Every single one of our soap products, both bar soap and liquids (hand wash, body wash and bubble bath) are considered naturally-based and all bar two are organic. The National Ingredient Resource Center (NIRC) considers a product “all-natural,” if it contains at least 95% of ingredients that fits their criteria for natural ingredients. The other 5% may come from ingredients that do not meet their criteria for natural, but do not contain synthetic fragrances, artificial colours, or harmful fillers.
Little Soap Company uses mostly natural and/or organic ingredients.
Sometimes it is necessary to use a non-toxic synthetic ingredient (s) when no equivalent can be found in nature. While the idea of using 100% all natural products may seem appealing, it is not practical and does not necessarily mean they are safe. In fact, failure to include effective preservatives in a product can lead to health problems, such as skin infection. It is necessary to use some type of synthetic non-toxic preservative(s) to ensure the products you use are safe.
The recent negative publicity surrounding the use of parabens may give the impression that all synthetic preservatives are toxic or carcinogenic, when in fact, they are not. In an ideal world, we’d be able to pluck the leaves or seeds from a plant or tree, crush it up and mix into our products and come up with a safe and effective preservative. In reality, this is not feasible.
Some natural preservatives are originally plant derived, but must undergo a chemical process to convert them into a viable and effective compound strong enough to prevent and combat bacteria and fungus. A balance must be struck between effectiveness and gentleness – in other words, a preservative, which is not only non-toxic, but one that won’t cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.
There are many synthetic ingredients that are considered to be safe and non-toxic.
Conversely, there are all-natural ingredients, which can be considered toxic, and you wouldn’t want to use. From our perspective and in our research, it is more important for a product to be safe and non-toxic rather than a 100% all-natural and organic.
With that in mind, here is how our products fair in relation to that – pretty amazing facts really!
ALL of our products are Vegetarian.
ALL of our products are Vegan with the exception of the following:-
1. Organic Artisan Handmade Soap: Cotswold Honey (contains beeswax and honey)
2. Create Your Own Lip Balm Kit (contains beeswax)
There is no soap or cosmetic product in this world that is truly “allergy-free”. Although our products are made with all natural ingredients, many people are allergic to natural ingredients such as certain plants, nuts, and essential oils. An ingredient that is very mild and soothing for one person can be an allergen for another!
Each product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients.
Some of our soaps have no essential oil added – the natural aroma is simply the oils used to create the recipe. Some bars have distinct natural aromas due to honey, oats, poppy seeds or herbs.
Scented soaps have all natural plant essential oils added, not synthetic fragrances. Again “all-natural” does not mean “allergy-free.” Natural plant essential oils may still cause skin irritation or reactions in certain individuals.
People with severe allergies–please note: If you have severe anaphylactic type reactions to ANY of the ingredients we use please do not buy our products. We cannot guarantee that one soap or product has not touched another.
We often receive phone calls and emails from customers with questions about products made with tree nuts. Tree nut allergy is one of the most common allergies that can cause a severe, potentially fatal, allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. A person with an allergy to one type of tree nut has a higher chance of being allergic to other types. We list every ingredient in all of our products on the website and of course on all packaging, so reading the ingredient list will help in eliminating ingredients that may cause problems.
Shea Butter: The Food Allergy Research and Resource Program reports the Shea nuts are a tree nut, but that they do not belong in the list of commonly allergenic tree nuts. Our products (bar soaps) that contain Shea Butter are all classed as wash off, not leave on and the actual percentage of oil is negligible per wash. It is the actual oil from the Shea nut that is used that contains the protein which is what triggers the allergic reaction. The risk of a reaction to the Shea Butter is considered to be extremely low to those who do have a nut allergy. Most people with nut allergies do not have a problem using Shea Butter, but it should be noted for those with extreme cases.
Coconut Oil: Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat and use coconut oil on their skin.
Lauryl Glucoside which we use in some products for example is a “surfactant”. But bear with me, surfactant simply means a cleanser. Castor oil a non ionic surfactant just the same – as is any oil. The muddle here is the terminology of the traditional, chemically based toxic/harsh detergents/surfactants used widely in cosmetics and which we should avoid at all costs and the safe list *surfactant alternatives* which we replace them with in organic, free from products. Lauryl Glucoside is a safer alternative to regular harsh sulfates, which are typically used in cleansers to make the formula foam up. It is formed in the lab by blending a mixture of alcohols with some simple sugars. The raw materials come from vegetables or coconut, and the resulting ingredient has a “zero” hazard rating on the Skin Deep Database.
Preservatives: All skin care products found in shops contain one or more preservatives – otherwise they would quickly spoil.
If any product (containing water such as a liquid or a home made mask or cream) truly is free from all preservatives, then they should carry clear instructions to store them in a fridge and use within 2-3 weeks.
