A Southwestern Road Trip

Nebraska > Missouri > Oklahoma > Texas > New Mexico > Arizona > California.

A visual tour through the American Southwest.

Tekamah, Nebraska.

 Cows at twilight.

Cows at twilight.

 Cucumbers at the county fair.

Cucumbers at the county fair.

Kansas City, Missouri

 Wandering through the West Bottoms, a warehouse district in the heart of Kansas City.

Wandering through the West Bottoms, a warehouse district in the heart of Kansas City.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

 The oddly futuristic yet referential architecture of Oral Roberts University.

The oddly futuristic yet referential architecture of Oral Roberts University.

Amarillo, Texas

 Cadillac canvases in Amarillo, TX.

Cadillac canvases in Amarillo, TX.

 Racing trains along highway 40.

Racing trains along highway 40.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

 Railyard depot in Santa Fe.

Railyard depot in Santa Fe.

 Santa Fe Southern

Santa Fe Southern

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

 The vibrant reds of Central Arizona

The vibrant reds of Central Arizona

 A relic of Route 44.

A relic of Route 44.

 Empty roads that stretch for miles along Route 44.

Empty roads that stretch for miles along Route 44.

 If the moon landing were fake, it would have been filmed in Arizona.

If the moon landing were fake, it would have been filmed in Arizona.

Mojave Desert, California

 Haze that sits atop a landscape dotted with Yucca and Prickly Pear.

Haze that sits atop a landscape dotted with Yucca and Prickly Pear.

Los Angeles, California

 Surf School in Venice, California.

Surf School in Venice, California.

 Palm silhouettes.

Palm silhouettes.

Want natural skincare made from the most resilient plants on earth? Find our Cactus Stem Face Wash and Yucca Root Moisturizer in our shop. You can also take 20% off any order with code SOUTHWEST through October.

What are Parabens and Why Don't I Want Them?

Parabens are Used to Make Sure Bacteria Doesn't Grow.

Parabens are molecules present in 85% of personal care products. They're simple to use, stable, and keep bacteria from destroying all the ingredients in personal care products. The bacteria they inhibit can irritate skin, too, so it's best to keep them at bay. However, there's a lot of gray area with the molecules, so we like to be cautious.

How do I Know if a Product Has Parabens?

They often go by the names methylparaben, propylparaben, basically anything with "-paraben" at the end. Just check the back label!

So What's the Big Deal About Parabens?

If they're in 85% of products, they must be safe, right? Well...

The Truth is, the FDA's Pretty Unsure.

The Food and Drug Administration says they're investigating the molecule for "paraben-related health effects" and the "possible hazards of parabens." While they've approved parabens for use in cosmetics, they take a more liberal approach: innocent until proven guilty.

There's Some Strong Evidence for a Guilty Verdict.

WebMD reported on a recent study which found that when parabens were put into contact with heregulin, a compound present in breast tissue, cancer cells needed 100x fewer parabens to grow. This means that parabens were shown to stimulate cancer cell growth in breast tissue. And if you think about 85% of products having parabens in them, that's a lot of accumulation in the blood stream over time.

That's enough evidence for us to keep it out of our products. If one test in one lab showed that a compound stimulated cancer cell growth, we can use something else. In fact, we picked phenoxyethanol phe·nox·y·eth·a·nol (-fĭ-nŏk'sē-ěth'ə-nôl', -nōl'), a naturally-occurring compound in green tea and chicory. It's much safer than a paraben-based preservative.

 
  Chicory.  By Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany - www.biolib.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7046954

Chicory. By Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany - www.biolib.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7046954

 

 

We Love Phenoxyethanol. Really.

While it's the 1% that makes us 99% naturally derived, we're willing to live with it. In fact, it's approved by the much-more-stringent European Economic Community cosmetics directive and has been for over 20 years. This is based on stringent testing and no reports of irritation at levels up to 2.2%. Even Japan approves of it.

Phenoxyethanol keeps bacteria from growing in our Yucca Root Moisturizer and our Cactus Stem Face Wash. That means the product lasts longer, safely. Enjoy.

What's the Deal With Yucca?

We're obsessed with  plants can live in the harshest environments. Plants that are so omnipresent and sustaining that they're woven into the stories of the people that live among them.

We’re hooked when we come across tales of remedies made from the plants, evidence that there might be some science we can tap into for our products. That's when we dive in.

We mentioned that the entire basis for our brand was the Yucca dotting the deserts of southwestern North America. We dug a little bit more to figure out what kept Yucca sustaining in the harsh desert and investigated what it was used for.

Gabrielle Hatfield fortunately did a deep dive into the uses of Yucca in the Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine that we started in on. Yucca is used to treat earache, prevent baldness, treat dandruff, and even as a face mask to treat blemishes by native peoples all across North America from the Appalachians to the Sonoran Desert.

We read this and the chemistry sirens started blaring. What in the world is this magical plant? Good news: the National Institute of Health dug into it. Here's what's in the extract:

  1. Resveratrol. This super compound is most commonly associated with the benefits of red wine but, as Men's Health mentions has been credited with everything from increasing mental sharpness to improving cardiovascular health.

  2. Saponins. These little guys are the real crux of why Yucca is good for skincare. They're lean, mean, protozoa-crushing machines. Protozoa produce oxidants and and peroxides which in turn inflame and irritate skin. This is why saponins are anti-oxidants.

  3. Yuccaols. These compounds inhibit the production of Nitric Oxide, another inflammatory agent.

These attributes made it a no-brainer to pack our moisturizer with Yucca Root Extract. It teams up with our other plant-based ingredients to add moisture to all skin types without feeling greasy or oily.