We love that we have such an open dialogue with our customers. We've been asked a lot of questions over the years - everything from "why plant based" to "what's in your bathroom & medicine cabinets". While we always welcome questions and comments, and sometimes answer them through blog posts or social media, we thought we'd answer some of our most frequently asked questions right here. Still, if you have further questions, please email us through our Connect page and we'll be happy to respond through email.
Why plant based? (and what does that mean?): We believe this beautiful earth we walk upon carries within her soil, roots, bark, leaves and fruits, everything we need to nourish and heal ourselves. Creating skin care and herbal offerings with what nature gives us, allows us to follow our hearts in providing you with safe & beneficial products that you can feel good about using. Plant based, for us, means the use of raw, cold pressed plant oils & butters, and infusing them with organic herbs and flowers. We create whole plant infusions and extracts in-house and incorporate those into our skin care products.
How do you store your herbs / oils / extracts / tinctures / teas? All of our herbs, oils, extracts, tinctures and teas are stored in air-tight containers, mostly amber colored bottles & jars (to keep the light out) and are tucked away into a light-tight closet. This keeps them fresh & potent. Of course, we use fresh ingredients when possible - those fresh ingredients get infused or extracted as quickly as we're able, so that their properties are preserved at their highest potency.
What's in your bathroom & medicine cabinets? We get this question more than you might imagine. :) I'll do a blog post about this some day but it's safe to say that we don't use any harsh or unsafe chemicals. There are a fair amount of Lillian products and tinctures. I'll get into my product use below but tinctures & herbal medicine that I always have on hand are: elderberry tincture (I might have my own stash, infused into Chartreuse), arnica salve, calendula salve, hawthorn tincture and fire cider (which are all available right here). We brush our teeth with baking soda - or sometimes I'll grab a tube of a natural toothpaste from our local health food store. We use our handmade soap for shampoo and I make our conditioner. For cleaning, I really only use white vinegar and alcohol - not together. Those two really will clean & disinfect just fine for household use. Both are great in the kitchen for cleaning up greasy messes. Otherwise, we have a surprisingly small amount of things in our bathroom & medicine cabinets - that's in keeping with our minimalist lifestyle (which is another blog post waiting to happen)
What is your daily/nightly skin care routine? I tend to keep things pretty simple. We all have busy lives so who in the world has time for ALL of the products and treatments?! My morning routine is simple; Cleansing Oil, removed with cool water & a wash cloth, followed by a quick spritz of Hydrating Facial Mist. I follow that with our Superfood Smoothie, then Aloe & Coconut Milk Moisturizer. Depending on the day, I may follow with 1 drop of Superfruit Serum. Typing that out, it sounds like a lot but it's a super quick process (5 minutes?). In the evening, I do a more thorough oil cleansing most days (see instructions on the Cleansing Oil page), swipe a bit of Hydrating Facial Mist over my face with a cotton pad, then follow with Superfruit Serum. Super simple. Once a week, I exfoliate with our MultiFruit Facial Scrub because on Sunday, we exfoliate...or sometimes on Saturday. :)
What's the difference in extracts, infusions, floral waters & tinctures? When we talk about whole-plant infusions, floral waters, extracts and tinctures, we're talking about taking organic plant material and extracting nutrients, minerals, vitamins and medicinal properties from the plant. This is done in a variety of ways, depending on the type of plant we're using and the type of end product we'll be using it in. We'll start with floral water, which is a distillate or gentle extraction of typically delicate flowers & herbs, into water, which infuses the natural essence of the plant into the water. With extracts, we steep the herbs & flowers in a mixture of vegetable (coconut) glycerin & water. This is a very effective way to extract certain properties of the plants that are water soluble and would not typically be extracted using an oil infusion method. These extracts are also good for medicine making if someone needs to avoid alcohol. An oil infusion is just as it sounds - plant material that is infused into oil for weeks. We use a gentle heat + time method that leaves the properties of the plant material intact, so that they remain potent. Solar infusions are fun but can sometimes deplete the properties we're looking for, so we keep our infusions out of the sun. That leaves us with our tinctures, which are infusions of plant matter into organic alcohol. Tinctures are generally used for medicine making because they're a very effective way to extract medicinal qualities out of the plant and to preserve it for extended periods of time. In theory, tinctures can last for years and years without losing their potency. Herbalism is a science of synergy so we think it's best when we can use each plant in the most effective way, taking each product and each of its ingredients into consideration.
Why do you make your own herbal extracts and infused oils? What's the difference? We used to purchase our extracts from suppliers and I would always find myself wondering how long the extracts had been on the shelves, exactly how they were extracted (and for how long) and how potent they were. We were purchasing them from trusted suppliers so I know they were "fine"....but *fine* isn't what we're going for here. With having an herbalism background and understanding the science of plants and extracts, it really was just the logical next step in assuring that the products we're creating are of the highest quality. No cut corners - no half-assing it. We're whole-assing it over here. lol It's sort of the same story for infusing our oils. Oil infusions are a wonderful way to bring the benefits of herbs to your skin. We gently infuse our oils over long periods of time - this means that we're extracting every last drop of what that plant has to offer us. What we're doing here at Lillian Organics is a labor of love. We love these plants, we love these rich, cold-pressed oils and we love our customers enough to offer you the very best.
Why did you pull your products from big box stores? This is a question we still get quite frequently. The short version of this story is that it's really all about integrity. If you look up the definition of integrity, you'll find a couple of definitions; the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness and the state of being whole and undivided. Both of these are accurate. A retail store's relationship with their vendors and their customers is very important. If there is not honesty & integrity there, it's not a good fit for our brand. But equally as important is our commitment to providing our customers with the best products that we can. Making our extracts & infused oils in-house, foraging for herbs, and sourcing our ingredients responsibly commands a level of care that is nearly impossible to sustain when producing at that large of a level. We love the relationships that we have with our customers, as well as the plants that we use, and we're committed to the level of quality our customers have come to expect. These things are not negotiable.
What does Fair Trade and Fair for Life mean? Fair Trade is a social movement that assures that farmers & farm workers are paid a fair wage. It assures better trading conditions and promotes sustainable farming. Fair for Life, generally digs a bit further to audit working conditions, labor practices, environmental programs and social benefits. We believe strongly that each worker, from the bottom to the top, deserves to be paid a fair and living wage for their effort. This extends itself not just to workers outside of the USA but also to those working within our borders. Many of the ingredients we use are sourced locally & regionally, from farms and suppliers who adhere to these same standards. We are so thankful to the hard workers and many skilled hands that provide us with our ingredients.
Which organizations do you support with the 10% from each sale? We donate 10% of each sale to various organizations, both locally & across the globe such as Kiva which provides funding through micro-loans to small businesses around the globe, Charity: Water which to date has provided safe & clean water to over 8 million people (there are still over 600 million people living without access to clean water), and Farm Sanctuary who promotes compassionate living through education & advocacy. We are also donating members of United Plant Savers