NATURAL BODY CARE
AND HEMP COSMETICS
My interest in natural body care began 17 years ago, when I was 25 and my hair and skin went to pot, so to speak. My curly hair became dry and straw-like; my skin developed the seemingly impossible condition of being prone to blemishes and dry at the same time. When I began to shop for products that would alleviate my problems, the list of chemicals in every product I studied put me off. I had followed a natural foods diet for some years, and I refused to feed my hair and skin products of lesser quality than what I ate.
Out of desperation I began to make my own products: a clay mask with witch hazel for my face, and a moisturizer of pure cider vinegar (I was accused of smelling like a pickle in those days). But my hair and skin did improve, and I became a devoted label reader and confirmed cynic of the current state of the so-called 'natural' cosmetics.
My cynicism and kitchen cosmetic career both ended in 1984 when I went to work at Aubrey Organics, as editor of Aubrey Hampton's book, Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care (published in 1987 by Organica Press). Aubrey Hampton was among the first to write on the benefit of essential fatty acids (EFA), and the first modern American cosmetic formulator to work with them in products. From his first product - GPB (Glycogen Protein Balancer) Hair Conditioner & Nutrient , formulated in 1967, Hampton showed an understanding of the importance of these fragile and necessary nutrients for healthy skin and hair.
Essential fatty acids are important in hair and skin care products because EFAs are well-tolerated by the body. Chemically, EFAs are similar to sebum, the skin's own lubricant. Though they are abundantly available in natural diets, EFAs can be difficult to obtain in mass-produced processed food diets as they are fragile and readily become rancid. In the book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus, hemp seed oil is called "the most perfectly balanced, natural EFA-rich oil available."
Manufacturing natural cosmetics requires a return to the old-fashioned methods used less than 100 years ago: natural ingredients hand processed in small batches. Preservatives are added to cosmetic products to extend the shelf life, not for human safety. Mineral oil and its derivatives are used because they are cheap and not tied to the same fluctuations that agricultural products are subject to. And synthetic colors are added for marketing purposes only. The more I examine mass-produced cosmetics, the more I realize that natural cosmetics are the only way to go.
I was first introduced to hemp oil when I visited the Ohio Hempery booth at the 1995 Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California, and was struck with the unique quality and fantastic range of essential fatty acids. The potential of hemp oil in cosmetic products is clearly there, and the future is bright for manufacturers who can imaginatively formulate and successfully market products made with hemp oil.
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE -->Written by: Susan Hussey
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