We’ve written before about how vital it is to do your research when it come to choosing exactly what you put into and onto your body from a health perspective. What we apply to the skin is absorbed by the body, and that means all the nasty synthetics and unnecessary chemicals that some manufacturers use to produce their cosmetics and toiletries are seeping inside your body every time you use them. Not so pleasant when you think about it! We’ve written this post about deciphering labels on your favourite products, and these post about the top 5 toxic ingredients out there when it comes to bathroom luxuries. Honestly, the best practise if you want to stay green and stay clean is to research, research, research. And here is as good a place to start as any! This week we’re looking a little deeper into non-toxic beauty, what to look out for when it comes to choosing natural soap – plus, what makes Little Soap Company products so different.
Have a checklist of what to look out for before you buy
We always advise to think before you buy and its a good idea to have some kind of checklist- whether on your phone or in your head- before you part with cash. What things are important to you when it comes to the soap that you intend to use one your skin? What are your specific needs? A fine example of a checklist to use could be:
- Is it a solid bar? Bar soaps are more likely to be the most environmentally friendly option – there is no need for plastic packaging (do check bars inside cartons aren’t shrink wrapped!) and are less likely to contain ingredients such as petroleum or indeed liquid plastics. Bar soaps also tend to have a smaller carbon footprint in general due to processing and transporting the product from factory to shelf.
- Is it organic? Or if not, what % of it is naturally derived – if the brand don’t state a % on the packaging there is a reason! Ask the contact form on their website. From 2020 we now print ALL our cartons of non-organic soaps with the % of naturally derived ingredients in them – and we can hand on heart say anything that isn’t naturally derived is of the highest quality ingredients to make sure you get a great bar every time. Now, the vast majority (10 out of 12 of our bars!) are 99.9% naturally derived. The 2 that are slightly lower % are our Eco Warrior Shave and Shampoo Bars which can’t be 99.9% and perform as they do – and recognise that. We want natural bars that work! We actually had a question earlier in the week on Instagram about what was the 10.5% that wasn’t naturally derived ingredients – a really good question which is there still now if you have a look – we far prefer questions in the public domain and not on DMs or Messenger as we have nothing to hide! The remaining 10% in our Shampoo Bar for example is made up of skin friendly man made ingredients which improve the efficacy (it is very different to a bar of soap for example) of the bar and help keep it looking and smelling great (the base oil smell can really have an impact on the fragrance of essential oils we add if overly pungent!) The Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate is the big contributor to the higher non-natural percentage of these bars. We use it as an emulsifier and a skin conditioning agent – i.e. it improves the skin feel. It’s not that it is bad for you – just legally it is man made, not naturally derived… these %s are the same for all shampoo bars if you do your research.
- Is it vegan? If the label doesn’t specifically say, it may contain animal fats!
- Is it tested on animals?
- Is the packaging unnecessarily plastic?
- Can the packaging be recycled (much black plastic can’t be in terms of lids and pumps can’t as they have metal springs in them)
- Does the ingredients list contain parabens such as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben or phthalates? These are chemicals to avoid.
Here at Little Soap our mission has always been to make natural soap more accessible to all. We’re proud to say that we source all of our ingredients carefully and where a synthetic product has to be used, we make it very clear. We have a glossary of our ingredients here, with more detail on what we use in our soap and why.
Read the labels
Don’t just blindly buy a bar of soap because the packaging looks good and it smells divine. That fragrance could well be synthetic and the claims on the outside just as fake too. With pure essential oils – all we use – you’re not only getting natural scent but the aromatherapy factor too! So read your labels and make sure you understand what you’re reading too. Better still, do your research before you hit the shops – and have a list of brands you know and trust before you start browsing particular products.
Here at Little Soap all of our product labels are clear and to the point, and we also display all product information online too. We’ll give you directions for use, a full ingredients list and detail and possible allergens. We also display the leaping bunny symbol for cruelty free and the symbol to show that we’re vegan too, as well as only using RSPO Sustainable Palm Oil and made in UK – plus we let you know that you can recycle our packaging.
Check the fragrances
Did you read our previous post on essential vs fragrance oils? Sometimes fragrance oils are actually named as perfume, fragrance, or perfume, so look out for all of these terms when you shop. This wording can be misleading, and in reality they can refer to up to 200 undisclosed ingredients! So if you choose a soap that lists fragrance oil, perfume or just fragrance in its ingredients- avoid, avoid, avoid! You simply do not know what could be inside. If it smells artificial, then it probably is.
Here at Little Soap we use essential oils to fragrance our soap and we always have done. Each of our blends has been painstakingly chosen for its health and therapeutic benefits and we’re proud of that. Check out our beautiful sensitive range if you have allergens- sometimes ditching the fragrance and opting for un-perfumed is the best choice all round. Our un-perfumed bar soap with avocado oil is always a firm favourite, and its fantastic for moisturising stressed skin.
Contact the brand and ask them questions
Most ethical brands will have a website with clear contact details so that you can get in touch and ask them questions about their products. Look for FAQ pages or product information pages to get a better idea of the products you’re buying. If you still have questions, then seek them out on social media or email to find out more. Most brands will be happy to give you lots of information about their products! If you’re unable to find the information that you need, you might need to re-consider your choice. Stick to your principles and don’t be persuaded by a cheaper product just because there is little information to tell you the ingredients inside are toxic.
Here at Little Soap we’re happy to answer questions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email. We have clear information pages and a wealth of information advice here on the blog. We love chatting to you and we’re so passionate about what we do, we could talk soap all day!