Category Archives: Informational

Why Have International Shipping Prices Increased?

You may have noticed your international shipping bill increased this year. Compared to what you were spending, this is a rather large increase at that. Why has Carley’s Clear & Smooth increased their price and is it worth it?

USPS (United States Postal Service) increased their postage rates for American sellers shipping internationally as of January 2013. These prices hit hard for international customers as they increased about $7 across the board for the type of shipments that go internationally. Virtually all small businesses in America that ship internationally are struggling to cope.

PrintAmerican-Made Products
Being American-Made is something for us to be proud of. These products are made in America and packaged and shipped around the world using some of the best ingredients in the world. That means a lot of product going back and forth over the borders. While we love shipping to all parts of the world, it is just not possible for us to eat all of these shipping costs. You will see your shipping increase but don’t let that discourage you from trying quite perhaps the most truly natural product in the world with the best ingredients.

Is it worth it?
While you can put a price on clear skin and overall skin health (despite what those $100 moisturizer makers tell you), we’d like to think we are still quite affordable for what the products offer. Ask yourself how may months do you get out of a bottle? If you get the 3-4 months that we recommend, you are looking at the price of about 3 cups of coffee at Starbucks a month (about $10-$13). If you order two products you’ll still pay the same international rates so consider that.

You can find cheaper acne and skincare products if you walk to your local drug store, sure. You can also find some incredibly expensive options and we believe that Carley’s Clear & Smooth sits at the lower end of this totem pole of quality products. Do you really want to skimp out on something that you enjoy so much for you skin to go for the cheap drugstore options that didn’t work before?

Will the prices continue increasing?
Eventually, yes but not likely anytime soon. We’re doing our best to make sure the shipping prices don’t hurt our customers. We actually lose money on many transactions over shipping and we need to anticipate these increases just as much as any penny pinching customer. As gas prices rise and the USPS faces more budget problems, we’ll see future increases for all American exporters at some point. This increase was substantial and likely won’t happen again for some time. One thing you can look out for is exchange rates. In countries like Australia, the US dollar goes far and looks to continue that way so things can always be worse.

Email me if you have any questions about the most affordable shipping options for your international order. We follow the orders to make sure they go where they need to go so you can continue using your favorite American products!

A Mineral Makeup Guide – Foundations, Finishers, Blush, Bronzers and Makeup Removers

The number one question we get about products to use with our skin treatments is – What do I use for a foundation? How do I cover my acne until Carley’s kicks in? We love nothing better than hearing your stories of make-up free days. Even with clear skin, most women need make up when going. But as we investigated most make up, we were mostly concerned with the first layer. The foundation.

Liquid foundations on the market are just horrible. They are loaded with all sorts of chemicals. Just look at the ingredient labels. How many of those ingredients can you pronounce? It’s the same stuff in almost all store-bought moisturizers. Designed to be easy to manufacture and last on store shelves for years. Here’s the kicker: Most liquid foundations are so acidic, they may actually counteract our treatment.

That’s ok for most, but not for acne prone skin. You already know that you can’t use everything because many things make your acne worse. Mineral make ups are good, but many have suspicious ingredients too. We like a simple formula that provides good coverage.

March-FoundationMineral Foundation
Easy to apply. Lasts all day. Has sunscreen protection too. Carley’s Daytime Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin is perfect under it. With a powdered mineral foundation, they are applied with a brush and last all day. Mineral foundation make up is even water proof. While covering up skin discolorations they still feel light. Coming in 17 different colors and contains Mica, Zinc Oxides, Titaniam-Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Ultramarine Blue. does not contain Bizmouth Oxychloride.

March - Finishing PowderMineral Finishing Powder
To be used over the mineral foundation is Carley’s Mineral Finishing Powder. Giving you that finished, dewy look is made to set your makeup so your makeup is even. Containing Mica and Iron Oxides, this is a simple formula that is highly effective at handling the job.

March - BlushMineral Blush
So you have your makeup set and looking glamorous. How do you get that red, blushed look in your face that you always see makeup models demonstrate so perfectly. A Mineral Blush is great at handling this naturally with Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide and Ultramarine Blue.

March - BronzerMineral Bronzer
Getting that perfect sun-kissed look is possible with a proper bronzer. With a Mineral Bronzer, you have the opportunity to have that perfect bronzed, tanned look without forcing yourself to sit out in the sun all day and hurting your skin. Containing Mica, Iron Oxides and Ultramarine Blue, this highly simple formula has what you need for that golden shine to your skin.

