Monday, September 22, 2008

In-depth Learning @ the Dead Sea

The Israeli south side was completely calm, very shallow (at least where we met her in person) and the waters were very hot – like a hot spring or outdoor Jacuzzi tub. There was fine salt under her waters and to the right of the floating area we found (due to my diligence & persistence!) the ‘Black Gold’ or Miracle Mud. There were salt bars everywhere on the South side. It was a vast area and I could understand why it was called a sea, but she did not act like a sea to me. There was no wave movement and the color of the water was a very light/pale blue-green. There were salt bars everywhere with sink holes and I was able to walk out over 900ft with the water level being only to my knees.

In Jordan on the North side this was not the case at all. This side was a deep aqua almost cobalt blue. She had constant movement – like mini waves and a small current. Her shoreline was full of various colored rocks ranging from 1cm pebbles to giant boulders. The colors of rocks varied from yellows (heavy sulfur content) to reds (heavy iron content). The steps we descended down to the incredible briny water were made from the rock found there on the shore line. The sad thing to see was the stacks of burlap bags that had been added at the bottom of the stairs to create more descending steps to the water due to the shrinkage of the Dead Sea. As I beheld her vast beauty once again – this time in an entire different area, I did not feel as sad about the shrinkage. The reason being – this side of the Dead Sea was over 1100ft deep and acted like a sea. This area is extremely vast. We could see Israel on the other side, but the distance to the other side appeared to be miles. I could see that she would remain a miracle sea not only in my life time but even my great, great grand children’s life time.

In our meetings we found out that our company actually imports the highest quality materials from Jordan as well as the most – even compared to the 10 active Jordanian Dead Sea companies (there are over 60 registered companies, most are inactive) that make and sell Dead Sea products. We met with one small manufacturer that brought us samples of his products. I was handed a bottle of facial mud and just by holding the bottle in my hand (with the lid and seal still in place) I could feel that it was not a pure product. It contained fillers and fragrance oils. I told this to the man before opening the bottle. This blew my DH’s mind as well as the vendor! (To tell the truth, it caught me off guard too! I’m certain that the owner of a Jordanian Dead Sea product company had no clue that he would be talking to an American woman that knew more about the Dead Sea and Dead Sea products than he ever would. At that moment I realized I am in fact a Dead Sea Mud Expert!) I began to ask questions that he did not know the answers to. I found out that all of the Dead Sea soaps coming out of Jordan are not made by the companies that sell them, but by one company that manufactures soaps for all of them. They don’t even mix their own masques, nor do they really know the contents of their facial products! It turns out that most of the Jordanian Dead Sea companies are merely packaging and marketing facades, masquerading as manufacturers.

We found out that the ‘facial mud’ created for the companies that sell the Dead Sea products actually contains various fillers such as kaolin, talc, sands; glycerin, harmful fragrances (actually used in commercial cleaning) alcohols and strong animal product preservatives. Yet their products do not mention any of these ingredients! They are labeled to appear to be all natural and completely safe. Fortunately, I know what I want to work/formulate with and our company has always insisted on our Dead Sea Mud being a pure product and not a pre-blended & finished facial product. We also want our customers to have the option to make their own cosmetic products with the highest quality Dead Sea ingredients.

In our question/answer session we discovered that the main reason they add various fillers to the raw Dead Sea Mud is due to the ‘powerful’ impact the mud has on the skin. Most people are unable to handle it in its pure form. That’s fine, but my opinion is – don’t lie to the people about the ingredients in your product! If it’s a blended masque – don’t call it 100% Pure Dead Sea Mud Masque! And in reality, to get the raw mud to glide properly on the skin – you must thin it down with something – such as a hydrosol, aloe juice, milks, yogurts, distilled/sterilized or reverse osmosis water. I know for a fact that some spas use plain ole tap water to keep their costs down. (that fact does bother me some – because it only costs a few more cents to add a lovely hydrosol to the mud and make a very nice, natural Dead Sea Mud Masque!)

We also learned that different areas of the Dead Sea yield different materials. The South side has more of the fine salts & salt bars for various salt grain sizes. Further up the bank you will find the raw, rich mineral mud. The powdered mud is created by drying the mud and evaporating the H2O out of the mud, thus creating a much stronger mud product. The powdered mud is used in various body scrubs in the spas. Many spas are now moving to using the powdered mud and blending it with various liquids due to the shelf life of this product being indefinite – in their opinion. In actuality, both the ready to use mud and the powdered mud have an indefinite shelf life. You just need to understand the changes the ready to use mud can go through. If you keep the ready mud completely contained in a gasket lined container, the organic matter will drop to the bottom of the bucket and become very thick. The briny water will rise to the top. Over time, the natural sulfur in the mud will find its way to the top and create brown/rust colored areas. Depending on the area the mud has been mined from, the sulfur could have a very strong scent. This is not a bad mud product – it just means that it has been mined from an area where high sulfur springs run off the mountains into the Dead Sea. As we drove along the shore line we could actually see the changes in the water colors based on the different types of waters that entered the Dead Sea. Where the high sulfur waters entered the Dead Sea, there were different colors in the water with a visible line where the different waters met but did not mix. The longer Dead Sea mud sits, the more likely the minerals will do their ‘natural thing’ and move around and create various colors in your raw product. In my decade of working with this incredible mud, I personally blend the minerals back in and move on. If you understand sulfur, (get over the ‘aroma’) it’s very beneficial for all sorts of ailments from aches and pains to acne & Rosacea. Think about the hot sulfur springs all over the world and what sort of miracles people experience at them. They always talk about the ‘aroma’ but the benefits ALWAYS out weigh the scent to everyone that encounters their healing waters. Keep this in mind when you work with any natural ingredient. If you don’t like the way a natural ingredient smells, learn how to blend or find a company that blends 100% aromatic essential oils. Essential oils will offer a natural, skin beneficial method of masking any undesired odor.

My next question was about understanding how our High Magnesium Brine was created. Talk about super cool! I was mesmerized by the story behind this! One thing you need to understand about the mining of the Dead Sea salts is the need to concentrate the Dead Sea water until the minerals begin to precipitate out as a substance called Carnelite. The Carnelite is then dredged and sent off for further processing to seperate out Potash and Magnesium that are necessary for fertilizers for crops. The Jordanians have discovered that creating a process of 7 pools by lining it with Dead Sea salts, then filling them with Dead Sea Brine and allowing them to sit and become concentrated and moving the brine a total of 7 times will help create a process where the Carnelite will drop out of the brine. The only Dead Sea brine that we import is the 7x concentrated brine, just before the minerals are removed as Carnelite. Due to the fact that I personally deal with the battle of psoriasis I have always insisted that our company import the highest magnesium content ingredients we can get our hands on for our products and bulk materials.

When I told our partners that I have created a way to infuse the High Magnesium Dead Sea Brine with Certified Organic, Organic or Wild Harvested Herbs they were astounded. They said that for years all of the Jordanian Dead Sea companies had been trying to accomplish this but had failed and given up. This just put another notch in my belt for being the 'true' Mud Queen! ;o) That just made my day!!!

Well. I'm completely exhausted. Better sign off for now!
Tammy D.
The Mud Queen™

No comments: