There's so much soap on the market. What's so special about handmade soaps?
While it's true that the market is flooded with body cleansing product, the reality is that many of these are actually detergents. They are often made with cheap ingredients and are designed to last years on a shelf. Handmade soaps are made with either vegetable oils or animals fats (we do NOT use animal fats) along with rich butters and other enhancing ingredients. Handmade soap crafters typically work creating small batches to ensure you are getting the best possible product. Dunnock And Hinny soaps are hand crafted with care and pride. Our soaps are made with a mix of organic oils and conventional food grade oils. We never use technical grade or cosmetic grade oils in our soap.
What is the difference between soap and detergent?
Simply put, soap is an all natural product (oleochemicals) and detergent is a synthetic product (petrochemicals).
Where did detergents come from?
The first surfactant for detergent use was developed by a man named Fritz Gunther 1916. It was utilized in industry but too harsh for home use. Although the use of detergents was originally intended for industrial use, because of its low cost, it eventually made it into the household market. The production of household detergents began during the 1930's in the USA and has seen a steady increase ever since. As usual, something started with a good intention turned into a monster. With the help of technology and engineering, today's market targets buyers with a dizzying array of detergents sold as soap. The synthetic chemical ingredients that can be found in some modern detergents are long, and while some companies are targeting educated consumers with a few bio-degradable "earth friendly" ingredients, many of the other synthetic chemical components remain abundant within the product.
Are you saying detergents are all bad?
Not entirely. Our modern engineering and living requires some detergents for industrial use and specific needs, but much of our day to day living does not require that level of cleansing nor the high chemical load. We understand that there are some things that cannot be entirely done away with but we also know that many of the synthetic chemicals found in products can be easily excluded with without compromising quality. Natural body cleansers can be just as effective as any detergent. You have a choice. We are strong advocates for the reduction of synthetic chemical use in the home. You don't have to do away with every single product but there are many things that are easily replaceable.
Why do you use lye or potash? Isn't that harmful?
Lye goes hand in hand with soap making. Without lye, there is no soap. Either NaOH (lye is for hard soap) or KOH (potash used for liquid soap) is used. These ingredients in and of themselves are dangerous. However, when lye is combined with fatty acids such as vegetable oils and animal fats, it becomes an entirely different product...soap! The final product is entirely free of lye.
What is the importance of using organic oils in soap making?
The importance of using organic oils and organic ingredients when ever possible comes from the fact that it helps keep the planet as free of harmful chemicals as possible. It also helps support those manufacturers that grow their products chemical free. It's not just about reducing the amount of chemicals we come in contact with on a daily basis, it's also about choosing those businesses andmanufacturers that are making an effort to provide a healthier alternative. These companies need our support.
Why don't you use all organic ingredients?
As a small business, it can be difficult to sustain an all organic product and still thrive. As we continue to grow, it is our primary goal to create a product that is made of at least 85% organic ingredients.
We are always looking for ways to improve our products while making sure it remains cost effective for us and our customers. As it stands, our products are made of 30%-50% organic ingredients and growing.
How do you fragrance your products? Why?
We use essential oils, all natural fragrance oils and standard fragrance oils. It is important to note that some essential oils require a large amount of resources and plant material to make just a very small amount of oil. This can leave us doing more harm than good. Frankincense, some rosewoods, cedarwood, and sandalwood are just a few that are currently in danger. In cases like these, we prefer to use a replicated version of the essential oil in fragrance oil form. Also, some essential oils simply do not survive the lye or saponification process while others continue to evaporate as the soap cures. Some soaps can lose up to 50% of their essential oil scent during the curing process! This is why, in most cases we choose to combine fragrance oils and essential oils. All of the labels will clearly specify what kind of fragrance is used. All of the scents are phthalate free and cruelty-free. All of our products are paraben free. We have gone to great lengths to find quality fragrance oils that comply to the strictest of regulations.
Do Fragrance Oils Contain Synthetic Chemicals?
Yes, they do. Depending on who makes them and how they are made, the quality of the fragrance oil, the quantity of synthetic chemical ingredients can vary greatly. It is also true that fragrance oil manufacturers do not have to tell you exactly what they are made of. This is known as a "trade secret." However, there are guidelines that have been put in place to protect consumers, and businesses like us, that are looking for a superior product. The International Fragrance Association, IFRA, was founded in 1973 and was put in place to make sure that fragrance manufacturers met certain standards and criteria. A reputable fragrance oil manufacturer will comply with these checks. Additionally, we only use fragrances NOT listed under California Prop 65. Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. We believe this is a good standard to adhere to.
