If anyone would like to know anything about any of our products or product ingredients please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask. We are here to help. Ingredient listings can be scary looking and hard for the average person to understand. Mix that in with those asserting that you shouldn’t use anything you can’t pronounce or anything with a chemical sounding name and it’s just a recipe for further fear and confusion. I’m going to spend some time on future posts going over individual ingredients but first I’d like to explain a little bit about ingredient names and labeling requirements. This should clear up some confusion and point out the intellectual dishonesty that’s pervasive on the internet – generally perpetrated by those who want to take advantage of the billions of dollar a year natural/organic industry by selling books or “safer” products.
Syringa does not manufacture foods or drugs so we don’t have to register with the FDA. As far as the government is concerned our products fall into the skin care/cosmetics category. It may surprise you to know that in the United States it is voluntary, not mandatory, for manufacturers of skin care/cosmetic products to register with the FDA. (That’s right – in this industry if you don’t want to be regulated you don’t have to be!!!) However, the FDA encourages cosmetic firms to register and file with them through the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP). Syringa is voluntarily registered with the FDA through this program because it is beneficial to both the manufacturers and consumers. It protects consumers from dangerous ingredients, from products manufactured in unsanitary environments, makes sure ingredient listings are accurate, and helps manufacturers to make informed decisions about product ingredients. (The FDA does not approve any skin care or cosmetic brands, it merely regulates and inspects companies manufacturing such products. It’s actually illegal to suggest that the FDA approves or endorses any skin care product. The fact that we are listed with and regulated by the FDA does not mean they endorse our products, just that we meet their guidelines for safety).
When you are registered with the VCRP you must follow certain labeling guidelines. You must list your ingredients in the order they appear in your formula and the ingredients must be identified by their botanical (INCI) name. INCI stands for International Nomenclanture of Cosmetic Ingredients. Ingredient decks aren’t written for the average consumer, they are written in the language of science (heavy on the Latin) for scientists and chemists. Long complex names may sound overwhelming to the likes of me and you, but to a chemist that name tells him the structure of the molecular bond, source, and purpose of an ingredient. They can make harmless ingredients sound foreign and scary. For example Peppermint Oil becomes Mentha Piperita, lavendar becomes Lavandula Angustifolia. Lavendar and peppermint are pretty well known so we have our own verbage for them. However, when it comes to things that aren’t commonplace we don’t necessarily have a common word – just the long scientific name. And unless you happen to be a scientist or chemist you don’t know what it is or why it is used in a product.
To manufacture a lotion or cream, even when starting with natural sources, you must use things like emulsifiers (binding agents that have oil attracting and water attracting properties to keep ingredients from separating), humectants (attract and retain moisture), emollients (makes things soft and supple so they are soothing to the skin), viscosity stabilizers (help the product maintain consistency/texture), solvents (dissolves other forms into solutions), and preservatives – the ingredients everyone just loves to hate – but would run the risk of getting very icky bacteria ridden products without them. These tend to be the ingredients without common names that almost no one recognizes off hand. They sometimes scare people off, but you simply can’t make lotions or creams without them. Most are derived from natural sources at some point, although some are more “natural” than others. Companies (or home based “organic” lotion makers) who don’t list them on their ingredient deck are being misleading and dishonest. I truly believe some home based businesses selling their lotions on the internet just don’t understand that the ingredients they use have ingredients as well. For example there’s a website selling “organic coconut lotion” and the only ingredients listed are “coconut lotion & essential oils.” I’m guessing this person just purchases coconut lotion and adds her own essential oils to the mixture then rebottles it and sells it online. If you look up coconut lotions on the internet you’ll see ingredients reading simply “100% natural coconut” and nothing else (obviously they don’t voluntarily register their skin care products), and you’ll see coconut lotions with ingredient decks listing all of the ingredients in that lotion-which include emulsifiers, stabilizers, preservatives, emollients etc (I would guess those companies are registered). Obviously you can’t buy a coconut and convert it into a lotion by just grinding it up – you’d have a sticky mess, not a creamy, absorbent lotion.(And if you ate a bottle of coconut lotion listing coconut as it’s only ingredient it wouldn’t taste much like coconut and you’d probably get sick). It’s the same with any other kind of skin care product. If only 3 or 4 “natural” ingredients are listed but it’s a skin cream or lotion you can bet there are other ingredients they aren’t listing. Again, some may just purchase unscented lotion in bulk and add their essential oils (or whatever) to it and not think about the ingredients in the lotion, but some just don’t care and will do whatever it takes to take a bite out of the massively profitable natural/organics industry. I’ve sent many emails to websites (some look to be actual companies, some look to be people making stuff at home) asking for a complete ingredient deck or an explanation for how they make their lotions and creams with just a few ingredients, but I have yet to get a response. I’ve also asked them for there “evidence” that certain highly tested and approved ingredients are actually unsafe, no response to those requests either.
By the way, I have nothing against coconut lotions. It just happens to be easy to point out that you can’t make a lotion from a coconut without altering it in some way. Use all the coconut lotion you want if that’s what you like!!!
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions please let us know.