herbs+spices

An interesting discussion came up after posting my review of Vintner’s Daughter both in blog comments and on Instagram. Women wondered about the escalating cost of natural beauty products. And I totally get it. At nearly 200 dollars for a small bottle, it may be hard to argue their point—and may keep a treasure trove of products just beyond the average consumer’s reach.

With the imposing price tag on May Lindstrom, In Fiore, Bottega Organica, and others, you’d think eco-beauty was reserved for the eco-elite. It begs the question whether or not the end result justifies the sticker price. Suddenly the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in that five dollar shampoo doesn’t look as menacing.

But do you know what goes into your  typical brands? Because I know what’s in mine. Here is the list of ingredients.

The first ingredient begins with a person. This person has a dream, a passion, and a vision. This person wants to make the planet a better place and has your health and well-being at heart. So the first ingredients would be intention and heart.

Sometimes the dream evolves into two people and eventually a team of human beings creatively translating the original passion into reality. At other times, one person maintains command and does all the mixing, blending, and outpouring of energy—entirely by hand and in their own homes. Either way, the next ingredients would be care and collaboration.

Added into the formula, you will find herbs, spices, whole plants, and oils, all sourced responsibly so that they remain unharmed as much as possible in the process. That means that they are sustainably farmed without depleting resources. They are also organic. These are much harder to grow and maintain because no pesticides are used, leaving them vulnerable to wildlife and insects. But it also means that you won’t be poisoned by toxic chemicals when you massage them into your skin. Thus, the next two ingredients are sustainability and responsibility.

Behind these plants, you will find farmers getting paid fairly—or even the founders working the soil themselves.  They devote long, labor-intensive hours to deliver a substantially superior and wholesome crop. When you find an inexpensive item, sadly it may reflect a lack of proper compensation for the people who work hardest to produce it—winding up on front page newspapers as exposés and tragic disasters. I’d say the next ingredient should be fair trade, but it’s also consciousness.

Because we need to wake up to the shocking reality of mass production that’s fast and cheap.

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Once the whole, ripe ingredients arrive, the processing begins. Cold-pressing, infusing, and curing don’t happen overnight. Each step of extracting the life-force of a plant while maintaining its integrity takes time, energy, abundant consideration, and even creativity. Just look at what this coconut oil manufacturer and this brand have achieved to produce a unique oil that has not been altered by extreme temperatures. These ingredients would be called preservation and innovation.

The alchemy happens as the ingredients blend—like a mutually supportive marriage—where one enhances the performance of the other and brings out its unique strengths through the union. That synergy would be called magic.

When the people who make the magic also love what they’re doing (check out these guys…oh! and these), you can bet you’ll find a dose of joy and fun in the mix.

The bio-dynamic properties fuse together in a dance that’s captured—often by hand—in an eco-friendly bottle or container that helps preserve the shelf-life of the product. Then it slips into biodegradable packaging to ship around the globe. This ingredient could be called reduced waste, a.k.a. planet-saving materials, but it’s also called integrity.

Sometimes, when a company can, a note accompanies the special package. The words express the sincere gratitude for you, the consumer, because it is thanks to you that this potion can continue producing and elevating the standard. The final ingredients and essential components are gratitude and love.

And to think, some people get mad that organic products cost too much.

So, now that you know what’s in my skin care, what goes into yours?

Full disclosure of ingredients (all active): intention, heart, vision, care, collaboration, time, handcrafted, hand-poured, hand-blended, fair trade, sustainable sourcing, pesticide-free, consciousness, preservation, innovation, intuition, ethical responsibility, magic, fun, happiness, integrity, gratitude…and love.

 

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