Here at Little Soap we’re committed to remaining open and honest with our customers and supporters; we’re always more than happy to answer questions on any aspect of the way we do things. We’re an open book. We’re happy to tell you all about our products, the ingredients we use and the methods through which our products are made. And with this in mind, we thought we’d do a bit of a deep dive into to some of the ingredients that we use, why we use them and what the benefits are. In other words, how these ingredients make our soap so magical and amazing!
A word on how we choose our ingredients
We make real soap here. And real soap is made with lye, mixed with oils. Coconut oil, palm oil or olive oil. And if your ‘soap’ isn’t made with lye, then it just isn’t soap, it’s a detergent. And believe us, you can really tell when it’s a detergent. We’re talking itchy, tight skin, possibly even with irritation if you’re really unlucky… we’ve all been there! That bar of soap you once used that left your skin feeling so dry and stretched out? Yep, that wasn’t soap at all. So instead of doing what a good bar of soap will do (nourish, protect, moisturise), a ‘soap’ without lye will just strip it off all it’s moisture and leave it thirsty for TLC. Not good!
So, all of our soap is made with lye. Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s talk quickly about saponification. That’s the process where the lye and oils are combined and chemically transformed into soap, and you end up with glycerin. All the lye disappears and the end result- the bar of soap- contains no lye at all. So we don’t include lye on our ingredients lists, because we saponify, but we do let you know what oils we use in the process.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to it and talk about some of the really magic ingredients that make our bar soap so special!
This is what we call the mixture of olive oil with lye. So when you see this, for example in our Eco Warrior Sensitive Facial Bar, you know that to saponify this bar soap, we used olive oil. And we use this because it’s a natural alternative to synthetic chemicals like sodium Lauryl Sulphate, plus we love how it helps to soften the skin- working with your skin, not against it, to keep it hydrated, supple and smooth.
Just as we use olive oil with lye to make our soap, we also use coconut oil- and this is why you might see Sodium Cocoate on our ingredients list, for example again on our Eco Warrior Sensitive Facial Bar, and also in our Naturals Olive Oil bar and our Organic Orange & Grapefruit bar.
This means that these bars have the nourishing and hydrating properties of coconut oil, but they also have this ingredient to help remove oil, dirt and grime too. It’s also an emulsifier that helps to protect the soap’s consistency.
Sodium Chloride is another ingredient we use to restore the protective barrier in the skin and to assist the skin in holding on to moisture. When we add this ingredient, it forms fatty acid salts, which helps to keep the soap non-drying and reduces irritation. We use this ingredient in our Eco Warrior Men’s Edit All Over Bar for this very reason- it can be used on both body and face.
Illite (green clay)
Illite is an amazing ingredient, added to both our Eco Warrior Beauty Edit Cleansing Bar and our Eco Warrior Nourishing Shampoo Bar. We use it because it removes dead skin cells, from the scalp and from the body, helping to eliminate impurities that can clog the pores, and acting as a detox treatment for anyone experiencing an oily scalp.
We use Sodium Palmate in a few of our bar soaps, including our Naturals Lemon Zest Bar, and it’s a really great ingredient thanks to it’s gentle cleansing properties. It helps to lift oils, dirt and other impurities from the skin.
*It’s derived as part of the saponification of palm oil- read more about our stance on using palm oil here.
This list is not exhaustive, these are just a few of the ingredients that we use in our soap. But we wanted to share them with you because we know how much of a minefield it can be when you’re trying to really take care of your body (and the planet), and you’re reading confusing sounding ingredients lists! Hopefully this can reassure you a little, but please do reach out if you ever need further clarification on any ingredient we use here at Little Soap, or check our ingredients glossary here.