Know Your Ingredients
Understand beauty industry ingredient language and make educated consumer decisions
BY ROSHAN ROGHANI
Our World is Changing:
Our world is changing on a daily basis, and at an increasingly rapid pace. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed changes in our own culture. From an increased awareness of the need for sustainable living, to an increased desire to learn more about conservation. As our world grows in knowledge and understanding, almost all of us are trying to make healthier changes for ourselves and our families.
We at Camille Beckman have faced our fair share of changes in the market, and we feel it’s important to continue to learn and evolve ourselves, our company, and our products.
This article serves as a guide to help you easily understand the various forms of ingredient categories; what they are, how different ingredients are made, and what is truly healthy for you and your family. Of course, our understanding is always growing and we encourage anyone who is interested to take the pursuit of learning and experimenting upon themselves. You’d be amazed how much you can learn about ingredients and products experimenting in your own kitchen or bathroom!
What Makes for a Sustainable Ingredient?
Sustainably sourced ingredients are any ingredients that:
- A) Come from plant matter which do not need to be fully cut down in order to harvest. For example, coconut or almond oil come from coconut and almonds that are harvested from the tree. The harvest of these nuts does not require the cutting down of the tree.
An oil such as palm oil, commonly found in food, is also found in soap, shampoo and makeup products to name just a few. Though harvesting palm oil does not require cutting down palm trees. It’s controversial because of clearcutting of forests in order to plant palm trees.
- B) Use very little energy to produce. For example, utilizing an herb simply requires growing, harvesting, drying and powdering the herbs, then suspending it in an oil base for extraction.
Beeswax V. Petroleum
Beeswax is a naturally sourced, sustainable product. It does depend on the frequency of the harvest in how sustainable it is to in total. A good way to ensure that you are purchasing sustainable beeswax or honey is to check that the source is a bee first mentality. This means that the harvester puts the life of the bees as a priority instead of a harvest. Meaning that the life of the bees is put first, making sure they have enough honey to continue to survive.
So what exactly is beeswax? To put it simply, it’s wax secreted from the abdomen of worker bees. It’s used to line honeycombs, and is harvested when harvesting honey as well. For every 100 lbs of honey, you get about a pound of beeswax.
Beeswax is used a variety of beauty and skincare products. We use it in our lip balms for it’s soothing properties and because it is one of the more sustainable, as well as natural resources.
On the other hand, petroleum jelly (think Vaseline), is derived from the petroleum manufacturing, i.e. oil rigs. A mixture of waxes and mineral oils, petroleum jelly was first discovered as machine build up on oil rigs in 1859. Seriously.
The petroleum jelly as we know today must go through a refining process in order to be made safe for the skin. However, what the manufacturers don’t tell you is that the refining process is not a guarantee for high quality ingredients. It still remains a byproduct of oil drilling. It still remains an unsustainable resource.
However, avoiding Vaseline doesn’t guarantee a petroleum free life. Petroleum is found in a surprising amount of beauty products. It can be found in body lotion, sunscreen, hair spray, chapstick, etc.
Camille Beckman, Natural & Safe Ingredients:
Here at Camille Beckman, we’ve worked hard to create natural, family care balms that are safe for the body, and safe for children to be around. Petroleum based products aren’t considered safe for ingestion. And while our balms are for external use only, only mild irritation may occur if ingested.
Bath soaks are another common product on the market that contain hidden ingredients that aren’t the best. Formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane are just a couple of ingredients that are commonly found in bath and shower products.
The bath soaks that have been formulated at Camille Beckman to contain 100% natural ingredients such as Grade A essential oils, baking soda, coconut milk and more.
Parabens are synthetic preservatives. They prolong the shelf life of a variety of beauty products including hair care products, soaps, lotions and fragrances. Parabens have a bad rep because they have been proven to be harmful to the immune system, and worse, have been linked to cancer.
Increased concern about parabens in cosmetics has led more companies to create paraben-free beauty products.
Cold Processed V. Heat Processed
All Camille Beckman oils are cold pressed in order to ensure their nutritional properties.
Cold processing oils ensures that the oils will maintain their nutritional value after the process. It ensures quality ingredients that will have more potency and yield better results as well.
Hot processing, while an easier practice, ultimately strips the oils of some of their nutritional value.
A common phrase being used in the health and beauty industry right now is ‘plant derived. This simply means one can rest assured that there are no animal by-products in their beloved products. However, it does not have anything to do with ingredient safety, how processed or sustainable an ingredient is, or how suitable it is for optimizing health.
While the intention is good and especially comforting for those living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, be aware that this claim is a widely cast category with many variations and qualities layered within it. Put simply ‘plant derived’ does not ensure quality or nutritional value.
Other Common Ingredient Lingo:
Natural ingredients are all those which originate from a natural source. It’s important to note that the term, ‘natural’, is not regulated by the FDA. When something is labeled natural, it doesn’t mean that it’s organic.
In order to label anything as organic, it must be approved as organic by an independent source. There are also layers to how organic a product can be. To save confusion, we’ve broken it down:
‘Made with Organic Ingredients’ This means that anywhere from 70% - 94% of the ingredients within the product are of organic origins.
‘Organic Ingredients’ This translates to mean that at least 95% of the ingredients within the product are made from organic materials.
‘100% Organic Ingredients’ This translates to what it sounds like, all of the ingredients in this product are organic.
Any product labeled as clean can be either naturally sourced or lab grown (see safe synthetic). When a product is labeled as clean, it means that it’s safe to use on the skin. However, similar to ‘natural’, the term clean isn’t regulated by the FDA.
A safe synthetic is made in a lab, rather than found in nature. Synthetics often get a bad rep, hence the term safe synthetic has been coined by beauty companies. Popular beauty companies such as Lush and Glossier both use safe synthetics in their products. Camille Beckman’s fragrances are also considered to be safe synthetics
Synthetics are popular because they ensure consistency within a product. However, they do raise controversy amongst beauty buyers because some safe synthetics have detergints, parabens and alcohol and can cause adverse skin reactions. Before saying yes or no to safe synthetics, it’s best practice to see what the synthetic is before making an informed decision.
Translating to ‘proper’ or ‘fit’ for Jewish consumption. Kosher is a common word in describing food, but it also applies to beauty products as well. Kosher beauty products are alcohol free, free from animal fats and testing. Our sweet almond oil and glycerine is 100% plant derived and kosher.
Halal translates to what’s permissible under Muslim Law. Similar to Kosher, halal applies to food, beauty products, etc. that are safe for Muslims to consume. What makes skin care products halal? They don’t contain bi-products from animals such as pigs and dogs. They are handled with clean utensils and safe ingredients.