How Do You Make Soap?

The first time I attempted to make soap was thrilling! I was nervous (visions of sodium hydroxide - lye- burning me, the floor, my kitchen), and I was excited. I thoroughly researched soap making blogs and books, never really attempting to get the ingredients and get started. As it turned out, someone I met at the farm market dropped off boxes of books for me and in one box was my soap bible. Was it a message from the goddesses? You bet it was! So I began. Once I had my soaps out of the wooden molds, cut into bars and curing on the shelf I was hooked. I was like a first time parent. I would visit the soaps just to look at them several times a day. THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL!

For those of you who are curious about what is involved with soap making I thought I'd share a bit of a run down on the process. The method of soap making I use is called Cold Process. Cold Process soap making is the act of mixing fixed oils (common oils include Olive, Coconut and Palm) with an alkali (Sodium Hydroxide or Lye). The result is a chemical process called saponification, where the composition of the oils change with the help of the lye to create a bar of soap. One of the main benefits of cold process soap making is having complete control over ingredients. Depending on the ingredients you use, cold process soap making typically yields a long-lasting bar of soap. A downfall is that due to the chemical process, there are serious safety considerations to take into account. Plus, patience is a virtue as this process involves a 4-6 week curing time. One can use soaps before the curing time is up but it's worth the wait to get a longer lasting, harder soap.

Where I live in Ontario, our summers can often be quite humid. I make most of my soaps in the dry winter months but if I have to make batches of soap in the summer, I use a de-humidifier during the curing process to avoid sticky soaps. Even well cured soaps if left in a humid environment, will develop a slight sheen of oil. this in no way affects the sudsing abilities or effectiveness of the soap. It is beneficial to store your soap on a soap tray that allows the soap to drain and not sit in water, which will make the soap soft and reduce usage time.

One can play around with adding botanicals, clays, colours, layering and so on. I keep my soaps pretty simple. I don't care much for fussy soaps myself. I want a a luxurious lather with amazing essential oil scents that I can use on my face, body and hair. Around our house we get to use a wide variety of soaps fairly often as I keep all the odd shaped cut off pieces cut from the soap loaf. Why waste such gorgeous soap?!

I love soap making. If you have an inkling you would like to make your own soaps I encourage you to try. There are loads of books and blogs on the subject. And, if you don't have the time or patience, OF COURSE you can buy your soaps from me!

 

 

 

Give Me Some Of That Ol' Time....

It is not surprising that more and more we are reverting back to doing things the simple way. Well, sort of. Sure, we are tech savy and making all kinds of great advancements but when it comes to what is good for our selves and our planet, that's when we find oursleves questioning all kinds of moral and practical issues.

Without sounding too fatalist, it seems the more we learn about what we are consuming, the more we realize how F*$ked we are becoming. (I know, bad word. I love bad words when used in the right context. Gives me a thrill. Please don't judge me!) Often we motor along quite happily until some sort of BIG LIFE EXPERIENCE wakes us out of our oblivion and shakes us up about what matters and how we need to be aware. Maybe it is a life threatening illness, a newly acquired allergy or sensitivity, strange rashes. Perhaps you are a new parent worrying about raising your kids to be healthy, or maybe you just want to make the right choices.

When I am selling my products at market one of the most common things I tell people is that the things we put on our skin is partially absorbed into our bloodstream. Basically, if you wouldn't put it in your mouth, why would you want to put it into your bloodstream? Another is, "If you can't pronounce the ingredient or access it easily, maybe you shouldn't use it." No, I don't preach. I learned a long time ago that talking to people who are resistent to learning how to do the right thing is a waste of time. It only makes folks angry and defensive.

The old saying, the proof is in the pudding, is perfect for this blog. The less complicated the ingredients the better. The purer the product, the better. Buying products made in smaller batches and fresh, is better. Knowing who you are buying from, is better. I sell a lot of products because I look healthy. I'm not bragging. I eat well, I exercise, I drink a lot of water, I meditate, and I use my products.

I do what I do because I believe in what I do. I love to share this with others. I especially love having people come back and give glowing reports about the product they bought. There's something completely satisfying about making people feel good.

Simple is better.

