Frequently Asked Questions

Organic Soap Questions
Private Label Soap Questions



What does Botanie Soap mean by "all natural soap"?
To us, natural soap means a soap whose ingredients are plant based, and we further define our product as an herbal soap. We oppose the body care industry's use of the word "natural" to include synthetic fragrances, colorants, and preservatives. We add no artificial substances to our soaps, such as synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives, and where possible, we use organically grown products. Our purely herbal soap is scented with essential oils only and colored with organic herbs and plant extracts only. The soap base recipe is made from 100% certified organic oils. Our products contain no parabens. Read through our ingredient list to see what we mean by "natural soap." Then, to really see what we mean, take a copy of our ingredients with you next time you go to the store and compare them to the ingredients of soaps on the shelves. Your skin will know the difference.

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How organic is your soap?
We make every bar with a minimum of 85% organic ingredients. Due to the chemistry of soap, it is almost impossible to go much higher than that. Within the natural products industry, there is a conversation taking place about whether soap can be technically defined as "organic" (since soap is the result of a chemical reaction and most of the original organic materials have been transformed). For our part, we commit to making soap using ONLY organic base oils and keeping our soap's ingredients above 85% organic. A soap's raw ingredients are either organic or they're not, regardless of the definitions, and Botanie commits to using certified organic oils. For more information about the discussion underlying organic soap, see our company president's memo on organic soap.

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Does Botanie Soap have organic certification?
Yes. Botanie Soap has organic certification under the USDA's National Organic Program. Our certifying agency is the Montana Department of Agriculture. Organic certification is a rigorous professional standard that must be validated and re-issued annually. Many skin care companies claim to sell organic products but are not officially certified. Without certification, they are actually in breach of national policy, and, technically, they are not allowed to make the organic claim. At Botanie, official organic certification assures our customers that our ingredients, our facility, and our procedures truly support our organic status.

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What makes a good bar soap?
A good bar soap balances bar hardness (durability), lather quality (both fluffiness and stability), and moisturizing ability. These different properties come from the different fatty acids that make up molecules of the organic vegetable oils we use as the base of our herbal soap. Unfortunately, the fatty acids that are moisturizing are not those that contribute much to lather quality, and the ones that make great lather are drying to our skin. A perfect bar soap is the result of carefully balancing the fatty acids to maximize the bar's hardness, lather quality, and moisturizing ability. Still confused? Try our herbal soap. Trust us.

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Does Botanie Soap use olive oil in their soaps?
No, we do not use olive oil in our base recipe. Instead, we use high-oleic versions of organic sunflower and organic safflower oil. For soapmaking there is no functional difference. Olive oil produces good quality soap because it contains 80-82% oleic fatty acid, which contributes moisturizing ability to the lather. The organic sunflower and organic safflower oils we use contain 81-85% oleic fatty acid, and their other fatty acids line up similarly to those of olive oil. Because of this remarkable similarity, we can substitute these two other oils for olive oil without changing the final soap product (If you are a soap maker, you should do this too). However, although substituting high-oleic sunflower and safflower oil for olive oil does not change the functionality or quality of the soap bar, there is one other significant difference. Olive oil costs much more than the sunflower and safflower oils we source, allowing us to keep our prices down for you while still providing a high quality soap made from organic oils. Also, the safflower oil we use is grown specifically for us right here in MT by an organic farmer we know, keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible on one of our main ingredients.

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Do Botanie Soaps organic soaps contain glycerin?
Yes. Glycerin is a natural part of the vegetable oils we use to make our herbal soap, so it is a natural part of all Botanie soaps. Our soaps qualify as "glycerin soaps," because glycerin accounts for 9-10% of the final product. Unlike most commercial soap companies, we retain all glycerin produced during the saponification process. Since glycerin is a sellable commodity, commercial soap makers remove it for sale, or they keep trace amounts for mention on their labels. Our soaps differ from clear "glycerin soaps" because our bars are not transparent. To produce their transparency, "glycerin soaps" contain a sugar-alcohol compound that can dry your skin.

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How does Botanie Soap get all its soap colors?
All the Botanie Soap colors come from plant ingredients. In most cases, herbs provide the color, though some essential oils also contribute color. Because the herbs we use may vary from batch to batch based on our suppliers, our soap bars often exhibit slight variations in color. This is completely normal. This slight variation is one of the reasons many people choose to use synthetic pigments.

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What are essential oils and fragrance oils?
This is one of the most common misrepresentations among natural products, especially for natural soap. Essential oils are pure plant extracts used for scenting or aromatherapy. Fragrance oils are synthetically made substitutes for essential oils. Many soaps, even those labeled "natural" contain fragrance oils. Often, a soap label will say "contains essential oils." However, such a label can be deceiving -- it is always important to check if it ALSO contains fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are problematic because, as synthetic compounds, they dry out your skin and irritate sensitive skin. All Botanie Soaps, as purely herbal soaps, contain only true, plant-extract essential oils. As always, read a product's label. If the ingredients includes the word "fragrance," "perfume," or "parfum," then it's synthetic and not-natural, even though its packaging may say it is a natural soap.

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Can I use Botanie Soaps organic soap on my sensitive skin?
Although we cannot guarantee it, chances are, yes. Most skin sensitivities are aggravated by the synthetic ingredients in lotions, creams, make-up, and soaps. Without these ingredients, however, there is nothing left to irritate your skin. Many people who have had trouble with dermatologist recommended soap or "sensitive skin" soap have found success with Botanie's Herbal Soap. This is because even doctor recommended sensitive skin soaps contain many unnecessary chemicals that can, and do, irritate your skin. Again, always read the list of ingredients in your soap. Although many people with sensitive skin enjoy using our scented herbal soap varieties, we recommend our Unscented Soap for people with extreme sensitivities.

