Category Archives: The Healthy Life

Tea Time!

Nothing beats a nice warm cup of tea. It’s a healthy alternative to other, more sugary drinks, and it can be matched to foods and moods. In fact, you can drink tea instead of taking chemicals to help with being too energized, or not energized enough. It can calm you when your life is a storm and be enjoyed to capture the happiest of times. It’s no wonder you can find tea the world over. Especially in Turkey, the world’s number one tea drinker! It seems Britain has been dethroned.

With so much tea in the world, how do you figure out what to drink? Here are a few types of tea, and their properties that can be of benefit by pouring into a cup.

Lavender Tea

Okay, you’re awake now. But it’s midnight and it’s time to sleep, your mind is buzzing. Tea won’t work, it wakes you up, right? Not always. Lavender is known to help people relax. A cup of tea made from lavender can have the same effect. Just take a deep breath, a sip of tea and feel the calm sweep over you, like a gentle purple wave that has a hint of flowers. We also love this honey lavender infused tea.

Green Tea

Feel that? That tiny yuck feeling that gives you a hint of a headache and tickle in your throat? No, you can’t. You need those sick days for when your kid gets sick or something we would never do – play hooky. It’s time for tea! A cup of green tea will help boost your immune system and throw off that cold before it can even take hold. There’s a green tea for everything from Yogi, check out their selection.

Peppermint Tea

Life can be stressful. But that’s okay, we have meditation. If only it were that easy to get into the mindset. Take a deep breath in and count 1…2…3… and remember that there’s a meeting in an hour you must present at. Let’s start over. Make a cup of peppermint tea, let it soothe you and boost your outlook. It’s specifically good at calming mental stress. All better? Take a deep breath in, chant your meditation phrase and rock that meeting.

Black Tea

Patience yields focus. But black tea is a good alternative if you’re having trouble. It increases alpha-brain waves and contains all sorts of natural goodness that helps with concentration. Task list – you just met your worst enemy.

Ginger Tea

Do you ever just wake up feeling bad? Some call it waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I call it Monday! A cup of tea infused with ginger, we love Pukka Tea’s Revitalise can help perk that mood right up. It’s just a good feeling in liquid form. You’ll be cheered up in no time.

Find your favorite natural and organic tea when shopping at Soap Hope and know that with each sip you are helping to end poverty for women and their families here locally and around the world. How’s that for a power-packed cup of tea?

Make Your Belly Smile With Probiotics

You might have heard probiotics in passing as something that’s good for you. Pro- means good, doesn’t it? Well, yeah. Probiotics are often described as being the “good bacteria” in your body. We get them at birth from our mothers so that the body can start recognizing them as helpful.

They live in your gut—gross I know—but they don’t hurt you. In fact, they help with digestion, the immune system and more. Probiotics help move food along in your gut by stimulating nerves. As for the immune system, well, it’s much closer to where these probiotics are than you think. That’s because 70% of the immune system is in the digestive tract.

Using topical application can help treat skin problems while also offering some probiotics. It can soothe inflamed skin by calming the immune system and keeping it from irritating the skin. Probiotics that specialize in helping skin can delay signs of aging and help smooth wrinkles. Finally, it can strengthen the protection of your skin. That’s just what it does on its own. When it’s used in combination with other treatments, it can help boost the effectiveness of it. If you want to give some probiotic cream a try, I recommend Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream.

Now that we know a bit about these helpful little bacteria, how do we get them and how do we lose them?

Get Out Bacteria! Wait, no, not you

Overuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics fight bacteria, but it isn’t discriminatory between bacteria that are good for you and those that are bad. Typically after a sickness, you’ll lose some probiotics, but they can be easily restored. Using too many antibiotics, however, may start to kill off a significant number of your bacteria buddies. Try to stay balanced in your usage.

Lack of Exercise

Who would’ve thought exercise helps the gut? People who exercise and support themselves often have a higher number of and healthier probiotics. This might be because they eat a wider range of foods to help recover. Research is still trying to find all the connections, but they know that those who live more athletic lifestyles have a wider variety of probiotics.

Poor Eating Habits

As stated above, those who eat a wider range of foods tend to have stronger probiotics. Processed food and foods containing food coloring kill off probiotics. You don’t have to stop eating them all together, however, do limit how much of these you consume. On a similar note, overconsumption of alcohol is a major problem for probiotics. Again, you don’t have to stop. In fact, red wine has a few helpful bacteria of its own. Moderation and balance is the key.

