Category Archives: Ingredients We Love

6 Benefits of the Goji Berry: A Tiny, Totally Awesome Fruit

Small, slightly sweet, and packed with antioxidants, the goji berry packs so many benefits that it may just be your new favorite fruit. It’s been used for centuries around the world as a dietary supplement. But the benefits of this unassuming little fruit go beyond the diet, and some of the health benefits might surprise you.

The Healthy Goji Berry: Small But Powerful

We have other favorite fruits at Soap Hope, but the goji berry just might top our list. A goji berry is about the size of the tip of your pinky finger. This fruit is a member of the nightshade family of plants — an important family of flowering plants that range from annual and perennial herbs to vines, shrubs, and trees. The bright, orange-red berry is mostly commonly grown in China, but can also be found in increasing frequency in countries like the Canada and the United States.

Occasionally referred to as wolf berries, they are often damaged during picking. As a result, you’ll often be able to find goji berries in a dried form as a way to preserve them. The most common dietary uses for goji berries are eating the dried fruit or drinking them as a fruit juice. When it comes to goji berries and skin care, the oil from the berries is extracted and used because of its high concentration of minerals and essential amino acids, as we’ll explain below.

6 Benefits of the Berry

This infographic highlights six benefits of the goji berry, including: as a natural remedy for diabetes, immune system boost, healthy & glowing skin, reducing fatigue, antioxidant properties, and amino acid powerhouse.

1) Natural Remedy

Goji berries have been used as natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, and even malaria. That’s because this little fruit is a natural antioxidant and full of nutrients that support bodily functions.

Antioxidants counteract the chemicals caused by free radicals, substances that occur naturally in our body. When free radicals are produced in excess, it can cause cell damage.

From WebMD: “Chinese research has shown a standardised dose of goji berry extract given over a month-long trial helped boost levels of protective antioxidant liver enzymes, and reduced by-products of oxidative damage in the blood by almost 10%.”

2) Immune System Boost

Because of its antioxidant superpowers, goji berries can help boost your immune system and its functions. The berries also contain vitamin A, which supports your body’s ability to fight off sickness.

3) Healthy, Glowing Skin

Many have praised the goji berry for its anti-aging potential. The fruit contains 11 of the 22 essential dietary trace minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc, along with amino acids. All of these vitamins and nutrients make the goji berry a powerhouse of skin care. This berry supports skin hydration and improves the tone of your skin.

4) Lighten Up the Mood

For many years, goji berry has been used in tonics or as an extract to improve mood and overall well-being. Goji berries contain complex starches (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides) which benefit immune function and reduce fatigue.

5) Aging Gracefully

The goji berry has a reputation for preserving long life. In China’s first herbal encyclopedia, “Shen Nong’s Materia Medica,” the goji was deemed a “superior tonic.” People used the berry in teas and tonics to strengthen the liver, purify the blood, protect healthy vision, and promote higher energy.

While there is not yet enough medical research to support the goji berry as a “fountain of youth,” the antioxidant properties, amino acids, and vitamins contained in the berry all support healthier bodily functions and even protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.

6) Overall Powerhouse

The goji berry contains essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are important for the growth and recovery of muscle tissue. While our bodies can make some of these building blocks (called non-essential amino acids), we have to obtain others (essential amino acids) from food or supplements, like the goji.

Small Berry, Big Benefits

All of these amazing properties make the tiny goji berry a powerful addition to any health or skin care regimen.

Natural ingredients like the goji berry deliver so many benefits to the human body. So, it’s no wonder we look for them in our skin and health care products here at Soap Hope.

(It’s important to note that the goji berry isn’t for everyone — people who use blood thinners or other medication could have a negative reaction. You should consult with your doctor first before trying any kind of natural remedy.)

Is this your first time learning about the goji berry? If so, what questions do you have for us?

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.

What is in Coconut Oil? 5 Things that Make it So Good

It seems like every few years there’s a new buzzworthy ingredient in natural health and beauty products, like argan oil and rosemary. The popular ingredient these days appears to be coconut oil. But what is in coconut oil that makes it so good for your face and skin?

I’ve heard that “coconut oil is the new duct tape; it fixes everything.” And while you may not be able to fix a broken bumper with it, coconut oil is being buzzed about for very good reason.

