What are the ingredients I use in my products?

If you're putting it on your face or body, then you have a right to know what it is and where it's from. Below is a list of all the ingredients that might be in the product you are using, a little bit about the ingredient and where I get it from.

Aloe Gel and Juice – Aloe vera is great for keeping the skin clear and hydrated.
Source: Nature’s Sunshine Gel and Juice from my local Organics store.

Avocado Butter exhibits excellent penetrating qualities and good spreadability on the skin, making it ideal as a massage butter or carrier for treatment products. Avocado Butter adds moisturizing attributes to creams, lotions and bar soaps to improve moisturization and soften rough, dry skin.
Source: Online Natural Ingredients site.

Avocado Oil - Avocado Oil is a nourishing oil for the skin and hair. Avocado Oil is said to be rich in essential and trace minerals and Vitamin A.
Source: The supermarket!

Activated Charcoal - The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. When used in face treatments, the activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to blocked pores and acne etc.
Source: I use either food grade charcoal from PureNature, or Red Seal Capsules designed for injesting so they’re very safe! (I pull them apart to get the charcoal out!)

Arrowroot Powder - Arrowroot powder enables active ingredients to penetrate the upper levels of the skin as it has great moisture-absorbing qualities. Arrowroot powder can soften the skin by enabling it to absorb moisture. Arrowroot powder is also used in primers, to really utilise the oil control from first point of contact with the skin. Its biggest strength is providing a matte complexion throughout the day, something that even synthetic makeups struggle to accomplish.
Source: local organics shop

Baking Soda - It's an antifungal, an antiseptic, gently exfoliates away even the toughest calluses, and tackles smells!
Source: I use a super-duper baking soda from the organics store!

Broccoli Seed Oil - Broccoli is now heralded as one of the new 'super foods' due to it's high levels of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds. Not surprisingly the oil expressed form the seeds also has health benefits making it useful in natural skin care products. It's fatty acid profile gives it excellent absorption properties resulting in a natural glow on the skin and lustre on the hair.
Source: On Line Natural Ingredients Site

Castor Oil- Castor oil is widely used for various medicinal and therapeutic benefits. It is a popular ingredient of many cosmetics, soaps, textiles, medicines, and massage oils. Castor oil is extremely rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which work to help restore the skin's natural moisture balance, prevent skin dryness, and effectively moisturise the skin.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

Chamomile Flower Extract
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Site

Coco Glucoside - Coco Glucoside is used as a foaming, cleansing, conditioning, and thickening agent.  It is derived from coconut oil and corn sugars, is completely biodegradable and gentle on all skin and hair types.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Site

Cocoa Butter - One of the reasons that cocoa butter is so valuable is its high concentration of antioxidant compounds, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Although these are technically fatty acids, they are beneficial for the body, and help to neutralize free radicals throughout the body, particularly in the skin. By reducing the occurrence of oxidative stress, cocoa butter can help reduce the signs of ageing, including wrinkles and age marks. Research has also shown cocoa butter to reduce the appearance of scars on the skin and help to boost overall skin health.
Source: Online Natural Ingredients site.

Coconut Oil – You just need to google Coconut oil to be inundated with information about the benefits. For some odd reason, I don’t like the feel of coconut oil on my skin (especially my face), so I have tended not to use it in my lotions. However, I do use it in the stick deodorant, and I really like it in that – go figure!
Source: Organics Store.

Cornflower Hydrosol - This is distilled from NZ grown Cornflowers. Cornflowers have traditionally been associated with eye conditions and have a reputation for reducing puffiness and dark circles around eyes.
Source: Online Natural Ingredients site.

Distilled water – I use distilled water when I want a very neutral base for a product.
Source: TradeMe

Emu Oil - Emu oil has a long history of use by Indigenous Australians both as a food source and topically. It was used for a myriad of complaints ranging from skin irritations and wound healing through to rheumatism and muscular aches and pains.
The Emu oil I purchase is 100% pure, is sourced from free range farmed Emu and contains no added preservatives or antioxidants. The Emu are a sub species selectively bred for the high therapeutic properties of their oil.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

E Wax NF – e wax comes from naturally occurring fats and esters, and it’s used as an emulsifier. Whenever a lotion has both oil and water based products in it then an emulsifier needs to be used so that they can combine and not separate again later (like my salad dressing does!!)
Source: natural products store on TradeMe.

