Base Notes - Other Essentials
What falls into the base note category?
Well, distilled water is first. What's distilled water? It's water that has been boiled and condensed. By boiling and recondensing in a clean container, the water is separated from impurities such as metals, minerals, and any dissolved solids. In other words, it's purified water, and it's VERY important to use distilled water as the base in any lotion or cream because minerals and metals could impact the formulation's stability.
Organic hydrosols are a close second. We've got a whole section dedicated to these wonderful ingredients, so check out that section for more.
Botanical, ECOCert Emulsifiers are the final BIG subsection of the base note category. You can click here to learn more about these fabulous emulsifiers.
In this section, I really want to talk about everything else that's necessary in a lotion. The ingredients discussed below either allow the lotion to stay stable over its shelf life, protect it from microbial contamination, or give it that wonderful skin feel.
Other Emulsifiers, Stabilizers, & Thickeners -
We also generally need emulsifier stabilizers, and for some formulations, we also need a thickener (viscosity enhancer) to provide the right consistency (so the product isn't too runny). Here's a list of our emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners.
All of these ingredients have an EWG rating of 1.
One of our thickeners is a blend containing lecithin in addition to a few of the thickeners in the list above. Lecithin has an EWG rating of 2 to 3.
pH adjusters -
Lactic acid - A natural ingredient produced by the fermentation of carbohydrates used to adjust the pH of our products (lowers pH). It takes very low amounts of lactic acid to adjust the pH (less than 0.2%).
Sodium Bicarbonate - We use this ingredient to adjust the pH of our products (increases pH). We use sodium bicarbonate rather than sodium hydroxide because it's safer to work with and more readily available than sodium hydroxide solution from our standard suppliers.
Sodium Phosphate and Disodium Phosphate - Our peptides are supplied as solutions and some of these peptides use sodium phosphate and disodium phosphate as buffering agents to adjust and maintain pH.
To ensure against possible bacterial or mold contamination, water based products require preservatives. Even though we follow strict sanitation procedures for all manufacturing equipment and spaces, I don't want to risk customers' health by marketing water based products without preservative, therefore, we use phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glyclol, and disodium EDTA as our preservative system. This preservative system is formaldehyde free (and free of formaldehyde formers), paraben free, benzyl alcohol free, and among the gentlest proven efficacious preservative ingredients available.
Disodium EDTA is not a preservative but a chelator, which impairs the cell wall of some types of bacteria thus improving the efficacy of preservatives. Caprylyl glycol is not truly a preservative, but also improves the efficacy of phenoxyethanol. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative, and we follow US and EU guidelines for concentration limits in leave on products. Using caprylyl glycol and disodium EDTA allows us to use even less phenoxyethanol than maximum established limits in order to effectively preserve our products.
During development, we performed preservative challenge tests (against gram positive and gram negative bacteria and various strains of fungi) to determine the optimal preservative concentrations in our products.
There are many new preservatives being introduced to the market, but because there are not years of data available for these preservatives yet, I specifically chose the blend of phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, and disodium EDTA for all Return to Eden products.
Phenoxyethanol has an EWG rating of 4. We comply with the EU Annex V limits for this preservative.
Disodium EDTA has an EWG rating of 1.
Caprylyl glycol has an EWG rating of 1.
Stabilizers for Oils -
Rosemary Oleoresin Extract - This extract is used to maintain freshness of the oils in our products by protecting the oils from rancidity