Category Archives: Ingredients We Love

Top Eight Toxins In Your Home

We are all exposed to cleaners whether we like to clean or not. While we have good intentions, many of our cleaners are dangerous and even deadly. What are you using to clean your home is important, as important as what you put in your body. Here are our top eight toxins to avoid. We’ve also provided a few recommendations as an alternative, toxin-free options.

BPA

BPA is found in many household plastic items. This chemical imitates estrogen in our bodies. BPA has been linked to cancers such as breast, reproductive issues, weight gain, early puberty, and heart disease. According to the Environmental Working Group 93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies! BPA can be found in plastic water bottles and food containers. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2, and #4 on the bottom are better choices because they do not contain BPA. Avoid putting any plastic containers in microwaves.  Better yet, avoid plastic altogether. It is bad for you and the environment. Check out clean, BPA Free reusable food and beverage containers here.

AIR FRESHENERS

You may think it’s a smart move covering up those pesky odors with an air freshener. Think again! The danger here is many of these air fresheners contains irritants which can impair lung function and bother the eyes, throat, and skin. Some air fresheners have been linked to cancers. Don’t second guess your fresh smelling air in the house again. Try a non-toxic, non-irritating alternative like Indigo Wild or J.R. Watkins here.

BORAX

Found in laundry and dishwashing detergents, borax, and boric acid have been linked to reproductive issues. After chronic exposure to these ingredients at high doses, studies have shown decreased sperm count. Animal studies have shown this substance can cross the placenta and impact skeletal development and birth weight. Clean clothes and dishes are supposed to be clean, don’t question them again work with brands you can trust like laundry soaps from Better Life, Seventh Generation, and Zum here. Keep your dishes safe enough to eat of off with these soaps here.

CHLORINE

Also seen as sodium hypochlorite, this chemical is very toxic to aquatic life and can cause severe burns, respiratory issues, and eye damage. You can find this in many household cleaners. If exposed to chlorine gas, a person can develop asthma after a single intense exposure. You can find non-toxic formulas that don’t have chlorine, you can even find a free & clear non-chlorine bleach that Seventh Generation makes here.

1, 4 – DIOXANE

Found in many households liquid laundry detergents. A study commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found dioxane in children’s bath products. Why?!? This chemical has been linked to cancer and skin allergies. There are natural, safe alternatives, that do exactly the same job. Find better baby bathing items here.

PINE OR CITRUS OIL

It may sound safe and smell pretty sweet but when these scented oils mix with the ozone in the air, they can create formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Understand the difference in your products.

GLYCOL ETHERS

You can find these listed in 2-butoxythanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DGME) on your cleaning products, paint solvents, brake fluid, and cosmetics. These ethers can cause blood abnormalties, lower sperm count and aggravated allergies and asthma in children.

PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCS)

Commonly used to make non-stick cookware, this chemical has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disorders, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. Avoid non-stick pans to avoid PFC’s sticking to your body. Yuck!

We encourage you to continue to read your labels, understand the ingredients in your products and food, and always know that you deserve the best quality of ingredients. Continue learning and growing in your understanding of what is best for you and your family.

12 Ways to Be a Natural Beauty Rockstar

You don’t need harsh chemicals – or tons of time – to get shiny, healthy hair and smoother skin. Just steal these gentle, back-to-basics moves to start looking like a natural beauty rockstar. Whether you are new to natural products or just looking to shake up your routine, we’ve got the recommendations for you to make your natural essence and beauty shine all day and night long.

Fabulous & Fresh Face

  • For a radiant complexion slice a few grapes in half and rub the inside over your clean skin. The fruit acids are natural exfoliators and will give you a glowing look. Remember to rinse after about 5 minutes.
  • Puffy eyes be gone with a chilled eye cream (tip: keep your cream in the fridge for easy access and always chilled). Apply it from the outer edges of your eyes towards your nose. This helps drain excess fluid in the area. Try Nourish Organic’s Renewing + Cooling Eye Treatment ($20.99; soaphope.com). We love the feel of the metal on our skin for that extra pick me up.
  • Zap blemishes with two ingredients homeopaths have used for centuries: arnica which is filled with anti-inflammatory benefits and antibacterial tea tree oil. Find them here in the purest form arnica oil ($13.50) and tea tree oil ($7.29).

