Cosign kathymack and Goobernut.
The issue is NOT (for me anyway) that a company uses a base itself. The issue is that when they act like they are all mixtress over there in the apartment kitchen then when you pay a premium to buy the product (because small businesses usually charge more as they can't make 50 trillion bottles of conditioner like suave can to get economies of scale going!) you want to know that the product is unique.
If you say you developed it in your kitchen and I get it and it is the exact same as another companies then you didn't develop it in your kitchen now did you? I relied on that information when I made my purchase decision--to find out you lied is what I am upset about.
These are women (or men) marketing on purpose to people like those on naturallycurly.com -- representing themselves as something they are not. It hurts those who develop their own products and it hurts consumer confidence in small businesses. I myself am more worried about other small businesses being affected than about those ladies who put out there that they were developing everything as if they were a chemist or what have you.
My original point I'll make again---if I pay more for your product than a similar product I can get in a salon or BSS or wherever and you advertise it as unique and developed by you then that is my expectation as a consumer. We vote with our dollars and honey/dude knowledge IS power.
For ME if the company doesn't present itself as hand mixing slaving over a pot in the kitchen then I'll make my own purchase decision--like Goobernut said she and I love a conditioner we get from a company that uses a base (and a cheap one at that!) but they do add stuff and NEVER advertise that they don't use bases or pretend the stufff is all hand mixed beyond what they do. I'm fine with that and pay MORE for their product..I could buy the base myself sure and add the things they add..not interested. AT all. I'm fine with them and don't feel they misrepresented.
Your beef with EW is your own--I can't comment on that as I've not had the experience but I'd agree on one thing---selling to the public is probably not the best idea when you are advertising and have marketing materials indicating you're some "great secret" and intoning no one will know...I'd be pissed too if I was their wholesale customer!