Quality of Ingredients
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to making handmade soaps and other bath and body products. We think that selecting the right ingredients is crucial to having a top quality product. We believe we all should strive to reduce our exposure to the number of chemicals we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. If you were to start reading the ingredients of your “soaps” and other bath and body products you might be surprised what you would see.
USDA Certified Organic
We use mostly USDA Certified Organic plant based oils in our soaps, and other products. This includes organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic palm oil, organic castor oil, organic shea butter, organic babassu oil, and others. More than 99.9% of the oils we buy are certified organic by the USDA. This decision was easy for us. The quality of these oils is top notch. You can’t buy better oils to make products with (or to cook with) than we do. The first step in creating a quality product is to use quality ingredients. We often see lower quality ingredients (sometimes not even edible) marketed to soap makers; if that is all that was available we could do that too. Instead we choose premium ingredients.
We also chose organic for another reason. All of us make decisions with the things we purchase every day. The industrialization of our food system has driven the cost of food ingredients very low. You can buy a cheeseburger for $1, and it is already cooked for you too. It is the end consumer’s focus on low price that got us to this point, but the price reduction comes at a cost. The nutrient density of the foods we eat is at an all time low. We choose USDA certified organic because it supports those farmers that we believe are doing the right thing. It not only gives us a better product, but it is better for the environment as well.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of a product that you might use every day?
Below is an example ingredient listing for a body wash than can be purchased at many grocery stores around the country. Not everything in the ingredient list is harmful, or even something we might consider a chemical. They actually use some lavender essential oil; and the good stuff even!
Ingredients Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Methylchlorisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, Red 33, Blue 1.
Imagine if you did that for all of the products that you use daily. Things like body wash, shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, deodorant, and lotion. A personal care product survey (link) of more than 2300 people was performed by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and found that the average adult uses 9 personal care products daily, and those products were made with 126 unique chemical ingredients. That is a lot of daily exposure! The report also found that many of those ingredients included known or probable carcinogens (cause cancer), or product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins! Incredible...
Many of those ingredients, like ones included in the example above are probably very low risk, and may actually be beneficial to us. But is that true of all of those ingredients? Are they really safe? Does any manufacturer test them for long term exposure? Are these products crafted to a price point like our industrialized food system is, or are they crafted with our overall health in mind?
These are products we are using every single day of our lives, and multiple times per day in some cases. How do all of these chemicals interact with each other? Obviously they don’t just spontaneously combust, but is there a long term impact to our health from using these products every day? What about the environment? After we use the contents of these products, guess where it ends up? In some way or another it goes back into the environment. Is this the kind of stuff you would want to pour into your garden?
These are questions you will need to answer for yourself. For us the choice is clear. We strive to reduce the number of chemicals in our daily life. We affirm this decision over and over again every time we purchase products made with USDA certified organic ingredients. Words only go so far. It is your dollars that are doing the voting.