Maximize Moisturizers and Face Masks

  • A unique way to stay protected, apply a moisturizer with aloe vera before sunscreen; studies have shown the ingredient decreases the effect of UV radiation on skin and may help prevent sunburns. We like Jason’s Soothing Moisturizing Creme ($9.00).
  • Increase the effectiveness of a facial mask by applying it in the shower, where steam opens pores so ingredients can penetrate. Check out a large selection over 40+ masks to find the perfect one to pair with your next shower ($2.00 and up).
  • Brighten up and protect your skin against environmental aggressors such as UV rays and pollution to fight free radicals that cause premature signs of skin aging. Studies show that antioxidants can neutralize these damaging free radicals. Put up your defense with Avalon Organics Intense Defense that is rich in Vitamin C, White Tea, and Lemon Bioflavonoids to defend and support skin.

Bronzed, Bold, and Beautiful

  • Get bronzed skin without the damage of the sun or toxic self-tanners. Mix one teaspoon organic sunscreen and a pinch of loose mineral bronzer in your palm, then blend it over your face for an instant and protective glow. Try Derma-E Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 ($15.80), and Mahya Mineral Cosmetic Bronzers in a variety of shades ($25.00).
  • Firmer jaw, neck, and throat just practice these simple exercises in the morning and evening, or while stuck in traffic, or in the line at the store. Basically, you can do these anywhere! Slowly tilt your head back, pucker up, and try to kiss the ceiling; repeat at minimum 4 times in a row. These are exercises for your face.

Hair Helpers

Strong, Sleek, and Frizz Free

  • Add shine to your hair by adding a few drops of Acure The Essentials Moroccan Argan Oil throughout damp hair. The star ingredient, argan oil, makes strands glossy, but won’t weigh them down or feel oily.
  • Strengthen hair with a mayo mask or coconut mask. Comb 1/2 a cup through wet hair, wait 15 minutes, and rinse with cool water; shampoo as usual after. We love Nature’s Way Organic Coconut Oil ($18.00) and it will last forever.

7 Natural Product’s You’ll Be Green with Envy About

Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with all the luck of the Irish. If you are drawn to simple, natural, and effective products and looking for inspiration to “green” your routine, these 7 natural and organic products will make you green with envy!

Clove Mint Zum Bar

Time to go green with and indulge with Clove Mint Zum Bar. Not clover, but clove, this wonderful combination creates an aroma that is sweet, earthy, and mellow with a refreshing and sharp wild streak from premier maker Indigo Wild. This Zum Bar is infused with clove and spearmint to soothe damaged, inflamed, and season affected skin. This soap bar will balance your skin’s pH in a natural and gentle way. Add this beauty bar to your list here or increase your luck and try a Soap Hope exclusive Indigo Wild Mint Four Ways Collection.

Evergreen + Eucalyptus Candle Glass Tumbler

This crisp scent full of traditional pine, eucalyptus, cypress, and tonka beans will make you feel like you are wandering through a field in the Irish emerald. This candle is infused with natural essential oils that include fir needle, cedarwood, eucalyptus, patchouli, and cedar leaf. Warm your home with this Evergreen + Eucalyptus candle by Caylan Wax Company the whole day through. Bonus when you are through burning this beauty, wash and reuse to sample a nice Irish Whiskey or beverage of choice. This tumbler doubles as a class when finished its original purpose. Shop this candle now!

Chakra Bath Salts Collection

Follow this rainbow and see if balancing your body’s seven chakras leads to that pot of gold. These invigorating scents infused with shea butter, pure essential oils, and all-natural micas will help balance and align your chakras and relax into a higher plane. We suggest as you enjoy a chakra infused bath with these salts you take time to remember this quote, “St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” We wish you all the luck in finding your magic with this unique Chakra Bath Salts Collection.

