Welcome back to one of our blog posts on our values. Our values are the backbone to how we run our business, so we feel it's important to share what they are about and why we chose each one of them. In this blog post, we will be talking about why we choose our products to be as natural as possible and the complexity of the word "natural".
We opt for ingredients that are natural and not harmful for multiple reasons. The ingredients that we’ve chosen for our products are kinder to your skin and kinder to the environment. We also want the ingredients to be easy to use and easy to identify. There is something special about the simplicity of using things that already exist in nature with minimal human intervention and having a little moment of nature connection when you use our products. Whether it's through smelling the bergamot in our happy balm or noticing the beautiful red of our red clay soap.
Kinder to your skin and our environment
Our skin is our largest organ and so what we apply to it matters. Our skin absorbs the products that we apply to it and what doesn't get absorb gets washed down the drain, which ultimately finds its way back to our environment. These inputs can disrupt the services that our ecosystem provides for us, so it isn't just about our health but also the health of
our planet. After all, we don't live in isolation, humans and the environment are very much intertwined and we co-depend on each other. Additionally, the extraction of ingredients can also have a detrimental impact on the environment and it is why here, at Zero Waste Path, we take the utmost care to not only chose the most natural ingredients but also the most sustainable. Parabens, synthetic fragrances, refined petroleum and phthalates are some of the ingredients that we stay clear of.
As a side note, be wary of products listing ingredients under fragrances and not elaborating in what kind of fragrance they are using, as it is a catch-all term that can be used to describe a wide range of chemicals (natural or synthetic) that are used to make the product smell nice. The reason that companies get away with not being transparent is that fragrances are classified as trade secrets. No trade secrets here at Zero Waste Path!
The complexity of the word "natural"
The concept of natural ingredients can be quite controversial as there is no legislation to prevent companies from labelling just about anything natural. And the same goes for other terms such as green, eco or clean. Hence companies can use these terms without their products meeting any kind of regulation. This alongside clever branding is a type of greenwashing, designed to entice the conscious consumer into buying their product. This is why we recommend to always look at the ingredients of the product and do your own research. It is also why here at Zero Waste Path, we aim for 100% transparency with our customers because we feel that not only is that ethical thing to do but also it allows the customer to make an informed purchase.
Natural vs Nature-derived vs Nature-identical
A natural ingredient has undergone no chemical change, good examples are oils, waxes and butters such as olive and Shea butter. Nature-derived ingredients have gone through a chemical reaction such as fermentation or hydrolysis but they are derived from natural ingredients. Finally, nature-identical ingredients are ingredients that have been made in a lab but can be found in nature in the same form. You might ask, what's the point of creating it in the lab if it already exists? For two main reasons: one, the demand for it might outstrip what is naturally present making it unsustainable and two, so much energy and resources might be needed to extract it that it would be expensive and wasteful. Some examples of nature-identical ingredients are vitamin C, citric acid, sodium hydroxide and zinc oxide which commonly used in natural sunscreen.
Here at Zero Waste Path, we try to use as natural and pure ingredients as we can and for the most part, we accomplish this. However, not everything we use is completely natural. Our 2in1 shampoos have nature-derived ingredients (surfactants) which is what makes them work in hard water areas, they foam nicely without stripping your scalp of its natural oils. We took this decision very seriously and we consulted a professional sustainable cosmetics formulator to help us distinguish between harmful and gentle ingredients because we want our products to work whilst being kind to you and the environment.