Organic Rosehip Seed Oil

A Beautiful Oil From a Beautiful Place.

INCI: Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil (aka Mosqueta Oil)

As some of you may know, Oh, Oh now represents Sustainable Botanicals Int’l (SBI), an
innovative company operating out of Chile. They are focused on identifying and producing
unique botanical products that are sustainable and support indigenous communities. The first product they’ve launched is organic virgin rosehip seed oil.

The Story Jay Ewald of SBI has made contracts with multiple indigenous communities in Patagonia. This supports the communities and the land. The people have a reliable revenue stream and the land stays untouched other than an annual hand harvest of the
rose hips – sustaining people and land. (Plus most of this collection work is managed by women –Patagonian Boss Ladies!).

The Quality:
Our Rosehip oil is the highest quality available. We’re nerds so we tested the SBI oil against
another sellers’ oil. We tested the fatty acid profiles of each sample and the difference was very clear. The picture below shows the color difference and our tests verified the quality difference.
The SBI oil is the real deal. The other stuff – well…it is hard to know for sure.
We love that our partners are committed to quality and transparency. And they love that we know the best labs in the country. Trust but verify!

Confession: I love this stuff, it went home with me…
This gorgeous oil is available now. Please let us know if you are interested in a sample.

Quickly penetrating with no greasy residue and high in the pre-cursers to Vitamin A (without the risks associated with retinol). Rosehip oil has been used for centuries for anti-aging, scar reduction, healing acceleration, and antioxidant topical applications. It supports hydration and helps keep skin moisturized. It makes an amazing night oil – you’ll see the difference (we do…)!

Certifications / Qualities:

  • Organic
  • Fair Trade (Fair for Life)
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten Free
  • No Animal Cruelty/Vegan
  • Supports Women
  • From the land close to penguins…🐧🐧🐧🐧

Fair Trade Cosmetics

FloCert – Fair Trade USA – Fair Trade Int’l – Fair Trade Federation – UTZ Certified – Fair For Life

Above are the fair trade organizations I found in a 5 minute Google search…all private standards and all private non-profits. Each of these organizations has their own standards (rules), their own audit process, and most of them work completely independently from each other

It’s All About the Farmers & Growers

The world of “fair trade” means that a group of growers who work with a processor are audited by a standards organization that looks at fairer business, environmental, and social practices for the grower group. Crops like coffee, tea, bananas, and cocoa, where many land holders may farm and harvest on very small plots and then collectively sell to a processor who then sells to larger buyers, are the usual participants in these programs. The processor holds the certificate and pays more to the growers, but this also means that the end users pay a bit more.

Certifying A Cosmetic

If you want to explore certification for a cosmetic, the certifier will look at the percent of “fair trade” content in the product. This sort of certification allows you to use a “fair trade” claim and the certifiers’ seal. In the US you can reach out to FairTrade USA or Fair for Life.

It is somewhat restricted because when it comes to cosmetics, the most common fair-traded ingredients are cocoa butter and shea butter – so not a lot of ingredient choices. Our favorite is our Fair For Life & Organic Rosehip Oil (Virgin) from Patagonia.

Certification for Fair Trade USA for finished products is done using a desk audit and requires a service fee (sorry – you’ll need to call them for that cost).

Pros and Cons

Pros: you are supporting better trade practices and this helps with poverty and safer working conditions.

Cons: You cannot “claim” the fair trade certifier’s name on your web site or product unless you are certified or have some sort of agreement with them. Also, the different certifiers do not cooperate with each other, so you’d need to find ingredients that all meet the same standard in order to get certified.

Remember – certification seals (USDA, fair trade, No-GMO, etc.) are trademarks and are protected by law. You need permission to use someone else’s trademark.

Use great ingredients for great products. #organicisbest

Why Organic?”

 In 1991 I decided I only wanted to earn a living in a way that was constructive rather than destructive. Supporting organic production was a clear choice and gave me a measurable way to improve the planet. I was also concerned about “safety”, both as a mom and as a physiologist.

Taking care of the environment is fundamental to “safety”. If we are inhaling polluted air and adding pollutants to water that change the reproductive organs of the animals that live in those waters, how can we possibly think we are safe? If we are using chemicals on our skin (so down our drains) that are made from petroleum, how can we think we are making the planet safer?

In 2015 The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) identified through many years and multiple studies that Agriculture is a source of air pollution. Livestock account for about 40 percent of global emissions, synthetic fertilizers for 16 percent and biomass burning and crop residues for about 18 percent. (And we haven’t even touched on water pollution).

