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Hello all. I’m new to all this. I’m in South Wales and I think I’m trying to gallop. I’ve bought everything I could need. But I’m just waiting on my first ‘melt & pour’ blocks to arrive to start, I hope I’ll progress to the oil&lye method soon. I’ve started looking at all the legalities and becoming overwhelmed. I don’t really want to fork out even more money when I done even know if I can make soap yet?! How did you start off on your journeys?
 

IslandSoap

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I’ve only been making soap since January.. I started because I had bought some soap from a friend online and fell in love with it.. wanted to see if I could make my own and add my own touches to it. I started with 2 cold process soap kits.... and then wanted to expand beyond “ quick mixes”. I’ve done a couple artistic melt and pour loaves as well which is fun but kind of tedious. Not sure what u mean by legalities? I just have fun with it and my home always smells wonderful!😊. (I keep my family stockpiled with soap) 😂😂😂.
 
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I’ve only been making soap since January.. I started because I had bought some soap from a friend online and fell in love with it.. wanted to see if I could make my own and add my own touches to it. I started with 2 cold process soap kits.... and then wanted to expand beyond “ quick mixes”. I’ve done a couple artistic melt and pour loaves as well which is fun but kind of tedious. Not sure what u mean by legalities? I just have fun with it and my home always smells wonderful!😊. (I keep my family stockpiled with soap) 😂😂😂.
Thank you For replying island soap. I think I’m just over thinking it all. Becoming a full time seller and a multi millionaire of course 😆
I think I just need to remember that this is just for fun first off. Stop worrying about selling until I have it all sussed and then decide if I really want to go to Etsy etc. If I decide I do, i think That’s the point I’d have to look at the law regards Selling home made soaps.

Thank you For replying island soap. I think I’m just over thinking it all. Becoming a full time seller and a multi millionaire of course 😆
I think I just need to remember that this is just for fun first off. Stop worrying about selling until I have it all sussed and then decide if I really want to go to Etsy etc. If I decide I do, i think That’s the point I’d have to look at the law regards Selling home made soaps.
Ps I’d love to see a photo of your soap? Xx
 

IslandSoap

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Hi Newtosoapmaking... I made my first bars just 2 weeks ago. For some reason I always wanted to try and make soap (the old fashioned way) and it literally has taken years to get me to this point. My plan was to make soap for Christmas gifts last year and to that end I started buying some tools & supplies. I was extremely intimidated to work with the lye (and still am to some extent) so I read, researched and read some more. It seemed every recipe I looked at had a new ingredient or something I didn't have. Fast forward about 8 months and I finally took the plunge. It went reasonable well and the biggest thing (so far) that I've come away with is the fact that organization and timing is everything. I don't sell so I have to restrain myself from doing too much, but I've spent a lot of time deciding on my next recipe and have played the process over in my mind a hundred times... today may be the day I do it. My advice is to just take your time and try to enjoy the process... at some point I'm guessing it will start to feel 'comfortable' and normal! Good luck in your journey!
 

Todd Ziegler

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I started my journey the same as you, with m&p. However your journey is going to be different than mine because of the different laws that you have in place for selling. Yet the rest will be the same. M&P will help you get familiar with some of the tools & techniques that are used in soap making but there is a large difference between lye and M&P soap making.

The best thing to do is make some M&P soap until you are comfortable with it, then try your hand it lye soap.

The best advice I can give you is read as much as you can online and books. Then ask questions about anything that you don't understand. Lye soap making can be intimidating at first but once you get the feel for it, it gets a lot easier.
 

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I think I just need to remember that this is just for fun first off. Stop worrying about selling until I have it all sussed out
This exactly. You need to develop a good recipe, learn how color, scent, swirl and get consistent results.
Soaps should be tested for longevity in and out of the shower. This can take quite a few months.
You need to make sure a bar will last a few months in storage. If a bar goes bad after just a couple months, you won't get repeat customers.

