Diana Kaye founded the Maryland-based natural body care products company Terressentials after she had been unsatisfied with the other offerings on the market. Kaye had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the young age of 29. Although she recovered after a long struggle that included a switch to organic food and natural products, as well as experimental chemotherapy, she was left highly sensitive to a wide range of chemicals.
When I did a story on her for E Magazine, Kaye told me, As I began to research personal-care products, I realized that there were very few items I could safely use because of their synthetic ingredients, including those found in natural health stores. So I formed my own company with the goal of offering 100 percent natural body-care products that are as close to all-organic as possible.
Today, Terressentials continues to hand-craft a wide range of organic skin care, hair care, baby products, and other goods made with certified organic herbs and certified organic essential oils. What's different about Kaye's company compared with many other entrants in the natural personal care space, however, is that Terressentials insists on using only ingredients that the USDA permits in certified organic food. Since the cosmetics and personal care industry doesn't yet have a rigorous, government-led system of organic labeling in the U.S., there is a wide range of interpretations. Most companies do not insist on food-grade labeling, since they argue that cosmetics are not consumed (though others, including Kaye, counter that the absorption of cosmetics by the body is akin to consumption). (See Dr. Bronner's perspective and ratings, as well as the Organic Consumer's Association's advocacy.)
For their part, Terressentials also lists their ingredients on all of their products. They argue that unlike many of their competitors, they use certified organic cocoa butter and certified organic shea butter, instead of stearic acid or cetyl alcohol. Instead of ammonium lauryl sulfate or decyl polyglucose, they use traditional cold-process castile soap made from certified organic olive oil. "And we don't slip in any funny stuff in the fine print at the end of the list of ingredients," they claim.
USDA Organic 4 Ever
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