It’s touted as the ideal ingredient for lustrous hair, luminous skin, strong nails, and healthy digestion. In this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of coconut oil for your skin.

So, What is in Coconut Oil?

Much has been said about the benefits of coconut oil as a dietary supplement, but its benefits go beyond only internal. Here’s a quick breakdown of the naturally occurring elements of coconut oil that make it beneficial to the human body in so many ways:

  1. Antioxidant properties of Vitamin E contribute to healthy skin growth and renewal, and aids in prevention of premature aging.
  2. Proteins aid in cellular health and tissue repair, improving healing time of damaged tissues and ensuring healthy cell replacement rates.
  3. The natural pH balance of raw coconut oil is 7.3, a near perfect balance for the human body.
  4. The type of fatty acids in coconut oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, are more easily digested and used by the body than other types of more common fatty acids.
  5. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it an excellent cleansing agent for the skin.

They’re Even Better Together

All of the elements in coconut oil make this natural ingredient a fantastic health and beauty aid all by itself. But in combination with other natural, gentle elements like exfoliating scrubs or other moisturizing agents, the complimentary effects can be greatly enhanced:

  • With a body scrub or exfoliant, the natural oils aid in clearing skin and pores of sebum and increase cell regeneration for healthy, glowing skin.
  • In a moisturizer, coconut oil offers deep hydration very similar to the natural oils in our skin. It also helps to soothe and prevent dry, cracked skin, and heal acne.
  • In hair products, coconut oil moisturizes and hydrates, adding luster and shine back to dry, damaged hair.
If you’re ready to add coconut oil to your health and beauty regimen, check out our favorites from Deep Steep’s collection of coconut based products.

As an added bonus, here is a wonderful DIY Coconut Oil Hair Treatment, courtesy of Hair Love on Pinterest:

Deep Conditioning Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

Why a Clean Kitchen Isn’t Always a Safe Kitchen: A Case for Natural Kitchen Cleaner

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

As a kid, I always knew when my mom had been scrubbing the kitchen. Not just by how the sink sparkled and the floor shined, but by the pervasive smell of bleach and noxious blue window cleaner.

Like many of us, I grew up thinking that it’s not a clean kitchen unless it “smells clean.” But that particular “smell of clean” can also be the scent of damage to your body.

Toxic Clean

The American Lung Association warns of the dangers of many commercial household cleaners. The risks are plenty:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), bleach, and ammonia are known lung irritants that worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • When products containing household bleach and ammonia are mixed, they emit dangerous toxic gases into the air that have adverse effects on the body when inhaled.
  • New research shows that fragrances used in household cleaners, when mixed with ozone (O3), can create carcinogenic formaldehyde particles in the air.

Because of all of the risks associated with the use of harsh chemicals in our house, don’t you think it’s high time we reconsider the old “tried and true” cleaners as the benchmark of cleanliness?

Natural Clean

In all honesty, I never liked the smell of bleach or any other industrial cleaner when I was growing up.  As I’ve grown up and taken on the responsibility of managing the care of my own home, I’ve come to love the fresh and light aromas of pure plant extracts and essential oils found in natural kitchen cleaning products.

Products made with safe, natural ingredients instead of artificial chemicals can be just as effective at cleaning and sanitizing your home. And, you don’t have to give up “the smell of clean” just so you can get a product that’s safe enough for even the smallest hands and feet (or paws) in the house.

If you’ve ever caught your toddler (or pooch) eating food off the kitchen floor, you can appreciate the overall safety of a natural kitchen cleaner like Better Life’s All Purpose Cleaner.

Anti-Bacterial or Anti-Effective

When considering the effectiveness of natural ingredients, take for example the recent attention on the overuse of anti-bacterial soaps.

Once lauded as an aid in preventing illness and increasing safety, Triclosan, which is found in many anti-bacterial soaps and sanitizers, has been shown to have no demonstrable benefit in preventing everyday illnesses. In addition, triclosan may pose additional health risks, like the contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and causing adverse hormonal effects, when used long-term.

Top to Bottom

Even though my mom may not have had it entirely right with the “smell clean, is clean” mantra, she taught me that when we know better, we do better. It’s time to do better with our kitchen cleaners.