So – to circle back to Why Organic?  Because supporting organic production (farmers) is a real way to reduce all of that pollution. Organic production methods:

  • Increase soils’ ability for carbon sequestration
  • Decrease pollution of ground water
  • Increased micro-nutrients in many foods
  • Decrease synthetic pesticide use
  • Create safer working conditions on farms and in processing facilities
  • Increase renewable resource production
  • Decrease use of petrochemicals in the food & cosmetic chain
  • Ban synthetic food additives in finished products
  • Decrease stream and river pollution
  • Improve livestock management and humane animal care
  • And I could go on.

Farming is 50% (about) of all pollution per the UN and should be of immediate concern to all consumers. Organic farming has been developed over the past 90 years and is leading to develop farming methods without destroying the resources needed to produce our food. “Organic” is teaching us safer methods of living on the planet. Even non-certified framers are turning to methods developed and proven by organic farmers.

In the cosmetic industry, we have the opportunity to demand that the chemicals in our daily products are made 1) from renewable resources (organic plants!)  and 2) using environmentally benign methods of manufacturing (Green Chemistry). Because chemical manufacturing is a highly complex process, (and frankly something that makes most people’s eyes cross when they start to read the chemical names of the materials), we currently have to rely on chemical manufacturers – so let’s demand that they start making safer chemicals out of organic inputs!

I am old enough to have heard the original speech – “If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” John F. Kennedy.

Let’s all be a part of the solution!

Cold Pressed Oil?

We frequently get the question: “is your oil “cold pressed” ?”.

Well – yes and no.

First, some transparency:

The references we mainly use for oil quality are:

  • The American Oil Chemist Society (of which we are members).
  • Codex Alimentarius (a document supported by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations – Guidelines and Codes since 1963 for food   safety and quality – Link to Codex
  • Bailey’s Oils and Fats, 6th Edition.

These resources represent the collective knowledge of many oil producers and analytical labs gathered over many years to establish best practices for oil quality and safety. After all – we are selling food ingredients to be used in cosmetics that sit on peoples counters for… unknown years so quality is crucial.

Back to “cold pressed”: the term is generally a marketing term. Why?

A few facts about the organic oils we sell:

            1 – most organic vegetable oils are mechanically pressed using stainless steel equipment. These presses have different designs but the goal is always the same: get as much oil as possible out of the seeds or fruit. For organic they can only use mechanical methods (no solvents).

            2 – The pressure plus the friction used to press the oil out of the seed will always generate some amount of heat. That is unavoidable.

            3 – Every oil has a different tolerance for heat – most of us know you do not fry with olive oil but you can fry with canola, for example. So – what is the significance of the heat for a specific oil if all oils are so different?

            4 – All of the references cited above agree that the technical meaning of “cold pressed” from someone that actually makes the oil is a) oil pressed without the addition of heat, or b) an agreement between the buyer and oil producer. So, unless you are buying 80,000 lbs. of oil it is unlikely you can have any say on the production method.

While there are companies all over the internet making claims about “cold pressed’ I suspect that few of them have any idea how their oil is actually made (with the exception of Laurel Skin!).

When we contract with a supplier we go to the manufacturing press, if at all possible. We require a production flow chart and we analyze the oil in addition to the analysis that they send us. We spend money every month monitoring the quality of the oil – because that is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than making random claims. We want to know how the chemistry of the oil is changing over time to ensure the you have the best quality oil possible.

The important thing about oil is to know what it’s chemistry looks like. Check out our blog on “Peroxide Value” to learn more about oil quality.

A Note on Quality: Peroxide Value and other Quality Measurements

I am always talking about Peroxide Value (PV) when I talk about oils. This is part of how we assess the quality of an oil.

When we receive a new shipment of oil, we check:

  • The Production date,
  • The test date,
  • The Peroxide Value,
  • And the Free Fatty Acids (not to be confused with the Fatty Acid Profile – 2 different things)

“Peroxide Value” is a chemical measurement of the peroxide (aka hydroperoxides) in an oil that indicates how an oil is aging. The PV on the Certificate of Analysis from when they made the oil is a snapshot in time. Six months later we may run another PV test. The free fatty acids should be within the limit set on the spec and will go up when the PV (or oxidation) has increased measurably.

You should also always look at the production date and the shelf-life so you know what you are dealing with.

