NATURAL BODY CARE
AND HEMP COSMETICS
I think it is only fair to share my criterion and the patterns of thought that I follow. I do not accept as a natural cosmetic any product that contains methyl, propyl, butyl or ethyl paraben for three reasons: first, the parabens are ubiquitously used in mass-produced cosmetics; second, parabens can cause allergic reactions, and many people wish to avoid them; third, as natural cosmetics exist to provide an alternative to mass-marketed products, manufacturers have an obligation to offer that alternative. I do accept vitamins, grain alcohol, benzoin gum, and citrus seed extract as acceptable natural preservatives.
Another prejudice is that I do not accept synthetic detergents in natural shampoos or bath products, nor do I accept quaternary ammonium compounds in hair conditioners. Natural shampoos are made from vegetable oil-based soaps or detergents, with no diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA) added as a foam-builder or pH adjuster. A natural hair conditioner is made from herbal extracts, oils or waxes, and a natural protein (such as milk protein). It is my opinion that synthetic shampoos and conditioners that include hemp do so only as a marketing gimmick.
Additionally, I insist that products, no matter where they're sold, be packaged attractively with a maximum of recycled materials. Product literature must be informative and well-organized. I am interested in seeing natural products reach as wide an audience as possible, as I think they're the best. I don't want to see a petty packaging complaint keep a product from reaching its fullest market potential.
Let me begin by thanking these manufacturers for sending their samples, and by encouraging them to grow their businesses and make more products. Product manufacturers are reviewed in alphabetical order.
I received five products from Canna Bliss, which is a division of Alma Rosa from Belgium. Four of the products - shampoo, conditioner, body shampoo, and bubble bath are packaged in eight ounce white bottles with green letters. These products contain parabens, against which I previously stated my prejudices, and so I chose not to review these four. The fifth product was a soap bar, which had a pleasant fragrance. The foam was soft, though small.
Canna Bliss reflects what I like least in hemp cosmetics - a sort of 'nod-wink' packaging that panders to its audience's dope-smoking experiences. I find this emphasis, which unfortunately plays a role in many products, to be distasteful and highly limiting to the future of hemp cosmetics.
I received three products from this German company: a perfume, lip balm, and day cream, along with a single page of product information. Dupetit's well-written sheet describes the value of hemp cosmetics and gives a list of products with their ingredients. According to the list, the products are quite pure. Although I didn't have a shampoo or conditioner to try, I see they are made with hemp soap and herbal waxes, respectively.
The Rose Lip Balm smells lovely, and is made with a very high quality rose essential oil. I can tell because it doesn't smell too 'rosy'; it's a clean, full fragrance. The balm feels good on the lips, too.
The Cannabis Care Cream is an unfortunate shade of blue-green. The color comes from chlorophyll, but I would argue that it doesn't need to be green to be good. The texture is just the slightest bit grainy, which I rather like, as it shows me it's probably not a mass-produced product. The cream is readily absorbed, and leaves the skin soft. The fragrance is light and pleasant, not cloying. The cream is packaged in a 50 ml clear glass jar, with a black lid. The only way you'd know this is a hemp product is the green leaf decal on the lid.
The Cannabis perfume has woody and green notes, with that distinctive hemp fragrance. The perfume box is elegant and modern European, with a large design of a cannabis leaf in yellow on a pale green background with red type. I understand Dupetit is not yet available in the United States, but I hope they find a distributor very soon.
Hemp Essentials was one the first hemp companies to produce cosmetics. Overall, I liked the products. They are natural and very functional, allowing the hemp to work its EFA wonders on the skin.
The soap is pleasant, with light, smooth suds. It's not drying to the skin in any way. Sandalwood is my favorite fragrance, and the smell of this soap could have been just a bit stronger for my taste.
I found the lip balms to be too light, nor did I care for the various fruit fragrances. However, I liked the Facial Scrub very much. This is a dry mixture of hemp seeds, French green clay, lavender and rose. It's perfect for oily-type skin with a tendency towards blemishes. Plus, it's not too rough on the skin. This is an imaginative natural product that can really make a difference on your skin.
Since I love masks, I added water to my sample and put it on my skin, but the seeds are a little too big to make a mask that adheres very well. I would recommend combining the Facial Scrub with one of Hemp Essentials' Aloe Hemp lotions for a moisturizing mask.
I like Thai food so I liked the Aloe Hemp Lotion - Lemongrass fragrance. It's strong, but I like it, and it's real. The product is completely natural, too, an important consideration for something that is being absorbed into your skin. The problem with this cream is that it tends to lie on top of your skin, which makes it more suitable for a night treatment. Its ingredients, cocoa butter and beeswax, cause slow absorption.
Hemp Essentials Antifungal Salve with goldenseal, chaparral, myrrh, and tea tree oil feels great and smells pretty good. You either like tea tree or you hate it. This salve is no doubt much better than many commercially produced creams.
