Today I received some fantastic feedback from a customer recently, and it represented a turning point in all natural skincare.
The feedback was as follows:
My mother who is 91 with dementia had swollen legs & cellulitis developed leg ulcers – I visit every day & put on the calendula ointment to the ulcers & legs – it worked fantastically & they are almost gone now. I was a little hesitant at first because she has very sensitive skin – I thought you would be interested. As a pharmacist I had a whole pile of stuff on hand but full marks to your wonderful ointment. Thanks!
With all the products this pharmacist had on hand, developed for specific treatments with complex scientific formulas, our own calendula ointment grown on our family eco farm and manufactured in my on-farm studio worked a treat.
But you can buy calendula ointment at any pharmacy, right?
Yes. And have you noticed what colour it is? White. And do you know what colour the calendula flower is? Beautifully bright yellow! Stunning yellow, in fact, from the marigold family.
So what happens to calendula ointment to turn it white? The only way to achieve a crisp white cream is using clear oils, essential oils and adding a lot of water to the emulsifying wax to create that white colour. This means that the products aren’t made with herbal infusions, tinctures or whole oils which are coloured.
Pharmaceutical products tend to offer short term relief, without really getting to the root cause of the ailment. As a result, the problem often comes back ten times worse and is much harder to treat. Now you may think it’s all a conspiracy to keep you buying more, but it’s also a about the need for additional synthetic ingredients to reduce the cost of manufacturing and to help stabilise such complex, volatile products for long term shelf life and storage. It also comes down to, as you’ll read below, our expectations as consumers and what we’re conditioned to seeing.
Herbs are potent and powerful plants. They have wonderful healing abilities. Herbs and herb oils are too strong to use directly on your skin and they do need to be used in conjunction with other carrier oils and ingredients. Somehow, those wonderful healing properties of the herb need to make its way into a convenient and absorbent product to use on your skin.
So what’s the most effective method?
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts using alcohol as the solvent. Tinctures extract both the water soluble and alcohol soluble chemical constituents from the plant. Tinctures are fast acting on the body, and they also have a much longer shelf life than highly volatile oils.
Infusions are herbs steeped in lipids such as natural oils or liquid waxes where the properties of the herb are transferred to the oil.
Essential Oils, on the other hand, are extracted using either steam distillation or by solvent extraction. Solvent extraction often uses chemicals such as hexane, acetone, di-methylene-chloride and more in order to extract the essential oils from the plant. It’s popular because it increases production volume and takes far less time than other methods of extraction. But it opens the flood gates for all sorts of skin sensitivities.
And this is when you realise that learning to read and understand the ingredients list on the back of your skin care products is simply not enough! You must get to know your manufacturer and their methods.
Saarinen Organics spent four days at a health expo in Sydney last year showcasing our wonderful products to the world. I’ll never forget the feedback I had from one customer shocked at the colour of one of my creams.
“But it’s brown!”, she exclaimed!
“Yes!” I said proudly. Because it’s an all natural tincture. My herbal tinctures are all made from fresh herbs and therefore have that brown tinge. My aloe vera face gel is made from fresh aloe vera, and has a green tinge. My herbal infusions have either a brown or a green tinge. Because they’re all natural.
We’ve been so conditioned as consumers to expect that crisp, white cream that we suspect there’s something wrong with our skin care when it’s in its most natural usable form, untainted with toxic chemicals and not loaded up with water and emulsifying waxes. So much so, that it’s altering the effectiveness of skin care products. But when a pharmacist with a plethora of specialist products on hand takes the time to offer their feedback on our all natural skincare, bright yellow and all, we know we’re about to reach a turning point. As consumers, we want to know that we’re buying products that actually work, not just products that look nice and clean.