Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is soap?
- In simplified terms soap is a salt of a fatty acid. By definition, when fats and lye are combined in the proper amounts soap is produced. You can not have soap without using lye as an ingredient. You can purchase a premade soap base and make soap without dealing with lye, but the person who made that soap base had to somehow combine lye with fats.
- What is "Cold Processed"?
- Cold process is a way of making soap which does not include any added heat. Some methods of making soap call for additional heat to help the chemical reaction that produces soap to complete (aka Hot Process) and you can also make soap by melting a premade soap base down and pour it into a mold. All three have advantages and disadvantages; we use cold process for a majority of our products because it is a more traditional approach. According to Wikipedia the earliest soap recipies were cold processed and date back to the Babylonians at around 2200 BC. Our cold process soaps cure for at least 6 full weeks to ensure you get a hard, long lasting bar of soap.
- What is All-Natural?
- These days we see the words all-natural on many different products. Manufacturers like to use these words because there isn't a strict definition of what this means, so they are free to define it how they see fit. For Bay Berry Bliss, all-natural means that the product is made from natural ingredients, as opposed to synthetic ingredients made in a lab. For us, all-natural soaps that are scented can only use essential oils. In addition the colorants used in the soap need to be naturally occuring, which limits us to pigments and micas. Many of these pigments are actually produced in a lab because the natural equivelent is often contaminated with heavy metals. The product is chemically identical to the naturally occuring substance. We consider products made with these ingredients all-natural.
- What is organic soap?
- USDA labeling laws prevent real soap as being labeled as organic because 95% to 99% of the ingredients would need to be organic. Lye can not be purchased organic, since it is not a food item. And since lye is necessary for soap in quantites greater than 5% as an ingredient it is not possible to label soap as organic under the USDA labeling regulations. Rather soaps should be labeled as made with organic oils and butters. According to the USDA labeling laws, an organic soap would be made with at least 70% organic oils and butters; if so then it can be labeled as being made with organic ingredients.
- Are all of your products handmade?
- Yes, all of our soaps are handmade. Our products are made from scratch, mostly with wholesome food-grade ingredients.
- Is your palm oil sustainably harvested?
- Yes, our palm oil comes from a supplier that is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production.
- How long does your soap last?
- This depends a little bit. Any soap should be kept dry to extend its useful life. If soap is not allowed to adequately dry out between uses it can start to absorb excess water and can start to soften. In extreme cases, soap can start to dissolve right in the dish. Soap is water soluble afterall. We have found that if our soaps are properly dried between uses that they will last in excess of a month with daily use.
- Does the scent last until the soap is all used up?
- Yes, it does. Some scents are better with this than others with this, but we have not seen any of our bar soaps lose their scent before the bar is used up with normal use.
- Do you use any animal products?
- Yes, we do! Actually, most of our soaps are made with 100% vegetable based oils and ingredients, but we do have a few that are made with lard. Lanolin, lard, goats milk, and beeswax are some of the animal based ingredients that we might use in our products. If this is something you are avoiding, please read the label carefully. If you have more specific questions, please ask!
- What is the white powdery stuff on top of my soap?
- This substance is called soda ash or sodium bicarbonate. It is formed on the soap as the water in the soap evaporates. The soda ash might not be pretty, but it is harmless and will wash away with water with a few uses. This happens sometimes with handmade cold process soaps, and some recipies are more prone to developing this. We tend to keep the worst looking ones for ourselves, and can assure that the ash is normal, and using a soap with ash is completly safe.
- Can I submit product suggestions?
- Yes, please send us a message via the contact us link at the bottom of the page!
- What soap would you recommend for sensitive skin?
- If you have sensitive skin we would recommend sticking to all-natural soaps. We would recommend using either Aloe and Calendula or our Oatmeal Shea soap. If you really wanted something scented maybe pick one of our lavender soaps. Lavender essential oil has many beneficial qualities and is fairly mild.
- Can you recommend a soap for acne?
- Essential oils are known to have some qualities that are beneficial to your skin. Some of our soaps with essential oils that have been considered beneficial for acne are: Lavender, Lavender and Rosemary, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, and Peppermint. Charcoal soap is also reported to be effective against acne, as the charcoal can absorb oils from your skin pores.
