In the beginning…The MOOGOO Memoirs
The fact that MooGoo even exists is a happy accident. In 2005, the Head of the Herd (Craig Jones) noticed that his mother was using a white paste, intended for use on cows, to help with her Psoriasis. The cream was formulated to help keep the skin on cow’s udders in good condition for milking. Cow’s udders need to be kept soft and supple, not dry and cracked. No one likes an angry cow with sore or cracked udders when it comes time to attach those milking cups.
Although it seemed to be working well, the cream was thick and hard to apply. Since his mum didn’t particularly like being lathered in a thick cream made for cows, he took on the task of reformulating it and made up a lighter, non-greasy version. The word “udder” was a bit crass for an old-fashioned “lady” so they referred to it as “MooGoo” (goo for the cows) and the name stuck. Starting a skin care company wasn’t the initial idea, but friends and family kept asking for more of it, and eventually, Craig went into business.
Since then MooGoo has grown to over 40 products to help with lots of different skin and scalp problems and sold throughout the world. From dealing with irritable skin and itchy scalps to natural sun care products and a baby range for the little ones. And most recently, a natural dental range. MooGoo’s ingredient philosophy has always remained the same: To make effective products using healthy ingredients, that we are comfortable using on ourselves and our loved ones.
Craig continues to be very involved in the business, focusing mostly on formulation and product development.
Notes from the Founder – Craig Jones
Here are the most common questions I get asked (pretty much in order of frequency):
Are you a chemist?
No. Making a moisturiser at home is simpler than most people think. Even simpler than making scone – I encourage you to try it for yourself! At its most basic level, all you need is 4 ingredients:
- Water (so it’s not greasy).
- A moisturising oil of your choice (we use natural oils like Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Squalane and Evening Primrose Oil, but many creams use Paraffin Oil – yuck!).
- An emulsifier to hold those two together (because oil and water don’t mix well).
- An effective preservative system to make sure bacteria doesn’t contaminate it.
Then if you can make it even better by adding in the extra, good stuff. We use Allantoin in many of our product for skin repair and softening, a very concentrated form of Aloe Vera for its healing and soothing properties, Milk Protein to help skin elasticity, Centella Asiatica to sooth the skin, Zinc for natural sun protection…the list goes on. The best thing about making your own products is you can choose the ingredients you think are best and avoid a lot of the synthetic chemicals just like we do. And you can order all the ingredients online easily. If you don’t have time to make products yourself, we think we do a pretty good job.
Nowadays, we work alongside cosmetic chemists on the more complex products to make sure we use the latest advances in skin care to ensure our products are the best on the market. However, with the background of making products for my family, now I use the power of veto over lots of ingredients we don’t want to apply to ourselves or our children, or put into the environment. This includes ingredients like Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, Glycols, Silicones, Formaldehyde Donors (a class of preservatives), Paraffin Oil, SLS, SLES and many more ingredients you’d avoid if you were making products for your own family. Using natural ingredients sometimes means making compromises – Our creams aren’t always white in colour, they aren’t always super slippery, and they aren’t the cheapest around (Paraffin Oil is practically free!). Our toothpaste might not leave you with a super foamy mouth and we don’t do spray-on sun products for added convenience. But our philosophy is to make the healthiest products for us, for the environment and our customers.
Can you use less plastic?
As a father of 3 children and like any thinking person, what we are collectively doing to the environment scares me. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans each year! We get a lot of suggestions from customers asking us if we can swap our packaging to be made of different materials. The problem is that glass is not usually practical in the bathroom and requires more energy to make and transport. Refillable pouches are not usually recycled as they are laminated with different layers and need to be taken to a soft plastic recycling facility, which rarely happens.
Recycling plastic back into cosmetic bottles requires more energy, detergent and bleaching as they are sorted and then cleaned before remoulding, again using heat. So, our solution for now is to take plastic offcuts and rejects from manufacturers that would have otherwise gone to landfill, and these are remoulded into our bottles. Of course, they are all recyclable at end of life. Usually recycled plastic goes to making things like furniture or flooring, not new personal care bottles. For our tubes, we use virgin plastic for the layer that is in contact with the product, and recycled plastic for the outer layers. But let’s not forget what’s in the product and how that breaks down in the environment. There are a lot of ingredients we can’t use because they don’t break down quickly in the environment. This includes Silicones, SLS, many types of UV filters used in sun protection, Benzoates etc. All consumption has an impact, but we make the best choices we can, with the environment in mind. Check out more about our environmental initiatives here.
How do you treat your cows?
We don’t have cows. We aren’t called MooGoo because we “are made of milk”, it was just a pet name for our first product which was based on Udder Cream. If you think about it, putting any meaningful amount of milk into a cream and then leaving it on a shelf for 2 years in a non-long-life container would not end well – it would be really smelly! Fresh milk soaps are possible as the fats are made solid, but not possible for creams or shampoos. We do use Milk Protein in some moisturising creams as it helps with skin elasticity, but it’s not in our therapeutic products. We source that Milk Protein from dairy co-operatives that are non-GMO, but we don’t have our own cows. The only non-vegan ingredients we use is some of our products are Milk Protein, Honey and Beeswax.
Why do you use *insert particular ingredient*? I read on the internet that is causes death/cancer/pregnancy/nuclear armageddon etc.
People usually understand that the internet is not a reference source and if you want to find a website to confirm any opinion from “Was the moon landing faked?” through to “Does Aloe Vera cause cancer?” you could probably find it. What we do to make sure our ingredients are healthy is to look at studies, not random websites that claim everything they don’t use themselves is dangerous. You can find most of these studies using http://www.scholar.google.com. But if you’re still unsure after reading through these, you can always get in touch. The formulator is not some anonymous person in another country, but right here and passionate about what ingredients we have chosen to be healthiest for everyone.
