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  • Writer's pictureNicole Salter

How natural is natural?

A lot of people are gravitating toward cleaner, green options for their skin care - and everything else, too. We're tired of being sold on harsh chemicals by mega-corporations who don't put the welfare of our children and our environment before profits. Naturally, a backlash to disease-causing, environment-killing synthetic additives has occurred, and it is now possible to get products of all kinds that are completely natural.

That being said, some of the proponents of handmade cosmetic products have also spread propaganda about certain additives based on little or no scientific evidence. It seems as though these days, if an ingredient has more than two syllables, there's something bad about it!

Mello Yello Citrus Soap

Ingredient labelling rules still require consumers do their own research to make educated choices

I think it's important for people to do their own research on ingredients and make up their own minds. But this is easier said than done because there is just so much information on the internet at any given time. And certain ingredients can go out of fashion because of a single study or a small group of people scapegoating it.

Let's take the word 'chemicals'. I used to think anything with chemicals in it must be bad, right? Yet the human body is made up entirely of chemicals! Chemical processes occur naturally and in nature all the time; photosynthesis creates the chemical chlorophyll. Also, Health Canada demands that cosmetic labels contain the scientific (chemical) names of ingredients. That's why the greenest, 98.5% natural household cleaners have unpronounceable ingredient lists. That's why our soap contains several names beginning with 'sodium' that merely describe natural processes that occur when making soap.

Consumers expect their bath and body care products to perform in a certain way

While making cosmetics and skin care products that contain absolutely no preservatives or synthetic additives of any kind is possible, there may be problems that many people won't tolerate, such as:

  • Product going rancid quickly

  • Colours bleeding/fading

  • Product developing molds and bacteria

  • Product separating (i.e. layer of oil on top)

  • Product drying out/shrinking

  • Product not retaining its integrity (i.e. crumbling)

  • Product not having a pleasing colour

This is why I personally believe that making 'natural' products needs to be a balance between using high-quality, wholesome ingredients and knowing when and where synthetics are a necessary evil. Some consumers will accept a lower-performing product in exchange for it being natural and thus better for their skin and the environment, but after watching a steady stream of customers reject our lavender soap as 'not smelling how I would expect' or 'not smelling strong enough' after using the maximum allowable amounts of essential oils, we realize that there is a time and a place for certain additives.

A cleaner, greener option for your skin care

The Saltzbaths brand is not 100% natural, but it is a cleaner, greener option for you than the big commercial, mass-produced brands. All product ingredients are listed on our labels. We do have at least a dozen products that are 100% natural, but others contain skin-safe colorant - which works out to approximately 2-3 drops per 17-oz jar of SaltZ, for example - and/or phthalate-free fragrance oil to anchor and complement the fragrance of the essential oils.

SaltZ soaps are made with 97-99% naturally derived ingredients. At one point, some of our soap bases that we'd blend contained propylene glycol, which moisturizes the soap and helps bind the ingredients together. It is considered so safe it's found in everything from eye drops to chocolate icing. Personally I have not experienced any adverse reaction from propylene glycol and neither have my children - even though it's in virtually every shampoo, body wash, soap or lotion our family has ever used - but we have switched completely to all-natural soap bases because they perform just as well and we consider them to be a better product.

The bottom line on artificial ingredients in beauty products

What is the best course to take? I recommend doing your own research and making your own decisions about what is safe for you and your family! It's your health and your beauty - you should feel good about what you are putting on your skin just as you want to feel good about your food, clothing and other choices. It's 2017 and consumers have more choice than's a great day for skin care.

If you have any questions whatsoever about any ingredient in a SaltZ&Co product, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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