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.

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