Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I started making soap

So I've started making soap. It is quite fun. It started when I began to purchase products (skincare, toiletries, and cleaning products) from a naturally based wellness company. The company made me more aware of toxins and dangerous ingredients in the products I use everyday, however, it began to eat at our "grocery budget." I figured if these things are pretty natural, can't I make my own? So I started with bar soap.

I wash my hands several times throughout the day and I never really thought about the ingredients in the soap that I use. I started learning more about toxins (like triclosan) in the everyday products that we buy and I began to get overwhelmed. There are so many out there. Tons of ingredients cause cancer, are easily absorbed through the skin, and build up in your body and accumulate over time. Researching them all in one week can make you begin to feel hopeless. So I won't bombard you with all of those things. My point is that as a consumer, and hopefully future mom, I don't know what most of the ingredients are in the products that I buy and use on a daily basis are. I can't pronounce half of them; I get all the chlorides, sulfates, phosphates confused and it brings back bad memories of chemistry. So to simplify, I want to know what ingredients are in the products I use. Therefore, I need to make my own.

I looked up real soapmaking with lye and all that which scared me greatly. It sounded dangerous and I don't own a wielding face mask. But after making some soap, it something that I am considering in the future because I feel like that is authentic soap making.

For now I stick to melt-and-pour soapmaking. I feel like a cheat when people ask me how I make the soap that I give to them. Because I just melt everything, mix it together, pour it in some cute molds, and voila! Soap. So hard.

They sort of got dented a bit trying to remove them from the molds. You need to put a tiny bit of oil in the molds to make them come out easier. We put ours in the freezer because Andrew said that would make them shrink and come out easier.

These soaps were actually not my preferred soaps to make because I don't really know what is in the base soap. It was a kit I got for 50% off at Michael's with a coupon. They had perfume to add, red and green dye, and the square (I was going to say square and rectangle molds but a rectangle is a square- teehee) molds, along with the big block of base soap. The cute little flower molds were for making candies but worked just the same. You can probably use anything for molds. I read about people using PVC for round soaps and small cake pans for square molds. I hope to invest in silicone ones to help pop them out better rather than plastic. I'm sure after enough uses, my plastic molds will probably crack. It was hard to pay for them because they looked like they were part of the packaging of a toy. I will update with a picture and you will see. It is weird to pay a few bucks for potential toy packaging that you find for free in your after opening-presents-clean-up on Christmas.

If you want to read up on triclosan, here are some references:
Dragonfly Beauty
Environmental Working Group
Kitchen Stewardship
Keeper of the Home

Another note about bar soap: I always thought that it wasn't as sanitary as liquid soap. But after learning more about triclosan, I am okay with that. Also, being a nurse, I don't like to contribute to the overuse of antibiotics either. I think a little germs in the house will build up the immune system.

And my friend mentioned that he doesn't like to use bar soap because it is more drying. I need to find out if that is because of the ingredients or if that is really true. I know liquid soaps and shampoos have Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate (SLS) in them as a cheap foaming/lathering agent which can have a drying effect. SLS is definitely not a good ingredient for the environment. I have found that there are people that firmly believe that it is carcinogenic and some that believe it is completely safe (Toms of Maine) Whatever you believe about it, I personally would rather not have any unnecessary ingredients in the products that I use, especially if their safety is disputed.

Environmental Working Group classifies SLS as a moderate hazard due to irritation and possible organ system toxicity. It may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which are harmful. This Snopes article states that SLS is not a carcinogen but at the bottom talks about 1,4-dioxane characterized as "probable carcinogens" by the EPA. This confuses me because "carcinogenic" and "carcinogens" mean cancer causing right? So the ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency is worried about nature getting cancer? You mean like animals or something? Does the EPA cover animal safety? Please leave a comment if you know more about this stuff than I do. I'm a crunchy newbie.

But sorry, no bombaring in this post, right?


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