At Watery Mountain Essentials we care about people, animals, and the planet.
This is the second part in our series about Watery Mountain values.
We love animals! I mean, we really, really love animals. Doris and Kirk have 8 dogs, 7 cats, and two finches who needed a home. Lois has a dog and 4 cats. Plus, at our small farm, we have goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and rabbits. We happily eat the eggs (duck eggs are especially awesome for baking), but just can’t bring ourselves to serve Jasper the rooster, Iris the hen, or any of their feathered or furry friends for Sunday dinner.
This philosophy translates into the ingredients we select for our products. Most of our products are vegan friendly and contain no animal or animal-derived products. The exceptions are the beeswax in our hand lotion and the goats milk and honey in some of our soaps, all clearly indicated on the labels. Those products are suitable for most vegetarians.
Formulating products that don’t include animal-sourced ingredients proved to be more difficult than expected. Most of you are probably familiar with panthenol, also known as Pro-vitamin B5. Panthenol is a common ingredient in haircare products and it’s a real multitasker. Panthenol moisturizes, helps to prevent breakage, and adds shine. While panthenol can be obtained from plants, it can also be sourced from eggs, honey, and meat. So, all we had to do was find a supplier of plant-based panthenol and we could add it to our vegan haircare products. Easy, right? Wrong! None of our regular suppliers, including many who carry specialty ingredients, could guarantee their panthenol only comes from plants – although it might. If we don’t have that assurance from suppliers we trust, there is no way we can include panthenol and still label our shampoo and conditioner as vegan – even though it might be. The search continues for plant-based panthenol …
Meanwhile, we began to research alternatives and think we’ve hit on a winning – and definitely vegan – combination of ingredients. Both our shampoo and conditioner now include coconut water, which is a great source of B5 and other vitamins, as well as a fantastic moisturizer. Aloe vera adds even more moisture and shine to our shampoo formula.
We really pulled out all the stops with our conditioner, replacing the panthenol with three awesome, vegan-friendly ingredients in addition to the vitamin-rich, moisturizing, coconut water. First, we included bamboo bioferment, which adds shine and acts as a detangler. Next, we chose hemisqualane, derived from sugarcane (not to be confused with squalene, which is often sourced from shark livers). Hemisqualane strengthens hair and helps to prevent breakage. Finally, we added VegekeratinTM, a plant-based version of keratin that helps to strengthen hair, adds shine, and increases combability.
All of this took a lot of time, required a lot of research, and our new ingredients cost quite a bit more than the panthenol they replaced (don’t worry, we haven’t raised our prices). Was it worth it? Absolutely! We care about animals and we care about our customers who have made a commitment not to use products that contain animal-derived ingredients. Watery Mountain Essentials products labeled with the little sprout are truly vegan-friendly and effective. You have our word on it!
UPDATE: Great news! We found a source of plant-based panthenol, so this fantastic ingredient will be making a reappearance in our products. We love the ingredients we used to replace the panthenol, so we'll be keeping them, as well. Even more shine, strength, and combability for the same price!