Category Archives: Ingredients We Love

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.

Not Puppy Love: Why is Formaldehyde in Shampoo

When you last went to the store, did you buy soap or shampoo? Have you recently purchased shampoo for your dog or cat? If so, did you even consider that there might be formaldehyde in shampoo, soap, and other skin care products you use every day for your pets, your baby, or yourself? This is the sad, but sometimes true reality of the products we have in our homes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Really, there’s formaldehyde in shampoo?!

By now you’ve probably seen the adorable pictures that blogger Jessica Shyba took of her son Beau napping with the family dog Theo.

Puppy and baby got us talking here at Soap Hope about what goes into products for kids and pets.

We picked up a bottle of dog shampoo at the local pet store and had a look at the ingredient list. It started off fine – water, honey extract, and chamomile extract seemed like winners to us — but why was artificial fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, and Tetrasodium EDTA in dog shampoo?

Formaldehyde is for the Dogs

DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that works by releasing formaldehyde into the product continuously over time. Formaldehyde does a great job inhibiting the growth of mold; but it’s also a known carcinogen, and most people don’t want it on their bodies or on their pets – especially when the puppy is snuggled up with the kids.

The consumer goods industry in the U.S. has a lot of leeway. If they want formaldehyde in shampoo, for example, but you don’t want to tell their customers, they can just add DMDM Hydantoin instead. The DMDM Hydantoin will slowly break down into formaldehyde in the shampoo throughout the life of the product. Problem solved!

(In the European Union, companies can’t get away with this trick: if an ingredient in their product breaks down into formaldehyde, they have to write “contains formaldehyde” on the label.)

In the Dog House

It’s not just Theo’s shampoo we think about at Soap Hope, it’s young Beau’s as well. Until 2014, Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo had Quaternium-15 in it. You guessed it – Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde in shampoo and other products they designed for babies. Years of public outcry finally caused Johnson & Johnson to reformulate their baby shampoo.

J&J Removing Formaldehyde in Shampoo
J&J removes formaldehyde-causing ingredients in their shampoo.
Image Source: NYTimes.com

Shampoo needs a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria. Big manufacturers don’t care that Quaternium-15 and DMDM Hydantoin produce formaldehyde; they care that they are very cheap and give their products a shelf life of over a year. These manufacturers know they can put pretty pictures on the products and make commercials with happy kids and pets, and that most people won’t look any further.

“No more tears!” Not quite.

Better Ways

There are better ways for manufacturers to preserve shampoo rather, than putting formaldehyde in their products. They can use a low-risk food-grade preservative like potassium sorbate, which has the same toxicity level as table salt. Even better, they can use vitamin e (tocopherol).

Some manufacturers don’t even require a preservative. For your pooch, try the totally natural Woof Wild Dog Shampoo Bar. Hand made by Maggie Hanus at A Wild Soap Bar, this shampoo bar has organic oils, aloe, oats, clay, sea salt, essential oils, yucca root and horsemint. It will leave your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and smelling great.

For moms and dads looking for a safe shampoo, we recommend any products from Acure Organics.

For baby’s bath time, try Hugo Natural’s Chamomile Vanilla Shampoo and Wash, followed by Badger’s Chamomile & Calendula Baby Oil, which contains nothing but certified organic essential oils.

What other ingredients are you worried about in your body care products? Let us know.

Hair’s Best Friend: Moroccan Argan Oil

Miracle Oil

By now you’ve certainly heard of argan oil. It’s been called “the miracle oil” and “liquid gold,” and while it’s a relatively new discovery in the beauty industry, the benefits of argan oil have been known for centuries in northern Africa. In the arid environment where it grows, argan has always been used to keep hair and skin soft and supple. Rich in nutrients, argan was also used topically for skin ailments and to fight infections.

Argan oil is one of the rarest oils on the planet, because it comes from the fruit of the argania spinosa tree which grows in only a very small part of the world.

Focus on Hair

Argan oil has powerful applications for skin, face, eyes, and nails, and as you will learn today, for hair.

Many people who try argan oil for the first time are amazed by its effects. It helps with both oily and dry scalp conditions because it regulates the activity of hair follicles. Argan is used to counteract the root causes of dry or damaged hair. For those with dull or rough hair, it can create shine and smoothness.

Argan oil is rich in the nutrients that your body and hair need – antioxidants, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid to name a few. Hair absorbs and retains this oil to create shine and body – but argan is light and does not build up, so hair gets the benefit of these great properties without being weighed down.

Argan oil penetrates the hair follicle and even protects from UV rays and environmental pollutants; it is definitely recommended for color treated hair and to strengthen styled hair.

Everything Good

At Soap Hope we always encourage practices that support our “Everything Good” motto. We love that most argan oil in the world is produced by fair trade women’s co-operatives. Environmentally, the argan forest in Morocco is a designated protected biosphere to ensure that argan fruit production remains sustainable.

I Want It!

