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backwoods bar soap co.

Q & A

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Common questions about our products:


Q: Do you use essential oils or fragrance oils in your products?

A: I use both. Each has a place in soapmaking and allows me to craft something for everyone.

-Essential oils are all-natural extracts derived from plant matter. They have a pure, clean fragrance that is unmistakable. The pros of using essential oils is that many essential oils are thought to have therapeutic qualities both topically and aromatically, and that's why I like to use them. The cons of using essential oils in soapmaking are that they don't hold their fragrance over long periods of time, and they are expensive.


-Fragrance oils are synthetics created in a lab and made to mimic other smells. The pros of using fragrance oils are that aromatically, they are uplifting. The ingredients used to make fragrance oils are all tested and have specific usage rates determined by IFRA (the International Fragrance Association). None of our fragrances contain parabens. The cons of using fragrance oils in soapmaking is that they have no therapeutic qualities, they just smell great. However, the soap itself has benefits.


Both are skin safe and perfect for use in bath and body products. Keep in mind that there are safety concerns associated with both essential oils and fragrance oils despite testing. For example, distilled Peppermint Essential oil is an extremely potent substance which can cause skin reactions if not properly diluted. You should do a skin test if you are uncertain if you will have a reaction or not. In my experience and extensive research, homemade soaps are very mild and a superior choice over commercially manufactured 'soap'. If you have any questions, please give me a call.. I would be happy to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.


Q: How do you color your soaps?

A: I use an array of different ingredients to color my soaps.

-Natural colorants, such as those used in coffee soap gives it a lovely brown hue due to the brewed coffee used, and carrot soap is bright orange in color due to the carrot puree used in crafting it. Other things I have used are: turmeric, beet juice, kale and blueberries.


-I also use oxides/pigments to color my soaps. Oxides are considered 'nature identical' meaning they are the exact same chemical structure as the platelet minerals found in the earth. They are, however, created in a lab so they are not "100% natural" as many other companies claim. Processing in a lab keeps the bad stuff (like lead and other heavy metals for example) out of the colorants.


-Micas (sparkles) are used in some of our Holiday/Winter Collection products. They fall under the same category 'natural ingredients' as they are nature identical and many don't contain any synthetic dyes.


Q: Do you use organic ingredients?

A: Absolutely, we use organic ingredients wherever possible.

-Our base soap recipe consists of: organic coconut oil, olive oil, water and lye.


-The essential oils we use are also organic as are any herbs we add to our products (most of which come directly from our garden).


-When using teas, coffee, carrot puree, etc. we always choose organic products where there is a choice.


Q: Do you use animal fat in your products?

A: No, not usually.

-I will craft a soap for you using tallow or lard upon request. I will also render your tallow or lard and make it into soap for you. Contact me for pricing.


Many ingredient-conscious people prefer the use of animal fat over anything else. It is cost effective, minimally processed and in homesteading allows you to make use of the whole animal you have harvested. I am a big fan of tallow candles. They are non-toxic, cheap and easy to make.


-I am frequently asked to craft a soap using emu oil as it has beneficial properties for extremely dry and cracked skin. It is expensive, so I don't offer it on the online shop all the time. If you would like to buy some emu oil soap, just give a call or email me and I'd be happy to invoice you and send you some. Our emu oil soap contains basil and frankincense essential oils.


The pros of buying soaps made with animal fat are that they last much longer than vegetable oil soaps.


Q: Do you make an antibacterial soap?

A: No. Here's why:

-There isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health. Please visit the FDA site to read more about this at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm


“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” says Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products. “We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.”