Evening Primrose Oil - Evening Primrose Oil has rich stores of essential fatty acids which is said to prevent nails from cracking. The gamma-linoleic acid and linoleic acid and other nutrients in this oil are essential for cell structure and improve the elasticity of the skin. It demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties which are considered to be useful in the management of psoriasis, eczema, acne, dry skins, strains and muscle tears. It is known to be nourishing to the scalp.
Source: On line natural ingredients Store

French Green Clay (aka Illite) – a highly absorbent clay composed of both decomposed plant material and trace minerals such as calcium, aluminum, magnesium, silica, phosphorous, copper and zinc.
Said to be beneficial in removing impurities and tightening the pores, toning the skin, exfoliating dead skin cells and reducing inflammation in acne.
Source: I source my clay from a lovely person, Mel, off TradeMe!

Grapefruit Seed Extract - Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a powerful broad spectrum citrus based anti-microbial that can be used to extend product shelf life and protect personal skin care formulations against bacteria and fungus. GSE possesses strong antiseptic, germicidal, antibacterial, fungicidal and anti-viral properties and also acts as an anti-oxidant. It can’t be used as a sole preservative, but by using this I can reduce the quantities of other preservatives.
Source: On line natural products store.

Grapeseed Oil - It's no secret as to why cosmetic companies prefer to use grape seed oil as a base for their assorted creams, lotions, and ointments. In addition to an ideal viscosity, the oil is extremely rich in beta-carotene and vitamins D, C, E. It also happens to have a concentration of essential fatty acids like palmitic, stearic, and linoleic acid. These fatty acids have performed well in clinical anti-wrinkle trials. They have also proven to be effective at minimizing the prominence and size of scars.
Source: the supermarket!

Green Tea Extract
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Site

Hyaluronic acid solution - Hyaluronic acid is a natural structural component of skin, and is present in connective tissue throughout the human body. The magic of this ingredient lies in its ability to retain moisture; it’s considered to have a greater capacity to hold moisture than any other natural or synthetic polymer.
This is important with regard to aging because one of the hallmarks of youthful skin is its moisture content. As we age, our skin loses moisture, resulting in a loss of firmness and pliability.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

I'm a bit of a fan of Hyaluronic acid, I think it makes a difference and use it regularly in my recipes. However, I recently read an article written by a chemist that said the topical application (i.e. in lotions etc.) was of no use because the molecules are too large to penetrate the skin. So I did a bit of research - and just in case you're interested, here is an abstract of a study and a link for the source.

Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans
S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD,a Valentina Zabolotniaia, MD,b and  Stephan Bielfeldt, DIPL. BIO.-INGc
Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a new topical low molecular nano-hyaluronic acid preparation in treating wrinkles, skin hydration, and skin elasticity in humans. Methods:Thirty-three women with an average age of 45.2 were studied for a period of eight weeks to measure the anti-wrinkle efficacy of a new nano-hyaluronic acid. The measurements were performed in the periorbital regions by investigating the three-dimensional structure using a DermaTOP for wrinkles, Corneometer for skin hydration, Cutometer for skin elasticity, and a Chroma Meter for erythema. Thereafter, standardized images were taken and evaluated by six selected and trained raters at the end of the study for reduction of visible wrinkles as well as skin color uniformity and pigmentation. Results: The results of the study showed a statistically significant moisturizing effect of the product range (lotion, serum, and cream, after 2,4, and 8 weeks of treatment. Measurement of skin roughness showed a significantly finer skin structure after two weeks of treatment, and skin elasticity showed a significant improvement after 2 and 8 weeks of treatment. Conclusion: The new nano-hyaluronic acid clearly demonstrated a significant benefit in decreasing the depth of wrinkles (up to 40%), and skin hydration (up to 96%) and skin firmness and elasticity were significantly enhanced (up to 55%) at the end of eight weeks.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970829/

Jojoba Oil - Jojoba Oil is actually a wax. It is said to act as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is said that its composition is similar to that of the skin's natural sebum (oil).
Source: My local organics store.