So when it’s time to clean your kitchen again (When is the kitchen really ever clean?), avoid the temptation of the “old smell test” and instead, opt for the refreshing aromas of natural ingredients that won’t overwhelm the olfactory receptors of your family. They will thank you, and your kitchen will thank you as well.

Here are a few of our favorite natural kitchen cleaners at Soap Hope.

Ingredients We Love: A Damascus Rose By Any Other Name…

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

One of my favorite forbidden treats as a little girl was the delicate glass jar on my grandmother’s vanity, filled with fragrant, pink-tinted rosewater.  I would dab just the faintest drop of the blushing potion beneath my nose so that the heady but soothing aroma of rose lingered well after the car ride home.

It wasn’t until much later, on my own journey that I discovered the benefits of that sweet elixir went far beyond its aroma. As my own path meandered towards natural and plant based solutions for both health and beauty, I came to understand the lasting allure of the rose for both mind and body.

The Symbol of Love

The symbol of love, The Queen of the Flowers, the rose draws countless references in art, history, and culture. With the recent passing of Valentine’s Day, roses have been absolutely everywhere.

Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger

From ancient Asia to Rome and Greece, this flower is steeped in mythology and revered as a most precious botanical. It was said that in India, Vishnu built his bride, Lakshmi, out of 108 large and 1008 small rose petals.

Nearly everywhere you look in ancient history, the rose is revered. What you may not know about this bud, is that it is honored just as much for its health and beauty prowess as it is for its appearance and aroma. In particular, the rose hybrid known as rosa damascena (or the Damascus Rose) offers wonderful benefits for the mind and body.

Not Just a Pretty Flower

The aroma alone of the Damascus rose carries a potent combination of both relaxing and uplifting properties. As an aromatherapeutic, rose oil is touted for improving and helping to stabilize the mood of regular users. I have to admit, even though I’m not wild about highly floral scents, I am unable to close my eyes and take a deep breath with my face buried in a rose without coming out the other side almost mystically happy.

Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger
Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger

But the reasons roses have been used for health and beauty for centuries go far beyond a pretty smell.  From controlling acne to maintaining moisture in dry or maturing skin, rose oil has many phenomenal benefits:

  1. CLEANSER: Like many essential oils, rose carries both antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it an outstanding cleanser.
  2. MOISTURIZER: As we are learning in the world of natural health and beauty, oil cleansers carry many benefits for maintaining moisture in the skin. Rose is particularly helpful to those facing dry conditions or wishing to maintain their skin’s moisture as they mature.
  3. ACNE: It may seem like a contradiction for something that hydrates so deeply to also help prevent and control blemishes on the skin, but rose oil is known for both of these things, making it an ideal ingredient to have in your routine in all stages of life.
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger

If you’re interested in the benefits of Damascus Rose for health and beauty, take a look at our selection from Badger’s Damascus Rose skin care line.

 

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.

koala-668720_1280The 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.

hydrosol-939216_1280Cough 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 vapours 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!

Ingredients We Love: Seaweed

Maybe you’ve only encountered seaweed in your favorite sushi restaurant or washed up on the beach, but seaweed has also been an ingredient in skin care throughout history.

A Bit of Background

Across every continent, seaweed has been used in a number of ways to promote health and cure ailments.

Source: Wiki Commons
Source: Wiki Commons

In Ireland, for instance, farmers collected seaweed to use as fertilizer for their crops, as early as 1200 AD. Ancient Hawaiians used seaweed for food, medicine, and in their tribal ceremonies.

The Japanese have used seaweed in their diet for centuries, as well, and recent research shows that using kelp in traditional dishes might contribute to the lower rate of cancer in Japanese women.

“Brown kelp seaweed makes up more than 10 percent of the Japanese diet,” said Christine Skibola, assistant research toxicologist at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “Soy has gotten most of the attention, but our study suggests that kelp may also contribute to these reduced cancer rates among Japanese women.”

Seaweed: Vegetables for Your Skin

Ocean-Fresh Whole Seaweed Detox Bath from Seaweed Bath Co.
Ocean-Fresh Whole Seaweed Detox Bath

The nutrients that seaweed provides can benefit our diet, but those same nutrients will also do wonders for your skin.

Seaweeds contain vitamins A, C, and E, and are full of minerals that our bodies love, like iron, potassium, and zinc.