Rosemary & Mint Body Wash

Detox all that St. Patrick’s Day celebrating with Seaweed Bath’s Purifying Detox Body Wash in Rosemary & Mint. This nutrient-rich wash is infused with bladderwrack seaweed, green coffee extract, and French clay to detoxify and cleanse for softer, smoother-looking skin. We love the calming scents as your body slowly detoxifies. Plus this bottle will keep our beautiful planet green as it is made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Clean Matcha Green Tea

Time to refresh your senses and your tummy after all those green dyed, sugary foods and beverages. Heat up Pukka Tea’s Clean Matcha Green Tea in your favorite cup. This refreshing blend of organic whole leaf green tea, lemon, dandelion root, and fennel combined with the lifting energy of emerald green matcha powder makes this tea the perfect pick-me-up. Skip a sugary treat or coffee and reach for this instead. Your body will thank you!

Silky Green Two Tones Lustrous Eye Shadow

Looking to keep the celebration going? Mahya Cosmetics has the perfect Silky Green – Two Tones Lustrous Minerals Eye Shadow. This Two Tones Lustrous all-natural shadow provides impossible-to-miss-shine and sparkle, but with a natural look. Infused with real pearl, this eye shadow catches and reflects the maximum amount of light to create a metallic multi-effect glimmer finish. Shop all Mayha colors here.

Natural Tea Tree Oil & Neem Toothpaste

Time to treat your teeth to Desert Essence’s Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste. This unique blend is formulated with simply pure and natural ingredients to keep your mouth feeling fresh and you feeling confident throughout the day and long after the celebrations have ended. Made with powerful, but gentle ingredients like Tea Tree Oil, Fennel, and Mint. Free of gluten, fluoride, and harsh abrasives, they help give teeth a deep clean.

 

Trick or Treat? Which Mask is Best For Your Skin?

The Best Mask for your skin problem

Your face skin is constantly exposed to negative environmental influences: air pollution, air conditioning, stress, and fatigue are hard times for our skin. The result: a tired, exhausted complexion and tight skin. Facial masks are the solution to regenerate your skin and give it a kick of freshness.

To get to grip with face whims, a weekly mask is necessary. But above all, you have to know how to choose it according to your skin type: oily, dry, mixed, or mature. With each skin its own mask.

I have a combination to oily skin

The mixed or oily skin has too much sebum production, so they need assets that will regulate and absorb the excess.

For that, clay masks are ideal, and also, it is a natural asset. It will even tend to dry the skin, so it is better to pair with moisturizing oil or floral water. Currently loving this rosewater and aloe spray. Generally, oily skin is prone to imperfections, be it shine, blackheads or pimples. So taking care of it is essential.

Masks are important to rid the skin of impurities. Black dots are not resistant to zinc, the pores are closed thanks to essential oils again. Try this bioactive and berry fruit enzyme mask.

I have dry and sensitive skin

Dry skin tugs, peels and is very fragile, especially when the cold of winter arrives. To not suffer all these inconveniences, it is necessary to hydrate them.

The application of a daily day cream is essential, often a night cream too, but a moisturizing and nourishing mask is an essential step to take care of your dry skin. It is, therefore, necessary to choose a mask having, for example, hyaluronic acid which deeply hydrates and fights against the early aging of the skin, to which dry skin is particularly sensitive. Other components are important to provide fatty assets that nourish the skin, including natural ingredients such as avocado, shea butter or argan oil. We love Andalou Natural’s Pumpkin and Honey Glycolic Mask.

I have tired or mature skin

As we age, the skin loses its elasticity and reveals wrinkles and fine lines. A weekly mask can help counteract the early aging of the skin. Try Acure’s Radically Rejuvenating Mask.

For this, we must focus on firming and regenerating active ingredients such as collagen or hyaluronic acid.

Essential oils are also good assets, such as lemon balm, horsetail or white birch that strengthen the tone of the epidermis.

Treat yourself to a mask

Before a mask, it is good to prepare the skin by removing the small dead skin which is encrusted in the pores by using a scrub. Once clean and clean, the skin will be more receptive to the mask’s assets.

For masks made of clay, do not let them sit too long because the dried clay will dry the skin too much and may weaken it.

