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Notes from the Founder – Craig Jones

Here are the most common questions I get asked (pretty much in order of frequency):

Are you a chemist?

No. Making a moisturiser at home is simpler than most people think. Even simpler than making scone – I encourage you to try it for yourself! At its most basic level, all you need is 4 ingredients:

  1. Water (so it’s not greasy).
  2. A moisturising oil of your choice (we use natural oils like Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Squalane and Evening Primrose Oil, but many creams use Paraffin Oil – yuck!).
  3. An emulsifier to hold those two together (because oil and water don’t mix well).
  4. An effective preservative system to make sure bacteria doesn’t contaminate it.

Then if you can make it even better by adding in the extra, good stuff. We use Allantoin in many of our product for skin repair and softening, a very concentrated form of Aloe Vera for its healing and soothing properties, Milk Protein to help skin elasticity, Centella Asiatica to sooth the skin, Zinc for natural sun protection…the list goes on. The best thing about making your own products is you can choose the ingredients you think are best and avoid a lot of the synthetic chemicals just like we do. And you can order all the ingredients online easily. If you don’t have time to make products yourself, we think we do a pretty good job.

Nowadays, we work alongside cosmetic chemists on the more complex products to make sure we use the latest advances in skin care to ensure our products are the best on the market. However, with the background of making products for my family, now I use the power of veto over lots of ingredients we don’t want to apply to ourselves or our children, or put into the environment. This includes ingredients like Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, Glycols, Silicones, Formaldehyde Donors (a class of preservatives), Paraffin Oil, SLS, SLES and many more ingredients you’d avoid if you were making products for your own family. Using natural ingredients sometimes means making compromises – Our creams aren’t always white in colour, they aren’t always super slippery, and they aren’t the cheapest around (Paraffin Oil is practically free!). Our toothpaste might not leave you with a super foamy mouth and we don’t do spray-on sun products for added convenience. But our philosophy is to make the healthiest products for us, for the environment and our customers.

Can you use less plastic?

As a father of 3 children and like any thinking person, what we are collectively doing to the environment scares me. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans each year! We get a lot of suggestions from customers asking us if we can swap our packaging to be made of different materials. The problem is that glass is not usually practical in the bathroom and requires more energy to make and transport. Refillable pouches are not usually recycled as they are laminated with different layers and need to be taken to a soft plastic recycling facility, which rarely happens.

Recycling plastic back into cosmetic bottles requires more energy, detergent and bleaching as they are sorted and then cleaned before remoulding, again using heat. So, our solution for now is to take plastic offcuts and rejects from manufacturers that would have otherwise gone to landfill, and these are remoulded into our bottles. Of course, they are all recyclable at end of life. Usually recycled plastic goes to making things like furniture or flooring, not new personal care bottles. For our tubes, we use virgin plastic for the layer that is in contact with the product, and recycled plastic for the outer layers. But let’s not forget what’s in the product and how that breaks down in the environment. There are a lot of ingredients we can’t use because they don’t break down quickly in the environment. This includes Silicones, SLS, many types of UV filters used in sun protection, Benzoates etc. All consumption has an impact, but we make the best choices we can, with the environment in mind. Check out more about our environmental initiatives here.

How do you treat your cows?

We don’t have cows. We aren’t called MooGoo because we “are made of milk”, it was just a pet name for our first product which was based on Udder Cream. If you think about it, putting any meaningful amount of milk into a cream and then leaving it on a shelf for 2 years in a non-long-life container would not end well – it would be really smelly! Fresh milk soaps are possible as the fats are made solid, but not possible for creams or shampoos. We do use Milk Protein in some moisturising creams as it helps with skin elasticity, but it’s not in our therapeutic products. We source that Milk Protein from dairy co-operatives that are non-GMO, but we don’t have our own cows. The only non-vegan ingredients we use is some of our products are Milk Protein, Honey and Beeswax.

Why do you use *insert particular ingredient*? I read on the internet that is causes death/cancer/pregnancy/nuclear armageddon etc.

People usually understand that the internet is not a reference source and if you want to find a website to confirm any opinion from “Was the moon landing faked?” through to “Does Aloe Vera cause cancer?” you could probably find it. What we do to make sure our ingredients are healthy is to look at studies, not random websites that claim everything they don’t use themselves is dangerous. You can find most of these studies using http://www.scholar.google.com. But if you’re still unsure after reading through these, you can always get in touch. The formulator is not some anonymous person in another country, but right here and passionate about what ingredients we have chosen to be healthiest for everyone.

Top Tip: Some people investigating ingredients will use an MSDS sheet. This document (Material Safety Data Sheet) is for the bulk handling of a material, not when it’s used in a product. So, for Wheat Flour for example, the MSDS will have all sorts of warnings from triggering allergies to respiratory irritation. That doesn’t mean avoid bread, it just means wear a face mask when pouring out the flour.

How do you choose your ingredients?

A lot of thought goes into our ingredient choices, but here are a few of the main things we consider:

  1. Use non irritating ingredients. Just because an ingredient is natural doesn’t mean it is always gentle. Many essential oils although lovely, can trigger reactions so we don’t use too many of these. As well as many synthetic chemicals, there is a long list of natural ingredients we also avoid.
  2. It must be as safe as possible if ingested or absorbed. Everything is a poison if you consume enough of it, even water (that’s called Water Toxemia). We choose ingredients that are as edible as possible, using baking soda as the base line for comparison. Most ingredients we use like Aloe, our plant oils, even our preservative system based on Hops are also used in foods.
  3. Effective Ingredients. There’s no point having ‘Green Tea’ in the ingredients if it just means a tiny bit of green tea as it wouldn’t make any difference. Instead we use the concentrated extract. Aloe Vera for example is mostly water. But by using the concentrated extract of Aloe, we can benefit from the full concentration of the good bits of the Aloe plant.

What does “Dermatologically Tested” mean?

You may have seen the term “Dermatologically Tested” on lots of products before, but did you know there’s no an actual definition or regulation for this term? Because that didn’t sit right with us, and because our aim is to make products for people with really sensitive skin, we decided to send a bunch of them off to be tested in an independent lab on 54 people who reported having sensitive skin. The results were given on a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 being no irritation or redness and 5 being a reaction. We’re happy to report that other than one person who had a reaction to the adhesive on the patch and another who found the patches painful to remove, all subjects reported 0 for redness and irritation for all the products we sent for testing. To check out the full report and summary of the test we did on this product, click here.