Here are some of my favorite soap and bath & body ingredients. To know them is to love them!
OLIVE OIL (Olea Europaea) is a liquid fat obtained by pressing whole olives. Vitamin and antioxidant rich, it nourishes and protects both skin and hair.
- It creates a mild, conditioning soap that provides gentle cleansing for sensitive skin, even for baby
- Anti-inflammatory properties help reduce redness and irritation, and sooth dry skin
- Non-comedogenic- it won't clog pores or cause acne
COCONUT OIL (Cocos Nucifera) is an extremely stable saturated fat derived from the meat and milk of the coconut fruit. It's commonly used in handmade soap due to multiple benefits:
- Produces a rich, big bubble lather
- Adds hardness to soap, helping it last longer
- Excellent cleansing properties
- Contains Lauric acid, a natural fatty-acid that possesses antimicrobial properties that keep skin clean and healthy
- Naturally deodorizing
Coconut oil is nourishing and hydrating. It adds 'slip'- a nice glide in products like lip balms, natural deodorants and lotion bars.
SHEA BUTTER (Butyrospermum Parkii) is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. A luxurious ingredient in handmade soap and skin care products, it offers multiple benefits:
- Packed with fatty acids and vitamins that nourish and moisturize skin
- Naturally emollient, it softens and smooths rough, dry or cracked skin
- Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe irritation, and produces a creamy, almost lotion-like lather
- Antioxidant rich, it helps protect the skin from environmental damages and is said to possess powerful anti-aging benefits
KOKUM BUTTER (Garcinia Indica Seed Butter) is derived from the Kokum tree, formally known as the Garcinia indica tree. The Garcinia genus is native to Asian and African tropics, but Garcinia indica, grows mainly in Western India.
Making butter from the oil of the seeds is a long process. The seeds are harvested then sun-dried, chopped and boiled in water. The cooled, solidified fat is lifted off the top and further filtered to clean.
- Highly moisturizing and protective, it helps seal moisture in and keep harsh elements out
- Contains antioxidant compounds and nutrients that encourage skin cell turnover and promote healing
- Has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and calm irritated skin
- Adds hardness to soap to help it last longer
We love, love Kokum Butter in lip balm for protection and healing.
CASTOR OIL (Ricinus Communis Seed Oil) is a thick, liquid oil expeller-pressed from the seed of castor beans. It's widely considered one of our finest, natural skin emollients. A must-have oil (in my opinion!)
- Intensive, emollient properties moisturize and soften dry or rough skin
- Contains ricinoleic acid, a unique anti-inflammatory fatty acid that may help reduce redness and irritation
- Helps improve skin elasticity and can be used to treat acne-prone skin
- Promotes hair growth and improve scalp health
Castor oil greatly increases lather when added to hand-made soap. It gives lip balm a subtle stick and shine, and reduces the need for reapplication.
- Less greasy than other oils or butters, it's ideal for skin lotions and scrubs
- Anti-inflammatory properties help reduce redness and irritation.
- Contains linoleic acid, which helps protect your skins acid mantle- part of a delicate matrix that creates a healthy skin barrier
- Non-comedogenic, it won't clog pores or cause acne
- Supports lather in handmade soap, helping the bubbles feel thicker and last longer
COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma Cacao) is a natural fat derived from the cocoa bean and is deeply moisturizing.
- Natural antioxidants help reduce inflammation and promote healing of the skin
- Cocoa butter contains compounds that help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity
- Forms a protective barrier on the skin, locking moisture in and protects the skin from environmental stressors
- Calms skin, soothing any irritation or itching
A bit of cocoa butter in my natural deodorant formula gives it just the right, spreadable consistency. And it's so great for your skin!
AVOCADO OIL (Persea Gratissma) is a thick plant oil that comes from the pulp of the avocado fruit. It has extraordinary skin-penetrating capabilities, and is rich in vitamin E. This highly moisturizing, emollient oil absorbs quickly into skin. It's an excellent ingredient for everything from soap to lip balm.
- Adds conditioning properties to soap, and creates a creamy lather
- Abundant in antioxidant vitamins A, D & E
- It gives lip balm a creamy feel, helps to plump lips and speeds healing
CANDILILLA WAX (Euphorbia Cerifera Cera) is derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub (Euphorbia antisyphilitica) which is native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.
- Humectant; it attracts water from the air onto our skin
- Reduces the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles
- Forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface, which prevent moisture loss
- Protects skin from environmental stressors
- An alternative to beeswax, it makes it a great option for those who prefer to use vegan skin care products
- Its high melting point makes it an ideal choice for use in products like lip balms and solid lotion bars
- Unlike other waxes than can clog pores, Candelilla wax is non-comedogenic and will not cause breakouts
SEA SALT (Maris Sal) is a mineral-rich exfoliant that works to naturally sooth and smooth the skin.
- Helps slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and impurities
- Natural antibacterial properties eliminate bacteria that can cause breakouts
- Oceanic minerals in sea salt can be absorbed by the skin, producing a relaxing effect that soothes sore muscles
- A gentle abrasive, sea salt can stimulate blood flow to the skin, and promote a healthy, glowing complexion
Fragrance oil may contain some natural components, but they aren't considered natural. They're formulated to be safe, while standing up to the rigors of cold-process soap making. Strict global standards are set in place for the safe use of fragrance ingredients, and fragrance oils offer a huge variety of choice.
Natural essential oils are usually steam distilled from the stems and leaves of plants. They offer less variety of scent, and they're more volatile or fragile. Their scent tends to fade faster in soap, so I prefer to combine essential oils with fragrance oils for the best smelling blends and scent retention.
I tend to save essential oils for products like shower steamers, deodorants, and lip balms, as they don't go through a chemical change like cold process soap does. This preserves the natural aromas and therapeutic benefits.