What is Natural?
The word natural is bantied about a lot in the soaping world, and for those of us who taking natural soaping very seriously, it can really grate on our nerves. You may be wondering why I would even care. If I'm happy with my products, and I feel that I've done my due diligence, then why do I care what other people are doing with their businesses?
Because it reflects poorly on everyone when artisan and 'natural' soapers hide behind the INCI names (scientific names, for our purposes) of the ingredients that we put in our products, and don't clarify for the customer what the ingredients REALLY are; and because it's taking the choice out of the customer's hands. It reflects poorly on ALL natural soapers when another soaper mislabels their soaps in an effort to deceive.
Make no mistake, there's no grey line here - there's natural ingredients, and there's lab-created ingredients. Natural ingredients include essential oils, extracts, and absolutes, teas and oils infused with natural colorants (such as indigo, annatto seed, turmeric, alkanet) and natural colored clays (such as brazilian gold clay, moroccan red clay, french green clay). Many of my soaps are made using clays, and some are made using natural colorants, some with anticipated effects, some with not-so-anticipated effects! (One never knows if they'll really get a lasting true blue or a green from Indigo powder!). Rosemary infused oil does whacky things to soap before settling into a green, including turning a raging orange when it's first mixed and poured, then morphing through several colors before turning blue, then finally green! All-natural soapers are limited in fragrances and colors, as we DO NOT USE Micas and Iron Oxides, or Lakes. These colorants are lab-created - if someone claims that their soap is 100% natural and lists any of these 3 colorants, they're either lying about having a 100% natural soap, or they're using the truly natural thing, which contains heavy metals (and would be pretty hard to find, so most likely, the former is true).
I use Micas and Iron Oxides in some of my products in my Artisan soap line, which are perfectly safe, and I use phthalate-free fragrance oils in some of the soaps in this line as well; however, these are THE ONLY artificial ingredients I have ever used. Even my shampoo bars, with their long, sciency-sounding ingredient names, have all naturally-sourced ingredients in them! They come from Coconut Oil and Olive Oil, and lots of other natural stuff! Incredible, isn't it?
I prefer to inform my customers of exactly what is in the products they are using, and I promise I will ALWAYS keep you informed. Always check the ingredients of products that you intend to purchase (including the preservative they use - I use a natural wide-spectrum preservative, Geogard ECT, but many preservatives, including Liquid Germall Plus, are actually Formaldehyde Releasers).
Always question products that claim to be 100% natural. I wish I didn't have to say this, but it seems a lot of soapers claiming to be natural would rather hide their synthetic ingredients than change them out for natural ones. Check out this article for more information:
Here is what will NEVER be in my soaps:
Sulfates, which are CARCINOGENIC, such as SLS and SLES (YES - watch out, a BIG, shiny, four-letter brand uses SLS in a shampoo bar they make!!!
Anything non-sustainable, including Sandalwood essential oil and non-sustainable Palm oil.
Anything produced by children.
Anything with Phthalates, Parabens, or Formaldehyde Releasers in it such as DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl.
Anything with triethanolamine (TEA) or Coal Tar dyes.
Artificial ingredients with the exception of Micas, Iron Oxides, and safe fragrance oils.
Here are some ingredients you WILL find in my products/packaging:
Essential oils, extracts, and absolutes.
Lab-created Micas and Iron Oxides.
Safe fragrance oils (phthalate-free).
Organic-plant-derived, locally sourced, hand-picked ingredients when in season.
Ingredients grown in Canada whenever possible.
Vegan and vegetarian ingredients.
Reduced packaging/no packaging.
Compostable Deodorant Tubes.
Compostable packing 'peanuts' when possible (only available from U.S. supplier).
Recyled/Recyclable boxes & packaging material.
Recyclable plastic containers.