I'm like old wine. They don't bring me out often, but I'm well-preserved.
The Art of being Well-Preserved
For our Moisturisers and Creams.
Since you are interested, bear with us please whilst we tackle the delicate issue of preserving our products - the hows, the whys, the problems and the strategies.
1. The How - Our aim is to make our products as useful, efficacious and natural as we possibly can. Our products don’t come in a kit of dehydrated sachets with instructions to add water and stir but rather have been formulated by trial and error over many years using fresh and dried herbs which we source largely from our gardens and paddocks. Formulating is done by considering the most common skin types and skin problems and how best to help them. It isn’t a random process. As herbalists, we consider the active constituents of the plants we use and how they are likely to interact with each other and the other ingredients, to give the desired result.
2. The Why - Like a well rehearsed play, a finely tuned orchestra or a thriving garden, a well-formulated cream is a beautiful thing. It looks and smells good, it feels lovely on the skin and it does what you expect. The integrity of each of the ingredients is of utmost importance which is why we grow and source locally as much as we can. Our creams are around 75% aqueous which means that generally 75% comes from our gardens; about 11% comes from locally sourced olive and or macadamia oils and 2% tinctures which we make where we can. The remaining 12% includes glycerine, nut butters, emulsifier, preservative and essential oils, sourced as organic as available.
3. The Problems - Natural products (as in products from nature) have a habit of breaking down under pressure. We select plants with good colour and vigour, to capture the most desirable properties and to then hold them at their peak and delay deterioration by incorporating them into a cream. But the natural cycle of birth-growth-decline-death is meant to ensure a constant flow and turnover of living things. Preservatives work to disrupt the cycle by killing the micro-organisms which facilitate it. How well they work varies according to the toxicity and dosage of the preservative. We have chosen to use Naticide (INCI Parfum) as a natural, vegetable-based preservative suitable for organic formulations. After all the trouble we go to with our formulation, it seems absurd to effectively sterilise it with a strong, synthetic preservative. Not to mention what effect such a harsh preservative may have on your skin.
4. The Strategies - The preservative deals with the many vigorous elements in our creams. We have additional procedures in place to ensure our products will keep their desirable qualities and not deteriorate too quickly. These procedures include attention to cleanliness in the workspace, temperature control during processing, careful handling of inputs and thorough cleaning of our glass jars. We also make small, numbered batches, keep careful records and a sample of each batch, all enabling us to track, detect and control any problems which may arise.
Despite our best efforts, we have occasionally had creams deteriorate with colour changes, texture changes or specks. If you have any problem with a product, please let us know and we will replace the product or provide a refund promptly.
As you have read, we have invested our knowledge and passion into our products and want to know if they are not performing. We can’t expect to control the use or storage conditions once products are sold, but we recommend you look after your cream by using clean, dry hands to apply, storing it out of direct sun with the lid on securely - then it will look after you, just as it was formulated to do.
For our Ointments and Balms
Much less tempting for microbial or fungal attack, we don't use preservatives per se in these creations, so used kindly they are especially useful for sensitive skin. We do add, high quality Vitamin E, but that works more as an anti-oxidant to stabilise the oil contents. You will have noticed that we only use olive and macadamia oils which are inherently more stable than many 'skincare favourites' like almond oil, due to their lower level of saturation. This means olive and macadamia are less likely to become rancid, so you're not putting rancid oils on your skin. The nut butters and beeswax are fully-saturated so they too are much more stable to heat and light, especially useful when our products are used out in the sunlight and/or to soothe sunburn and nurture sunworn skin. If you think about it, the nut butters are tropical fruits, so they have been designed by someone better than us to be fit for hot conditions.
We obviously continue our anti-contamination efforts when manufacturing ointments and balms, and we ask you to use these products with clean, dry hands to keep them healthy and useful to you until the last dollop. Keeping the lids closed, away from humidity and direct heat and light is also a good idea. Thank you for reading!