How we formulate our products
In a nutshell, our Formulating Principles are:
- The use of robust plant medicines sourced from biologically-active soil.
- Only nourish and support the skin, never burden or manipulate.
- Create synergistic formulas that help the skin manage varied environmental and chronological pressures.
As devoted students and proponents of the natural 'life force' which is the source for all health, vitality, and energy for the body, Grateful Body recognizes that there are natural, commonsense guidelines to understand and follow. We therefore formulate in a principled, time-honored way, making products for your skin that are in harmony/partnership with these natural laws.
We honor and respect our dynamic but fragile ecosystem by making products that are completely sustainable and in accord with the planet. All life is in mutual relationship and is inter-connected ~ each one thing affects or depends on another. So, we understand that every product we make will be absorbed by the human body and the planetary body. Today, our lotions and cleansers nourish your skin, and tomorrow, they enter the the estuaries, the soil and the oceans ~ and do no harm.
Our body is very particular, very precise about what it uses to keep itself strong and healthy. We call this the desire for what is 'Biologically Appropriate'. This is the impulse behind the wish to eat wholesome food, to drink fresh, clean water and to breathe pure air. It is the same with skin care. When we apply skin care products to our skin, our body must recognize it as food. When all ingredients are biologically appropriate, the skin is authentically nourished, strengthened and ~ naturally beautiful.
How we manufacture our products
Our products are hand-crafted . . . fresh and in small batches . . . to ensure maximum vitality & effectiveness.
Our job is to deliver potent, intact nutrients to the skin. Grateful Body extracts these nutrients from the roots, seeds, resins, fruit/vegetable pulp, flowers, bark and leaves of organic, biodynamically-grown or ethically-wildcrafted botanicals. Our natural, time-tested extraction procedures involve several processes including tinctures, infusions, SCE*, juicing, distillations, spagyric elixirs, expeller-pressing and flower-remedies.
*A process unique to Grateful Body, SCE (Super Concentrated Extraction) uses repeated waves of high air pressure (up to 120 lbs per square inch) to rhythmically and gently release the nutritional essence from the plant body using no devitalizing high temperatures or dangerous chemical solvents.
It is important to determine which botanicals are optimal for the complex task of cleansing, toning and moisturizing different skin types. Choosing plants that nourish the blood, remove congestion, reduce inflammation, stimulate the circulation, promote detoxification or dispel heat/dryness all are different ways to help the skin stay healthy and nourished.
We then choose a delivery method that will deepen the therapeutic process. For aqueous (water-based) bases we often use herbal-infusions, hydrosol flower waters, fruit juices, aloe vera gel, witch hazel and/or apple cider vinegar. The lipid bases are plant-derived oils chosen for their specific nutritive attributes. When oil & water are combined to function as a base, the result is the familiar lotion or cream.
The secret of nourishment
At Grateful Body, our mission is to provide products that successfully infuse your skin with essential, therapeutic micro-nutrients. We call this process 'nourishing'. Every product is designed to achieve this aim. By definition, all Grateful Body products are nourishing. But by the inclusion of certain botanicals, we can steer the 'nourishing role' in a strategic, functional direction. For example, by incorporating specific and precise plant medicines into the formula, we create a 'cleanser'. Yet this is no ordinary cleanser in the common sense of the word, this is a multi-tasking, nourishing cleanser that works with the complex ecosystem of your skin, lifting and cleansing without stripping while also providing key hydrating/healing nourishment. This is true holistic product formulation that perfectly fulfills the desired result, while operating within the context of whole body/whole planet framework, and without chemical manipulation. By playing with the plants and the proportions, we are able to create just the right product that is perfect for your skin.
Real skin care must be real food because our skin eats! Just as our oral digestive system eats and extracts nourishment from solid/liquid food, and our respiratory system eats and extracts nourishment from our breath . . . . our dermal (skin) system extracts important nourishment from the sun, moon and other photon sources; from the atmosphere and atmospheric gases/pressures; from subtle vibrations emitted by gaia (planetary life force); and also, from substances we apply topically. For our body to benefit from the various things we eat -- by means of mouth, lungs or skin -- it should be acknowledged that these substances must be 'biologically appropriate'. In other words, real food!
