We all have been made aware over the recent years about scandals involving some small businesses using bases for their hair and skin care products. The problem most people seem to have is certain companies don’t disclose the fact that some or all of their products come from a cheaply obtained base. Often certain companies simply add fragrance and/or color, and sell it for a much higher price.
Bases are premade products, created and/or sold by a wholesaler, which have all or most of the necessary ingredients of a final product. True conditioner bases, for example, have some water/aloe vera, an oil, an emulsifier/thickener, and a preservative.
In short, a “base” is a final product you could technically slap a label on and sell even without adding anything extra other than fragrance (and sometimes even that’s not necessary).
For example, EssentialWholesale.com’s “Peppermint & Tea Tree Conditioner” is a real base you can buy in bulk.
It has all the ingredients for the water portion (Aloe vera juice, distillates,etc); the oil portion (Castor oil, Rosehip seed oil, etc); the emulsifiers/thickeners (cetearyl alcohol); the humectants (glycerin, etc); the extras (Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Peppermint oil, panthenol, Stearalkonium chloride, etc); and the preservatives (Optiphen, etc) (1)
Now, I love to handmake products. I love to control what’s in it. I like to figure out the best percentages to use. I like playing with the viscosity of a product. I like figuring out why a company chose to use a specific ingredient. Etc, etc.
But let me be clear: I don’t have a problem with companies using true “bases” SO LONG AS IT’S DISCLOSED on their website that a specific product derives from a premade base… whether or not the company decides to tell you which wholesaler from where they bought it.
Moreover, after a company adds their own additional ingredients (other than fragrance) to that “base”, it is no longer a regular, off-the-shelf base and they can sell their version of it for however much you’re willing to pay.
BUT let me also be clear: Heffa, PUHLEAZE don’t go around advertising your stuff as completely “handmade” when the only thing your hand actually did was put a few drops of fragrance into a premade final product (a “base”)! That’s tacky and people will put you on blast for doing it!
// Ah ha! …No, wait… //
With people doing Google searches to see if a product’s listed ingredients match any given wholesaler’s “base”, all that sleuthing can be a double edged sword. To make things more confusing, a wholesaler ALSO sells regular ingredients (like cetyl alcohol, centrimonium chloride, Guar gum, etc) aside from pre-produced “bases”.
I’ve talked to enterprising women who have seen or used a store-bought product they think has great ingredients. And they will purposely try to recreate their own versions of that product by using many of those same ingredients. I have clients who purposely ask me to tell them how to make their own versions of specific products they think are fabulous. Shoot, I even try it for myself!
But what happens if that person decides to develop a company which sells the products they have handmade? Should they be subjected to claims of using bases because some of their ingredients matched somebody else’s ingredient list in a Google search? No.
You have to know what’s what before making a declaration. For example, Wholesalesuppliesplus.com sells a “hair conditioner concentrate” which technically, they say, only needs water. (2)
The ingredients are “Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Stearalkonium Chloride”. Ingredients of an older version of this “concentrate” were: “Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Dimethyl Stearamine, Lactic Acid”
But stop the presses! Is this a “base” or is this 2 or more ingredients for the price of one? This “concentrate” is really not a true “base” the way in which we normally think. Its an emulsifier blend (a blend of emulsifiers).
Both Cetearyl alcohol and Stearalkonium Chloride are ingredients you can buy separately. The main thing the ingredients do are thicken and help to emulsify a concoction, while cutting down on the frizz. There’s no humectant, no super emollient (oils), no antioxidant, no additive, no active ingredient, no essential oil, no extracts, no butters, etc. None of the good stuff we like so much.
However, a few internet sleuths may incorrectly spread the word that products which include this “concentrate” in their mix are made from a “base”. That may not be accurate.
I’ll give you another example with which to compare it. Though it is not the same thing, BTMS stands for Behentrimonium Methosulfate. BTMS, a self-emulsifier, is found in countless DIY and natural products. However, BTMS is a mix of Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol (or Cetyl alcohol when its BTMS-50). (3)
Technically, you can make a real hair conditioner with BTMS, plain water, and throw in any ole random oil — the same way you make a conditioner with Wholesalesuppliesplus.com’s “hair conditioner concentrate.”
Does that make BTMS a “base”? No. Its an ingredient which emulsifies and helps to thicken your concoction.
Imagine how much chaos would erupt if people went around accusing everybody who had “Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol” in their ingredient list as using a “base”!
So, despite the way in which something may be marketed by the wholesaler, do a little more investigation before putting a company on blast.
// What’s more important? Pricing vs the final product? //
I think its kinda ridiculous for a company to buy a true “base” (like the Peppermint & Tea Tree Conditioner) which only costs $21 for HALF A GALLON, and sell it almost untouched at $20 for 4 ounces!
What you have to do is figure out if it’s worth your time and effort to bypass the middleman and do it yourself. If you’re the type of person who has the patience to make DIY products, great. I have tips for you!
But if you’re solely looking at the bottom line, it could be a waste of money. You may buy the base, only to leave it sitting under your cabinet because you don’t really want to fool with mixing it. Or, you hate the way it smells naturally without those gorgeous fragrances companies normally add. Or, you mixed it up and it spoiled on you because you added too much water without additional preservatives; etc.
In addition, if your percentages/mixing is off, it could cause the stuff to feel terrible in your hair. There’s also the possibility of the base not quite working for you like your favorite product does. Not to mention those darn shipping fees!
If you factor in those things, have you really saved money? On the other hand, if you save money buying your own ingredients and DIYing, more power to you!
I say all of this because somebody emailed me certain that a specific product came from a “base”, and was all huffy that some of the ingredients were the same. I had to tell her that different companies use their own versions of things which include well known ingredients.
We should neither be fools by paying ridiculous prices for stuff we could do ourselves, nor make blanket accusations about stuff of which we may not fully understand.
Do you have questions about MAKING YOUR OWN STUFF?
Whur you git thet from?