(If you can’t see this video in this post, you can see the original here.)
Have you ever wanted to know more about what happens to the profits that are created when you shop at Soap Hope?
When you buy a Zum Bar at your grocery store, the profits go to the grocery store shareholders.
When you buy a Seaweed Bath Co. shampoo at Amazon, the profits go to Amazon shareholders.
When you buy a Hugo Naturals bath bomb from the Hugo website, the profits go to Hugo’s shareholders.
But when you choose to buy those same products from the Soap Hope website instead of at another store, something amazing happens:
We send all the profits to groups around the world who lend the money to women, so they can start and grow their own businesses and escape poverty. They use the money for a year and then return it, interest-free.
We call it “volunteering our profits.” Only after the profits have spent the year in service, do our founders then receive their earnings.
One of Soap Hope’s partners around the world is Esperanza International, working in the Dominican Republic. “Esperanza” is the Spanish word for “Hope.” We think that’s a fitting name, and they are certainly a fitting partner. At the top of this post we’ve shared a three-minute movie about some of the women whose lives have been changed by Esperanza.
Just think, the bar of soap or candle or face wash you buy today might be an everyday product for you – but Soap Hope will make sure it changes a woman’s life. All you have to do to make a difference is to choose Soap Hope as the place you shop for your natural products.
Thank you for being a part of our business and our mission!
In today’s post you’ll find a recipe to boost your health daily, see how honey beats pharmaceuticals, and learn how master makers take advantage of the healing properties of honey.
(Image: honeycomb. Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, under license.)
If you are health conscious and don’t already incorporate honey into your diet, you definitely might want to start now. Here’s are some of the amazing properties of honey:
Cancer and heart disease preventative
Naturally antibacterial and antifungal
Skin moisturizer and humectant
Natural cough suppressant
Heals cuts and burns
How does honey have such powerful health benefits for humans? It starts with its dense nutrition: honey naturally contains 18 amino acids, potassium, calcium, B complex vitamins, and antioxidants.
When we consume the flavonoids in honey, they remove oxidants from the body that can damage capillaries and collagen. You can go on a regimen of artificial drugs from pharmaceutical companies that have tried to reproduce the compounds in honey – or, if you are like us, you might prefer just incorporating raw organic honey into your daily diet.
Honey is also antibacterial, beginning with an enzyme that bees put in honey that creates hydrogen peroxide. A recent medical study found that dressing burns with honey is more effective than using silver sulfadiazene – honey makes wounds sterile in less time, enhances healing, and reduces scarring better than the drugs.
Your Daily Healthy Dose
Get started with honey using this simple morning tonic. (This tonic also incorporates apple cider vinegar, which has wonderful health benefits that we will discuss in a separate post for you.) It’s really easy:
Each morning, put one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (we like Bragg's organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar for its purity) in a tall glass. Add one heaping tablespoon of organic raw honey. Stir it quickly until the mixture is smooth. Fill the glass 3/4 with filtered water. Then if you like, top it off with a few ice cubes.
The benefits? You get flavanoids into your system, lots of nutrients, a morning energy boost, and a dose of probiotics (some varieties of honey contain as many as 10 species of friendly bacteria that help regulate your digestion). Make it a daily habit, and see how your energy level and overall health improves.
A study in 2010 compared honey with cough suppressant drugs like dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine. Guess which one did better? A dose of honey before sleep is more effective than those cough suppressant drugs.
(Although honey is truly effective for alleviating cough and sore throat, it is a myth that consuming local honey will help prevent allergies. No studies have ever shown that consuming local honey has a measurable effect on allergies. But there are still plenty of other reasons to eat it!)
With all its nutrition, antioxidant power, and healing properties, honey is of course abundant at Soap Hope. Here are some great uses of honey that our master makers have created:
KIND Soap Company Honey Almond Brown Sugar Scrub. This sweet scrub smells delicious and will leave your skin silky smooth. Dig your fingers in for little scoopfuls and gently massage onto your skin in circular motions. Allow the organic raw brown sugar, almond oil, honey and mango butter to work their magic for a couple of minutes. When you rinse clean with warm water, you will be amazed at how soft your skin feels.
A Wild Soap Bar makes a fantastic Honey Oat Organic Soap Bar – the only aroma in this bar is the warm scent of raw honey. We love its soothing and moisturizing effects.
Rose Geranium Face and Body Bar by Badger blends honey with rose geranium and calming lavender in a beautifully scented bar, with fine ground organic oatmeal for exfoliation that is gentle enough for sensitive facial skin.
Image: Honeybee Landing on Milk Thistle. Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos under license.
Recently a photo vent viral online of the “world’s first beekeeping donkey.” A creative beekeeper in Brazil not only dons his own beekeeping suit for the workday, he fashioned a suit for his donkey as well, who helps carry the gathered honey to market.
Honeybees are incredibly important to humanity and all of nature. Bees pollinate almost all of the almond, apple, orange, cherry, peach, tangerine and grapefruit in the world.
Unfortunately, many of the pesticides used on crops are deadly to bees. In the last several years, the honeybee population has collapsed. The European Union has banned many chemicals that are known to be harmful to bees, but the United States has not followed suit. (When you buy organic foods and products, you help support the entire ecosystem, including bees, by rewarding chemical-free farmers with your business.)
Bees also create wonderful natural ingredients that we use every day in food and body care products. This week we’ll look at beeswax (and be sure to come back next week to learn about honey).
