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Is your soap real or a toxic imposter?

Read on and put your soap to the test.

When was soap invented?

The origins of soap remains a mystery, but records of soap making date back many thousands of years to the Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and the ancient Greeks and Romans. During the 17th century, only the rich could afford soap due to heavy taxation on soap production. It wasn't until the tax was removed in the 19th century that soap usage exploded along with cleanliness standards. European settlers brought soap to America, and in 1806 William Colgate, who emigrated from England, opened the first large soap company in the United States. By the 19th century, soap was one of the fastest-growing industries.

What "real" soap is made of

Simply put, soap isn't "soap" unless it is formed via a process called "saponification." Saponification is an exothermic, or heat-producing, chemical reaction resulting in soap. Fatty acids from fats or oils interact with an alkali base, such as sodium hydroxide (lye). When done correctly, after the oils and lye are combined, the saponification process completely uses up the lye. Nothing but soap and glycerin remain in the final product. This process is known as the "cold process method" of soap making. It's called the "cold process" because the heat generated comes only from the chemical reaction and not an external heat source.

Today, handmade soap isn't that different from ancient times, when the first soap was made using a "cold process method" of mixing animal fat and ash. The process has changed very little except that ash and animal fat has been replaced by many oils, butters, and sodium hydroxide.

Soap imposters

If you or someone you love has adverse reactions to commercial soaps, it is very likely that you have learned the following information the hard way. But many consumers are unaware of the toxic ingredients lurking in commercial soaps.

According to the FDA's website:

"Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, there are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don't form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as "soap" but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word."

Since they cannot legally call them "soap", soap imposters use other clever names, such as:

"cleansing bar"

"bath bar"

"beauty bar"

Removing the natural glycerin in soap, which gives it moisturizing properties, is also a common practice of commercial soap manufacturers. They do this for two reasons, to sell it or to use it in more expensive moisturizing creams and to extend the shelf life of the soap.

Toxic cocktail

Unfortunately, today's commercially manufactured soaps are full of harmful, cheaply made synthetic additives and toxic chemicals. Check the label of your soap, body wash, or cleansing bar for any of the following:

  • Fragrance or Parfum

According to the Environment Working Group's website:

"When you see "fragrance" on a personal care product's label, read it as "hidden chemicals." A major loophole in FDA's federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name "fragrance" without actually listing the chemical."

Sadly, much of the time, a toxic cocktail of chemicals is hiding under the word "fragrance." Be sure to do your due diligence and check the ingredients. And don't assume that all handmade soaps are fragrance-free.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Commonly used to kill plants (herbicide), insects (pesticide), and to de-grease engines, these aggressive detergents lurk in many soaps because they are cheap and produce lather and bubbles. But they are also known to irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs, toxic to our organs, and damage the environment. Many products with sulfates are tested on animals.

  • Parabens

These common preservatives are endocrine disruptors that mimic or interfere with the body's hormones, leading to sexual dysfunction, infertility, and many other health problems. Parabens are linked to breast cancer. Beware of ingredients like methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

  • Phthalates (pronounced 'thah-lates')

Another group of harmful chemicals that are everywhere are used to soften commercial soaps. Phthalates are known to cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, infertility, congenital disabilities, and potentially cause cancer. Complete labeling isn't required, so these menaces to society can be hard to identify so look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DMP (dimethyl phthalate), and BzBP (benzyl butyl phthalate).

  • Ureas (such as Diazolidinyl Urea)

Ureas can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. They weaken the immune system, cause dermatitis, are carcinogenic, toxic to the respiratory tract, and environmental toxins.


Sadly, most of the 10,000+ ingredients used in personal care products have never been safety tested. And even more startling is the fact that safety testing is VOLUNTARY, and the product manufacturers control what testing is done.

The list of harmful ingredients is long, and researching each one may seem daunting. Thankfully, organizations like the Environmental Working Group or "EWG" research toxic chemicals.

Visit their website at and check out their Skin Deep Database where you can search for specific ingredients and products. The EWG scores products from 0-10, with 10 being the worst. Find out how your personal care products rate.

Why use our handmade soaps?

If using genuine, authentic soap and removing the toxins listed above from your life and the environment isn't enough to convince you, here are a few more great reasons to use our handmade natural soaps:

1. Ingredients that have not been tested on animals.

We love animals, and I bet that you do too. Our soaps are vegan, made without animal products, and only contain cruelty-free ingredients. Sadly, most of the top commercial soaps on the market test on animals.

2. Natural soaps are made from pure, natural ingredients.

Our soaps are handcrafted using only high-quality, 100% natural, skin-nourishing, sustainably produced oils, and butters. We use organic, virgin, unrefined oils and butters whenever possible. And we only use natural colorants and scents, such as clays and pure essential oils. Handmade soap also retains the natural glycerin, which moisturizes and softens skin. Handmade soaps are gentle, which makes them great for all kinds of skin concerns.

3. Unique and customizable.

Handmade artisan soaps are unique, one-of-a-kind creations that soap makers can specifically curate for different types of skincare needs. They not only look and smell fantastic, but they are full of nourishing ingredients with a variety of benefits ranging from reducing the signs of aging to detoxifying and soothing the skin.

4. Versatility.

In addition to using soap to wash the hands and body, natural soaps offer a rich, creamy lather perfect for shaving. And the skin-loving, moisturizing oils make them an excellent facial cleanser.

5. Support a small business.

We are a small, woman-owned, family-owned business, and we have poured our heart, soul, and hard-earned money into something we care about. And we genuinely love our craft and our customers. By supporting our business, you are helping real people realize a dream.

(541) 257-8500

Made with love in Redmond, Oregon


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