Our products' organic designations:
Why not all 100% Organic?
We work very hard to make all of our products as organic as possible. However, some products are impossible to make 100% organic.
Some deodorants like Super Pit Putty and the Spearmint & Tea Tree contain baking soda. Baking soda is a wonderful deodorizer because it raises the pH of the underarm, making it less hospitable to odor-causing bacterial growth. While it is a natural ingredient with a long history of safety, is not an agricultural product, so it doesn't count towards the organic content. It is approved for use in certified organic products, as long as the concentration is below 5%. So, these deodorants are considered certified organic (95% or more) instead of 100% organic. We've opted to give people baking soda and non-baking soda versions of this product so people have a choice between 95% and 100% organic.
Bath Salts and Face Cream
To keep the oils in these products fresh and from turning rancid quickly, we add a small amount of rosemary extract and/or vitamin E as anti-oxidants. Rosemary extract had previously been unavailable in certified organic form, however we have now found a great supplier of organic rosemary extract and are in the process of switching over to the organic version and are working on updating the packaging to reflect this change. The natural Vitamin E we use is certified GMO-free and vacuum-distilled with no solvents. Organic Vitamin E is not available currently, but it is an approved substance allowed in an organic product, as long as it is non-GMO (genetically modified).
A note about soaps, facial cleansers, and shower gels
Did you know that there is actually no such thing as 100% organic soap or even a certified organic soap? If you ever see a bar soap labeled with a certified organic seal, it is illegally labeled. If you see a liquid soap with a USDA organic seal, it is highly diluted. Let me explain...
The highest level of certification that a bar soap can get is "made with organic oils" (70% or more organic). To make a soap, oils must be combined with an alkali. (There is no other way to make a soap). For liquid soaps this is potash (potassium hydroxide), for bar soaps this is lye (sodium hydroxide). A chemical reaction between the organic oils and the alkali occurs, and a new substance, soap, is created. This end product can never be more than 85% organic because the alkali used doesn't count towards the organic content. Our bar soaps are made with only organic oils, however, because of the high amount of vegetable glycerin we add for extra moisture, we can't label them as "made with organic oils" because the organic content is below 70%. (Organic vegetable glycerin is not available to us at this time.) So that's why they're in the "some organic ingredients" column there.
You may see a liquid castile soap with the USDA organic seal from time-to-time. Well, here's what they do...they'll take the original liquid soap, usually about 80% organic, and dilute it with organic tea or juice. The finished product ends up being 20% soap to get the non-organic content down below 5% (20% times 20% = 5%). So, know when you're buying a certified organic liquid soap, know that you're buying a product that's been considerably diluted, and basically 80% water. Why buy something that's already diluted, when you can buy full-strength soap and dilute it yourself? One of our 8 oz shower gels makes eight 8 oz bottles of their soap...that's like buying an 8 oz bottle of their soap for just $1.40!
You'll notice that our Honey & Rosehip Facial Cleanser is certified organic...so does that mean it's diluted? No! Not with water. We wanted to make a super-gentle formula, so we took organic honey, organic rosehip seed oil, and organic jojoba oil and added just a touch of gentle castille soap for cleansing. Because the non-organic content of the product is less than 5%, this product gains full organic certification without dilution with water.
Some people have asked us about lye and potash and if they're harsh or dangerous. On their own, yes, these are very caustic materials. But, when used to make soap, the finished product is not dangerous, and, if made properly, not harsh. That's because the alkali has combined with the oils to create a new substance, soap, and there is no leftover lye or potash. Over the years, lye soap has earned a bad reputation. It brings to mind Grannie from the Beverly Hillbillies and her harsh "lye soap." But that was because in years past, we didn't have the technology we do today with saponification tables, digital scales, and a wide variety of wonderful oils. We now know exactly how much lye to add to which certain oils to make a bar that lathers and that's still gentle. Our soaps (both liquid and bars) go through the superfatting process, meaning that just a little extra oil is added so that we are sure there is no free alkali in the bar or liquid. An appropriate curing time is also key to a gentle soap. Additionally, we add extra vegetable glycerin to keep the soap super moisturizing. There is no lye that is dumped in to wastewater during the saponification process, and the environmental impact is very low as there are no fumes, dust, or pollution created during this process. True soaps, both liquid and solid, are THE most natural, healthy, and eco-friendly way to clean yourself and your family.
We wanted to make a salt scrub that was a do-it-all product. We wanted something moisturizing, cleansing, and exfoliating. Being based near the Great Salt Lake, we have a great local supply of quality salt, so we chose it as our exfoliator. Then, we needed something to moisturize, so we added organic oils and vegetable glycerin. Finally, we needed something to give the cleansing properties and lather. Our first choice, of course was castille soap...but there's a problem. When you add salt to a true soap, it turns the soap in to a scummy mush that's un-useable. So, we chose the next best thing--decyl polyglucose. Decyl polyglucose is a naturally-sourced detergent made from sugar and corn, scores a 0 in the Cosmetics Database and has no known risks or hazards.
Currently our deodorant sprays are 100% natural instead of 100% organic because of the alcohol that's available to us. Being based in Utah, you can guess that it's hard to get our hands on some alcohol products. Fortunately, we just found a supplier of organic alcohol that will ship to us now! So, we're working on new packaging and these products will soon be 100% organic.
Ensuring Organic Integrity
As a certified organic processing facility, there are a number of requirements and procedures we have to fulfill. Here are a few...
Keep a detailed paper trail
For all our products designated as "100% organic" "organic" or "made with organic", we keep a detailed paper trail of where each ingredient came from, and who certified it as organic. All of these ingredients have to be grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and processed without chemicals. For each batch we make, we write down the supplier of each ingredient, the invoice date, the invoice number, and the certifying agency. The batch sheets are then kept on file.Have an organic pest control plan. This means we don't use synthetic pesticides on our facility and use organic methods of pest control, like regular sweeping and removal of debris in and around our facility, and the use of certain essential oils and herbs to repel insects.
Good manufacturing practices
This requirement isn't hard for us, as most of our ingredients are certified organic. However, we have to make sure that every ingredient is marked organic or conventional. For instance, we use both organic and conventional orange essential oil. We use the organic in the lip balms and bath salts, and the conventional in the soaps and shower gels. We have a big orange label on the conventional that says "CONVENTIONAL: shower gels and soaps only!" That way, there's no chance that the conventional doesn't accidentally get in to something it's not supposed to. We store herbs and other bulk ingredients in air-tight containers so there is no co-mingling of organic and non-organic. Scoops and utensils are washed between uses so there is no possibility of cross contamination.
Our organic products can bear the USDA certified organic seal. We also must include our certifying agency, the Utah State Department of Agriculture.
Every time we vacuum a floor, wash the mixer, or wipe down the shipping table we have to record it in the log. There, we state the date, the cleaning method used, any cleaning materials used, and who did the cleaning. Any surface that comes in to contact with an organic product has to be thoroughly rinsed so there is no trace of cleansing residue.
Any time we ship out a product, we keep a log of where it's going and what batch it was from. That way, if someone came to us with an invoice number, we could tell you which batch it was from, where each organic ingredient was from, and who certified that ingredient.
Production map of every product we make.
For each certified organic product, we have to create a production map. This describes where the ingredients are stored, where in our facility it's made, how it's made, how it's packaged, and labeled from start to finish.
Product Profile Sheet
We submit a product profile sheet to the department of agriculture (our certifying agency) that details each product, its composition, and its label. It's a lot of work, but we're proud of the extra work we do to make sure that our products are some of the cleanest and greenest around!