Beneficial Additives & Ingredient Glossary(Definitions of Key Ingredients & Soap Making Terms)

A

Absolute
A concentrated alcohol soluble aromatic base. Separated from the fatty acids and waxes in a concrete using alcohol and vacuum distillation.
Additives
Any ingredient added to soap that is not part of the soap itself is considered an additive. Therefore, any ingredient excluding lye, water, and oils/fats/butters are additives. Examples of additives are colorants, fragrance materials, and preservatives. Additives may include herbs, micas, salt, grapefruit seed extract, excess oils/fats/butters that remain unsaponified, vitamins, clays, and etc.
Almond Oil, Sweet
The juice or gel obtained from the leaves of this plant are used in cosmetics for its soothing and healing properties. A skin softener, rich in protein and vitamins A, B, and E. Offers relief for itchy or inflamed skin and is readily absorbed by the skin. Obtained from the nuts, almond oil is used in skin care preparations as an emollient or as a carrier oil. An oil expressed from the nuts of the sweet almond tree. It is used as an emollient in skin creams and is also used to soften ear wax. The tree is native to SW Asia but is widely grown in warm regions for its nuts. They grow to an average height of 7 m; they have attractive pink flowers and are grown for ornament in cooler regions.
Almonds
Help to unclog pores and to exfoliate skin leaving it silky smooth and squeaky clean.
Aloe Vera
(Aloe barbadensis) a Caribbean aloe yielding a gelatinous substance. Used in cosmetics in creams, moisturizers, sun screens, refreshing lotions and tonics. It is emollient, demulcent, sunscreen and also a food. FOLK MEDICINE: Used as a stimulant and an anti-spasmodic. In Chinese medicine it is used to treat headaches. It's been called "burn first aid" or "medicine plant" for centuries. When fresh gel is squeezed from the leaves it relieves burns and sunburns and promotes healing. Used directly on the skin as a moisturizer
Anhydrous
A liquid or a compound that does not contain water
Antioxidant
Prevents or retards the reaction of a substance with oxygen. Inhibits oxidation, the damage from free radicals.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Derived from the seeds, used in skin care preparations for its moisturizing properties.
Aromatherapy
The use of fragrance or essences from plants to alter a person's mental or emotional well being.
Aromatic
Having a strong fragrance or odor.
Arrowroot (Powder)
(Maranta arundinacea) A tropical, herbaceous perennial that grows 1.5 m high and has short-stalked white flowers and broad-bladed leaves with long narrow sheaths. The swollen rhizomes (underground stems) yield a highly digestible fine-grained starch, particularly useful in infant and invalid diets. The commercial cultivation of the arrowroot is essentially limited to the Caribbean island of St Vincent, although the plant is native to northern South America. Used in cosmetics, especially in powders, because of its very fine grain. It is also a source of the coating of carbonless paper, used for computer printouts.
Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C.
Astringent
Constricts or tightens the skin, used in facial preparations, also removes oils from the skin.
Avocado Oil
Obtained from the pulp of the fruit, avocado oil is high in unsaponifiables. Used in cosmetics and skin care preparations for its moisturizing and nourishing properties. (Persea americana) Oil from the pulp of the fruit of the avocado tree. It grows up to 18 m tall, native to Mexico and Central America but now extensively cultivated in Florida, California, and South Africa for its fruit. These fruits--actually called avocado pears--may reach a weight of 2 kg: they have a green to dark-purple skin, a fatty flesh rich in fat, protein, and vitamins A and B, and a single hard seed. The oil is used as a massage oil, in creams, lotions and hair products. FOLK MEDICINE: the pulp has been used as a hair pomade to stimulate hair growth; used for wounds, as an aphrodisiac and some have used the seeds for diarrhea.
Awapuhi Kuahiwi
Hawaiian wild pinecone ginger or shampoo ginger. The thick, sudsy juice squeezed from the mature flower heads is used as a shampoo or hair conditioner.
Back to top

