I am so excited, my first round of samples has arrived and artwork on the new branding is coming along nicely.... Now all I need to do is make decisions!!!
I briefly talk about my passion for holistic health and skincare and what inspired me to start my blog in the about me section of this website. In this post I wanted to focus on a different motivation; animals which are one of the main reasons behind the skincare range I am creating. You may wonder what animals have to do with the products that you buy off a shelf but you may be surprised to know that there is a lot more connecting the two than most people are aware of.
Through volunteering, I have had some of the most incredibly beautiful encounters with animals but in contrast, through my study and work I have had some of the most traumatic…and some things just stick with you. Like the way lambs are castrated or the way that rabbits are killed for laboratory testing. I will never forget the poor male babies trying to walk in agony as elastic bands restricted blood flow to their nether regions and there the thick tight bands remain until well- you can guess what is coming next – imagine just doing that to your pinkie finger? Waiting for weeks for it to drop off? Excruciating! This scene experienced whilst studying a Diploma in Animal Technology was mayhem, there was inoculations and tail docking happening at the same time. Docking is done by clamping down a blade that is on fire and slicing the tail off… all of this with absolutely no pain relief. The high pitch bleats are an unforgettable reminder as to why I will never use products like lanolin (sheep skin oil) in my products. Similarly, having experienced how rabbits and other animals are treated and killed for research purposes I vow to never test my products (or their ingredients) on animals. I will spare you from the details on this one; I am sure you can imagine how terrible it is to see rabbits gassed or mice having their necks broken!
During these studies I also spent two weeks on a piggery, witnessing the ins and outs of an intensive farm. This certainly was an intense experience. I went through the whole process from seeing adults confined singularly behind bars (mating boars and pregnant sows) to studying mums and bubba’s restricted to their concrete farrowing crates with only a lamp above them for warmth. Animals on these farms don’t see the light of day, unless you count when they are being moved from one shed to the other and then when it’s time to go to the abattoir. And 94% of all pig meat products are sourced from these farming systems in Australia. The code of practice which exists to regulate the industry actually permits all kinds of horrible things to be done to these animals, legally. Being present whilst a baby piglet has their tail cut off (without pain relief) is not a pleasant experience I can assure you! So it is for this reason that ingredients like tallow (pig fat) or animal sources of stearic acid, palmitoleic, linoleic and myristic acid have not been included in any of my formulas.
Now for the really difficult one to avoid when buying skincare; palm oil. This is something that grates on me massively. In my early twenties I was fortunate enough to travel throughout South East Asia. In Indonesia and Malaysia, looking outside the plane window and only seeing kilometre after kilometre of palm plantations intrigued me and I wanted to learn more. What I discovered was devastating. Not only were forests being cleared, traditional villagers being displaced and their way of life destroyed, but the animals are being wiped out. From this day on I started learning about this issue and trying my hardest to avoid products containing palm oil.
In my search for an ethical manufacturer you will not believe some of the responses I had received in relation to palm use. The most ridiculous one was a statement whereby a company believed that the cosmetic industry received an unwarranted bad reputation for the use of palm oil. In their mind, they were not a major contributor to the problem and felt that other industries were much worse. Well, hold up, if the cosmetics industry does not rely heavily on the use of palm derivatives then why did I have to contact 11 manufacturers before finding one that was investing time and money in alternatives? Why is it that you cannot pick a bottle up off the shelf without a product containing some form of palm derivatives? The cosmetics, toiletries & skincare industry is huge with literally thousands of upon thousands of products available and even the most responsible brands have struggled to cut palm oil use out completely. Why is this? It is not that they don’t care… it is that palm oil has become so entrenched in the production of ingredients that it is close to impossible to avoid, particularly when you are talking about emulsifying (binding water and oil) a product.
Similar to the textiles trade, traceability of ingredients can also be an issue in the cosmetics industry. Palm ingredients can have 30 different names as they can be used as a whole derivative or as part of the manufacturing process of a particular ingredient. For the full list check out the Palm Oil Investigators website!
You may have heard of the term Sustainable Palm Oil. Many manufactures claim to be sourcing palm oil and derivatives from sources that are part of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, however, there are no guarantees. There are ongoing allegations of corruption, the guidelines are completely self-regulated and very relaxed to say the least. If an endangered species were found to be living on the land you would think that meant interfering would be avoided at all costs. This is sadly not the case, the guidelines simply state that the plantation manager must manage the population as to cause it the least harm- not only is this is very much open to interpretation but there is also no auditing to assess the impact. No wonder the animals are quickly disappearing!
My manufacturer has been working on a palm free base formula for over three years and is now in the process of making my custom designed cleanser and moisturiser formulas. I am so excited to have found someone committed to this and proud that my skincare brand will have less of an impact on animals and the environment because of it. Did I also mention that the bottles are made from post-consumer recyclables? This is another area I am passionate about as there is just so much plastic waste! So if you are someone who not only loves animals, respects mother nature and loves beautiful skincare watch this space… it is coming!!!!