Monday, October 16, 2006

Breakdown of Natural and Synthetic Ingredients in a Cream (Natural Skin Care)

Which ingredients in my handcrafted cream are natural and which are synthetic?

Sometimes it can be tricky separating what's natural from what's synthetic because there is no regulation of what "natural" is.

But I try to use ingredients as natural as possible :)


Shea butter
Apricot kernel oil
Coconut oil
Aloe vera
Distilled water
Essential oils

Synthetic or Natural:

Vitamin E--can be natural or synthetically derived
Glycerine--can be synthetically derived from petroleum or naturally derived from vegetable oils


Germaben or Optiphen--synthetic preservatives

These are tricky:
stearic acid--I would say most people in the natural cosmetic industry consider this natural since it is a fatty acid; it is obtained from the hydrolis of fats or synthesis. But I think some people in the natural industry don't consider it natural because it is a component of fat and not the complete fat (the fat had to be broken down to get the fatty acid).

I should clarify that fatty acids are natural/found in nature; fats are composed of 1 to 3 fatty acid chains plus glycerine.

Emulsifying wax--I've seen this in many natural lines, but I'd say most people in the natural industry consider it synthetic. It can either be plant based or petroleum based; the wax is then treated with some sort of detergent (like SLS) or polysorbates. (So it may have some natural plant components but it is so processed in the end, that it isn't considered natural; it's not found in nature). But many natural companies use it because it is a more stable emulsion than beeswax/borax cream (which sometimes separates).

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