Or, I should really be asking “to be 100% natural…. Or not to be 100% natural…”
This has been a point that I have been having issues with since I decided I wanted to expand my product base beyond soap. When you start making products that require water as an main ingredient, you absolutely have to have a preservative in your formula. If you don’t, then icky things can start to grow. Who wants to smear mold all over their face? Unless smearing mold on your face has amazing, ACCEPTED benefits, I’m going to give that a hard pass…
I can claim to be 99.9% natural. But is that good enough? For some people that might be perfect. For others, they want 100% whole, natural ingredients used in their products. I don’t have the resources of many huge brands out there. They can source their 100% reliable, natural, expensive ingredients in such large volume that the cost per gram is probably so low that I could only imagine. Even then, a lot of those big name, famous brands don’t even do 100% natural ingredients.
I am very small scale right now; and finding a preservative for your safety is important to me. I want you to be able to use my products without fear of mold, yeasts, and bacteria. I find conflicting information when I do my research on natural preservatives. I find reports that show the effectiveness of some; then the next page over, I find reports of how it’s not effective. Because of this, I have decided (for now) to go with a preservative that isn’t considered 100% natural. It’s what I can afford at the moment, and it is reliable for protecting you from the icky.
While there are many different types of preservatives that can be used, many I absolutely do not want to use because of the possible side effects reported.
For example, formaldehyde is sometimes an ingredient in preservatives found in cosmetic products. Exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory test animals. While it’s accepted that the amount of formaldehyde in cosmetic products is not enough to cause cancer, I do not want to have formaldehyde in my products.
Parabens are other preservative ingredients that can be found in many products. Parabens have a chemical structure that is similar to estrogen. Studies have shown that this increased “estrogen” — even in tiny amounts — can spur the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. Because many people are becoming aware of potential risks from parabens, I do not want to add this ingredient in my product.
Another point I have to be aware of is the pH of my product. Some preservatives break down outside of a very narrow pH range. Not all of the products I create fall within the narrow pH ranges of some natural preservatives I’d like to use. This is another reason why I chose something not considered 100% natural. I need a larger pH range to work with so I can provide safe, uncontaminated products to you.
Maybe one day, when my business is established, I can change over to some of the more expensive, natural preservatives. That will be the ultimate goal of mine. But for now, I have taken care to select each ingredient for my products. My products are simple, effective, and made with your health and wellness in mind. Naturally Heather Lea is formaldehyde, paraben, and petroleum byproduct free.
Remember, just because something isn’t 100% natural, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad for you… There are a lot of natural things in this world that are absolutely not good for you. And science has done a lot of great things for us. I am going to use the best of both worlds to create the best products I can.