Many sellers here suggest making soap for 1-2 years before you ever think about selling. Sounds like a long time but there is a ton of variables to test in each recipe.
 

earlene

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Hello all. I’m new to all this. I’m in South Wales and I think I’m trying to gallop. I’ve bought everything I could need. But I’m just waiting on my first ‘melt & pour’ blocks to arrive to start, I hope I’ll progress to the oil&lye method soon. I’ve started looking at all the legalities and becoming overwhelmed. I don’t really want to fork out even more money when I done even know if I can make soap yet?! How did you start off on your journeys?
Welcome to SMF, NTSM.

I am in my 6th year of soapmaking. I started with HP in the Spring of 2015, then CP followed long about Summer or Autumn. No plans to ever sell soap, but I do give a lot away.

I was never afraid of lye because that's what my mom taught me to use to clean my old fashioned stove parts with. She taught me to make a lye solution and soak the parts of the stove in the utility sink. She probably learned it from her mom. That was over 50 years ago and I no longer have a stove I can take apart and soak in lye solution. But with that history I had no real fear of lye. I also had some experience in college working in chemistry labs, some microbiology practice and Nurses training, so I had easily transferable skills for soapmaking.

For the first year or so, I utilized recyclables as much as possible. I chose to borrow soaping books from the library system rather than purchase. I watched youtube videos, some good, some mediocre, and I did a fair amount of online research, which is how I discovered this site (it popped up pretty much all the time when doing a search about one thing or another related to a soapmaking search.) It wasn't until I'd been making soap for a good 6-9 months that I decided to take a class, which I found via the HSCG website. It was 2 states over from me, but the closest and earliest one scheduled that I could fit into my schedule. I am really glad I took that class, even though I had enough experience under my belt to have skipped it. I made enduring connections with other soapmakers which in turn linked me to others around the country, and introduced me to the idea of attending small soapmaker gatherings and later soapmaking conferences. Perhaps that would have happened eventually, but without the class I took, I don't think it would have happened anywhere near as early in my soapmaking journey as it did.

Granted, the frugality of my early soapmaking journey has pretty much left the building, other than trying to get the best price on supplies that I do purchase. But limiting myself to only what I can scavenge from the recycle bin is pretty much just a memory. But I do still look for bargains whenever I can.
 

atiz

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Welcome!

I never did M&P, and started CP kind of on a whim. You really don't need a ton of stuff to make soap... most of it you probably already have. Some oils (my first soap only had what I could get at the grocery store), lye (from the hardware store). Some kitchen utensils, like a good hard plastic or stainless steel mixing bowl; a stick blender. A box for the mold (my first one was a random box for postcards). For my first soaps I used colorants I already had (paprika, turmeric), and some essential oils I had lying around.

So -- I think you should just try it before you invest into a lot of equipment. You really don't need more than this to make a decent soap, and of course if you like it, you can buy fancy micas and molds and soap cutters and whatnot.
 

TheGecko

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Not sure what u mean by legalities?
Soapmaking in the UK is a lot more restrictive than the US. You need to be licenced, your recipes have to be approved and so on and so forth.

How did you start off on your journeys?
I used to buy Goat Milk Soap from this one lady and then she retired. The gal who took her place had a thing about oatmeal and put it in every soap she made...which is exactly five soaps. So I decided to make my own soap and I even took a soap making "class", but there wasn't really a whole lot of instruction and then I lost the recipe and life got in the way. Then about two years ago, fortunes changed and I started researching soap making and when I was able to watch some Russian lady, with no English or subtitles and understood everything she was doing, I decided it was time to make soap.

After after a little more research, I decided to purchase Brambleberry's Beginner's Cold Process Soap Kit. I mean, just because you want to do something, doesn't mean that you'll actually like doing or be any good at it. And I there were all the recipes with all these ingredients and nope...decided to keep it simple. Tried and True Recipe, enough ingredients to make two batches of soap, and a mold. Except for the Fragrance Oil clearing out the house, I was hooked as soon as I cut into that loaf.

From my experience, I recommend:

1) Start with a 'tried and true' recipe.

2) Make small (1 lb/ 500 g) batches. After having to dump several 2lb batches, I bought smaller molds.