When using ordinary moisturizers, what most people are experiencing is not moisturizing but actually the 'temporary achievement of a surface skin texture' -- not the authentic nourishment of the skin as an organ. These moisturizers are marketed mostly via 'feel' using textural buzzwords like satiny, silky and smooth. Unfortunately, they don't offer true skin cell hydration, only a surface manipulation via chemicals. This is why people must use so much in one application and also feel the need to apply the moisturizer so often.
Through the auspicious concentrated nourishment of our products, one finds that a very small amount is needed - usually, only a drop or two. This makes all Grateful Body products very economical and when any comparison is done, actually more cost-effective!
Working with scents and smell
Biologically, scents can be understood in two different ways: surface scents and deep smells. Surface scents primarily strike the autonomic nervous system and elicit only desensitizing, distorted and shallow responses. Synthetic fragrances, commercial perfumes, parfums, chemical scenting agents are all surface scents. Unnaturally processed plant-based scents and isolated essential oil components such as geraniol, limonene and linalool are also surface scents. While surface scents do have an odor, often pleasant, these scents have no therapeutic or beneficial function within the bodily organism and after a while their cumulative effects become toxic. They begin to trigger immune system responses and can eventually lead to allergies, chemical sensitivities and other immune malfunctions. Shallow scents are the product of the chemical industry.
On the other hand are the deep smells. We might call them real, natural smells. Deep smells are the aromatic embrace, the silent message, the olfactory component of mother nature that serve exact, crucial purposes for life. Deep smells reach into the limbic regions of our body/mind, into the depths of the psyche, influencing feelings, thoughts and the higher emotions. They can cause the whole body to vibrate with instinctive recognition and open the heart.
A few examples of experiences triggered by authentic deep smell phenomenon might include - a subtle perception of the change of the seasons; recognition of weather variations; instinctual knowledge of coming changes of wind and sea; sensing flowers, rocks, trees; arousing exchanges of pheromones; wordless olfactory awareness of the pulsing life within forests, glades, dales and fields; spontaneous recall of powerful emotional memories, awakening of mysterious impressions, hunches or reveries - these are all the territory of deep smells.
These smells are not a simple "nose smelling" activity but a common language that reaches deep into the very subatomic particles that makeup all bodies. In truth, the smell itself is no different than the body; both are composed of the same basic materiality. A mutual exchange takes place that is primal, beneficial and restorative. These deep smells - which are inherent within Grateful Body formulations - have true healing properties that affect our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, and add a delicious, nurturing and sensual quality to our products.
How we protect your skin
The skin is ingeniously designed by nature to protect us from many types of damaging influences. Healthy, thriving epidermal skin cells give the skin the ability to effectively handle the daily oxidative stresses we encounter - including UV radiation. Grateful Body products infuse the skin with the proper biological nutrients necessary to bolster the integrity of these cells. This is done without hazardous synthetics which can cause unpredictable and risky variations in skin cell functioning. This type of natural, positive protection fosters healthier, more radiant skin.
Environmental pressures are often the causes of dry & dull skin, sensitive & troubled skin and blemished, uneven skin. But when the protein- and collagen-rich lipid gel matrix composing skin cell composition is properly sustained with holistic, biological nutrients, the skin has the amazing ability to serve as a powerful, protective shield against many common environmental stressors including pollution, chemical oxidants, ozone depletion and infective microbes. Grateful Body products provide consistent phytochemical nourishment for the process of generating well-protected, well-fortified skin cells. Ironically, commercial skin and body care products are one of the most egregious modern environmental stressors affecting our skin today.
There are two types of pressures or forces that age the skin; one is natural and the other, unnatural. The 'natural' aging force is basically governed by fixed internal mechanisms of cellular aging, while 'unnatural' aging pressures are fundamentally caused by stress and inflammation. Stress and inflammation are the main culprits behind premature aging: worry wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and lack of tone. Like the rest of our body, proper nourishment is more necessary for the skin the older we get. Grateful Body products successfully address both the natural and the unnatural aging issues by abundantly providing the essential nutritional needs of the skin cells.