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The Journey of a Natural Powder & How It’s Made

Tres Spa Natural Body PowderWhat it takes to make a purely natural powder

We designed our natural body powders by carefully selecting food grade plant based powders that we blend to perfection, creating a unique and effective body powder and a safe alternative to talcum. But before the powder becomes a part of our organic dusting powder, it starts as a lush green plant. This is the journey those lush green plants go through to becoming a silky natural powder.

It's all about the starch

Starch is what makes the natural powder after all. The leafy green part of the plant manufactures glucose during photosynthesis. Excess is sent to a “holding place” for the plant to use when it needs it. Billions of chloroplasts filled with life sustaining “go juice” in the form of starch just waiting for the time the plant may need it. For tuberous plants like potatoes, arrowroot, tapioca (cassava) and the like, it is in the tuber underground.  For other plants like corn, rice, and wheat it is stored in the seeds. Sago stores it in the pith of the palm leaf stem.

The key to supporting life

A plant will create an enzymatic reaction to break down the cell walls in order to release the starch and support the plants life. We can do this with our internal enzymes when we consume the seeds and the tubers. Our bodies convert the starch to sugar which we then use for energy or store the excess as fat reserves for later use. For our purpose, here at Très Spa, we aren't interested in eating as much as we are interested in feeding your skin in harmony with nature.. So we want the natural powder form of these botanical manufacturers starch reserves.

Then you harvest the store

The plants are harvested once they reach a maturity that yields a significant starch storage. For tubers, it's the size of the root and for corn, wheat , and coconut it's the endosperm that provides the starch. For corn, think about the ear loaded with kernels.  When it comes to coconut, it's the “meat” and the water inside the hard shell.

Once the plant is harvested the process is to go through a series of rinse + sift, rinse + grind and rinse + dry the starchy pulp until you get the fine natural white powder starch in the end. That may sound simple but it is laborious.

What does the process look like?

Currently, we use Organic Cornstarch, Organic Arrowroot, and Organic Tapioca. So what does the process look like for these plant starches to be processed into one of our choice natural powders? I think a picture speaks a thousand words so here is the process broken down for you

First things first, you need to grow the plant

Arrowroot plants

Then, when it is developed enough, you harvest the mature roots

Arrowroot freshly harvested
Cleaning the fresh harvested arrowroots

Then you need to clean and prep the roots 

softening the arrowroots

Then you start the process of a series of soaking stages in order to soften the cell walls 

Pounding the pulp of the arrowroot

Grind the roots to a pulp over and over will eventually seperate the fiber from the starch

rinse and pound, rinse and pound the arrowroot

Rinse and repeat as many times as you need with each step yielding a finer material 

drying the pulp

Dry the fine pulp and grind 

grinding the pulp to the finest powder

Finally grind it to the most delicate light fluffy powder. Now it's ready! 

In the end, we here at Très Spa feel the extra work (and cost) is worth it. Not just for the fact we really think plants are better for you, but because done responsibly and organically, this process can be repeated over and over and over making plant starches very eco-friendly sustainable planet friendly ingredient to use for our Organic Dusting Powders!

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Keep Your Cool With Talc Free Powder

This little Ellie knows, a splash of powder can do wonders to keep her nice and cool in the heat. It looks like she has a lovely pile of clay, and possible talc, to fluff on. You have better choices at your disposal.

Keep Cool & Comfortable

What is the Best Powder To Use, Tres Spa Organic PowderWhen I was a young girl I learned an amazing trick from my grandmother on how to keep cool in the sweltering heat. A dusting of powder over your skin can help keep you feeling cool and comfortable. The powder helps wick the water away from your skins surface and it creates a silky barrier to friction. Even though it can be messy to use, I highly recommend it for any man women or child to try. Trust me, you wont regret it.

Back In The Day….

Back in the day before climate controlled housing with air conditioning, there was very little you could do to escape the sweltering summer heat. You could sit in front of the fan, which often times felt like opening the door to the oven. You could take a cool shower only to emerge and get covered in sticky sweat all over again. Neither if these options worked for people on the go. But, when you used powder you could be comfortable. Now it did not stop you from sweating but the surface skin could cool faster thereby keeping you more comfortable.

What Goes Into Other Powder?

The vast majority of commercial powders on the market today are made in whole or in part by Talc.

So what is Talc? It is soft clay mineral deposits of magnesium silicate that are found in bands of deposits all around the world. The mineral is not water soluble and is very easy to grind into a very fine powder that feels silky or “greasy” to the touch. These are probably two of the big reasons that it became so pervasive in commercial products: ease of use and cheap to mine.

Talc Is Cheap

Since it is abundant and cheap, it took off in mass manufacturing. You can find Talc used in any number of industrial, pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic applications. It can be found in rubber and plastic to pills to baby powder. It is every where and is considered by the FDA to be a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredient. Talc is cheap to mine, and easy to use with a high predictability of performance. And before you ask, the EU allows unrestricted use of magnesium silicate (talc) but has restrictions on talc (magnesium silicate). Yes I am just as confused as you so if you figure this out, let me know.

What's The Fuss About?

Well, there have been some suspicions raised as to the link with certain forms of cancer. namely Ovarian cancer and Lung cancer and to other pulmonary issues. While science studies have been mixed, they have linked plausibility of talc's contribution or causation of cancer. And if that weren't enough, there is also the link to asbestos. Strips of magnesium silicate are often found next to or near stripes of asbestos ore. There is a class grading system of industrial, cosmetic, and food grade. They say this grading system seems to do the trick in keeping traces of asbestos out of the higher grade talc.

Recently, Johnson & Johnson just lost a highly publicized lawsuit to a family in Alabama who had lost a mother to ovarian cancer. More lawsuits are waiting in the wings. Yet with all the legal hoopla,  talc is still used commercially and that probably wont change. For them, the risk is worth it. Talc is cheap to mine, and easy to use with a high predictability of performance.

So What About Très Spa Dusting Powders?

Personally I don't like to gamble with life so I never bothered with Talc. When I formulate I like to think in terms of living in harmony with the world as much as possible. My first preference is to look for renewable ingredients that are sustainable. You can grow and harvest and re-grow plants but once you mine a mineral it is gone (not to mention the scars left on the land behind). That is why the powders we make at Très Spa are 100% botanical with a long history of human safety and no “suspicious” findings.  It's more expensive and it is more challenging to formulate but we feel you are worth it. So if your Tres Spa powder doesn't feel like talc, there is a good reason, it's because it isn't. It is water soluble and made from the finely ground plants that are used in food you eat.

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