Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there lye in the soap?
Our soaps are 100% natural but you actually cannot make soap without lye. It’s a pivotal ingredient to the process. Lye can be sourced naturally but it is extremely expensive so all soap makers purchase it from a supplier that makes it. Once the chemical reaction between the lye and the oils has taken place, there is no lye left in the finished product. The only exception to this rule would be a poor manufacturer that does end up with lye excess due to inaccurate calculations of lye/oil needed. The amount of lye we use is minimized to make sure it is always fully used up in the process, with no danger of remaining lye in the final product.
Do we use GMO products?
As part of our commitment to our Red List, all GMO oils were intended to be out of all our products by this spring but because R&D can be a bit unpredictable, we are a bit behind. The launch date for the new organic (GMO free) bar soap will happen later this year. Rest assured we are very excited to get this new product on the shelves as soon as possible!
Why do you have some of the top 10 allergens in your products?
In our quest to shift away from potentially GMO crop oils, we decided to make the reformulated products at least 70% organic as well. In the reformulation process our intention was to keep the cost and the performance the same so that your favourite toxin-free products would be just as good as you’ve come to expect. Organic Sesame oil was chosen initially as a key base oil for our butters because its super hydrating but not greasy, we well as the reasonable cost and decent market availability. There are so many fabulous oils we would love to work with, but we will no longer use nut based oils because of allergy concerns so that rules out almond, macadamia etc. For many others the cost/availability was restricting, or the feel of it on the skin was not close enough to what we needed. We are aware that some people may be sensitive to sesame but unfortunately our company is not yet large enough to have a complete "top 10 allergen free" line (we would love to at some point!). So for now we are still trying to meet the demands of our customers – encouraging them to switch over from toxic bath and body to 100% natural. In the end we had to decide how we could best meet our many product demands without raising the prices or sacrificing performance.
Why do some of our products contain nuts?
Some of our products still contain almond oil as they were formulated many years ago and almond oil is amazing for providing rich moisture for the skin. As we would like to be nut free due to the major increase in nut allergies, we have stopped formulating new products with nut oils and will gradually be phasing it out of any existing products, such as the pumpkin soap.
Why do you use gluten containing ingredients?
We have a list of bar soaps that may contain wheat germ or oatmeal. At this time, none of our other products contain gluten but we are not a gluten free facility nor do we test for the presence or absence of it in our other products. To date we have not had any feedback from customers with celiac that they have had any issues with the rest of our line. Our vitamin E is sourced from soy and the alcohol is sourced from corn. As the protein is removed from these sources in processing, they are not likely to bother those with soy or corn allergies either.
Do your products contain phthalates? In fragrances or otherwise?
No, we only use 100% natural ingredients/fragrances and phthalates are not allowed by our definition of natural.
Why do your lip butters (and maybe lip scrub) sometimes go grainy?
During transit, vegetable butters can melt or partially melt. As they re-cool, some butters, most particularly Shea Butter, can crystallize or become grainy. This does not impact the quality or usability of the butters. These little granules that sometimes happen are perfectly natural and normal, and they don't indicate that your product has gone bad or that something’s wrong with it. This is a common occurrence with natural, unrefined Shea butter, and sometimes, cocoa butter.
Why does your deodorant contain aluminum? Is it safe?
Potassium alum is a natural crystal that we use in our deodorants to prevent growth of bacteria that causes bad odor. It does contain aluminum at 0.23%. The big question about aluminum is whether it is absorbed into our bodies. In the case of potassium alum the answer is “no”. The reason is because potassium alum molecule is too large to go through pores. This can be attested to the fact that although it helps with body odor, it doesn’t stop you from sweating because it isn’t clogging the pores. This is why we don’t call it an “anti-perspirant”. Unlike Aluminum Chlorohydrate (used in many synthetic anti-perspirants) which will go into the pores and pucker it up preventing sweat from coming out.
Can your liquid soap be used for laundry?
We have not tested the soap for this purpose but people have used our bar soap (made into flakes) for laundry detergent. For the liquid soap information on the net suggests: Pour 1/4 cup of castile soap directly into your washing machine. This will make a safe, toxin-free laundry detergent. If you have hard water, increase the amount of soap to 1/3 cup. Use lavender- or citrus-scented castile soap to add a pleasant aroma. Because we superfat our bar and liquid soaps, be aware there may be a bit more residue left on clothing potentially with our soap vs a competitor product.
Why does your cinnamon soap make the skin red?
Millet can be more abrasive than some people are used to and cinnamon oil is a potential skin sensitizer. We recommend testing any products with essential oils you have not used before on a small patch of skin, like the inner elbow crease, and then wait 24-48hrs to see how the skin reacts.
What are your expiry dates?
Our liquid soaps are good for up to 1 year from the batch date on the bottom of the bottle, and our bar soaps last up to 12 months from date of purchase if stored well, and neither contain any added preservatives. After a year most natural products start to lose some quality as essential oils lose their strength and, in the case of bar soap, they may evaporate over time.
Many lotions/creams will have a specified PAO (Product After Opening date, the little open jar symbol on the label) which tells you how long it is expected to last after opening. In general, our other products are good from 1 year of opening or 2 years unopened. Beyond that it really depends on how you are storing it. Because heat and humidity as well as which essential oils were used will have an effect as well. We have found that most of our butters remain stable for up to 4 years prior to opening with normal or cool storage conditions, but we make it a rule to not send them out once they approach 2 years.
What is the expiry date on products without a date? Why don’t all products list an expiry date and manufacture date? (Roll-ons, Rescue Butter, Breakout Buster, Lip Butters)
As per above, we say the products are good from 1 year of opening or 2 years unopened. Beyond that depends on how you are storing it, the heat and humidity of the environment you’re keeping it in, as well as which essential oils were used or flavours because some go rancid or lose scent faster than others. The Breakout Buster, Lip Butters, Roll-Ons and Perfumes are good for up to 2 years before opening and don't have batch stickers as the original label design did not permit it (lack of space). We hope to address this issue with future label designs.
Why is the shampoo so thin?
Unfortunately our some of our scent blends had a thinning effect on some of our shampoos and conditioners, so the affected formulas have now been reformulated to improve thickness. Give them another try!
Do you put sodium laurel sulphates or any type of sulphates in your shampoo & conditioners? What makes your shampoo lather and what is the pH?
We don’t use any sulphates and we never, ever will. The foaming action of our shampoo comes from saponified coconut oil (soap) as the base. The average pH is 5.35.
What is the best shampoo for thin hair?
Rosemary Mint. The essential oils will help increase blood circulation to the scalp for healthy hair. We don’t currently have a specific hair thickening shampoo/conditioner just yet.
Is your shampoo safe for colored treated hair?
With colored hair you need to avoid tea tree scents, but we no longer have that one, so any of our new scents are fine to use.
Does your bar or liquid soap clog drains?
Clogging is dependent on how hard the water is. If there are a lot of minerals in there the soap will attach to the minerals causing soap scum and eventually clogging. If you have a water softener then this doesn't happen. Usually synthetic soaps will contain EDTA as a chelating agent to prevent the clogging. We use sodium phytate which is a natural chelating agent from rice bran. It's not as effective as EDTA but it does improve it somewhat.
Why are some products not safe for pregnancy?
Essential Oils have the ability to affect a sensitive growing fetus or initiate contractions of the uterus (known as Emmenogogues) and are to be used in dilution and with caution. Although most of our products are made using a low concentration of essential oils we still err on the side of caution. Please ask your Doctor if you have any further questions.