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Our Newsletter


Q. What is the difference between homemade soap and store-bought soap?

A. In order to be classified a "soap" the FDA requires that it be produced using what is called the "cold process." This lengthy process uses no complex chemical additives, but only the heat of the reaction between a base and an acid to create a salt (soap). There is no other external heat used (as in the melt and pour method). Hence, when reading soap labels at your local store, you may see the words "deodorant bar," "cleansing bar," "moisturizing bar", instead of soap.

Q. Why don’t you make liquid soap?
A. Public areas and many homes place liquid soap dispensers by their sinks to avoid the mess of soap bars. However, it is important to know that many chemicals are used to manufacture liquid soap to give the soap the right consistency (lacking clumping, sliminess, and separation), this consistency doesn’t clog the dispenser, and assures lather in each squirt. Liquid soaps are indeed handy, but one must consider the chemicals involved to make them so.

Q. What is the difference between milled soaps and homemade soaps?
A. Milled soaps are machine made by pressing soap between sets of rollers to flatten it paper thin, then it is shredded. The soap flakes are ground through the rollers multiple times, squeezing them together. A machine then squeezes out a long bar of tightly compacted soap flakes. This compacted bar has a polished appearance. Milled soaps are rarely made without tallow (meat fats) and synthetic chemicals. The chemicals are used to transform soap from its natural state into something with more plasticity to withstand the milling process.

Q. What about the fancy and colorful soaps found in gift boutiques and craft fairs?
A. Most of these soaps are made by melting a purchased mixture of soap base, adding glycerin, and pouring them into a mold to cool. They do not need six to eight weeks of curing like the cold process soaps do, but are ready to use as soon as they cool. The bright colors are made in the chemist’s lab and have health risks because they are made with synthetic chemicals such as coal tar, and D & C (synthetic dyes), many of which are known carcinogens. Some soap crafters even melt their child’s crayons to add colorful flares to their bars! Natural colors are derived from vegetable dyes (as beet juice), ground spices (as tumeric) or botanical seeds and roots (as annatto seed). Don’t expect vibrant eye-popping colors; the colors of nature are muted earth tones and very pleasant when marbled into natural soaps. Also, the pearlescent specks found in many pretty soaps are made of transparent layers of mica coated with titanium dioxide or iron oxide. These ingredients are created synthetically in the lab and at the least are extremely irritating to the skin.

Q. Does naturally made cold process soap use lye?
A. Soap is a neutral product created when the acids of fats and oils (vegetable and plant oils in our case) react with organic or inorganic bases. Most cold-process soap makers use sodium hydroxide (lye), which is dissolved in water. Through the natural chemical action called “soponification,” all the lye is incorporated and rendered neutral in the final product.

Q. What is the difference between essential oil and fragrance oil?
A. Synthetic oils and blends are listed as "fragrance" on most labels. Fragrances may have wonderful aromas, but they have no healing properties. Synthetic fragrances may contain unfriendly additives such BHT, which has been found to be a neurotoxin. Although many fragrances do not cause harm, they lack the vital energy that is responsible for the positive, healing effect of pure essential oils. They are never organic.