Dr. Isidor Apothecary and Perfumery Workshop
Natural herbal apothecary products versus commercially available brands
Probably you noticed that natural cosmetic, cosmeceutical and apothecary products slowly are taking over the beauty industry in our modern times. The idea that natural and organic cosmetics could actually be good for your facial, hand / body skin is presently being challenged by many large cosmetic companies and manufacturers. Objectively and professionally, I think you should be aware of some important facts related to natural, organic, traditional apothecary compared with commercially available brands.
People are still confused as the organic food is still more expensive compared with the regular and processed food commonly available and present in our everyday diet. The same is with the natural and organic apothecary products, cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. Probably it will take time when people will adopt once again the natural and organic apothecary products in everyday use and life and our modern times.
Are the natural apothecary products profitable?
There is one very important fact, natural and herbal cosmetics and other apothecary products including cosmeceuticals are not as profitable as commercially available brands because they require sometimes costly and I would say rare ingredients that are from nature and made without chemicals, artificial additives, preservatives that are mostly toxic to the body. Also, each formulation requires one factor and that is a time; sometimes it takes more than 40 days just to make an initial formula or solution what represents the start point and foundation for the further process to the point to get the final products.
Are the natural apothecary products costly?
Generally, natural cosmetics and apothecary products cost approximately 50 – 60% more to make than commercial brand products and objectively can have a significantly shorter shelf life compared with commercially available brands. That fact is totally understandable, in natural products there are no chemicals, additives, and preservatives as in the form of commercially available brands, and simply we have to use certain natural and organic oils and essential oils as a preservative and additives for natural products. The profit margin may be smaller but the benefits are certainly undeniable.
Well, still in the natural and organic apothecary products, cosmetics and cosmeceuticals you have the same factors and principles included as in commercially available brands such as vehicles, surfactants, thickening agents, penetration enhancers, preservatives, but they are all natural and made of organically or widely grown herbs and plants. This important fact is up to apothecary master, his/her knowledge, and experience how he/she will handle these important factors.
What do customers say about natural herbal apothecary products?
The customers who use natural and herbal apothecary products have reported that their skin has stopped reacting and breaking out or for example they have less visible scars, less skin imperfections and improving appearance of aging skin. They also claim that the quality of their skin has improved and the aging process slowed. Does your current favorite product or products really do that? There are so many claims these days, it’s almost a given that they will promise anything. We don’t have to do that, the proof is in the result, thousands years of usage of traditional, natural and herbal apothecary products including ethno cosmetics and ethno cosmeceuticals. However, “this street is two way street”, there are some customers who claimed that a natural and herbal hair shampoo (for example) does not foam enough, or it does not foam as commercially available brands. A hair shampoo does not need to foam a lot; it is simply consequence of the chemistry applied in the commercially available products.
Generally, a natural herbal apothecary is still largely misunderstood by customers, existing more in stereotype than in substance, more in image than in reality. Simply we forgot legacies of our ancestors or even we are not fully aware of all legacies in traditional apothecary.
Here are some of the benefits of natural cosmetics and apothecary products versus commercial brands as well as some precautions:
- Natural Cosmetics contain beneficial and organic butters, oils, herbal extracts, and natural herbal preservatives, vehicles, surfactants, thickening agents and skin penetration enhancers. Commercially available brands produce artificial makeup and other cosmetics that may look really good but their long-term effect on the body is quite bad and simply devastating. They tend to deteriorate the quality of your skin and often they speed up the aging process. Scientific literature exhibited such devastating results. Probably you notice such a thing after using the commercially available products for a long time. Most contain harmful parabens, phtalen and glycols, silicones, plastics and aluminum.
- Natural cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and other apothecary products have a shelf life of up to several months to years (of course, it depends on a formula and a type of the natural product) and are made always in small batches to keep freshness and effectiveness. Commercial brands typically have a shelf life of 3-5 years but are still left on the shelves simply because they have artificial fragrances to cover the smell of rancidity. The products are made by the thousands at a time and have no expiration date on the packaging.
- All natural and herbal products list ALL the ingredients on the product itself or the packaging. Commercial brands are not required by law to list any ingredients 1% or less and typically post them on the packaging that is thrown away immediately, so you don’t see them.
- Objectively, natural cosmetics and other natural apothecary products are actually less expensive than some commercial brands. Most of apothecary workshops that produce natural apothecary products are not spending your money on fancy packaging, costly jars, or costly perfume bottles; it is being spent on the integrity of the product and its formula. Commercial brands spend up to 80% of their costs on marketing and packaging. The ingredients they use are also far from “green” or “organic” and are mostly petroleum bi-products.
- Well, there is one important fact, it has been recognized that topical apothecary products, cosmetics and cosmeceuticals can produce skin disorders such as (for example) irritation, contact dermatitis and photosensitization. According to the scientific literature data up to 10% of dermatological alterations are caused by allergic reactions to pharmaceutical and commercially available cosmetic products. Probably you are thinking that the natural products cannot do such a thing. It is absolutely of crucial importance to evaluate ingredients and finished formulas (products) by apothecary masters for comedogenicity or acnegenicity. Just to be more understandable for example lanolin rich products and its derivatives carry high degree of comedogenicity. Sometimes the vehicles can alter the comedogenic and acnegenic potentials and simply interactions among ingredients may alter their noxious effects. Thus, the finished products even 100% natural and so called organic should always be tested. It is up to an apothecary master to consider testing of his / her final formula and / or product. What I would like to say? Be very careful even with natural herbal cosmetics and apothecary products; explore all important facts who is behind apothecary workshops, their experience, knowledge, expertize; order samples, try them on your facial or hand/body skin or hair; do they work for you (specifically), are you allergic on some essential oils or carrier oils and even you are not aware of that. The natural herbal apothecary industry grows tremendously and the market is full with different products.
- Herbal, natural, organic cosmetic formulas and other apothecary formulas should take care about proper formulation and the most important proper and beneficial skin penetration. Objectively, formulations of the natural products are mixtures of components that basically include one or more vehicles and one or more active principles. Simply the efficacy of dermatological, cosmetic and apothecary products related to skin care is influenced by the type of vehicle and active ingredients. In general, each formulation will work properly if the active ingredients penetrate into the epidermis. Explore all ingredients, does the formula you bought really have all necessary factors such as natural vehicle(s), surfactants, thickening agents, penetration enhancers and/or natural preservatives.
- In traditional and natural / herbal apothecary selection of suitable vehicle plays an important role during the development of a product or formula. People of old times knew what worked what not worked but they were not able to explain how, who, what…because until the beginning of the 1900s there were no clear differences existed between active and inactive components in apothecary products including cosmetics and cosmeceuticals or ethno-cosmetics and ethno-cosmeceuticals. Later, it became possible to assign specific therapeutic or potential healing effects to certain substances and the concept vehicle a rather inactive carrier substance started to be developed.
- Objectively and professionally, be aware of some potential noxious side effects of topical formulations even in traditional, herbal, natural and organic apothecary and perfumery. First test by samples of interesting products on your skin (specifically), it does not mean if something is natural, organic or herbal…is an excellent choice for your skin. The practice of herbal, natural skin treatment has very ancient origins, but please bear in your mind that we live in our modern times, substantially different compared with old times. Certainly this important fact calls for some modifications, adjustments, compromises…in your modern times.
- As I mentioned above, traditional and ancient natural, organic apothecary is still largely misunderstood by people and customers, existing more in stereotype than in substance, more in image than in reality. Thus, ask your natural and traditional apothecary master everything what you want to know about natural, organic products and formulas, make consultations.
Dr. Isidor Apothecary