Username:

Password:

Forgot Password? / Help

Virgo's Alchemy - Kendra M GilbertWhat's in the Soap?

My husband plays a huge role in the recipe trials, being the fabulous cook that he is, he often comes up with great suggestions for different additives, oils and butters to try. I tend to like to stick with just one or two "main" recipes, but I'm certainly no stranger to experiments! Once a recipe feels as if it has been perfected, then the art of design is allowed to follow. The result is high quality handmade masterpieces derived from food grade and cosmetic grade ingredients.  When I have the option of using "Organic Certified" and "Non-GMO" Certified ingredients, I most definitely do!

The Ingredients used and Why...:

*not in any specific order...

~Sodium Hydroxide "Lye"~

Why?  Because without this ingredient, you can't make soap! It's as simple as that really.  ALL soap is made with lye, there is just no getting around that.  If someone says there is "no lye" in their soaps, it's because if it was made correctly - there shouldn't be!  Lye is made to make soap, but none remains in the final product after it goes through a process called saponification - which is the process in which soap is made.

~Distilled Water~

Why? Well, every soap recipe has to have something to dissolve the caustic soda or "Lye" so that it can be added to the oils/fats/butters for saponification (soap magic) to occur. If I don't use milk, coffee, tea or some "other" liquid, I use distilled water because of it's purity.

~Coconut Milk~

Why? Milk makes soaps dreamy, creamy and luscious.

~Coconut Oil~

Why? Coconut oil helps to create bubbly lather and adds strength and "hardness" to the bars.

~Olive Oil~

Why? Olive oil loves to be used in Cold Process soaps.  I call it the "sister" oil to coconut in my recipes as it helps balance things out.

~Avocado Oil~

Why? Well, I don't always use avocado oil, but when I do - it's because I need another oil that behaves and helps make a great bar of soap.

~Castor Oil~

Why? Castor oil is a "must" in my soap recipes - all of them. It is the only oil that can add such big bangs in such little amounts. It makes the creamiest lather...it's just one of those oils that begs to be used in Cold Process Soap.

~Palm Kernel Oil (sustainable source)~

Why? Well...I don't always use Palm Kernel, and I'll tell you, I'm about ready to just kick it out all together. Despite a seriously nasty reputation for being unsustainable and unethically harvested, there are some sources where you can feel better where you obtain it from. In soap, palm kernel oil helps to produce very hard bars and luscious bubbly lather. To me, it's like the big brother to coconut oil...in the "Soap making world"...

~Shea Butter~

Why? Are you kidding? Why not!? This butter is already known around the world to be one of the most amazing things you can put on your skin. I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist, and I will use raw natural Shea butter on client's and they love it. It absorbs well into the skin, conditions and gives skin a nice supple feel. It is said that Shea can be used for many skin related conditions. Imagine how nice it is when in its soapy form!

~Cocoa Butter~

Why? Cocoa butter adds a physical hardness to soap, and who doesn't just love cocoa?

~Detergent Free Glycerin (Melt & Pour) Embeds~

Why? My soaps, most of them, are Signature Works of Art. I use high quality non-detergent melt and pour glycerin soap to create embellishments and decorative themes for my projects. I NEVER use any glycerin bases that contain any detergents - ever.

~Cosmetic Glitter~

Why? Are you kidding? Life without glitter, would be like living under a dirty sock... Glitter is what adds the final Magick touch!...and just as easily washes away - that's the depressing part.  Plus, I now get all my glitters from a vegan and biodegradable source!

~Skin Safe Colorants, usually nothing but Oxides and Micas~

Why? Well, I have to get color somehow...might as well be from a trusted company that provides high quality soap stable micas that create bright, bold and vivid colors. I never use neons, and I'm actually VERY particular about what colorants I use... if I can't pronounce it - I don't use it.

~Natural Colorants, usually Activated Charcoal Powder (black) Alkanet Root Powder (purple/bluish hues)~

Why? Ok, so sometimes I go all natural, and in those cases, I will use natural colorants. Most of the time, if my soap has any black at all, it's probably activated charcoal. Why is that? Well, it creates a gorgeous dark black (a little goes a long way) or shades of gray...which I love, but it also provides a slight abrasive quality, which folks like for exfoliating purposes.