Kawa Kawa Extract - Kawa Kawa was used to heal cuts and wounds, as an ingredient in vapour baths, and also as an insect repellent. Internally, it was found to be effective as a blood purifier in cases of eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, and all forms of kidney and skin ailments. The leaves were chewed to alleviate toothache. The bruised leaves drew pus from boils and skin infections. A drink made from the leaves helped stomach problems and rheumatics when rubbed on joints. The leaf, if dried and burnt is an insect repellent.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Site

Kumerahou Extract - The Maori traditionally planted the kumara when the kumerahou blossomed. The flower head, when crushed in the hands and mixed with a little water produces a soapy lather. It was also very useful in the early days to clean the greasy oil off your hands when the car broke down.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Site
Liquid Castile Soap - made of plant oils. Castile soap is gentle on the person and the environment because it's free of artificial foaming agents, harsh cleansers, deconstructed fatty acids from vegetable oils or fats (aka oleochemicals), petrochemicals and/or chemical anti-bacterial agents (like triclosan). It's also biodegradable. I use a vegan friendly castile soap!
Source: TradeMe

Marula Oil - The marula tree has been used by African peoples for centuries. Traditionally, the Tsonga people of Mozambique and South Africa used the oil as a body moisturising lotion, and as a massage oil for babies. Tribespeople often preferred to use marula oil as a daily body cleanser, instead of water. Marula also formed an important dietary function in these areas of Africa, as well as in Namibia and Zimbabwe, where it was a widely used ingredient in local recipes and preservatives, and is still considered to be a delicacy today.
The oil is also high in natural antioxidants, tocopherols, sterols and flavonoids. These acids are critical for absorbency, skin hydration, and moisture retention. Marula oil is rich in vitamin C, and has extremely high pectin content.
Source: On line natural products store.

Mica Powders - Finely ground up minerals used to provide colour.
Source: On line natural products store.

Microcare DB (Dehydroacetic acid [13]* and benzyl alcohol [34]) - Microcare DB is a blend of an organic acid with benzyl alcohol. It is ecocert approved. It is a preservative that I use to make sure that the lotions have a ‘shelf life’.
NOTE:
I package products in containers and tubes that are airtight (or nearly so) and don’t involve the user ‘dipping their fingers in to the product’. By doing this I am able to use the least amount of preservative possible.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

Naturagard Ultra (Gluconolactone [46] (and) Sodium Benzoate [1]) – “This is a natural preservative that is a combination of a naturally occuring food additive glucono delta lactone, derived from corn, and a food grade preservative sodium benzoate, the sodium salt of benzoic acid along with a trace amount of calcium gluconate as a processing agent. “ I couldn’t have put it better myself! This preservative is also ecocert approved.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

Olive Squalene Oil – Squalene oil is most commonly associated with shark liver oil. However, olives also contain small quantities of squalene oil. Squalene is a strong anti-oxidant and a natural antibiotic. Further, it contributes towards a healthy skin: more elastic, less wrinkles.
Source: Organics store on TradeMe

Provitamin B5 or D Panthenol functions as a humectant, i.e. it helps tissues to retain moisture, this helps hair to stay soft and elastic. As the name suggests, Provitamin B5 is rapidly converted in to vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) once it has been absorbed into the skin. Thereby ensuring that the skin also benefits from it's moisturising and softening properties.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

Rose Water – the result of steeping rose petals in water. Rose water is a gentle, natural ingredient that can help hydrate, refresh, soothe, and cleanse your skin.
Source: TradeMe or Kereru Natural Products.

Shea Butter - Shea butter is obtained from the seeds of the Karite tree common in several African countries. It is pressed out from the seeds without the use of chemical solvents.
Shea Butter contains linoleic acid, the essential n-6 fatty acid found naturally in the skin barrier. Linoleic acid is the natural precursor for ceramide, a bioactive lipid that plays a role in maintaining skin barrier to protect against water loss. It has also traditionally been used to calm irritated skin, and has been shown to improve symptoms of eczema. Shea butter contains active compounds, including triterpene cinnamates and acetates with anti-inflammatory activity.
Source: Natural Ingredients trader on TradeMe.

