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.