 

 

Dirty Dozen' Cosmetic Chemicals To Avoid

My philosphy when it comes to cosmetics and personal care products is that if I can't eat it why would I want it on my skin, in my body or wherever? I should be able to mix it with vodka and invent a new martini! Sound extreme? Not really. When you consider that anything that we put in our mouth, rub on our skin, apply to our eyes & lips or insert into orifices, well....it's a proven fact that it's going to end up in your bloodstream, dermis, stomach, intestines, lymph glands, or other places in our bodies that filter what goes in and out.

Another thing that gets me riled (and wondering if another glass of red wine might help) is "green washing". Those ads and that packaging that simple drips of "natural" and "organic". Seriously! Let's take a look at one product—Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser. According to the company, it’s “the beauty of nature + science,” a gentle, soap-free cleanser with skin conditioners that “lift away dirt, oil, and make-up while moisturizing dry and sensitive skin.” It contains feverfew extract, a natural ingredient related to chamomile that’s “known for its soothing properties.” This feverfew is even organically farmed and along with the rest of the formulation, supposedly helps reduce redness and calm skin.

For people going through cancer treatments, this sounds like the perfect solution to problem skin that’s particularly sensitive. But Aveeno isn’t telling you the whole story.

Turn the product over and you may be surprised to see that most of the ingredients are nothing like the “organically farmed” feverfew. The third ingredient is “isohexadecane”—a synthetic petrochemical—which though generally considered safe, is suspected of being an environmental toxin by Environment Canada.

Two ingredients down you see “Di-PPG 2 myreth-10 adipate.” Does anyone think this looks “natural?” It’s one of those “skin conditioners” the web site mentioned, but it’s synthetically made and goes through the process of “ethoxylation,” which means it has a higher probability of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is a chemical by-product that is a known animal carcinogen and penetrates readily into the skin. Another ingredient in the formulation—PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate—is also subjected to ethoxylation, and carries the same risk of 1,4-dioxane contamination.

Next ingredient is TEA cocoyl glutamate, a mild surfactant that has a risk of being contaminated with nitrosamines—which are banned in the European Union and prohibited from use in Canadian cosmetics because of the strong evidence linking them with cancer. Animal studies also show reproductive problems at very low doses of nitrosamines.

Keep going down the list and you find more synthetic ingredients, more petrochemicals (caprylyl glycol, acrylates/C10 30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, and hexylene glycol), tetrasodium EDTA, a chelating ingredient that has poor biodegradability, and another preservative that could lead to sensitization of the skin (methylisothiazolinone).

“None of these ingredients would pass natural standards,” says Judi Beerling, a technical research manager who works with Organic Monitor.

I don't mean to be a fear monger. I stopped using this shit years ago and I love using products that make my skin smooth, my hair shine, my cheeks glow, put spring in my step.... you get the picture. If it has these things in your product, don't use it. There are plenty of other options that work just as well. Or better. They don't have to cost insane amounts. Definately better when you consider the risks. Another good reason to use The Point Naturals Soaps and Products! (brought to you by Shameless Hussy Productions).

Notice that a lot of these chemicals are harmful to fish and wildlife. Think about it. We wash everyday, often more than once. All the extra products get washed down the drain and move out to septic systems and drain water cachments. Some of these in turn end up in streams and rivers.

The David Suzuki Foundation published an article called The Dirty Dozen (visit http://www.davidsuzuki.org and search for Dirty Dozen backgrounder) which discusses some pretty common ingredients you will find in about 80% of the products you buy.

Another site to check out is www.safecosmetics.org which lists petrochemicals listed in cosmetics, their toxicity ratings and effects.

Check it out:

1. BHA and BHT Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endrocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

2. Coal Tar Dyes p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number. In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosemetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in 75000 and 77000 series, respectively). Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits. The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. "FD&C Blue No. 1" or "Blue 1"). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.

3. DEA-Related Ingredients Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to foam nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. HArmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.

4. Dibutyl Phthalate Used as a plasticizer in some nail products. Suspected endrocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolindinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a varoety of cosmetics. Slowly releases small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.

6. Parabens Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endrocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproductive functions.

7. Parfum (a.k.a Fragrance) Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics - even in some products marketed as "unscented". Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.

8. PEG Compounds Used in many cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Alos for related chemical ropylene glycol and other ingredients with letters 'eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol).

9. Petrolatum Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic armotic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.

10. Siloxanes Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a vaariety of cosemtics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endrocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and wildlife.

11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleaners and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

12. Triclosan Used in antibacterial cosmetics such as toothpastes, cleaners and antiperspirants. Suspected endrocrine disrutper and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.