So..exactly what IS considered natural?

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I hope this does not stir up a can of worms...but can melt-and-pour be considered natural if a vegan base is used?

We use a goat's milk base....but I see there are vegan or vegatable bases out there as well.

Exactly how is natural defined with melt-and-pour products? Or can it be?

And I know some feel m&p is simply detergent posing as soap, but that is not what I'm asking....
I think the whole "natural" thing is pretty much always open to interpretation. I have yet to see a soap tree or a soap mine.
I've asked that question a very long time ago when I first started making skin care products, and I've found that there is no absolute definition of what a "natrual" product is. The definition of what is and what is not natural varys greatly from one cosmetis company to another. Partyly, because there are no regulations on using the word in your labeling. Technically, you can call anything natural.

Having said that - most reputable manufacturers & crafters take the stance that in order for something to be called "natural" it must not contain any synthetic ingredients, chemicals, or anything that is not found in nature.

Please don't be offended, but M&P soap, or even CP soap that uses fragrance oil would not be considered "natural" according to my terms above.

Any easy way to determine if something is "natural" is to look at the ingredient deck - if there are words you could not pronounce or spell, and have no idea what they are - odds are it isn't natural. lol

Hope that helps you!
This is a fine topic to discuss as long as no bar room brawls break out!

Brian hit the nail on the head natural products must "not contain any synthetic ingredients, chemicals, or anything that is not found in nature."

Fragrance oils are synthetic.

There are 100% natural M&P bases on the market. If you add other natural items to it like tea, rosepetals, beeswax, essential oils, you retain the *100% natural* quality of the soap. If you add 2% fragrance oil then your soap is *nearly natural* or 98%.

Vegetarian & veagan have nothing to do with natural.

Vegetarian means no animal products like cow or deer tallow or emu oil.

Veagan means no animal prosucts or by-products at all, like cow or deer tallow or emu oil, no beeswax or honey, no milk, no silk or even sugar because sugar is filtered through bone marrow.

An item can be Natural w/o being veagan or vegeatraian. I have a 100 % natural lip balm that is NOT vegan (it has beeswax).

An item can be veagan or vegetarian w/o being natural . I have a veagan soap that is not natural, it contains synthetic detergents but no animal products or by-products.
Tabitha - excellent addition to my post! Thank you!

You know, I find this topic so very interesting. From my own personal experience, I have struggled with acne all through my teens into my young adult life, and once I turned to using natural skin care (i.e., no chemicals, and all that stuff), my skin cleared up all on its own. I can' tell you how much money I flushed down the toilet on acne products that only made the problem worse and sensitized my skin.

I'm not preaching - but I'm really astounded when I look at the ingredient deck of a jar of beauty cream that sells for more than $100 an ounce and more than 50% of it are chemicals and synthetics it just boggles my mind. Reading labels has become a strange past-time for me...and I laugh to myself when companies try to market a product as natural when it couldn't be anything further from that.

I've read a few scientific research papers, and there have been studies done abroad where they are finding a link between the sudden increase of young women developing breast cancer, and the SLS detergents that are commonly found in most beauty products - even toothpaste. Of course, this study still has a lot more research to be done, but I for one, found it alarming.
Great topic. When I set out to make soap, I wanted to keep with 100% all-natural soap. And much of what I have made is just that. However, I have enjoyed using FO - the scents are so much fun. So I think if the time comes that I am able to sell my product (which is where I want to head with this "hobby") I will sell 100% all-natural and soap that is near all-natural. I don't think there is anything wrong with using FO, I don't think it makes the soap any less. When I first started out making pottery, I made all my own glazes using raw materials. I snubbed ( :oops:) and felt that pottery with commercial blended glazes were a step down from pieces made with "homemade" glazes. Guess what....although I still make many of my own glazes, I also now use commercial blends. :lol: shrug. It's all in preference. Back to soap....I still feel soap that uses FO are loads better than commercial soaps.
Great discussion! Thanks Brian and Tabitha for the well versed explanations.

And I agree with Gallerygirl. Nearly natural is far better than most the commercial products out there. Unfortunately I have a sensitivity to synthetics, and not just imagined but real reactions to it. I too make products using FO's, but EO's especially in what I use myself. My M&P base is 100% natural and I have SLS/SLES free liquid bases also. Yes the FO's are fun, but most give me a headahce so I limit the hours I spend working with them then tightly seal and tuck them away for delivery to customers.
I think moving towards being more natural is great, in whatever size the step is. Afterall, if I was a junk food lover, I wouldn't wake up the next day being an organic vegan! I'd take baby steps. Even the smallest step towards using less synthetics is better than no step at all in my opinion.
LOL, you and me, gallerygirl! I was going to name my future B&B company Zenobiah Natural Beauty, well, I guess it will be sorta natural Beauty since I will definitely be using FO's and some colorants!

