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Ingredients List

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It is our protection from the outside world, but also our filter that allows us to interact with our environment. Our skin absorbs and internalizes what we put on it - from simple lotions to powerful medications (think about many medications that are administered transdermally, or through the skin - nicotine patch, birth control patch, morphine, and more!). Everyday we have a choice - what are we going to put on our skin? Are we going to use a cheap, petrochemical-laden lotion, or a handmade lotion chock full of herbs, beneficial oils, and aromatherapeutic essential oils? Are we going to use a mass-produced "detergent" soap full of synthetic dyes and fragrances, or a natural, handmade soap made entirely of ingredients you can pronounce and understand? The more we at Prairieland Herbs read labels, learn about cosmetic ingredients, and understand the complex interactions that our bodies have with the universe around us, the more we are inclined to choose simple, natural ingredients to use on our skin and hair (and especially our pets and children!)

Our shop kitchen is filled with the same type of ingredients you might find in your own kitchen - salt, sugar, oatmeal, oils, honey, milk powder. Our gardens, food co-ops, local farmer's markets and beekeepers provide us with the raw materials; we combine them to create natural, luscious bath and body products for you. We only use things we can understand, pronounce, and hopefully even eat! (We figure if the raw ingredients aren't edible, they're probably not something we'd like to put on our skin. We figure it's a pretty good rule of thumb.) Listed below are the ingredients we use to create our herbal products, with information about their properties and benefits. As you can see, we do NOT use any synthetic preservatives, so please bear in mind that these are natural bath and body products, and use them within a timely manner - generally, 6 months is a good rule of thumb, but sooner is better! (We've had products last for literally years without going bad, but unfortunately not all will last quite that long!)