Using seaweed directly on the skin has some amazing detoxifying effects — many spas use seaweed wraps to help diminish the appearance of cellulite and rejuvenate skin.

There are several varieties of seaweed, and can be grouped by color.

Brown algaes include kelp, kombu, and nori. This kind of seaweed is detoxifying and can help reduce cellulite.

Green algaes include wakame. Green algaes are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, and they assist in stimulating collagen production.

Blue-green algaes like spirulina contain amino acids and stimulate cellular metabolism.

Red algaes and white algaes are both known for their soothing properties.

Using Seaweed in Your Own Skin Care Regimen

If you’d like to incorporate seaweed into your beauty routine, there are a number of ways you can include it.

Using seaweed in a facial mask will help to detoxify skin, ease irritation, and moisturize dry skin.

Seaweed has long been praised for its effectiveness in getting rid of cellulite — many spas will offer full body wraps to minimize the appearance of dimpled skin.

Products with seaweed are also especially helpful in treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It’s a natural source of omega-3 fats, which nourish and hydrate, along with amino acids, which help to soothe flaking skin.

Here are a few of our favorite Soap Hope brands that use seaweed!

 

Our Love Affair with Lavender

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Cabo San Lucas. I stayed at a nice resort, and while a tourist trap like Cabo isn’t my favorite place in the world, I loved it — the resort was secluded and had such a tranquil, luxurious ambiance.

But one feature I remembered most was that it smelled AMAZING. The whole resort smelled phenomenal — softly floral, uplifting, and clean.

I found out that the hotel used essential oils that they sprayed throughout the entire resort, and the main component of the aroma was lavender.

Thus began my love affair with the lavender plant. I started researching and buying lotions and sprays that contained lavender, because the scent was so fresh and soft — and it seemed to clear away the cobwebs in my head when I used them.

Which makes sense. The word “lavender” comes from the Latin “lavare,” meaning “to wash.”

Lavender: A Longtime Favorite

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Indigo Wild’s Lavender Zum Mist

Lavender has long been praised for its medicinal attributes, as early as the first century. The Greeks and Romans both used lavender in their herbal baths, to ease sore muscles and help with tension.

Lavender has earned the nickname of “herb of love,” and it’s considered an aphrodisiac because of its ability to both stimulate blood flow and promote calmness.

The plant has been used for centuries in the culinary arts, as well, and is used in a variety of dishes as a spice rub, or in sweets and desserts. (It’s also quite lovely in a number of different cocktails.)

We’re big fans of lavender here at Soap Hope, not only for its gorgeous aroma, but because it’s naturally capable of healing skin conditions and protecting your skin.

Here are a few ways we love using lavender!

1. Say goodbye to bugs!

Lavender oil can be used to prevent insect bites – spraying the skin with a mix of the oil and water will help to ward off mosquitoes, for instance, who avoid the smell. But if you do get bitten, lavender is also an anti-inflammatory, and will help to prevent swelling and further irritation.

2. Pain be gone!

head-650878_1920Lavender is often used in massage therapy, to help relieve sore muscles, sprains, and joint pain. Using lavender in aromatherapy has been proven to reduce the experience of pain in postoperative procedures.

3. No need to stress.

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Badger Balm’s Stress Soother

The calming properties of lavender have been lauded for ages, and there’s science to back it up, too. A recent study tested the aromatherapeutic effects of lavender oil on patients reporting insomnia due to stress, and the results showed “a significant improvement in sleep quality after intervention.”

4. Get things moving!

Lavender can help improve blood circulation AND it aids in digestion. Essentially, this plant is great at making sure all of our systems are running smoothly and properly.

It’s no wonder, then, that we have a wide selection of soaps and lotions and products that contain lavender here at Soap Hope. It’s one of our favorite plants!

What are some ways you love using lavender?

 

A Lovely Senti-Mint: The Many Everyday Applications of the Mint Plant

Widely used for centuries, mint is one of the easiest plants to grow, and has more uses than you could shake a stick at.

You can drink the mint plant as a tea, by steeping its leaves in hot water, or as a refreshing addition to your water during the summer months. (It’s great in a cocktail, too, but that’s another blog post.)

