Shades of “Natural”

my current philosophy when it comes to formulating wellness products

ho·​lis·​tic / hō-ˈli-stik / adj  Thinking about the whole of something, and not just dealing with particular aspects.

my current philosophy when it comes to formulating wellness products

Wellness products should never be toxic.


That being said, I also don’t believe you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater in the name of being “natural.” Natural is not black and white; it can be both good and bad. A 100% natural hand-mixed lotion crafted of homegrown herbs, the purest glacier water and hand-pressed oils will become a toxic soup in short order if it’s not preserved (or stored in the refrigerator and used within a week or so).

I’m all about the natural, but experience has taught me not to be a purist in this department. Some natural ingredients can be quite dangerous and some synthetic ingredients have a long track record of safety and efficacy. Non-toxic is always more important than 100% natural in my view, and I suspect that many of yesteryear’s herbal trail blazers would have employed certain synthetic ingredients and cosmeceuticals had they been available to them in their time.

Beeswax is wonderful and lovely, but it’s not an emulsifier and will not make a stable lotion on its own. If we create a product that contains water, then it needs a preservative in order to make it shelf stable. Unfortunately, there are no reliable broad spectrum preservatives out there that can be considered truly natural, so we pick the cleanest ones that get the job done. 

Don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of good. 

Holistic means looking at things through the lens of the whole. Part of holism includes using a critical eye when selecting ingredients and understanding what you’re putting on your skin and in your body and, more importantly, WHY.

My approach is a form of modified herbalism that melds the natural, nourishing and traditional with a bit of modern. As a self-described herb nerd and DIY junkie, the Redheaded Herbalist is a repository for self experiments and new ideas — from herbalism to nourishing “real food” recipes to homemade skincare to gardening — all through a holistic lens. 

If you want to move beyond simple oil infusions and anhydrous salves, there is a whole world of herbal formulary fun to explore. A world where you’re in control of your shade of “natural.” ♥


I’m committed to only recommending products and companies that I’m passionate about, that I personally use and trust. The content on this site may contain affiliate links. If you decide to purchase items through these links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. These commissions help cover our operating costs to keep Redheaded Herbalist running. Thank you for your support! ♥

The content on is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Claims made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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