To remove a mask, use a soft glove moistened with warm water will get rid of any residue, then finish with a quick rinse with cold water to close the pores.

Oh My Gourd! Five Ingredients You Need to Use this Fall

When the season’s change, so does your skin. Now that October is here and fall weather is creeping in (love Halloween!), it’s time to repair your skin from summer’s sun damage. We are sharing several articles this month with content around skin care for the fall. As the humidity level drops outside and the heat kicks on the inside, our skin needs extra moisture and reminders to stay dewy, radiant, and soft. These are the five skin-care kick gourd ingredients that will keep your skin looking great all fall and winter long.

PUMPKINS

Each fall without fail, the pumpkin obsession begins – from pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pies, everyone wants a piece of this seasonal treat. This vegetable is not only good for tantalizing your taste buds but also your skin. Pumpkins are rich in enzymes, beta-carotene, amino acids and antioxidants that do wonders for your skin. For pumpkin-perfect moisturized hands this season we recommend Desert Essence Pumpkin Spice Hand Repair Cream. This super-hydrating, fast-absorbing hand cream will restore or maintain softness throughout the winter with the added benefits of jojoba oil and licorice root. If you are a pumpkin fanatic we also recommend stepping up your game with Anadolu Natural’s Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask. This mask will scare away the dry, dull surface cells, all the while resurfacing and exfoliating the skin for a brighter complexion, smoother texture, and more even tone.

YAMS

Why not take the beauty benefits of pumpkin to the next level by adding yams to the mix? Yams have been used in Asian traditional medicine for centuries due to their tremendous healing powers. This root vegetable contains allantoin, a cell proliferate that helps the healing process of damaged skin. For the perfect fall pairing of ingredients, we recommend Jason’s Balancing Wild Yam Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème. This super-hydrating cream is specifically designed to comfort and balance transitional skin. The cooling blend of Licorice and Wild Yam works harmoniously to help increase moisture retention, and boost skin’s elasticity, clarity, and radiance. We could all use a little yam in our skin routine this season.

CRANBERRY

Cranberries add amazing flavor to food, but in addition to your fall menu, this tiny berry adds impressive beauty benefits when used as a body and skin care ingredient. Cranberries are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They’re also rich in phytochemicals with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Take advantage of the beauty benefits for the entire body with Jason’s Antioxidant Cranberry Body Wash. This blend of Cranberry Oil and soothing Aloe Vera helps fight oxidative stress while it softens your skin. Just what you need to add to your routine before the holidays hit.

JOJOBA OIL

It’s like a big glass of water for dry skin – 100% pure jojoba oil doesn’t cost all that much and it is extremely powerful. It absorbs quickly, won’t clog pores or make pimples worse, and it’s rich in fatty acids and lipids that are really, truly moisturizing. My fall and winter remedy is to keep a bottle of this within reach when my face, body, or scalp starts to feel dry. Putting a few drops in your shampoo, face or body lotion will do wonders for the overall care of your skin. If you have some serious trouble areas, you can take a little time to massage in jojoba oil directly to the problematic area. If you want your jojoba oil to be effective, we recommend Desert Essence’s 100% Pure Jojoba Oil that is made with pure and natural plant extract which will penetrate and moisturize your skin without leaving any oily residue. One added benefit of this luxurious oil is that it can be used to remove makeup.

LICORICE

Fall is the perfect time to be reminded that what we put in our body is just as important as what we put on it. Licorice Root has been valued for its soothing qualities, rich flavor, and sweetness since the great Kings of Egypt. We recommend Yogi Egyptian Licorice tea that will help with your skin by brightening the appearance, moisturizing, and just plain enjoyable.

3 Herbal Cocktails to Fall in Love With

We love delicious cocktails and mocktails year-round, no season seems more suited to them than Autumn. As Summer’s light begins to wane and we look for excuses to gather indoors, the cocktail proves a tried-and-true party starter – especially if it is as delicious as one of these below. Check out the recipes below for two cocktails (and 1 non-alcoholic drink so potent we dare not call it a mocktail) below! Cheers!!!