B

Baking Soda
(Sodium Bicarbonate) A white, crystalline powder. Soothing, water softening, effervescent, deodorizing, stimulating. Draws oils and impurities from the skin.
Balsam
Aromatic resinous substances containing benzoic and cinnamic acid, such as Balsam of Peru.
Basil Essential Oil
A balancing oil which is both relaxing and uplifting, basil is particularly useful as a stress-reliever which will help to strengthen and calm your spirits.
Beeswax
Its emollient properties help skin retain moisture. It also contributes to make a harder bar of soap. A substance produced by bees to build honeycombs. It is collected by heating the honeycomb in water (after removing the honey) so that the floating wax can be separated after solidification when cool. Beeswax (melting point 61-69°C) is used to make candles, polishes, inks, cosmetics, and ointments. In cosmetics, it is used as a thickener, emulsifier and stiffening agent in creams, lotions, lipsticks, etc.
Bentonite Clay
A medium-fine textured clay is actually an off-white volcanic ash. The primary source is from Benton, Montana. When mixed with water, it becomes very slippery, almost gel-like. Widely used in commercially prepared facial make-up and masks, and as a thickener. In its natural form it can be used to treat pimples, as a tightening facial mask, and to treat poison ivy. Good for all skin types except the most sensitive.
Biodegradable
Able to be decomposed by biological agents, such as bacteria.
Borax
Sodium borate also known as desert salt, a white crystalline mineral generally used as an emulsifier or cleanser. Used in cream preparations as an emulsifier. Excavated mainly in California - remember 20 Mule Team Borax? Natural preservative, water softener, deodorizer, and mild astringent with a weak antiseptic action. Soothing and freshening to hot, tired feet and itchy skin. In cosmetics it can be used along with beeswax to emulsify creams.
Botanical
Obtained from a plant or plants, related to plants or botany.
Botanical Name
The Latin name assigned to distinguish one species from another, the scientific name composed of the genus followed by the species.
Back to top

C

Carrier Oil
A vegetable or nut base oil used to dilute essential oils prior to the application on your skin.
Castile
A region in Spain known for producing olive oil based soaps in the 13th century. A soap with a large percentage of olive oil is referrer to as a Castile soap.
Castor Bean Oil
Derived from the beans of the plant, castor oil is also used medicinally.
Castor Oil
(Ricinus communis) A pale-colored oil extracted from castor oil beans, the seeds of the castor-oil plant. The shrub is a flowering plant up to 12 m high, native to tropical Africa and Asia. It is cultivated widely in the tropics for its seeds, from which castor oil is extracted, and in temperate regions as an ornamental shrub (seldom taller than 2 m). The oil, when used in cosmetics, acts as a humectant; it attracts and retains moisture to the skin. It is also a thickener and an emollient.
Caustic Potash
See potassium hydroxide.
Caustic Soda
See sodium hydroxide.
Certified Organic
Means that the product has been grown according to strict standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. In the U.S. these third party agents are accredited under the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). Certification includes annual inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set. For a product to receive the USDA Organic seal, a minimum of 95% of ingredients are certified organic. The remaining ingredients must appear on the National List of Approved Materials.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Good for dry and sensitive skin and for the treatment of acne and dermatitis. Anti-inflammatory, profoundly soothing, good for allergic skin and sunburn.
China Clay
(also called "kaolin clay" or "fine white clay") One of the purest clays, comprising a white powdery material arising from the decomposition of feldspar in granite. It is composed mainly of kaolin, the main constituent of which is kaolinite. The texture is very fine and it is naturally absorbent. It is used in cosmetics in face and body powders, liquid powders, and makeup. Recommended for all skin types, especially sensitive and dry.
Citric Acid
A natural acidic ingredient extracted from citrus and other acidic fruits such as pineapples. Used as a flavoring and preservative in foods and beverages; also used in bath products.
Citricidal
See Grapefruit Seed Extract.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
A natural antiseptic and deodorizer with a warming and sedating effect.
Clove Bud Essential Oil
A warming and stimulating oil with powerful antiseptic properties. Also useful as an insect repellent.
Cocoa Butter
