28 July 2009

Product Swap Results

The results of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company Product Swap in Victoria are in. It was a smashing success. Of the 522 products that we received, 3 were completely natural [epsom salts (2) and a deodorant (1)], 98% had more than one synthetic ingredient, greater than 90% had at least 3 unnatural ingredients. The worst had 17 synthetic ingredients, and one lotion had 5 synthetic parabens. The most common synthetic ingredients were propylene glycol, parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, iso-butyl), SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, perfume, fragrance, colorants, aluminium chlorohydrate, dimethicone among many others. Of course the were most likely phthlates in the perfumes, but unfortunately perfumes don't usually list ingredients, so we can't confirm that suspicion. Many people asked about the ingredients and how and why they were 'bad' for them. This was par for the course, but what surprised us was the vastknowledge of consumers out there and their desire to "go natural". Many customers new to Rocky Mountain Soap grilled us on our ingredients and challenged us to demonstrate that they were natural. This was immensely satisfying. There is a lot of knowledge out there, people know what they want, natural does indeed matter. Now that we have the products swapped, many customers have asked what we are going to do with these products. The products will be disposed of safely and the packaging will be sent to the local recycling depot. Many customers expressed their thrill at cleaning out cupboards and cabinets with the knowledge that they would be replacing their synthetic bath and body products with natural ones. This was very satisfying for us as well. Natural does indeed matter to many people. Below is a list of exactly what came in:

27 July 2009

Fruit Extracts

There has been a trend in the use of natural fruit extracts in shampoos and conditioners for a few years now, but more and more we are seeing them in soaps and other bath and body care products in lieu of perfumes and fragrances. With the notable exception of the citrus family, essential oils cannot be derived from most fruits. Those interested in natural body care products tend to shun fragrances because they are usually synthetically derived and until recently, if they wanted natural, they were often out of luck. If you are an ingredient list reader, look for parfum, perfume, fragrance - these are usually manufactured from artificial esters and not natural. Common esters used in the production of artificial fruit fragrances are ethyl butyrate and ethyl acetate. Ethyl butyrate is also sometimes added to orange juice - to make it more orange-like in flavour.

So, we have been left with the vast array of non-fruit essential oils like lavender and rosemary, among others, to scent our favourite soaps, shampoos and moisturisers. However, the industry has been inundated by consumer demand for not only fruit scents, but natural ones. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is the most natural way to isolate natural fruit extracts, which are becoming much more commonly used and available. And not only is the scent isolated, but often the polyphenols, vitamins and other anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals are too, allowing the manufacturer the ability to impart those benefits and qualities.

Whether you use banana pineapple soap or traditional French lavender, make sure you check the ingredient list if you truly want natural. Just because the label has a pretty flower or picture of a fresher-than-life piece of fruit, doesn't mean that the contents are completely natural. Read labels, ask staff at your favourite bath and body store, contact manufacturers with your questions. Be real, be kind, be natural.

17 July 2009

Rocky Mountain Soap Product Swap!

Are you an ingredient reader? I am. I find so many incomprehensible ingredients in personal care products these days. This is another reason that I fell in love with Rocky Mountain Soap Co.'s natural products - the ingredients. They only use natural ingredients and natural isn't greenwashed. All their ingredients come from nature, in their natural form. They don't mess with the molecular structure, they don't use petrochemicals. Pthalates, PAH's, synthetic sulfates and parabens are simply not found in any of their products.

Rocky Mountain Soap simply believes that there are too many synthetic ingredients found in bath and body products that are questionable as to their long term health effects. They believe that if there is an ingredient that could potentially be harmful or could have negative long-term effects on your health, that if is probably best not to use it when there are healthy and safe alternatives out there.

From Thursday July 23rd to Friday the 25th, we are officially launching our Natural Matters campaign. To highlight the fact that many personal care products contain chemicals that you might not want your skin absorbing, we will have a Product Swap at our store in the Mayfair Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC. The rules are simple, bring in a used or unused and unnatural personal care product from home such as a deodorant, perfume, moisturiser, soap etc and we will replace it with a comparable one of our own at 50% off the retail price.

What will we do with the products that are exchanged? The packaging will be delivered to a recycling depot and the contents to a hazardous waste disposal depot.

I can't wait to see what you have to exchange. So, please bring in your:
  • Deodorants
  • Face creams
  • Moisturisers
  • Perfumes
  • Hand soaps
  • Body washes
  • Lip balms
  • Toners
Chemicals Add Up. Natural Matters.