The beauty flavors of the week? Vegan, natural, non-toxic, cruelty free, paraben-free, eco friendly. To us, true clean non-toxic beauty is about simplicity of the ingredients we use to create and empower our *skin and planet* health.

Hi all! Laura here, founder of SA. For starters, it’s important to note all of these skincare titles have very little oversight by a reigning governmental body within the United States. I find it frustrating because when you’re a brand doing things right, brands doing things wrong can make the exact same claims as you with little consequences. My biggest rule of thumb: Just like shopping for organically grown produce, ingredient quality should be the shining star of any skincare product you’re adding to your shelf. My second biggest question to the skincare world- what about beauty that’s truly transparent in where it’s coming from?

Saying your skincare is clean or effective with ingredients void of their source, to me, is a weird thought. Essentially, we are fine with taking a brand’s word for it at this point. Enter: Our CBD Manuka Honey Mask.

Consciously-sourced skincare isn’t really something we think about too often- or ever for that matter within the beauty industry, but it’s so important. Cheap fillers dilute otherwise lovely ingredients in most skincare products these days. Truth be told, great marketing and packaging gets you in the front row seat. *I swoon* when I see a beautifully packaged product that actually has a badass ingredient list on the back. Something that I always wanted to bring to Soul Addict was a serious commitment to ingredient sourcing transparency within our CBD line. All of our ingredients are from brands and farmers we love and trust, including CBD from our own farm here in Connelly Springs, NC.

One of our biggest ingredient question marks is our Manuka Honey. I’ve seen Manuka Honey jump to ‘trending ingredient’ skincare in just a few years, so I wanted to share with you how we’re doing things differently at Soul Addict and why our Manuka Honey is the real deal when it comes to potent, ph-balancing Manuka Honey CBD for your skin’s health and the prosperity of our planet. Supporting your body’s largest organ with a skin-healing formula and Mother Earth at once? Double win. 

Where does Soul Addict source its Manuka from, and what steps are taken to ensure it’s pure & potent? (FYI — 1500 tons of Manuka are exported from NZ per year, yet 10,000 tons are sold — so there’s a bit of a counterfeit/dilution problem here.)

I’ve been a huge advocate for clean beauty and wellness for a little over ten years, so after launching our beauty line at Soul Addict I was well aware of shady practices when it comes to ingredients used and the process of sourcing itself. I’ve always said honey is a skincare ingredient that everyone should be using and ever since I was a practicing Holistic Esthetician in my early 20s I’ve wanted to create a line that featured it’s potency. The key, however, is ensuring responsible and conscious sourcing practices when it comes to agricultural products themselves and the bee’s health at the forefront. Manuka Honey falls under a lot marketing ‘greenwashing’ and there’s only a small amount of resources to verify sourcing for these companies stating it’s the real deal, or, it’s potency level- especially with beauty products. 

First and foremost my company is very personal to me and we’re also a farm- so we only work with small farms and companies that also have a lot of heart behind their product. I searched high and low for a quality sourcing partner and finally found a small company in Atlanta, Georgia. Mike Everly is the founder and the care and certifications that go into his operation is totally unreal– their entire family lived in New Zealand from 2009-2012 and naturally where their love of Manuka evolved. 

On each round of our CBD Honey Mama Manuka Mask we can track each Manuka honey batch number and actually pull up the exact tree the honey was sourced from hive to honey. Pretty amazing. It’s that process that helps us to support a fellow conscious company, and for us, to know every time our Manuka is sourced with transparency. They are one of the only companies that also has an Oritain Certification. This is key because this organization basically ensures that highly sought-after niche agricultural products are sourced where they say they are and with intention. For instance Manuka from New Zealand, coffee from Kona, Hawaii, Bordeaux wines from France, etc. It completely clears out any shady dealings with one amazing certification and I love that. Our Manuka Honey is also third-party lab tested for every batch, just like our full spectrum CBD products. 

What is the UMF rating of Soul Addict’s Manuka? Is that # high enough to ensure it will have the desired antibacterial benefits for the skin?

I’ve had to learn a lot about Manuka honey (and still am!), but learned that there are several rating systems for Manuka honey to determine its potency. Our sourcing doesn’t go off of the UMF rating system as they learned that it’s heavily impacted by one of the largest Manuka honey packers in the industry. I realized there are so many parallels between this industry and hemp at the moment- money sometimes does talk. 