A wonderful skin softener and moisturizer with a long history of cosmetic use. Obtained from the cocoa bean, high in unsaponifiables with a chocolate scent. (Theobroma cacao) A pale yellow fat obtained from dried and naturally fermented cocoa beans. The beans grow on a small, spreading, evergreen tree which grows up to 8 m (26 feet) tall. Originally from the South and Central American rain forests, it is now cultivated principally in Ghana, Nigeria, and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Fifty to sixty percent of the cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter, which is used as a base for chocolate manufacture. The residue, after extraction of the butter, is used to make cocoa powder. In cosmetics, it is used as an ointment base, emollient, skin softener and protectant. It is moisturizing; it lays down a protective layer that holds moisture to the skin making it a good skin softener. It has a slight scent of chocolate.
Coconut Oil
A natural moisturizer, this oil also creates a nice fluffy lather when used in soap. The semisolid fat obtained from the meat of the coconut. Used in soap making, it contributes hardness and lather. Oil obtained from the fruit of the coconut palm, (Cocos nucifera) one of the most important tropical crops. The tree has a slender trunk, up to 25 m high, which bears a crown of giant feather-like leaves. The coconuts, 30-45 cm long and 15-20 cm in diameter, take a year to ripen and have a thick fibrous husk surrounding a single-seeded nut. The hollow core contains coconut milk; the white kernel is eaten raw or dried to yield copra. Copra is produced from the white, oil-rich (60-65 per cent) kernel of the coconut palm. Cup copra is produced when freshly harvested nuts are split open and either sun-dried or kiln-dried. It is then pressed to yield the coconut oil. The major producers are the Philippines and Indonesia; lesser amounts come from India, Sri Lanka, and Mexico. Coconut oil is used in the manufacture of soaps, cooking fats, and margarine. It is a preferred oil in soaps because it helps produce a hard bar which has a quick, fluffy lather, even in cold or salt water. Coconut oil is an emollient and is moisturizing, conditioning and protecting to the skin.
Coffee
Particularly useful as a natural deodorizer and a powerful exfoliant.
Cold Kettle, Soap Making
See cold process.
Cold Pressed, Soap Making
The process in which oils are extracted under mechanical pressure at low temperatures, typically less than 125° Fahrenheit.
Cold Process, Soap Making
A method of soap making without utilizing any external heat source. Cold process (CP) soap making is the process where lye is dissolved in water to form a solution. The lye-water solution is then added to melted fats and oils and constantly stirred or mixed with a hand blender. After trace is detected, scents, herbs, and/or colorants may be added to the soap batter. After trace but before seize, the cold process soap batter is poured into molds. The molds are usually insulated with blankets or towels. Within 24 hours, the soap batter hardens sufficiently to be removed from the mold and to be sliced into bars. Fresh bars of cold process soap must cure on drying racks for four to six weeks to allow the lye to completely saponify the fats and oils into soap. After four to six weeks of cure, cold process soap should be ready for use and should not contain any lye. This process is referred to as "cold" process soap making because no heat from an external source is added to the soap batter.
Colorants
Ingredients that can be used to alter the color of a product. A dye. Colorants are either a dye or a pigment. There are both natural and synthetic dyes and pigments.
Comedogenic
Tends to aggravate or produce acne.
Concrete
A thick, fragrant material extracted from a botanical base through solvent extraction. Contains the essential oils, fatty acids and wax from the plant base.
Continuous Process, Soap Making
A modern method of commercial soap making in which saponification takes place under pressure. Allows for the addition of base ingredients throughout the soap making process.
Copra
The dried flesh or meat from a coconut from which coconut oil is derived.
Cornstarch
Derived from dried corn kernels. Absorbs water, soothing to the skin. It is the primary ingredient in commercial baby powders. Cornstarch can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive or allergic to corn or corn products.
Cosmeceutical
Used by the cosmetics industry to refer to cosmetic products that have medicinal or drug-like benefits. This term is not recognized by the FDA.
Cosmetic
Product applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions.
Cosmetic Grade
Refers to the approval for use in cosmetics, such as colorants, dyes or fragrance oils which will come into direct contact with your skin.
Cruelty Free
Not tested on animals.
Back to top

