Do you ever wonder about the prevalence of watered down shampoo and other personal care products?

Do so many cleansers and moisturizers for your hair, face and body contain more water than actives by necessity, or it is a marketing tool that causes unnecessary waste?

Is a high water content required for successful transfer of beneficial elements?

Does your hair or skin receive more benefits from using watered down shampoo? Is all the available water in the bath or shower insufficient or is it the wrong kind?

Could use of so much water be a way to mislead you? It is purely a visual tool that will get you to see bigger=more=higher price?

Has the practice of adding water effectively justified inflating the prices of products that only required minimal investment for active ingredients?

Are you comfortable paying more when the largest manufacturing expense goes to water and oversized, unnecessary packaging?

(Does it help to think that the water used will be returned to our planet filled with toxic chemicals and the plastic packaging will not decompose for at least 450 years, leaching toxic chemicals the entirety of its lifecycle? No, that doesn’t help, does it?)

You don’t have to look hard to notice that Spa Secrets 4 U is not like other manufacturers of personal care, bath and body products. One of the main differences is our absolute commitment to offering safe, effective and affordable premium quality products. Bringing you the same beautifying spa treatments that have kept closely guarded by the most exclusive world class spa resorts. We believe that everyone deserves equal access to the best of everything, but we can only give you the best therapeutic healing methods for skin and beauty.

Whether or not you are able to gain access to the finest, world class most exclusive healing centers or you need to work hard to put food on the table, should not dictate your ability to attain the healing benefits offered by the most effective therapeutic healing for health and beauty.

Each item you order from Spa Secrets 4 U is  concentrated, without adding water or fillers that dilute and misrepresent the contents. You will never be sold watered down that misrepresent the amount of active ingredients.

We knew that our decision would be met with some confusion.  Especially when you consider that we live in a time where the majority of personal care cleansers are liquid; the solid, waterless variety are viewed as lower quality, less effective and desirable.

For some reason, watered down shampoo, thin, runny body wash and conditioners are seen as better grade of product. It makes no sense when you think about it, why you would choose to pay more for a product to thin to make it from your cupped palm to your head.  Or why you would need watered down, thinned cleanser while standing in water?

The following 5 Reasons are the main reasons we offer our soaps, shampoo and dog shampoo in solid bricks instead of the aqueous form that has almost completely replaced the “old fashioned, low tech” waterless version.

1. Desired Benefits of Actives

This is a very important reason for us and for you. Our products are made using premium quality, natural, organic, food grade & plant based ingredients. The formula for each product was designed to incorporate each chosen ingredient based on the beneficial properties we wanted the product to offer. Each of the ingredients will also bring elements that add characteristics to the overall product: type and amount of lather, conditioning, harder bar, longer lasting, etc.  For most of us, choosing a personal care product is largely based on wanting the benefits advertised as contained in the product.  These benefits are provided by the active ingredients which were added for their ability to contribute these features.

Adding water will dilute, weaken the desired benefits of the active ingredients. Although each product varies, for a liquid soap or shampoo, there will be a minimum of 50% water added to the actives. So you are paying for a minimum of ½ water and a maximum of ½ actives. The numbers are going to be more along the line of 5-10% actives, 70-80% water, 10-15% other.

Our soap and shampoo bars contain the full strength of actives, which are where the desired attributes come from.

Once you add water, there becomes another issue that requires attention, and the addition of..

2. Preservatives

Anytime a formula contains water, a preservative is needed. Water, extracts, aloe vera, milks, hydrosols, floral waters, etc., being added to a product will only have a 3 day shelf life unless it contains a preservative. Bacteria, fungi, mold, yeast will all find a toehold in a product that contains even just a tiny bit of water.

You may have come across some of the personal care formulators that advertise their Natural Skin & Hair care products as containing the safe natural preservatives: Vitamin E, Rosemary Oil Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract. They need a more thorough explanation.

Vitamin E, T-50 Preservative is an anti-oxidant to prolong the life of the oils used in the product. They are protecting the oils from going rancid as quickly.