Make-up removerMakeup Remover
People ask us all the time if can they use their cold cream. We say due to the acidity and chemicals in cold creams to get the best results, we prefer you don’t. In fact we ask you to try to avoid all other liquid skin care products due to the ingredients and consistency.

Use the Natural Soap to wash off the makeup. What if the natural soap doesn’t remove the eye make up? Easy. Just get a small bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Use that with a cotton pad to easily remove make up. Then close your eyes tight and wash with our natural soap (again). Rinse.

Keep in mind, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a very delicate product and should be refrigerated for long term storage. Keep a small bottle of it in your bath and the big bottle in your fridge. If not the fridge, make sure the bottle is tinted, not clear.

Products Recommended:
Carley’s Mineral Foundation
Carley’s Mineral Finishing Powder
Carley’s Mineral Blush
Carley’s Mineral Bronzer
Daytime Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
Natural Soap
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

The Little Chemical That Can’t: Triclosan and How to Avoid It

You probably know that the average store-bought soap is a chemical soup of Frankenstein ingredients. Ingredients that you now know can’t do anything to the skin but make it smell better. Triclosan is one such ingredient.

Triclosan-containing products

Invented in the 1960’s by a chemical company, triclosan was created as an effective antibacterial agent that kills bacteria. That might be awesome for your dirty countertops – but what of your skin? Your skin is the most exposed organ in the body and has a symbiotic relationship with the good bacteria on your body. Killing all the bacteria on your skin can have devastating effects for the health of your skin.

“[Triclosan] contributes to the growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and causes a range of human problems.”Food and Water Watch, 2009

Triclosan as an antibacterial soap is a relatively recent trend. Despite purported claims by major companies that antibacterial soaps are healthy, no such proof exists. The FDA voted 11-to-1 that antibacterial soaps were no more effective than regular soap and water. Oops.

Carley’s Clear & Smooth doesn’t touch triclosan with a 10 foot pole. Not only do we recommend avoiding products with triclosan but we adamantly oppose anyone on the acne regime to even come in contact with antibacterial soap. Why? While bacteria is responsible for acne and many major skin irritations, the solution of wiping out the skin’s bacteria as a panacea is a short-term fix that puts the skin’s balance in disarray.

SoapCounterSwearing off triclosan
Triclosan is found in virtually every antibacterial soap there is. Your hand soap, your detergents, your other household cleaners. To swear off this harmful soap to both you and the environment, try using Carley’s Natural Soap. Here are tips for replacing your household cleaners that come in contact with your skin with natural soap like Carley’s.

  • Put a soap bar in the bathroom next to the sink instead of hand wash. Lathering up a soap bar should not be hard at all with a soap tray.
  • Check your cosmetic ingredients for any that contain triclosan. Toss them. Or donate them to your worst enemy.
  • Replace dish soap by creating your own handpump. Put chunks of the soap in a handpump and add water and shake thoroughly. Voila! You have an easy lathered and convenient handpump that won’t destroy your skin or the environment.

Remember, sometimes it’s the little things that help your skin. Triclosan is linked to skin allergies and skin irritations. It may be just the small change in your life that gives you the perfect skin you were looking for.

Products mentioned:
Carley’s Natural Soap (1 bar)
Carley’s Natural Soap (5 bars)

Stop the Presses: Bar Soap is In?

According to Ad Age, the bar soap is back. Yahoo says that face wash “is so 10 minutes ago.” Thanks to trendy marketing the liquid body wash took over the world. Nothing was more convenient than pouring some soap, lathering quickly and getting out of the shower just as quick as you came in. Just as quick as they came (about a decade) marketers are seeing bar soaps as the gateway to the “natural market.”

What do these pretty much all of these liquid wash products contain? Terrible, “Frankenstein” ingredients just like many store bought cosmetics. These body washes are supposed to last three years on store shelves – what possible natural ingredient could survive that long without a ton of preservatives?

So manufacturers are going back to the old fashion way of making soap with lye, oils, waxes and long curing times – right? Not quite. The bar soaps you see on the market are more detergents than anything. Here’s some differences that these mass produced bar soaps have from the “real” thing:

Making natural liquid soap
By and large, it is a challenge for natural soap makers (think home made) to create a liquid wash. The wash separates easily with oil resting at the bottom and the rest of the good stuff to the top. You’ve found this out if you purchased Carley’s bodywash. The wash needs a good pump or two before use so you’re getting the complete benefits of the product. After about a thousand batches (really) we’ve found the right mix of natural ingredients that don’t separate but still – we won’t hold it against anyone if they make a product that separates. What’s funner than shaking a bottle before use like – like Yoo Hoo?

