Soap becomes an easy choice! September 10 2014, 0 Comments


It’s an incredibly eye-opening experience to start reading ingredient labels on personal care products. A few years ago, I assembled details of the ingredients in several commercially available soaps- for my interest and that of our customers.

Now I’m back hearing Shakespeare’s Macbeth again:
“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,…”

It’s not surprising that those words should spring to mind when examining the ingredients of a popular “Beauty Cream Bar” with its 26 ingredients- repeat, 26! Its marketing dares to claim: “Soap is Harsh…Dove is Different”. I dare say it is different…at least to our organic soaps.

Let’s take a closer look at Dove's ingredients list, and see what all those 26 goodies are:
- Sodium Lauroyl Isenthionate- synthetic foaming agent, emulsifier & surfactant- skin irritant
- Stearic Acid- fatty acid from animal fats in this instance- common allergen
- Sodium Palmitate- saponified palm oil
- Aqua- water
- Lauric Acid- fatty acid in coconut oil
- Sodium Isethionate- synthetic amphoteric detergent
- Sodium Stearate- synthetic surfactant
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine- synthetic surfactant, allergen
- Sodium Palm Kernelate- saponified palm kernel oil
- Parfum- fragrance, endocrine disruptors
- Glycerin- synthetic glycerin from petrochemicals
- Sodium Chloride- salt
- Zinc Oxide- synthetic binder- insoluble in water, soluble only in acids- skin irritant
- Citric Acid- organic acid & preservative- skin irritant
- Tetrasodium EDTA- synthetic chelating agent- skin irritant, allergen & suspected carcinogen
- Tetrasodium Eldronate- water softener & chelating agent- aggravates eczema/skin problems
- Alumina- aluminium- amphoteric oxide & abrasive
- Alpha-isomethyl Ionone- binder- a restricted irritant & allergen- banned from use in perfume industry
- Benzyl Alcohol- organic peroxide compound
- Butylphenyl Methylpropional- sensitizing fragrance- restricted use in perfume industry
- Citronellol- acyalic monoterpenoid- sensitizing organic fragrance & allergen
- Coumarin- sensitizing chemical fragrance
- Hexyl Cinnamal- synthetic fragrance- Class B allergen
- Limonene- cyclicterpene synthetic fragrance
- Linalool- terpene alcohol synthetic fragrance
- CI 77891- titanium dioxide- white pigment

By law, ingredients must be listed in descending order of content. After looking at that list, I’m now wondering where the “1/4 moisturising cream” supposedly contained in each bar is. The only ingredients that could contribute to being moisturising are the Stearic (from animal fat waste = tallow, in this instance) and Lauric acids (from palm oil), and petroleum-based glycerin. All three are cheap and harsh ingredients…hidden from obvious disclosure of their source. If you were aware that you were buying a soap made from largely animal fat waste, and palm oil, would you consciously buy it on principle? Unilever- who manufacture Dove- buys 3% of the world’s palm oil…alarmingly contributing to the destruction of our environment. Are you feeling a little bit different about that “Beauty Cream Bar” yet…made from waste products and petrochemical derived synthetic detergents?

In comparison, our organic soaps generally contain four natural ingredients…we’ll never manage to compare to that grand list above, thankfully.

Our soaps are made with quality organic plant oils. They are expensive- without question. Our ‘vari’ soap- which also forms the base of our ‘cofi’, ‘hemi’, ‘nimi’ and ‘salti’ soaps- contains organic extra virgin coconut and olive oils, and organic castor oil. It therefore contains the following beneficial and moisturising fatty acids from those oils: Lauric, Linoleic, Myristic, Oleic, Palmitic, Ricinoleic and Stearic Acids.

‘vari’ also contains around 12% natural glycerine produced from those organic plant oils, as a by-product of the cold-process method of soap-making that we use. We also ‘superfat’ our soaps- meaning that our recipes are calculated to retain a proportion of the oils in free suspension within the soap to further increase the moisturising qualities.

Hmm…what was that marketing line again- “Soap is Harsh…Dove is Different”? Nothing more than a bit of deceptive, creative copywriting- the ingredients tell the true story.

Continuing Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“…For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”
Who knew all those years ago, that one day Shakespeare would finally find relevance in my life!