very soap maker takes their soap and soap recipe(s) very seriously, trying to achieve perfection. For me the perfect soap must be hard so it lasts a long time and, of course, cleansing but it can't dry me out. I want my soap to make my skin feel moisturized and healthy. And there must be bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles while also feeling creamy and soothing. Finally, I want it to smell good and, of course, I think my soaps smell fantastic. I also want my soap to smell great for a long time so I always add extra.
All my soaps, except specialty soaps, are made using a base of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sustainable and Organic Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Organic and Sustainable Palm Kernel Oil and Beeswax.
Olive Oil makes a luxurious soap bar and is one of the most conditioning oils available. More exotic oils might be as conditioning but aren't as creamy and will soften a bar while costing considerably more to make.
To achieve a soap with a rich, bubbly lather, coconut oil provides plentiful bubbles but also creates a hard bar that cleans well. In fact, coconut oil is so good at cleansing that there is a real art to getting just the right ratio of ingredients to make sure it isn't too cleansing.,
The reason palm oils are so often found in soap is that they are such perfect oils for soap making, balancing all the qualities most people want in a soap without crazy high prices. But cost isn't the reason I choose to use sustainable and organic palm oils. No matter the price, it would be very tough to find a better oil for soap. In fact, it is difficult to find an oil that has less impact on the eco-system then palm oil - which isn't to say the Palm Oil Industry doesn't need vast improvement - it does. It has a long way to go but I beleive it is on the path to improvement. That's why I choose to pay more money to support palm growers who are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and who are certified organic. I worry that choosing to make soap using a more costly but inferior oil could potentially shift the problem to an industry that has even less oversight then the Palm Oil industry does. I purchase my Palm products from this a company who is a listed member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) (https://www.rspo.org/members/2312/CFC-Inc-dba-Columbus-Vegetable-Oils) and a certified supplier of organic oils (https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic).
The World Wildlife Fund supports this and asks us to support Palm Oil certified by the RSPO. They do not believe that substituting Organic and Sustainable Palm with other oils is good solution as Palm supplies more oil on less land while producing more benefit for the environment than other oils.
I use Castor Oil because it is the only oil that provides so much creamy, conditioning, bubbly goodness in such a little amount. When it comes to soap, it is truly a miracle worker.
Beeswax makes a good soap great. It hardens it and adds conditioning creaminess to a bar. I struggled to find a vegan option here, wanting to provide soap to those of us who do not use beeswax but the other solutions didin't work or were too chemical for my tastes. I try to source my beeswax from small, local beekeepers whenever possible. Beekeeping is a necessary industry to growing vegetables and beekeepers must be able to support their efforts through the sale of their harvest. Most beekeepers I have met love their bees and tend to them carefully and humanely. I would like to support these type of beekeepers.
Finally, depending on the soap, I add other things including herbs, clays, sea salt, sugar, silk and honey.
I always add precious oils to my specialty soaps after the saponification process so the best oils are still available to benefit your skin in their original form.
I prefer naturally derived smells and at least half of my soaps use only natural essential oils.
My Natural Fragrance-Free Soaps include one or a combination of the following essential oils:
I also love some fragrances and always use phthalate-free fragrances. I clearly mark whether a soap contains either essential oils, phthalate-free fragrance or both depending on the type of soap. You can get a pretty good idea by the type of soap it is. If it is a fruity soap (Mango, Coconut, Strawberry, Apple) or fragrant or flowery soap (Rose, Jasmine, Magnolia, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom) it is probably made using a fragrance. Unfortunately, natural scents can't exist in a soap if that scent is not distillable or is too expensive. "Naturally derived essences" can rarely - if ever - be strong enough to scent a soap. On the other hand, herbs can scent a soap even if no essential oil exists. Addition of herbs can also enhance other scents. I make one soap right now that does this, it is my Creosote/Chaparral soap. Unfortunately I haven't had any success using flowers or fruits to enhance a scent.
Examples of soap fragrances that are probably not naturally scented include:
VERY FLOWERY (Magnolia, Sweet Pea, Lilac, Passionflower)
VERY EXPENSIVE ABSOLUTES AND ESSENTIAL OILS (Rose, Jasmine, Neroli, Sandalwood)
NON-CITRUS FRUIT (Mango, Banana, Strawberry, Peach, Apple)
Our mission with ZirYab’s is to free us from corporate and industrial manufacturing by bringing locally available natural solutions that are easier to use, work better, are healthier for the body and holistically benefit the body, mind, community and the earth.
All of our natural body products are hand made by us at our Silver City NM store, which we sell there, online, and at craft markets.