Oh man, what a journey! At least I am humble enough to admit when I've been dumb!
Well, my two cents are this. I do M&P and I use one of the Natural Bases. I use EO's and retain the Natural aspect, but I also use FO's at customers request and therefore obtain the Nearly Natural tag. I am going to begin working on CP and am excited as I do feel that M&P is a little bit of cheating (now remember that I do M&P and will continue to do so even after the CP).

I do think that Nearly Natural is better than most of the commercially available products. I also find that I now read the ingredients on containers now moreso than before. Funny how that happens to most when you get involved in producing.

With preservatives, I work with Potassium Sorbate a lot and it is my understanding that it is a natural preservative. I also have other preservatives that I use and work with ones that are paraben free/formaldyhide free (non-producing). While they are not "natural" they protect my customers from ickies that could harm them while extend my shelf-life.

Well, that is my two cents!

In the US the FDA does not monitor the word naturals. Avon has a line of naturals that is NO where near natural but the general population assumes it is! You could call your biz Zenobiah Beauty Naturals here & it would be a correct use of the term. Don't know about the logistics in your country.
Thanks, Tab! Since I am moving to the US this spring it really doesn't matter what the practice is in my country... 8)

That is a good point that "unnatural" products labels call their products natural. Hmmm....
I just noticed suave has a *naturals* line too that is just full of chemicals. Their strawberry scented shampoo hs strawberry extract & vit E, so that is what they base their claim *naturals* on, in their title.
None of us that make cp can claim all natural because we use NaOh (sodium Hydroxide or Lye). This is a chemical made by man from "natural salt" brine exposed to DC voltage however Lye, Sodium Hydroxide, is not found naturally in nature. It could be argued that the Sodium Hydroxide and Fatty acids neutralize each other in the process of Saponification and everything added after that could be natural. We make products that are much more Derma-friendly. My own skin and hair are a testament to this. We do not use paraffin or petroleum based detergents, we do not remove the glycerin, In fact I add more glycerin to my soap. I do not use Phosphates, Sulfates or Sulfides. Even the food grade versions of these chemical are not safe. Many Water supplies contain more harmful ingredients than do are soaps. TLC, PCB, THM, High concentrations of Chorine. So even that water we add might not be all Natural.
I guess my point to this is never try to be absolute about are soap being “all Natural” or Made from “all Natural Products”. There must be a better term to use that both describes are product better and is good for marketing. “Made from the best available and Most Natural Ingredients” That could be a start.

So Much for keeping that can of worms contained...
My 2 cents is simple;

Soap, that is what it is, soap. You put it on your skin for a few seconds then wash it off. Any home made--processed--soap is a world better than any store bought major brand name soap. I don't sweat the little details. There is not a soap out there, liquid, bar CP, HP, Triple Milled, M&P, Dove, Lever 2000, mine, yours, or the guy in India, ALL soap contain sodium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide. Most are man made from chemicals or the salt water electrical process. The only so called natural lye would be the old fashioned lye made from water filtering through pot ashes. How many of you make it like this? I certainly don't. FO's are definitely not natural, but many EO's are not either. Some are solvent expressed, not steam distilled or pressed. The "natural" argument will always be around. All I can say, is I try to make a safe, home made from scratch CP soap that I know is a good product. Like I said, there is not a "natural" soap made very often anymore, perhaps never. Collect the rain water, make the lye from ashes, then you are not sure of the lye strength, I think I'll pass, not safe. :shock:
My contention is that 99% of the soap made today is not at all "natural"! Lets just go on and call it what the FDA says, "It is SOAP" made to clean.
Every one of us here who has any experience at all, be it CP, HP, M&P, liquid, is better and I would choose over any other "soap" I could buy at my local grocery or big box store! Just my 2 cents worth. Lets all make soap! Natural, probably not, good, you betcha! :wink:

Yes, but it is not only yourself you have to take into consideration, but also your customer's ideas. That is the real kicker. You may know that you have done everything in your power to make most of it all-natural but how will it be perceived by your market?

Also, check this link out: ... cts_id=372

What do you think? Is there preservative in it at all?
Well said Paul! Zen I think your own testimony to your potential customers of your products (who knows it better than you, right?) will be what sells your soaps. Then of course, after having an established customer base, well....word of mouth goes a long way. k
That is true. I haven't really started yet (except for to friends who love my soap by the way!). But I am trying to use the time I have before the move to plan ahead and get a cohesive strategy in place, and one of the things I worry about is natural or not.
Well, that is true Zen. With you moving, you will be marketing from scratch. I have a data base that I have kept for many years that will be of tremendous help when the time comes that I can start selling. Please let me know if I can be of any help when you start your marketing. k

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