Seven Reasons to Make Your Own Natural Toiletries.
Before considering the reasons for making your own toiletries it is important to look at what exactly is in many of the shop bought products that we smother on our bodies in the name of cleanliness, softness or beauty.
Preservatives – whenever you introduce water or a water based ingredient into a product there is a much greater probability of bacteria growing in it so manufacturers add preservatives to extend shelf life. Typical is the paraben range of preservatives but parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, skin irritation and have been found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults. Where a product boasts ‘Paraben Free’ this is usually a marketing ploy and the paraben is replaced with an alternative preservative such as M.I.T which can release traces of formaldyhyde and damage nervous systems with prolonged use.
Mineral Oils listed as petrolatum (eg.petroleum jelly) are frequently used in baby lotions and oils. Petrolatum on its own is not too harmful but it is often cheaply produced and the contaminants often found in petrolatum have been linked to several types of cancer. Mineral oils are also known to clog pores, setting off skin conditions. It can also block the skin’s ability to moisturise itself, leading to even drier skin!
Synthetic colours used in cosmetics mostly either come from coal tar or they contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin at the very least causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Some also contain carcinogenic arsenic and lead. Not all are harmful and of those that are, the ‘parts per million’ are very small, however over a lifetime of use this can build up. Synthetic fragrances often contain as many as 200 ingredients hidden in one word ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’ and the compounds of these can have negative effects including; immune system damage; trigger asthma attacks; hormone disruption; neurotoxicity and an increase in breast cancer cells. Toxic ingredients in products are not only an issue to people but to planet – they have been found to be toxic to aquatic life and can accumulate in the food chain.
Humectants, another common find in toiletries, are skin softening ingredients, they can be seen written as Propylene Glycol (PEG or PPG). This is an alcohol added to hydrate the skin and is found in skin lotion, shampoo, conditioner, baby wipes, soap and make-up yet Propylene Glycol is the main ingredient in anti-freeze and is considered by many to be a toxin that causes skin rashes and persistent dry, flaky skin and eye irritation. Research has also linked PEG to various forms of cancer.
Detergents and foaming agents are found in shampoos, liquid soap products and toothpaste are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES). Exposure to the ingredient itself, but not necessarily the products that contain it, have indicated potential health risks of skin, lung or eye irritation, which are related to the concentrations in which they appear in products. Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate is a milder and safer form which some of the alternative producers use. It is still an irritant but only half as much as SLS and SLES and its molecule size is larger ensuring that these molecules do not penetrate the skin.
So, why does this matter you ask!? I’m not eating them!
You absorb these toxic ingredients transdermally i.e. through your skin. About 60% of any product you smother onto yourself will subsequently enter the bloodstream and then be deposited in major organs such as brain, endocrine or nervous systems. The
fact that product manufacturers have more recently been experimenting with nano technology – making molecules even smaller – means that now, more like 100% of any ingredient is fully absorbed into our system.
How do I avoid this?
Go Natural! Almost half of customers don’t check the ingredients of the brands they use and only three in ten customers say they ‘only use natural and organic products where possible’
However….there is little clarity over definition of ‘natural’. This is worrying as one quarter of these consumers don’t feel the need to check ingredients if a product claims to be natural or organic (Mintel). The term Natural, as used in the toiletries and beauty industry has no standard definition as to it’s meaning whilst the amount of ‘natural’ has no quantification, it could be as little as 0.1% of the overall product. The term organic is even more confusing as we laymen have a different conception of ‘organic’ to the chemical industry. To the consumer the term suggests purity and freedom from nasty synthetic chemicals but in the chemical industry ‘organic’ simply means; ‘it lives or it once lived’. This means that crude oil made from thousand year old rotting leaves is ‘organic’ and yes, this is what some unscrupulous companies do to claim organic! Why would they bother to do this? Because the natural and organic toiletries market was worth over £40 million in 2014 and customers are willing to pay an average of 25% more for ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ toiletries.
Seven Reasons to Make Your Own Natural Toiletries.
- Avoid the toxins cited here found in most off-the-shelf products.
- Save money – those overpriced, misleadingly labelled products can be made toxin-free at home for less cost.
- Re-use beautiful glass bottles and jars over and over again – they look prettier in the home and this also reduces plastic waste.
- Easy to make – all the ingredients are easily obtainable from your own or a neighbours garden, wild harvested, bought on-line (flowers and herbs, nut and seed oils, beeswax) or found in your kitchen cupboard (bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, fats and oils, fruit, sugar, salt) with equipment that can be found in most homes (scales, bowls, pans, measuring jug, spoon, sieve and jars).
- You can tailor your ingredients and recipes to suit your preferences. Combine the best oils for YOUR skin type or herbs for hair type with YOUR favourite colours or scents even adding essential oils to suit a particular mood and you have absolutely personalised toiletries!
- They make great gifts – a hamper of 100% natural hand-made pamper products can be made for any age and for both men and women – cup cake bath bombs for kids look good enough to eat while shaving oil is so easy and effective.
- They contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. We talk about ‘food miles’ and ‘local food’ but rarely think about ‘beauty miles’. Toiletries, even from reputable natural toiletries companies, often still contain ingredients from four corners of the world! At Wild Harvest we encourage you to use only the plants, fats, oils, natural resources around you to make your products – making you a truly Native Natural beauty.
To discover more about making your own products join us on one of our popular self-reliance courses, all suitable for beginners and with free Tipi accommodation available or to arrange a day session just in Natural Toiletries for you and a friend eg. for a birthday or hen party or just because you want to ‘know-how’ email us HERE! We are also hoping to provide Make At Home Kits by Mail Order soon. Please see our upcoming blogs on Making Your Own Toiletries 1. Recipe for Bath Bombs and Making Your Own Toiletries 2. Recipe for Herbal Ointment.
We have created an Infographic for you to enjoy – all about the ingredients in toiletries and possible natural alternatives! Click HERE to view!