We’ve been making bar soaps for over a decade. The bar is functional, sleek and most importantly – the most natural way to make a cleaning product. There’s no focus group needed for us to make what you love!

Products Mentioned:
Carley’s Bar Soap

Carley’s Bar Soap (5 pack)
Carley’s Body Wash

Essential Oils, Carrier Oils or Fragrance Oils… Which Should Go on Your Skin?

Rapeseed oil field –

Whether it’s going into your cars, on your food or on your skin – “oils” play an important role in the day to day lives of people. The origins and use of oils are so vastly diverse that it is hard to label every type of oil as such. While oil in cars is usually labeled a petroleum, the oil we’re talking is usually in the form of an essential oil or a carrier oil.

Webster’s dictionary defines cosmetic oil as: “a substance (as a cosmetic preparation) of oily consistency.

An incredibly vague definition. Nothing is explained at all about why we use these oils or what kind we use. It is best to explain these oils by type:

Essential oils add the active qualities of a product. Whether it’s skin healing, soothing, softening, anti-inflammatory or a thousand different combinations of the above – every essential oil has numerous qualities. The only limit to a product with essential oils is what type go in what product. An essential oil known to soften rough skin will better go in a moisturizer than a discoloration cream.

We use essential oils in just about every product we use. It is the active ingredient to fulfill the benefits that we aim the product to achieve. Not only are there numerous kinds of essential oils but there are numerous grades. We use the highest quality forms with the least dilution. Some companies believe just a drop of expensive oil is enough but we believe that’s deceptive advertising.

Derived from the fatty portion of a plant, carrier oils are the vehicle that takes these oils through your skin. While some believe that oil containing products are what cause their breakouts there are others that believe that an oil can just sit on the skin. Both are wrong. Essential oils by itself may cause skin irritations or just sit there. Carrier oils will dilute these oils and allow the important stuff to break through the skin barriers.

Combine these with an efficient method of making moisturizer, notably without ingredients that block absorption, and you get the complete benefits of these oils.

Fragrance oils are the mystery oils in the cosmetic industry. Manufacturers do not need to disclose what is contained in fragrances. This is problematic for those with allergies to fragrances or what is contained in the base form. It’s hard to identify every ingredient in a product when fragrances are used. Aiming for paraben-free products? What about sulfate-free? With fragrances we probably will never know for sure!

Fragrances add little to a product other than aroma. This smell is short lasting and usually better for attracting people to the product rather than what it actually does. Combine the risks of using fragrances with such superficial qualities and this makes it a hard sell for us. We don’t use fragrances in any of our products.

There’s a Bug on your Face! Cosmetics and their Love Affair with Coloring.

Have you ever gone on a run or bike ride and gotten a cloud of nats stuck to your face? It’s not an enjoyable experience. What if they were ground up and put in the products that go on your face?

Bug juice is an actual ingredient that cosmetic (and food!) companies use to make their product look pretty. Unless you’re Bear Grylls, the thought of that may make you uncomfortable.

Hold the beatles, please
The female cochineal, when crushed after feeding on the pricky pear cacti, create a striking red color. The coloring is used in everything from lipstick to cosmetics with a reddish tint. Though this product may have little effect on most, some have had serious allergic reactions to this popular bug extract.

Red Dye #2
We wish this problem were just about bugs. Almost every cosmetic uses some sort of colorant. You may remember the Red Dye #2 panic. Studied linked the popular coloring to cancer. The Mars Company had to take red M&Ms out of lineup even though it contained no Red Dye #2! The coloring made a comeback in the form of Red Dye #40. In 2010, several governmental organizations have called for the ban of this dye now.

Remind me to only drink black coffee at Starbucks –

Starbucks recently “decided” to get rid of the bug juice carmine from their strawberry flavoring. Carmine is just a fancy word for crushed beetles. Starbucks will now use a natural tomato extract instead to color their strawberry filling. Why is it such a tug of war with the big companies to listen to the customers over margins?

