For a long time …
I simply was dedicated to soap making.
I had little interest in other skin care items.
With time my focus shifted – to the ingredients of various care products.
Funnily enough some of my workshops participants had been telling me stories about making their own care products.
Simply by buying the chemical ingredients and mixing these together.
That’s what they called their “home-made care products”.
As so often
This started me thinking…
Isn’t it somewhat odd, to buy and mix industrial raw materials ? And then calling it your “home-made” cosmetic ?
Then why not wander to the drugstore around the corner and buy the “real” thing ?!?!?
To me it made little sense: making something myself that I can also buy in the supermarket.
For my part, I only make things myself at home if these are of higher quality, more natural and more special than what I can buy at the supermarket or the drugstore.
Also if I’m not quite sure what truely a certain products is made of; or under which circumstances it has been made or its raw materials have been obtained.
A good deodorant
The first product I tackled was a “deodorant”.
For two years I tinkered with ideas, recipes, ingredients, consistencies, packaging, application forms until I finally achieved a product that convinced me.
After that I started digging into other skin care products.
All on a teeny-tiny scale.
Just a few glasses or pots at a time.
One look at my workshop and you wonder how I get anything accomplished at all….
The European regulation on “natural cosmetics” (Switzerland usually adopts the European requirements automatically, otherwise export would be impossible) has undergone a revision in 2014.
The result was that today up to 60% of the ingredients of natural cosmetics may NOT be of natural origin.
And the word “nature” may be used nevertheless?
Natural w/o nature
How is this even possible ?
And why are these bizarre raw materials part of any care product formula ?
The answers are rather simple.
Skin-care products are …
- produced and bottled in huge quantities with the help of industrial reactors and mixers
- many raw materials within the recipe are there only for manufacturability reasons
- the mixture must remain free flowing (i.e. shouldn’t absorb moisture)
- must remain easily mixable
- some raw materials literally reek so much that other, better smelling raw materials are used to cover up the odor
- AND many substances are simply there for preservation.
Preservation is indispensable
After production, long supply chains have to be served.
The product may be sold all over the world. This can mean sea journeys in a container which could see temperatures up to 45 °C. Or freezing temperatures.
The product may be transfered several times and stocked under conditions, which nobody really has control on.
The most challenging thing to any product is fluctuation in temperature. Then all organic matter starts to react.
Another important point to mention is calculation.
If one raw material costs a few cents less but is processed by the ton, this can have an enormous effect on price and profit.
Starting with the raw material
I’ve had countless discussions about raw materials with a wide variety of people (I worked for a raw material supplier within the detergent industry for a couple of years).
And funnily enough, lots of poeple think that big industries all use the same raw materials.
This is by no means the case.
There are HUGE differences in raw materials.
There are bad, good and very good raw materials that can be used.
This of course not only applies to natural but also to synthetic raw materials.