~Phthalate free high quality fragrance oil~

Why? Because I don't want anything on my skin that is known to disrupt hormones...that's why. Phthalates are a big NO-NO for me, google "why are phthalates dangerous" and you will see why my fragrances will never have that junk in them!

~Essential Oils~

Why? Again, there are times when I opt to go all natural, and even there are times when I just prefer to use an essential oil rather than a fragrance. Many times, essential oils are used in my soaps, but I have found that in certain things such as scrubs and bath salts, I prefer essential oils because of their more natural properties.

~Himalayan Pink Salt~

Why? My salty soaps are probably some of my best products, and that's funny because they are pretty plain Jane to look at (working on changing that) but! I choose to work with one of the most purest and mineral rich salts you can obtain in my products.

~Herbs and Botanicals~

Why? Herbs and Botanicals are often used for for design/decoration. I don't usually use a lot, because once the bar is wet, things tend to go brown...as well as clog up the drains.

~Tussah Silk~

Why? Cruelty-free Tussah Silk is a fabulous additive for cold process soap. It gives the bars a nice slick and silky feel adding just one more quality to a final product that I feel gives my customers more bang for their buck! I don't use it in all batches, but when I do, it is a positive addition that does not go unnoticed.

~Aloe Juice~

Why? Aloe is an excellent addition to soaps, sometimes I will substitute either all or part of the liquid portion of my soap recipe with this fabulous ingredient. It gives bars a boost in lather, and who doesn't already know how awesome Aloe is?!?!

Are your Soaps Vegan?

Almost all of my soaps are, but I do have a recipe where I use tallow (animal fat) to produce a bar that is requested by many customers. Tallow produces an extremely amazing bar of soap, and was originally the most commonly used "fat" for soap production. Although I could easily live without it personally - and do, there are those who still like their old fashioned "lard" soap. I did not include Tallow in my ingredients list above, because it's not something I use often. When I do use it, those bars are CLEARLY marked as such. One day, when the unethical slaughtering of animals for food production ceases to exist - and I do feel there is a heavy trend pointing in that direction, of course this will not be an option for most. With the recent shut down of the last slaughterhouse in Minnesota due to "awareness" and a "decrease in demand" I'd say it is a pretty obvious fact that humanity is changing. Like with any oil or fat, once it is saponified (turned to soap) it is no longer the same. Only the small amount of unsaponified or "super fat" that is left over - usually around 5-10%, stays as a "free standing oil" in the product. Eventually, I will phase out tallow from my line completely, but, I still have a lot of this ingredient on-hand and feel it would not be justifiable to simply throw it out when it can be used to at least create something that someone can use and enjoy.

Want to know more about my soap?

I make Cold Process Soap, meaning I make it from scratch with the use of lye. Like with all properly handcrafted crafted cold process soap - there is NEVER any "lye" remaining in the finished product. All my recipes have at least a 5-10% superfat which insures that all the lye molecules join harmoniously with a fat molecule and produce their lovely offspring, we know as SOAP.

Does your Soap expire?

Just about everything has a shelf life, and because Soap is created from food grade ingredients such as oils, butters, milks, fats etc...then yes, I guess you could say ALL Soap can expire at some point. Some recipes use oils and additives that have a shorter shelf life than others, and while this is true, Soap is generally safe to use even if it has signs of going rancid - but gross, who wants to use that?  But it's not like you eat soap... What I always tell people, is that you want to use your Soap within 3-6 months of purchasing. Me personally, I like to use my Soap within 2-3 months so I can get the most benefit from it's "youthful" stage. When you get my soap, it's already about a month old because of the curing process.

Why should I use your Soap?

Are you kidding? Handmade Soap is fabulous! Although I do not make any claims that my Soap does anything but aid in your personal hygiene regimen by cleaning your skin - the benefit of using handmade soap opposed to using most "store bought brands" is pretty obvious! There are no phthalates, harsh detergents, parabens or artificial preservatives in my products! I also will tell you, certain ingredients act as exfoliates such as salt, activated charcoal powder, poppy seeds...etc because it's just common sense.  I will also tell you that when I formulate a batch of soap - I use fats, oils, butters, milks and other additives that have their own unique properties.

What about your "Glycerin Soap"?

When I use Melt and Pour or "Glycerin" to create Soap, I only use DETERGENT FREE high quality bases from trusted suppliers. Although my Soap is not considered a cosmetic and therefore does not require me to disclose ingredients - I still do.