Saturday, April 28, 2007

FAQ: All About Soap (All Natural Cosmetics)

Time for another FAQ since the stickies on my desktop are getting way over crowded. I guess this means I need to blog more! ;)

What is castile soap? And how is it different than conventional soap?

Castile (also spelled castille) originally meant a soap made with only olive oil (no other oils). Nowadays it usually means an olive oil soap or an olive oil blend soap (though I've seen soaps that call themselves castile that don't contain any olive oil, sometimes people just use this term to mean any natural soap). Castile soap can be liquid or in bar form.

Most commercial soaps are actually not soap, but either synthetic detergents or a blend of soap and synthetic detergents. The exception is Ivory (which is real soap but made with beef tallow, which I personally wouldn't use).

I can't seem to use soap on my face: why and also what can I use instead (my skin is really dry)?

While many people can use soap to cleanse their face, some people (especially with very dry skin) just finds that it removes too much of the skin's natural oils (sebum), and hence your skin's natural moisture barrier. It's also said to disrupt the natural acid barrier (however the acid barrier quickly re-establishes itself).

Though my skin is dehydrated (so water dry but can also get oily), I prefer using natural soap, but during colder/drier months, I like using soapwort or cold cream which cleans my skin but doesn't strip it as much as soap does.

For extra dry skin, you may prefer using a cleaning oil, cream cleanser/cold cream, or if you still want to use soap, try a liquid soap with things added like oils, aloe, hydrosols, glycerine, and other moisturizing ingredients. Liquid soap is usually less drying than bar soap because of all the added ingredients. Also some people like honey with or without clay (vegans may want to use agave; also for really dry skin, you may want to skip the clay).

I am allergic to all fragrances, including natural. Where can I get unscented soap?

Vermont Soap makes a nice unscented oats and aloe bar, and a butter bar. They are certified organic and are natural, and you can buy eco bricks of their soap (uncut block of soap, enough for 12 bars). Also check your local natural food store; many brands like Dr. Bronner's sell unscented soaps.

How do you color soap (in soap making)?

Well I haven't tried it myself but I know some people use things like titanium dioxide in soap (that what makes white melt and pour soap white) and I think I've read some people use micas etc. There might be more info about this is tkbtrading's website (a minerals, colorant supplier).

I've been hearing about shampoo bars, are they any good?

I love Heart of Iowa Soapworks. They also make my favorite facial soaps, and I love their shampoo bars.

Many people will need to use either a vinegar or herbal rinse with soap based shampoos. I personally prefer herbal rinses or cream conditioners, and after using shampoo bars and soap based shampoos for years no longer have funky hair syndrone, and sometimes don't even use hair rinses or conditioner (but I wash my hair every day).

The aloe fresh one is my favorite. I've tried other shampoo bars (from VT Soap and Burts Bees) and didn't like them because they left a film on my hair, but some people swear by them (and I like many of their other products).

No comments: