Q: Some natural shampoos don't seem to lather a great deal. How can a shampoo clean the hair without a lot of lather?
A: Shampoos don't need to generate lots of suds to clean hair effectively. Here's what happens when you shampoo—detergent and soap molecules have two ends: a hydrophilic (water-loving) "head" and a lipophilic (oil-loving) "tail." The oil-loving tails attach to the oil and dirt in your hair. When you rinse, the water-loving heads attach to the rinse water, so the oil and dirt are pulled out of your hair. When detergent molecules mix with water and align in a spherical shape, suds, or lather, are formed. Lather doesn't really assist the cleansing process, except that it might make it easier for you to feel that your shampoo has been evenly distributed. We've been conditioned to like lather. But many shampoos rely on inexpensive, petrochemically derived detergents such as sodium lauryl / laureth sulfate, olefin sulfonate and cocamidopropyl betaine for their foam-building properties. These chemicals can dry out the hair and scalp, and may cause allergic reactions as well as environmental problems. Aubrey's shampoos are made with natural cleansing agents such as coconut oil-corn oil soap (coconut fatty alcohols reacted with cornstarch glucose) and quillaya bark (saponins), which clean the hair effectively with a quick, modest lather.
Q: Do I need to use a conditioner with my shampoo? What's the difference between a conditioner and a cream rinse?
A: Not everyone needs to use a conditioner after shampooing. For most people with dry or chemically treated hair, using a conditioner is important. It keeps the hair and scalp hydrated, balances the oil content, restores elasticity and strength to the hair, and detangles (to avoid breakage). A cream rinse is a light conditioner typically made with a higher percentage of hydrating ingredients (such as aloe vera, witch hazel or glycerin) than emollients (like oils or shea butter). If your hair is oily or fine, a cream rinse used on the ends of the hair to detangle and smooth frizzies is all you'll need. Our Egyptian Henna Shine-Enhancing Clean Rinse, for fine, oily hair, is our lightest conditioning product, designed to leave scalp tingly-clean and build body and shine without weighing down the hair.
Q: What is deionized water? Doesn't it water down your shampoos?
A: Water is essential to the proper formulation of a shampoo base. It acts as a suspension agent for herbs and other ingredients, and combines with the soap component to form a lather. Without water, your shampoo will be too thick and the pH too high. While impure, hard water can inhibit the performance of shampoos, deionized water boosts performance by increasing lathering, spreadability and clean rinsing. The deionization process removes mineral salts such as calcium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfide and sodium chloride from water. In addition, the deionized water we use also goes through three other purification processes—carbon filtering, reverse osmosis and UV treatment. This ensures the removal of nitrates, heavy metals and bacteria.
Q: What is coconut oil-corn oil soap?
A: A natural cleansing and foaming agent made from coconut oil fatty alcohols and glucose (obtained from corn), this gentle, natural detergent has a similar composition to saponins (plant glycosides) derived from soap bark (quillaya) and yucca root. Combined with triple-purified, deionized water and hydrolyzed soy protein, it makes up the soap base for all our natural shampoos. Aubrey's coconut oil-corn oil shampoo base provides a richer, thicker lather, strengthens hair fiber and rinses clean for softer, shinier, more manageable hair.
Q: Are your shampoos safe for color-treated hair?
A: All our shampoos contain natural cleansing and conditioning agents that are mild enough to use on color-treated hair and will actually improve the look and feel of your hair and scalp, especially when used with one of our conditioners. Antioxidant vitamins, emollients, natural sun filters and chelating (mineral-removing) agents are important features of color-protective formulas, whether you have color-treated hair, or just want to keep your natural color from fading or becoming altered by sun, chlorine or salt. We recommend our Rosa Mosqueta® Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner for the special care of color-treated hair. If your hair is highlighted or bleached, you may prefer our Honeysuckle Rose® Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. Our Swimmer's line is also great for bleached or natural blondes, and for people with gray hair who want to avoid discoloration.
Q: Do you have a shampoo that will help my perm last longer?
A: 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 our White Camellia Ultra-Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner, or our Island Naturals line. If your hair is fine, normal-to-oily, and permed, try GPB Balancing Shampoo and Conditioner.
Q: Do you have any products for the treatment of dandruff, eczema and other scalp conditions?
A: Aubrey cannot make medical claims for our 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 specific Aubrey products. Our Calaguala Fern Treatment Shampoo is best suited for cleansing oily, waxy scalp buildup, and Calaguala Fern Leave-In Treatment soothes and normalizes the scalp. Primrose & Lavender Scalp-Soothing Shampoo can help calm sensitive scalp and may be alternated with our Calaguala line for good results.
Q: Do you make any deep-conditioning treatments?