How synthetic coloring?
Almost every colorant has some kind of effect on the body. Here is the “palette” of coloring a popular company uses for their line of cosmetics:

  • Brilliant Blue FCF – Derived from petroleum; known to cause allergic reactions; was banned in over 10 European countries
  • Sunset Yellow FCF – Derived from petroleum and coal tar; known to cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity; banned in several countries including Norway and Finland
  • Allura Red AC – Known to cause hyperactivity in children; The Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling for an FDA ban
We can’t look like Brad Pitt anymore than we can make a bug and color-free soap look like that

As much as we wish our soap could can be as pretty as Tyler Durden’s, we don’t use fragrances or coloring of any kind. In any product. This puts a major hamper on people’s expectations of what a soap should look like – pretty, sensual, beautiful, colorful. It’s not your prom date. It’s supposed to clean. For pure utilitarian purposes a soap with the absence of these terrible ingredients does far more for the skin.

“Natural” products
This goes back to what a natural product really is. We call our products natural and so do many others. But what is exactly is natural? Technically, bug juice is as natural as you get. The Ancient Aztecs used it as a dye for centuries. The real issue is the labeling. Companies list this ingredient as “other” or simply Carmine. It’s skating around the issue that bug juice simply disgusts most of us. Companies would rather keep their margins than disclose the nature of their ingredients.

Bug juice may seem gross but it’s not near as disgusting as some of the synthetic coloring that makes it’s way to the store shelves. Those can have devastating effects for some. For what? To make the product prettier. Nothing more.

If it’s Good Enough for King Tut’s it’s Good Enough for You: Black Seed Oil to Treat Eczema

Eczema and Itchy Skin Testimonials

“This absorbs so nicely and my hands are healing up already! In 2 days! Aloha!” -Louis

“This works! I had a rash for 2 months, this got rid of it in a week.” -sorchamacsidhe, eBay

“That eczema cream worked beautifully for an undiagnosed rash that
my daughter had. I mean… Instantaneously. It was absolutely amazing. I absolutely adore your product and even got another believer, who never found anything she was not allergic to except one cruddy over-the-counter product, who now swears by your product in Grass Valley.” -Linda, Grass Valley

“I love this cream. Started having very dry skin on my eyelids during the winter. I use this cream every night and within 2 days, my eyelids are no longer dry. Remember, this will not absorb in right away, but will within about 20 minutes. I just use it right before going to bed. Decided to try it on my face as well and it leaves my skin soft and hydrated. Very happy I found this.”

“May 10-year-old daughter had a terrible skin problem that has been resistant to many treatments. She would get wart-like bumps along with a constantly itchy skin rash that would redden, swell, and scale. My daughter started using the eczema lotion. It’s amazing. Literally within a handful of treatments, her 1+ year problem was gone. In fact, Carley’s wrote to inquire how it had worked and I had to admit that she had not complained for so long that I had literally forgotten what was once an EVERYDAY problem. I had to ask my daughter how it was working and she said it was definitely working! She has been itch free for over a month. How about that????!!!!!”

“This new eczema cream is really fabulous! Good work.” -k9tardus, eBay

“Love it, love it, love it, where have you been all my life? I’ll be back, thanks.” -sassyfrassy85, eBay

Product Reviewed: Carley’s Soothing Eczema Cream with Black Seed Oil 

Oil-Free Moisturizers: Why You Should Avoid Them

Think about a time when your skin was at it’s worse. It probably had an oily, greasy feeling that you couldn’t shake. It’s no wonder that you think the last thing your skin could use is a moisturizer containing oil. But that is exactly what I’m recommending you do.

Many people believe that if moisturizers containing oils touch your skin that the oil sits there and clogs pores. Exactly the opposite. As long as the moisturizers are dimethicone-free your moisturizer will act as a carrier by absorbing those oils. Many of these oils have magical effects on our skin:

  • Jojoba oil – Similar to natural skin oils. Known to soften and moisturize dry/mature skin. Also known to treat skin ailments like psoriasis, dermatitis, oily scalps and acne.
  • Kukui nut oil – Often used as a skin treatment after major sun exposure. Known to treat acne, eczema, chapped skin and even hemorrhoids.
  • Tamanu oil – Known to treat dry and delicate skin as well as healing leg ulcers and bruises.
There are literally HUNDREDS of oils with different effects on the skin. The notion that you should use none of these is absurd.
Would you rather your ingredients come from fields or a lab? –

Essential oils are ESSENTIAL
You are robbing yourself if you don’t expose your skin to these amazing oils. While your worrying that oil from cosmetics causes acne, you’re missing out on the oils known to treat acne!