We instead go straight off of the MG system, which right off the bat transparently shares how much of the active ingredient that makes Manuka so prized, Methylglyoxal, that’s found within each jar. Ours is 550+ of highly active Methylglyoxal, which equates to 20+ UMF rating. For a truly healing and amazing Manuka honey intended for skincare, you want a UMF rating of 16+ or higher. As long as one of these systems is stated and rated (MG or UMF) you are getting Manuka honey. There are a lot of grading systems out there, but these are the two most recognized and verified. There is no organization over the MG system rating like there is for UMF, however, which is why Mike and his team went a step further and made sure to become Oritain Certified, which totally takes out the marketing hooplah of organizational certifications and gets down to the quality of the product itself. Here in the hemp industry for CBD, you’re starting to see a lot of certifications with questionable incentives, so I really understood the hold-up there for them. At the end of the day, you just want to make a quality product that’s transparent and sometimes that’s not following the well-funded status quo. 

An additional industry-insider trick that I’ve learned is a lot of brands simply blend different Manuka batches together to get a highly valued UMF rating, which would tamper with the bottom line of the integrity of the Manuka itself. Every batch is straight for hive to honey jar, and I love that about this sourcing practice. I think nature knows what she’s doing, we tend to make things too complicated. 

What is the percentage of Manuka content in the Manuka Mama mask?

Manuka honey is amazing, but I also wanted to use small batch raw honey, because there’s just something about it’s milky tone and silky texture that leaves our skin so soft. Manuka honey is amazing for active ingredients, but raw, unfiltered honey is liquid gold for the texture of our skin. We use 60 percent of Manuka honey in each batch and then infuse with raw honey, our full spectrum and whole plant CBD and active organic adaptogens like Camu-Camu and Ashwagandha. 

As a small business, why is it important to you to responsibly source ingredients?

I think even beyond small businesses, it’s really important for all businesses- especially big corporations to source conscious and responsible ingredients. For me, this is just how it should be done, I don’t really think about it because it’s what I’ve hoped for from other brands for so long. I think you start a business because it’s truly solving a problem for you, first, and know other people will feel the same way and then support your brand because it’s really political when it all gets simmered down. It’s about the moral code and the politics behind the brand, more and more. I love that about indie beauty. 

I think it’s so silly, yet so so amazing, to see all the amazing indie brands disrupting beauty in a big way because we’re done putting questionable ingredients from questionable sources on our skin and in our body. This shouldn’t be something we’re applauded for- it truly should be the norm. I will say I love that small batch beauty is leading the way on many levels and people are noticing. In that sense, independent beauty deserves big credit. I’m always blown away to see our products on shelves like Neiman Marcus, it’s like a breath of fresh air- like our belief system of how we make products, matters and the clean beauty movement is catching on. Big Beauty is having no choice but to pay attention. 

In researching potential sources for Manuka honey, why did you land on the source you use now? I’d love to know anything you can share about this process — is it more expensive to source responsibly/sustainably? Did you make a decision to price the mask higher because of that? Etc.

I feel that supporting small businesses who are also doing things right, really matters. That’s ultimately why I landed on Mike Everyly and his amazing mission. Not only are they going above and beyond on the product itself that they’re creating- they source with the bee’s health at the forefront. They make every batch from bee-to-bottle within the company and don’t outsource anything, and as a fellow small business owner I know that process all too well. I want to lift up others that are really out their pioneering their spaces and operating with their head down and heart up. 

In fact, each ingredient in our CBD Honey Mama Manuka Mask can be traced to their conscious sources that I personally love. Most of which are organic certified and the whole process is also hand-made by me at this moment, which requires a level of TLC that you simply can’t replicate when making beauty products. Even as we grow and I can no longer make each batch myself which I think will be very soon, there’s a certain level of intention given the ingredients we use. There’s never any fillers, the mask’s origin was actually supposed to be a CBD edible- can’t get anymore clean than that. You’ll never see us just start putting something into a jar because it cost less for sourcing, could start ‘trending’ or it’s better for scaling the business. That’s just not what I see long-term for anything we ever do, at the core of our brand we’re farmers and believe in a small, but mighty approach. I think most indie brands could say the same.

Author Laura White

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