3) Learn to crawl, then to walk, then to run. It's okay to make an uncolored, unscented batch of soap. I've been making soap for over a year and still haven't done a lot of 'fancy' stuff and I'm okay with that.

4) When it comes to colorants and scents, buy the least amount possible. I started with a couple of 'sample' packs for colorants, then I happened to hit the tail end of Rustic Escentuals' 'scent sale' and then I blew it. Without even had done any more than open the bottle, I bought an 8 oz bottle of one of the scents I received because it was on sale. 'Soap on a stick' doesn't even begin to describe the mess I had...I would have loved for it to been on a stick, at least it would have been usable. As it was, I had to throw the bowl away when I poked a hole in it when I was trying to chip out the soap.

5) Have fun.
 

soapgeek

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Hello all. I’m new to all this. I’m in South Wales and I think I’m trying to gallop. I’ve bought everything I could need. But I’m just waiting on my first ‘melt & pour’ blocks to arrive to start, I hope I’ll progress to the oil&lye method soon. I’ve started looking at all the legalities and becoming overwhelmed. I don’t really want to fork out even more money when I done even know if I can make soap yet?! How did you start off on your journeys?
Hi, I'm same as you, just starting out and in the UK...
I've done a couple of workshops, all good, the CP soaps turned out fine. I've just made my 4th batch of solo CP soap, and this is where it gets interesting...the first 2 seem ok and are curing well, the 3rd was a disaster, and this 4th one, well, let's just say I'm learning from mistakes!
I had this notion that I would be able to just start making lovely CP soap, and then start selling it... I'm quickly finding out that it's not that simple... as well as all the UK legalities (getting recipes certified, getting them on the portal, labelling, GMP, PIFs, insurances, etc, etc), I'm realising that I'm going to have to do a lot of soapmaking and getting it tested in real life by myself and family and friends before I can even think about selling it!
What's more frustrating is the waiting for the CP soaps to cure before they can even be tested - at least with M&P the soap can be used pretty much straightaway.
As far as legalities in the UK, I think M&P is a bit easier, but I guess it depends whether you want the finished product to be your own creation (which I do lol)
So, I'm just going to keep practising, hopefully my soaps will improve 😂

Good luck soaping xx

The first 2 are the Melt and Pours and the last 2 are cold process. 😊
Your soaps look fantastic! 😍

Can I ask please, are these from kits or have you made them all from scratch with your own recipes? One day I hope to be able to make soap that looks like this!
 
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This exactly. You need to develop a good recipe, learn how color, scent, swirl and get consistent results.
Soaps should be tested for longevity in and out of the shower. This can take quite a few months.
You need to make sure a bar will last a few months in storage. If a bar goes bad after just a couple months, you won't get repeat customers.

Many sellers here suggest making soap for 1-2 years before you ever think about selling. Sounds like a long time but there is a ton of variables to test in each recipe.
Fab advice. I guess everyone will be having soaps as gifts for the foreseeable eh. X

Welcome to SMF, NTSM.

I am in my 6th year of soapmaking. I started with HP in the Spring of 2015, then CP followed long about Summer or Autumn. No plans to ever sell soap, but I do give a lot away.

I was never afraid of lye because that's what my mom taught me to use to clean my old fashioned stove parts with. She taught me to make a lye solution and soak the parts of the stove in the utility sink. She probably learned it from her mom. That was over 50 years ago and I no longer have a stove I can take apart and soak in lye solution. But with that history I had no real fear of lye. I also had some experience in college working in chemistry labs, some microbiology practice and Nurses training, so I had easily transferable skills for soapmaking.

For the first year or so, I utilized recyclables as much as possible. I chose to borrow soaping books from the library system rather than purchase. I watched youtube videos, some good, some mediocre, and I did a fair amount of online research, which is how I discovered this site (it popped up pretty much all the time when doing a search about one thing or another related to a soapmaking search.) It wasn't until I'd been making soap for a good 6-9 months that I decided to take a class, which I found via the HSCG website. It was 2 states over from me, but the closest and earliest one scheduled that I could fit into my schedule. I am really glad I took that class, even though I had enough experience under my belt to have skipped it. I made enduring connections with other soapmakers which in turn linked me to others around the country, and introduced me to the idea of attending small soapmaker gatherings and later soapmaking conferences. Perhaps that would have happened eventually, but without the class I took, I don't think it would have happened anywhere near as early in my soapmaking journey as it did.

