Some of you my be aware that I formulate and make my own natural bath & body/skincare products and have asked how this came to be.
It all started when I was pregnant with my third baby. I was concerned about the ingredients in the baby shampoo and baby lotion I was using on my two other young children. This concern led me to investigate online. (It's a little-known fact that one of my nicknames is "Sherlock Jen". I can find info on just about anything within minutes online.)
I was simply appalled by what I learned about the ingredients in the products I was using on my children! This information came from many sources, however, the best source of information was found at SkinDeep - a cosmetic safety database. They provide safety ratings for over 42,000 products that we use on our bodies. They rate products on a hazard scale from 0 to 10, 10 being of the highest toxicity level. Imagine my surprise to find that my baby lotion was rated an 8. EIGHT! On my BABY!! The baby shampoo was not much better, at a 5.
I admit it. I'm a purist and an idealist. I want the products I use to be completely natural, non-toxic, and free of chemicals. COMPLETELY. I want the products I use to rate ZERO on the hazard scale. And honestly, that's really hard to find. And when you find it, it comes with some controversy. ("How could a product rated zero be controversial?" you ask? More about the controversy later.) So here I was, about to give birth to this completely pure, natural, untouched, perfect little baby and I didn't want to slather him in chemicals that would affect his health down the road. I had to do something. And that's what led me to start making my own bath and body products.
After a 13-month period of extensive research online, I feel like I have received a college education in cosmetic chemistry. It's quite exhilarating to me, and the more I learn...the more I want to learn. There have been MANY evenings of study that have continued into the wee hours of the morning. (I LOVE this stuff!) After all I have learned about the negative effects of many ingredients found in products we apply to our skin everyday - I want to share what I have learned with everyone I know!
Several months ago I decided I wanted to make my safe, natural products available to those who have the same concerns I have. I've created some lotions and sugar scrubs that are so delicious to my skin, and I know they are filled with healthy, nutritious ingredients which feed and soothe my skin. (Family and friends have admitted they don't want to use anything else on their skin after using mine! Yay!)
I had all this excitement built up and it escalated when I was offered an opportunity to expose a large group of people to some samples an an opportunity to purchase! This was it! My chance to go for it! I already had some incredible formulas, and being a graphic artist, I had already designed my look. I just needed to order my packaging and my labels, and then get "cooking". But the excitement faded when I realized I finally had to face the issue of choosing a preservative. (Insert pouty face here) :)
Back to the controversy I mentioned earlier: The controversy that comes with a lotion rated a zero on the hazard scale is because it probably doesn't contain a broad-spectrum preservative. Products containing water need a preservative to keep them from becoming infested with harmful bacteria. The lotions I make for my family are made without preservatives because they are used before they have a chance to go bad. In an ideal world, everyone would make and use their own lotions, doing away with the need for preservatives. Unfortunately most people either aren't interested in making their own, or just don't have the time.
So the research continues...this time it is concentrated on preservatives. If I can't create safe products with the inclusion of a preservative, then I'll continue to make them without preservatives for the use of my own family. I do believe there is a solution, and I intend to find it!
Check back soon for all my findings!