The Fall Okwes 

This makes one cocktail and you’ll definitely want to make more.

1 1/2 ounces Rye Whiskey (your choice)
1/2 ounce applejack
1 ounce spiced cider syrup*
3/4 ounce cider vinegar
1 drop Liquid Herbal Ginger 
Dash of baked apple bitters
Whole nutmeg

Fill a shaker with ice and add spirits, syrup, vinegar, and bitters. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

*In a large saucepan, combine a half-gallon of apple cider, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 star anise, 1 stick cinnamon, 1/2 nutmug and 5 cracked green cardamom pods. Simmer briskly until liquid is reduced down to about 2 cups, about 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. Strain, discard spices, and set aside in a pitcher for use later. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. Extra syrup is great for waffles, pancakes, or yogurt!

The Herbal Haven

Again makes 1 cocktail, so double, triple up if you are sharing!

2 ounces Gin
1 ounce H2 Herb Syrup*
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 drop of Liquid Sage 
Absinthe mist**
Fennel pollen

Fill a shaker with ice and add gin, herb syrup, and lime juice. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass. Mist with absinthe, drop of sage, and a pinch of fennel pollen.

*In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. While still hot, stir in a large handful of fresh herbs, including thyme, rosemary, shiso, basil, lovage, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, 3 drops of liquid sage, 3 drops of liquid lavender, wild fennel, coriander, pineapple sage, mint, rose geranium, and marjoram. Cover pan and cool completely. Strain out and discard herbs. Place in the fridge until cold. Extra syrup is so delicious mixed with sparkling water or drizzled over fresh fruit.

**Fill a 2-ounce spray bottle with absinthe. I know this sounds silly, but trust me!

Jaune Tonic

Makes two amazing elixirs

4 drops of Liquid Turmeric, or to taste
3 ounces fresh ginger juice
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce filtered water
1 ounce grade B maple syrup, or to taste
4 grinds of black pepper
1 large pinch of ground cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Serve over ice.

How to read product labels

Here’s our cheat sheet for approved product labels and what they mean from ingredients, expiration dates, environmental and animal testing standards.


This depicts the time period the product is good once opened. The number inside the jar indicates the specific number of months. This is called the PAO.

Product lifespan is less than 30 months and will have a “best before” date. The EU requires either the PAO or BBE. The US only requires expiration dates on OTC products like sunscreen.

The symbol is required by the EU for products produced or sold in Europe. The small “e” guarantees the amount of product in the packaging is correct.

This icon lets you know an insert with in-depth additional information and language from other countries if sold internationally is included.

This confirms the packaging is recyclable. Be sure and recycle these great packaged products.

This informs you that the paper used in the packaging did not harm the forest.

This product has passed stringent accreditation by the USDA to be deemed 95% organic.

This is the official bunny. This is internationally recognized as the leaping bunny, which indicates the product has not been tested on animals.

You can rest assured that any product that has this icon that it is non-GMO verified. Non-GMO is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products. GMO means Genetically Modified Organism.

Products stamped with this icon are Gluten-Free. Gluten-Free provides certification services to producers of gluten-free products using quality assessment and control measures throughout.

Soap Hope has a rating system that each product sold from us is rated with. We inspect every single ingredient in every single product to determine each individual rating, only providing products that are Good, Better, or Best.

GOOD = includes one or more ingredients that, while considered safe for use, are not 100% natural or organic.

BETTER = contains 100% natural ingredients, but not necessarily all organic.

BEST = meets the strictest criteria. Every ingredient must be 100% natural and at least 80% must be certified organic.

Learn more about our ingredient philosophy here.

 

Anti-Aging Herbs to Fight Skin Aging

We’ve put together our best anti-aging herbs to fight skin aging for you. While there are plenty of other powerful herbs, these are our favorites.

