Ok, I admit it's a generic title and most of us already know that ingredients matter.
The thing is that many people don't know how important is it to research and source the best ingredients and that there are many steps along the way to reaching an "ingredient" from sourcing to make sure this ingredient is organic, non-gmo, pure and uncut, unprocessed, raw, fair trade, first cold pressed, unrefined, virgin, extra-virgin, steam distilled, stored properly to maximize nutritional benefits, etc, etc.
The good new is that I've already done all that work for you, but I want to share why what I use is different than what you'll see in other products produced by large natural companies or even the small handmade businesses like mine.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist with a touch of OCD when it comes to the ingredients I use and don't use. I believe that why I DO choose to use something is just as important as why I choose NOT to use something.
Here is my example of why the olive oil I use not only matters in what it is called, but also matter in how it is obtained, stored and used.
My Olive Oils Musts:
#1. Must be pure and uncut (there are many fake olive oils and oils labeled olive oil that are cut with soy, cottonseed or canola, which are all nasty gmo oils you don't want to consume or put on your skin).
#2. Must be extra virgin to get the best benefits from the olives.
It's not that there is no nutritional benefits from other grades of olive oil, or even the final pressing with the leaves to create pomace oil, but these other grades are not found in organic and often come from the lowest quality of olives where not a lot of care is taken in their quality.
#3. Must be certified organic to avoid nasty chemicals getting into our skin.
Now, with that said, if I was local to olive trees, I would buy from local farmers who I trusted who may not have certification because I am all too familiar with the high costs involved in getting your products certified organic. I rely on my customers in the same way.
#4. Must be first cold pressed and unrefined because the high heat of refining oils destroy the vital nutrients and skin benefits in the oil.
#5. Must be stored in dark glass bottles.
Air, heat and light are all degraders of nutrition in plant matter and I certainly don't want plastic infused olive oil. The chemicals from the plastic bottle leach into the oil and get more concentrated over time. These hormone and endocrine disruptors destroy an otherwise healthy oil that's labeled organic extra virgin, etc.
#5. Must be from a reputable company that focuses on producing a high quality olive oil and one that you can contact for information and has the information on their olive trees and production process available for public access. I don't like too many middlemen involved when I source my ingredients. If I can go directly to the supplier, I will, but if not, then I will support local businesses who do large orders directly from the supplier. Buying from health food stores or large chain stores is not my cup of tea unless that's the only way I can access an ingredient that meets all of my standards.
#6. Must be used raw. Never heated.
I do not heat my olive oil for my 100% olive oil bars, nor do I let them heat up after making them into soap. They are always far below the 112F/44C degrees to be a truly raw soap in both the ingredients being raw and the temperatures being raw. I have yet to have one of my 100% olive oil soap batches reach even 90F/32C degrees because of my method of raw soaping. I'm sure other people have figured out how to do that and some others just say they have raw soap, but aren't sharing with you whether its raw ingredients, raw temps or both.
I'm hoping to find time to go through each major ingredient and/or category in another education blog post in the near future.
Until then, remember that for all of your holistic bath and body needs, I've got you covered. Literally.
My passion is health. Period. Total health. Mind, body, soul. All of it.
I never struggled overtly with any health issues until I got pregnant with my first son almost 24 years ago. Then everything seemed to happen all at once.
Adult onset acne, hypothyroidism, weight gain, anxiety, vision changes, food cravings, new moles, new hair growth and random aches and pains everywhere. I attributed it all to pregnancy.
What did I know? I had never been pregnant before and much of the information I had read in books about pregnancy included many of these issues, so why would I have any reason to think otherwise, right?
What I didn't know then, was that it wasn't all about becoming pregnant. That was just a catalyst or trigger for all of the underlying health issues to rear their ugly heads all at once.
Since we live in such a toxic society, I'm inclined to believe that this is a similar thing that happens to most women after getting pregnant and therefore, it shows up in books and articles as being "normal" in relation to pregnancy.
The same thing happens with teenagers entering puberty. Lifestyle factors concerning health and nutrition or exposure to toxins as a child will have a huge impact on how their bodies react to the hormonal changes during puberty.
Then we can move onto women after their child bearing years where they enter a phase known as menopause and post menopause. Their previous lifestyle also greatly impacts how these years and this time in their lives will play out.
So why am I talking about lifestyles, health and nutrition on an education blog about skin?
Here are some very important facts to know that will help you understand where I am coming from and why I am passionate about what goes ON our bodies from infants to seniors.
#1. Our skin is the largest organ we have, by far, and gets abused daily by many things both in and out of our control.
#2. It takes less than 30 seconds for the ingredients in our external bath and body products to be absorbed directly into our bloodstream. Both the good and the bad.
#3. There is little external filtering to help us fight off and dispose of toxins, chemicals and all the nasty ingredients that our entire bodies from head to toe are being exposed to on a daily basis. At least when we have junk food once in a while, our stomach acid, intestines and other organs such as liver and kidneys do offer some help to expel some of the toxins we consume.
#4. Skin does not have this kind of help blocking toxins from entering the blood when you use shampoos, make up, face masks, toothpaste, deodorants, lotions, scrubs, etc, so you better make those ingredients count! They can either help you or harm you and very few are neutral in their effects.
#5. The issue of good ingredients going bad. I'm not only talking of expiration dates, which most truly natural products have long shelf lives when combined and stored properly, I'm speaking about how they are obtained, processed and stored before they are made into the products you use. This one is more about the companies that tout their products as natural or fresh or handmade, as we know most all the commercial stuff in big box stores is just nasty and if you still buy that, you probably wouldn't have read this far in my blog.
#6. Although, technically, what I do still falls under the category of "natural handmade soap and body products/skincare", it is different than most of what you will see out there. I've been using what I thought was natural skincare for well over a decade now and I've been making my own products for four years now. I keep learning and keep changing my products to make sure you are getting the best bath and body products at the best price. I do plan on explaining further, in future posts, as there is SO much information to go through.
I will leave you with that for this first entry. I welcome all questions and constructive criticism as I don't claim to know everything. I do, however, have a passion for and a vast wealth of knowledge of what I do and why I do it. I don't expect everyone to agree with me and I don't expect everyone to care either. I do know that some of you do care and some of you want to learn how you can make the best choices for yourself and those you care about.
If that describes you, I've got you covered. Literally.