It says ‘natural’ soap, but is it really?

I owned a natural soap making business, made the soap right on the store’s premises. Often customers would come in and ask if the soap was natural like the Body Shop and Lush. We knew that the Body Shop and Lush soap was not natural, so I looked at their websites to see why people were thinking this. I discovered that they used a lot of terms that would lead one to think this was so. More specifically, they used the term “naturally inspired”, along with other terms such as ‘against animal testing’, and ‘protect our planet’. None of these phrases actually state that the products are natural. “Made with organic fruit” was used too, in reality, this tells you that the fruit extracts are organic, but the rest of the bar certainly was not organic. Essential oils are derived from plants and fragrance oils are chemically modified essential oils or laboratory created synthetic scents. Period. I see this type of misleading advertising genius everywhere, from the natural soap at the farmers market to million dollar ad campaigns.

Other misleading words and phrases include ‘essence’, ‘fragrance’, ‘essential fragrances’, ‘botanicals’, ‘concentrate’, ‘herbal’, ‘scent’, ‘perfume’, ‘pure’, ‘authentic’, or ‘bouquet’. However, none of these terms inevitably refer to natural essential oils. Besides ‘naturally inspired’, and ‘against animal testing’, other deceptive phrases include ‘top notes’, ‘fresh and handmade’, ‘fair trade’, and ‘containing organic ingredients’, as these do not represent all natural. In the phrase ‘containing organic ingredients’, it may be referring to a mere 2% of the product’s volume. That still leaves 98% of possible toxins. Seeing the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ in the product’s description does not signify all natural. Sadly, even if you see the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as part of the company name, this does not indicate that their products are all natural. There is no law that states if you call your business "The totally organic cheese factory", that is just the name of your business, it does not lawfully require you to provide only organic cheese.

Real soap contains 4 very basic ingredients; vegetable oils or lard, spring water, lye and essential oils. The harsh, skin drying soap our great grandparents made with animal fats, wood ashes and river water would be far safer than the cesspool of chemicals in those luxurious ‘moisturizing bars’. When true essential oils are used, ethically health conscience product creators will celebrate this fact, clearly listing their ingredients. Using the accurate description such as ‘sweet orange essential oil’, and not leading you to immune-system-depression via fragrance oils by saying ‘the scent of freshly squeezed oranges’.

Indigo Earth Notes:
Use the above information when shopping for any household or personal product, from soap to laundry detergent. One almost needs to be an English Professor or Linguist to decipher what the labels are really telling you.

Author's Bio: 

Courtney Findlay is a professional soapmaker, having had her own successful soap making business that created, wholesaled and retailed up to 45 varieties of soap and numerous other bath products, all from the store's premises. Courtney received several Chamber of Commerce nominations over the years including Entrepreneur of the Year, New Business of the Year and Best Customer Service. Wanting to share her love of natural products, Courtney teaches others to make soap and lotions and has been invited to speak at events. A love for research and writing has lead to a writing portfolio consisting of diverse assignments including Press Releases for Olympic Athletes, a humorous Home Improvement Column, and as a contributor to Self Growth's "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health" Book. Check out her website at