Granted, the frugality of my early soapmaking journey has pretty much left the building, other than trying to get the best price on supplies that I do purchase. But limiting myself to only what I can scavenge from the recycle bin is pretty much just a memory. But I do still look for bargains whenever I can.
Amazing. Thank you. I’ve been thinking of a class (after this crazy world settles down!)
Thank you for your input. X

Hi, I'm same as you, just starting out and in the UK...
I've done a couple of workshops, all good, the CP soaps turned out fine. I've just made my 4th batch of solo CP soap, and this is where it gets interesting...the first 2 seem ok and are curing well, the 3rd was a disaster, and this 4th one, well, let's just say I'm learning from mistakes!
I had this notion that I would be able to just start making lovely CP soap, and then start selling it... I'm quickly finding out that it's not that simple... as well as all the UK legalities (getting recipes certified, getting them on the portal, labelling, GMP, PIFs, insurances, etc, etc), I'm realising that I'm going to have to do a lot of soapmaking and getting it tested in real life by myself and family and friends before I can even think about selling it!
What's more frustrating is the waiting for the CP soaps to cure before they can even be tested - at least with M&P the soap can be used pretty much straightaway.
As far as legalities in the UK, I think M&P is a bit easier, but I guess it depends whether you want the finished product to be your own creation (which I do lol)
So, I'm just going to keep practising, hopefully my soaps will improve 😂

Good luck soaping xx
Thank you. I think I came to the same point as you. Ooo I want to do this, start buying - imagining all the amazing bars of soap I’d sell. Oh packaging. Oh license and insurance!! Really!! Urgh. Started to take the desire out but I think as thegecko Said- I need to crawl first. And stop being impatient especially as I’ll need to wait for the cure process eeek.

Thank you all for bringing me back down to earth. Crawl walk run. But let’s hope I will soon be updating my user name to something more pro 😆
 

IslandSoap

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Soapmaking in the UK is a lot more restrictive than the US. You need to be licenced, your recipes have to be approved and so on and so forth.



I used to buy Goat Milk Soap from this one lady and then she retired. The gal who took her place had a thing about oatmeal and put it in every soap she made...which is exactly five soaps. So I decided to make my own soap and I even took a soap making "class", but there wasn't really a whole lot of instruction and then I lost the recipe and life got in the way. Then about two years ago, fortunes changed and I started researching soap making and when I was able to watch some Russian lady, with no English or subtitles and understood everything she was doing, I decided it was time to make soap.

After after a little more research, I decided to purchase Brambleberry's Beginner's Cold Process Soap Kit. I mean, just because you want to do something, doesn't mean that you'll actually like doing or be any good at it. And I there were all the recipes with all these ingredients and nope...decided to keep it simple. Tried and True Recipe, enough ingredients to make two batches of soap, and a mold. Except for the Fragrance Oil clearing out the house, I was hooked as soon as I cut into that loaf.

From my experience, I recommend:

1) Start with a 'tried and true' recipe.

2) Make small (1 lb/ 500 g) batches. After having to dump several 2lb batches, I bought smaller molds.

3) Learn to crawl, then to walk, then to run. It's okay to make an uncolored, unscented batch of soap. I've been making soap for over a year and still haven't done a lot of 'fancy' stuff and I'm okay with that.

4) When it comes to colorants and scents, buy the least amount possible. I started with a couple of 'sample' packs for colorants, then I happened to hit the tail end of Rustic Escentuals' 'scent sale' and then I blew it. Without even had done any more than open the bottle, I bought an 8 oz bottle of one of the scents I received because it was on sale. 'Soap on a stick' doesn't even begin to describe the mess I had...I would have loved for it to been on a stick, at least it would have been usable. As it was, I had to throw the bowl away when I poked a hole in it when I was trying to chip out the soap.

