We take pride that our lotions do not contain any parabens, petroleum, formaldehyde, aluminum, propylene glycol, or phthalates.
Water – You know how Poland spring water is? Our water is kind of like that. Our land is blessed with great-tasting water from our deep wells (we got 3, supplying water to our gardens and to our cows). We use reverse osmosis filtration to purify our water before using for our lotion.
Pastured Cow’s Whole Milk – we have several cows that graze on our pasture from spring to summer, and are fed hay during winter. We make most of our lotion bases during grass-feeding season, to take advantage of the better nutrient profile of the milk the cows produce.
Aloe Vera Juice – Aloe vera has been known to be beneficial for the skin. Aloe vera gel from the leaves contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids. It has been traditionally used to soothe irritated skin and to add moisture. For lotion-making purposes, we use the Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera.
Shea Butter – High concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins make shea butter an ideal cosmetic ingredient for softening skin. Shea butter has high levels of oleic, linoleic, and stearic acids, as well as vitamin E. It also has emollient properties that help create a smooth and soft barrier that seals in moisture. We use refined shea butter (mainly because we find that the natural scent of unrefined shea butter is quite strong).
Emulsifying Wax – is used to bind oils and water together in recipes for lotions, creams, scrubs and hair conditioner. It provides a powdery soft, silky feel to lotion formulas. Without emulsifiers, the water and the oils will keep separating.
Rice Bran Oil – is the oil extracted from the germ as well as the hard outer brown layer of rice called chaff. It contains a large percentage of fatty acids that are rich in omega-3 and 9, and is an excellent source of moisturizer. It contains rich levels of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and proteins. Contains gamma oryzanol, a potent antioxidant. It is also a good source of tocotrienols, an antioxidant that is more potent than Vitamin E. Rice Bran oil has the potential to promote hydration, reduce pigmentation, even out skin tones, and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These benefits are largely attributed to the high level of vitamins E and B, omega-9 and other fatty acids, and the antioxidants beat-carotene, CoQ10, and lycopene. We use the high-oleic rice bran oil, which is more resistant to rancidity.
Avocado Oil – is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E, potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish, moisturize and soothe the skin, as well as help retain elasticity.
Vegetable Glycerin – is a transparent, colorless, and unscented viscous liquid derived from the oils of plants such as coconut, palm, or soy. When used in skin care products, it attracts and locks moisture in to the skin, thereby softening, smoothing and soothing the complexion. Its pH level closely matches that of the skin. Vegetable glycerin facilitates that skin’s absorption of other beneficial active ingredients in natural products, smooths the look of fine lines and miniscule cracks on the skin, facilitates the regeneration of new skin, evens out the skin tone to lighten darker areas, and diminishes the appearance of unwanted spots and marks. It soothes itching and dryness, eliminates congestion in the pores, and maintains elasticity of the skin.
Safflower Oil – is pressed from the seeds, very high in vitamin E and contains omega-6 and omega-3 FA. Topical application can help decrease the loss of water and keep skin hydrated. Safflower oil contains a large amount of linoleic acid, which is an antioxidant and also has a significant role in opening the skin to moisturizers and enables better penetration of other ingredients in the lotion. Because it helps skin retain water, it leaves the skin radiant, soft and smooth Safflower oil also helps to enhance the texture and tone of the skin. Safflower has a light, non-greasy consistency, making it suitable for all skin types.
Coconut Oil – is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants that help prevent aging and damage to our skin. It also has been touted to “have antibacterial and antifungal properties that help keep skin healthy and fight skin allergies and yeast infections.” it is the most abundant source of lauric acid, a fatty acid known for its antimicrobial and moisturizing properties. coconut oil also stimulates the production of collagen, and its vitamin E content protects the skin from sun damage.
Isopropyl myristate – is a synthetic oil used as an emollient, thickening agent, or lubricant. As an emollient, it helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and helps retain hydration. It is valued for its ability to improve the overall texture of products with high oil content, making the texture to be more silky and creamy, rather than greasy, despite high oil or wax content. It helps the product glide better on the skin and feel slicker. IM is easily absorbed by the skin, ensuring quick penetration oof a formula’s ingredients.
