Reasons why you should not use commercially made soaps

Most commercial soaps available contain chemical ingredients, some of which are really nasty and can dry or irritate your skin, disrupt your endocrine system and some that have even been linked to various cancers.

Among these are:

  • Triclosan – a dangerous chemical antibacterial agent linked to abnormal thyroid hormone signalling, weakened immune systems, allergies, asthma and eczema;
  • Artificial fragrances or “parfum” – a label under which hundreds of chemicals can be lurking, some made from petroleum, protected from being disclosed under the guise of being ‘Trade Secrets’;
  • Parabens – chemical preservatives that mimic oestrogen and that have been found in 99% of breast tissue samples taken from women with breast cancer;
  • Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) – a foaming agent linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption;
  • Sodium laureth sulfate/sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) – an anionic detergent and a cheap foaming agent;

and so it goes on…. These ingredients all end up in the environment too, by the way – contaminating water supplies, killing wildlife and building up in the soil.

We use soap on a daily basis – many times a day to wash hands, etc., and at least once or twice a day when we shower or bath. So, we come into contact with it on a regular basis and therefore with the ingredients it is made from. If your quest is to reduce your toxic load and to avoid synthetic chemicals, your choice of soap is an easy and positive change to make.

Our soaps are made from extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, organic and cold-pressed coconut oil, castor oil and the essential ingredient sodium hydroxide (aka caustic soda or lye), which is responsible for the saponification process of turning oils and fats into soap. The sodium hydroxide is used up in the chemical reaction and by the time the soap has cured and is ready to use, none of the sodium hydroxide is left behind in the soap.

You will note that we don’t use palm oil – and we never will – even if it is claimed that it comes from a sustainable source. We won’t take that chance!

Taken from https://www.orangutantrekkingtours.com:

“Over 50 000 orangutans on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have died because of palm oil deforestation. Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed often enter villages and oil plantations in search of food, where they are captured or killed by farmers who treat them as pests.”

Just look at how many products contain palm oil. It is quite incredible when you start reading labels. It is in processed foods, cleaning materials, toiletries, make up and just about everything you can think of. This incredible cruelty and damage to the environment is happening because people keep buying the products they use it in – and we won’t be a part of that! 

So now, let us talk about soda ash…

Soda Ash is a white residue that almost resembles mould – and sometimes forms on handmade soaps if the oils are not at a high enough temperature when the lye is added, or if the soap is poured at a thin trace. It is a fine line because if the trace is too thick, you can’t pour it and it then ends up with bubbles and all kinds of issues, so one wants to pour it while it is still runny enough to work with and to be able to add a little more if one mould is emptier than another, etc. If soda ash forms it is purely a cosmetic issue and doesn’t affect the soap quality or safety, but if it’s really bad, it could cause the soap to be a little crumbly. So far, we have had a bit of soda ash on some of our soaps, none of which caused crumbliness, but we feel confident that going forward it won’t be an issue. Rest assured though that if there is a little soda ash on the soap, you can use it safely and without worrying that it will harm you in any way. It is perfectly safe!

Give our soaps a try. They have the most amazing, natural scents from 100% pure essential oils and they are environmentally friendly, skin safe, soft and kind. We use environmentally-friendly packaging too, so all-round, we are doing our bit! 

Click here to place your order today and see how our soaps can improve the way you feel inside and out.

When last did you take proper care of your lips?

Given that lips have a poor barrier function and are really quite inefficient when it comes to retaining moisture, the likelihood of experiencing dryness at some point is reasonably high. This is where exfoliation can come into play.

Exfoliating your lips will help to eliminate dry skin and will immediately restore shine, softness and smoothness.

To use the lip scrub, scoop a pea-sized amount into the palm of your hand, using the wooden spatula provided. Add a drop or two of water and blend to a workable paste.

Using your ring finger, apply the scrub to your lips and work it in a circular motion until you have exfoliated your upper and lower lips. Be careful not to scrub too hard in order to avoid any irritation to the delicate lip skin.

When you have completed the exfoliation, simply lick it all off!

