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Why did I go natural?

 

For the simplest reason--I got sick of the constant stream of unrecognizable ingredients in mainstream products and they really weren't doing it for me. As I got into maybe my 20s, I also noticed minor peeling on my arms after every shower. This was easily fixable with those amazing soap bars you can find through vendors at almost every festival. They're all/mostly natural and highly moisturizing. I've had dandruff for most of my life and have tried Head & Shoulders, Suave, Herbal Essences, Garnier Fructis, and no telling how many other products. None of them got rid of it, though I will say that I liked Herbal Essences and Garnier Fructis the most. Unfortunately, they also cost the most, which is a bit of a problem when you're paying bills on a minimum wage income.

Recently, I began reading more about the causes of dandruff and how it's because your skin is too dry. I'm pretty sure my first thought was "well, yeah, duh." The thing, though, is that it's a cyclical issue. For many, it starts with your scalp getting too dry or irritated. Then, your glands over-produce oil in an effort to compensate. The oil and bacteria further irritate your scalp. Meanwhile, most dandruff shampoos are designed for oily scalps, which means they dry out your skin and don't put enough back. I started researching and experimenting with alternate ways of washing my hair--ways that involve putting more moisture into my scalp, while also clearing away the build-up from the previous days. My current go-to is to apply an oil mask of sorts, let it sit for a while, and then use a soap bar to wash away the excess oil. I still have dandruff--probably because I'm not keeping up on it--but, it's much, much better than it ever was before and my scalp isn't nearly as irritated. Occasionally, I'll also apply a light mix of avocado and jojoba oil, with .5-1% of essential oils, which is great for my hair. If you haven't already, you should try it sometime. You don't need a lot of oil and, in fact, I recommend against it--just enough to coat your hands. Then, rub it through your hair for a natural conditioner and a really nice shine.

 

Why should YOU go natural?

 

A lot of the ingredients in many skincare products, and even foods, are synthetic. Some are derived from the same materials we use to power and maintain our vehicles/machinery. We are meant to survive on fruits, vegetables, herbs/roots, meat, dairy, grains, etc.--not rocks, the stuff that comes from rocks, or any variety of synthetic combinations. Certainly, there are times when we need cough syrup to get past the cold/flu; but, would you mix cough syrup in with the milk and flavorings in your food or take a spoonful every morning, just in the course of everyday life? Of course not. Yet, we freely ingest/absorb fake, and even toxic, ingredients on a daily basis. I'm not a chemist or any kind of expert on chemistry and biology; but, I've recently come to suspect that frequency plays as much of a role in the danger of our skincare products as the concentration used does. It's all well and fine to say that each of the many potentially-dangerous ingredients is used at a safe concentration; but, it's in a product that has to be slathered on several times per day, every day. Among other reasons, this is because it also features ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. Nearly 16,000 studies mention the toxicity of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products and industrial cleaners." 1 Why would a moisturizer have ingredients that are meant to irritate and/or dry out your skin, if not to keep you coming back for more, thinking that it just needs to be refreshed?

Fragrance: In giving out samples and flyers recently, I talked to 30+ people--only a few of which I knew beforehand. Nearly 1/4 of them initially declined because they're allergic to "fragrance." I am too, so I assured them that none of my products contain "fragrance" and I showed them the ingredients on the label. Every single one tried and liked my lotion. Statistically-speaking, this is astounding to me. Allegedly, an estimated 30% of Americans are allergic to fragrance. 2. 3. 4.  Scientifically, I guess this is not really surprising to me since so many chemicals can go into an individual bottle. "The perfumist has more than 3000 different ingredients that s/he may use (natural and synthetic), none of which have to be listed on the label." 5. Often, even the "unscented" products aren't really unscented. Instead, companies often use masking agents to hide their smells, so, if you're sensitive to the smells of perfumes, colognes, lotions, etc., these are still going to get you--just maybe not as badly.

I could probably go on for a while--really bore and scare you--but, the bottom line is that natural is better for you. Plant-based oils have inherent benefits for us that mineral oils don't have. Essential oils have health benefits and smell really nice without inherently making you sick or irritating your skin. Are there people allergic to individual essential oils? Of course; but, it's a lot easier to avoid one ingredient than it is to avoid 3000. While I'm not legally required to list the scent, preservative, and emulsifying ingredients, I do. When you pick up one of my products, you will know what's in it, and you won't have to go on Google to translate chemical names into everyday English.

Of course, if that were all there was to it, I'm sure natural products would be the norm. Unfortunately, they often come with a much higher price tag. Many companies charge a lot because they have to cover costs; but, many others charge more just because they can. Even mine are higher than a lot of non-natural moisturizers; but, they're lower than a lot of natural ones. I charge my price for a variety of reasons.

*Market value--If I charge too little, people will assume they're not worth buying. For some reason, the prevailing belief is that cheap prices equals cheap value, when, really, price has very little to do with quality.

*I'm a small business with no outside loans and what many businesses would consider a small start-up cost, so I need to make as much money as I can, in as little time as possible, to get anywhere.

*Fair price--I know what goes into my products. Maybe there are costs other companies face that I don't; but, I don't see anything fair about charging more than $10/ounce, except strictly in terms of people's willingness/ability to pay it. Right now, it's more important to me that more people make the switch away from harmful ingredients.

 

1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/13/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.aspx

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19326669

3. http://www.everydayhealth.com/allergies/fragrance-sensitivity.aspx

4. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/fragrance-allergies-a-sensory-assault

5. http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/blog/what-are-fragrance-oils-made-of/

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