Having been asked a few times whether the soap we make is natural and having heard persons refer to our soap as “natural soap”, I thought I’d find out what people think of when they think of a natural soap.
First though, what does natural mean to me in terms of soap? What is natural soap? For me a natural soap is a soap that is either unscented or scented with essential (not fragrance) oils and naturally colored, either solely by the ingredients in the soap or by a clay or something like turmeric or paprika. That said, all soap (yes ALL soap, even “natural” soap) is made with lye (aka sodium hydroxide), and while lye is a naturally occurring by-product of burning wood (ashes), the lye used for soap making and many other purposes is created by electrolysis i.e. applying electricity to salt water. So, technically speaking, there is no such thing as an all natural soap unless the lye has been produced from ashes which is not an easy process.
Although we make a few naturally colored and naturally scented or unscented soaps (more to come soon), most of our handmade soap is about 90% natural (97% if you count the lye as natural). The oils that we use, along with water, milk, aloe and other additives like oatmeal, clay are all natural additives. The other 10% would consist of the fragrance, colorants and of course the lye. Remember, all of our fragrances are body safe and phthalate free. The colorants we use, which make up about 1% of our product, are cosmetic micas and titanium dioxide. Both mica and titanium dioxide are naturally occurring substances however cosmetic micas must be synthetically produced for safety reasons and titanium dioxide is processed to remove impurities.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, when lye combines with oil, a chemical process called saponification occurs. At the end of it all, we are left with soap and glycerin, which is contained naturally in the soap. There is no lye in the end product.
So, what does natural mean to you?
Leave a comment and let me know.