Soap Hope’s brands recognize the importance of argan oil in their top of the line hair products. You’ll find argan-focused hair products and more from Seaweed Bath Company, Acure Organics, Hugo Naturals, and more. You can also get pure organic argan oil at Soap Hope from Acure Organics.

Do you use argan oil as a part of your hair regimen? Share your experiences with us in the comments below – we want to hear from you.

Ingredients We Love: The Ever-Useful Eucalyptus

Finding natural remedies is kind of our thing here at Soap Hope. Whether you suffer from a condition like eczema or want to relieve headaches without medication, we’re pretty convinced there are a variety of treatments available if we just look at the natural world around us.

One of those natural wonders is the eucalyptus tree. Specifically, the essential oil that comes from the eucalyptus plant.

Eucalyptus is a type of flowering shrub, of which there are hundreds of species. Most of those species are native to Australia, with only 15 species existing outside of the Land Down Under.

The leaves of the eucalyptus are typically poisonous to most animals — except the adorable koala bear, of course, whose unusually long intestines help it process the toxins in the leaves. Fun fact: koalas can eat up to THREE POUNDS of eucalyptus leaves in one day.

While the leaves are toxic to most organisms, the oil produced from eucalyptus is safe in lower doses.

In fact, eucalyptus oil can be found in a number of skin care and aromatherapeutic products, because it’s just that useful!

Inflammation Be Gone

We discussed inflammation and its complications in a previous post, and it’s a condition that everyone suffers from at some point. Luckily, the oil from a eucalyptus plant is an analgesic, which means that it’s a pain reliever. When applied, eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect, which helps to reduce symptoms of inflammation like swelling and redness.

Immune System Booster

Eucalyptus oil is capable of preventing and stopping infection — its antimicrobial properties make it effective at killing germs and preventing any further infection.

“When administered, this oil [strengthens] the response of macrophages (the cells that kill infections). Moreover, it also helps the immune cells within the body to produce their own innate protective mechanism,” reports a recent study.

No More Pests

You’ll find eucalyptus oil in a number of insecticides and repellents. Its strong aroma makes eucalyptus oil perfect for keeping insects like mosquitoes and flies at bay. The oil is also frequently used to prevent and kill lice and is an excellent alternative to mainstream lice treatments that are severe and damaging to the hair.

Fresh Breath and Sparkling Smiles

You might find eucalyptus oil in your mouthwash if you read the ingredients. Because of its impressive germicidal qualities, the cineole compound in eucalyptus makes it great at fighting germs and preventing cavities.

Cough and Cold Relief

The next time you’re congested, try a steam inhalation treatment with eucalyptus oil for near-instant relief. “[It’s] due to the antibacterial qualities that wipe out even drug-resistant bacterium from the respiratory tract. Moreover, the vapors of eucalyptus oil act as a powerful decongestant which when inhaled help in relieving the symptoms of bronchitis and a congested nose.”

Mental Clarity and Brain Power

Eucalyptus oil is often used in aromatherapy for stress relief and mental exhaustion. The oil is a stimulant and helps to increase blood flow and circulation when used. Incorporating eucalyptus oil in aromatherapy helps to not only clear nasal passages but helps to increase blood flow and bring more oxygen to the brain.

So the next time you’re sneezing or exhausted, or wanting a natural remedy for pain relief, give eucalyptus a try! What other treatments have you used eucalyptus oil for? Feel free to comment below.

Check out some of our favorite Soap Hope products that contain eucalyptus oil here!

Refreshing Summer Mint Tea

When I think of Summer I think of swimming, afternoon sun soaks, and my Aunt’s mint tea. This taste so refreshing on a hot summer day. So as I enjoyed a glass this past weekend, I thought I bet there are others who would love this recipe for celebrating the upcoming 4th of July. The crisp mint, the juicy lemons….oh so refreshing.

An hour from refreshing summer joy…

Ingredients

Pro Tips

I use Yogi Refreshing Mint Tea because the taste is divine and this specific blend has Green Tea Extract and Cinnamon Bark with Ginger and Peppermint Leaf. It is the perfect blend. You can use another mint tea, but I’ve yet to find one that compares to this blend.

Don’t use a plastic container, invest in a nice glass pitcher, your body will thank you!

If you are looking to punch up this tasty tea, you can always throw in a splash of Vodka or an afternoon cocktail.

You can put sugar in this recipe if you wish, but I would avoid it.

Directions

In a large teapot pour the boiling water over the 12 tea bags and allow it to steep for 20 minutes.

Pour the freshly brewed tea (sans the tea bags) into your glass container and place in the refrigerator for an hour or until ready to serve.

To serve, place mint sprigs in the bottom of the glass along with a slice of lemon and pour the tea over these ingredients.

Place some ice cubes into the glass as well to keep it chilled.

Serve to guests or family and watch them enjoy!

This recipe serves 8, so double if you want a batch that lasts for a while.