Small Batch VS Mass Produced
Glycerin is a natural by-product of the soap making process. It is a humectant that absorbs water from the air and attracts moisture to your skin. Large companies that mass produce soap extract the glycerin and sell it off to increase their profits. Our soap is naturally crafted and left to cure for 8 weeks before it goes to you, creating a long lasting and naturally hydrating bar to nourish your skin.
Mass produced soap often has added unnecessary and often harmful ingredients to preserve and try and make it moisturizing again. When we make soap in small batches there is no need for preservatives. It leaves our factory just a few months after its manufacture and is good for 8 plus years. This means you get fresh soap that is truly natural.
Sourcing 100% of our ingredients that are processed without Hexane is one of our biggest challenges. Many, many common ingredients like- Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, many resins like Tobacco, Benzoin, Jasmine, Vanilla etc…
Ingredients extracted using Hexane only have a trace of hexane left in them however usually oils that are refined or extracted using this chemical are done so in countries that do not practice safe labor laws. There are also environmental concerns surrounding the use of Hexane. From MSDS online:
“Short-term exposure to air contaminated with hexane affects the nervous system and can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even unconsciousness. Chronic exposure can cause more severe damage to the nervous system. If swallowed, it may cause severe abdominal pain and impact the respiratory system, resulting in shortness of breath, coughing, burning of the mouth, throat or chest, and even chemical pneumonitis.”
The reason Hexane is used is because it is highly efficient and therefore maximizes yields and delivers the least expensive but lowest quality oils. Ensuring our ingredients are Hexane free is not easy. It means reading up two or three documents per ingredient. Often these documents are not available and we have to contact the company we are sourcing from and wait for these documents to be sent to us for review. It is extremely time consuming and because we operate on small scale we are not able to buy mass quantities of ingredients that we have spent time sourcing. We will often have to redo this process as ingredients may become unavailable or the processing may change.
We only use plant materials, clays and charcoal to color our soap. We never use mica or any dyes.
Fragrance VS Essential Oils
According to the Environmental Working Group, the average fragrant contains about 14 undisclosed chemicals that are not required to be on the label. Fragrance is an ingredient that falls under the category of “trade secret” which gives companies the right not to disclose what’s in them. Many of these chemicals are linked to hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and about 80% of them have not been tested for human safety in personal care products.
We use high quality essential oils to scent our soap and skin care products. We do not use any synthetic fragrance or additives like phthalates. We feel that synthetic fragrances are the biggest offenders in the cosmetic world. To people that are sensitive to fragrance, the ubiquity of synthetic scents are a constant assault on their wellbeing. Fragrance can cause migraines, allergy symptoms, asthma and chronic lung disease. For people that are not as sensitive, the ingredient “fragrance” is still a bad thing. Due to the lack of testing on these chemicals we don’t really know the long-term effects they have. While some people advocate the amount of these unknown and untested ingredients are so small they are harmless, but we ask- if these chemicals are in almost everything we are using from make up to house hold cleaning products to candles to children’s stickers and toys – doesn’t that add up?
Take the fragrance challenge
Why DO so many companies use fragrance? The benefit of adding phthalates, for example, is that it extends the life of the scent. It makes it literally stick to your skin and linger in the air longer. We have basically trained ourselves to think that a scent that lasts for hours is superior while a scent that dissipates naturally is a rip off. We’ve upped the anti, but we can go back to natural collectively. There are many countries that ban the use of known harmful chemicals, like phthalates, just not the US. We don’t want to be critical of people that enjoy products with synthetic fragrance, but we do want to challenge you- give it up totally for a few weeks and then go back to it. You will notice how strong and unnatural these smells are. We think you’ll find that products like ours that are handcrafted in small batches to ensure freshness and naturally scented are so much more gratifying.
It has taken us years to formulate a long lasting bar without palm oil. Palm oil is a unique oil in soapmaking and usually makes up between 30-50% in each formula. Here is a great article from Greenpeace about palm oil. There are some companies that claim to sell “sustainable” palm oil, but we have decided there is too much controversy over the issue so we do not use any palm oil in any of our formulas.
Many large soap companies use beef tallow (sodium tallowate) as a main ingredient. They do this because it is very inexpensive. Typically the cheap fat, bone and hide byproduct that’s leftover from the commercial meat industry is what’s used. We choose not to use animal products in almost all of our formulas. Occasionally we will add yogurt or goats milk to our soap, but they’re always organic and listed on the ingredient list.
Preservatives are necessary when water is present. For this reason most of our products are oil based. When we do offer water based products ( like our face tonics ) we use all natural radish root ferment as a preservative. We also use aspen bark powder and rosemary antioxident in our oil based products.
Raw Unrefined Oils:
Unrefined oils have the most amount of nutrients in them. We use raw unrefined oils whenever we can. Occasionally we use gently refined oils if the natural smell would otherwise interfere with our formula. For example coco butter has a very strong chocolate smell. We will occasionally use coco butter that has been warmed and processed using natural clay in a product that would not be compatible with a chocolate smell.