A: All our cream-based conditioners work great for deep-conditioning! Simply apply the conditioner to DRY hair, distributing from scalp to ends, leave it on for 15 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. Emollients dissolve buildup of styling aids on dry hair better than on wet hair; applying treatments to dry hair also helps the nutrients to penetrate better. Hot oil treatments can be done using our certified organic jojoba or Rosa Mosqueta® oils, or our white camellia oil. We also offer protein-rich Blue Green Algae Hair Conditioning Mask for deep-conditioning.
Q: Why don't you use hydrosols in your products?
A: We do. Hydrosols are found in many of our formulas—witch hazel and lavender water are two examples. 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 these 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. Aubrey chooses to use hydrosols widely, but NOT to boost the organic percentage of an organic product. Instead we use organic whole-plant liquids such as aloe vera and orange pith juice, which preserve the synergy of the whole plant.
Q: What does "certified organic" mean?
A: "Certified organic" means that an independent agency accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has verified that products labeled as "organic" meet strictly defined organic standards, as specified by the National Organic Program (NOP). Both individual products and manufacturing facilities must be certified organic to allow labeling of products as organic or containing organic ingredients. Aubrey was certified as an organic processor in October 1994 by Quality Assurance International of San Diego, California, the first cosmetic manufacturer to be certified organic.
We are also a member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The NOP was scrupulously crafted to have jurisdiction over agricultural products used in foods, and has stringent standards for processed foods. The NOP also has jurisdiction over agricultural ingredients (such as jojoba oil and aloe vera) used in personal care products, assuring consumers that those ingredients are produced without pesticides or herbicides and are processed without chemicals. Aubrey is a founding member of the OTA's Personal Care Task Force, which was formed to review the NOP Standards as they apply to the manufacturing of personal care products. Aubrey advocates strong standards for organic cosmetics—including no petrochemicals, no synthetic colors, fragrances or preservatives, and no water-added ingredients.
Q: What is Aubrey's preservative?
A: Aubrey has been using this proprietary blend of grapefruit extract and antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) since the mid-1970s to preserve our natural products. The remarkable powers of grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial and antifungal were first discovered by Dr. Jakob Harich. Aubrey's formula is a safe, reliable, all-natural preservation system. Our products also stay fresh because we manufacture in small batches of 50 gallons or less and refrain from warehousing.
Q: Why are different bottles of the same product sometimes different in color, scent or texture?
A: Natural ingredients are not standardized and uniformly mass-produced the way synthetic ones can be. Herbs and other ingredients harvested from different farms at different times will look or feel different when used in a product. Heat or cold conditions during shipping can cause products to become thicker or thinner, and temperature can also affect color or scent. Aubrey formulates in small batches to ensure product purity and stability, and we offer a 100% money-back guarantee that our products will perform to your satisfaction.
Q: I've noticed that some of your products separate. Is this a problem?
A: Aubrey uses no synthetic emulsifiers to bind the oil and water phases of our products. Occasionally some separation does occur; you'll open the product and see an oily or watery layer at the top. This does not mean the product is spoiled, nor does separation lessen the product's effectiveness. The problem is easily corrected by following the instructions you see on the label: Shake Well Before Using.
Q: What is the shelf life of your products?
A: The shelf life of products varies. Products are sealed to help prevent contamination and leakage. Small batches and quick shipment ensure freshness; however, opened products should be used within a year for best results. Short-term exposure to extreme temperature changes can affect the thickness and texture of products, resulting in possible separation; however, the freshness of the product is not compromised. Shaking and/or refrigerating products can restore consistency. Long-term exposure of products to sunlight and/or heat should be avoided because the resulting oxidation may affect freshness.
Q: Why is the three-step skin care method important?
A: A three-step method—cleanse, tone, moisturize—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 moisturizer; and a moisturizer 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.
Q: How long will I have to use one of your skin care lines before I can tell if it's the right type for me? My skin looks worse now than when I started. What's wrong?
A: 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.
Q: What is exfoliation?
A: 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 utilized 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.
Q: Do you make anything I can use for rosacea?
A: Aubrey cannot make medical claims for our products, as we are not licensed to diagnose or prescribe treatments for skin disorders. However, many people with stressed skin have benefited from using our Blue Green Algae skin care line or the Vegecol sensitive skin care line.
Q: Do you make anything I can use for acne?
A: We cannot diagnose or prescribe treatments for acne or other skin conditions and do not make medical claims for our products. However, we have found that many people with oily skin have benefited from using the Blue Green Algae skin care line or the Natural Herbal skin care line. Our Amino Derm Gel Clear Skin Complex also works well on trouble spots.
Q: Do you make any products that are hypoallergenic?
A: Hypoallergenic is a marketing term that refers to products formulated without the use of known allergens. Aubrey® formulations are 100% natural and leave out many known allergens. We do not claim that our products are hypoallergenic because not every person will react the same way to the same product. However, our Vegecol (type 6) skin care line is excellent for people with sensitive skin.
