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Frequently asked Questions

General

Most of our products are now listed in INCI format (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) which is a method to standardise and harmonise how cosmetic ingredients are identified and presented on labels. If they are not, they are presented clearly in English. Our preference would be to present all the ingredients we sell in English but unfortunately we do not make the rules!
All our products are free of harmful ingredients such as paraben preservative, phthalates, ureas, petroleum-based chemicals and artificial colours.
All the brands we have chosen source only the purest natural and/or organic ingredients in all of their products. They source from reputable vendors who get these ingredients from fair trade and sustainable areas. The ingredients are obtained globally depending on the crop and season.
None of the products we sell contain artificial fragrances or colours to their products. Only natural fragrances are used and a number of products are fragrance free.

Synthetic fragrances and colours often added to cosmetics can be powerful allergens. That's why most people with strong sensitivities fare better with all-natural products. Even essential oils and herbs can cause sensitivities, but if you are prone to allergic reactions, try the Sensitive Skin ranges from Earth Science, Shikai and Via Nature.
Nearly all the products on the site are vegan: that is, they contain no ingredients derived from animals. Earth Science repair shampoo uses silk protein and the Azulene Eye Cream uses beeswax.
This is a combination of ingredients - a recipe, if you will - that a company owns and uses under exclusive legal right of the inventor. It can be protected by patent or copyright as to name, product, composition or process of manufacture.
As required by the FDA, expiration dates are put on all products containing an SPF. The SPF products are given an expiration date of two years from the date of manufacture. They recommend that an SPF product be used within six months of opening and exposing to light and heat. Personal care products without an SPF do not need to have an expiration date.

Skin Care

A three-step method - 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' - is important because nothing is more essential to skin health than a good skin care regimen.

These simple steps work together to keep the complexion clear and youthful. A cleanser removes excess oil and impurities and helps keep pores clear; a toner wipes away cellular debris and improves absorption of a moisturiser; and a moisturiser restores softness and elasticity to the skin. Aubrey also recommends the weekly use of a mask, which encourages skin cell turnover and helps keep pores clear.
The skin goes through a regeneration cycle every 21-28 days (about a month). During this time period your visible layers of skin are completely exfoliated and new layers of skin begin to surface.

During the 1st and 2nd weeks of using a new facial care regimen, your skin is detoxifying. It may appear blotchy or you may experience breakouts or mild acne. Not to worry this is normal. This tells you that your skin is being properly cleansed and that your products are working.

The 3rd and 4th weeks of using your new facial care regimen you will find your complexion becoming balanced and visibly clear.
Exfoliation is a natural process of the skin. Every 21-28 days skin cells are sloughed off and replaced with newer cells. Masks and scrubs containing exfoliants assist this natural process.

There are several different types of exfoliants that are utilised in masks and scrubs. Manual exfoliants include ground nuts, meals and spherical jojoba wax beads. Fruit acid exfoliants dissolve the cellular glue that holds skin cells together to reveal newer, fresher cells.

Enzymatic exfoliants actually digest dead skin cells and offer the most gentle form of exfoliation.
Although we cannot make medical claims for our products, as they are not licensed to diagnose or prescribe treatments for skin disorders, many people with stressed skin have benefitted from using Via Nature
We cannot diagnose or prescribe treatments for acne or other skin conditions and do not make medical claims for their products. However, we have found that many people with oily skin have benefited from using the Earth Science Clarifying Herbals Astringent, Fragrance Free Facial Wash and the Perfect Hydration Oil-Free Moisturiser. The Shikai Borage facial skin care line can be used on problem skin and studies have shown it helps with Babies

Hair Care

Perms are supposed to be permanent. In hair that's chemically straightened, sometimes a curl pattern can start to reform; usually, this is due to lack of sufficient processing. The same goes for permanent waves, where the curl appears to relax or 'fall out.' Gentle, reparative shampoos and conditioners are a must for permed or straightened hair.

For dry hair with straightened or curly styles, try the Earth Science Ceramide Curl and Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner. If your hair is fine, normal-to-oily, and permed, try the Earth Science Ceramide Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner.

If you are looking to highlight your natural hair or colour treated hair, why not look at the ShiKai Colour Reflect range that uses UV filters to bring out and enhance certain tones, naturally and safely.
Unfortunately we cannot make medical claims for any of the products, as we are not licensed to diagnose or prescribe treatments for skin or scalp disorders.

However, if you suffer from any of these conditions, you'll probably see improvement simply from NOT using products made with petrochemical ingredients. Many people with hair and scalp problems have benefited from using Earth Science Ceramide Fragrance Free for Sensitive Skin Shampoo and Conditioner.

The ShiKai shampoos and conditioners use a mostly aloe based formulation that uses skikakai extract, which is a natural low pH, extremely gentle and mild shampoo that provides a natural lather that cleans thoroughly which promotes scalp health.
A hydrosol (also known as floral water) is the condensation collected after an essential oil is extracted from plant materials through the use of steam. While many hydrosols are very beneficial, they are mostly water with a small amount of plant material. There's nothing wrong with water; water is an excellent hydrator, and is essential to the proper formulating of shampoos and conditioners. The problem arises when manufacturers add 'organic hydrosols' - 'hydrosols made from the distillation of organic plant materials' as a main ingredient in their products.

