DEFINITIONS & MORE INFORMATION ON SOAP TERMS USED:
What is saponified oil? Saponification
is the process of reacting a fatty acid (oil) with an alkaline
base (lye), which produces soap (the alkali salt of fatty acids)
and glycerine. The oil(s) may be anything from liquefied lard,
shortening, or rendered tallow, to any of the naturally liquid
forms of olive oil or other crop oils, i.e., corn, seed, nut,
or a blend thereof.
Lye is created by nature whenever
water leaches through potash, or wood ash; the accrued result
is natural potash lye, or potassium hydroxide. This natural, but
variable-quality lye, used by the earliest soapmakers, gave way
in 1790 to the discovery of a more reliable, and less expensive,
process of running brine through soda ash, producing sodium hydroxide.
The term 'lye' is now generally synonymous with sodium hydroxide.
Lye can be readily purchased in the dehydrated (unreacted) form.
A type of soap base, alkalis neutralize acids and soften the
skin. Too much alkalinity in a soap, however, removes the natural
protective film of proteins and oils that coat the skin and guard
it against bacterial invasion, moisture, and heat. Commercial
soaps are typically high in alkalinity; consequently, the softer
a commercial soap promises to make your skin, the more it removes
your skin's naturally protective 'acid' mantle.
Coconut Oil: This dries the
skin. Therefore, despite its evocative aroma of sun-and-surf relaxation,
we do not use it. Coconut oil also produces a wasteful amount
of soap lather.
Exfoliant: An ingredient that
sheds the superficial, dead skin cells; peels skin away using
acids, enzymes, or abrasion. Removal of dead skin cells encourages
new cell growth and improves the skin's appearance. Keratin, a
keratolytic, achieves the same result.
Essence: A solution of a volatile
plant oil in alcohol; also called "spirit of" (a given
plant). A typical solution consists of one ounce of pure essential
oil of herb or plant, dissolved in one or two cups of alcohol,
or 1/4 ounce oil to 4 ounces of 50% alcohol.
Extract: The natural, raw oil
or substance drawn out of a plant, usually by distillation with
a solvent, resulting in a concentrated product.
Essential Oil: That part
of the plant that possesses the fragrance of the plant or flower
in concentrated form. Essential oil is usually obtained by steam
distillation, whereas 'flower oils' are generally extracted by
using fats (a process called "enfleurage"). Essential
oils do not contain alcohol or other solvents, or other added
fragrances, extracts, or essences.
Essential Fragrance: Most
essential fragrances are based on, or derived from, the essential
oil they represent. Usually for reasons of cost of an actual essential
oil, it is desirable to extend the genuine oil with solvents or
distilled spirits, to stretch or magnify its effect in a soap.
In addition, when actual essential oils are not obtainable, or
are cost-prohibitive, fragrances can also be derived, either by
combining essential oils with synthetic substitutes, or by using
or combining synthetic formulations to closely approximate the
original essential oil.
We strive to provide our customers with an all-natural soap product
containing only genuine essential oils as often as possible. However,
in response to customer queries, we have also developed some fragrance-scented
soaps that could not be achieved with only organic, natural scenting
These soaps are listed under "Essential Fragrances,"
and contain a combination of fragrances that include or are derived
from essential oils, and synthetically formulated fragrances.
Since these formulas are usually commercially patented, we do
not have, and so cannot provide, further information on their
contents. However, we will pass on our wholesale fragrances source
information upon request, to those wishing to follow up.
It is worth noting, for those concerned about using chemical or
synthetic products, that the amount of essential fragrance required
to scent a batch of soap is generally far less than the amount
of essential oil required to achieve the same level of scent.
This speaks to both the strength of synthetics, for better or
for worse, and to the fact that there is less of it to be encountered,
per bar of soap. We have to admit, some of the essential fragrances
are quite dynamic; we leave it to you to decide upon your individual
pH: A term indicating the ratio
or balance of acid and alkali in a product. pH ranges from 1 to
14; a pH of 7 is considered neutral.