Yes! It is totally edible and totally natural and totally healthy! 

Rinse with water afterwards (only to remove any stickiness) and then follow with an application of our wonderful Lippity-Do-Da Lip Butter to nourish and moisturise your lips after their exfoliation.

This luxurious lip scrub contains the following ingredients:

  • Erythritol – An all-natural, non-GMO sugar ‘alcohol’ (which doesn’t actually contain any alcohol) that is healthy and won’t cause an insulin response, so it is also safe for use by diabetics and those following the ketogenic diet. It is also not toxic to dogs, like xylitol is – just in case your pooch decides to eat your lip scrub! It provides the exfoliation medium but is much finer than sugar granules, while also being safer, healthier and not addictive like sugar is.
  • Honey – We use local, non-irradiated, non-pasteurised (raw) and badger-friendly honey. This serves as a humectant, meaning that it retains and preserves moisture and rehydrates your lips. It also serves as a natural preservative.
  • Avocado oil – We use organic avocado oil in our lip scrub to increase collagen production, heal chapped lips and to replenish moisture.
  • Vanilla Extract – Vanilla extract offers a feeling of warmth and comfort and enhances the flavour and aroma of the honey. It also adds to the delicious taste of the scrub!

Lavender Essential Oil – Among many other healing qualities, lavender essential oil is known for its ability to relieve chapped lips. It is packed with antioxidants that protect and nourish the skin and its antimicrobial and antifungal properties also make it an excellent choice to combat cold sores.

Tangerine Essential Oil – Tangerine essential oil nourishes and rejuvenates skin and enhances blood flow, thereby increasing circulation. It contributes a lovely, fresh citrus scent to the mix.

You absolutely have to try this lip scrub – it is seriously luxurious, tasty, sublime and effective. Your lips will love you for it! 

Buy your own bottle of luxury at this link – https://www.seekingbalance.co.za/merchandise/essential-oil-infused-products/lip-care/lip-scrub/

Start your 2020 as a Green Warrior

Seeking Balance will continue to grow our range of products during 2020. We have some exciting new ideas and are busy formulating recipes, sourcing ingredients, deciding on packaging and designing labels. With all this, comes website changes, additions and updates.

It is hard work from start to finish, late nights and early mornings and not a lot of sleep or downtime – but it is rewarding beyond measure to know that each person we convert to natural and clean products – and each product we sell – means that one less toxic concoction that they would probably otherwise have bought is not entering someone’s life or the sensitive and overwhelmed environment. Our planet cannot cope – the seas and rivers are polluted and wildlife is really struggling to survive the toxic chemical onslaught and litter that over 7 billion people on the planet are creating and using and throwing away on a daily basis.

This year we’d like to introduce a number of products, including (but not limited to) an eyebrow growth serum, a natural deodorant, a shaving mousse, possibly a tooth powder for the brave and hearty, a mouth rinse, a natural sunscreen, a beard oil and a natural bug balm for humans.

That is a tall order and is optimistic, for sure. It will depend on finances (sales and therefore income), time and all kinds of other challenges life throws our way. But – let’s see what we can do and be assured, we’ll give it our best shot. What cannot be realised this year can roll over to the next. As long as we are moving forward and making a difference, we will be happy with our progress.

Our prices had to be increased this January as without fail, all our suppliers hiked their prices. Being a start-up business, we weren’t able to buy enough products in bulk at 2019 prices to see us through even 3 months of 2020, but we have kept our profit margins as low as we can without bankrupting ourselves. We are border-line bankrupt (well, not really but I hear it takes a few years for start-up businesses to start earning some money) but we keep sending positive vibes and good energy out there to you all to support us!  😉 It has to reap rewards.  😊

So please join us on this journey of creativity and discovery and help us to increase awareness regarding toxic synthetic products and their effect on human and animal well-being as well as the health of our precious and beautiful planet.  Thank you to all those who already support and promote Seeking Balance. We send love and light to each of you!

