My soaping dilemma's

My soaping dilemma's

Hola, como estas mis amigas.

I thought it would be nice to do a personal blog for a change. I try to keep my personal issues out of running my business, but to be honest my life involves so much of my business its difficult to achieve that. And I really feel a connection with many of my customers and so I like to share some personal things here and there from time to time so they get to know me more and more.


So today I wanted to talk about soaping dilemmas I go through on a daily basis sometimes. I have been making soap for almost three years now consistently and in that time, I have learned and obtained so much knowledge. Like with anything in life the more soap you make the more you learn and the more experience and knowledge you have. There are many things that go on in the soaping world that I don't agree with, and I have a hard time with. 

One of the many things I struggle with specifically when it comes to marketing my soap is my labeling. What to put on my labels and what not to put on. I'm pretty regimented and like to adhere to whatever regulations are in place to not only cover my butt, but to be upfront and honest with the consumer. There are many people who are selling soap and who are not adhering to the regulations that we as makers are required to follow. 

So, these last few months I have felt some pressure to come out with soaps that are "all natural" I.E. no synthetic colorants like mica and no synthetic fragrances like fragrance oil. So that means using only natural colorants like ground herbs and roots, and using Essential oils only. So here's my conundrum, essential oils aren't natural. I am going to say that again, Essential OILS ARENT NATURAL.

I have said that statement many times and most people look at me like I'm crazy. I usually get a response like they came from plants how are they not natural. Well, If I took 3 pounds of lavender flowers and collected only their aromatic volatile portions and bottled it up would that be natural? It actually takes 6 pounds of lavender flowers to get a 2-ounce bottle of essential oil which would be roughly the amount I would use to in a loaf of soap. Believe it or not you would still have a hard time smelling that.

This my friends isn't natural. Or beneficial for the environment in any way. Do you know how much space that would take up to grow these plants for just one tiny bottle to make 1 loaf of soap. So, my struggle with this is twofold, 1 calling this soap as completely natural/nontoxic, and 2 the damage I'm contributing to the environment by making these "natural soaps". 

On the other side though is using fragrance oils which I'm sure have their impact on the environment also. The difference is these are synthetically made specifically for use in soap, so they perform better, last longer, and smell really good. I've compared some of the fragrance oils I have to the essential oils I have, and I kid you not they have the exact same allergens as each other. Some essential oils have even more than the fragrance oils. Granted finding a complete list of all the ingredients in a fragrance oil is impossible because companies are not required to provide that to the consumer which is not good. They do provide a list of allergens though. The companies also claim that their fragrance oils are phalate/hormone disrupting free. 

So, there's my dilemma. The only claim I will ever make with my soap is that it washes you really good, and it's pretty/smells nice. I will never claim they are natural/Organic, not even my essential oil soaps. I do wish that consumers knew this. I wish all the naturalist and crunchi mamas knew this. I get questioned a lot because I claim to be a naturalist yet I use fragrance oils in my soaps, but I dont consider essential oils better than fragrance oils and Im torn between using them because I don't like them. I try to share with folks why soap isn't to big on the blip of the natural radar in our lives. Its not sitting on your skin for very long and the damage it can cause is minute compared to rubbing something with an essential oil on your skin and leaving it to absorb. I honestly have wrestled with this since I started making soap, and body products. Its almost like anything, its like you have to be on this side or that side. We get boxed in and labeled overall. Its either natural or not natural. I don't like that. I don't like being labeled and feeling like I have to be one or the other. I'm both!

I usually also tell people that if you have very sensitive skin then stay away from and type of fragrance or essential oil, they both have the ability to bring irritation. Most people I find are ok with fragrance oils in their soaps. It does bug me though when other businesses claim to be completely nontoxic, natural and "better" for you and then the label says clean fragrance and its a cherry Wine or something and obviously a fragrance oil. No fragrance oil will ever be "clean" ever. Handmade soap will NEVER be completely natural you know why? Because all the lye us small businesses use is synthetically made. The only natural lye out there is rainwater running down an inactive volcano, mixing with ash and none of us is making any trips to Bora Bora to collect that haha!

So, I hope anyone reading this understands my heart behind my business. Anything I make for leaving on the skin or hair is completely natural, and as far as the soaps go are they natural no, but they are still better than what you're going to find at Walmart. And be weary of businesses making the claim that their products are completely natural. All you have to do is look at their labels and read the ingredients. If it says sodium hydroxide, Clean Fragrance, Or Essential oils then they aren't completely natural. I don't say this to put other businesses down, but more to shed light on an issue that most people don't understand. Transparency is more important that trying to make a profit in my book. 

So to sum it up will I continue to make soaps with essential oils? I have only ever made five of them and only in the last week or two. They aren't even on my website yet for purchase. I don't know. I need to come to a decision within myself if I am too convicted about using them. Fragrance oils are no better. So....we will see what the future holds.

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