What Makes a Good Bar Soap? What About Glycerin?

rows are cream colored bar soap lined up in a tray.

Soapmakers differ on what makes the best soap bar. And they should. There comes a point in soapmaking when science becomes art, and art can be as different as the number of artists. Once they become art, some forms leave the science behind. The art of soapmaking never does. Before a soap can be great – much less best – it has to be fundamentally sound. The chemistry of the base has to be right. It has to be good before it can be great.   Good Isn’t …

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The Truth About Lye and Soap

A glass measuring cup contains ingredients for organic soap, including lye.

We had a customer ask us the other day, “Why would anyone want to use something as caustic as lye on their skin?” We also had a guy on the phone comment, “Lye doesn’t seem very organic, man.” And by “organic,” he meant groovy. On the organic point, he was right. Lye isn’t organic, but it is one of the allowable non-organic ingredients included in USDA organic standards since their inception. On the groovy point, we disagree. The truth about lye in soap-making is simple: …

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What You Didn’t Know About Washing Your Hands

There’s a good reason reminders about hand washing start showing up in the month before school resumes. “Washing hands,” according to the Center for Disease Control, “prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others.” The website KidsHealth puts it this way: “Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses — from the common cold to more serious infections, such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A, and many …

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Shampoo Bars: An Even Closer Look

A glass of organic castor oil, produced from castor beans.

  Shampoo bars have been creating a buzz lately. Unlike other recent trends, though, this one’s not a fad. Shampoo bars offer a real, practical alternative to shampoo bottled in plastic. This “naked” approach to packaging is a commitment to reducing the amount of plastic in landfills. As much as we talk about recycling and more responsible lifestyle choices, as a country America is recycling significantly less plastic than we were four years ago. Shampoo …

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Raise the (Shampoo) Bar: Eliminating Single-Use Plastic

White, creamy Lush shampoo bars stacked on each other, available for purchase on store display.

You might not have noticed, but there’s a small revolution happening in the beauty and skincare industries:  it started with shampoo bars, but the ripples will soon be everywhere.   Naked Products At the center of the revolution is the need for the beauty and skincare industries to be more accountable for the waste they create — plastic bottles in particular. By one estimate, using a “naked” product like a shampoo bar, one that doesn’t come with a container, could …

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