Winning Smile Gentle Whitening and Remineralising Tooth Polish

Finding an all-natural, non-toxic toothpaste that is effective and ticks all the boxes for healthy ingredients and affordability is no mean feat. There were two available locally – one of which was really pricey and was okay … but nothing really outstanding. The other was lovely and quite reasonably priced –then it was suddenly discontinued for reasons unknown. So we decided to make our own.

Our Winning Smile Gentle Whitening and Remineralising Tooth Polish boasts the following qualities:

  • It is safe to swallow. Yes – unlike most conventional toothpastes, ours is non-toxic!
  • It contains no fluoride – which is a neurotoxin, a carcinogen and a very bad ingredient on every level, no matter what the industries that profit from it tell you.
  • It contains no dyes, nor anything synthetically-made in a laboratory.
  • It contains no parabens, no triclosan and no toxic preservatives.
  • It contains no chemical foaming agents (SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / SLES – Sodium Laureth Sulfate) and no titanium dioxide.
  • It contains no glycerine – which is not toxic, but which hampers remineralisation of the teeth.

Instead, this tooth polish has the following natural and healthy ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria in your mouth. It can reduce plaque build-up, prevent tooth decay and fight gum disease. We use organic, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil in our tooth polish.

  • Erythritol

Numerous oral health studies, including one three-year clinical study, found that erythritol provided a significant reduction in cavities, dental plaque and the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans, considered a major cause of tooth decay.

Though it sounds new, erythritol has been around for as long as grapes, peaches, pears, watermelons and mushrooms have been. It’s also created when things like wine, beer and cheese ferment. It’s a type of carbohydrate called a sugar alcohol (although it doesn’t contain any alcohol whatsoever) that is used as a sugar substitute.

We use an all-natural erythritol which is non-GMO too, sourced from Absolute Organix.

We chose erythritol over xylitol due to the fact that xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, causing a rapid and dangerous drop in blood sugar and acute liver cell death. We don’t want to be responsible for any dog eating our tasty tooth polish and losing its life because of it.

Also, Erythritol has no effect on blood sugar and does not cause an insulin response in humans, making it safe for diabetics (and dogs!) and those following a ketogenic diet!

  • Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of Soda has natural whitening properties and, being mildly abrasive, can help remove surface stains from teeth. It also creates an alkaline environment in the mouth, which prevents bad bacteria from growing and neutralises acids that cause cavities. We’ve used a small amount of extra-finely ground baking soda in our tooth polish to reap its benefits but at the same time, we are cognisant of ensuring that no damage is done to tooth enamel.

  • Kaolin Clay or Bentonite Clay

These clays are high on the PH scale, ensuring an alkaline effect in the mouth. They bind to heavy metals and toxins around your teeth and gums and give back an array of minerals that are good for remineralising your teeth.

Remineralising your tooth enamel will reduce (and may ultimately altogether remove) tooth sensitivity! This I have experienced first-hand – though it took a few years to get there. But I can assure you that it is not a fairy tale and is absolutely possible if using the correct product on your teeth, while eliminating the things that harm oral health – like fluoride!

  • Spirulina

Spirulina is mineral-rich and high in calcium and phosphorous, two ingredients that strengthen enamel and improve gum health – making it an important addition to a remineralising tooth polish. It also adds a soft green colour to the mix, which is pretty cool.

  • Trace minerals

Loaded with minerals and trace elements from an inland sea, this ingredient is like getting sucker-punched – in a very good way.

Among the many benefits the individual components offer, magnesium in particular makes teeth harder, helps to build strong enamel and helps prevent the formation of cavities.

  • 100% Pure Essential Oils

Spearmint – A remedy for halitosis and to maintain fresh minty breath.

Bitter Orange – This essential oil has shown to inhibit the growth of Listeria innocua, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Aeromonas hydrophila. Due to its antimicrobial effects, bitter orange is also used for treating colds as well as infections of the gums and mouth.

Clove Bud – Clove is especially essential for oral health. Clinical research indicates that clove oil can relieve tooth pain and bad breath, as well as help to reduce gum disease. Clove oil also has the natural ability to fight mouth and throat infections.