D

D&C
Prefix used to designate the approved use in drugs and cosmetics, such as D&C Red#7.
Decoction
A tea or infusion brewed from hard plant material such as bark and roots.
Deodorize
The process in which odoriferous matter is removed from an oil or fat.
Detergent
A petroleum based surfactant other than soap. Developed during WWII when soap making oils were scarce.
Dyes
Any type of colorant that transfers color by dissolving in a solution. There are natural dyes, from plants such as beet root or walnut husk, and synthetic dyes. Colorants with names like "FD&C Red" are dyes that are approved for use in Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics. There are a limited number of dyes approved for use in cosmetics; some are natural, although most are synthetic.
Back to top

E

Embeds
Used in loaf, tube and column molds. Soap embeds are of a contrasting color and shape such as moon and stars, curls and ribbons.
Emollient
An additive used to soften or soothe your skin. Cocoa butter or Shea butter are added to handmade soap as an emollient. Has a soothing or softening effect.
Emu Oil
Refined from the fat of the bird, the oil is used in a variety of cosmetics for it's skin nourishing properties.
Emulsifying Wax
Used to combine oils with water when manufacturing lotions and creams.
Emulsion
A stabilized blend of oils and water such as a lotion, the suspension of one liquid within a second liquid which normally do not mix. A mixture of two normally un-mixable liquids in which one liquid is dispersed in the other liquid as very fine droplets. Many synthetic food products are emulsions: for example, French dressing is an emulsion of vegetable oil in vinegar. An emulsion can be attained by vigorous shaking (as in oil and vinegar dressing) although emulsifying agents are often used to help form the emulsion and stabilizing agents are used to help maintain it and keep it from separating. Many cosmetics are also emulsions: some are oil-in-water emulsions (where the oil is dispersed in the water, such as foundation creams or some lotions); others are water-in-oil emulsions (where the water is dispersed in the oil, such as cold creams). Emulsions can be broken up by heat or mechanical agitation: butter is formed by de-emulsifying milk.
Enfleurage
The process of extracting the aromatic essences from plants using odorless fats to absorb the oils from flowers. The fat is then dissolved in alcohol to separate the essence from the fat and distilled to remove the alcohol.
Epsom Salts
Hydrated magnesium sulfate. A white crystalline powder used in bath preparations and foot soaks. Originally obtained from the mineral waters found in Epsom, England. (Magnesium Salts) Gets its name from Epsom, England. Can be used as a soak for the relief of pain from minor sprains and bruises. Often used in commercial bath salts. Don't go overboard daily use can be drying to the skin.
Essential Oils
Highly concentrated volatile oil extracted from aromatic plants, most commonly through pressing or steam distillation. Used for fragrance and flavorings. Natural oils extracted from fruit, plants and flowers which have therapeutic properties. Pure plant distillates and extracts derived from the flowers, leaves, stems, berries, rinds, resins, or roots of plants. These oils are the essence of the plant's smell; they make the plant smell the way it does. Essential oils have long been used in folk medicine and aromatherapy for their many healing qualities. Volatile oils extracted from plant matter by either distillation (steam or water), expression, or chemical solvents. Essential oils may be used to add fragrance to scented soaps.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Insect repellent, good for treatment of acne, has anti-fungal properties
Exfoliant
An abrasive added to slough off dead skin cells, such as oatmeal or ground cinnamon.
Expeller Pressed
The process in which an oil is extracted from a base by mechanically crushing and pressing the material at temperatures less than 220° Fahrenheit.
Back to top

F

Fatty Acids
A natural organic compound each molecule of which consists of a carboxyl group (oxygen, carbon and hydrogen) attached to a chain of carbon atoms with their associated hydrogen atoms. The chain of carbon atoms may be connected with single bonds of hydrogen between them, making a 'saturated' fat; or it may be connected with double bonds, making an 'unsaturated' fat. The number of carbon and hydrogen atoms in the chain is what determines the qualities of that particular fatty acid. Animal and vegetable fats are made up of various combinations of fatty acids (in sets of three) connected to a glycerol molecule, making them triglycerides.
FCC
Food Chemicals Codex - The internationally recognized standards for the purity and identity of food grade ingredients
FD&C
Prefix used to designate the approved use in foods, drugs and cosmetics.
Felting
Encasing a bar of soap in a non-woven fabric made of unspun wool fibers matted together using heat and water.
Fixative
Used to anchor or stabilize a scent or fragrance, to slow evaporation.
Fixed Oils
The non-volatile oils obtained from botanical bases such as vegetable oils. Refers to oils that can be raised to a high temperature without evaporating. Fixed oils (such as olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil) are commonly used to make soap.
Flash Point
The lowest temperature that a liquid can form an ignitable mixture with air (vapor) near the surface of the liquid.
Floral Water
See hydrosol.
Flower petals
Ground rose and lavender petals have astringent qualities; Calendula is good for rough or cracked skin, and chamomile has calming and soothing characteristics making it wonderful for sensitive skin.
Formula
A listing of ingredients in fixed proportion, usually expressed in percentages.
Fragrance Free
Contains no added fragrance products. There is no regulated definition for this term, and it is best to consult the ingredients list as some commercial fragrance free or unscented products contain a masking fragrance.
Fragrance Oils
Synthetic oils formulated to mimic natural fragrances. Sometimes blended with essential oils. A blend of synthetic and/or natural ingredients creating a specific fragrance. Also known as aroma oils and aromatic oils. These oils are blends of synthetic aromatic chemicals that may be diluted with a carrier such as propylene glycol, vegetable oil, or mineral oil. Fragrance oils may be used to add fragrance to scented soaps.
Back to top

G

Ginger Essential Oil
Antiseptic, good for poor circulation. A warming and tonifying oil. Stimulating.
Glycerin
(vegetable based) a non-toxic humectant which is used as a moisturizer making the skin feel softer and smoother. Reduces cracking and irritation while being non-irritating and non-allergenic. Also called glycerol. A colorless sweet viscous liquid derived from vegetable fats. It is a by-product of the soap-making process, which separates the glycerin from the fatty acids in the whole oil. The naturally-occurring glycerin stays in handmade soaps, but is usually removed from commercial soaps - it is valued because of its emollient and humectant qualities.
Glyceryl Monostearate
A natural emulsifier prepared from glycerine and stearic acid (which is a fatty acid found in palm oil). It is used in cosmetics to create oil-in-water emulsions.
Goat's milk
Packed with vitamins, goat's milk will add soothing and moisturizing properties to soap. Particularly helpful for sensitive or irritated skin.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Cooling and slightly astringent, refreshing and detoxifying, grapefruit is particularly helpful for problem skin.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Derived from the seeds and pulp, it used as a preservative in handmade toiletries. It is thought to have antibiotic, antioxidant and antiseptic properties.
Grapeseed Oil
An antioxidant and wrinkle fighter packed with Vitamin E.
Grapeseeds
The origin of grapeseed oil, it has the same antioxidant and wrinkle fighting properties plus the benefits of exfoliation.
Back to top

