Micas and colorants, are they natural?

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Carl, Jan 7, 2020.

Help Support Soapmaking Forum by donating:

  1. Jan 9, 2020 #21

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    3,316
    Location:
    Virginia
    You definitely got my attention with “benzene derivatives” and “toluene”. How is it that benzene, a known and regulated carcinogen, can be used in FOs? Is it a concentration/exposure limit determination or due to the form of the benzene? Toluene may be safer, but I still think of it as a solvent that has undesirable side effects. I have only just begun doing any kind of research on fragrance chemicals. I’m not a chemist, which means there’s a very steep learning curve ahead. I found a website/forum called “basenotes” that seems useful. And, I apologize for further side tracking a mica thread!
     
    MaryAlice and Ladka like this.
  2. Jan 9, 2020 #22

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Oregon
    Because...they are using a derivative and not the full strength compound?

    It can't help but be expanded as one tries to define 'natural'. And along the same lines...'naturally occurring' and 'organic'.

    I was asked what my definition of 'natural' was with regards to soap ingredients and sat for two hours writing and deleting and ultimately came up with a couple of pretty weak lines because regardless of what ingredients you use, soap is NOT 'natural' (or 'organic' or 'naturally occurring') to begin with...it's a chemical process.

    I use Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butters, and a little Sodium Lactate and Kaolin Clay...this is my base recipe. Starting with my Olive Oil...is it less 'natural' because it's not 'extra virgin' or more 'natural' because it's not 'pomace'? Is by Cocoa Butter more 'natural' because it come in chunks instead of wafers or pastilles? It is more 'natural' because it hasn't been refined or deodorized?

    I decided I wanted to try Coconut Milk in soap so I bought a couple of cans of organic coconut milk...certified organic, non-gmo blah blah blah. I opened the can and it was an opaque white and had chunks in it. I was confused. I've had fresh coconut milk before...it's clear and thin...like water. I looked at the label: coconut, purified water, organic guar gum. What the heck is 'guar gum'? It's a galactomannan polysaccharide extracted from guar beans that has thickening and stabilizing properties.

    The SNIF soap makers use powders and clay...so I have a bunch of clays: Kaolin Clay, Rose Clay, a few Brazilian Clays. Clays are good right...it's basically dirt taken from the ground and put in a jar? Oh no...clays are processed too; the stuff you get in the jar (or bag) isn't quite what they take out of the ground...quite a few impurities in 'natural' clay.

    So...my definition of 'natural'. I still don't have one.
     
  3. Jan 9, 2020 #23

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Messages:
    10,530
    Likes Received:
    9,102
    Location:
    Southern California
    I personally like your long discussion. With my allergies, I have always preferred lab-created controlled over so many plant-based products including vitamins when I used to take them. My allergist always recommended I take synthetic vitamins, although I do not know if they are even available today since I quit taking vitamins many many years ago. Sure there are Synthetics I am allergic to, but there are many more plant-based I am allergic to. So I mention to people that not all synthetic is bad. I even like highly refined old fashioned vaseline and Aquaphor and so does my skin.

    I label none of my products as "All Natual" especially my soaps which contain Edta and Sodium Gluconate, Micas and fragrances. I have only one product I would consider natural which is an E stick and I do not call it All Natual either.
     
  4. Jan 10, 2020 #24

    Nona'sFarm

    Nona'sFarm

    Nona'sFarm

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2019
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Aylett, VA, USA
    Thanks, @TheGecko, I understand your perspective better now.
     
  5. Jan 10, 2020 #25

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Oregon
    I’m glad you do, because I don’t. ;)

    I make soap...that’s what’s on the label...just “SOAP”.
     