I call oil-free moisturizers concoctions – because that’s what they are. A chemical soup of ingredients often there to replace the presence of what a true moisturizer contains – oils. Here’s a list of the things you typically find in an oil-free moisturizer:

  • Parabens – Used to extend the shelf life of cosmetics. Parabens are actually a family of several chemicals and are known to disrupt the endocrine system.
  • EDTA – Dissolves limescale. Also thrown in cosmetics so products don’t bubble up during manufacturing.
  • Phenoxyethanol – Used as an insect repellant and anesthetic in aquaculture (fish). Also used in cosmetics as a preservative and is known to depress the central nervous system.
  • Fragrances – Typically an allergen.

Plants, Seeds and Us

People that eat nuts are said to live two to three years longer than normal. Why? Nuts and seeds carry bountiful nutrients our bodies use.

Similar to a mother delivering nutrients to a baby by nursing, plants use oils as a way to deliver nutrients to offspring before they sink down roots. Every plant has it’s own formula within their seeds. The skin loves these oils because they are rich in nutrients. So as long as the oils can be carried through the skin (again, this where dimethicone fails) then they provide magical benefits.

A real moisturizer should have oils in it for optimal skin health

Some are allergic to certain nuts and oils. This has provoked widespread fear in the industry to provide any oils – let alone the good ones. If you look at Mayo Clinic’s list of the top ten skin allergens, oils aren’t even there! Mostly artificial fragrances, preservatives and metals found in your average store-bought cosmetics. Allergic reactions to oils happen but they are rare.

A recent customer almost said verbatim what we’ve been saying here:

This product has been AMAZING for me. Ironically the oils in the product have rejuvenated and softened my skin. The secret is using the right oils your skin needed.

How to Strengthen Sensitive Skin through Exfoliation

If you see any cosmetic ad you’ll see the word “exfoliation”. Exfoliation remove the dead skin cells on the surface to give way for new skin. Few topics have such far ranging opinions as exfoliation – some say it causes micro tears while others use the science as an excuse to throw (literal) acids on their face. We’d like to think both are wrong.

Before I explain why a moderate exfoliate is so great, let’s take a look at the skin at the microscopic level. New cells are created at the dermis level. As the cells reach the outer epidermis level, they die. As the body ages so does the process of skin growth. Parts of the skin grow unevenly and you experience dryness and irritation. Exfoliation helps the process of removing this outermost layer. Dead cells can no longer block new ones from surfacing. Pores become unclogged and the skin becomes cleaner overall.

This is where two “schools of thought” form:

Exfoliation causes microscopic tears on the skin and should be avoided – This argument hypothesizes that exfoliation with any sort of roughness should be avoided. They especially bring up the point that crushed nuts or seeds cause microscopic tears as well as any exfoliant using a wash cloth. The problem with this theory is that the skin needs a certain level of roughness to remove the dead skin cells. Softly rubbing fine synthetic grains will exfoliate little. Your skin may even become irritated from these synthetic abrasives.

Effective exfoliation should be done with expensive chemical peels or dermabrasions – “No pain, no gain” is what dermatologists say about this procedure. By pain they mean putting acids on your skin so strong that your skin scabs and can takes weeks even months to recover from. The procedure puts patients at risk from everything from scarring to severe infections. All for supposedly slightly tighter skin with fewer blemishes. Yeah, and popping a pimple has a 100% of getting rid of said pimple. Doesn’t mean we’d recommend it. We don’t believe completely destroying your skin in order to rebuild it better is the answer and especially not if it involves killing most of your skin’s good bacteria.

Choosing between these two “schools of thought” is like choosing between a fitness program that doesn’t allow you to sweat and a program so tough you can’t move for weeks after the first day. Insanity!

We think there’s a reason why people with delicate skin tend to develop the most wrinkles. Their skin is very thin and grows slowly. As their skin scratches it bleeds easily. Extra layers of skin called scars form more easily in these areas. Skin is thin and less adapt to change. You can call this the natural aging process of skin but we think it can be reversed.

What did we learn from exercising about the skin?

During a hard session at the gym, microscopic muscle fibers are being torn. Once that soreness heals your muscles become stronger.. It’s the natural process called hypertrophy. Not only are they stronger but more durable. Our bodies are all about adaptations and repairing.

