Organic Lavender Products

Safety Of Handmade Personal Care Products

Handmade items sold at local farmers markets and local boutiques can be wonderful products for personal care use. Most are crafted using simple nourishing safe ingredients. I am always looking at these products when I see them, I love seeing what others are doing with ingredients, labels, and packaging. There are many wonderfully talented people out there that offer an alternative to the corporate brands. I also see many things that make me cringe or are downright unsafe. I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago in a quaint small town, my wife and I walked the main street to sample the local shops. We wandered into a local boutique with various odds and ends, mostly cool vintage stuff. In the middle of the store there was a display of local handcrafted bath and beauty products. I began to check them out. I was looking over a body cream in a small double wall tub container. I noticed there was product in the seam between the lid and tub (not good) there was also product on the underside. Being that the container had no seal around on the outside I decided to open it, no seal under the lid either. I looked at several other products displayed. There was a lip balm, no safety seal, and the label coming off. Side note: I have struggled with lip balm labels myself. If I had wanted, I could have popped the top on the lip balm and licked it, put it back and nobody would have been the wiser. Now I am not saying that people run around doing that kind of stuff, but it could happen. I then found a lotion; I want to mention that up until the lotion none of the products listed any ingredients on the labels. I was intrigued that the lotion had ingredients listed on it. The second ingredient was water, along with three oils and an emulsifier. The last ingredient was vitamin E. Absolutely no preservative was listed, I can only assume this was a homemade internet recipe that believed the vitamin E would function as a preservative. Folks, vitamin E is NOT a preservative, it can function as an antioxidant with oils, but it will not stop nasties from developing in the water-based emulsion that was on the shelf. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS and must stop. I politely inquired about the products. The shop owner indicated she sold over $1,000.00 a month of these products. Not wanting to offend the shop owner I did not tell her my opinion of the products and that left me feeling conflicted. I did however offer her to carry our products and she willfully accepted. My hope is the stark difference in packaging safety and cleanliness will make the obvious apparent.

The handmade industry has little oversight or inspections and all too often there are products sold that use a recipe off the internet only intended for the maker to use and use in a brief period while stored properly. Many have no idea how stable the product is or if it even safe with regards to mold and bacteria growth. I would bet it is safe to say that more that 70% of these products are not evaluated and assessed by outside testing labs. The handmade soap industry has about 300,000 businesses in the US. Soap is easy to make and very safe as a product to re-sell. Many of these business branch out to making bath bombs, oil-based creams, and butters and such. All of which are relatively safe to re-sell. Most get ideas from websites of other handmade crafters or somewhere off the internet. Very few hires outside formulating consultants or testing labs. This becomes an issue when they start making products that contain water. I have read other blogs and even spoke to crafters that say their customers want (preservative free products), if that is the case then only offer products that contain no water and are stable when made. To customers who tell me that, I ask if they would rather have a safe product or run the risk of getting extremely sick or worse. There are many safe Cosmo approved preservatives in the industry. People selling to the public need to educate themselves and their customers on their use. The industry needs to better educate themselves and spend the effort (money) to make stable and safe products. If not, people will be hurt, and the industry will suffer.

I am not saying that handcrafted products should be avoided, just the opposite, this is a great cottage industry and should be sought after by customers. Many products I see are safe, stable, and very well made. I would and do use them over big corporate brands every day.