H

Hand Milled Soap
Soap fashioned through rebatching cold processed soap.
Handcrafted Soap
Soap crafted from a ready made soap base using the melt and pour process. Also used to refer to handmade soap.
Handmade Soap
Soap fashioned by combining a base oil with an alkali using a variety of traditional methods including hot and cold processing.
Hazelnut Oil
Rich and nourishing, this oil is full of vitamins and minerals making it useful for treating acne and wrinkles.
Hemp Seed Oil
Obtained from viable or sterilized seeds, hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the skin. Contributes moisturizing properties to soaps and cosmetics.
Herbs
Any of various often aromatic plants used especially in medicine or as seasoning that does not produce woody tissue and usually dies back at the end of the growing season.
Honey
A wonderful source of enzymes, carbohydrates, B-complex vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E. Honey also protects skin from moisture loss and has hydrating and soothing properties.
Hot Process, Soap Making
A method of soap making utilizing an external heat source to accelerate the saponification process, such as a crock pot, double boiler or oven. Hot process (HP) process soap making is the process where soap batter is made by mixing fats and oils with a lye-water solution until trace is achieved, just the same as in the cold process method of making soap. However, in the hot process soap making method, heat is added to the soap batter after trace by warming it on a stove or by pouring the soap batter into a crock pot. After approximately one hour, when all of the soap batter has boiled at a low simmer and has completed the gel phase, the soap is removed from the heat source and scents, herbs, and/or colorants may be added. The soap mass is then molded. Within a few hours, the soap may be unmolded, sliced into bars, and used. Hot process soap does not require any time to cure, to dry, or to harden.
Humectant
A substance added to another to help it retain moisture.
Humectant
A substance that attracts and holds moisture unto itself, such as glycerin.
Hydrogenation
A chemical process of converting a vegetable oil from a liquid into a solid using hydrogen.
Hydrolat
See hydrosol.
Hydrosol
The condensate water produced during steam distillation of botanical bases when making essential oils. Used in skin care preparations and bath products. Also known as hydrolat or floral water.
Hypoallergenic
Unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Back to top

I

INCI Name
International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. The INCI name is required when labeling cosmetics marketed in the USA.
Infusion
Made by steeping botanicals in oil or water.
Insoluble
Not dissolvable in a liquid, such as water or alcohol.
Irritant
Causes irritation or inflammation of the skin.
Back to top

J

Jojoba Oil
Readily absorbed by the skin, this oil acts as both a moisturizer and a humectant. It is also useful for its anti-inflammatory properties. (Simmondsia chinensis) Emollient, similar to natural human oil secretions, antioxidant. Technically not an oil, but a wax. Will not turn rancid. Edible, nontoxic, generally nonirritating, makes a superb skin conditioner.
Back to top

K

Karite Butter
See Shea butter.
Kelp
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, kelp soothes and moisturizes the skin.
Kokum Butter
Also known as Goa Butter. Extracted from the fruit kernels of the Garcinia indica tree, native to India.
Kukui Nut Oil
Also known as candle nut oil, it is obtained from the fruit of the tree and used in skin care preparations. Hawaiians have used kukui nut oil for generations to treat dry skin.
Back to top

L

Lanolin
Wool fat. A fatty substance (wax) obtained from wool and used in soaps and cosmetics as a moisturizer.
Lard
The semi-solid or solid fat rendered from a hog.
Lauric Acid
(coconut oil based) an antimicrobial unsaturated fatty acid.
Lavender Essential Oil
One of the most versatile and useful of all herbs, lavender has both antiseptic and antibiotic qualities. It is recommended for sensitive or greasy skin as a balancing or regulating oil. It relieves tension and stress and has a restorative effect on the skin. It is helpful for the treatment of dermatitis, eczema, acne, scarring and sunburn and is also an insect repellent. You pretty much can't say enough about lavender!
Layering
he process of pouring multiple layers of soap, usually of varying colors.
Lemon Peel and Juice
Containing a high level of Vitamin C, lemons are astringent and useful for deep-cleansing.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Astringent, deodorizing and tonifying, lemongrass is useful for unblocking pores and deep-cleansing the skin.
Lime Essential Oil
As with other citrus oils, lime is deep-cleansing and therefore beneficial for oily complexions.
Loofa
The dried fibrous section of the fruit from the plant (Luffa aegyptiaca) used as an exfoliating sponge. Also spelled loofah or luffa.
Lye
The common name for sodium hydroxide (caustic alkali) used to make soap. The term is fairly general, and can refer to either potassium hydroxide (also known as potash) or to sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda).
Back to top