Basil

Holy basil helps prevent the signs of aging on the skin. Exposure to UV in high volume damages our skin and causes collagen depletion. Collagen is that beautiful compound that gives your skin the bounce and elasticity of your skin, that youthful appearance. It is proven that topical application of basil helps in retaining skin moisture levels, reducing skin texture issues, and reducing and preventing wrinkles (1). We love the herbal liquid form of holy basil by Herb Pharm in our DIY skin mask recipe. To make our mask all you need is liquid holy basil, flour, and honey. Mix together until you achieve the consistency you prefer and place on your face until dry. Rinse off with warm water.

Clove

Clove oil is widely used for treating many ailments and has immense health benefits. Clove has free radical properties and contains antioxidants that slow down signs of aging. You can make a DIY face mask with just a tablespoon of coconut oil and 3-4 drops of herbal liquid clove. Just wash your face with warm water before applying mix on your face, to open the pores, massage it on your face, and let it sit for about 30 minutes, and wash your face with cold water and a washcloth to ensure it is all removed. Try this herbal clove liquid if you are interested in making this mask or would like to add it to your routine by placing a few drops in your moisturizer.

Ginger

The ginger herb has been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years. Ginger is full of antioxidants and just like turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help in preventing signs of aging. Ginger can control the production of harmful free radicals that affect your metabolism and increase oxidative stress, which can harm your beautiful, youthful skin (2).

Ashwagandha

This powerful herb has antibacterial, antifungal, and cognitive boosting properties,  and as a bonus it is loaded with alkaloids that protect the cells from oxidative stress and damage. Keep your skin healthy, fight acne, and keep signs of aging at bay (3). I love to add ashwagandha herbal liquid to my hydrating moisturizer once a week, and the signs of improvement are really visible.

Oregano

This herb doesn’t just make your dishes delicious, it also helps the slowing of visible signs of aging. Oregano is a powerhouse of antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent free radical damage, and aging, of course (4). Add oregano spirits to your water a couple times a week and allow the benefits to flow throughout.

Rosemary

This soothing herb protects your skin from photodamage. Overexposure to UV rays causes fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of UV related aging. Rosemary prevents photodamage while improving your skin’s collagen reserves and preventing wrinkles (5). We are in love with The Seaweed Bath Company’s Rosemary & Mint Facial Scrub, it’s so popular we sell out all the time (especially since the price is right and everytime you purchase at Soap Hope 100% of the profits  are invested into economic empowerment programs for women), so place your order if you want one and we’ll be sure and get it to you! Seriously detoxifying and gentle enough to use every day.

Sage

Sage, Sage, Sage is so rich in antioxidants, smells amazing, and is also in the infantry army in the fight against aging on age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and more. Sage contains flavonoids, phenolic carboxylic acids, phenolic diterpenes, and other antioxidants that protect your skin from aging (6). Derma E has an amazing Rejuvenating Sage & Lavender Face Oil that provides a boost of intense hydration for soft, smooth skin. These essential fatty acids work to improve elasticity, support healthy collagen, promote healthy cell renewal, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a healthy, youthful glow.

Thyme

Nobody has thyme for aging, so let thyme work for you rather than against you with this immensely useful herb. This herb provides relief and prevents skin damage and signs of aging. Thyme gives you just a little more as a free radical scavenger and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (7). Take a mixture of alcohol-free witch hazel and herbal liquid thyme and use it is a toner.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant, and is considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence not just for the body, but for the skin. But for your skin, it also aids in repairing and protecting your skin from UV related signs of aging (8). Andalou takes the healing power of turmeric and vitamin C to create a facial serum that has fruit stem cell complexes, skin-friendly magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, vitamin C, and turmeric enzymatically to help with skin vitality, aiming for over-exposed surface cells in order to bring about brighter, tighter, and lighter looking skin.

Health Benefits From Burning Candles

Part of living healthy is self-care

We can eat great, workout, and have professional and personal life balance, but taking care of your body and mind, dropping all other things and going zen is necessary to a well-rounded, healthy life. That’s where candles come in. You can add them to your self-care routine easily and receive a plethora of benefits along the way. Burning candles do more than adding a sense of Feng Shui to your home. The action of burning a candle can provide an atmosphere to induce calm and a sense of well-being. Candles play a big part in the power of meditation and when you burn candles that have essential oils in them, you open yourself up to a whole new world of self-care.

