August 29, 2021
We are going to take a little break from flowers this week and learn a little more about the skincare products I created during COVID, which are now available on my website shop. Reducing my carbon footprint is as important to my family as it is for my business, so we started thinking about ways to reduce plastic in our home and I thought maybe I could learn to make some of the things we put on our skin (one of my kiddos has pretty sensitive skin already!). I started doing some research, started my trials….so many test trials, and came up with products that my friends and family love to use, and suggested I sell! You can find out more about all the products here and all the ingredients I use here. All the products are packaged in rust-free tins, instead of plastic, and shipped in recyclable packaging.
What I want to talk about here is WHY? Why make a switch? Why care about what you put on your skin?
In a word. CHEMICALS. In the same way that people are starting to care and pay attention to the chemicals being sprayed on the food that we eat and on the food that our animals eat, the same way that people are starting to care about the chemicals that are sprayed on the flowers and plants that we have in our gardens and farms and the risks to the people handling those flowers and plants, people are now starting to care about the chemicals that are in the products they are putting on their skin. Many of the ingredients in skincare products are barely pronounceable, are created in labs, and are unnecessary for hydrating skin (they are included for coloring, preserving, stabilizing, or scenting the product).
When choosing ingredients for skincare products, we want ingredients that have beneficial properties for our bodies. However, ingredients that have been synthesized in labs are not able to provide those benefits in the same way that a natural product would. Synthetic ingredients are harder to absorb into your skin, and are also more likely to cause irritation and allergic reactions. There are many harsh chemicals that are used as preservatives in skincare products that can be toxic or even carcinogenic when the levels are built up in the body. (Some of these chemicals can also be in the color and fragrance of skincare products, the makeup of which, most companies don’t have to disclose because they are considered proprietary recipes). Remember that anything you are putting onto your skin, gets absorbed into your bloodstream and eventually into your vital organs. So we should want these things to be as natural as possible! Parabens, for example, are used as an artificial preservative, but studies have shown that that repeated lifelong exposure to them can lead to disrupted hormones in the body, which can harm fertility and lead to reproductive issues.
Natural products also tend to be better for the environment. One reason is that they don’t contain sulfates, which are often used to add lather and foam. Sulfates are made from petroleum and palm oil, both of which are cause for environmental concerns. Petroleum based products are a huge producer of greenhouse gases and palm oil products are responsible for the reduction of our rainforests, which we know are the main cause for climate change. We also know that sulfates can have toxic effects on marine life and ground water.
I tried to keep all of these factors in mind (and so many more) when choosing the ingredients for my products. There is so much information to learn about body butters, which is what the bulk of my products are.
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What even is body butter? You can think of body butter as like a concentrated lotion. It’s got all of the yummy moisturizing ingredients that you’d want from your lotion, but without the water. Lotion is an emulsion of the oils in body butter plus water. But when you put oil and water together, you also create an opportunity for bacteria to grow, which means you need a preservative, which is why all of these artificial preservatives got introduced. If you remove the water, you have only oils, which can use much less preservative, or even no preservative, if you use it before the oils would go bad. So a body butter is just a very highly concentrated lotion.
You may have noticed a few things about the body butters you have tried…. They often carry a higher price tag per ounce, as compared to lotion. This is definitely the case, but let’s break this down a bit. You need WAY less body butter than lotion. So a pot of body butter should last you way longer than the same amount of ounces in lotion. Have you noticed that sometimes if you apply body butter to very dry skin, it doesn’t seem to absorb right away, and your skin might feel a bit greasy? This might make you feel like body butter just isn’t for you. I would suggest trying the body butter when your skin is damp, or even wet. Remember how I said lotion it oil + water? Body butter works best when your skin already has water on it and you add the oil. You are then creating the lotion directly on your skin! You are using the body butter to lock in the water that’s on your skin, creating even more hydration. Could you have been using body butter incorrectly this whole time?? Lastly, body butter is a very loose term! There are all sorts of concentrations and textures. Depending on how thick it is, it could be a salve, or a really light butter, or a balm. So just because one is too thick or too thin, doesn’t mean they ALL aren’t a good fit. Keep trying!
I hope some of this information has been helpful and I hope you’ll try some of my products. Please feel free to email me with questions. This has become a little pet project of mine and I love to chat about it.
Photography by Kirsten Smith Photography