Rosemary Oil Extract or Olesorin is also an anti-oxidant that will prolong the shelf life of a product by protecting oils from rancidity.

Grapefruit Seed Extract, GSE, is the same as the two above. Prolonging shelf life by protecting oils from going bad as fast. These “Preservatives” are not going to stop the growth of bacteria, fungus, mold or other health concerns.  These are for Preserving the life of the oils.

(Correction 8/4/2014, since this article was put online, I realized I overlooked important information regarding Graprefruit Seed Extract (GSE) being a true Natural Preservative. In fact GSE is being used as an antimicrobial with preservative capabilities. Unfortunately, the GSE test results listed in this PubMed article showed all but one GSE was found to contain synthetic preservatives that gave the GSE its anti-microbial abilities. The added synthetic preservatives included Benzethonium chloride, methylparaben and triclosan.  The one GSE tested that did not contain the synthetic preservatives showed no ability to protect against growth of harmful microbes. This article made it clear that Grapefruit Seed Extract only offers protection against growth when it contains synthetic preservatives that lend their anti-microbial ability to the GSE. )

Calling them preservatives has clearly caused confusion that is easily seen if you go on to any forum where people just beginning to make products to sell are getting the advice of the more seasoned product makers on the amount of Rosemary Olesorin, Vitamin E or Grapefruit Seed extract needed to keep the products from becoming dangerous with harmful growth.

Anyone can search and quickly find sites that will advise to use these “Preservatives” to prevent  mold, fungi, etc., from developing in the products they sell. You can easily find sites where products are advertised as “Safe” “All Natural” Organic” and/or the offered product  contains  ”Natural Preservative” to keep the product both natural and safe. Many of these are listing the natural “Preservative” as one or more of these misleading preservatives: Vitamin E T-50, Grapefruit seed extract and/or rosemary olesorin or Rosemary oil extract.

To protect the integrity of the product, most companies will choose to incorporate a preservative that has broad spectrum anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties. Natural Preservatives with these properties are not commonly found.

The list of preservatives used in cosmetic formulations is too long to list here. European Commission Health and Consumers has a “LIST OF PRESERVATIVES ALLOWED IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS” If you would like to view them all.

There are several brand name preservatives that can be purchased for use in cosmetic formulas. These are much easier than concocting a safe and effective preservative from individual chemicals by the small business, home business, crafter and personal use sect. The main ready to use preservatives for the safety of a product include (Name Brands) Germaben, Optiphen, Optiphen ND, Optiphen Plus, Phenoip.

Germaben II-E contains:  propylene glycol, Germall-II* (diazolidnyl urea & IPBC), methylparaben, propylparaben

Optiphen:   phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol

Optiphen ND: phenoxyethanol, benzoic acid, dehydroaetic acid

Optiphen Plus: phenoxyethanl, caprylyl glycol, sorbic acid

Phenoip: Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben

*Germall-II is made of 99% diazolindyl urea & 1% Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate(IPBC). IPBC was first used as preservative in water based paint, wood preservative and also metalworking fluids. Since it began being used as a preservative in cosmetics there have been reports that have led to labeling IPBC as a potential contact allergen.  Suspected neurotoxin, GI system or liver toxin.

Diazolidnyl urea is a proven formaydehyde releaser considered toxic and carcinogenic. Considered safe for use in cosmetics up to 5% of formula.

Phenoxyethanol is one of the chemicals that comes from  used as preservatives in cosmetics. Although this one has been considered one of the safer ones, at first, it is being showing more problems the more people being exposed to it. This is a sensitizer. OSHA defines a Sensitizer as “a chemical that causes a substantial proportion of exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the chemical.”

It is a reproductive toxin; ovarian toxin both to the person who has exposure to the chemical and also to the offspring of the person who was exposed. PubChem Compound list a detailed  compound summary that includes Metabolism/Metabolites section that reads “……Dermal exposure to these compounds can result in localised or systemic toxicity including skin sensitisation and irritancy, reproductive, developmental and hematological effects.”

