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The Disappearance Of Ingredients And How It Affects Our Formulations

Written by Victoria Fantauzzi

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Posted on April 05 2019

If you’re reading this post or have read many of the other posts I’ve written about our products and the process of our work, you probably know how passionate we are about ingredients and how especially proud we are of ours. I speak fondly about my Barbary Fig Seed Oil because I truly believe it is the best in the world and I love sharing that information with you. I get excited talking about our green coffee bean oil, cupuacu butter and all of the wonderful extracts we cold-extract in our Chicago based lab just as much. I believe in the quality of my ingredients and the power of their benefits more than you know. In the past, I’ve argued with suppliers when they’ve insisted a production was excellent when I have, in fact, believed differently. I have even on one occasion blown the lid off a shady supplier when we discovered he wasn’t honest about the roots of his production. That experience actually led us to personally vet our suppliers moving forward in our buying process from direct sources. It does incur extra work on our end, but it also puts us at rest to know our source. I only want to work with other passionate people that care about their process just as much. It can be difficult at times.

Recently, we’ve come across upsetting issues that are leading us to discontinue or reformulate a few products. Due to the inconsistent supply of minerals for our makeup collection we made the decision to no longer produce or sell our makeup. We were continually being told that certain materials were either being purchased out by larger companies or these materials were harder to source and therefore substitutions were being presented to us. That simply doesn’t work for makeup production. It’s our job to vet every single material we use for our formulas and this inconsistent process with our supplier became daunting and disappointing. For us, it was a better decision to discontinue the line rather than spend valuable time vetting and sourcing materials several times a year that very likely would be discontinued again. We want to get it right the first time and not have to wait long periods in between to produce fresh batches. The same has happened with our Rainforest Hydration Treatment. We were sourcing wonderful batches of Illipe butter at one point, but supply became limited and inconsistent and the final draw was when the material arrived smelling and appearing different than earlier batches. It was, to our disappointment, deodorized!

For me, that experience is comparable to sitting down to a meal expecting a homemade roast, fresh vegetables and an indulgent glass of red wine only to discover a frozen tv dinner and a glass of sugary grape juice. It is not within my realm of imagination to formulate a product with an ingredient that is dead. Our last batches of Illipe butter were processed, deodorized and stripped of nutrients and were disheartening to say the least. We’ve searched and searched, but have been unable to find a supplier that can provide us with the quality we expect, which has caused Rainforest Hydration Treatment to be sold out for nearly a year. So many of you wrote to us or our retailers asking when it would be restocked and we honestly didn’t know what to say, until now. Our decision is to reformulate this product using materials we can receive consistently, in the best and most vibrant condition and through a supplier we can rely upon. My promise to you is that RHT will be better than before and as a result, contain a more viable ingredient replacement.

If you’re wondering why this happens, sometimes it’s just the nature of working with natural ingredients. A good producer explains their reasons and most times it’s because they aren’t being paid fair wages to sustain the cost of labor. The talented and generous Mandy Aftel of Atelier Perfumes is our supplier for the gorgeous, voluminous Tiare we use in our Happiness Therapy. We trust Mandy and her commitment to the art of natural perfumery and have purchased small batches of this ingredient for several years through her. She, in turn purchases from a supplier she works with far across the world. In recent news, her supplier informed her they would discontinue distillation of the most sought after Tahitian gardenia flowers. This was crushing news to us. The level of quality, vetting, sourcing and the ingredient itself is suddenly no longer within our reach. As sad as it may be, it’s also part of a fragile ecosystem natural ingredients bring to our formulation table. These ingredients require care that stem beyond production. They are alive, complex and offer nutrients to formulas synthetic, man-made ingredients simply cannot. Mandy must truly love us because she offered us two vials of Tiare out of her own small personal supply which she uses to make her glorious perfumes. (It’s incredible how much support natural formulators share with one another.) The latest batches of Happiness Therapy may very well be the last we’ll ever produce. We haven't yet found anyone producing quality Tiare, which is already rare and difficult to find. Without a great supplier that can offer us a stellar ingredient, it will not be possible to make these products again.

For these reasons I find myself constantly encouraging customers, clients and retailers to really consider how you purchase and use our products. It really does make a difference for your skin’s complete care and transformation. It’s important you consider freshness when purchasing natural products. The first thing to know is that our products do not have the shelf life of our conventional counterparts. They are not meant to sit on shelves or on bathroom counters for years. Depending on the product their viability and shelf life have anywhere between 6 months to 1 year. The unparalleled benefits that living ingredients offer also renders the shelf life of products to be in effect, shorter. Like whole foods, our ingredients are raw, bursting with nutrients, fatty acids, vitamins and all the co-factors that rejuvenate and nourish your skin. Our products are concentrated and packed with a multitude of reparative benefits. This is an advantage to you. Check your Best Before Dates on your products. We guarantee the freshest batches possible when you buy directly from us and ask our retail partners to offer you the same guarantee. Every single product in our collection now has a stamped ‘Best Before’ date , which means you should open and use before that date expires. If you open your product before that date (I really encourage you with this) then you should use the product within the date suggested on the freshness symbol located on our packing. It looks like an opened jar and states how long the product will remain fresh after opening. Typically products that are not water based, such as oils, balms or oil-based serums naturally remain fresh longer than products that are water-based. Water-based products require preservatives to prevent mold, fungus or bacteria from growing. We use natural preservatives for these types of products that are gentler and safer for your health. The second thing to know, keep your bottles away from direct sunlight, heat or humid bathrooms where condensation can seep into jars and introduce mold or bacteria to formulas. Wipe your bottles clean after use and replace the caps to protect the pumps from oxidizing. Most of our glass bottles are opaque white, but some are clear and these require special attention to keep away from windows and sunlight.

I hope this helps to explain why we’ve discontinued a few products or why Rainforest Hydration Treatment has been sold out for so long. My promise to you is that we will continue formulating whole products the way we have from the beginning and taking extra measures to work with long term producers that can meet our demand and continue propagating our philosophy through extraordinary ingredients. Through these standards, we can safely stand behind our products offering you the finest quality possible.  We have decided to partner with a grower to grow special productions of ingredients just for us. This process is going to be an exciting experiment as we will also be required to help with harvesting and figuring out how to responsibly bring ingredients that cannot be refrigerated home. Please keep an eye out for something special arriving in May. I think you’re going to love what the warm Spanish sun and mineral rich earth grew for you.

With love,

Victoria

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