Independence Day Soap- Our Founding Fathers would have Loved to suds up with.
In our store we have a copy of the Declaration of Independence in our window for much of July. July 2020 I wanted to make a soap specially for one of my favorite holidays, Independence Day. Of course it would be Red, White, and Blue, but what scent? What does USA smell like?
Seemed like Blood, Sweat, and tears wouldn’t smell great.
But what’s more American than Apple Pie? I feel like apple pie probably came from Europe, but the saying worked for me so I set out to make an Apple Pie Soap. Sounds easy, IF you’re using a synthetic fragrance, but we don’t.
Back in 2003 my soap partner and I took a “soaper type” test. I was a purist, and I can’t remember the name of her type but basically mine meant that it had to be pure and natural ingredients, and hers meant that it had to have a strong scent. We carried those ideals forward but there was always that line she wanted to cross-if we put in a blend of fragrances and essential oils it will smell stronger! And she was right for the most part but the risks outweighed the benefits for me. We went our separate ways once the business started growing and she needed more time for new grandkids.
I no longer had the struggle of balancing both of our soap worlds, and with my hubby (a longtime purest) taking her place as soap partner, it was at that point we settled on the fact that we would only use essential oils to scent our body care products.
I had been studying essential oils on my own for years and not only loved the natural smell, but loved that fact that they could have beneficial effects on our beings. People would ask for those body care products I previously made with the synthetic fragrances and I just wanted to tell them, “you don’t know what you’re asking for!” And I believe many people have no idea how we’ve been inundated with unhealthy synthetic fragrances for years!
So what’s the big deal? Even Johnson and Johnson put SF (synthetic or artificial fragrances) in their baby oil and powder, surely it’s safe? We’ve learned that just because it’s a big company, doesn’t mean their products are safe and in some instances it’s quite the contrary.
Many SF’s used are derived from petrochemicals and studies are showing they’re not safe. Chemicals found in man-made fragrances often include phthalates, (which are endocrine disruptors) among other undesirables. Not only are most people putting these ingredients on their skin, and the skin does intake a portion of what is put on it, but it is also going into our water supply. That's not Fin Friendly.
Sure, our ReminiScents Candles have SF's in them. We sell lots of them, people say the scent comes across great and seem so close to the real thing. (We used to make an EO Candle but it seemed like such a waste of precious oil, and they were expensive to make, so expensive to buy!) The Candles burn 50 hours and we make them with USA soy wax and a hemp wick. There are 12 varieties but we are again limited as we only use SF's that are phthalate free because even breathing the phthalates is unhealthy. But a candle isn't soaking into the skin all over the body.
A pet peeve of mine is when other soap companies use SFs but then call the product natural. If it’s artificial or synthetic, then it’s not natural, simply put.
One thing I learned early on in labeling rules-you can call an essential oil a “fragrance,” but you cannot call a fragrance an essential oil.
IN other words, when looking at labels, if it says essential oils then that’s what it is. If it says fragrance or parfum, it could be essential oils or a blend of EO's and SF's, but is probably NOT just EO's as they would want the customer to know they are using a premium ingredient so they would list it as such.
ALSO an “essential oil blend” may have SF’s but “a blend of essential oils” is just that, nothing but EO’s. When reading those labels, if it’s confusing, just ask the maker.
Another reason it is an issue to me is that I can literally spend one tenth the money on a SF of lavender that I do on the EO of Lavender. But the benefits of Lavender EO are so great. What is the benefit of the synthetic fragrance lavender? I don’t know that there are any.
Keep in mind, scents also effect the mind/brain. I believe we are created with these wonderful senses to help protect ourselves. Something smells bad-we don’t eat it and that is the simplest answer.
Smells even spark our memory and I believe also for survival reasons. It has been said of essential oils that they can pass through the blood/brain barrier. Even just the aroma of a plant can have effects on the olfactory sense and our health.
One thing I notice, people come in our store and some start to turn away saying they cannot handle too much scent, but many times I tell them it is not artificial and they may want to give it a try. The ones who do usually realize it is very different.
I believe since the smell of EO’s comes from nature, that our brains can handle it and even get very used to it. I feel when people get headaches from SF’s it’s because it is unnatural and the brain keeps trying to relate it to something in nature and it cannot. WE may think that the lavender SF smells like lavender but the all powerful brain begs to differ.
One way I show people the wonderful world of EO’s is my Orange Twist Soap for example. One lady said she was allergic to all fragrances. I asked if she eats oranges and she said yes. I then explained that if she’s not allergic to the orange she probably wasn’t allergic to our orange soap since it simply has real orange oil in it. She bought it and was ecstatic to know it could be that simple (that is not to say that people can’t be allergic to EO’s).
I think our Orange Twist is popular because so many people could use more vitamin C and since it smells like the fruit that is full of vitamin C, the brain says I want this!
Essential oils are predominately made by distillation of any of- flowers, stems, leaves, bark, fruit, and/or roots from plants. Most Essential oils (EO’s) used in safe dilutions can even have aromatherapy benefits. Of course when using EO’s for personal use I always suggest a good aromatherapy book at least. Some EO’s should never be used “neat”- used directly on the skin with no dilution. Many people are taking EO’s internally but I usually suggest against that unless under the care of a licensed professional. Some EO’s are very potent and just a few drops taken internally of the wrong one could prove lethal. Many medical professionals in European countries still use EO’s medicinally.
Back to that Fourth of July Soap! Since there is no “apple” essential oil, I looked through my 100s of EO’s and fixed on Chamomile. WE have a couple soaps already with it, Gentle Chamomile and Balmy Baby Bar, some of my earliest and favorite soaps! Chamomile is an expensive oil, but nothing beats it. It’s very calming to the skin with anecdotal benefits for eczema, rashes, inflammation, etc and it’s calming for babies, for over 2000 years it has been used medicinally. Ironically it smells faintly like apples! When mixed with some apple pie spice type EO’s and a little cinnamon, well we did it.
We brought it from the soap drying room and asked the first person that walked in our store, “What does this smell like to you?” Apple pie was the answer! I was thrilled!
Those foody scents are always a challenge and some just cannot be done naturally. Miss American Pie has become a great seller for us and it’s so gentle to the skin. We layer it with stripes near the fourth of July, but the rest of the year it is a tie dyed look.
Wonder what those founding fathers would think? A soap to commemorate Independence Day, I think they’d love it so much they’d bathe in it!