- Do you have a soap for posion ivy?
- We try to make a limited supply of Jewel Weed soap in the spring to ensure we have a fresh supply for each year. Jewel weed has been used for centuries as a natural preventative and treatment for poison ivy and poison oak, and is a folk remedy for many other skin disorders.
- Are your soaps safe for babies?
- We would recommend using our Calendula and Aloe or Oatmeal Shea on a baby's skin. Both of these are exceptionally mild and safe for babies. Babies can have very sensitive skin, so we would not recommend using any soaps with fragrance or essential oils, as these could be possible irritants. That said, it is not a tear free formulation. We recommend being very careful to keep any real soap out of your babies eyes (as well as yours). Commercial baby soaps and shampoos use some sort of synthetic numbing agent to come up with a no tear formula. We have chosen not to include such additives in our soaps.
- Can your soaps be used on my face?
- Yes, all of our soaps can be used on your face. We would recommend using an all-natural bar of soap for your face. If you have sensitive skin, maybe an unscented soap would be your best bet.
Essential oils and fragrance oils
- What is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils?
- Fragrance oils are synthetic and made in a lab. Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile liquid derived directly from plant matter. Essential oils can be very expensive due to the amount of plant matter needed to extract a meaningful amount of oils. Making rose essential oil requires hand harvesting rose blossoms in the morning before sunrise and the material is distilled the same day. According to Wikipedia you might need between 1,500 pounds and 10,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose essential oil. This is why some essential oils are quite expensive (hundreds of dollars per ounce). We tend to avoid these very expensive oils to come up with a cost effective product.
- Are your essential oils therapeutic grade?
- There is no authority figure that oversees the use of the term therapeutic grade when it comes to essential oils. This means the definition is free for manufacturers to define as it suits them best. It can mean whatever they want it to mean. "Therapeutic grade" essential oils is basically a marketing scheme to promote some essential oils as being of a different grade than others. There are no standards with regards to grading the quality of essential oils. In fact, the multi level marketing companies selling essential oils have trademarked phrases such as "certified pure therapeutic grade", which means no other company can use this wording on their labeling.
We stick to purchasing our essential oils from reputable vendors and purchase only oils that are 100% pure.
- What is the difference between handmade cold process soaps and commercially available "soaps"?
- Many commercial "soaps" are not actually soaps at all. If you look closely they are often labeled as beauty bars, deodorant bars, or body bars. These commercial bars often use surfactants such as SLS (and a wide variety of other chemicals) to perform the same function as soap. These bars will cleanse your skin, but these surfactants work so well that they will also strip your skin of its natural oils. Handmade cold process soaps are full of glycerin (a byproduct of the soap making chemical reaction) as well as excess oil to keep your skin moisturized. Be careful, once you use handmade cold process soap, it can be difficult to go back to the commercial variety.
- Where can I find you and/or your products in person?
- We maintain a list of our upcomming shows here.
- Do you accept credit cards?
- Yes, you can pay with a credit card without having a PayPal account. After completing the order with us, you will be taken to PayPal's website for payment processing. Just click the credit card link circled below if you don't have or want a PayPal account and would like to pay with a credit card.
- Do I need to create an account to place an order?
- No. You can checkout as a guest, and will not be required to register an account with our website. You are also able to pay via PayPal without creating a PayPal account.
- What shipping materials does Bay Berry Bliss use?
- We strive to recycle all of the packing material that we recieve in the shipments that are sent to us. If we need to purchase additional shipping materials, we only purchase recycled paper based products as packing materials. We do not purchase any plastic or foam based packing materials or peanuts. If you see them in a box from us we are simply reusing ones that were already sent to us.
- Do you accept custom orders?
- Yes, we would be happy to entertain any custom order requests. Custom orders of soap will require you to purchase the entire batch up front; unless you can convince us to try and carry your creation as one of our products. The batch size would be at least 12 bars per batch. Please contact us to discuss the details. Be aware that cold process soap takes 6 weeks to fully cure, and we may need to order materials so your soaps could take 2-3 months to be ready. Please use the contact us link at the bottom of the page for further information.