IS OUR SOAP "NATURAL"?
This is a difficult question to answer, as what is "natural"? There is no regulated definition of "natural" and a great number of soap makers list their products as "natural" without due consideration. You just have to look at the fragrances that some offer as natural soap to know that they clearly do not meet the standard that most would regard as "natural".
But at The Soap Cake Company being able to answer "yes our products are natural" is a key principle and absolutely central to the ethos of The Soap Cake Company. A lot of thought has gone into making our ingredients as simple and natural as we can and, wherever possible, organic and sustainable. That is why you will not find a large list of exotic fragrances that can only be obtained from synthetic materials and processes.
As you can see, our list of ingredients does not contain a long list of terms that you may have only ever seen back in the day during your science lessons.
Goats milk,sustainable palm oil,canola oil, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, essential oils, lye, mineral colorants, organic beeswax. That's it, nothing else. Very simple GMO-free,sustainable, food-grade ingredients.
What our soaps DO NOT include (and what is in a lot of "natural" and mass produced soaps)
Artificial colorants (benzidine), synthetic fragrance oils (phthalates), chemical preservatives (parabens and phenol), anti-bacterial additives (triclosan, triclocarban and salicylic acid), moisturizing additives (propylene glycol) and synthetic detergents/foaming agents (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulphate).
We are not suggesting that all of these ingredients are necessarily harmful. We will leave that decision to you, but our simple and "natural" rule of thumb is, if you can't pronounce it clearly at least 5 times in a tongue-twister, then avoid putting it on your skin.
We are all bombarded with chemicals and chemical processes all-day, everyday, so the least we can do is treat our skin to a good quality natural soap.
ARE COLORANTS SAFE ?
There is a lot of debate on this issue, particularly as it relates to what is "natural". But on the whole, especially in the quantities that would be included in all our soaps, all of the various colorant alternatives would be deemed to be safe for cosmetic use. Indeed they are FDA approved for this purpose. But are they natural?
Traditionally, soap makers might have used the actual herbs, flowers or organic materials to create the colors. For example beetroot powder, carrots, paprika or turmeric could be used to create shades of yellow and orange. No one could argue that these are not natural. But consistency of colors, vibrancy, and permanency could be issues for these soaps. Another option might be to use widely available F D& C colorants (Food Drug and Cosmetic dyes). These are the same dyes that are in so many of our processed foods and almost all forms of make-up. Whilst they may be safe they are synthetic and certainly not natural.
So we prefer to use oxides, ultramarines and micas as our colorants. These all occur naturally in the earth. However, the modern practice is to use lab-created varieties of these naturally occurring minerals. Is this a bad thing?
In their true natural form these minerals often contain impurities and toxins and there is also a question mark over the extraction methods used in some jurisdictions. LUSH has recently stated that it will only use lab-synthesized mica. Laboratory environments are controlled and more predictable than nature and the product can therefore be viewed as more pure and arguably more safe.
We, at The Soap Cake Company certainly support this argument. However, we still need to apply a further safety filter with regard to mica, especially as it relates to our desire to offer as natural a product as possible. Once mined, the mica is sometimes coated with FD&C colorants and/or pigments in order to achieve the more vibrant colors. We would certainly no longer consider the FD&C coated mica to be natural. Whilst some purists might also argue that the pigment coated micas are not natural, in delivering an exciting and vibrant product, we are happy to view these pigments as "nature identical". That means they are the same chemical structure as the minerals found in the earth, but they are also created in a laboratory to remove impurities like heavy metals and arsenic.
It is our stated aim to deliver you the most vibrant collection of soaps possible whilst continuing to achieve as high a level of "natural" ingredients as possible.
ESSENTIAL OILS VERSUS FRAGRANCES - DOES IT MATTER?
Yes, we believe it does when you are trying to create a more natural and luxuriant product that has numerous health benefits embedded within it.
Essential oils are made of 100% all natural substances. They are extracted from herbs, flowers, and plants, mostly through the process of steam distillation. But it is costly to produce essential oils as the herbs and flowers need to be planted, grown, harvested and distilled and, most importantly, it takes an enormous amount of plant material to produce even a small quantity of essential oil.
Fragrance oil, unsurprisingly, is much cheaper as it is manufactured from a mixture of synthetic aroma chemicals with some form of oil carrier-agent. They often claim to be "nature identical" but in this case it does not make them a good substitute, as they do not offer any of the therapeutic advantages of essential oils. These are all lost in the production of synthetic fragrances.
Using fragrances will therefore give more scent options, as not everything in nature can produce an essential oil and it will be considerably cheaper, but at a cost that may not be immediately apparent to you. Being purely created for the purpose of mimicking a scent, they do not have the same chemical composition and therefore cannot provide any of the same health benefits as Essential Oils.
This is why we insist on using only pure Natural Essential Oils.
Mother Nature provides us with plants that produce natural oils containing properties that are reputed to heal both the body, mind and the spirit. We want to give you a soap that is valued for these same qualities: it's moisturizing abilities, easing of skin complaints such as acne and and eczema, relief from burns and cuts, helpfulness on relaxation, stress and migraine relief and a mood up-lifter.