I received two products from this Colorado-based hemp cosmetic manufacturer - Hemp Seed Salve and a Hempseed Liniment. Both products are packaged in frosted glass and printed in green ink. The printing on the salve was rather difficult to read, however.
Both products are completely natural and reflect a wide range of herbs. The liniment includes arnica, St. John's wort, white willow extract (with natural pain-relieving salicylates), ginkgo biloba, and many others. Its blend of ethyl alcohol and hemp oil both soothes, heats and cools. Very refreshing.
I found the salve to be the best-smelling, no doubt because of the lavender essential oil. I also found two typos in the ingredients list!
Jerry Shapiro explains that the Chilean hemp oil used in his lip balms will be certified organic by the end of the year. I was very happy to know this, as 'certified organic' is the most important agricultural trend of the decade, and I certainly wouldn't want to see hemp left out of it!
Jerry described in detail in how his hemp oil is processed: batches of unsterilized hemp seed are pressed slowly in a nitrogen atmosphere, then filtered and placed in opaque containers; the oil is shipped from Chile in refrigerated trucks and stored in cold facilities. The calendula wax is non-irradiated, and all of the essential oils are aroma therapy-grade. Jerry also sent me some of his vegan lip balms, and one with SPF 15 is made from micro-zinc oxide (didn't turn the lips white).
Jerry is full of such good information, and the product contains such good ingredients, I wish I didn't have to report that the packaging is juvenile, with a sort of 'acid trip' feel to it. Plus, there's the name of the product: The Merry Hempsters Hip Trip for Lips. The packaging seems to imply distrust of everyone under 30 who wouldn't remember Ken Kesey's gang. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I think very highly of Jerry's attention to his ingredients, and I want his products to be taken seriously.
Although I have an enduring dislike for fruit-flavored lip balms, I love the Merry Hempster Hemp Balm - Tangerine. It smells luscious! Beeswax doesn't bother me as an ingredient, but Jerry is earnestly trying to make a vegan lip balm with candellia wax. I tossed both a regular beeswax lip balm and a vegan lip balm in the microwave and zapped them at low power for about three minutes to simulate a hot day at the beach. The beeswax lip balm held up fine, but the candellia one melted a bit, though it hardened up in an hour just fine.
The Ohio Hempery, Inc.
The Ohio Hempery's catalog is the most attractive product information I've seen. I enjoyed the skillful illustrations, the clear yet entertaining copy, and the clean design of this Guysville, Ohio-based manufacturer. I was pleased to see their new line of body care products, Sativa Naturals, which don't exploit in any way the cannabis connection. Instead, Ohio Hempery calls their products EFA-rich Live Oil Treatments. I'm glad the company is concentrating on benefits of hemp in this way.
Because of the synthetic detergents in the shampoo and quaternary ammonium compounds in the conditioner, I didn't examine them, but I did try their Sativa Naturals body cream. I was disappointed to see that it contains imidazolidinyl urea, methyl and propyl paraben, and propylene glycol. I urge Ohio Hempery to persuade their custom-filler to use a more natural preservative system, particularly since their salve contains only vitamin E. Also I must report I found the Vanilla-Lavender fragrance much too strong - not in the bottle but when it first goes on the skin.
I liked the feel of the cream on my skin. It seemed to add a lasting soft feel while being not too greasy, and it absorbs pretty well. The salve made me wish I had a few boo-boos so I could test its healing powers. What small injury could stand up to propolis, goldenseal, comfrey, yellow dock, balm of Gilead, and calendula root? Powerful stuff. I have to confess I wished it smelled a little better, but it does smell genuine.
A criticism on the Sativa Naturals packaging - it's a little confusing since the colors are the same and the product name is at the top of the bottle. Watch out or you could be putting body cream on your hair!
Sue's Amazing Lip Stuff
These products feel great on the lips. As you know, I don't favor the fruit flavors, but these are mild at least. I tried Sue's Amazing Lip Stuff under a heavy-duty 'dye-style' commercial lipstick. Very good indeed. Corporate women should use Sue's Amazing Lip Stuff first, then put whoever's nasty commercial lipstick on top. Your lips will look professional enough, and you'll know hemp is protecting them!
I didn't care for the aluminum reflective labels, and I know that stuff is expensive. Also, not to get too bureaucratic, but beeswax isn't a sun block that is recognized by the FDA. The only natural sun block the FDA will recognize is titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The only natural sunscreen is PABA, which Organics has used for over a decade with practically no incidence of allergic reaction (we use food-grade PABA in vegetable glycerin).
That's it. I hope I didn't step on too many toes. I really admire and respect the work of these hemp cosmetic manufacturers, and wish them the best of luck in 1996. Hemp is definitely an ingredient whose time has come.
Written by: by Susan Hussey
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