Frequently asked questions
What does it mean for a product to be "small batch"?
"Small batch" is a term used to refer to a smaller product quantity that is being produced at one time. We are a small business and we make everything by hand which means that we can only make so many products at a time. Small batch allows us to pay more time and care into each product because we aren't making a bunch at a time.
Why do you use animal fats?
Animal fats have been used in soap making since the babylonians back in 2000 BC and with good reason. Tallow and lard harden a soap bar and give it a nice, creamy lather that we all want from a good soap bar. The harder the bar, the longer it will last you and more bang for your buck that you get.
We think it's pretty cool to be apart of a soap making tradition that gets its roots from 5000 years ago!
We source our tallow from local butchers that work directly with local farms so we can make sure that we are getting a quality product, even if it costs us more to do it. We strongly believe in using byproducts that would otherwise just be scrap and thrown away. If you eat meat, you should feel comfortable using a soap with animal fats.
Do you use palm oil?
No! We do not use palm oil!
A lot of soapers have used palm oil through history and many do today in order to keep a vegetarian or vegan soap that is still hard and long lasting. However, palm oil manufacturing results in mass deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats.
There are many ingredient labels out there now claiming that they use sustainably sourced palm oil, but we just still don't feel right about it. This is a new trend in palm oil and many farms are able to be listed as sustainable without meeting all requirements that we would feel comfortable with. Instead we opt to use animal fats as our primary hardening oil so we can reduce waste and support our local butchers.
Do you have vegan or vegetarian soaps?
Yes we do! While the majority of our products use animal fats, we do have some bars that are made using vegetarian or vegan recipes (still without using any palm oil).
Our bastille and castile soap blends (olive oil based), provide an extra moisturizing bar that is great for more sensitive/drier skin, but the bars are naturally softer and may not hold up for as long as our tallow soaps.
Our cocoa butter soaps are also vegetarian or vegan, but they are more expensive as we use organic cocoa butter that is a more costly ingredient, but the result is a harder bar of soap that is still just as moisturizing. While these bars are harder, they are still not quite as hard as our tallow soaps as this is just the nature of animal fats in soap.
Aren't animal fats gross?
We know that the idea of rubbing animal fats on your skin sounds gross, and for those trace amounts that fling off the spoon and onto our arms or aprons when measuring out or oils, it is pretty gross!
However, thankfully, that's not how soap works!
When oils and fats combine with lye in the soap mixture you get a sodium byproduct which means that you are left with a cleansing agent, such as sodium tallowate, and you do not feel like you are rubbing fat on your skin, we promise.
Most commercially manufactured soap bars contain tallow including Ivory, Dove, Dial, Irish Spring, Jergens, Nivea, and more.
As a fun fact, tallow was used in the 18th century as a complete part of life from soap making to candle making to pomades for those huge hairdos we know from that time.
Why do you put lye in soap? Isn't it dangerous?
Lye is a harsh and dangerous chemical when it is used without the proper tools and knowledge.
As soap makers, we wear protective equipment and always mix our lye solutions in well ventilated places, or even outside if we aren't somewhere with a good exhaust fan!
Lye is a required part of soap making because it is what mixes with the oils to create saponification, which is just the name for the chemical process where lye mixes with oils to create soap.
When making soap you have to be very careful to not burn yourself or inhale the fumes from the lye, but the lye does not stick around. After 24-48 hours the lye has complete deactivated and the "soap" has been fully formed. At this point we let our soaps sit for another full month to cure and harden so you can be sure there is not a single trace of lye left in your bar of soap.
What is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils?
Essential oils (EO) are derived from natural sources, such as lavender which undergoes a steam distillation process to extract the "essence" of the plant. This process is very labor intensive and requires a huge amount of what is going to be extracted to even get a small amount of oil. It is incredibly costly, and there are limitations.
While EO are able to get a very natural scent, you can only extract what is a real living object. You can't make an essential oil out of an "Autumn Cabin" or "Christmas Hearth".
Fragrance oils (FO) are synthetically made oils that are created to mimic real smells. Sometimes these oils are blended with essential oils to create a more realistic smell to what they are trying to achieve. They are much more cost effective, and allow for a huge range of products and scents in our soaps, bath bombs, candles, and more.
FO are not inherently dangerous and EO are not inherently better or safer. Some people may have sensitivities to fragrance oils, or to all scent oils completely. We prefer using fragrance oils because of the range of products we're able to get, and because it keeps the cost lower for us and for our customers.
We follow usage rate guidelines for all our fragrance oils before we add them into bath and body products. This means that some products will smell stronger or weaker depending on the usage rate of that particular fragrance.
If you have a fragrance sensitivity, please check out our unscented soaps!
Please note our ingredient lists for all of our products on the product pages. Though our soaps usually contain the same list of ingredients, we may add or replace an ingredient so it is important to read the ingredient list for each product if you have concerns.
We hand make all of our products on a small scale, so each of our products has a potential to come in contact with an ingredient you may have an allergy or reaction to. This is the equivalent of saying, "This product has been processed in a facility that also processes _________".
Please be aware of your own skin conditions and allergy concerns before choosing products. We do not formulate our products for specific skin conditions or types, so we urge you to use your best judgment when it comes to your specific needs. Our products have been tested by friends and family with different skin conditions with great results.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please
send us a message and we will do our best to help you.
General Product Warnings
It is the responsibility of the user of the products to use the products properly. Always be aware of personal allergies and irritations. Spot test all skin products prior to full use. If any products cause irritation, discontinue use immediately and consult a physician.
Our bath and body products are not designed with children's use in mind - parental discretion is advised.
Only use scented wax appropriately and using an approved warmer. Do not leave candles unattended or burning for longer than 4 hours at a time.
If you have any other concerns, please
Do you use sulfates?
While we are trying to find an alternative to using sulfates of any kind, all of our bath products that are "bubbling" contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).
We know that sulfates are not a great choice for bath and body products, but we felt like SLS was the best of what is currently available. While there is some concern that SLS can cause skin irritation, we have tested our products extensively on ourselves and friends and family and have not had any problems with irritation. Every person is unique and every skin condition is different. For this reason, we also offer products that do not contain SLS. These products will not produce bubbles, but they will still be a luxurious and relaxing bathing experience.
We have not found any scientific claims that SLS is as dangerous as people say that it is. Among the bubbling agents, it is the only one that we could find that produces bubbles and is safer for the environment. SLS is readily biodegradable under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, which means that it does not persist in the environment. The decomposed by-products of SLS are bening to the environment. The same cannot be said for alternative chemicals such as SLSA.
If you are still concerned about using products containing SLS, please do what makes your feel comfortable. We have many products that do not contain any SLS at all. Just make sure to note our ingredient lists on individual product pages.