We have been deliberate to choose ingredients that have skin benefiting properties. While there is no ingredient we could choose that would be 100% allergen-free, we formulate recipes with the mindset that “less is best”. Meaning, the less ingredients we can use to achieve a desired effect, the less potential allergens in the recipe.
For the liquid ingredient in our soaps we use goat milk from our farm. Occasionally we use goat milk combined with beer or wine, but we never dilute it with water. Raw goat milk adds butterfat to moisturize, as well as vitamins and minerals that are healthy for skin. Beer and wine add natural sugars that increase lather and they add to the scent. Left “unscented”, wine used as part or all of the liquid creates a soap that has a mild scent of wine. The scent of beer, however, does not survive the soap-making process, but does contribute a twang or special dimension to the aroma. We do not dilute with water because we see no added benefit to adding water over goat milk.
The oils in our soap are simple, but effective. We use olive oil for its moisturizing characteristics, coconut or palm kernel oil for their cleansing benefits, raw shea butter to produce a creamy, moisturizing lather and a harder bar of soap, and castor oil for bubbles and a slippery lather. Recently we chose to remove the palm oil from our soap recipe and increased the amount of raw shea butter. We include clay in each of our soaps as it adds a creaminess to the lather, boosts cleansing properties, and produces a “slip” when the soap is used for shaving which protects the skin from razor-rash.
To scent our soap, we use pure, “therapeutic” grade essential oils. I emailed a chemist who tests essential oils asking him what, if any, therapeutic effects of essential oils remain after the saponification process of soap-making. His answer was that it is not known. However, using them increases the possibility of adding their individual therapeutic properties and not using them eliminates this possibility completely. So, we do use them, but do not make any medical or therapeutic claims based on the use of our essential oils. (Technically to make such claims would categorize our soap as a “drug” and that would require special testing and approval from the Food and Drug Administration.) Due to customer requests, we have added a few fragrances, but will never use a fragrance oil that contains phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used in many fragrances, vinyls, and other common household items that may have adverse health consequences. I only purchase fragrance oils that specifically claim to be phthalates-free.
I hope this information is helpful as you make decisions about the skincare products you chose to purchase for you and your loved ones.