Oatmeal
Soothing and gentle, oatmeal is a wonderful bath additive. It's helpful for dry, sensitive, irritated skins and works wonders on rashes or skin abrasions. It has gentle skin-cleansing properties and can even be used in place of soap! We use certified organic rolled oats in our bath herbs and scrubs.
Shea Butter
We have fallen in love with shea butter. This thick, rich cream is expressed from an African nut (like my nephew said, "sorta like peanut butter but you don't eat it") and is wonderfully rich, soothing, and moisturizing, without being greasy our oily. We love it in our shea butter body balms, and our facial creams, and some of our soaps, among other things. Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer, tissue healer and regenerator, and hair moisturizer. We use a certified FAIR TRADE unrefined shea butte from, which means it has a light yellow to grey to greenish color, and a light nutty fragrance. That ALSO means that it retains the highest percentage of it's natural healing properties, and is not subjected to any chemical processes to "clean" or bleach it. Shea butter nuts are wildcrafted in Africa and hand-processed by African women; shea butter production helps support them and provide a better life for their families, and we get a wonderful, all-natural moisturizer to boot. Win/win all-around! The shea butter we use is from Togo. Visit this neat site to see how shea nuts are grown, harvested, and processed, and the women who are earning a decent living wage by making this marvelous shea. Download our .pdf informational brochure about shea butter.
Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is not technically an oil, it's actually a liquid wax, with a different molecular structure than oil. It lasts practically forever and does not go rancid, and remains unchanged after being heated. Jojoba oil contains myristic acid, which is an an anti-inflammatory; therefore, this oil can be beneficial as a rub for arthritis and rheumatism. Jojoba oil helps balance the acidity of your skin, and is therefore excellent for use with all skin types. It's rich but non-greasy, and is wonderful for dry scalp, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, chapped skin, and is a great treatment for acne. It's an excellent oil to use if you have acne or oily skin but still need a moisturizer, as it is non-greasy and will not clog your pores. Jojoba is also considered to help reduce wrinkles and help skin retain it's natural elasticity and softness. Jojoba oil is very similar, molecularly, to sebum (the oil your skin produces), and is therefore absorbed into the skin easily and quickly. We love jojoba!
Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a thick, creamy white oil that is a solid at room temperature, but melts on contact with your body, or in a warm tub. It's and excellent moisturizer and skin softener, is heavy and concentrated, and also makes a lovely hair pomade or conditioner. We use a FAIR TRADE organic virgin (unrefined) coconut oil that retains it's natural, nutty scent and is less "oily" than the more refined coconut oils. You can see our supplier's site, chock full of infomation about their wonderful coconut oil, here.
Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a fragrant, yellow nut better that is a solid at room temperature, but melts at about 76-78 degrees - so it melts as it contacts your skin, or is place in a tub of hot water. Because of this property it makes a wonderful addition to body balms and bath products; makes a nice massage medium too. It's very thick and oily, highly moisturizing, making skin soft and supple and creating a protective moisturizing layer. Excellent to heal/prevent scar tissue and stretch marks. We use a minimally refined, food-grade cocoa butter that has not been subjected to chemical processes to bleach or deodorize it (yuk).
Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is loaded with vitamins (A, D and especially E) and also contains calcium, zinc, potassium, iron and phosphorus - wonderfully nourishing to the skin. Sunflower oil is a lovely, multi-purpose oil that is softening, moisturizing, and soothing. It has a protective effect on the skin and is healing when applied to leg ulcers, bruises and skin diseases. It's easily absorbed and is great for all skin types.
Rosehip Seed Oil
A thick, rich oil extracted from rosehips, this oil is fabulous for skin regeneration. Useful in healing scars, wounds, burns, reducing wrinkles, and for moisturizing thin, delicate tissues. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. Also helpful for treating eczema.We use a CERTIFIED ORGANIC rosehip seed oil.
Wheatgerm Oil
Wheatgerm oil is a thick, tan oil with a distinctive odor. It's just chock full of vitamins and minerals, and is particularly high in vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant. Due to it's high vitamin E content, it's often used as a natural preservative in oil blends; it's also useful on ageing skin due to the vitamin E content. Vitamin E combats the dreaded "free radicals" and helps make skin soft and supple. It has cell regenerative properties, and is useful in treating dermatitis.
Vitamin E Oil
An extremely thick, rich (almost gooey-sticky) oil that is used as a natural preservative (it's an antioxidant and helps keep the oils from going rancid) in many natural bath and body potions. It's an excellent wound healer, and is useful for combating skin damage, healing scar tissue/stretch marks, moisturizing (especially for dry or aging skin) and is often used to treat wrinkles, and fine lines. Helpful in treating many forms of skin conditions, as well as burns, scrapes, and rashes.
Olive Oil
Olive oil is our oil of choice for making herbal infusions. Preliminary studies show it may have some UVB blocking abilities when applied to your skin. Castile soap is made from olive oil; it's one of the mildest, gentlest soaps available, and is often used on people with sensitive skin or allergies. Olive oil is a thick, rich oil, well suited for calming inflamed skin, and excellent on dry or mature skins. We love it also as an excellent hair moisturizer, adding body, shine, and softness to your hair, while conditioning and moisturizing the scalp.
Colorants
We use naturally sourced, cosmetic grade pigments - micas, oxides & ultramarines. They are FDA approved for cosmetic use and are perfectly safe. They are essentially rocks, rusts, and colored extracts from other natural materials (kaolin clay, for example) that have been purified and ground. Cool, huh? These can be found in our all-natural lip glosses, bath salts, and some body scrubs.
Essential Oils
Essential oils are the all-natural, extracted "essence" of a botanical ingredient - a herb, flower, bark, seed, root, peel, or leaf. They are extremely concentrated and very very fragrant. Because they are an all-natural botanical extract, they do have medicinal and aromatherapeutic properties, which is partly why we love them! (the other reason we love them is because they just smell good.) Visit our scent guide for a description of the essential oils and their properties. We use high-quality essential oils purchased from reputable sources; while they are all-natural, they may still cause skin irritation or reactions in certain individuals so if you notice any adverse affects, please discontinue use.
