Frequently Asked Questions

Natural products are made up of only, or almost only, natural ingredients and are manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity. Natural products use no animal testing in its development, use biodegradable ingredients and environmentally sensitive packaging. Natural products avoid any ingredients with a suspected human health risk and are devoid of parabens, petroleum compounds and synthetic fragrances. The ethos of the natural product producer is to be transparent and to fully disclose ingredients accurately and truthfully.

Why would you want anything else? At Down to Earth we believe the Earth provides all you need to nurture and heal.

Read our blogpost for more information: Why go natural? And what you should know when you do

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The African Potato, also known as Hypoxis hemerocallidea (previously known as Hypoxis rooperi), is widespread in the summer rainfall regions of South Africa, especially in Kwazulu Natal. The plant is about 10 to 50cm tall, has bright yellow star shaped flowers and strap like leaves which are hairy all over. It is a geophytic herb and forms a compressed underground stem (like a ‘potato’) called a corm. The African Potato extract comes from the corm of the plant.

The African Potato extract is rich in phytosterols, which are abundant in plants, but are highly concentrated in the African Potato and are found to be the highest in its extraction. Researchers have found that phytosterols greatly enhance the functioning of T-cells, which control and regulate the immune system, and possess potent anti-inflammatory properties similar to cortisone, but without the side-effects.

The African Potato has been used for centuries in African traditional medicine as a herbal remedy.

Read our blogposts for more information:
• What is African Potato?
• Phytosterols make natural products a better option

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To ensure product stability and quality, we use two preservatives in very small quantities which are known to be safe, namely Benzyl Alcohol and Dehydroacetic Acid. These two synthetic ingredients are ECOCERT approved preservatives based on nature identical compounds.

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All product jars are made of Polypropylene (PP) which is a thermoplastic polymer (plastic). Its plastic recyclable code is ‘5’. Our product tubes are made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) which is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene (plastic). Its plastic recyclable code is ‘4’. These plastics do not leach harmful chemicals and have high resistance to solvents. They are considered safe. Our product cartons are made of recyclable paper. All these materials comply with ECOCERT packaging material regulations.

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Down to Earth's products are manufactured and packed by specialists in organic and natural skincare, under clinical conditions and quality assured in a laboratory. Our manufacturing facility is one of few facilities in South Africa that has been audited as part of the ECOCERT accreditation process. ECOCERT is the largest organic certification organisation in the world.

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The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, is slightly acidic and ranges between a pH level of 5.4 and 6.5. When the pH of the skin is disrupted and becomes alkaline (often a side effect of common soaps) the skin becomes dehydrated, irritated, flaky, rough and prone to infection. All Down to Earth products are pH balanced for normal and healthy skin at a level of 5.5.

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There are a wide variety of opinions on the use of essential oils while pregnant. The main concerns are the risk of essential oil compounds crossing over into the placenta and the possibility of miscarriage during the first trimester.

Since there are no records of birth abnormalities as a result of the normal use of essential oils, either by inhalation or by topical application, you can be assured that Down to Earth products are absolutely safe to use. The essential oils used in our products are diluted at the normal 1% range and as a result will not have any adverse effect during pregnancy.

Read our blogpost to find out more about the essential oils we use in our products: The role of essential oils in skincare

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Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) is an animal rights organisation. BWC endorses products that are not tested on animals.

Their endorsement policies are of the strictest worldwide, ensuring true humane status. Products may not contain substances which have been obtained as a result of the suffering or death of an animal and written assurances are obtained from ingredient supply companies.

Their mission is to bring about change in South Africa, regarding the ethical testing of cosmetics and personal care. The European Union, India, Israel and now Brazil have all banned animal testing, proving it is possible to have a thriving cosmetics industry without cruel animal tests.

Their approved list of products is known as the humane guide. You will see Down to Earth listed and endorsed on the humane guide.

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Vegans adopt a lifestyle that avoids animal exploitation. This includes food, clothes, and products. Veganism is growing in popularity as many practises related to animals are cause for concern from a cruelty, sustainability and environmental aspect.

Down to Earth products are vegan-friendly and we are listed on the Vegan SA directory and comply with their strict listing criteria. The one exception is the use of beeswax in our African Potato Cream.

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We avoid using ingredients prohibited by ECOCERT. We have listed some of the most common toxic ingredients used in conventional skincare below, but this list is by no means exhaustive. We encourage you to read your labels and avoid buying products containing these ingredients. Some of these ingredients are known to be harmful to human beings and many others are officially labelled as "probably" harmful to humans. But another major cause for concern is that many of these ingredients are washed down drains in large quantities. These end up in our waterways, damaging our environment and disrupting our ecosystems.

Here’s a list of ingredients to be on the lookout for:
• Petrochemicals such as propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), petrolatum, mineral oil, petroleum jelly and paraffin wax
• Ethanolamines such as diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA) and monoethanolamine (MEA)
• Sulphated surfactants which include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
• Parabens which include methylparaben, proplyparaben and butylparaben
• Phthalathes (usually hidden in ingredients like “parfum” or “fragrance”)
• Artificial colours, dyes and fragrances

Read our blogpost for more information: The ingredients we avoid and what we use instead

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Natural and organic product certifications can be costly and we have chosen not to go through the expense. In the end, these costs are always passed onto the customer. We have chosen to keep our products affordable.

We adhere as far as possible to the standards of natural and organic certification and we empower our customers to make informed decisions by making as much information as possible available about our processes and products. We encourage our customers to contact us with questions and to give us feedback.

Note: The individual organic ingredients we use in our products are certified.

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ECOCERT is an organic certification organisation, founded in France. It is based in Europe but conducts inspections in over 80 countries, making it one of the largest organic certification organisations in the world. It was the very first certification body to develop standards for "natural and organic cosmetics". Down to Earth adheres to their strict standards.

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