You probably were not aware that handmade soap does not have to be labeled with a list of ingredients. In fact, there are no FDA requirements for handmade soap. The reason being that handmade soap is not considered a cosmetic. That is, unless it claims to have some sort of healing quality. It is very important to us that all of our products, including our soap, be labeled according to the FDA requirements for cosmetics. In other words, even though we don't have to, we provide full disclosure of all ingredients in all of our handmade goods. We also provide an address and contact information on our label as required by the FDA for cosmetics.
The 3 main ingredients in our soap are olive oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil. These 3 are really all we need to make a safe and simple soap. The ratio is 60% olive oil, 20% coconut oil, and 20% palm kernel oil. Olive oil is well known for its hydrating properties. Coconut oil provides the lathering quality and hardness for the soap, as does palm kernel oil. We use food grade ingredients whenever possible. If they are considered safe to eat, they must/should be safe for your skin. For instance, the olive oil we use is the same you would use on your pasta and green salad. Beware of soap made from Pomace olive oil, a much cheaper and sometimes chemically treated version.
In order for saponification (the technical term for creating soap) to take place, lye- or sodium hydroxide- must be used. As to its safety as an ingredient, it merely acts as a catalyst, enabling the mixing of the oils mentioned above with either water, milk, tea, coffee, wine, beer, or whatever the liquid base of the soap may be. There is no trace of sodium hydroxide remaining in the final soap product. A somewhat simple test can be done to validate this- after the soap has cured for the standard 4-6 weeks, lick the end of a bar. No sting, no lye.
To give our handmade soap its wonderful scent, we only use essential oils. There is a BIG difference between essential oils and fragrance oils. HUGE difference. This is very important. Essential oils are derived from plants. There are different ways to extract the oils from plant parts, but the important thing to know is that they are truly a natural product. They contain healthful properties and benefits in their natural state. Fragrance oils on the other hand are derived from chemicals. They're fake. They are usually made in labs. Essential oils are generally expensive and some can be very, very expensive. A lot are not affordable to the soap maker, such as sandalwood or rose, which are hundreds of dollars per ounce. Fragrance oils are cheap, cheap, cheap. They are sometimes used as substitutes for unaffordable essential oils. But, some fragrance oils can contain as many as 3,000 chemicals. We NEVER EVER use fragrance oils. A good rule of thumb when smelling handmade soap is this- does whatever you are smelling smell natural? Does the smell come from something that actually grows in nature? Bubblegum? No. Pumpkin Spice? No. Pina Colada? No. Peppermint? Yes. Lavender? Yes. Orange? Yes. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, so you need to educate yourself!
Last, we add a finishing touch to most of our soaps that is rather uncommon- an exfoliant. This can vary from very fine sand, to herbs, ground peels, seeds, nuts, corn meal, oatmeal, and more! These natural scrubbers work to revitalize and re-energize your skin, again emphasizing our Purposeful Soap.