“2- Phenoxyethanol is used in several vaccines as a preservatives. It contains phenol which inhibits phagocyte activity. This means it is toxic to all cells.Phenol in 2-PE is capable of disabling the immune system’s primary response mechanism. It can also cause systemic poisoning, headache, shock, weakness, convulsions, kidney damage, cardiac failure, kidney failure, or death. 2-PE also contains ethylene oxide, which is an irritant causing dermatitis, burns, blisters, and eczema. “ website gives information of phenoxethanol with this from a May 23, 2008 News Release:  “Potentially harmful ingredients in Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream are chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol…Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants. “

Now, the flip side of some of these preservatives is to recognize the potential for things to go wrong if the product is preservative free, develops dangerous growth and gets used.  The growth of harmful bacteria, microbes, yeast & fungi has the potential to cause problems that range from rash to very serious health problems.  In the most severe cases it can even lead to death.

3. Emulsifier

As we all learned early on and are reminded of anytime we reach for a bottle of Italian salad dressing, oil and water do not mix. So what happens if natural formula of plant based oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil combined and then water is added? If oil and water do not mix, how do they combine it to arrive at the smooth, creamy liquid that we get when we pour out shampoo or body wash? This perfectly blended solution is made possible through the use of an Emulsifier.  Some of the emulsifiers will provide detangling in conditioners although this is usually due to the silicone or wax coating of the petrochemicals that leave a saran wrap like effect causing damage and harm while making you believe your hair is healthy and smooth.

The easiest and most basic definition of an Emulsifier used in cosmetics would be an agent, chemical that combines, blends, stabilizes two separate types of liquids (oil & water), encouraging the suspension of one within the other. The emulsifier binds the two liquids together to form a single end product with a smooth, creamy consistency. Without an emulsifier, the oil and water may be able to combine temporarily, but would separate over time. Emulsifiers used in cosmetics will usually contribute additional qualities such as thickness, texture, etc. Common emulsifiers used in making skin care products are Beeswax w/Borax, BeeswBTS 25%, Carbomer, Cetaryl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax (varieties), Lecithin, PEG-20 Stearate, Propylene Glycol,  Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80

Cetaryl Alcohol is a synthetic chemical from a combination of cetyl alcohol (vegetable or petroleum origin) and stearyl alcohol (made from stearic acid by a group of chemical reactions) each of these are skin irritants.

Emulsifying Wax and fatty acids could come from petrochemicals or could be vegetable based. They  combine cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate 60, PEG-150 stearate & steareth-20. There is the potential for endocrine disruption, developmental/reproductive toxicity & skin irritant.

BTMS is Behentrimonium Methosulfate & Cetearyl Alcohol.

Behentrimonium Methosulfate is a quaternary ammonium salt.  Said to be a natural ingredient.  Although it originally comes from rapeseed oil it has been processed and altered to have destroyed any resemblance to its origin. It has become a sulfate that continues to be sold as natural.

PEG ingredients, (polyethylene glycol): a petroleum product that is potentially carcinogenic.  Can change/reduce moisture content of skin. Causes acne, disruption of skin barrier function and contact dermatitis.

Although not all Emulsifiers are as dangerous as many additives, very few are truly natural. Except for beeswax, the least harmful still has the potential for being skin irritants. As far as I am concerned, the risk does not outweigh the benefits.

The next reason for not adding water, instead offering you soap and shampoo bar product is an easy one and one that has an impact on everyone and everything. Its reach is not limited to the one who uses the product or even comes into the product

4. Plastic Packaging

One of the most difficult elements to creating products we were comfortable offering would be to find the right packaging that would convey our purpose and beliefs, provide needed information and support the needs of the product. We were determined to limit the packaging to as minimal as possible in order to create less harm and less waste.

Of course, we needed to contain and protect the creams, balms, salves, serums, oils and Bath Soaks adequately. We kept the packaging plastic free and although the serums and oils did require glass bottles, since we do not add water we are able to use eco-friendly, natural fiber, biodegradable and compostable packaging for the rest.

If we were to add water to create liquid soaps and shampoo, we would need to use the same plastic packaging as can be found pretty much anywhere. Keeping our products as solid soap and shampoo bar form allows us to minimize our packaging to a single label with the FDA regulated information.

