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Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Aromatherapy, Herbs and Essential Oils > Safe Essentials and Preservatives?
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:43 PM   #1
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Default Safe Essentials and Preservatives?

Hey all, I'm doing research on ways to possibly create a Soapnut Shampoo that can last quite awhile per jar, also scented with essentials, imbedded with a few oils or butters, all while smelling nice too!

The problem for years has been that my skin is incredibly hypersensitive to essentials and preservatives. We've all probably seen the lists of essentials that can cause skin damage with sun exposure, or create skin bumps and even in scary thought, cancer.

I found that the entire lists out there (citrus, pine, ect ect) tear my skin up even when used in products by professional companies. The effect has been sun spots, lumps, severe body-covered eczema, small itchy bumps, boils, and especially severe hair loss and breakage with strong and acidic oils or preservatives.

(Talking about from various companies' products, not my own attempts. For example, Chagrin Valley. LOVE Chagrin Valley and I look up to Ida's honesty and work, but with my skin, choosing the type of Shampoo Bar or Body Bar can be an immediate allergic reaction or mean calm, peaceful skin and hair. The best bars from them, for my skin, have been ones like the Shea Butter, Aloe, Charcoals, and the hair-loss bars have stopped my hair damage in its tracks!)

Ingredients of all forms that don't bother my skin too much are Lavender, Aloe, Fig, Shea and Cocoa Butter, Olive, (still testing with) Coconut, Grapeseed, that type of list. I've even had Mint tear me up as much as I LOVE it. Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar is alright too, I also enjoy Chagrin's Lavender Vinegar Rinse.

Enough about them though, my goal is to work with Soapnuts, as I just tried them as a shampoo other day and it did a fantastic job! I was pretty shocked! Just, I'm sure I'll have to do patch tests, but I'm eager to also see if we can compile a list of what are some of the safest preservatives, essentials, oils, and ingredients to use for hypersensitive skin?

Also, while we're at it, thickeners and stabalizers. Lots of Organic Shampoos use Glycerin or Guar. I'm actually hyper-sensitive to glycerin, it causes SEVERE dandruff, a heavy feel, and severe pore-blockage for me (I can see the glistening coming out of my large pores 12 hours later in ANY facial solution containing glycerin) and I believe Guar is a little harsh on my hair. I wonder if Arabic is milder?

Just desperately looking for info while cursed with such extreme skin reactions. Not only trying to do this for myself, but interested in making products in potential business that don't even contain one single chemical (Lye Soap, Glycerin). Even Lye Soap hates me unless it is beyond packed with moisturizers.

Cheers! Hoping to get some info!

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Old 05-18-2017, 07:03 PM   #2
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You might be able to make a list of what is safe for YOUR skin, but it is rarely a "one size fits all" matter when it comes to reactions like that. For example, many people get on better with a quality FO but not with EOs, because of the chemical make up of the two.

A product that does not contain one single chemical? I can sell you bottles of that, no problems at all. It might look totally empty, but trust me, it's a good quality product that contains no chemicals whatsoever

But in all seriousness, there is part of your issue - few would consider glycerin to be one of "those" chemicals which people try to avoid. Natural fats and oils used in soaping and other B&B products generally have glycerin molecules in there (this is left over in the soap, which might explain why lye-based soap causes you issues). Many sensitive people are totally fine with it, so I think that first and foremost you need to think about you, making something that works well for your skin/hair type while not impacting your particular issues. As you see it is hard enough getting something that works for one person, then consider how many various combinations of allergies and product requirements..................for one thing it is opening up a great risk indeed.

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Old 05-18-2017, 08:12 PM   #3
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Ditto what the good Gent said^^^.

I've never looked into using soapnuts before, so out of curiosity I just had a Google and read a long blog post about them on the CrunchyBetty blog, which included lots of recipes.

To prolong the life of soapnut liquid sans preservatives, this site has canning directions for preserving soapnut liquid, just like you would preserve jam. Also- on another blog post about soapnuts by Crunchy Betty, she says you can make them last longer by freezing/storing the liquid made from soapnuts in ice cube trays, and popping one out whenever the need arises.

I wonder where the pH of soapnuts falls. I ask because if one is going to use a proper preservative, one needs to be mindful that some are sensitive to pH and won't work well if they are out of their effective range.

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Old 05-18-2017, 09:08 PM   #4
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What do you mean by "essentials"? At first I thought maybe you meant essential oils, but it seems not from your description.

A book I really like is "Better Basics for the Home". The author has a very severe sensitivities and these are recipes she developed for making home products she can safely use.

Re shampoo - I am wondering if maybe just brushing corn starch through yoru hair to absorb oil, then rinsing that with water, might be effective for you? Soap is not good for most people's hair, but if you react badly to synthetic options that's not great either.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:08 PM   #5
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Allergies are a hard journey, but you can get there.

If you have found that the plant-based saponins work for you (as in the soapnuts/soapberries you are using), then maybe you could expand that idea?

This wiki has a lot of other plants that contain these (under the title "Sources"):


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