Palm Stearic Acid – is a white, waxy natural fatty acid derived from palm via a hydrogenation process to convert the liquid vegetable oil into solid fats. This comes usually in pastille form, and is ideal as an emulsifying agent in creams and lotions. It is best known for the “pearly” and “waxy” feel that it adds to the product, which ultimately has a cooling effect when applied to the skin.
Optiphen Plus – is a paraben-free and formaldehyde-free preservative system, which is ideal for formulations below 6.0 pH, but is also proven effective at pH levels above 6.0. (As a side note, our skin’s pH is around 5.5, milk’s pH is around 6.5 to 6.7, water is neutral with pH of 7.0. Only aqueous solutions has pH value. Since lotions contain emulsified oils, the fatty acids in the oils do not contribute to the pH of the lotion.) Water is life, and lotions (and creams) have water, and without preservative, can easily be contaminated by microbes. We use preservative in our lotion (which not only has water, but also contains milk and aloe vera) since (1) we are not going to keep the lotion in an unopened container, (2) we are not keeping the lotion in a refrigerator or freezer, and (3) you don’t want to apply moldy yucky lotion on your skin, do you? Come to think of it, even pasteurized milk has an expiry date, and once open, it is recommended you consume the milk within a few days despite refrigeration. With a product like lotion, a preservative is a must.
We use Optiphen Plus at a rate of 1% (recommended usage is 0.75 to 1.5%, but since we are using a significant amount of milk in our lotion, we figured a rate at the middle of recommended usage will be sufficient.) Optiphen Plus is a combination of phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol and sorbic acid.
Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether used as a preservative in cosmetic products and medicines. This is a kind of ether alcohol with aromatic properties that can enhance a skin product’s scent. This substance is a colorless liquid that is oil in nature, and is considered an organic chemical found in natural form in chicory and green tea. It is also manufactured artificially, as it helps create a more potent chemical with less impurities. This organic compound is also known for its antimicrobial properties against yeast, bacterial organisms and molds. These attributes help Phenoxyethanol act as a preservative against germ contamination of bottled products. (Source: thedermreview.com)
Caprylyl glycol is a skin conditioning agent that adds moisturization and wetting properties to many cosmetics and personal care products, as well as function as a preservative booster. It is derived from caprylic acid, which is a saturated acid found in the milk of some mammals as well as palm and coconut oils. It is classified as a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) with potent antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, according to Healthline.
Sorbic acid is a straight-chain monocarboxylic acid that became commercially available as a food preservative in the late 1940s. Sorbic acid has been used as a preservative in cosmetics since the early 1960s. It has a broad spectrum of fungistatic activity, but it is less active against bacteria.
The photos below illustrates what would happen to a lotion or cream if you don’t use preservatives:
This is an experiment I did comparing various preservatives versus a control (a control is one without).
This is a close-up of the control. You can see the colonies of mold. Can you imagine the ones you cannot see with your naked eye? Yuck! That is why we use an effective non-paraben non-formaldehyde preservative.
Vitamin E – aka, Tocopherol, is used in skin care products due to their ability to protect the skin from free radical damage and strengthen the skin barrier. As an aside to this, being an antioxidant fighting free radicals, vitamin E also helps prevent rancidity in the oils in our lotion. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, so they are incorporated into cell membranes in order to protect from oxidative damage. As such, it helps prevent wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, and age spots. Tocopherol also helps skin retain moisture.
Fragrance/Essential Oils/Blends – We use non-phathalate fragrance oils at 1% rate. Since these are proprietary, the exact ingredients are not known. Some people may be sensitive to scents, some are not. (We also offer unscented lotions.) We also have lotions scented with essential oils. While essential oils have therapeutic/physiologic effects, we do not use them for these purposes, but rather, just for scenting, at 0.5% rate. (We never make any health claims with our lotions or creams.) Since essential oils do have physiologic/therapeutic effects, there might be some contraindication to pregnant women or people with history of seizures. As a precaution, you should consult your physician prior to using any product with essential oils if you have any concerns. Some of our lotions use blends, which may be a combination of EOs only, or EOs and FOs. It will also be noteworthy to check the essential oils you plan on using whether they can potentially harm your pets.