Using organic hydrosols allows manufacturers to claim that their product has a high percentage of organic ingredients, when in reality one of the main 'organic' ingredients is mostly water with an undetermined amount of organic plant material. Unfortunately, there are no standards as to how much plant material an 'organic hydrosol' should contain.

Many of our shampoos use hydrosols, or whole-plant liquids such as aloe vera that Shikai and Earth Science use. Shikai uses a hydrosol that they call a tea. This is made by firstly making the plant extracts, which they extract themselves in-house because fresh extracts product better results. After several filtrations to separate the bulk plant material from the liquid, this results in a thick rich tea. This tea is added to all ShiKai shampoos instead of water therefore they contain high concentration of extracts, more than enough to do what we claim the shampoo will do!

Sun Care

The real answer is: any time you're outside. It's important to remember that sun protection isn't just for days at the beach. Sun damage can happen whenever you come in contact with harmful UV rays that includes when you are out walking the dog or driving in your car, early or late in the day when the sun is low, or even on overcast days. Remember: when you are fully dressed, your hands and face are still exposed, so a little daily sun protection is a good idea.

The most dangerous time to be outdoors without proper protection is between 10 AM and 3 PM, when the sun is at its peak. It is safest to stay indoors during those hours, but if you go outside, be sure to wear protective clothing or use a high SPF sunscreen and reapply it frequently and liberally. (One ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot-glass, should cover most exposed skin.)
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a rating system that determines how long a sunscreen protects your skin from the sun's UVB rays. The SPF number is a measure of how much longer you can stay in the sun without burning while using a sunscreen versus how long you can stay without burning while wearing NO sun protection.

Say that your skin normally begins to turn red after 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure. If you use a product rated SPF 2, your skin would not begin to burn for twice that amount of time: 20 minutes. If you use a sun product rated SPF 25, you could stay in the sun for 250 minutes, a little over 4 hours (25 x 10 minutes) before your skin would start to turn red. Remember, though, that SPF numbers are not absolute. It all depends on how fast or how slowly YOU start to burn. If your unprotected skin burns in 5 minutes, an SPF 25 product might let you stay in the sun a little over 2 hours without burning (25 x 5 minutes = 125 minutes).

Here's something else to keep in mind: The SPF measures only the level of protection from UVB rays, the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn, and does not measure levels for the far more dangerous UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply and can cause damage at the cellular level. When choosing a sunscreen, it's important to look for one that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Rays of light from the sun are different lengths. Some of those lengths result in the different colours you see. UV rays are shorter than the shortest rays in the visible-light spectrum, which are the ones your eyes perceive as the colour violet. (UV stands for 'ultraviolet.') There are 3 types of UV rays:UVC rays are the shortest, so short that they usually don't make it through the Earth's ozone layer to reach your skin. When it comes to sun protection, UVC rays are not a concern.

UVB rays are a little longer, and can penetrate the skin, but not too deeply, reaching only the outer layers (epidermis). UVB rays are responsible for causing your skin to tan and/or burn. Long-term exposure to UVB rays can rapidly age your skin, making it look leathery and wrinkled.

UVA rays are the longest UV rays, and can penetrate more deeply, into the dermis, the second layer of your skin. They can do serious damage at the cellular level, causing cellular changes that can lead to skin cancers. They are a primary cause for photo aging, wrinkles and skin discoloration.
There are two main types of sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays before they have a chance to penetrate and damage the skin. (These types of sunscreens are more controversial because they are easily absorbed by the skin and can cause allergic reactions, irritation and other more serious concerns.) Physical barrier sunscreens form a protective layer on top of your skin that blocks and reflects the sun's harmful rays.

The sunscreens we sell are physical barrier sunscreens, formulated with micronised titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the active ingredients. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are naturally occurring minerals, and are among the 17 ingredients approved for sun protection by the FDA. Since both are white in colour, the larger the particles of these ingredients, the more of a whitish film they leave on your skin. 'Micronised' simply means they are ground into a very thin powder made up of particles so small, they are measured in either microns or nanometers (nm). The smaller the particles, the less visible the ingredients.
A nanoparticle is a very tiny piece of a solid substance. 'Nano' means 'billion,' and a nanoparticle is defined as a particle smaller than one billionth of a meter (a nanometer, or nm). Nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are often used in sun products to minimize the white film these ingredients can leave on the skin.

Some consumer groups have raised concerns about nanoparticles, fearing that something so small could penetrate the skin, get into deeper tissues, and have adverse health effects. This issue has been studied extensively over the past five years. The overwhelming number of current studies indicates that nanoparticulate titanium dioxide and zinc oxide do not get past the epidermis. The FDA has determined nanoparticles are safe when used in cosmetics and sunscreens.
Different formulations require different dispersion ratios. Sometimes we can achieve higher SPF with lower concentrations of titanium and/or zinc and vice versa.