M

Macadamia Nut Oil
Also known as Queensland nut oil, obtained from the nut of the tree. Used as an emollient in soaps and cosmetics.
Mango Butter
Expeller pressed and refined from the fruit kernels. Used as a base ingredient or as an added emollient in cosmetics.
Melt and Pour, Soap Making
The melt and pour (M&P) process of making soap involves using a pre-fabricated soap base, such as the soap base available from craft and hobby supply stores. These pre-fabricated soap bases often contain preservatives and stabilizers to provide a longer shelf life and superior meltability. The soap crafter cuts the soap base into cubes and melts the cubes in a double boiler or in a microwave. After the soap base is melted and is liquid, scents, herbs, and/or colorants may be added to the melted soap. Before the soap cools and hardens, it is poured into single-serving molds that are often specially designed shapes with meticulous details. Lye is not needed nor used in crafting melt and pour soaps.
Milling
A process during commercial manufacturing where the soap is blended with fragrance, colorants and other ingredients using mechanical rollers.
Mineral Oil
A refined synthetic petroleum based oil. Widely used in commercial cosmetics. Mineral oil creates a barrier and interferes with the skins normal functions. A poor choice for skin care preparations. Any of various light hydrocarbon oils, especially a distillate of petroleum.
Back to top

N

NaOH
Sodium Hydroxide.
Natural Soap
A soap made from natural ingredients, free from petroleum, chemical or other artificial ingredients.
Natural Source
Obtained or derived from a natural source such as that from a botanical base.
Neem Oil
Used in skin care preparations for its antiseptic properties. Also used in insect repellents.
NSPCP
Under The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, 95% of all ingredients must be natural (ingredients that come from a "purposeful, renewable and plentiful source found in nature (floral, fauna, mineral)" and do not use "synthetic/harsh chemicals"). The remaining 5% of ingredients must not pose any potential human health risks.
Back to top

O

Oatmeal
A gentle exfoliant to aid in unclogging pores, oatmeal also soothes sensitive skin and adds a pleasing texture to soap. The ground grain from an annual grass (Avena sativa). This common oat was first cultivated in Europe and is grown in cool temperate regions. Up to 1 m high, it has a branching cluster of flowers. The grain is used as a livestock feed, especially for horses, and for oatmeal, breakfast cereals, etc. It is used in cosmetics and soaps because of its soothing qualities. Commercial products are available for use in baths to help relieve itchy, irritated skin.
Olive Oil
A wonderful, skin-friendly moisturizer which is extremely mild and suitable for sensitive skin. Olive oil is packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins. Obtained from the fruit of the tree through pressing and solvent extraction, varying grades of olive oil are available. Used in soap making as it does not interfere with the skins normal functions. Oil pressed from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). It is an evergreen tree native to W Asia but cultivated throughout Mediterranean and subtropical regions for its fruits. Up to 12 m high, it has a gnarled grey trunk and lance-shaped leathery grey-green leaves. Small greenish-white flowers produce fleshy oval berries containing a hard stone. Olive oil is one of the finest edible oils and can be consumed without refining or processing (when it is known as virgin olive oil). It is also used in making soaps, cosmetics, and textiles. Olive wood resists decay and is used for furniture and ornaments. Since olive oil is an excellent moisturizer (because it attracts and holds moisture close to the skin and forms a breathable film to prevent loss of internal moisture) it is widely used in cosmetics. It has been used alone as a cleansing agent in place of soap. When used to make soap, the bars produced have a slow, stingy lather, but the soap is mild and cleans well. Traditionally "Castile" soap was made using only olive oil, but the term has loosened now to include soaps that have olive oil as one of the oils in them.
Orange Essential Oil
Relaxing and uplifting, orange is a stress-reliever, a detoxifier and a good cleanser. It is beneficial for oily, dull or tired skin.
Oregon Tilth
Is a nonprofit research and education membership organization dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture. Oregon Tilth offers educational events throughout the state of Oregon, and provides organic certification services to organic growers, processors, and handlers internationally.
Back to top

