Ask any world-class chef or, if you don’t know any of those, ask your mom about how important ingredients are to your dinner and she will tell you – ingredients are everything. I know when I was growing up my mom was able to make miracles out of the most simple, straight off the produce shelf ingredients (at one point out of her garden too). When we started raising our kids the same was true, which is why we wanted an organic garden.
When Haley and I started making soap we shared the same beliefs about soap-making ingredients. They had to be good or they wouldn’t get on our skin! So, our goal is to source and use ingredients that are as much as possible:
- certified organic (or which we know have been produced without pesticides, non-GMO etc.),
- are ethically produced, fair trade, or have positive social benefits, and are
- local or homegrown right here in our own garden (low carbon footprint).
These are demanding goals because many ingredients for soap making come from countries as far away as Africa like Shea Butter, or are GMO like soya and canola (rapeseed oil). We are eliminating the use of vegetable shortening for this very reason, it is made up of both soy and palm.
We are always learning new things about ingredients too. It was disappointing to find out that many olive oils are not as pure and as claimed so we are on the hunt again for a new one. Some organic ingredients are debatable as to the value of using them (or justification of the additional cost)- mostly because the organic efficacy cannot be assured.
One of the steps we are taking right now is to eliminate the use of palm oil from our soaps which is a major cause of habitat loss for orang-utan primates. The World Wildlife Federation claims that habitat loss due to deforestation is the number one cause of population decreases for the orang-utan. Another opportunity to be socially consciousness presented itself when we recently learned that one of our suppliers was offering Shea Butter produced by a women’s cooperative in West Africa so we bought as much as we could at the time. If it comes around again we will definitely get it. Watch for it on the labels.
Another opportunity to be socially consciousness presented itself when we recently learned that one of our suppliers was offering Shea Butter produced by a women’s cooperative in West Africa so we bought as much as we could at the time. If it comes around again we will definitely get it. Watch for it on the labels.
These are the kinds of things that we think go into making quality soap with heart and a conscience – as much as possible!