Candles with essential oils like bergamot, lavender, and patchouli can fill the space with an easy gentle scent. The oils will quiet your mind and help you clear your stress. Candles are known for their soothing, healing properties and are often used by therapists, such as massage therapists, to create a peaceful ambiance in their service rooms.

My favorite type of candle is aromatherapy candles that can help you relax, feel calm, energized, and help your brain get more focused and productive. Lavender candles help ease your mind and relieve stress. Eucalyptus candles are energizing and improve focus. Lemon candles bring a clean, also energizing atmosphere and can relieve anxiety and depression. Whatever the health benefit you seek there is an essential oil infused candle waiting for you to light up their world.

Know your Candle!

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin Wax is a by-product of the crude oil refinement process. The mass amount of commercial candle companies use paraffin as their wax because it is extremely low cost. But when burned, these candles with paraffin wax release toxins into the air. Paraffin candles also burn faster than beeswax, soy, palm oil, and other waxes. We here at Soap Hope recommend staying clear of paraffin wax for those who are conscious about their health.

Enjoy the Soy

By nature, soy wax is soft, creamy, and burns clean. Soy candles can be made from 100% soybean and palm oil. There are large multitudes of soy candles available. Buyers beware: as long as a wax blend contains 51% soy, it can be branded as a soy candle – so its important to check the purity. We always check all ingredients at Soap Hope, so we’ve got you covered! Soy blends (part-soy, part-anything else) and paraffin candles should be avoided if you’re looking for anything better than a toxic flame.

Just like everyone has different tastes in fashion and music, we also have particular fragrance preferences, and everyone smells scents differently. Show off your individuality and personality by burning the scents that you love.

Why do you burn candles?

Navigating the Natural and Organic Terrain | Do you know what you’re buying?

Sometimes we can get overwhelmed trying to figure out what is natural and organic and what is not. With so many misleading ”organic” and ”natural” claims found in thousands of beauty and household products, how’s one to navigate the terrain?

Yesterday my girlfriend Rachael and I were having coffee and she shared a story with about her most recent trip the grocery store. She said she saw a shampoo that really caught her eye. It was aesthetically appealing and its name had a variation of the word “organic” in it, with a slogan talking about how pure and simple the product is. At first, I thought to myself this might be an interesting product for Soap Hope to carry, but then she showed me a photograph she took of the back of the bottle with a long list of ingredients on the back. Rachael continued in frustration that not only might the name make you think that it must be organic, but it also has that simple slogan. In addition, the words on the back state it is a “Unique blend of Natural & Sulfate Free Surfactants for renewed softness,” one would think this is a natural product. I took her phone and started to analyze the image of the ingredients I found that it had DMDM Hydantoin – a formaldehyde releaser that we would never allow in a product – and Red 4 and Yellow #5, two artificial colors!

After reading this I quickly handed the phone back to my friend and realized that many of us are drawn to products with a quick glance, not realizing what we are putting in our bodies, on them, or in our homes. There must be an easier way to sort through the ingredients that are acceptable, and that reminded me of Soap Hope’s Good, Better, Best rating system for the products we sell on our online marketplace. With that in mind, I told Rachael I was going to make this our next blog so others could learn and ask questions, so here we are sitting with Soap Hope’s Fulfillment Manager Jeremy Porter for a quick interview.

H: Jeremy thanks for visiting with me, I’ve got some questions for you. In a market where consumers are increasingly seeking and buying ”Organic” and ”Natural” products, how does Soap Hope meet that demand?

J: Hi Heather! Regarding the demand, we’ve got our Good, Better, and Best rating standard. We inspect every single ingredient in every single product to determine if we will sell that product and what its rating will be.  We wanted to offer a sort of guide to let customers know that:

  1. We have very high standards for the products we carry.
  2. We can show them exactly how those standards work. The rating tiers are really just a way to explain the ingredients and let people know that we are paying as much attention to them as they are, or even more so. We also want to be completely transparent, so it’s a good way to put everything on the table.
  3. Anything that isn’t at least Good is something we won’t use or sell at Soap Hope’s Marketplace.