Getting More Bacteria Buddies

Bacteria isn’t supposed to be in food, though. Well, to a certain extent, yes, and that’s why finding food containing probiotics can be a bit of a challenge. Foods considered “sour” typically have some probiotics. Kefir is fermented milk. It contains yeast and probiotics, which is very healthy. Kimchi is a Chinese dish that can contain many probiotics. It’s a source of other health benefits, like cholesterol and colon health. The most typical place you can find probiotics is yogurt. However, some people are picky and don’t like these foods, others may feel a bit squeamish about eating living things. That’s fine, along with creams and toners, you can still ingest some using supplements.

4 Ways to Try Activated Charcoal + Other Benefits

Charcoal is touted to have many benefits from whiting your teeth to riding your body of bacteria. On the market, we’ve seen that response with charcoal masks to tooth-whitening tubes of toothpaste. Activated Charcoal is leaving its carbon “footprint” just about everywhere. But the real question is does it work and is it safe? And what exactly is activated charcoal? 

When we think charcoal we think time to fire up the grill but hold on a moment. That regular charcoal is a known carcinogen, while activated charcoal is medicinal. Activated charcoal is created by the slow burning of wood, peat or even some shells that are treated with oxygen. Activated charcoal is sold and produced in many forms such as scrubs, sponges, fabrics, powders, and pills. The ingredient has been used for millennia by eastern medicine and is now just becoming popular in western countries. It’s now reached the superfood status due to its potent alkalizing detoxification properties and touted health benefits.

Here are 5 ways we love to use activated charcoal that is safe:

1. Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening 

Usually, I would be skeptical of anything saying it would whiten your teeth naturally, but I’m a believer in activated charcoal for teeth whitening. It helps to absorb discolorations in your tooth enamel. I’m in favor of toothpaste that uses activated coconut shell charcoal. Right now I’m really loving Desert Essence’s Activated Charcoal Toothpaste infused with mint. This cool gray, not black formula lets you get all the benefits from activated charcoal without the potential work of cleaning out the black charcoal bits. It also has a hit of Australian Tea Tree Oil that helps defend against sugar acids as the baking soda and sea salt gently clean your teeth. Find it here.

2. Activated Charcoal Masks

I love face masks. I have a stack of them and I choose which benefit I want to give my sink as I sink into a nice warm bath. I lean back and relax as the mask does its work. Recently I tried Derma-E’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask with Activated Charcoal and I was pleasantly surprised. This dual-action, deep detox mask purges pores of toxins then gently exfoliates for fresh, glowing skin. I like to keep it on as long as possible, and for someone with sensitive and dry skin, it seems to work on all skin types. This is a great product to dip your toes in the Activated Charcoal pool.

3. Activated Charcoal Scrubs

We all need to exfoliate at least twice a week and I thought I’d incorporate a little-activated charcoal into that routine to see if I saw any benefit. The fact is my pores definitely got cleaner and Indigo Wild makes a Zum Facial Scrub that uses an age-old formula to cleanse your face of dirt and impurities, which stick to the activated charcoal. When the charcoal gets rinsed, so does the toxins and gunk. In other words, the scrub cleanses, detoxifies, and hydrates resulting in beautiful, healthy skin. It comes in a glass container so you can easily just leave it in the shower and use throughout the week.

4. Activated Charcoal Deodorant

While there hasn’t been much study around charcoal in deodorant it is worth a try as charcoal is known not to irritate skin and is a natural byproduct. It claims to help neutralize odor and absorb wetness at the same time detoxifying your pits. If you try it, Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Enriched Natural Deodorant has plant-based powders that are free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, and no artificial fragrance.

Other benefits of activated Charcoal include:

Poisoning

Activated charcoal is primarily used to cure poisoning. It’s able to absorb toxic material so that the body may more easily rid itself of it. You may have heard of someone on the news getting charcoal for an overdose, and this is why. It’s used in hospitals and can be carried in a first aid kit. If someone is poisoned, you may ask a 911 dispatcher if it’s okay to administer activated charcoal while they are on their way. It may help slow the poison until an ambulance arrives.

Gastrointestinal Issues

While not as extreme as poison, some materials can upset a stomach or intestines. Like poison, activated charcoal can help with that. It absorbs material that the intestines have trouble with and make it easier to pass through. This can reduce gas. However, to be effective, it’s best to take 500 milligrams before the meal. Check out these for your tummy.