Recently Isabel (our QC/QA manager) and I did a deep dive into the international picture of safety in oil and decided to make a couple of changes to our specifications. We have raised the limit on PV on our Specifications to a PV of 5 for refined oils and 10 for unrefined oils. This does not mean they are “bad” above those limits. It means they are starting to age and will eventually go rancid.

Our recommend USE limit for safety is a PV of 20 for an unrefined or virgin oil and of 10 for a refined oil. We will not sell an oil over 10 for Virgin and over 5 for refined (except olive oil – different story)– because we know they will continue to age.

We also recommend that you use a good antioxidant in your blends. We sell a sunflower derived natural tocopherol that will often, at the least, double your shelf life.

So – remember – these are food that we are using in cosmetics, they are made from plants and they all have different rates at which they age. You can always call us with questions.

How to Make a Cosmetic Black List … (Hint: Don’t)

I’ve no idea how many “green” brands and retailers there are but all of them seem to have a “black list”. They choose some number of nasty chemicals and promise that they are not in the products they sell.

Further – everyone seems to copy everyone else’s Black List – so you see the same list over and over.

Here’s the problem: there are 60,000 different cosmetic ingredients.  A list of 20 or even 200 chemicals is never going to capture all of the problem chemicals.

What is the solution?

First: everything this a chemical. H2O is a molecular description of the chemical, water.

Second: all chemicals are made using a finite number of methods. Some chemicals are made using biological methods like fermentation or production using yeast. Some are naturally occurring like oil in a sunflower seed. Most, however. are made using a set of reactions that require reacting one chemical with another chemical. If you are not a chemical engineer, how do you know what is “green”?

If you want to convey to a chemist your goal to use “green” ingredients, giving them a list of 30 chemicals just won’t do the trick.

One solution is to explain that you want “green chemistry” per a wonderful paper that was published in 1998 by John Warner and Paul Anastas*. The link below is to the American Chemical Society site which explains (in very clear language) these principles.

If an ingredient meets these standards, then it is a pretty sure bet that it is safe for skin and for the planet. Many chemists were never taught about this in school but it is high time that they learn.

Spread the knowledge and save the planet. Use ingredients that meet the Principles of Green Chemistry.

*Green Chemistry Link

Ingredients & the Sin of Omission

🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃 🎃

There are a few ingredients of concern that keep popping up on “clean“ personal care labels that we all need to know about.

Are you using these ingredients?

Propandiol (also known as Zemea): This ingredient is wonderful – except that it is made from GM Corn. When asked directly, Lyle and Tate (the manufacturers of Zemea) will tell you that it is made from GM Corn. It does not test positive for GMOs so they can say, “GMO Free”. Why? When you process the corn sugars to make the product, the protein, which is where the GMO – DNA would show up, is gone due to the processing. Omission #1.

Emulsifying Wax: some of the other INCI names for this ingredient are:

• Cetylstearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60

• Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60 (and) PEG-150 Stearate (and) Steareth-20

Everything in red is ethoxylated – that means it contains 1, 4 Dioxanes, known carcinogens. You’ve probably seen a hundred sites that claim that they do not have “1, 4 Dioxanes” but… emulsifying wax does contain this contaminants. The INCI Committee grandfathered this INCI name into the dictionary many years before chemical names were required. It still may be called Emulsifying Wax even though it is actually a compound of 2 to 4 other chemicals. Omission # 2.

Lavender Oil (non-organic): the larger producers of lavender oil will tell you that twice as much Lavender Essential Oil is sold as is actually produced from plants. This has been going on for many years. This is because it is pretty easy to make a “nature identical” chemical that smells like lavender oil and add a bit of carrier oil and some natural lavender oil and you are off to the races – the cheap races where you pay more but get less. Real lavender oil or any real essential oil, is grown in small batches, harvested by hand, distilled by hand and then consolidated and sold to the larger oil traders. It is expensive and a little goes a long way. Organic does not have this problem because it is audited every year (think IRS). Omission # 3.

“Bio-synthesis”: this term usually means that a yeast has been genetically modified, fed sugar and then it makes all sorts of wonderful ingredients: squalene, rose oil, a lot of new and interesting ingredients. I personally do not think that this is bad. From what is known now, it seems very sustainable. The problem comes when the manufacturers do not tell you about the GM Yeast part. No problem with the ingredients, the problem is with the people committing that “sin” again. Omission # 4.

If you are making personal care products, study up on these issues. We want consumers to get what they pay for and we want them to come back for more – so that means quality ingredients and supported claims. Know what you are buying, hold your suppliers accountable and require that they prove any claim they make about a product you buy from them. It is professional. We do that every day with every ingredient we sell. You’re customer is worth it! 🎃

Organic Documents for Organic Ingredients – MiniBlog

Do you have the organic certificate for each of the organic ingredients you call out on your
ingredients list?