How do you color your soaps?
Our soaps are frequently left with their natural color. Any colors used are entirely natural and are either derived from spices or natural micas. Micas are naturally occurring minerals that are purified and crushed into powder form. They are nontoxic. Please keep in mind colors may vary slightly from batch to batch.
I have sensitive skin/eczema/psoriasis. Will your soaps help?
Legally we cannot make health claims regarding our soaps. Having said that, many people that use our soaps rave about the improvement in their skin. We would recommend our unscented soaps if you are known to have extreme sensitivity. As with the use of any product, there is always a risk of reaction. n general, this is extremely rare and we have never seen it with our soaps. If you experience a reaction to our soap, please discontinue use.
Is it true that handmade soaps have a high pH? Won't that harm my skin?
While it's true that a bar of soap can have a pH level of anywhere between 8 - 10, it doesn't mean it's harmful to your skin. Let's elaborate. The skin has a thin layer of acidic film on its surface called the acid mantle. For the most part, the acid mantle pH can be between 4.5 pH and 5.5 pH. The thin layer of acidic film helps neutralize alkaline contaminants like bacteria and viruses. Now, for the most part skin is constantly producing this thin acidic secretion (unless sickness is involved and not able to properly produce this acidic barrier.) Once bathed your skin will quickly begin to replenish the acid mantle and no harm is done. In simple terms, your skin more than adequately equipped to handle the pH of a natural bar of soap.
"PH balanced" is a big marketing ruse used by many big companies in order to lure the consumer. The thing is that many soaps/detergents are made with strippers and solvents that have close to the same pH as skin and yet are irritants. This is because buffers and other methods and ingredients are introduced to bring the pH down but this doesn't address the other irritants present. So much for pH balanced. Another reason commercial soap can be harsh is because sometimes there is excess alkali left in the soap. This is done to extend it's shelf life. This excess alkali will also saponify the oils on your skin leaving you "squeaky clean" and with tight feeling skin.
Your skin can definitely be stripped of beneficial oils if overly cleansed or cleansed with anything overly harsh but this has more to do with ingredients rather than the pH level of a properly made, all natural bar of soap. While Dunnock And Hinny purposely makes some soaps more cleansing than others, this is done naturally by varying the percentage of oils used in a recipe (adjusting the fat content) and not by the addition of chemicals. You may find that some of our soaps will work better for your skin than others.
I've used detergent soaps without any problems. Why should I buy real soap?
Most of what is purchased commercially is not real soap. Most are detergents. But, we are not here to demonize and industry. Our main issue is that many commercial soaps contain (or are produced with) an unnecessary amount of synthetic chemicals. Sometimes they are manufactured irresponsibly, without environmental or worker care. Add that to the fact that these chemicals are usually tested on animals first. These chemicals are designed to make a bar of soap harder or have a product last years on a shelf. These chemicals can continue to have an impact long after the product has been used. Shying away from these kinds of products would force companies to find healthier alternatives and safer practices. That's something we could all benefit from. Synthetic chemicals have made our lives much easier but we believe they are to be respected and used sparingly.
What is superfatting?
Superfatting is a technique used in soap making to ensure that all the lye is used up in the saponification process, it's also a way to naturally add moisturizing properties to the soap. This means that a certain excess of unsaponified oils (oils not used up by the lye) are left in the soap. Percentages can range depending on what kind of soap is desired. A lesser percentage or superfatting will be more cleansing; a higher percentage will be more moisturizing. We always super fat our soaps to ensure no free alkali remains.
Do you use chemicals?
Yes. We use synthetic chemicals on an as “as needed” basis. For example, lotions contain water. You MUST have a preservative. Some do make lotion without preservatives but that is a chance we are simply not willing to take. There are natural antioxidants, like Rosemary oil extract and natural antimicrobials, like grapefruit seed extract but these DO NOT provide the broad range of protection needed against yeast, mold, and bacteria. For more information on preservatives go Making Skin Care - HERE
Do you conduct animal testing or use ingredients that have been tested on animals?
No. Our products, nor any of the ingredients used to make them, have been currently tested on animals. Why do we say currently? Many products, if not all products, that are not currently animal tested may have most likely been in the past. It is important to note that we do not purchase supplies from manufacturers that conduct animal testing. We do not conduct animal testing. Dunnock And Hinny complies with the Corporate Standard Of Compassion For Animals as set for by the Coalition For Consumer Information On Cosmetics (CCIC). You can find us in Leaping Bunny's compassionate shopping guide.