Unfortunately these qualities are often not reflected in the relative cost of soap made with Essential Oils versus Fragrances but it is reflected in the different values and benefits that soap made with Essential Oils, like the soap from The Soap Cake Company, have over soap made with just synthetic scents.
We invest a great deal of time and love into making our handmade soaps, using natural ingredients including the most delicious moisturizing goat milk, so why would we then use synthetic fragrance oils that offer nothing but a scent, however nice it might be, and unhealthy chemicals.
You wouldn't use an aromatherapist who used fragrances rather than essential oils so why treat your soap any different
Skin care products are only as good as the ingredients used to create them and not all soap is created equally.
BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Before the advent of modern medicine, health practitioners only had what Mother Nature provided to help alleviate many illnesses and complaints. In other words, they used the many by-products of the natural world including oils derived from the herbs, flowers and plants. Natural Essential oils retain valuable properties from their parent plant, including antibacterial and antiviral properties. The Chinese and even the Greeks and Romans used these same oils many centuries ago.
So with many trials and studies continuing to affirm the positive health benefits of essential oils, even in a topical form, we seek to utilize, as best we can, the known anti-microbial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties of our Natural Essential Oils in the soaps we make. Even just the aroma can promote relaxation and an overall feeling of wellness.
Whilst we are not suggesting that they will cure all of your ailments, based on historic usage and research, we certainly believe that they may have a positive impact when used as part of a health-care regime approved by your medical practitioner.
We list our ingredients on all our packaging (see above list) and use food/cosmetic grade, simple ingredients. So, far as we are aware, none of our ingredients have come into contact with any nut products other than the coconut oil.
If you have allergies please check the list but it might also be a good idea to test the soap on a small area of your skin first.
PREGNANCY AND ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils have the ability to affect everyone differently depending on your health, the dosage, frequency and underlying sensitivities. During pregnancy we would suggest that you approach essential oils with some caution. While documented complications are rare, there are many essential oils that have been contraindicated for pregnant women, including basil, clove, clary sage, marjoram, peppermint and rosemary.
Our products use a relatively low concentration of essential oils and, any risks are reduced as our soaps are a rinse-off product. We do, of course, have our unscented range.
WHY DOES MY SKIN FEEL SO SOFT?
Goat milk is rich in Alpha-Hydroxy acids such as Capric/Caprylic acid. In fact, goat milk is so extremely rich in these beneficial fatty acids that they are named after goats (capri-meaning goat).
This is one of the reasons your skin feels so soft after bathing with our soap as these acids loosen the dead skin cells allowing softer, youthful skin to appear. It is the most natural, gentle form of exfoliation around without using harsh abrasives, salt & sugar scrubs or loofahs!
That’s even before we start talking about the renowned health benefits of our pure essential oils …
WHY IS A BAR OF SOAP SEEN AS THE LESS GLAMOROUS OPTION TO LIQUID SOAP?
Hygiene: It has been scientifically proven that any bacteria which may be on a bar of soap, sitting in a puddle of water, are not transferred to the body. The mechanical process of using soap just washes them away and if you allow your soap to dry between uses it won’t even be an issue. How clean is the inside of your liquid soap dispenser?
Moisturizing: Commercial soaps often have a higher pH than liquid soap. However not all handmade soaps are the same and the natural qualities of goat milk make it an extremely nourishing and moisturizing soap.
Natural: Liquid soap is predominantly petroleum based and uses yucky stabilizers, emulsifying agents and synthetic fragrances. Handmade soap generally has less chemicals and some are sourced solely from Mother Nature.
Cost: Washing with a bar of soap has been proven to cost significantly less than using liquid hand soap unless you have found a way to control the generous pump/squeeze action?!
Eco Friendly: liquid soaps leave a significantly larger carbon footprint (more feedstocks and processing). And what happens to all those plastic containers?!
Ease of use: Is it really so difficult to use a bar of soap?
There is a place for both but a bar of good quality handmade soap should be anything but the unglamorous cousin.
We believe that a good quality handmade soap wins “clean” hands down!!!
Go on indulge in a good quality bar of soap!!!
IS THERE LYE IN YOUR SOAP?
Whilst Lye is one of the ingredients, and we all know that it is a very caustic substance, there is none present in the final soap product. All soap, as opposed to detergent, is the product of a chemical reaction between lye (sodium hydroxide, a strong alkali) and fatty acids (triglycerides), called saponification, which produces soap and glycerin. This process usually takes between 12 to 48 hours to complete. We cure all our soaps for a minimum of 3 weeks for all the lye to be fully consumed by the saponification process. This also allows for moisture to evaporate making for a harder, longer lasting soap.
YOUR SOAPS LOOK GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT! CAN I EAT THEM?
We totally agree. That was certainly our aim. However, we highly recommend that you resist any such temptation. Whilst we, here at The Soap Cake Company, love to eat our share of delicious cupcakes, none of us has yet tried one of our own elegant creations. Unfortunately, we would probably have to admit that they might not taste as good as they look and smell.
HOW SHOULD I STORE MY SOAP?
Soap actually gets harder as it ages, making it last longer. Store it in a cool, dry, well ventilated place. Allow it to dry out after each time you use it and it will last a very long time. If the scent in your soap appears to have faded, try wetting it to refresh the delicious aroma.