This is why each batch is tested to make sure SPF claims are met _ as required by US FDA. Also if the products main function is sun protection vs. facial cream their formulations have to make sure that the application, feel, colour and consistency will meet customer expectation. For instance a facial cream is expected to be a different viscosity compared to a sun cream.

Generally speaking the more the zinc oxide and titanium oxide _ the whiter the product.
Titanium Dioxide is definitely white hence it is used in many toothpastes to give the white look. But also zinc, having larger particle sizes, can stay on the skin surface giving a chalky, whitish appearance. Remember skin type, the climate (if more dry, easier absorbed) etc. will impact the ultimate look of any sunscreen. Expect to have a little whitishness in all mineral sunscreens as the idea is to create a mineral shield that will reflect the sun

Earth Science

All our products are always paraben free. Earth Science products have been on the market for over thirty years and have never contained parabens.
Our products are cruelty free. Earth Science products are never tested on animals.
Earth Science products are suitable for vegans, with the exception of the following:
  • Azulene Eye Cream contains beeswax
  • Hair Treatment Shampoo contains hydrolysed silk protein
  • Hair Treatment Conditioner contains hydrolysed silk protein
  • Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Shampoo and Masque contain hydrolysed silk protein
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At Earth Science, we pride ourselves on making gentle products that are suitable for a wide range of skin types and sensitivities. Many of our loyal customers consider themselves chemically sensitive. However, no product is guaranteed to be perfect for everyone. Allergies are particular to individuals. If you have environmental sensitivities, allergies, or skin conditions, please share the list of ingredients with your dermatologist to determine individual suitability. Additionally, we recommend patch testing the product on the inside of your wrist, prior to use, to confirm compatibility with your skin.
We do not use masking fragrances. Our products labelled fragrance free are just that. They are specifically formulated for our customers with heightened sensitivity to fragrances.
Earth Science uses the INCI system of cosmetic ingredient labelling (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients). INCI is a higher standard of labelling, and will likely become the standard in the U.S. as well. We use INCI because it gives the most detailed and accurate information about particular ingredients. The INCI standard requires 'Fragrance (parfum)' be listed for an ingredient or blend of ingredients included for fragrance purposes. Even all-natural fragrances must be labelled as 'Fragrance (parfum)' to comply. Earth Science uses only pure essential oils or natural fragrance equivalents.
In the body, molecules called 'free radicals' cause oxidation. Oxidation can damage healthy skin cells and may accelerate aging of the skin. Antioxidants are ingredients found naturally in plants which neutralize molecules that cause oxidation. They can help to prevent premature aging of the skin.
Our Active Age Defense products are formulated for sensitive, maturing skin. All are pH balanced to ensure their compatibility with delicate skin. Our AAD products are also enriched with skin soothing ingredients such as kola nut extract, liquorice root extract and echinacea.
pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of a solution. A lower pH indicates a more acidic solution (which carries more potential for redness and irritation). A higher pH means a more alkaline solution (which some can find drying). The pH of normal, healthy skin can be anywhere from 4.0 to 6.0. Each Earth Science product is precisely pH balanced for specific suitability.
Azulene The concentrated extract of blue chamomile flowers and contains the distilled rich oil of Chamomile. It takes thousands of flowers to yield a small amount of the Chamazulene. This ingredient gives several of our products their vibrant blue hue. Azulene is an extraordinary anti-irritant.

Hyaluronic Acid The perfect moisturiser, hyaluronic acid can bind 500-1,000 times its own weight in water, immediately plumping and hydrating the skin without greasiness. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin and body and decreases as we age. So safe and gentle, it is used during eye surgery to help keep the eye moist. We obtain our hyaluronic acid from cultured sugar beets or other vegetable sources.

Micellised Beta-Carotene-Oil-soluble Beta-Carotene is reduced to such a small particle size that little or no distinction can be made between it and water in the formula. This ingredient is readily absorbed by the skin, and helps combat the signs of ageing.
We use a gentle preservative system in our products. Because of this, the colour of our Fragrance Free Shampoo can change over time. This is a normal and natural process and you may continue to use your product as usual.
The product below are considered gluten free, but we always recommend reviewing all ingredients with your doctor or health care professional if you have allergies or sensitivities. The following products were formulated without ingredients derived from wheat and gluten.
  • Clarifying Facial Wash
  • Clarifying Facial Wash, Fragrance Free
  • Aloe Vera Complexion Toner and Freshener
  • Clarifying Herbal Astringent
  • Azulene Eye Cream
  • Papaya Glycolic Gentle Skin Peel
  • Whipped Cream Cleanser
  • Hair Treatment Conditioner
  • Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Shampoo
  • Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Masque
  • 145 After Shave Skin Soother
  • 145 Smooth Start Shave Cream

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