What is natural?

We are very passionate about not only ensuring that the products we choose are use only the finest natural ingredients but also sharing our knowledge about making natural choices with our customers.

We believe knowledge is power and being informed on what are truly natural products and how to identify them is very important.

What is Greenwashing?

Companies are now realising that it pays to be seen as pure and clean. Green-washing – or incorporating a marketing message to help boost sales while not really delivering a pure product - is rife in the skincare and personal products industry.

Greenwashing is actually like brainwashing - imagery and wording are used by companies to give the impression that their products are natural while masking the other synthetic ingredients in their products.

Photos of indigenous tribes producing oils; images of herbs or words such as natural, pure, nature-identical all give the impression that the product is safe and good for you.

Putting the word 'natural’ on a product to help double its sales has created a lot of confusion in the marketplace and consumers are becoming skeptical about what they are being told.

The best way to empower yourself is to be armed with the information you need to make good decisions. You can do this using our '10 nasties to avoid' wallet card and our other tips below.

Surely ingredients are safe if companies use them?

There are of course two sides to every story and you will find the use of these ingredients justified by the companies using them. They'll also tell you the governments allow the on-going non-regulation of them.

A common come-back from ‘research’ by the companies making these synthetic chemicals is they are ‘safe’ in very low doses.

What they don't test is how these ‘safe low doses’:

  1. Accumulate in our blood and tissue.
  2. How they react with all the other ‘low dose’ synthetic chemicals we are exposed to.

And what is a low dose? We had a look at what the recommendation for phenoxyethanol was in products – 1%, that doesn't seem much but when you think of a 250ml shampoo that is 2.5ml or ½ tsp!

How do you identify what is natural in this marketplace and what is truly good for you?

  • Look past the marketing and read ingredients labels (use our 10 nasties cards and there are lots of great resources online and in books).
  • If you're not sure about what an ingredient is then ask the company – contact them via email or facebook or ring them up.
  • Remember that the scent of natural cosmetics will be more complex and subtle. Synthetics or “nature-identical” substances are harsh on your skin, strong smelling and long lasting.
  • Colours which are naturally derived may fade if exposed to sunlight. Artificial colours usually won't fade – you might have products which are the same colour 5 years later. Alkanet, beetroot, carrot and chlorophyll all yield natural colours.
  • Trust your instinct and find a company whose ethics, values and products you can trust.

The brain can get overwhelmed with information and what we go back to sometimes is whether it feels right in our hearts. Go back to your intuition – it is enough.

Check out these websites for more information on toxic chemicals in your skin and body care products:

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database


Toxins In, Toxins Out

We believe that it is very important to be aware of what we are putting in and on our bodies and the potential effects on our health and well-being.

We want to help empower people to make choices which have a positive effect on not only ourselves but on the beautiful planet we live on and the communities we live within.

Unfortunately we are exposed to many toxins through our environment, cosmetics, health care products, foods and household products.

It can seem overwhelming when you start to look at what we are exposed to but even the smallest changes you make can make a positive impact and it’s never too late to start.

The production of synthetic chemicals not only affects the end-user (us) but it also has a negative impact on the workers who manufacture them in factories and our environment. These chemicals are put into our environment through their manufacture and also by our use – plastics, cleaners, shampoos etc, these end up in our water ways, soil and air and ultimately in our wildlife and animals. Animals have toxic loads too which are passed on when we consume them.

The skin absorbs a lot of what we apply to it and it is said that over 60 years an average woman will absorb 14kg of skincare ingredients through her skin into her body. This is critically important because most of the chemicals you are using everyday have never been assessed for safety!

The industry is unregulated. For example the FDA in America have reviewed the safety of just 11% of the 10,000+ ingredients used in beauty products, banning only 9 completely since 1976k! How scary is that?!

It is like we are being used as the largest chemical trial in history! That means you, your children, your husband, the people you love get to be the real living guinea pigs in this ongoing experiment.

We have to ask why we are being faced with such high rates of cancer, reproductive issues, asthma, learning difficulties, central nervous system problems and many more and take a hard look at what we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis.

If you have a choice between absorbing synthetic chemicals and petroleum derived ingredients or nutrient rich botanical actives, what would you choose? There is a choice and we believe that there is no place in our daily routine for chemical nasties.

These synthetic and petroleum derived ingredients can poison us, disrupt our hormone balance and some normal beneficial enzyme activity in the body, and cause ill health and stress to our skin and organs.

Parabens, which are synthetic preservatives used in many skincare products, have been shown in laboratory tests to cause DNA damage which may lead to the formation of cancerous cells. Paraben residue, introduced through the use of skincare products, has been found in cancerous tumours. The production of these nasty chemicals is big business and is harmful for the environment.



Our Future

We need to think about our future generations and leaving a legacy of knowledge, support and information to help them make well-being a natural choice and allow them to help our planet.

Our babies are now being born with toxic loads from the chemicals crossing the placenta. That pure, amazing little baby is actually being born with a toxic load! We think this is a real wake-up call for us and the well-being of future generations.

The baby industry is similar to the cosmetics industry in the raft of toxic ingredients now being commonly used. For example - ‘In the states, a survey in 1993 found levels of 1,4 dioxin a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, in 27 out of 30 children’s shampoo and bath products’.

We have to ask ourselves what is going on? Why has this become an acceptable way of life? Is this is what is causing growing rates of child and adult ill health? Did you ever ask your grandmother what she used to wash babies? Most of time it was just water or a bit of soap.

At the herb farm we feel so strongly about these issues that we have researched the subject and printed up what we call our `nasties card’ – this is a wallet guide you can use when purchasing skincare and body care products and list the 10 most common nasties.

If you would like a '10 Nasties to Avoid' Card sent to you please email us with your address and we will happily send one to you.

Reference by The Herb Farm