Lemon – Lemon oil can help prevent receding gums and tooth decay by fighting bad bacteria. This oil also has properties known to stimulate tissue formation and it supports healthy gums.

Cinnamon Leaf – Cinnamon is antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic, which makes it an effective cleanser for every oral health care need, such as relief from a sore throat! Cinnamon oil also contains amazing antimicrobial properties that protects against bacteria accountable for tooth decay.

Tangerine – This essential oil is used in oral care to strengthen gums and has powerful antiseptic properties. It also adds a lovely citrus flavour.

Lime – Lime essential oil contains high concentrations of vitamin C that can protect oral health. Studies have shown that it also fights off the bad bacteria that cause tooth decay.   

Peppermint – Research has found that peppermint oil is exceptionally powerful for fighting oral pathogens and killing common bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease. It also has a cooling effect and imparts a wonderfully fresh minty taste and freshens breath at the same time!

Our two available tooth polishes are:

Both contain the coconut oil, erythritol, bicarbonate of soda, either kaolin or bentonite clay (non-irradiated), spirulina and trace minerals, as described above.

So, for those who are on a mission to reduce their toxic load and improve their overall health – this is a no-brainer. Putting toxins into your mouth, where the tissues are highly absorbent and right below your most precious brain, makes no sense at all. Having ingredients in your toothpaste that harm your endocrine system, your brain and your general health, as well as the environment, is really just not necessary.

Yes, the mouthfeel, texture, colour and consistency is something to get used to after years of using conventional toothpaste. It doesn’t foam – it feels and tastes completely different, but it is healthy and leaves your teeth feeling smooth, polished, clean and fresh all day. Your breath will be fresh. Stains will disappear. You will not be adding any toxins to your body or to the environment and your teeth will be remineralised over time.

Have you ever wondered where that waste water ends up…with all the chemicals in it? In some river or in the sea, poisoning the creatures who try to live there…

It is time to make the changes, people – or it will be too late to reverse the damage we have done.

We package our tooth polish in glass – except for our samples, which are in recyclable plastic tubs. Remember that due to the coconut oil, it will harden in cold weather and soften when it is hot. When cold, use the front of your toothbrush to plough around the edge of the container to get enough polish onto your brush to clean your teeth. Once in your mouth, it softens. There is no need to add water until you are ready to rinse!

Give it a try and I promise that once you get used to it and start to enjoy its benefits, as well as reaching a decision to reduce your toxic load and your footprint on the earth, you won’t go back. And you will feel good about using it too.

I have included an excerpt from an article by Dr Mercola, a very well-known functional and holistic doctor from the USA, whom I have been following for the past 9 years. This is what he says about conventional toothpaste:

Over the course of a lifetime, the average American uses about 20 gallons of toothpaste and even though you don’t swallow it, chemicals in the toothpaste can make their way into your bloodstream, courtesy of the fact that your mouth has an absorption efficiency rate of more than 90 percent! With this in mind, it is well worth considering what you’re brushing your teeth with on a daily basis. Many popular brands contain highly questionable ingredients that are best avoided for long-term health. A recent report by The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, highlights many of the problems in the regulation of cosmetic ingredients. Contrary to popular belief, the industry is allowed to largely regulate itself, which has allowed many hazardous ingredients to be introduced.

And there you have it. I hope you make the right choice to reduce your toxic load and your footprint on the earth and start making the changes that you know are necessary to achieve balance and health.

Ethical and ecologically sound farming practices

Read about Fairgamemeat (https://www.fairgamemeat.co.za/the-journey-on-kommelboog/) and what an amazing, forward thinking, aware and conscious approach they have to farming and managing wild life, forging a workable, fair and symbiotic relationship that has incredible benefits all round.

I source only free range, grass fed, ethically reared meats and they are not always easy to find.

I’m particularly impressed that they encourage wildlife to flourish and don’t shoot them when they happen to take a farmed animal as a meal. As much as that is a loss to the farmer, the wild animals also need to survive and with their habitat getting ever smaller and taken over by farming, they are left with few options and are often cruelly persecuted when trying to feed themselves. Factory farming is cruel, unnatural, torturous to the animals, unhealthy for them and us and terrible for the environment.

