When I started the line almost 25 years ago now, I was hesitant to describe it as “natural” because I didn’t know how to define that word. What is natural? A handful of earth from my garden? Even that will contain heavy metals and probably some acid rain. Is natural always a good thing? Poison Ivy is natural, so is Nightshade. It made more sense to me to describe our line as “clean.” To me it meant scrubbed of those ingredients that we thought had the potential for harming our skin or our health. Though ingredients play a major role in how we define “clean,” we also believe it is important to be mindful of how we impact the environment and our community.
Mindful Product Formulations
That’s why we’ve found alternative preservative systems to parabens. We pay close attention to anything that’s credited as an endocrine disrupter. We eliminate talc and synthetic fragrance and ingredients that have the potential for causing irritation. Although, this can be a challenge since sensitivity can be caused by anything.For instance, carmine. It’s a natural colorant that saves the need to use FD&C dyes (soluble dyes approved for food, drugs and cosmetics, mostly derived from petroleum or coal tar), but some people can be very allergic to it. And since it comes from beetles, it means that vegans and those practicing kosher can’t use it. This is called a formulator’s dilemma. We made the decision to move away from carmine as much as possible and substitute it for D&C Lakes – insoluble dyes approved for drugs and cosmetics bonded to a calcium substrate. It’s a compromise until something better comes along.
This is the kind of agonising we go through daily in our efforts to keep our line as clean as possible. To do it, we have to keep our hearts, minds and bodies as clean as possible, too. We always ask ourselves what effect our actions are having on animals, our environment, our community. Furthermore, our gardens continue to be an inspiration for everything we do. We plant consciously as we try to support our bees, butterflies and birds that are at the mercy of our choices.
I’ve always believed that we’re only as strong as our weakest link, so we do what we can to support the health of our community which includes sponsoring a farmers’ market for six months of the year. Farmers and families all benefit from the opportunity of getting close to the bounty of the land. No pesticides, no GMOs just clean food that tastes great, acts as medicine and brings us all together. This is what clean means to those of us at jane iredale.