P

Palm Oil
A moisturizing oil which adds a nice firmness to a bar of soap. Oil from the fruit of a palm tree, (Elaeis guineensis), native to tropical West Africa and cultivated in Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, and tropical America as the source of palm oil. Growing to a height of 15 m, the palms produce fleshy fruits, 3 cm long, containing a white kernel within a hard black shell. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp and kernel and used in making soaps. When used in soaps, palm oil creates a hard, long lasting bar of soap that is mild and cleanses well. Palm oil has similar characteristics to tallow in soaps, and has been used in soap-making since about 1850 when the quantity of available tallow was insufficient to meet the demand for soap.
Palm Stearic
Stearic Acid is one of the fatty acids contained in several animal and vegetable oils. It is separated out from the oil and then used by itself as an additive to soaps and other products. Our Stearic Acid is specifically derived from Palm Oil (see above) which contains about 5.5% stearic acid. We add it to our bar soap in order to make the bar harder and therefore longer-lasting.
Paraffin
A white or colorless petroleum-derived solid wax. It is often used in making candles and cosmetics. This is the wax commonly found in the grocery store and used to seal canning jars.
Peanut Oil
Obtained from pressing shelled peanut kernels, rich in vitamin E and easily absorbed into the skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
A natural antiseptic, deodorant and insect-repellent. It is both stimulating and cooling as well as refreshing and warming.
Pigments
A substance, usually mineral, that imparts color to something else. Pigments do not dissolve in liquid, but are tiny particles of color that are suspended in it.
Polysorbate-20
A solubizer derived from corn. When an oil or essential oil is first mixed with the solubizer, it will then mix with water and not separate.
Potassium Hydroxide
Also called potash. Originally derived by filtering water through hardwood ashes, potassium hydroxide is used as the caustic alkali in soft and liquid soaps.
Pumice
A light and porous lava. Used in solid and powdered form as an abrasive.
Back to top

Q

QCS
Offers Organic Certification accredited by the USDA National Organic Program and USDA ISO Guide 65.
Back to top

R

Re-Batch Process, Soap Making
The re-batch process (RB) of making soap involves using cold or hot process soap shavings. The cold process or hot process soap shavings are combined with a small amount of water and are heated in a double boiler for approximately one hour, until they are melted and dissolved to form a thick, bubbly, viscous mass of soap. The mass of soft melted soap is removed from the heat and scents, herbs, and/or colorants may be added. It is then spooned into molds to cool and harden. After a week, the soap is removed from the molds and sliced into bars. Often, re-batched soap requires several weeks to dry, depending on how much water was used to dissolve the soap shavings.
Rebatching
The process of liquefying pre-made cold processed soap, adding fragrance and molding. Also known as hand milling.
Refined
The process of removing impurities from the natural or crude base.
Rendering
The process of heating lard or tallow to a liquid state to remove solids or impurities.
Rosemary Essential Oil
A warming and clarifying oil which is useful for stimulating the circulatory system. As with Peppermint, Rosemary is a natural antiseptic and insect-repellent.
Rosemary Oil Extract
Rosemary Oleoresin is an anti-oxidant used as a preservative in personal care products.
Back to top