Beeswax is nutrient-rich, non-allergenic, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), and never goes bad. Medical science is even looking at beeswax as a tool to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, as a pain reliever, and for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.
Beeswax has the wonderful property of being emollient and keeping skin moist, while still allowing skin to breathe and without clogging pores. It’s full of healing and restorative Vitamin A. (That’s why Indigo Wild uses organic beeswax in its Under Eye Butter.)
Beeswax is a humectant, helping skin retain moisture. But unlike mineral oil, which builds up under the skin and prevents the skin from absorbing nutrients, beeswax keeps skin moist naturally and safely.
For those looking for nontoxic deodorants, beeswax is a natural fit: Nourish Organic uses it as a primary ingredient in all their organic deodorants, along with cornstarch and plant enzymes, for dryness and odor protection.
KIND Soap Company uses beeswax to create beautiful solid perfumes. The beeswax serves as a long-lasting base that allows the intoxicating aromas to stay with your skin all day.
Now when you see “beeswax” on an ingredient list, you’ll know it means natural, emollient, nourishing, and all-around good. That’s why beeswax is so popular with our makers – in fact, you’ll find beeswax in over 100 products at Soap Hope.
Stay tuned next week for a look at the benefits of honey. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
If you read ingredient lists as fervently as we do at Soap Hope, you’ve seen the words Neem Oil – in body soaps, cleansers, hair care and anti-aging products. You may even have noticed that neem oil seems always to be present when a natural product is focused on helping with dry skin, psoriasis, scalp problems, or anything related to inflammation. Let’s see why.
Neem oil comes from – you guessed it – the fruit of the neem tree, also known by the more elegant name Indian Lilac. Neem has powerful healing and protecting properties: it has been used as an antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial, a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory.
Medical science is just now catching up to centuries of traditional wisdom (in India, the neem tree is called “the village pharmacy”), with studies of the use of neem for conditions from psoriasis to HIV. It seems that the key may be the special form of vitamin E found in neem.
By the way, neem fits right in with our focus on sustainability at Soap Hope: this tree can live for over 100 years, and the oil is harvested sustainably from the seeds of its fruit.
If you smell the wonderful aroma of its flowers, and with all of neem’s amazing properties, you might think every skin and hair care product would use it – but there’s a challenge for makers: raw neem oil has a medicinal aroma. It takes a master maker like The Seaweed Bath Co. or Nourish Organic to get the perfect blend of neem into their formulations: just the right amount and in combination with the ideal complementary natural ingredients.
So how do makers incorporate neem into their products? Let’s look at a few key uses of this wonder oil at Soap Hope:
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.
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.
You may not know the name vetiver, but you’ve almost certainly noticed its intoxicating aroma if you have ever smelled cologne – vetiver is present as a base note in the majority of perfumes and cologne today. Its smoky, musky, exotic aroma is said to be an aphrodisiac.
The vetiver plant (Vetiveria Zizanoides) is a grass that is grown widely in India and Haiti. The tall grass grows up to six feet tall. In India you’ll find thatch roofs, mattresses, and curtains made of this special plant, as it cools and scents rooms and keeps insects away.
Vetiver’s essential oil is extracted from its roots by steam distillation. The oil has powerful benefits. Academic research has shown that vetiver essential oil is a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals. Vetiver is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It is used to treat blemishes, blemish prone skin, scars, stretch marks and burns. Vetiver is also a natural aphrodisiac that is said to increase libido and desire.
You wouldn’t know by looking that the roots of this tall grass contain such a special essential oil – but people have known for thousands of years about its valuable properties. It’s a perfect ingredient for this season of love and romance.
If you’re curious about the seductive aroma of Vetiver, Soap Hope is featuring a line of Valentine’s Day products that highlight the exotic aroma of this wonderful natural essential oil. Indigo Wild has had some fun with this scent, blending vetiver and lavender for their limited run Ooh La Zum bar soap, candle, mist, candle, massage oil, and lip balm.
Soap Hope is about to launch a new product line called Nourish Organic with the unique claim to fame that the entire company is Certified USDA Organic.
But just what does Organic mean? What’s the difference between Organic and USDA Organic? And does organic matter for skin care?
The Meaning of Organic and the USDA Seal
If a product is labeled 100% Organic, by law every single ingredient in the product must be 100% USDA certified organic (except water and salt). Since 100% organic ingredients are not allowed to contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms), 100% Organic products are also automatically non-GMO.
If a product is labeled Organic, it can contain up to 5% non-organic ingredients. But those non-organic ingredients must adhere to strict guidelines – for example, no synthetic preservatives or petrochemicals are allowed in the final product.
Watch out for products labeled Made With Organic Ingredients. They are allowed to contain up to 30% non-organic ingredients, and there are no restrictions on what’s in those 30%.
Only products in the first two categories – Organic and 100% Organic – are allowed to display the USDA Organic seal. That means when you see the seal, you know the product has 95% or more organic ingredients, produced without toxic pesticides or herbicides, artificial preservatives or colors.
Is Organic Important for Body Care?
Most people who are seeking to live a natural life don’t want pesticides on their skin – but if the product isn’t organic, how do you know if there are pesticides in it? That’s why so many of the products at Soap Hope are certified organic: we know many folks like you want the guarantee of purity that comes with certified organic products.