Hangover

It happens to everyone. A misjudgment on how strong a drink is, had one too many. It’s okay because activated charcoal can help that hangover. It removes harmful toxins that alcohol contains, settling the stomach and making the morning a little more bearable. (Note: research is inconclusive on alcohol poisoning. If alcohol poisoning is suspected, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room.)

While the jury is still out on all the benefits of activated charcoal the decision is that it is safe for use, has properties that help skin and body and plus the color looks really neat!

Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Okay, so ingredients are important. The quality, the type, and the benefit. We all need to focus on what we are putting in and on our bodies and we rely on the brands we buy to ensure they are not putting ingredients in the products we love that are toxic.
With the choice of “natural” and “organic” products, it can be difficult to sort through which ingredients are acceptable and which are downright bad for you. We care as much as you do about ingredients and we carefully review and rate every single product we sell on our shelves and those who do not past muster, well they are banned from our shelves that you shop from.
We are just going to share just a few today you’ll want to avoid when shopping outside of Soap Hope.

BHA

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative linked to cancer, skin irritation, and hormone disruption.

BHT

Butylated Hydroxytoluene s a Toluene-based preservative linked to skin irritation.

Formaldehyde

You won’t typically see Formaldehyde listed as an ingredient, but “releasers” or “donors” often are listed on ingredient labels. These ingredients likely have Formaldehyde tagging along, not specifically indicated because they don’t have to. We ban this ingredient. Other names that Formaldehyde will be listed as is
  • Dmdm Hydantoin
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
  • Quaternium-15
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol
  • Polyoxymethylene Urea
  • 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane
  • Glyoxal
  • Methenamine
  • Benzylhemiformal

Hydroquinone

This ingredient is typically used to lighten skin and it inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. It is a metabolite of the carcinogen benzene.

Methyl Cellosolve

While still used in the United States, this ingredient is banned in the European Union. It is a solvent that is used as an additive in perfumes. It can cause skin irritation and may cause effects on the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidneys, and liver.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Again another ingredient banned by our EU friends in leave-on cosmetics and they are restricted to a small amount in rinse off products. They can cause skin allergies and irritation and may be toxic to the nervous system.

Nanoparticles

We recently wrote a blog just on Nanoparticles. These small ingredients are ultrafine and may cross over permeable membranes in our bodies (including our brains and other organs). Since there is not enough research and are unnecessary ingredients, we won’t sell products that carry these in them. Nanoparticles ingredients include Nano-sized Zinc or Titanium Dioxide, Fullerenes, Nanotubes, Liposomes, and Quantum Dots.

Parabens

Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. We ban Parabens and their cohorts Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben.

Petrolatum and Paraffin

Petrolatum is a semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, and several other ingredients are also petroleum distillation byproducts. The concerns with these ingredients are unsustainable sourcing and possible PAHs contamination. PAHs (which stands for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) are linked to cancer.

Phthalates

Certain phthalates (like Dibutyl Phthalate, aka DBP, or DEHP, and DEP) appear on product labels, but most typically remain unlisted, hiding under the term “fragrance.” Since some phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption, we ask that our brand partners to avoid using them as ingredients altogether.

Resorcinol

Usually used in hair dyes, it’s linked to a host of issues including allergies, irritation, and hormone disruption.\

SPF’s

We won’t sell Chemical SPFs at Soap Hope. Why you ask? Some have been linked to hormone disruption. Others, like Avobenzone, appear safer, but remain understudied. Chemical sunscreens include Benzophenone; Diphenylmethanone; Diphenyl Ketone; 119-61-9; Benzoylbenzene; Phenyl Ketone; Oxybenzone; 2-Hydroxy-4 Methoxybenzophenone; 131-57-7; Benzophenone-3; (2-Hydroxy-4-Methoxyphenyl).  We stock (non-nano) Mineral Sunscreens that contain natural ingredients like Zinc and Titanium Dioxide, which physically block the sun’s rays and leave your body toxin free.

Toluene

A solvent that is toxic to the immune system, may cause birth defects, and usually found in nail polishes. We ask our brand partners to find safer alternatives.

Triclosan and Triclocarban

These are antibacterials and preservatives used in personal care and home-cleaning products. They’re persistent in the environment and may be associated with hormone disruption.

Rosemary Herb Shortbread

These delicious little savory herb shortbreads are sure to be party pleaser as well as a special treat if just by yourself. These crackers like herb bites have endless concepts, but today we are sharing a rosemary recipe. Think of other ideas to use this recipe with like thyme or sage. My favorite way to enjoy these is with a glass of crisp white wine, but you choose your beverage of choice!