Fragrance Oils
Fragrance oils are one of the things that makes our stuff smell good. Fragrance oils are not all-natural; they are chemical compounds created to smell like certain things: blueberries, fresh grass, rain, etc. The ones we use are high quality (you get what you pay for with fragrance oils) and are formulated to be used on your skin in bath and body products. They are tested and determined safe, however, they could still cause reactions on certain individuals (But so can essential oils, which are all-natural, so please, if you notice any sort of irritation to your skin with any of our products, discontinue use). Please visit our scent guide for a description of the different fragrances available.
Beeswax
Beesawax is a solid, all-natural golden-yellow wax with a wonderful, light honey-like scent. We use it as thickener, transforming ordinary oils into luscious lip balms, body balms, salves, and more. It also forms a lovely, light barrier on your skin, helping to seal in those moisturizing oils and butters, without clogging pores. We purchase ours from our friends at Prairie Song Apiary, in Coon Rapids Iowa. (They have very happy bees, who get to pollinate their cherry and apple trees all the live-long day). It is an all-natural, minimally refined product - basically, it is melted and strained to remove bee wings, pollen, etc., but is not bleached, deodorized, or chemically processed in any other way.
Honey
A fabulous humectant and moisturizer, honey is wonderfully soothing and softening to your skin. Historically it's been used as a wound healer, antiseptic, moisturizer and preservative, it makes wonderful face and hair masques too. Try adding a tablespoon or 2 to your bathwater...lovely! :) We use it to add sweetness and moisture to lip balms, and love it's silkiness and moisturizing properties in our botanical bath salts and body scrubs. We purchase ours from our friendly local beekeepers at Prairie Song Apiary in Coon Rapids, IA.
Cornstarch
A lovely, soothing white powder made from corn. Used in body powders in place of talc, cornstarch is very soothing to skin, and in it's dry form, is excellent at helping keep skin dry and absorb excess moisture. (Read why you want to avoid talc at all costs!) In the tub, it's a silky-soft but non-greasy skin conditioning agent. We use cornstarch in our botanical bath salts, milk baths, and body powder.
Arrowroot Powder
A lovely, soft powder used to make our body powders silkier and smoother. (Read why you want to avoid talc at all costs!) Has great moisture-absorbing properties.
Glycerine
Glycerine is a thick, sticky-sweet liquid that does 2 things - 1) make the bubbles in our bubble bath last longer, and 2) provides moisturizing benefits. Glycerine is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin; it's used in lots of bath & body products for it's excellent moisturizing properties, as well as it's sweetness. Our glycerine is a vegetable-based product.
Sea Salt
Wonderfully purifying and refreshing, our food-grade fine sea salts are wonderful in bath salts and salt scrubs. Salt is an antiseptic wound healer, and helps draw impurities from your skin.
Turbinado Sugar
This brown, unrefined sugar makes a wonderful "scrubby" medium for our sugar scrubs - provides natural exfoliation and feels so good!
Baking Soda
Good ol' sodium bicarbonate is gently alkaline (acid-neutralizing) ingredient that is an excellent deodorant and cleanser, and is also very soothing to the skin. Excellent as a treatment for rashes, insect bites, sunburns, and irritated skin, we love to use it in our botanical bath salts, as well as our body powders. (Read why you want to avoid talc at all costs!)
Milk Powder
Dried milk is wonderfully softening and soothing to your skin, without being at all oily or greasy. It makes a wonderful bath additive - try it in our milk baths!
Alcohol
Used in small quantities in our body mists, grain alcohol is a necessary preservative - we don't want any icky bacteria growing in your lovely body spray, ugh!
Herbally Infused Oils
We love to make herbally infused oils, and use them in just about every oil-based product we make. To make an infused oil, we first start with a plain oil - usually olive. Then we soak a bunch of herbs - fresh or dried, depending on the season - in the oil, until the lovely healing properties of the herbs have been transferred into that oil. It's like making tea, only we use oil instead of water. Then we strain out the herbs, and what is left is a wonderfully nourishing and healing oil, often colored due to the herbs, that we use to make our salves, balms, scrubs, etc. Karla often uses them in her soaps and shampoos, too. It's a wonderful way to enhance the herbal nourshing and healing qualities of just about any bath and body product. We use a variety of herbs, depending on the end-use of the oil - nettle, rosemary, horsetail for hair products, comfrey, plantain, calendula, St.John's Wort, and more for bath and body products. Want to purchase some to make your own bath and body products? Visit our Raw Materials page.
Herbs
We hope to have a list of herbs and their properties soon, but for now we'll just say that we use our own, chemical-free herbs whenever possible, and when we run out (or if we need things we can't grow here in Iowa) we do purchase from quality sources, organic when possible. We carefully choose the best herbs to use in our herbally infused oils, in the bath herbs, scrubs, etc.
Aloe Vera
Aloe's legendary healing properties are almost too many to list - suffice it to say, we love this little miracle plant, and use it's lovely juice in lots of things, especially our herbal healing salve.
Vinegar
Vinegars are cleansing and are used to remove alkaline soap residue and trace dirt, grime, and oil from skin and hair. Vinegar helps restore the natural pH balance of your skin and scalp, and despite it's sharp odor, is very gentle and soothing when diluted in water. My (Maggie's) favorite sunburn treatment is a rose-infused vinegar diluted in my bathwater (with a nice healing oil or salve applied afterwards). We love, love LOVE vinegar as a hair rinse - it helps remove any trace shampoo residue, and makes hair healthy, bouncy and shiny. Vinegar rinses are great for all hair types but are especially beneficial for itchy, flaky or dandruffy (is that a word?) scalps. We use a certified organic apple cider vinegar for our hair vinegars.
Rice Bran Oil

Sources of information include:
Naturally Healthy Hair by Mary Beth Janssen
Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage by Len Price
Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox
Home Herbal Spa by Greta Breedlove
Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Natural Beauty by Rosemary Gladstar
The Herbal Body Book by Stephanie L. Tourles

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