5) Have fun.
Your soaps look fantastic! 😍

Can I ask please, are these from kits or have you made them all from scratch with your own recipes? One day I hope to be able to make soap that looks like this!
The melt and pour is just that. I love the water and sea creatures and wanted to make something kids would like ( plus me) I got a little dolphin silicon mold and some other ocean themed silicon molds and made those first. I used lab colors in clear melt and pour base to keep the “ water” “ clearer”. I read up on how to do melt and pour. That soap is actually 4 layers of pouring. ( it took me 6 hours🤪). I said..” never again”... but I’ll do it again sometime when I have that much time. The bunny one wasn’t what I had planned .. but I wanted to do something for a little “ stepgranddaughter” who thinks I’m the greatest for the soaps. 🥰. I used a dark chocolate fragrance from Brambleberry and threw in vanilla stabilizer. ( the white bunny is not fragranced) I have 3 layers of mica colors for that one. Unfortunately since I am new... I forgot that the melt and pour has to be “ I think” 120 degrees when u add a layer to adhere to a cooled layer. ( u have to spritz with isopropyl alcohol first before u add a layer.. I use 99%) I poured cooler and a couple bars separated when I cut them. 🤷‍♀️ The flower garden cp soap is my own recipe.. the flowers are all from silicone molds.. I colored melt and pour White base soap. I used Brambleberry Black raspberry and vanilla FO for the other soap and did a “ mica swirl” for the top. ( that means mixing the micas in a light weight oil, using a pipette and drizzling it on top of the soap) I then used a chopstick to lightly swirl the colored mica/oil on top. 😊. How did I learn to do this? I started with a couple Brambleberry kits... I’m on Instagram Addictedtosoapmaking. You can see my progress with each loaf of soap. I started with “ tried and true” recipes with Brambleberry/soapqueen..( I’ve done “ lemon poppyseed Cp .. top started seizing but I got it in on time... “ lime in the coconut”— great soap)... and then branched out to using soap calculators/soapmakingfriend on this site. I also bought a couple soapmaking books from Nerdy Housewife and Soapqueen. I’m pretty comfortable with it now.... was a bit worried about using lye... I wear a mask, gloves, long sleeves and keep my feet covered .. in case of a spill. I also started a “ soap” book from day 1. I have every recipe that I started with, along with “ what I did to make it mine”, colorants, FOs ...how it mixed, how it cured..( did it discolor, how is the lather, too drying? Etc..) and I added a picture of “ just poured, cut, and cured”.. mainly for reference... but when I am gone from this world.. hopefully I leave something about myself to my grandkids, etc...😊
 

soapgeek

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The melt and pour is just that. I love the water and sea creatures and wanted to make something kids would like ( plus me) I got a little dolphin silicon mold and some other ocean themed silicon molds and made those first. I used lab colors in clear melt and pour base to keep the “ water” “ clearer”. I read up on how to do melt and pour. That soap is actually 4 layers of pouring. ( it took me 6 hours🤪). I said..” never again”... but I’ll do it again sometime when I have that much time. The bunny one wasn’t what I had planned .. but I wanted to do something for a little “ stepgranddaughter” who thinks I’m the greatest for the soaps. 🥰. I used a dark chocolate fragrance from Brambleberry and threw in vanilla stabilizer. ( the white bunny is not fragranced) I have 3 layers of mica colors for that one. Unfortunately since I am new... I forgot that the melt and pour has to be “ I think” 120 degrees when u add a layer to adhere to a cooled layer. ( u have to spritz with isopropyl alcohol first before u add a layer.. I use 99%) I poured cooler and a couple bars separated when I cut them. 🤷‍♀️ The flower garden cp soap is my own recipe.. the flowers are all from silicone molds.. I colored melt and pour White base soap. I used Brambleberry Black raspberry and vanilla FO for the other soap and did a “ mica swirl” for the top. ( that means mixing the micas in a light weight oil, using a pipette and drizzling it on top of the soap) I then used a chopstick to lightly swirl the colored mica/oil on top. 😊. How did I learn to do this? I started with a couple Brambleberry kits... I’m on Instagram Addictedtosoapmaking. You can see my progress with each loaf of soap. I started with “ tried and true” recipes with Brambleberry/soapqueen..( I’ve done “ lemon poppyseed Cp .. top started seizing but I got it in on time... “ lime in the coconut”— great soap)... and then branched out to using soap calculators/soapmakingfriend on this site. I also bought a couple soapmaking books from Nerdy Housewife and Soapqueen. I’m pretty comfortable with it now.... was a bit worried about using lye... I wear a mask, gloves, long sleeves and keep my feet covered .. in case of a spill. I also started a “ soap” book from day 1. I have every recipe that I started with, along with “ what I did to make it mine”, colorants, FOs ...how it mixed, how it cured..( did it discolor, how is the lather, too drying? Etc..) and I added a picture of “ just poured, cut, and cured”.. mainly for reference... but when I am gone from this world.. hopefully I leave something about myself to my grandkids, etc...😊
Thank you! I'm just trying to get a handle on straightforward cp soaps right now, it's more problematic than I thought (I naively thought I could just melt, mix, and cure 😂 )