H: That’s great Jeremy! But what does that breakdown on rating look like?

J: It looks like this and can be found on our website under our ingredients philosophy, as well as indicated on every single product in our inventory. You can find the rating for all of your favorite products just by visiting our online store.

A rating of BEST is reserved for those products that meet the strictest of criteria. For a BEST rating, every ingredient must be 100% natural and 80% or more must be certified organic.

To be classified BETTER, a product must contain 100% natural ingredients, but not necessarily organic.

Products with a GOOD rating include one or more ingredients that, while considered safe to use, are not 100% natural. For example, some of our makers’ products use phthalate-free fragrance oil or may include a preservative necessary to keep liquids fresh.

H: On average, what percent are good, better, or best in your product inventory?

J: Currently the percentage breakdown of our product based on the rating system is Good: 57%; Better 24%; and Best 19%. So you can see that Best is pretty elite. There’s a secret level beyond Best called “Legendary” but even I’m not sure what that is.

H: Do any of your products have the following ingredients: Parabens, sulfates, chemical sunscreens, petrochemicals, glycols, phthalates, PEGs or PPGs, DEA/TEA, synthetic polymers, formaldehyde donors or 1, 4-Dioxanes?

J: The brand Everyone has some Bath Soaks that contain Magnesium Sulfate, which is just an Epsom Salt, and then I think a few other products that have a little Sodium Coco-Sulfate as a foaming agent, but both are safe.

H: On average, what percentage PCR (post customer recycled) is your packaging? Are they recyclable?

J: We put forth as much effort here as is practically possible. The tissue paper we use to wrap products is 100% recycled. The post office packaging is post-consumer recycled. About 90% of the cardboard that comes into our building is reused, usually to make an Ugly Box. The Ugly Box was just a perfect combination of being cost-effective and eco-conscious, and it’s one of my favorite things we do. I have this daydream about being in a sort of MacGyver situation where for whatever reason someone needs to make a cardboard box and I get to jump in. It could happen. We also made a video to show how an Ugly Box is made: https://youtu.be/24LnICCkK3A

H: Are your products tested on animals?

J: Never. NEVER. I mean, we do sell some soaps that are specifically intended for dogs, so I can’t with 100% certainty say that there have never been some trial baths, but baths aren’t tests, although dog baths can be tricky…

H: Jeremy this has been extremely helpful and honestly, I wish more companies rated their products based on quality and ingredients. How much easier it would be for the consumer! Now for a few personal questions, I mean, while I have you!

What are your favorite products and/or brands at Soap Hope that you use?

J: I really enjoy A Wild Soap Bar and Kind Soap Company. I don’t know if I’m just basic or lazy for picking brands with the word “Soap” in the name, but they’re cool products. A Wild Soap has such original ingredients and gets bonus points for being Texan. Kind Soap smells amazing, and I’m a sucker for anything Sandalwood Rose. I am also highly susceptible to a weekly Bath Bomb indulgence.

H: What about Soap Hope drives you in your work?

J: Well, there’s the base level of a paycheck and doing work well because it’s, well, work, but as far as a bigger drive it’s just nice to be with a company that tries beyond bottom lines and profit. It’s tempting to be cynical and jaded, especially in this current climate, but I do get to catch my breath and read about the women and families that have been so positively affected by the programs we support, so that’s really what takes it to that next level. I’m also excited to see how we can branch out and further embrace/earn the banner of “Empowering Women”

H: Any other personal tips for living a more natural life style?

J: Just everyday mindfulness. Stuff like that usually comes down to a personal line, moral or otherwise, and as you feel a little more stable in your convictions or pursuit of health, be it mental or physical or spiritual or whatever, you’ll find the area where you best sleep at night. For me, it’s important to decide that you’re going to pay attention, and then finding that line becomes a personal choice.

H: Do you support reforming our federal laws to protect public health from toxic ingredients?

J: I do, and I really hope that within the current realm of issues which require massive federal attention, public health and the environment can remain high.

Find out more about Soap Hope’s ingredient philosophy and our mission.