Know Your Ingredients & Their Sources: Make the Best Decisions for Your Body & Planet

Culture Shifts and a Changing World:

At Cosmic Body, we recognize that humanity’s knowledge is constantly shifting. That what we believe to be true and understand to be the best will most likely change as we continue to push past our own understanding of the world. 

This post serves as a guide to help you easily understand the various forms of ingredient categories; what they are, how different ingredients are made, and what is truly healthy for you. Of course, our understanding is always growing and we encourage anyone who is interested to take the pursuit of learning and experimenting upon themselves.

What Makes for a Renewable Ingredient?

Beyond sustainable, Cosmic Body prides ourselves in using renewable ingredients. Our planet needs us to take the time to cultivate practices that are in alignment with the natural rhythms of nature. So, what does it really mean for an ingredient to be renewable?

For an ingredient to be renewable, it has to:
  1. Come from a plant matter which does not need to be fully cut down in order to be harvested. For example, coconut oil and almond oil come from coconuts and almonds that can be harvested from the tree while the tree still lives. 
  2. Require little (fossil fuel) to produce. For example, utilizing an herb requires growing, harvesting, drying and powdering the herbs, then suspending it in an oil base for extraction. Though this practice may sound tedious, it's a more sustainable practice longterm. 

Essentially when it comes to renewability, you are giving back as much as you are getting. When you harvest a crop, you give back to the land. When raising livestock, you create your own ecosystem with the animals so that they can live in harmony with one another.

Beeswax:

Beeswax is a naturally sourced product that, depending on the frequency of the harvest, can be sustainable. A good way to ensure that you are purchasing sustainable beeswax or honey is to check that the company holds a ‘bee first’ mentality. This means that the harvester puts the life of the bees as the priority instead of the harvest. That if there is not enough to harvest and support the bees, the harvest will be forgone to ensure the survival of the colony.

In terms of product sustainability, beeswax is a much more environmentally friendly product compared to similar products like petroleum jelly, which is derived from fossil fuels. Any product derived from fossil fuels long term, cannot be considered environmentally sustainable as this is a limited resource.

We believe in using ingredients that are better for the planet and better for you. That’s why we use beeswax in our Everything for Everyone face and body balm.

 

Cosmic Body uses only unprocessed and lightly processed ingredients. So what’s the difference between unprocessed, lightly processed and processed ingredients?
Unprocessed:

Unprocessed ingredients require little to no processing in order to be ready for formulation use. This includes things like aloe vera (cutting open the leaves of the plant and extracting the gel) or cinnamon powder (drying and powdering the stems).

Lightly Processed:

Lightly processed ingredients require a minimal amount of process in order to reach end efficacy. Examples would be olive or nut oils. This is for when the fruit of the plant is harvested and goes through 2-4 processes of extracting, straining or heat exposure in order to reach the end results.

Processed: 

Processed ingredients often require a large amount of processes to get to their final formulation stage, and are often not recognizable by texture or scent in their final form. Safe-for-use examples that lend themselves to our modern standards for soft skin, shiny hair or painted nails would be glycerine or dimethicone. 

While less desirable or safe examples would be propylene glycol or phthalates. Technically, many processed ingredients are still considered plant derived, a common claim in the cosmetics industry that gives consumers confidence that there are no animal by-products in their beloved products, but says little about safety or quality. Because of our focus on complete herbal integration, Cosmic Body does not use any processed ingredients at this time.

Cold Processed V. Heat Processed

Cold Processed:

Cold processing oils ensures that the oils will maintain their nutritional value after the process. It ensures quality ingredients that will have more potency and yield better results as well. All Cosmic Body oils are cold pressed, with the exception of our essential oils, which are extracted. 

To try some of our favorite oil based formulas, try our Longer and Stronger Hair Oil, Vital Woman and our 6 and 1 Miracle Oil

Hot Processed:

Hot processing, while an easier practice, ultimately strips the oils of some of their nutritional value.

Plant Derived:

As stated earlier, this is a common phrase being used in the health and beauty industry right now. This simply means there are no animal by-products in the product, but it does not have anything to do with ingredient safety, how processed or sustainable an ingredient is, or how suitable it is for optimizing health. While the intention is good and especially comforting for those living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, be aware of reading ingredients on these labels despite this claim as this is a widely cast category with many variations and qualities layered within it.

Natural:

Natural ingredients are all those which originate from a natural source. However, it’s important to note that the term ‘natural’ is not FDA regulated. This means that any business can slap a natural label on their product without it containing natural ingredients.

Safe synthetics:

A safe synthetic is made in a lab, rather than found in nature. Synthetics often get a bad rep, hence the term safe synthetic has been coined by beauty companies. Popular beauty companies such as Lush and Glossier both use safe synthetics in their products. Our sister company, Camille Beckman, carries fragrances that are also considered to be safe synthetics

Synthetics are popular because they ensure consistency within a product. However, they do raise controversy amongst beauty buyers because some safe synthetics have detergents, parabens and alcohol and can cause adverse skin reactions. Before saying yes or no to safe synthetics, its best practice to see what the synthetic is before making an informed decision.

 

Other Common Ingredient Lingo: 

Organic:

In order to label anything as organic, it must be approved as organic by an independent source. There are also layers to how organic a product can be. To save confusion, we’ve broken it down:

"Made with Organic Ingredients"

Anywhere from 70% - 94% of the ingredients within the product are of organic origins.

"Organic Ingredients"

At least 95% of the ingredients within the product are made from organic materials.

"100% Organic Ingredients"

This translates to what it sounds like, all of the ingredients in this product are organic.

Clean:

Any product labeled as clean can be either naturally sourced or lab grown (see safe synthetic). When a product is labeled as clean, it means that it’s safe to use on the skin. However, similar to ‘natural’, the term clean isn’t regulated by the FDA.

Kosher: 

Translating to ‘proper’ or ‘fit’ for Jewish consumption. Kosher is a common word in describing food, but it also applies to beauty products as well. Kosher beauty products are alcohol free, free from animal fats and testing.

Halal:

Halal translates to what’s permissible under Muslim Law. Similar to Kosher, halal applies to food, beauty products, etc. that are safe for Muslims to consume. What makes skin care products halal? They don’t contain bi-products from animals such as pigs and dogs. They are handled with clean utensils and safe ingredients. 

Cosmic Body goes above and beyond in our commitment to natural, organic and clean ingredients. Certifying almost all of our ingredients are as renewable, unprocessed or minimally processed as possible and ensuring quality control measures in every step.

Many of our ingredients are now being purchased direct from farms instead of through ingredient sales companies, with a goal for all ingredients to be sourced direct from farms within the next five years. This vision leads by example, creating the ultimate in transparency for customers and economic growth for the 99% by paying farmers out full value for ingredients instead of cutting in chemical conglomerates as middle men. Cosmic Body is truly an ingredient and formulation revolution and we are grateful you are a part of it.