Think about it – a label is a promise to a consumer. If you have not verified that you have a duly certified product, you could be in trouble and that would be a problem for your growing brand. Maybe you only use organic ingredients. That is great but…the USDA-NOP (National Organic Program) has the right to ask you to show them an organic certificate for each ingredient at any time – especially in California (where we have a State Organic enforcement program). Do you have those certificates on file?

Here is some info about requesting organic certificates:

  • What Standards are acceptable? The USDA-NOP is a LAW in the US that establishes the rules for organic production – from seed to finished product. There is an equally rigorous law in the EU member States and the US and the EU have reciprocity – we accept each other’s organic certificates by any ACA.
  • What is an ACA? An Accredited Certification Agency – these folks have been inspected and approved by the USDA. The link takes you to a list of US ACAs that are in good standing.
  • Do I need to have a finished product certified? You do not – however, if you claim that an ingredient is organic, it must be certified. If someone won’t send you a cert, they may not be certified and the ingredient may not be organic.
  • What if I want to be certified? Since cosmetics may contain ingredients that cannot be certified
    (surfactants, emulsifiers, and preservatives) under the food rules you may want to look at the Cosmetic Standards: COSMOS, NaTrue, or NSF-305

We are certified by Oregon Tilth (aka OTCO) and we are inspected once a year and receive a new
certificate each year. If you are using organic ingredients you are responsible for requesting a copy of the certificate each year.

“Natural” Documents – MiniBlog

Have you defined what NATURAL

means to you?

If you use the term “natural” to describe your ingredients or your finished products you may want to consider writing a definition of “natural” on your web site.

First, let’s make clear that a synthetic, in my world, means a human has made a new molecule.

What? New molecules? Well, oil, for example is naturally occurring in seeds and nuts and the molecules that make the oil is not changed when it is pressed out of the seeds. A simple example of a new molecule is soap: oil and lye are reacted. The mixture gets hot, a new molecule is formed and, violá, you have soap or Potassium Cocoate (made from Coconut Oil plus Lye – for example this is how they make Dr. Bronner’s soap).

I further categorize synthetics as good chemicals or bad chemicals. Good chemicals are made using a renewable resource plus using the Principles of Green Chemistry (see previous mini-blog for the reference to this paper). Bad chemicals are everything else and usually bad for the environment and most living creatures.

A “natural” ingredient is extracted from a plant using mechanical means like pressure, steam, or water extraction. This definition is published in the EPA regulations, although people seem to believe that “there is no legal definition of natural”. Wrong, it is in our existing laws.

Different companies define “natural” different ways – but you need to be clear. If you can verbalize a definition to your consumers, the courts are more likely to support you. Also – if you can’t explain it, how can you mean it?

For more on definitions, check our Definitions & Links page.

My Product is Certified Natural – Isn’t It “All Natural”?

The problem with “All Natural” or “100% Natural” claims

There is some confusion about the claim “All Natural” or “100% Natural” or even just “natural” by
companies that are certified to a “Natural” standard.

This is how it works: both the natural and the organic cosmetic standards allow the use of
synthetics (human made molecules), however they need to be made using plant based feed stocks and the Principles of Green Chemistry*. This means that people use ingredients that are “allowed” because they meet these rules but they are synthetic ingredients. They also use natural ingredients that are not synthesized like oils and waxes and plant extracts.

Example – the Principles of Green Chemistry allow hydrogenation as long as the molecules are fully saturated (not trans-fats). That means we are allowed to use vegetable waxes in COSMOS (formerly EcoCert) products if they meet the requirements of the standard. But they are still synthetic. Another example is plain old Castile Soap: coconut is reacted with potassium hydroxide to make “potassium cocoate”. Clearly a “chemical” even when “made from organic” ingredients.

In summary, companies claim “All Natural” because they are certified to a natural standard but
they clearly list synthetic ingredients on their ingredient list.  This is confusing to the consumer. It also means the Brands don’t really understand the standard they are using. Sometimes it means the Brand may be sued by mean attorneys who give nice attorneys a bad name and harass sweet brand owners. (Okay – I’m defensive.)

Synthetics are not “bad” if they are made from renewable inputs using safe methods and resulting in safe chemicals.

If you have been threatened by one of these suits and need a referral, let us know.

* The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry defined by: Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998