Exfoliation is no different. You have very sensitive skin? Exfoliate gently and build up. Your skin won’t grow into a dry, calloused mess anymore than you’d turn into a giant bodybuilder by consistently going to the gym. What you will see is the skin becoming stronger. Your body will be healthier and more adapt to change as the lifecycle of your skin is faster. Cuts will health faster.

The facial muscles are important to!

Don’t grow a beard? Try exfoliating your face daily to activate those muscles –

Another benefit of exfoliating is the massaging action you do to your skin. This invigorates the facial muscles. One of the reasons men’s facial skin ages slower than women is the act of shaving. Shaving forces men to use these facial muscles to get every part of the face to elimate the hair. Exfoliation helps but it is a good idea to work these facial muscles daily.
To summarize the consequences of not exfoliating I’ll quote my favorite movie The 40 Year Old Virgin: “Is it true if you don’t use it… You’ll lose it?” I think so.

The Before and After Deception

It’s easy to photoshop a “before” shot into an “after” – Right is before and left is after

Anyone with experience in marketing will tell you that you need a sensitive “BS meter” to survive in today’s consumer driven world. Cheap promotions, infomercials, too-good-to-be-true models, “miracle cures” all trigger this alarm. One of the most deceptive forms of advertising is the “Before and After Picture”. No industry does it better than cosmetics.

There is no better story than a dramatic transformation in pictures. Think about it: You’re looking for a product that can cure your acne and compare two different products. The “before” pictures are always the same. The “after” pictures? Also the same. From rough, acne scarred faces to clear as day skin. There is NOTHING that differentiates them (other than the paid models)!

This video of an “amazing transformation” was nothing out of the ordinary. All it took was switching the order of the pictures. The “before” picture – ironically done “after” was a result of vegetation and a vast amount of dairy and sodium. If an entire fitness program can deceive customers through five hours of amateur deception, what chance do you have believing a cosmetic company’s claims?

Customers have sent their own pictures to us but there are too many variables to honestly advertise their improvement

The skin industry uses this form of advertising even more deceptively than that video showed. Models are often paid to star in these infomercials and promotional adverts. Photos are taken without any make-up and the same facial expression in each – frowning. The “after” pictures are often no more than a savvy combination of smiles, professional makeup and Photoshop. Plastic surgeon Joseph Niamtu , DMD warns consumers to look for the differences in flash in these pictures. You can often spot major differences in pictures simply through the method of photography. When taken with a flash, the skin usually looks much better – and worse without the flash. The opposite effect may occur if the model has noticeably oily skin. Lighting, moods, day chosen, facial expression, make-up, diet and even Photoshop. Photoshopping has also become such a problem in cosmetic advertising that lawmakers are seeking to ban the practice. Tips for spotting deceptive cosmetic advertisements:

  • The subjects chosen are models – This might be hard to spot but real subjects are almost always described as such
  • Look out for the flash and lighting differences
  • Notice if the skin has an other-worldly smoothness – This screams professional Photoshop
  • The “before” picture is frowning and the “after” is smiling – Advertisers now seem to use the same facial expressions since it’s so easy to spot
  • The words “miracle cure” show up anywhere

I hope I made your “BS Meter” that much more wary. We don’t want to be negative and tell you that our product – or any product out there – can’t cure you. It can. What we want to tell you is that this form of promotion has been used to death. We don’t want to give anyone false expectations. Everyone clears up differently at different intervals. This is why we will never use this dreaded form of promotion.

Why Freshness Matters (with Cosmetics)

In this day and age, being a budget conscious consumer has never been easier. Not only can you purchase products for dirt cheap prices at the supermarket but Frankenstein ingredients keep them “fresh” for years.

With a year past expiration these products often work just as “well” as when you purchased them. What does it say about a product that is as effective from Day 1 as it is in Year 2 or even 3?

The “fresh” label is thrown around a lot. Products made fresh create a fresh feel, freshy smell and makes your skin feel fresh! The problem? Most products on store shelves can’t be made fresh. The product turnover (rate they sit on the shelf) isn’t high enough. Even if the big companies could, they wouldn’t due to fear of margins.

Since skin care products are derived from plants and animals (though Carley’s avoids animal products) – their has to be a point where these ingredients lose effectiveness. This is where products that would otherwise go stale are pumped with ingredients to prolong lifespan. This is where that term “Frankenstein products” comes into play. Or if your a little more modern – think of the villain Bain that needed toxic chemicals to keep his powers.

