I remember the times more than 10 years ago as if it was yesterday. Maybe because back then I would have not predicted Covid-19, MCO and related restrictions. Little did I know back then about plant based ingredients.
Back then I was preparing for the the end of my law studies and my whole universe was evolving around the next exam. I didn’t care about what I ate, what was going on in the world or what am I exposing my body to. The only important thing was, the next exam!
Needless to say that when I would run out of body care products, I would quickly run to the next drug store grab the first and most important the cheapest bottle of body wash and off I was…the next exam on my mind.
The next exam passed and so did Law School. I’ve started my career as a lawyer and was finally earning money. Since I moved to what I believed is the next stage, my life changed as well and so did my priorities. I was making money and started thinking about the future. Risks, insurances and health concerns were now on my mind (another type of next exam 🙂 ). Because I told myself that I want to live until the age of 90, I’ve started thinking about my health, about prevention and what do I have to do to pass this next exam.
It did not took long to understand that the actions of today will affect tomorrow and the good health I’m enjoying won’t last forever, unless I would be good to myself. And so I started to pay attention to what I expose my body and implicitly my health.
One of the first steps I’ve taken was to read the nicely designed product packages. Little did I know and very surprised was I when I realized that most of the ingredients in the products I was using were not only unknown to me but read like gibberish. Of course they did, synthetic ingredients have scientific names and they just sounded absolutely alien to me.
Lots of questions start popping in my mind. Why so many “chemicals”? Are they safe? Are there any side effects? Are there any alternatives to these ingredients? etc.
So I took a step back and researched how our forefathers and mothers addressed their “exams” back in the day. And there it was! Nature always offered us everything we need, we just have to look for it. This started my journey towards plants and plant based ingredients.
At A&A Naturals we put great emphasis and effort in selecting ingredients, natural or plant based ingredients I may add. Typically, plant based ingredients are quite costly and when an organic certification is included, this drives the cost even higher.
Historically speaking with the beginning of the industrial age more than hundred years ago, businesses have started to tap into new markets. One hundred years ago only very few lucky ones could afford the luxury to buy soap, hence businesses came up with ways to offer such “luxury products” as soap to as many consumers and at affordable prices.
In order to make body care products affordable and appealing to most consumers, chemical engineers have started to create synthetic ingredients resembling their natural counterpart. Years of research and hard work make them succeed in their endeavours. They managed to create synthetic ingredients resembling the natural counterpart. The synthetic ingredients they’ve created came at a fraction of the costs of plant based ingredients. Hence, the reason that synthetic ingredients (remember those hard to pronounce chemical names) became mainstream and are used in large scale manufacturing of personal care products. What they did not manage was to study the long terms effects of such ingredients to our skin and our health.
At A&A Naturals, we believe that in the long term, it is worth keeping our health as a priority and the selection of plant based ingredients in our creations can benefit everyone by using gentle to skin ingredients and striving to keep the end product at an affordable level.
SLS, SLES and Paraben
SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, while SLES stands for Sodium Laureth Sulfate. These ingredients are inexpensive and very effective as cleaning and foaming agents (surfactants). They are used in many cosmetic products for their cleaning and emulsifying properties.
Many international agencies and governmental bodies have tested SLS and SLES and found they are safe for general consumer use. Like many other detergents, SLS and SLES are also irritants. Tests have shown that these two ingredients cause eye or skin irritations. They may even worsen skin issues for people with sensitive skin.
One of the most common reactions to products containing SLS or SLES is that they dry out the skin. There is a quite simple explanation for this. As both are synthetic products they do not resonate with the human skin. They may effectively clean the skin or at least give one the feeling they do so because of the rich foam they create, but they do this at the price of removing the moist from your skin, creating a feeling like the skin is a tight piece of clothing which just got tighter.
Parabens on the other hand, are a class of widely used preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. Chemically, they are a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid (Wow! What a name:) ).
Parabens are active against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. However their antibacterial mode of action is not well understood. According to some paraben research this ingredient is relatively safe, posing only a negligible risk to our endocrine system. However, concerns about endocrine disruptors have led consumers and companies to search for paraben-free alternatives.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
After many months of research and development we have carefully selected suitable, natural, plant based ingredients as alternatives to SLS and SLES. One of these plant based surfactants is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI).
The main cleansing ingredient in our newest creation, the Body Wash Wisteria Dream, is SCI, a friendly to the environment cleaning agent derived from coconut fatty acids. This cleaning agent doesn’t dry out your skin, does not cause any irritations and has a gentle cleansing effect.
Scientifically speaking, SCI is the sodium salt of the coconut fatty acid ester of isothionic acid and this is used as a surfactant (cleansing agent) in body care products. Surfactants are used for skin, body and hair-cleansing purposes and as emulsifiers in cosmetics. In this function, surfactants wet body surfaces, emulsify or solubilize oils, and suspend soil. It is characteristic (and expected by some consumers) that such agents should contribute foaming and lathering properties to cleansing products. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is a fine white powder with a mild odor and is derived from coconut oil.
SCI cleanses your skin and hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away.
As a Proudly Malaysian brand we love this ingredient, not only because it is a plant based ingredient and naturally derived, but also because it is coconut based and gives us the chance to use what mother nature offers us here in Malaysia.
Using local products, helps the environment, since the product does not have to be shipped around the world, which reduces emissions and other sources of pollution.
Another positive aspect is that it helps preserve the local flora. Since coconut can be used in so many ways, it is considered valuable to the local economy and not at risk of being replaced with other plants or crops.
Last but not least it provides employment to local people and boost the local economy.
The A&A Naturals Way
At A&A Naturals we favour SCI over SLS, SLES for our products, as we strongly believe that SCI is a suitable, natural, plant based ingredient. It is a very good alternative to SLS and SLES.
SCI is gentle to your skin and gentle to the environment. SCI is reducing pollution of our environment as it is readily biodegradable.
SLS, SLES and Parabens’ are definitely affordable and widely available, preferred by many manufacturers as it helps them to keep costs low.
There is only one thing to be determined, what is the price we have to pay? Harming our skin? which is by the way the biggest organ. Putting our health at risk?
No, no and again NO!
This is too high of a price to pay for a tiny profit margin. Nature has much more to offer! In exchange for a slightly higher investment, an investment in health and prevention you can get products which are gentle to your skin and gentle to the environment.
I hope next time you will purchase a skin or body care product, you will think about me back in the day, how I was rushing to prepare for the next exam and ignored my health and the risks I was exposing myself.
Do your family and yourself a favour and read the ingredients list before purchasing any product.
There is much more to live then the next exam.