S

SAP Value
Saponification value. The amount of potassium hydroxide in milligrams required to saponify 1 gram of oil.
Saponaceous
Exhibits the characteristics of, or having the qualities of soap.
Saponification
The process or reaction of combining a base (fat) with an alkali (sodium hydroxide) to produce a salt (soap) and a free alcohol (glycerin). The reaction between a caustic alkali (lye) and the fatty acids in a vegetable oil or animal fat which results in soap.
Sea Salt
Sea salt is not refined like table salt and therefore retains the valuable minerals and trace elements of which it is composed. (Sodium Chloride) Salt made by evaporating the water out of sea water.
Seize
The unexpected thickening and uneven hardening of the soap mixture during processing. Usually caused when adding synthetic fragrance oils to the mixture.
Shea Butter
Used as a base ingredient or as an emollient in handmade soaps and skin preparations. Has a high content of unsaponifiables which contribute to its moisturizing properties. Also known as African karite butter, this precious additive is highly nourishing and moisturizing to the skin. Excellent for soothing irritated skin. Also known as African karite butter; A solid vegetable fat obtained from a West African tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, bearing nuts containing a large amount of fat. It is highly emollient. Traditional uses of shea butter include: treating dry skin, blemishes, skin discoloration, scars and wrinkles.
Soap
A simple cleansing agent, the sodium salt resulting from the combination of oils and fats with an alkali.
Soap Casting
The art of creating handcrafted soaps using melt and pour soap base.
Sodium Bicarbonate
(Baking soda) a white crystalline powder. Soothing, water softening, effervescent, deodorizing, stimulating. Draws oils and impurities from the skin.
Sodium Cocoate
Saponified coconut oil, the sodium salt of coconut oil.
Sodium Hydroxide
A caustic alkali used in making hard soaps. It is now produced by processing salt water but was earlier obtained from the ashes of a particular kind of seaweed. NaOH; CAS Registry Number: 1310-73-2; Molecular Weight: 40.0 g/mol. Also referred to as lye, ascarite, caustic soda, soda ash, soda lye, sodium hydrate, and white caustic. It is a corrosive chemical that has a pH of 14, indicating it is a strong base. Sodium hydroxide is used in soap making to react with oils and fats to produce soap, frequently solid bars of soap.
Sodium Oleate
(vegetable based) a naturally occuring fatty acid that acts as a thickening agent.
Sodium Palmate
Saponified palm oil, the sodium salt of palm oil.
Sodium Stearate
organic salt used as a nontoxic cleansing agent. Saponified stearic acid, the sodium salt of stearic acid.
Sodium Tallowate
Saponified tallow, the sodium salt of tallow.
Solar Sea Salts
Sun evaporated sea salts from sea water, not mined or mechanically processed. This method preserves the natural mineral content.
Soluble
Dissolvable in a liquid, as in alcohol or water soluble.
Solvent Extraction
A method of separating oils from their base using a liquid in which the oil is soluble. The oil is then distilled and the solvent is evaporated leaving the oil.
Sorbitol
(sugar based) an organic humectant, skin conditioner and emulsifier. It provides a smooth, luxurious feel to soaps.
Soybean Oil
A gentle oil with high percentages of linoleic and oleic acids which provides mildness suitable for all skintypes.
Spices
Any of several vegetable substances, such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, etc., used to season food: spices are usually dried for use and have distinctive flavors and aromas.
Spirulina
Blue-green algae are nutrient powerhouses providing vitamins for the skin as well as coloring soap a pleasant shade of green.
Steam Distillation
A process in which essential oils are extracted from plant materials using steam and pressure. The volatile oils are separated from the hydrosol after condensation.
Stearic Acid
(vegetable based) an omega-9 fatty acid used for its protective and water binding properties.
Sunflower Oil
A light oil containing vitamins A, B, D and E, sunflower oil is mild and moisturizing.
Superfatted
The addition of extra oils or butters that remain unsaponified within the finished soap. These excess oils and butters contribute to the moisturizing properties of the soap.
Surfactant
Surface-active agent. A substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved, such as a detergent.
Synthetic
Artificially produced, not of natural origin.
Back to top

T

Tallow
The suet or fat from animals such as sheep or cows.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
A natural preservative, tea tree oil has antiseptic and cleansing qualities. It is helpful for itchy skin, insect bites and acne. It is also known for it's antibacterial qualities.
Tocopherol
Any of the four forms (alpha-, beta-, delta- or gamma-) of Vitamin E, an antioxidant added to soaps and lotions as an emollient due to its moisturizing properties. Alpha-tocopherol has greatest amount of vitamin E.
Triglycerides
A particular molecular structure found in animal and vegetable oils. It is made up on three fatty acid molecule chains connected to one glycerin molecule.
Turbinado Sugar
Unrefined raw cane sugar, used in sugar scrubs and body polishes
Back to top

U

Unrefined
The natural unaltered base, such as the oil obtained from the first pressing.
Unscented
Contains no added fragrance. See Fragrance Free.
Back to top

V

Vegetable Shortening
A solid fat made from vegetable oils. These oils are converted to a solid state through hydrogenation.
Vitamin E
A powerful antioxidant that helps prevent wrinkles.
Volatile Oils
Oils that evaporate or vaporize easily at room temperatures such as essential oils.
Volcanic Mud
A mineral packed gift from days gone by, volcanic mud has cleansing and stringent properties which make it a wonderful additive for oily complexions.
Back to top

W

Warm Process, Soap Making
For the warm process (WP) method of making soap, the soap maker begins by making soap with the cold process method but, instead of covering the molded soap with blankets, the warm process soap maker places the molds in a heated oven and incubates the soap at about 160° F for six hours. The molds are then removed from the heat source and allowed to cool slowly. After approximately 12 hours, the soap is removed from the molds and sliced into bars. Warm process soap is completely cured and free from lye as soon as it is cooled; however, warm process soap requires a few days to dry and harden. In warm process soap making, heat is added to complete the saponification of the soap, just as in hot process soap making. The difference is that hot process soap is boiled and warm process soap is not boiled, just warmed.
Water Soluble
Dissolvable in water.
Wildcrafted
Refers to herbs and botanicals grown in the wild without the use of pesticides or other chemicals.
Wine
Besides being a wonderful beverage, red wine contains antioxidants to fight free-radicals and the effects of age.
Back to top

X

Xanathan Gum
A derivative of corn sugar used as a thickening agent
Back to top

Y

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
This fragrant oil is considered helpful for all skin types. It is useful for treating stress, anxiety, depression and tension, and it's fragrance is also considered an aphrodisiac.
Back to top

Z

Z
Last letter of the english alphabet - Whew, you made it to the end, congrats! :-D
Back to top
Sale

Unavailable

Sold Out