We can only hope that more farmers get involved in this sustainable and fair approach and that more and more people settle for nothing less than ethically and naturally reared meats. Read more at this link https://www.fairgamemeat.co.za/we-need-more-not-fewer-sheep-and-cows/

Fighting Ticks and Flies the Natural Way

In my quest for natural living and keeping the toxic load down where at all possible – for myself as well as my animals – I have spent a good few years experimenting with mixes to use on my horse, Hercules, so that I could avoid using the very toxic sprays available commercially.

While there is definitely a place for these sprays (especially when it comes to difficult animals or those who aren’t handled regularly) and if it means using them or losing an animal to biliary, then of course, one would opt for the spray.

However, in trying to keep Hercules’ immune system as strong as possible and being as “hands on” as time and circumstance allow, I choose to use a natural alternative to control the ticks and flies that so plague him. Hercules is a Friesian and has loads of hair where these critters love to hide. His feathers on his fetlocks are thick and long; he has the thickest tail I have ever seen and it hangs to the ground, being a perfect ladder for ticks. I do also believe he must be quite tasty because they seem to seek him out among others. He always seems to collect more ‘passengers’ than any of his paddock mates!

With all that taken into account, I have settled on a blend of natural ingredients that I feel are as good as it will get without using something that will cause harm to him or the environment, but that will be effective against these blood sucking horrors.

The active ingredient in my horse and dog fly & tick spray mixes disrupts the normal metabolic activity of sucking, chewing and biting pests. It also has an ‘anti-feedant’ effect and disrupts their sexual communication, reducing their numbers over time and with prolonged use. It does not, however, kill them immediately. This can take a few days, so removal of ticks by hand is recommended where possible. Damage to the parasites is immediate though, on contact with the spray.

I have also included neem oil and a mix of seven 100% pure essential oils known to be excellent bug repellents. The mix for horses is slightly different to that for dogs, as two of the oils used in the horse mix are not recommended for use on dogs, so I substituted them for oils that are safe for canines. Neither of these sprays is to be used on cats – please don’t be tempted! Cats are highly sensitive to essential oils and I do not have a mix that is safe to use on them. This spray can be used on humans too though, to keep flies and ticks at bay when riding or working with your horses or walking with your dogs.

The more the spray is used, the more effective it is as it has a cumulative effect. It must be sprayed or wiped on generously – and onto the skin, not just on the hair. It should only be applied to a dry horse (or dog, as the case may be) to avoid it being diluted. It will wash off with water if they swim or are hosed down, but because it is non-toxic, this will not affect the water supply.

When the flies and ticks are bad, it would probably be a good idea to reapply the spray during the day or at least again at night. For tick control on horses, apply as often as possible (daily if you can), taking care to get into the areas that ticks love – the fetlocks, the tail (along the full fleshy part), between the ‘bum-cheeks’ and at the sheath or teats.

I endeavour to apply the spray thoroughly 2 to 3 times a week after doing extensive tick removal by hand – and the grooms do apply a bit every morning before Hercules goes out to his camp – and this is how I deal with the onslaught of these blood sucking parasites.

As with most natural and non-toxic products, one has to accept that it may not be as effective as the chemical-laden products are at dealing with pests, but it is safe, clean and environmentally friendly, acting as a deterrent as opposed to having a knock-down effect. 

I supply the concentrated mix which then should be added to a one litre clean empty bottle (the horse spray) and mixed with water to make one litre of liquid. I then decant this mix into a smaller spray bottle for ease of use.

For dogs, the mix is to be emptied into a 500ml bottle and filled with water.

It is sensitive to light, so should not be exposed to sunlight unnecessarily – and cannot be stored for months on end, as its efficacy does drop with time. It doesn’t contain any synthetic preservatives, so treat it carefully. Shake well before using and apply regularly and please do let me know how well it works for you.

Click here if you want to find out more or place an order by emailing us at info@seekingbalance.co.za

Thank you for your support!