration without oils or creating greasiness.  It it easily absorbed by the skin and converted to Vitamin B5.  It penetrates the epidermis instead of sitting on top of the surface of your skin making it an excellent moisturizer.  Studies (Topical Use of Dexpanthenol in Skin Disorders) have also shown panthenol to:

 - Reduct redness and inflammation

 - Increase wound healing

 - Sooth itching and minor skin irritations

You will find panthenol in our hair care products (shampoos and conditioners), body lotions and even some of my liquid body washes.  There are no negatives to panthenol and we use it where it gives the most benefit to your skin and hair.

~ Faith