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Will Botanie Soaps herbal soap help with my eczema?
Yes. Although our herbal soap does not heal eczema, it will minimize both the redness and the itching. Again, remove the synthetic ingredients from soaps and there is nothing left to bother your skin. After using our soap, you'll be surprised to see just how bad your eczema was. We have many customers with eczema, and they all write to say the same thing: "Thank you!"

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What is superfatting?
Superfatting is a process by which soapmakers maintain extra skin-nourishing oils in their soaps. All Botanie soaps have superfatted recipes. Superfatting soaps does not make your skin oily. Rather, it allows your skin to maintain natural moisture levels.

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Do Botanie Soaps organic soaps contain lye?
All soap, including Botanie's, is made using lye (NaOH, "sodium hydroxide"). Even transparent "glycerin" soap and "melt and pour" soaps are made using lye. (Transparent glycerin soaps are made from oil and lye, like opaque soaps, except that a sugar-alcohol compound is added to maintain transparency.) In a properly produced soap, lye is a raw ingredient, but there is no lye that remains in the final product. All lye is consumed in the saponification process and presents no danger to you. Superfatting further assures that all lye is consumed. Any company that claims their soap is not made with lye is either promoting false information or doesn't understand the chemistry behind soap.

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Do Botanie Soaps herbal soaps contain SLS?
No. SLS (sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) and other surfactants are often added to soaps to increase lather quality. They are commonly found in soaps, including many marketed as natural soaps, as well as glycerin soaps, liquid soaps, and shampoos. As synthetic compounds, SLS and other surfactants dry out your skin and, for many people, cause irritation. At Botanie, we use neither SLS nor any other surfactants. We don't believe in cost-cutting short cuts. Instead, we prefer to focus on making a high quality soap from organic oils that doesn't depend on surfactants for its lather. We carefully balance the oils in our base recipe to provide the proper fatty acid mix for a wonderful, rich - and most importantly - completely natural lather.

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Fatty acids sound like chemicals; are they natural?
All oils (and fats) have a molecular form called a triglyceride, which means they are made up of three fatty acids, (just chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms), and a glycerin-like base. In saponification, the fatty acids participate in a chemical reaction that results in molecules of soap while leaving the glycerin behind. We make all our herbal soaps from organic vegetable oils and the natural fatty acids they contain.

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What are your organic wholesale soap minimums?
We offer two wholesale soap options, each with its own minimum.
  • You can purchase our "Ready-To-Ship" wholesale soap in quantities as low as 48 bars (mix & match varieties to reach 48). Then, beginning with 72 bars, there are price breaks for each additional multiple of 72.
  • Custom contract production minimums start at 360 bars per blend.
For more information about either of our wholesale soap programs, see Wholesale Soap.

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What is "Soap for Private Label Use"?
We provide professional quality, certified organic soap bars for you to use with your own private label. We also provide packaging options to help you get started. "Soap for private label use" means we provide you with the tools you need for your own private label, and we do not sell these same wholesale soaps under our own label. However, Soaps for Private Label Use does not means that we create your private label or provide label printing services.

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How do I get started?
It's easy. For orders under 1,000 bars, you can now order everything online. Organic soaps, boxes, and labels are all there. We also have free templates for you to use when designing your labels.

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Do you print labels?
No, we do not provide printing. For less than 2,500 labels, your most cost effective option is to purchase our labels and print them with your printer. For more than 2,500, there are several online printers that can help you. When you get their estimates, the maximum sizes for labels that fit our boxes are 3.25" x 2" (front) and 2.75" x 2" (back).

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What are my packaging options?
Our soap is for your private label use. When you order, you will be able to choose the packaging that best suits your needs:
  • Naked bars (no packaging)
  • Recycled boxes (white or Kraft brown). When you purchase our boxes, we package the soaps for you for free.
  • Blank labels (stickers) to add to our boxes. Create your label and print with your own printer. These are white gloss labels with rectangular or oval shapes. NOTE: Labels do not stick directly to the soaps.
  • Shrink wrap is available for orders over 500 bars. It costs $0.10 more/bar than our boxes do.

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Can I get printed boxes?
The short answer is Yes. The reality is that you need to order 5,000 of only one design/variety to get the cost below $0.50/box. The minimum is about 1,500 per design/variety, and the cost for 1,500 is about $1/box. For a print run of mixed designs/varieties, you will need to order 10,000 boxes to get the cost below $0.50/box... This is why we stock boxes and labels for you. It is much more cost effective to use the boxes we provide and print your own labels unless you need large volumes. If you plan to print 5-20K boxes (or more), we can help you with this.

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Can you help me get printed labels?
Yes, but you will end up paying more per label than if you took care of it yourself.

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Can you help with my special packaging needs?
Unfortunately, getting custom packaging in small quantities is very expensive. If you have a special project and want to pay up to $3-4/unit for packaging, we can connect you with some of our packaging partners.

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Do you package my soaps into boxes for me?
Yes. If you purchase our boxes, there is no charge for this service. If you send us your own packaging, we charge per unit depending on the job.

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What is the size of your boxes?
The outer dimensions of our soap boxes are 3.5 x 2.25 x 1.25 inches.

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Will you apply my labels if I ship them to you?
We will apply stickers for orders over 500. There will be a charge per sticker depending on the job.

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Do you offer graphic design services?
We have a graphic designer that can assist with your needs. Our website is an example of our work. The rate is $75/hour with a minimum charge of 1 hour.

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