The benefit of selling online is that product turnover is high. What is made in a lab one day can be packaged up the same day and ready to be shipped by the morning. Compared to products sitting on store shelves – that’s like comparing a fresh doughnut to a Twinkie!

What happens to ingredients when they go stale?
They become less effective. Most skin care products today are made in a pH acidic formula to take advantage of the long term preservatives (parabens). This is how big manufacturers get away with making millions of products at one time. Even if it takes years for them to be sold.

How long do you have before a product goes stale?
A typical retail product will have a shelf life of several years. It’s hard to know because there are no manufacture dates. Retail requires a long shelf life. We make everything in small bactches and ship fresh. We recommend you use within one year.

How can you prolong freshness?
Refrigerate – Products containing delicate ingredients such as the Eczema Cream, Eye Cream, Virgin Coconut Moisturizer, Lip Balm, Foot Balm, Tamanu Cream, Regeneration Cream and Rose Hip Cream are all stored in refrigeration. When not in use for a prolonged period, keep these products refrigerated. Don’t freeze them!

Keeping the products out of direct sunlight helps –

Sun – Just like your own skin, the sun can damage products. Try and keep any product out direct sunlight. This means keeping your shower window sill clear.

Preservatives – The more preservatives, the longer a product lasts. More importantly, the more preservatives the higher likelihood of skin irritation. To last any time on your bathroom counter a product needs some preservatives. This is why we carefully choose which preservatives are used – usually just a trace amount (less than 0.4%) of Germall Plus. No “natural” preservative can really ward off any significant bacteria or staleness.

As a general rule of thumb, use products within a year. We date ours as such. If you aren’t finishing these in a year, you aren’t using them enough.

Products Mentioned:

The Short History of Skin Care

It’s funny how history repeats itself. What is good for you one day is ineffective the next. There’s always something that is the next best thing”. We usually know little about this “next big thing” until it’s been here for years. Until we’ve actually seen the effects. This message someone made, as a knock against modern medicine, perfectly demonstrates this:

History of Medicine:

1000 AD: “Here, eat this herb.”
1700: “That herb is an old wives’ tale; take this elixir.”
1900: “That elixir is quackery; take this pill.”
1960: “That pill doesn’t do any good; take this antibiotic.”
2000: “That antibiotic isn’t safe; take this herb.”

This is obviously to be taken tongue in cheek. A knock against medicine – holistic and modern – in general. But it reminds an awful lot of the skin care industry! Here’s my take:

History of Skin Care:

2000 BC: “Here, put these essential oils on your skin.”
1000 BC: “Still have skin problems? Try sulfur.”
1920: “Sulfur irritating/drying your skin out too much? Try benzoyl peroxide.”
1960: “I combined all of those ingredients to make a cure! Try this ointment.”
1980: “Overused the ointments – now you have adult acne? Take this Accutane.”
2010: “Complications from Accutane? Try something a little more natural.”

Natural Shea butter being pounded –

You can’t fool nature. Powerful ointments may fool us into thinking “if I can just find a bit stronger one I will be clear.” Little do we know that makes things worse. As much as you may disdain the big companies and want to “go natural”, modern technology enables us to combine new methods with old. Here’s how a product can be made using the best of both worlds:

  • New methods – Ability to ship anywhere in the world freshly made products.
  • Old methods – Made fresh locally.
  • New methods – Accurate, precise measurements and an artisan approach.
  • Old methods – Long lost secrets of skin care ‘sorcerers’ to making moisturizers and products.
  • New methods – Ability to import any high quality ingredient from anywhere in the world.
  • Old methods – Use of oils and butters and herbs, that were only found locally in season.
  • New methods – Absence of toxic ingredients that used to be used such as lead and mercury.
  • Old methods – Absence of harsh ingredients currently used such as sulfur, heavy preservatives, acidic products, silicone/dimethicone and artificial fragrances.
The rise in processed foods consumption

This perfectly reflects the state of the food industry People of old ate a healthier and far simpler diet. The rise in processed food coincides with a series of complications. Even with all of the vast knowledge we have to know that it is bad for you! Who’s to say the skin industry doesn’t face the same problem?

Moisturizers and creams made the right way can look almost indistinguishable from home-made creams of old. They work better too. By combining the simplified methods of the past with modern technology, we really can get the best of both worlds!