Tag Archives: ingredients

Are you being “cleanwashed” by big beauty?

Don’t ever fall for cleanwashing!

Stop! You’re checking your dictionary for the meaning of “cleanwashing.” You won’t find it there—this practice is still pretty new and it might take a while for the term to be part of contemporary English.

So, what is cleanwashing?

It means marketing products as “clean” or “non-toxic” without backing up these claims, especially when the claims are not true. It is similar to greenwashing, where products are marketed as being “green” or “environmentally-friendly” when in reality they are not. You should be careful, as cleanwashing is the newer version of greenwashing. Nowadays, words like “clean,” “non-toxic,” “organic,” and “natural” might be misleading. Just because a product is labeled “clean” or “non-toxic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Always check the ingredients. Learn what the mean, how they affect you, and how to pick what is best for you. Check out Soap Hope’s product and ingredient rating system here.

So, what does “clean” really mean?

The term “clean,” when it comes to beauty and skincare, has no clear-cut explanation or meaning. No government or third-party certified standard exists to qualify a product as “clean.” Because of this, manufacturers of skincare and beauty products have the leverage with their definition and explanation of clean. As consumers increasingly demand natural and clean products, most brands label their products as clean, non-toxic or natural, and have very little evidence to back up those claims. Amongst the few that make their standards public, they make it so ambiguous that you end up more confused than before. In the end, it becomes more difficult to tell what’s safe from what isn’t.

Are you being cleanwashed?

How do you spot out cleanwashing from all the product claims out there?

Simple! When you’re out shopping for beauty products, watch out for the terms “clean,” “non-toxic,” “chemical-free,” “active,” “plant-based,” “handmade,” “organic,” or “safe” on the product labels.

Though some of the traditional products with such labeling will be more effective than their conventional alternatives, others might be wolves in sheep clothing. It is crucial to set your own benchmark for clean, so as not to fall for cleanwashing. Having done that, you have to do your research and if you discover any of these things, then you’ve caught cleanwashing right in the act:

  • the manufacturers refuse to reveal their standards, even after claiming to be clean or non-toxic on their labeling.
  • when they reveal their standards, they make it ambiguous—if a manufacturer has skeletons in their cupboard, they’ll intentionally make their standards vague, or hide it altogether.
  • There is no team or individual that can be held responsible for their standards.
  • They do not convey the meaning of their ingredients properly or the sources for those ingredients.
  • They say one thing on their product labeling, but the ingredients sing a completely different tune. Always read the ingredients.

Don’t fall for cleanwashing

Aha! Now that you can spot out cleanwashing by due diligence, how do you weed it out on the go? By becoming an ingredients expert of course! By having a good understanding of what ingredients constitute a safe, natural or organic formula for body and skin care products, weeding out cleanwashers becomes an easy task. Before going for any product that claims to be clean, non-toxic, organic, or natural, ensure to scrutinize the ingredients list to see if the ingredients match the huge claim. Most brands indicate natural or organic ingredients with an asterisk. Check out the ingredients we ban at Soap Hope here.

If you come across an ingredient that you’re unfamiliar with or are in doubt regarding its safety or functions, ensure to look it up.  We have many resources at our fingertips now to learn about any ingredient’s concern or safety.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what to look for, be bold enough to choose brands that you can trust and that their products work best for your skin. Always look out for transparency, as the real “clean” brands will have nothing to hide. Shop smart! Shop Soap Hope 😊

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.

 

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.

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.

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?

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.

 

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: