Natural Bar Soap
Natural Bar Soap, Chemical Free?
Can Bar Soap Really Be Natural Bar Soap?
Much discussion about the word "natural" appears on forums and blogs all over the internet. Some people claim the term "natural" is meaningless because there is no officially adopted, standard definition of the word. True, the FDA hasn't adopted a definition, or handed down any ruling on the use of the word "natural." But does that mean the term cannot be used at all? With our understanding of the word "natural," we think it's reasonable that we call our soap "natural."
A Reasonable Definition of "Natural" Ingredient
First off, we believe that "natural ingredients" can be either those found in nature, or those that contain only naturally occurring compounds. While some people may argue that only natural ingredients in their raw state should qualify as natural, we think that's a bit extreme. If a chemist combines ingredients that are naturally occurring to create something new, this doesn't take away from its natural origin. While technically not "naturally occurring," these combinations are still made only of natural components. It is also important to stress that "natural" does not equal "safe." Many examples can be given of naturally occurring ingredients that are definitely not safe for soap. Poison Ivy, although it is herbaceous, will never find its way into our "herbal" soaps!
Natural Ingredients May Require Refining Processes
Some soap making ingredients need to be extracted, cleaned or purified, but this doesn't take away their natural origin. In fact, the FDA requires that all ingredients, whether natural or not, be refined for safety before being used in cosmetic products. Many things found in nature are made even more safe and wonderful through laboratory processes, and after refining, make some of the most amazing ingredients for natural bar soap. Just as shea butter must be scraped from it's shell, filtered and cleaned to utilize the healthy butter within, so too must harmful contaminants be removed from things like Kaolin clay, and kelp powder. We don't feel that these processes strip an ingredient of its "natural" status, or of its appropriateness in a natural bar soap.
So Your Natural Soaps are Chemical Free, too, Right?
Everything is a chemical. To eliminate chemicals in your life would mean certain death. Chemicals are everywhere. Chemicals are simply combinations of elements. You remember elements, don't you? Those little "building blocks" we learned about in chemistry class; oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and all their buddies from the Periodic Table.
We understand that when people use the term "Chemical Free" to market their soaps and cosmetics, they most likely are referring to HARMFUL chemicals. If that's the case, they should just say that instead!! To do otherwise is misleading to the many people who may not have enjoyed their high school chemistry classes as well as we did.
Our soaps are certainly free of "Harmful Chemicals," but they are absolutely chok-full of skin-friendly, beneficial chemicals that just happen to be "natural." Things like (e)-4-hydroxyphenethyl 4-formyl-3-(2-oxoethyl)hex-4-enoate (sorry-- just Geek Speak for Olive Oil!), and Dihydrogen Monoxide (water) are ABUNDANT in our soap recipes. Just as we said everything natural is not necessarily safe, it's important to know that everything "chemical" is not necessarily unsafe.
So there you have it. Our stance on "all natural" and "chemical-free" natural soap. If it has its origin in nature, and can be safely formulated for use on the skin, you just might find it in our all natural bar soaps.