In our soaps all the preservatives we use are natural.
Alcohol in skincare causes a lot of confusion. Most people assume this ingredient is bad for skin because it dries it out – which is partly true. It depends on the particular alcohol and the amount of it in a product. The only alcohol we use is Denatured Alcohol (alcohol denat) in our Foaming Body Wash.
Most of the beauty advice about alcohol is negative. You are told to avoid alcohol. I say this too (but only when it comes to astringent toners).
The problem with this rule is, alcohol is a really loose general term. There are actually different types of alcohol, each with very different properties. So calling alcohol bad for skin is inaccurate.
Alcohol’s function may be as a solvent (dissolves something or thins out a mixture), emulsifier (allows two different substances to blend together), antiseptic (kills bacteria), buffer (balances the pH), stabilizer (prevents separation or unwanted reactions), preservative (minimizes bacterial growth or spoilage), penetration enhancer (improves delivery of an ingredient into skin), or fragrance fixative.
So you see, alcohol is a versatile ingredient that can perform a range of functions.
There are 3 kinds of alcohol that you can find in skincare:
1. Simple Alcohols
2. Fatty Alcohols
3. Aromatic Alcohols
Simple alcohols are mostly used as an antiseptic – to give the product anti-bacterial qualities.
They are derived from sugars, starches, and other carbohydrates.
Simple alcohols are usually water-like.
Here are some examples:
- ethanol (also goes by the name ethyl alcohol, used in rubbing alcohol)
- isopropyl alcohol (also used in rubbing alcohol)
- denatured alcohol (also appears as SD alcohol or Alcohol Denat.)
The type of alcohol that can dry out skin is SD Alcohol or Alcohol Denatured (abbreviated Alcohol Denat.) It may also appear as ‘Alcohol’ on a label. The alcohol in SD Alcohol is Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol). It is also found in Rubbing Alcohol.
This kind of alcohol (a low molecular weight alcohol) dissolves surface oil but dries out skin (because it evaporates very quickly). When skin is dried out by alcohol, the skin’s protective barrier is weakened, which opens up the skin to all sorts of issues, including the likelihood of more irritation.
Although it is true that SD alcohol alcohol should not be applied ALONE to skin, but in combination with other ingredients, it may be perfectly fine. It depends on how much there is and what else is in the formula.
It is hard to know exactly how much alcohol there is in a product, because the percentage concentrations are never given. The only thing you can do is look to see where it falls on an ingredient list.
Ingredients are listed in order from highest concentration to lowest. But this is not enough information to draw a conclusion. The majority of a product typically consists of the first 6-10 ingredients. But even if alcohol is listed in the top 10, it doesn’t mean it’s drying. It depends on what else is in the formula. There might be some emollient or fatty ingredients that make the product non-drying.
The best thing to do is try the product on your skin before you buy. Or read some online reviews by other people. I realize it’s not easy getting access to samples. But trying it on your own skin is really the only way to find out.
Drugstore toners or astringents have a lot of simple alcohol because they are geared toward teenagers with oily skin. This is why you often hear people say alcohol is bad for skin. Astringent toners will dry out skin, which makes oily skin worse in the long run.
You should avoid buying toners or astringents in drugstores (almost all of them are for acne or oily skin). Pay more for a toner from a beauty retailer or department store. These are the kinds that are hydrating. (More about hydrating toners here, which also lists the different names they are called)
Here are some ingredient lists that contain alcohol, which are circled in yellow. Although they contain alcohol, they are not drying. This is because of the other ingredients in the product.
Common Fatty Alcohols
Fatty alcohols are the non-drying type. They have emollient and occlusive properties.
Unlike simple alcohols, they tend to have a thick, waxy texture. Some are even solid.
They are used to give products a smooth, velvety feel, which give products a nicer slip.
Some fatty alcohols are occlusive, which makes them good for slowing down water loss.
Here are some examples:
- behenyl alcohol
- caprylic alcohol
- cetearyl alcohol (very common)
- cetyl alcohol (very common)
- decyl alcohol
- lauryl alcohol
- myristyl alcohol
- isostearyl alcohol
- oleyl alcohol
- stearyl alcoho
This kind of alcohol performs a similar function to a simple alcohol but has an aromatic fragrance. It functions as a preservative or as a component of a fragrance or essential oil.
Benzyl alcohol is the most common one, but it can be an irritant if derived from an essential oil.
So, there you have it. Just because an ingredient has the word “alcohol” in it doesn’t make it a bad ingredient.
Don’t stress out about whether an ingredient has alcohol in it. I wouldn’t spend too much time looking for it in the ingredient list, unless you’re buying products for oily skin, which is where it is more likely to pop up. You’ll know right away if a product is drying out your skin simply by trying it.
Just stay away from the drugstore astringents or any product labeled as an astringent.