When I consult with a client before making them boutique skincare products, they’re always excited when I tell them that I use natural and organic ingredients. But then they get a concerned look on their face and ask questions like “but you can’t get stem cells to put in it can you? Since you’re not a lab?” Or “I’d love argan oil in my product but you probably can’t get it because it’s so expensive…right?” Those are the types of miracle ingredient types of requests I get. The answer to but is yes I can. I have access to just about every cosmetic and pharmaceutical-grade ingredient and raw material that the big guys have.
I also have clients who are impressed by free-from claims…
These clients ask me if my products are preservative free, sulfate free, fragrance, free, chemical free, etc. The answer to those questions is sometimes. I don’t use sulfates though I do use natural soaps and a naturally derived surfactant in some products, and I often use pure essential oils for fragrance. But my products are only preservative-free if they don’t contain any water, and all my products contain chemicals.
Hear me out. Free-from claims are appealing. But the biggest problem with them is that they are RARELY TRUE. And if they were true? I’d be scared to use them.
Most people don’t understand what free-from claims and miracle ingredients actually mean or actually do…
Here’s the thing about miracle ingredients and free-from claims:
They’re mostly hype and there’s always more to the story. Isolated miracle ingredients (stem cells, antioxidants, etc) are often not as bioavailable or provide as complete skin nutrition as ingredients made from infusing or extracting all the phytonutrients from the most beneficial plant part (flower, seeds, leaves, roots, stems), or from the whole plant.
Furthermore, there’s no such thing as a chemical-free product (even water and air are chemicals) and if a product contains water it MUST have a preservative for it to be shelf stable and safe. I talk about this in depth in my featured article in Dermascope Magazine.
Click HERE to read ‘The Truth About Labels.’
I don’t want to tell you to not look for products containing sexy miracle ingredients. Sometimes they make us feel special–I get that, and I’m all for that. What concerns me is the expectation of, well, a miracle just from using a product that contains that ingredient. And those products sell that really well.
I DO want to tell you to be suspicious of free-from claims on products. There are many naturally derived preservatives, surfactants, and totally natural fragrances (essential oils, anyone?) which are safe and appropriate to be included in a product labeled as organic. Ask questions of your aesthetician, supplier, salesperson, or website from which you’re buying the product or ingredient. But also ask yourself if what you want to gain from buying that product is something that that product can actually deliver. There’s almost always a simpler, and often less expensive, but super-effective alternative available.
Or if you make or sell products, what do your customers ask you? Please share in the comments below.