where our quest to keep things simple gets a little bit complicated.
When we were first approached by health food stores that were interested in carrying our SuperHuman Tooth Soap & Polish Duo, our initial "Yipee!" soon turned into "Yikes!" as we realized we'd need to increase our Duo's shelf life.
Naively, we were sure that there had to be tons of safe, natural preservatives out there. Well... in a nutshell, we were wrong.
As we immersed ourselves in the subject of preservatives we learned two things right away.
- Any product containing water must have a preservative.
- All of the essential oils that are touted as preservatives are actually anti-oxidants and they all taste REALLY bad in tooth polish.
(However, 2 of these same essential oils (tea tree and lavender), are magical when added to a natural deodorant! We'll be introducing our own Life Guard deodorant soon. Stay tuned...)
We knew that the tooth soap half of our Duo would hold up just fine, and that it was the water-based polish that we would need to focus on. An anhydrous (water-free) formulation naturally resists spoilage. While we were fortunate enough to discover a Canadian company that manufactures an all natural preservative/anti-oxidant product, we still felt we needed to try a preservative-free approach. So...
We decided to try removing the water from our Duo. With that in mind, we began experimenting with using various oils as a base for the polish in place of the water. While coconut and palm oils worked well, our friends and family (aka guinea pigs) all agreed that nothing cleaned as well as our original formula. So, we went back to the drawing board and began thinking WAY outside the box (nice combo of idioms there, right?) and even tried...
Making the Duo into a tablet. We purchased tablet making equipment and then got to work. (As a side note, try searching online sometime for that equipment. Boy, you'll see some really interesting stuff. If the police had conducted a search of my browsing history during that time frame, I would have had some explaining to do!) Anyway... we found that by reducing our natural tooth soap to a gel base and combining it with the dry ingredients and essential oils, we were able to compress this mixture into a minty tablet. After spending some time in a dehydrator, we were left with a decent alternative. All of our guinea pigs were in agreement. The tablet idea definitely took some getting used to, but worked quite well. However, the tabs still weren't as effective as our original water-based polish.
Currently, we're working on a xylitol syrup that can be used as the base of a calcium-rich paste which we'll package in an aluminum toothpaste tube. Who knows, maybe the third time really is the charm?
Anyway, as you can see, we're determined to stick to our preservative-free standards but, if need be, it's good to know that there are companies out there that are starting to really focus on natural preservatives in response to health-conscious manufacturers and consumers.
So keep demanding pure & natural ingredients SuperHumans! We're bringing about a positive change!