O the joys of working with natural products! Natural products are derived from nature hence the name. Now a quote from Robin Hood prince of thieves illustrates:
Azeem: Salaam, little one.
Small Girl: Did God paint you?
Azeem: Did God paint me?
Azeem: For certain.
Small Girl: Why?
Azeem: Because Allah loves wondrous varieties.
Yep! Certainly God loves wondrous varieties. But this causes a real problem for us using his wondrous varieties in our products. Allow me to explain. God did not make just Ginger he made many varieties. He also made many climates blessed them with differing rainfall different soils different seasons and different growing conditions. Then to add more variety to the equation people decided to use different harvesting times and strategies. Then they decided to create different processing and extracting methodologies. Now go buy ginger extract from the same supplier and try to get exactly the same fragrance every time. Impossible!
Sadly, we live in a world where we are use to everything being the same each time otherwise we feel cheated.
Client: “It must be a mistake it doesn’t smell the same!” “Hey you messed up the formulation you put too little ginger oil in the fragrance is too faint!” “Surely this is a mistake” Manufacturer “No mam right extract right inclusion level just seasonal variation in aromatic oil content.” This discussion is familiar to all who use natural extracts.
The question now facing us is a difficult one. Will the variations in component composition due to mentioned reasons impact final product functionality negatively? Truth be told it could! The contra positive is also true it might actually be better and not worse. We try to compensate for variations in composition by pushing inclusion percentage up slightly in formulations. Also we try to buy from same suppliers. Also mixing variations in same extract gives us more uniform extract mixes. We have to be careful with freshness factors and not compromise freshness in an attempt to deliver uniform fragrance however.
The same arguments come with many other components like lemon grass oil, rosemary extract lavender extract etc.
Colour is another problem we face. Let’s start with the base. Basix Skin Repair Cream and Basix-XM use natural Shea butter as a base. The colour of Shea butter can differ much. Olive leaf extract also changes colour with season and said ginger oil also differs much from time to time in colour. So colour is not a given it can change from batch to batch.
Variation in oils in extracts can also change the efficiency of your emulsifying waxes meaning sometimes the viscosity or thickness of cream can vary slightly.
Now for the last curve ball. Products containing living extracts can change over time as components mature in a formulation. Much like cheese does. Basix Skin Repair and Basix-XM for me is at its best after a good six months after manufacturing. The normal shelf life is 2 years as the sticker indicates. Just like some people are connoisseurs of cheese, some Basix SRC and XM clients stop just short of war if we sell all the good stuff and don’t keep a stash of more mature product for them to enjoy.
So next time you pick up a jar of Basix Skin Repair Cream or Basix-XM realise it was once alive and in a certain sense it still is….
May the God of wondrous variety bless you all!