    Nona'sFarm and Zing like this.
  6. Jan 11, 2020 #26

    szaza

    szaza

    szaza

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Location:
    Belgium
    When I started soaping I started out wanting to make natural soap (I think like the majority here) and quickly ran into the problem of defining what 'natural' actually means. I decided to drop the idea of making something natural and rather started thinking about biodegradability and biotoxicity.
    Most of our soapy waste water will go through purification, so that will influence (and I expect lessen) harmful effects. Anyway, I did not feel like researching exactly what will be filtered out in such a plant, so I just went with the basic principle that I prefer my soap to be as easily biodegradable as possible. That said, though soap in general is considered to be biodegradable it should never be discarded in open water. The micro organisms that degrade soap live in soil, so soap will not biodegrade in water and soap can be toxic to aquaeous life.
    I really need to research more, but this topic is so complicated it makes me shy away from starting a more in depth literature search.
    Below is my very speculative reasoning and explanation for what I do and don't use in soap at the moment for those who are interested.

    I was kind of lazy and stuck to plants and clays for colorants as plants are sure to biodegrade (that's why they fade or turn brown), while clay shouldn't cause trouble (I guessed) because it's just dirt right?.. (I'm honestly not 100% sure about this, I can't rule out the impact of the refining process on how the clay behaves).
    Micas are not considered toxic to fish, though they aren't biodegradable and the safety sheet specifically says not to flush them down a drain (though I guess that's mainly for large quantities when dealing with spills in manufacturing facilities, not sure if it counts for the small quantities used in soap). I had flashbacks to visiting the cote d'azur and seeing how the seawater was glistening with body glitter and didn't want to contribute to anything similar. Maybe the water purification plant will filter out micas, but I like using plant colorants anyway so I never really bothered to find out how harmful washing a small amount of mica down the drain could be. I do intend on researching ultramarines and oxides once I get bored with plants though.
    I found an article on titanium dioxide that stated the environmental effect was not established enough to say it was fully safe, though the benefit of using it in sunscreen outweighed the possible environmental cost, which lead me to abandon TD in soap all together, since it has no health benefit in soap like it does in sunscreen (read the article 2 years ago and didn't safe it, so unfortunately cannot link to it)

    For fragrance I use essential oils, which are a biohazard in their pure form. I had difficulties finding proper biodegradability/biotoxicity info (or maybe I searched wrong?) and pretty much just assumed it would be safe when diluted enough (that's how they naturally occur, in very small doses, again not sure at all, just speculations). When I travel to a country with less environmental protection or when I go camping I take an unscented bar of soap with me, just to be sure.
    I'd love to use FO's at some point, but I think finding info on environmental impact of FO's will be even harder than EO's since the recipes will be guarded by the manufacturers.

    So in short.. thinking about biodegradability/biotoxicity has helped me go around the problem of defining 'natural', though it doesn't make deciding what to use easier.
    I'd love to hear if anyone else has done research into environmental impact of handmade soap..
    (Sorry about the long post)
     
    Nona'sFarm, HowieRoll, Ladka and 4 others like this.
  7. Jan 11, 2020 #27

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Oregon
    But is it fully unsafe? Just because something is not proven to be safe, doesn't make it unsafe.

    From Scientific Reports 09/2016 Article Title: Titanium dioxide nanoparticles strongly impact soil microbial function by affecting archaeal nitrifiers

    First Paragraph: Soils are facing new environmental stressors, such as titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2-NPs). While these emerging pollutants are increasingly released into most ecosystems, including agricultural fields, their potential impacts on soil and its function remain to be investigated.

    I really dislike articles like the above. First all, the title suggests that there IS a problem, but when you read the article, you find out that there MIGHT be a problem...but they don't know for sure. In the meantime, they have freaked a lot of folks out because it's a long-ass article an most folks will only read the title. Second is that the TD used in soap making is TiO or TiO2...NOT TiO2-NPs. But again, how many folks are going to understand the distinction? And while TiO2-NPs MIGHT be bad for the environment, is TiO or TiO2?

    No, TD has no 'health benefit' is soap...it is used as a coloring or lightening agent. By the same token, I haven't read anything to suggest that using madder root or rose clay has any health benefit either; as far as I can tell, they along with other clays and powders are used as colorants. And from what I have read, any health benefits that may be in some EOs are lost during the saponification process. Even if you were to add...say Tea Tree EO to the end of HP...how benefit are you really getting with a wash on/rinse off product?
     