The oil from the mint plant is also used in a range of natural products because of its calming effects.

peppermint-tea-1109_640There are dozens of mint varieties, including spearmint and peppermint, and you’ll find that mint can be used in more ways than just as an after-dinner palate cleanser.

Digestion

There’s a reason you’re offered a mint after a meal. Its aroma helps to activate our salivary glands, which helps with digestion, and can soothe nausea or indigestion.

Cold and Cough

Mint can help to relieve congestion and soothes inflamed tissue in the respiratory system.

Headaches

Applying balms with mint oil can alleviate inflammation and temperature rise associated with headaches and migraines.

Fatigue

Need a pick-me-up? Mint is a natural stimulant, and can help you recharge if you happen to find yourself in a funk.

Skin Care

mosquito-719613_1280Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe irritation and redness associated with acne and rashes. You’ll also find mint oil in bug repellents, because they hate the strong aroma.

Dental Care

As a natural germicide, mint helps to kill off bacterial growth that can lead to infection.

How else do you use mint? Feel free to share remedies or recipes that you love in the comments below!

 

And here are a few awesome products here at Soap Hope that contain mint:

The Many Health Benefits of Rosemary (Pt. 2)

A couple weeks ago, we waxed poetic about the many benefits that rosemary brings to the table. If you missed out, click here and feel free to catch up on things.

Back? Good. Now that you’re here, we can go over even MORE advantages to using rosemary.

Rosemary – An Awesome Antioxidant

Rosemary is an antioxidant, rather than a preservative.

Technically, a preservative is a synthetic chemical that prevents decay and spoilage. An antioxidant is a naturally occurring element that helps to slow oxidation, which causes decay, spoilage and cellular breakdown.

Rosemary contains over a dozen antioxidant elements, including vitamin E, which makes it extremely useful in preserving organic products.

Synthetic preservatives will help a product last longer but can be dangerous to your health. Antioxidants slow the process of decay and spoilage without harming you or the environment; in fact, antioxidants are extremely beneficial to your health.

All About Oxidation – How It Affects Your Food, Body and Soap

Knowing about cellular breakdown is not just for chemists; oxidation affects us on a daily basis and has serious health implications.

WARNING: SCIENCE AHEAD.

atom with electronsTo start with, atoms need an even number of electrons to maintain stability, which allows whatever material they compose (organic or mineral) to function properly.

During the oxidation process, light and oxygen come in contact with an atom, which causes it to lose an electron and become unstable. Unstable atoms with an odd number of electrons are called free radicals, the kind of elements that cause decomposition and decay.

The term “free radicals” is often used when talking about the health benefits of pomegranate juice or green tea. On a chemical level, free radicals are like atomic thieves. To become stable again with an even number of electrons, the free radical must steal an electron from another atom. This causes a chain reaction of unstable atoms stealing from each other.

In organic matter, these unstable atoms can cause an entire cell to die, leaving leftover unstable atoms whizzing around to wreak havoc on an ever increasing number of other atoms.

This process causes organic material to decompose and eventually spoil. The oxidation of oils (called lipid oxidation) in all-natural soap can cause it to disintegrate and lose its cleansing and rejuvenating effects – unless a natural ingredient like rosemary is added to stop the process.

Free radicals are especially harmful because they cause this chain reaction of electron thievery and cellular death in human systems as well – the results of which include cancer and premature aging.

Antioxidants like rosemary stop the chain reaction of oxidation by “donating” one of their own electrons to the free radicals, which keeps atoms stable and cells healthy.

For this reason antioxidants are attributed with the ability to increase product shelf life, prevent cancer, lengthen life spans and slow aging.

Next time you buy pomegranate juice at the grocery store or order rosemary products from Soap Hope, you’ll know why antioxidants receive so much attention.

Antioxidants and Skin Care

In order to keep every ingredient all-natural, soap makers use antioxidants like rosemary. All-natural soap products contain essential plant oils, olive or coconut oil, or goat’s milk, which means they contain lipids, leaving them vulnerable to oxidation.

hand washingFor longer product shelf life in all-natural products, an antioxidant is a powerful alternative to synthetic preservatives. When used as preserving ingredient, antioxidants like rosemary are used in small extract amounts.

Applying products topically can affect your internal systems as well; what is good on the body is good in the body.

That’s why we’re such big fans of ingredients like rosemary in our products. Here are a few of our favorites!