The Brambleberry kits sound good, I'll have a look if they can be shipped to the UK... maybe I'll get some M&P too, results and useability are much quicker I think, no 4-6 weeks curing time!

I'll head over to your Instagram page to see your progress, thanks again 😊 x
 

LilyJo

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I'm not an expert by any means but I do understand the uk regs for soap/ cosmetics and for candles. Happy to help point anyone in the direction of suppliers or assessors etc and provide any advice I can.
 

shunt2011

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I never did MP. I had purchased a bar of homemade soap and thought I bet I could do this. 10+ years later, I still enjoy making soap. I made it for about 2 years before I thought about selling. It's my therapy. When stressed I find making soap relaxing. Took a break the past year from making it but back at it hoping at least one or two of my shows still goes off this year.

Take your time, learn the process, try different recipes and then use a soap calculator to tweak to your liking. You don't need expensive oils or additives. Great soap can be made with pretty simple ingredients.
 

soapgeek

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I'm not an expert by any means but I do understand the uk regs for soap/ cosmetics and for candles. Happy to help point anyone in the direction of suppliers or assessors etc and provide any advice I can.
Hi Lily Jo,

I have a question if you don't mind please?

I started to make CP soap just very recently so am really just starting out, and I started because I don't want to go back to shower gels and that kind of thing - I bought a 'proper' CP soap about 3 years ago in Truro, and have been buying/using cp since, so thought I'd learn how to make my own (although it would probably be cheaper to buy soaps from others for the rest of my life, because I can see that my new 'hobby' is going to cost a fortune lol )... anyway, back to the point - I was reading the label of the soap and I'm a bit confused... It lists as below, and I've capitalised the ingredients that are confusing me:

☆Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Sodium Olivate)
☆Coconut Oil (Sodium Cocoate)
☆Organic Palm Oil - Fair Trade & Sustainable (Sodium Palmate)
☆Aqua
?? UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER (BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII)
?? ORGANIC CASTOR OIL (RICINUS COMMUNIS)
☆Clary Sage Essential Oil (Salvia Sclarea)
☆Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus Limon)
☆Cedarwood Essential Oil (Cedrus Atlantica)

I can see the first three oils have sodium olivate/cocoate/palmate written by them, but the shea butter and castor oil don't - I know I'm probably overthinking this and being a bit of a nerd, but why would some oils be sodium and the others not?? Should they not be sodium something too?

I should change my profile name to soapnerd lol

Hope you can help? I feel like I keep asking lots of (probably) rookie questions 😬😬

Thank you!
 

TheGecko

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I can see the first three oils have sodium olivate/cocoate/palmate written by them, but the shea butter and castor oil don't - I know I'm probably overthinking this and being a bit of a nerd, but why would some oils be sodium and the others not?? Should they not be sodium something too?
Probably. Shea Butter, following the previous conventions should be Sodium Sheabutterate. It could simply be that the person who designed the label didn't know what the correct name was for saponified Shea Butter (or Castor Oil) and so used the INCI name instead.
 
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