    MaryAlice and Ladka like this.
  8. Jan 11, 2020 #28

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    3,316
    Location:
    Virginia
    @gecko

    The sentence you underlined above is from the Abstract of the paper, which is here. Knowing that is important for context. The purpose of the abstract is to provide a short summary of the study, including the topic, research question, methods used, major results and conclusions. Authors are usually limited to 200-300 words. In the context of the abstract, the first two sentences are the introduction of the topic. It’s the last sentence in the abstract that provides the conclusion: “These results appeal further research to assess how these emerging pollutants modify the soil health and broader ecosystem function.” I think it’s also important to remember that the paper is written for other scientists, not the general public or soap makers. I like the title because it succinctly puts the focus on the nature of the effect and the mechanism.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
    MaryAlice, Ladka and szaza like this.
  9. Jan 11, 2020 #29

    szaza

    szaza

    szaza

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Location:
    Belgium
    Nope, I also never said as much. There are hints it might not be environmentally safe, which is enough for me to not use it for now.

    I think the article I mentioned reading 2 years ago was about non-nano particles of titanium dioxide focussing mainly on sunscreen, but it's been too long to be entirely sure. I remember it was difficult to find research on non-nano particles which was why the article stood out to me and why it was ambiguous in whether or not TD was harmful for the environment. All research I found on nanoparticles was less ambiguous.

    I just read the abstract and skimmed through the article you mention and it seems they say the full effect of titanium dioxide nanoparticles isn't known despite it being widely used, so they decided to do research into it and they found the aspect(s) they investigated here to have a negative impact (as they mention in the title). They also seem to be quite certain of this negative impact.
    The sentence you point out seems to be meant as a justification for the need for their research rather than uncertainty about the environmental impact they describe in the title.

    Haha obviously not. I was juxtaposing TD in soap to TD in sunscreen where it does have a health benefit (protection against sunburn and cancer), not suggesting other soap colorants might have healing powers.
     
    Nona'sFarm and Ladka like this.
  10. Jan 12, 2020 #30

    SmockingRN

    SmockingRN

    SmockingRN

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    117
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Please forgive for my quibbley comment, but under certain conditions, soap IS natural. I remember reading about human bodies found to be preserved for centuries by the formation of adipocere, or grave wax. It’s grim, and maybe gross, but it is truly natural saponification.
     
  11. Jan 12, 2020 #31

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Oregon
    I was clear to point out that what I copied was from the first paragraph, but whether it’s what I underlined, or the last sentence as you have relayed...the point is the same. The title makes a definitive statement, both our copies says that more research is needed.

    But the public and soap makers ARE reading these papers, as evidence by this discussion and they are making decisions based on them. AND again, they are discussing TiO2-NPs, NOT TiO or TiO2 and there is a difference.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2020 #32

    dndlyon

    dndlyon

    dndlyon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2018
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Maine
    I was going to check out on this one and just lurk, but then someone brought up nano particles ;)

    As mentioned above, TiO2 isn't always a nano particle, and a lot of things that we use to make soap (micas for example) can be nano particles other than TiO2 - it has to do with size. Smaller particles of a compound, element, chemical, etc. may act differently than larger pieces of the same compound. A food example - you may see maltodextrin or "may contain dairy" on powdered juices. Very small particles of maltodextrin or whey powder can act as flow agents, keeping the juice powder from clumping. The same ingredient with a larger particle size may actually cause clumping.

    TiO2 is commonly brought up when we talk about nano particles because very small particles of TiO2 provide a lot of benefits that larger particles do not (mostly in giving color and opacity to food and cosmetics).

    There just isn't enough evidence right now to say that all nanos are bad, or all nanos are good, and the idea that smaller particles behave differently opens up a discussion about safety testing. If it was done on larger particles, are the results valid for nano particles of the same compound, element, chemical, etc.?

    In general, it's too early to know much for sure. The food industry (at least in the US and EU) is trying to remove it where they can (mainly in an effort to be ahead of potential legislation and/or consumer wants), but like the trans fat thing, it has caused a bunch of problems in meeting consumer expectations - they need to find a replacement for that nano material that provides the same benefit.

    Here's the latest position from the FDA for cosmetics if you're interested.
     
    MaryAlice, SmockingRN and szaza like this.

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder