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Thinking about Skin

Written by Pat on May 12th, 2021.      4 comments

Be kind to the skin you are in

At Happy Horizons, skin is very important to us. We love skin. We think skin is amazing. And we want to help you look after it. So let’s talk about skin and organic products.

Skin is so much more than a wrapping around our body which keeps out pathogens. This is how it was thought off until recently. We now know that our skin is semi-permeable. In other words, it can and does absorb chemicals, taking chemicals from the outermost layer through the deeper layers and into your blood and lymph system.
Skin CC-718

If you are sceptical ask yourself ‘how do hormone replacement patches and nicotine patches work?’ The hormones and nicotine must go through the skin or the patches wouldn’t work. What about oestrogen creams and any of the other drugs than are now being administered using skin patches?
Patch contraceptif-748
We KNOW for sure that chemicals go through the skin into the body. But even knowing this, there are still no requirements for manufactures to do any safety testing whatsoever on the chemicals used in personal care products (like deodorants, toothpaste, shampoo, creams etc). You might want to read that sentence again, just to make sure you understand …. there are no mandatory safety tests for any chemicals used in personal care products. Is anyone else surprised by this? Keep this in mind when you read product labels.

There are some voluntary guidelines for safety testing chemicals, but in our view these are inadequate, focussing mostly on short term exposures in healthy people. According to the EWG, (, less than 15% of the thousands of ingredients used in personal care products have undergone any kind of safety testing at all. Are you surprised by this?

organic-788You may think that organically certified products are safe. You pay much more for them so they must OK, right? Well, what exactly does the organic certification really mean? Did you know that ecocert organic products are allowed to have up to 5% non-organic plant material? So while this is an improvement over 100% non-organic products, it still allows nasty pesticide residues to be present in organically certified products. Are you surprised by this?

And did you know that ecocert also permits the use of some synthetic ingredients? Benzyl alcohol is a ecocert permitted preservative, yet the Material Data Safety Sheet on benzyl alcohol notes that it is a skin irritant, potentially causing redness and pain, as well as an eye irritant. Prolonged or repeated exposure can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Surprised?
1280px-Benzyl alcohol2
According to the Ecocert website, their preservative-free additive Phenethyl alcohol is “judged safe for use in cosmetics to 1.0 %.” So what happens if you use a lot of the product containing this additive? Or if you use two or more different products each containing 1% of this additive?

At Happy Horizons we would rather use ingredients known to be safe at any concentration.

Remember, there are no mandatory safety tests and it could take years before any evidence of harm comes to light.

So we believe that it isn’t good enough just to avoid a few known nasties. If you have sensitive skin, try our unscented products which contain only a few carefully sourced ingredients which are generally regarded as safe at any concentration. Why take the risk?




Emna says ...
I am not completely surprise by those information, but even if you know that organic produces are allowed to have 5% of none organic ingredients, you don’t think about the total amount of non organic ingredients you get at the end of the day.
It is great that you don’t use preservative. It shows that you care more about people health than main steam standard.
Skin is so important and you are right we often forget about it and just see skin as beauty “accessory” and not as an essential part of our self.

Thank you for that article.
Nicki McLeay says ...
I have always used products that do not contain nasties and so was skeptical of trying happy horizons shampoo..but wow. It's simply so good for my scalp and hair. When I ran out I bought an expensive 'scalp doctor' made replacement that made my scalp irritated. I cannot speak more highly of these shampoos...made with care love and passion all of which my body can feel. Highly recommend them.
Rani says ...
Hello to all you nature loving people. I have been using Happy Horizons shampoo for over a year now and have found it to be amazing !!! I have very fine hair and not only does it give volume to the hair but it is gentle
on my scalp, it also lasts for ages as you only need a small amount, even if you had thick hair the same would
I will only use Pat and Annes shampoo and I am going to try more of their products because I have faith in their experience with natural health care, you just have to see their newsletter to see how they live and the quality
of the plants & herbs they are growing, we are so blessed to have such a resource available so forget the supermarket
brands that have so many nasty chemicles and try Happy Horizons, you will be so happy you did.
The ladies Pat and Anne are lovely like their products and will look after you,
Happy health care everyone :) z0h
Kate says ...
Love your deodorants (both winter and summer). I’ve had lots of rashes previously with other deodorants but these are so kind on my skin and have a lovely subtle scent, not at all overpowering. I have been using the magnesium cream too for cramps in my calves and it’s a life saver! Massaging it in relieves the cramps in minutes and keeps them away too. Really really grateful for your wonderful products Pat and Anne.
For the Purists

Our products are for the purists. Our raw materials are unprocessed; our oils are all organic, raw, cold-pressed; our beeswax is unrefined, locally sourced, and fluvalinate-free. To avoid the need for preservatives, we make everything fresh in small batches. Our ingredients are all ethically sourced and free from palm-oil (and palm-oil derivatives). We use the highest purity salts and premium raw ingredients. Our products are free from all nano-technology, preservatives, thickeners, fillers, binders, synthetic ingredients and even plant 'extracts'. The plants we do use, including kawakawa, calendula, turmeric, comfrey and nettles, are all grown in our permaculture, nutrient-rich, spray-free garden and are freshly harvested as required. If there is any doubt, we leave it out.

Pat's Story

In 2011, Pat experienced some significant health issues. As she began researching ways to regain optimum health, she became increasingly concerned about the toxic potential of many common ingredients used in commercial toiletries. She discovered there is no mandatory safety testing for ingredients used in personal care products, and our skin, once thought to act as a barrier, is in fact able to absorb much of what is put on it (which is why hormone patches and nicotine patches work). So her journey into healthier products began.

Pat's background embraces both the sciences and the arts. She has a BSc (Hons) in Genetics and Cell Biology. Before continuing with formal science education, Pat chose to study the liberal arts, and completed a Masters in Anthropology, introducing her to a spiritual dimension and a much broader cultural framework which continues to shape her world view. Having completed her MA, she was awarded a full scholarship for Doctoral studies in Genetics at the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, a highly regarded member of the 'Ivy League' universities. She brought the rigour developed during her formal scientific education to the research and development of Happy Horizons products.

Lots of products claim to be healthy and plant-based, but the more we learn about how plant-derived materials are processed and refined to make them suitable for large-scale manufacturing, the more concerning it becomes. Pat reached a point were it was impossible to find products she was happy to use, even so called organic ones. The only way forward was to make her own.

Initially, she made soap and shampoo for her own use. She started experimenting and sharing the resulting products with friends and family. After some very encouraging feedback, Pat decided to share the benefits of her knowledge and skill more widely and in 2015 the sun rose on Happy Horizons.

Anne's Story

Anne has always been connected to nature and is concerned about human impact upon the environment. She has a passion for social justice and an equitable society. She works on community development projects and her vision for the local community and indeed all communities around the world is that communities are inclusive, resilient and peoples' needs are met so that everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.

Anne happily shares knowledge and skills about envrionemntal and social issues with anyone who will listen. She has a formal background in environmental education and over the years has educated thousands of people from pre-schoolers to our most senior citizens, about why reducing waste is so important and offering practical ideas of how we can all make a difference by making some small changes in our daily lives.

True to her philosophy of respect for the environment and we are what we eat, Anne has grown her own food for over 30 years. Food that is lovingly grown, in nutrient-dense soils and harvested when needed, is the best that you can eat, with optmum nutritional potential. Healthy food, healthy body, healthy mind.

This holistic view has included the impact on human health and the environment of the myriad of products that are liberally applied to skin without a thought to where the product has come from, the impact upon the health and well-being of the environment and people.

Anne began making creams for friends and family over 30 years ago. She initailly was motivated by health but also living on a tight budget. She has experimented with many products over the years and is convinced that when it comes to what you put on your skin, less is best and as close to natural as is possible.

All these streams link together highlighting what Anne believes are the most important aspects of the world today: Social equity, recognition and acceptance of indigenous cultures, protection of the environment and people first. She believes that grass roots development is the way forward for communities to address the issues that they face.