Silk Powder/Silk Peptide - Silk powder helps to even out the skin's texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and add a smooth, silky surface for the makeup to be applied to.
It’s great for sensitive skin and contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and are essential to both our skin and our health. Due to its unique properties it is not only a great moisturiser for dry skin but it also absorbs excess oil when applied to oily skin. It contains both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help greatly in balancing the ph levels of the skin. It is a natural sunscreen, and helpful in reflecting UV rays and has the ability to renew old or damaged cells, thereby reducing the signs of ageing and it can also help in reducing irregular pigmentation.
Source: Natural Ingredients trader on TradeMe

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is a fatty acid derived from coconut oil. It is used in cosmetics and personal care products as a surfactant and is often seen in hair care products like shampoos because of its ability to help water to mix with oil and dirt, allowing them to be more easily rinsed away.
Source: TradeMe

Stearic Acid (plant derived) - Stearic acid is a fatty acid found in many plant and animal oils. It is particularly useful in cleansers as it allows for dirt and oils to be lifted from the skin surface by water.
Source: On line Natural Ingredients Store

Sweet Almond Oil – Almond oil is a good ‘carrier’ oil. This means that it is used to dilute essential and other oils prior to topical application. The term carrier oil is derived from their purpose in carrying the essential oil onto the skin.
Sweet almond oil has many excellent qualities which make it essential for skin nourishment and care. The oil balances the loss of moisture in the skin, and is a renowned emollient. It can smooth, soften and condition the skin, providing nourishment (especially in the skin under the eyes - to prevent 'crows feet').
Sweet almond oil is extremely rich in essential linoleic and oleic fatty acids, glucosides, minerals, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, and E - all of which are essential for skin nourishment.
Source: Local organics shop.

Tomato Seed Oil - Tomato seed oil is rich in fatty acids, sterols, and antioxidants including Lycopene and Vitamin E. Lycopene is a powerful carotenoid that acts as a free radical scavenger and also offers sun protection for the Tomato fruit. Encouragingly some studies have also demonstrated a mild protective effect for the skin against UVB and UVB for the oil. It is light and and absorbs easily into the skin penetrating deeply and ideal for use in anti-aging, anti-wrinkle and restorative skin care products. A relative new-comer to the market, Tomato seed oil is a wonderful example of the sustainable use of a by-product that would otherwise go to waste.
Source: Online Natural Ingredients Site

Vanilla Beans – Vanilla has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to soothe and calm irritated skin.
It is Anti-bacterial and has Anti-oxidants that help to protect against free radical damage and the effects of environmental stresses on the skin.
Source: Local organics store.

Vegetable Glycerin - Glycerin is a substance that attracts moisture to the skin. It has two practical applications. First, glycerin leaves your skin hydrated. Second, it can help increase the solubility of the active ingredients, making them more easily absorbed by the skin. I use a certified organic glycerin that does not contain any palm oil derivatives.
Source: Online Natural Ingredients site.

Vitamin E Oil - “Vitamin E oil works to block free radicals from the body, which play a large part in the aging process. It has basic antioxidant properties.
Source: Organics supplier off TradeMe or PureNature

Zinc Oxide - Used to give the SPF factor. While zinc itself can be found in nature, zinc oxide is not naturally-occurring, but rather created when zinc is chemically heated and combined with oxygen molecules. The two elements are vaporized, condensed, and formed into a powder that is fine, white, crystallized and sits on top of the skin providing a protective layer.
Recent breakthroughs in zinc oxide particle size has led to a major increase zinc oxide cream and zinc oxide sunscreen. Beginning in 2008, researchers created nano-sized zinc oxide particles, resulting in a “revolution in sunscreen and skin care.” An advanced formula of zinc oxide is now capable of being applied to the skin without leaving behind a thick, white film, therefore opening the doors for much wider acceptance of natural sunscreen products. However, the jury is still out if these nanoparticles are truly safe.
I use non-nano zinc oxide in my products.

For a list of essential oils (some of which may have been used in your product) please use the following link:
http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/uses-for-essential-oils.html

Curious to find out more about ingredients? This is a good place to start: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

* This is the number on Table 1 - List of Preservatives Allowed (pg 141) of the Cosmetic Products Group Standard 2006 (as amended July 2012). Document put out by Environmental Protection Authority, NZ.
AFFORDABLE NATURAL SKIN CARE