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Natural soap means natural ingredients...

* Sorbitol - a sugar alcohol. Used as a humectant and thickener in pre-made soap bases - aka 'melt and pour' soap. Completely natural soap, on the other hand, contains loads of glycerin, which forms naturally during the soap making process. It is one of nature’s best humectants. Glycerin is capable of attracting water to itself, and hydrating skin. Rich, creamy, natural soap made with all natural ingredients, does not need additional thickeners or humectants such as this.

* Sorbitan Oleate - this is an emulsifier and hardener used to stabilise oils. Proper natural soap is made from stable mixtures of oil and water,therefore it isn’t necessary to add additional emulsifying agents to hand made soap.

* Sodium Laureth Sulfate aka Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate - this is a detergent and foaming agent that is absolutely unnecessary in a bar of soap. Many detergents are harsh and stripping, and they’re very cheap to produce. A better foaming agent is good old castor oil.

* Sodium Stearate - this is used to harden soaps made with vegetable oil. Sodium stearate is the sodium salt of stearic acid, it’s created when the lye solution reacts with stearic acid. Palm oil (which we refuse to use for environmental reasons),cocoa butter, and many other natural ingredients naturally contain stearic acid. They create varying degrees of hardness in a bar of hand made soap. It’s not a big ask for a natural soap maker to increase hardness without using an isolated chemical. Any soap maker who insists they need to use these chemicals isn't the right soap maker for you.

* Glycerin - this is a substance naturally produced in the soap making process. While there may be instances when a soap maker would want to add additional glycerin into their bar of soap, it would be quite uncommon. 'Glycerin' on an ingredient list indicates the soap was most likely created from a pre-made base. Naturally made soap doesn't need additional glycerin thrown in.

* Micas, Oxides, FD&C Dyes and Ultramarines - all of these are lab created, synthetic artificial agents used to impart color to soap, but totally unnecessary. Sure they might give the soap a neon colour, but do you want to wash yourself with ingredients like food dye? The so called 'mineral pigments' allowed by the FDA in soaps and cosmetics, aren't the naturally occurring varieties.

* Propylene Glycol - this is a humectant, emulsifier and moisturiser. With the amazing array of moisturising oils available to us soapers, an ingredient like this isn’t needed. Shea butter, which is rich in vitamins is wonderfully moisturising example, and olive oil, perhaps one of the most widely used oils in soap making, also has wonderful conditioning properties.

* Sodium Myristate - this is an emulsifier, hardener and surfactant. It's the sodium salt of myristic acid, created when lye reacts with myristic acid. Coconut oil and palm oil are two great sources of myristic acid. Natural soap makers use these complete oils rather than the isolated compounds derived from them, to create their natural soaps. If you find it on an ingredient label, Sodium Myristate is a good indication that a pre-made base was used - what we refer to as 'melt and pour'.

* Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate - this is a surfactant, it makes water 'wetter' so dirt can wash away...just like the natural soap we make. Soap’s main role is to act as a surfactant, and it does this quite effectively. Each end of a soap molecule has a specific function, the 'head' bonds with water, the 'tail' bonds with dirt. The two ends work together to lift and carry dirt away.

Please read all the ingredient labels for the soap you use to cleanse your skin, and please ask your soapmaker for clarification on any ingredients. Natural is always best, our largest organ doesn't need unnecessary chemicals put on it.

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