As I’ve shared with you in Back to Basics: Clean Eating and Clean Living, my mission is to get back to nature. I want to reduce the harmful chemicals my family and I voluntarily encounter on a daily basis. I sense your hesitation. You’re thinking, who voluntarily exposes themselves to harmful chemicals? We all do, albeit unknowingly, on a daily basis through our foods and personal care products.
According to a survey of 2,300 people conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in conjunction with a coalition of public interest and environmental health organizations, the average adult uses nine personal care products each day. That doesn’t sound so bad. What’s the big deal? Well, within that average of nine products are 126 unique chemical ingredients. Some are known human carcinogens (cancer causing). Keep in mind nine is the average. Some women and men reported using at least 15 personal care products per day. Now does it start to get alarming?
Think about all of the soaps, body lotions, creams, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, hairstyling aids, makeup, perfumes, colognes, sunscreens, and dental hygiene products we use. Granted, we need some of these items so we can interact with other human beings…unless you plan to live alone on a deserted island. But how do we avoid all of the harmful stuff?
That was my exact thought as I looked through my bathroom cabinet. I began reading labels and cross-referencing them with the EWG’s list of ingredients to avoid in personal care products. Oh my! I did not like what I saw. No wonder I couldn’t pronounce most of the ingredients. They were a cocktail of laboratory chemicals created to mass-produce products quickly and cheaply.
I was overwhelmed. Where do I start? I took to the Internet in search of peer-reviewed research papers and textbooks about the danger of the harmful chemicals in personal care products.
Next, I immersed myself in books about ancient Egyptian aromatherapy, ancient Egyptian herbalism, and modern-day herbalism.
I was surprised to find out that a lot of the remedies my grandmother used to prepare for minor illnesses, which we jokingly called, ‘old wives remedies,’ were found amongst the textbooks I read.
I was slack-jaw. My grandmother never put a name to anything she whipped up. She always described these concoctions by their contents, physical features, and where they were located.
Eureka! “So that’s what that stuff was called that she gave us.” It all made sense now. These were herbal remedies that were passed down from generation to generation from our homeland on the continent of Africa. My ancestors never wrote them down. They were just passed down from memory.
I was excited to recognize the decoctions, tinctures, and salves she made. Especially since they cured our ailments! If it worked for all of those generations down to me, then I was going to take up the torch.
Armed with my newfound information and vigor, I ventured to make my own products. Therefore, I’ll have the peace of mind knowing exactly what ingredients are in each product and that they will be effective.
My first order of business was addressing my husband and son’s eczema. I began researching natural remedies. Guided by these time-honored African recipes and centuries-old ingredients like Shea butter, nutrient-rich oils and essential oils, I handcrafted my first body butter.
Not only did my two favorite guys have success with the body butter for their eczema, we all used it as a daily body moisturizer. The positive changes in our skin were visible to the naked eye. Our skin took on a healthy glow, soft touch, and the dry eczema patches cleared up.
This was great. I had to find other test subjects. Don’t worry; I didn’t test on four-legged furry friends. I tested the body butter on two-legged family and friends. They were good sports about it and no one was harmed during testing. Actually, they all liked the product and the results they saw in their skin.
I credit the success of the body butter to my forefathers, who knew how to live in harmony with the earth and its ingredients. I sourced the purest, organic and/or wildcrafted, ingredients I could find. I researched wholesalers, read every page on their website, and called them with additional questions. I vetted them thoroughly before I placed an order.
Riding high on the response of the body butter, I meticulously tested recipes for body wash, body scrubs, body oils, and bath salts. I knew this journey was going to be a labor of love. I was determined to create a skincare line that people would be passionate about. It was out of this passion and desire that Violet Botanical Skincare was born.