Tips for Recipe

  • Butter should be at room temperature. I typically will just pull the butter out in the morning if I plan to make them later that day or I’ll pull it out the night before.
  • Always use fresh ingredients, so for this recipe, your rosemary should be fresh. Dried won’t be nearly as fragrant or as tasty. Remove the leaves from the stems and give them a quick chop before putting into the food processor.
  • You should mix the dough in your food processor just until it comes together in a lump. This should happen in less than a minute. You may need to add a little tiny bit of water to your dough to bring it together. Start with a 1/4 tsp and go up from there as needed.
  • I believe these taste best in a shortbread cookie texture, but if you want yours crisper, just cut them thinner and bake them a little longer.

Ingredients

  •  1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced rosemary leaves, plus extra whole leaves for the tops of the crackers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • extra whole leaf herbs for laminating onto the dough (if you would like to)

Instructions

Put the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt, and pepper into the bowl of the food processor. At the same time, add the chunks of butter and pulse about 30 times to combine into mixture until the processed dough comes together, this should take less than a minute, but you may need to add a little bit of water to it. If you add water, mix again for good measure.

Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll out until the smooth flat top. The dough should be smooth and consistent, without floury or pockets of air. Wrap the flat disk and place in the fridge for an hour.

Pull the dough out and place on the counter on top of wax paper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 thickness. I recommend doing this between to sheets of wax paper and it keeps everything together. Best baking tip EVER! There should be no sticking if you do this. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out your crackers. Remove the cut dough to a baking sheet. Smooth out your remaining dough and make additional crackers. Roll and repeat until completed.

Bake the shortbread beauties for 10-15 minutes just until they start turning a pale golden light brown around the edges. Cool these for a few minutes on the pan and then remove to the rack. The shortbreads will firm up as it cools and be delicious.

These are really great for gatherings and for parties. As we enter into the Fall arm yourself with this recipe as a great side with a warm bowl of soup.

 

 

Benefits of Turmeric for Body and Brain

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant. Curcumin in turmeric is what gives the powerful benefits. Most of the time it is not that high in concentration unless you are using an extract. Turmeric is considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence and we are just learning from many high-quality studies the major benefits for our body and brain. We’ve pulled the top research-based health benefits of turmeric.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

Inflammation has been linked to how the body ages and how our body repairs itself. Inflammation is very important to human health and it helps the body fight, foreign invaders. Without inflammation, bacteria can easily take over your body and kill you. For inflammation to be beneficial it should be short-term. If inflammation exists longer than necessary it becomes a major issue where your body inappropriately attacks its own tissues. Researchers and Scientists believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and a variety of degenerative conditions (1, 2, 3).

Anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. Curcumin, as we mentioned, is a strong anti-inflammatory, so powerful in fact that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects (4, 5, 6). What we learned is that inflammation is extremely complicated, and the key takeaway is that curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level.

Increases Antioxidant Capacity in the Body

Antioxidants are important because they protect our body from free radicals. Curcumin, found in turmeric, is a very potent antioxidant. The properties of curcumin have been considered to be associated with its antioxidant properties. Curcumin is thought to play a vital role against pathological conditions. It basically interrupts the process of inflammation in the body. It also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Not only is it an antioxidant on its own, but it also enhances the effectiveness of the body’s own antioxidants. There are many studies and medical professionals who support the claim of turmeric increasing antioxidant capacity in the body (7, 8).

Boosts Brain Function and Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

Love your body and your brain. As we age, our ability to recall information slows. We become slower especially when multitasking. It has recently been discovered that curcumin enhances your brain function, reducing the chances of cognitive decline.

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

The antioxidants in turmeric prevent damage to cholesterol, thereby helping to protect against atherosclerosis. Curcumin lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides, another fat that circulates in the bloodstream and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (9).

Benefits Against Fighting Depression

Curcumin may be a great natural alternative to drugs to fight depression. People who suffer from depression often try numerous medications, in search of one that is effective without horrible side effects. Curcumin helps with depression by increasing the two critical neurotransmitters associated with depression, serotonin, and dopamine (10).

We recommend the herbal liquid form of turmeric to get the best benefits, but there are also capsules and of course adding the spice to your food is always delicious and beneficial.

We Ban Nanoparticles From Our Shelves

Every heard of it?

