Raw, Organic & Natural – First
I choose raw and unrefined products wherever I safely can (such as fair-trade African shea and mango butters). I buy them in small quantities and carefully refine the raw ones myself at low temperatures, to preserve their natural goodness. I only use high quality, pure essential oils and base oils. Not all of my ingredients are organic, but when I can (or more importantly, when I think that I should, based on current common growing and manufacturing processes) source things organically, I do so.
I prioritize quality and health first and foremost, at all times, and produce all of my products at or above professional standards. I encourage you to web-search product ingredients found on the labels of my products (as well as any other products that you use regularly – ESPECIALLY the other labels!), and to then make more informed choices about what you are/are not willing to introduce into your body and bloodstream on an ongoing basis.
“Additives” – are good, sometimes
One example: Cocamidopropyl betaine is a derivative of cocamide and glycine betaine. In other (more normal) words, it is made from coconut oil. It gently cleanses skin/hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed off. Its pH range contributes a mild germicidal effect as well as loads of lather, so I consider it a beneficial additive to my shampoos and liquid soaps. It is called out as “all natural” by many, but I won’t go that far myself since it is a highly processed DERIVATIVE of coconuts, at best. There are some concerns, but mostly regarding possible contaminants. I choose my suppliers carefully, to mitigate that risk.
There are some other things I use that are only “derived” from natural products, but worth using. My favorites in this category are Panthenol (also known as Pro-Vitamin B5), Honeyquat aka Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey (honey with the sticky removed), Hydrolyzed Oats, and Silk Amino Acids (from empty silkworm cocoons). I have had a great time refining my choices in the products that I proudly offer you now.
Preservatives – only as needed
All-natural sounds lovely – until you realize that flesh-eating bacteria is “natural”, too … EEK! Preservatives are a necessary component in water (or aloe, etc.) based formulas (creamy lotions, body sprays, shampoos and conditioners, etc.). A lot of companies that loudly proclaim “No Preservatives” simply do not offer these types of products, which I consider a cop-out. I am just not ready to do without a pump-able lotion or creamy hair conditioner, so I do use carefully chosen, “green” preservatives in these products. In oil-based formulas (such as body butters, deodorant, salves. lip balms) and in products like soap with a very high PH value, preservatives can be safely omitted.