Top Tip: Some people investigating ingredients will use an MSDS sheet. This document (Material Safety Data Sheet) is for the bulk handling of a material, not when it’s used in a product. So, for Wheat Flour for example, the MSDS will have all sorts of warnings from triggering allergies to respiratory irritation. That doesn’t mean avoid bread, it just means wear a face mask when pouring out the flour.
How do you choose your ingredients?
A lot of thought goes into our ingredient choices, but here are a few of the main things we consider:
- Use non irritating ingredients. Just because an ingredient is natural doesn’t mean it is always gentle. Many essential oils although lovely, can trigger reactions so we don’t use too many of these. As well as many synthetic chemicals, there is a long list of natural ingredients we also avoid.
- It must be as safe as possible if ingested or absorbed. Everything is a poison if you consume enough of it, even water (that’s called Water Toxemia). We choose ingredients that are as edible as possible, using baking soda as the base line for comparison. Most ingredients we use like Aloe, our plant oils, even our preservative system based on Hops are also used in foods.
- Effective Ingredients. There’s no point having ‘Green Tea’ in the ingredients if it just means a tiny bit of green tea as it wouldn’t make any difference. Instead we use the concentrated extract. Aloe Vera for example is mostly water. But by using the concentrated extract of Aloe, we can benefit from the full concentration of the good bits of the Aloe plant.
Everyone has a skin problem
Anytime we mention skin problems, it seemed that everyone had a story to tell:
When developing a new product, first we do the hard yards and research what ingredients would be best to help with a specific problem. After much trial and error we settle on a formula, and start the testing process on ourselves. If we like it, then we ask friends and family to give it a go. If they like it too, then we put it into a bottle or a tube and call it MooGoo. If they don’t like it, we either ditch it or make some tweaks. A lot more goes into it than that, but you get the idea. This is the process for all our products.
Our Ingredient Philosophy
Our goal with our products is to make something that works. Not everything we make will work for every one (because we're all so different), and there is no such thing as a miracle cure *insert eye roll here*. But we do the research and our ingredient philosophy is simple:
As edible as possible
- although we don’t recommend eating it.
Natural over synthetic
– any day of the week, even if it costs us a little bit more.
– because we don’t need more irritating things in our lives.
Quality, and family first
– since our family & friends use our products, we don’t skimp on the ingredients.
Safe for every-body
– we choose ingredients that are safe for everyone, including newborns and during pregnancy.
– we use ingredients in a concentration that is actually effective.
Ethical product testing
– we don’t test on animals, and we don’t export to any countries that might test on animals.
Made in Australia
– we aren’t made by a multinational company, and make all our products in Australia.
Why we choose what we use
Just because something is natural, doesn’t make it safe and effective. Many poisons are naturally-derived, but that doesn’t mean we would ingest them. And many essential oils are irritating to the skin, although naturally-derived. Science has concentrated some of the best compounds found in nature, and for that we are grateful. We choose to use natural ingredients because we believe they are the best options.
When it comes to natural ingredients, we recommend patch-testing all products before use. Many people have allergies to natural compounds such as fruits, nuts, dairy and seafood, while nobody is allergic to Cola. This doesn’t mean that Cola is good for us and that fruit is bad. It means we need to be aware that people can have reactions to specific ingredients that can be helpful to many others.
What’s in it is just as important as what is not
Lists showing ingredients that are not in products (“Free From…”) really grinds our gears. Sure, it might be free from Parabens, but what’s Phenxyethanol doing that the bottom of the ingredient list? There's lots of stuff we don’t use, like Parabens, and Phenoxyethanol to name a few, but the list goes on. It’s easy to list fancy ingredients on the label (great for marketing), but do they make a difference to your skin? And if so, is there enough of it actually in the product to be effective? These are things we are always researching and thinking about.
We aren’t about label-dressing with fancy pants ingredients, misleading gimmick marketing, or selling promises of false hope. Instead we prefer to tell it like it is and not get caught up in all that misleading marketing. We're proud to show all our ingredients on our website, not just the pretty sounding ones. We take pride in our formulas, and researching new ingredient developments really spins our tires *nerd alert*.
Don’t believe the hype – why we choose what we use
We’re all about only using quality ingredients, and the ones we use must have a specific purpose in the product. We refuse to use cheap filler ingredients that aren’t necessary or have no benefit. There are many ingredients we also choose not to use simply because they’re outdated. Technology and science have come a long way and we choose to evolve alongside it. We believe that using newer, natural alternatives instead of old-fashioned synthetic ingredients that were invented in the 1950’s is not only better for everyone, but also more aligned with the times (can you believe it’s almost 2020!?).
And just because something comes in fancy, futuristic packaging, doesn’t make it technologically advanced. This is particularly true for toothpaste, which is why we recently created a Dental Range, but we could go on about that for hours.
Natural ingredients can cost a bit more coin than their prehistoric synthetic predecessors, but we're OK with that because we like feeling good about the products we make. We also do whatever we can to keep our prices as reasonable as possible. But also keep in mind that a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a higher quality product. It's tempting to believe this and understand why some people spend over $200 on a cream with the hope that it’s better. Instead of paying photoshopped celebrities to convince you to use MooGoo, we think our products speak for themselves.
But enough about us.
Nobody likes someone who talks about themselves all the time, right? So that’s just the basics. But write to us if you have a question; preferably something related to our products. You won’t get a typical corporate response from international headquarters, just an answer from a small, local team that knows and loves MooGoo.