Q: Do you offer any fragrance-free products?
A: We add no artificial fragrances or colors to our products. What your nose and eyes perceive when you open a bottle of shampoo or moisturizer is the natural scent and color of the plant and essential oil extracts used in it. Synthetic fragrances and colors often added to cosmetics can be powerful allergens. That's why most people with strong sensitivities fare better with our all-natural products. Even essential oils and herbs can cause sensitivities, but if you are prone to allergic reactions, try our Vegecol (type 6) line for sensitive skin. These very simple formulas are formulated with low-scent herbals and are specially created for persons with sensitivities. The mildest, lightest-scented hair care formulas we make are our Swimmer's Normalizing Shampoo and Conditioner.
Q: Why do you use natural grain alcohol (NGA) in your products? What is the source? Will it dry out my hair and skin?
A: Natural grain alcohol (ethanol), a liquid solvent alcohol, is naturally obtained through the fermenting of carbohydrates from grain (corn) and does not contain gluten (a common allergen). NGA has antiseptic, sedative and blood vessel dilation properties, and acts as an effective preservative booster and binding agent, as well as an astringent in toners. NGA, emollients and herbal extracts used proportionately in formulation ensure that products will not cause dryness or sensitivity to the user. NGA is gentle on the skin, hair and scalp, unlike isopropyl alcohol, which is produced from petrochemicals.
Q: What is a proprietary blend?
A: 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.
Q: What is your coconut fatty acid cream base?
A: This natural absorption base is a proprietary blend invented by Aubrey Hampton in 1968 to deliver conditioning nutrients to the skin, hair and scalp. It is made with coconut fatty alcohol, essential fatty acids and organic aloe vera, and is sometimes referred to as essential fatty acid cream base.
Q: What are essential fatty acids?
A: Fatty acids and glycerin are the building blocks of fats and oils from both plants and animals. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as linoleic and linolenic acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be consumed in the diet. EFAs are utilized by the body in practically every biochemical function, including the production of sebum, the skin's natural oil. Applied topically, EFAs are readily absorbed by the skin. They are excellent emollients that not only improve the absorption of our moisturizers and conditioners, but also have antibacterial properties that help protect the skin, hair and scalp. They are found in many unprocessed oils, especially safflower and flax seed oils.
Q: What is a fatty alcohol?
A: Some of the most common fatty alcohols are cetyl, lauryl, oleyl and stearyl fatty alcohols. Solid alcohols are made from fatty acids. They are superb natural emollients, not to be confused with liquid solvent-type alcohols. Cetyl and stearyl alcohols help keep the hair and scalp's natural moisture from evaporating. Cetyl alcohol was first derived from the oil of sperm whales; it is also widely produced from petroleum oil. Aubrey only uses cetyl alcohol from natural vegetable sources—coconut and palm oils.
Q: What are fatty acids esters?
A: Esterification of a fatty acid is a condensation reaction in which a molecule of acid unites with a molecule of alcohol with the elimination of water. Fatty acid esters can be very beneficial in cosmetic formulas. Two examples in nature of substances rich in fatty acid esters are jojoba oil and human sebum.
Q: Are Aubrey products vegan?
A: Most Aubrey products are vegan: that is, they contain no ingredients derived from animals. We mark these products with a vegan label so concerned customers will know. A few of our hair care products contain lactalbumin (a milk protein), glycoprotein (derived from oyster shells), lanolin or egg protein. These ingredients work well in hair care, but we also offer vegan alternatives using plant-derived proteins in most of our hair care products. In our skin care line, Vegecol is a vegetable collagen moisturizer formulated as a vegan alternative to Collagen TCM, a dermal protein moisturizer.
Q: Why do you make creams with animal byproducts such as collagen and elastin?
A: Collagen and elastin are dermal proteins that make up 70 percent of the body's connective tissue. Applied topically, pure soluble dermal proteins form a smooth, elastic layer on the skin. This helps skin retain moisture and increases softness and elasticity. Our moisturizer Collagen TCM, which contains dermal proteins, was formulated in 1972, before there were concerns about the use of animal byproducts, and enjoys a loyal following. Both dermal proteins (soluble collagen and hydrolyzed animal elastin) are from sources within the U.S.
Q: Do your products have expiration dates?
A: As required by the FDA, we put an expiration date on all products containing an SPF. The SPF products are given an expiration date of two years from the date of manufacture. We 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.
Q: Is Aubrey's packaging recyclable?
A: Most of our packaging is easily recyclable. Our bottles and tubes are made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a widely recyclable plastic, and are coded on the bottom. We aim for minimal packaging whenever possible—using outside packaging (such as boxes) only when extra protection is needed. Our boxes, too, are made from recyclable cardboard. We print catalogs and other material on 100% recycled paper.