Monday, September 27, 2010

Choosing Natural

There are plenty of reasons to choose organic products, from environmental and animal rights benefits, to reasons for personal health and safety. But even for people who do not feel strongly about incorportating organic products into all aspects of their life, there are good reasons to choose all natural beauty and skin-care products.

Many soap makers add synthetic compounds to boost lather, create a harder, longer-lasting bar, or to add vibrant colors or scents.  None of these additives contribute any beneficial skincare qualities to the soap. Instead, they are usually added to reduce cost or add sensory appeal and they often contain a number of toxins.

I WILL admit that when it comes to coloring soap,  my artistic side WAS drawn to the vibrant colors and  irredescent shimmer that can be achieved with micas, oxides and lab colors.  It was definitely tempting to play with these and, as many people are quick to point out, these types of colorants are used in nearly everything we encounter, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. But rather than easing my concerns, it was THAT sentiment... the idea that we are surrounded by artificial colorants and toxins every day... that made me realize that this is the exact reason I shouldn't use them in soap.

It is no secret that many of the things we take for granted in our daily lives do in-fact contain toxins. Many ingredients are recognized by the FDA as toxins, but approved for use in such small quantities that they are deemed "safe." But when you think of everything we consume and use that contains a small quantity of toxins, it really begins to add up. Why should our skincare routines contribute to the unnecessary toxins that are already creeping into all aspects of our lives?

Apart from my concern about unnecessary toxins, I choose not to use synthetic fragrance in my soap for a couple of reasons. For one, I am cursed with hyper-sensitive skin and many synthetic fragrances irritate sensitive skin. This is what got me interested in natural skincare in the first place. I find that the fewer things I put on my skin, the better off I am. Then, when I found out that fragrances are governed by trade secret laws and that nobody really knows what is in them and that many contain pthalates and other harmful ingredients... well, that sealed the deal! I definitely am not going to put something in my soap if I don't know and can't tell others what it is!

In the end, creating soap as an artistic endeavor without the sensory appeal of synthetic fragrances and beautiful bright colors, definitely can be challenging. But, who doesn't love a good challenge?

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