Nanoparticles are in personal care products. Most nanoparticles serve as delivery agents that help other ingredients penetrate into the skin and homogenize the distribution of colored pigments in cosmetics, making the delivery of sunscreen and other treatments less greasy. They also create a silky texture found in creams and powders. Nanoparticles are smaller than a human cell, so tiny that they are invisible to the human eye.

Why it’s not welcome

This is a new ingredient technology and there are a lot of unknowns in terms of nanomaterials and their effect on human health and our planet. What we do know is that when inhaled, nanoparticles can become embedded into your lungs. Another potential issue is that they are so small they could potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream. We just don’t have enough information on this, and the little we do have suggests that it is not good. So until we know more, that’s not a health risk we are willing to take, especially when it comes to our customer’s health (1). Plus the chemicals these nanoparticles are delivering are typical of a toxic composition.

Although there is little definitive evidence, the health effects of nanoparticles are likely to depend also on their shape. A significant example is nanotubes, which may be only of a few nanometres in diameter but a potential length of several micrometres. A recent study showed a high toxicity of carbon nanotubes which seemed to produce harmful effects by an entirely new mechanism, different from the normal model of toxic dust (2).

Before you panic

The research is contentious and not yet conclusive. But we know that there are safer alternatives, so why risk it? At Soap Hope, we think it’s far more important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to ingredient safety, so when in doubt we ban it for the safety of our customers, their families, and their homes.

We’re in good company

Every Maker (the brands we carry on our shelves) has either never used Nanoparticles or eliminated it from their formulas in favor of safer alternatives that are allowed at Soap Hope. The ingredients in each and every product at Soap Hope are vetted for safety before we decide to carry them. We care as much as you do about what we put in and on our bodies. Learn more about our ingredient philosophy, the ingredients we ban, and our product rating system of Good, Better, Best.

Homeopathy: How It Works

Homeopathy means “the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease.” So in other words, it’s an alternative medicine practice that uses the smallest possible amount of an active ingredient in order to help treat or cure an illness, even if the same ingredient caused or contributed to an illness in the first place. The concept is called “like cures like.”

Homeopathy dates back to the late 1700s, and today the World Health Organization recognizes it as the “second largest therapeutic system in the world.”

Homeopathic medicine comes from a range of natural, pure substances, which can be in the form of a plant, mineral, or animal-based ingredient. Examples of this may be: fresh or dried herbs, activated charcoal, vinegar, garlic, caffeine, poison ivy, stinging nettle plants, and the list goes on and on. These substances are extracted and processed to create tablets, ointments, gels, drops, and creams.

Some known remedies that you might recognize: St. John’s Wort, chamomile, calcium carbonate, and potassium.

Homeopathic medicine is considered a safe practice and remedies have been regulated by the FDA since the 1980s.

The great thing about homeopathic treatments is they are tailored to each person’s specific symptoms, body, and needs. This is an individualized process. Homeopathy most often is used to treat the following health problems: depression, allergies, asthma, migraines, tension headaches, digestive problems like IBS, anxiety disorders, dermatitis, skin disorders, arthritis, fatigue, thyroid or autoimmune disorders, and more.

The 5 major benefits from homeopathy are:

  1. All aspects of an individual are considered when finding the right treatment.
  2. Low does of natural products are used.
  3. Helps to treat allergies and asthma.
  4. Can help reduce depression or anxiety.
  5. Helps control pain.

What’s missing from your natural medicine routine? We recommend Hyland’s Homeopathic if you are interested in checking out a brand.

Note: Many homeopathic substances are capable of causing toxicity, poisoning or negative reactions if taken in high enough doses. Therefore, very low doses are usually administered — even doses so low that the substance itself if practically unidentifiable due to be being heavily diluted. Always follow instructions when taking medicine or homeopathic substances. 

Apple Cashew Butter

This week our Soap Hope team was in the Dominican Republic for our annual “Impact Cycle”. This is when we take the profits of our company and invest 100% of the profits into economic empowerment programs and resources for women. This year we partnered with Esperanza International to cycle our profits and help over 150 women. You can read the full press release here.

As we were on the trip we had breakfast as a group and they had the most delicious homemade Apple Cashew Butter. I talked to the front desk that shared the recipe. This is the only butter that should go on your toast!

This recipe is so easy and simple, but it definitely needs to be shared.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 organic apples
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a food processor, process cashews for 5-10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
  • Add apples and cinnamon and process for another 5 minutes or desired texture.
  • Put toast in the toaster, wait, and spread your butter!

 

 

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.