No matter how  natural & organic the product is, once it has been packaged in plastic materials, the toxins from the plastic start to leach into the product, contaminating it with these dangerous chemicals.  Toxins from plastic packaging begins to seep into the products from the moment it is poured.  Stress, extreme temperatures, pressure, damage and time increasing the rate of transfer.

Do you know what happens to the plastic packaging that many products are offered in once they are disposed of?

Endless Cycle of Plastic Destruction …

Plastic containers, empty, unused, unwanted or so many other reasons are usually just tossed in the trash can, ending up sitting in our landfills where they take between 450-1000 years to break down.

During this time, the toxins used to create the plastic will leach into the soil, spreading through the land, being absorbed by plants that become our food or ending up in our groundwater, contaminating our food source and drinking water.

These chemicals end up being spread though rain, runoff, flooding, streams, etc., contaminating our lakes, oceans, fish and wildlife. There is no end to the contamination of toxins except to continue cycling through our land, water and ourselves for 450-1000 years.

I can continue to expand on this point but you get the picture.

5. Ease of Use

Our waterless cleansers for both SKIN & HAIR are extremely convenient and easy to use.

  • Just get the bar, and yourself, wet
  • Rub them together to create lather
  • Spread lather and rinse, as the lather rinses out  it pull excess oils and dirt out as it goes.

Since it is not watery it does not spill out and over, wasting product and money. It travels easy. Instead of worrying about ruined, messy clothing from a bottle that leaked in your suitcase, a small slice of a shampoo bar will pack safely in your suitcase without causing any need for worry about “what if”. Ending potential for hassle with airport security over a liquid.

Soaps used to clean our body and hair have not always come packaged in brightly colored, squeezable, flip top plastic bottles or synthetic scents like Ocean Wave, Arctic Breeze and Mango Peach Love Me Sunrise. They did not always contain micro beads that are sneaking into our bodies of water, filling up the bellies of marine life, causing them to be poisoned by plastic.  All of these things have been added in order to make us feel that paying more is a justified expense.

I found an article titled “Body Wash” written by William Safire in The New York Times magazine dated December 16, 2007, that  says: “By 1989, the liquid in a bottle, rather than the contraption on the nozzle, was being called a body wash.  Making it 15 years now regular bar soaps have been being replaced by cleansing solution that is largely water, containing many different forms of synthetic and petrochemicals. When you go to the store to purchase a new bottle of shampoo or body wash, as you look through the choices, what you are seeing is a variety of products that contain a mixture of both harmless and noxious ingredients. Some of these are made for industrial use as concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, there will be chemicals that disrupt endocrine system, known for causing cancer; are  toxic to skin, hair, eyes, CNS, reproductive system and even some with long enough reach that they can cause malformation of developing fetus.

Are ingredients like these really what you want to be paying your family’s hard earned money for? Are you supporting the manufacturers of so many questionable, toxic, dangerous chemicals made to be applied to your own, and your family’s, largest organ?

To finish, I would like to say there are many reasons we only offer products that are solid actives, without added water or fillers that dilute and misrepresent the contents within a package. When you purchase from us, you are getting exactly what you pay for. Full, healing, healthy benefits of the Active Ingredients.  Nothing more. Nothing less.

To us, this comes down to integrity, safety and responsibility. We have a duty to give our best to every person throughout our lives on this planet. You should have access to the same quality, safety and effective products as offered to celebrities, rich, famous. A persons occupation should not mean they receive healthier products with superior benefits.

If you agree with our desire to work toward creating healthier people and planet, are interested in using safe, effective and all natural Spa Treatment Products for yourself and your family, please take a minute to look through the most common benefits of products we offer. We guarantee that our products will cause you to forget you ever used plastic packaged, watered down, synthetic and petrochemical enhanced concoctions on your largest organ. Your Skin. Click HERE to be taken to our product gallery filled with top quality, cruelty free products made with natural, organic, food grade & plant based ingredients from both land and sea. Give yourself the benefit of improving your health by using:

Personal Care Products to Pamper YOU,  Protect the Planet


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