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Thursday, May 26, 2011

"The Palm Oil" Controversy

"The Palm Oil" controversy and my thoughts... Over the past few years, "bio-diesel" (and the need for edible non-hydrogenated oils) has created a huge demand for oil... palm oil. Palm oil is only harvested significantly in tropical (rain forest) regions and thus... the problem. More demand for "palm oil" means more deforestation. 


When I became aware of this issue, I switched to an "organic palm oil" which is a renewable and sustainable resource. Organic palm will not as likely contribute to the "palm thirsty" industry which ultimately demands more deforestation. 


Side Note: There are other suppliers who have found conventional (non organic) sustainable palm farms also. I am not implying that organic palm farms are the only sustainable palm farms (arguable). It is also noted that there is no guarantee that any palm oil is "green". 


In most regions of the world, there is no "big brother" that watches over these farms, but this is true of many product and this is why it is important to find reputable sources. Even in America where "big brother" is watching farms, many of the subsidized farms are genetically modifying crops and large corporations are sending small farms packing... needless to say, big government is no accountability to the corporations, it takes businesses to keep other businesses accountable, consumers to keep businesses accountable, neighbors keeping neighbors accountable! 

A little about the base ingredient!

Oils- Why I use the oils I use... And their benefits.

Olive Oil: A traditional emollient used in soap because it is mild and gives a "moisturized feel" to the soap. Can get a bit sticky sometimes. Olive oil is imported generally from Spain and the European region.


Rice Bran Oil: Similar to olive but a bit "cleaner" feel in the soap. I like to use it in "balancing" the other oils. I would use rice bran instead of olive, since it is stable in cost and is domestic, but this oil is not as popular as olive and the consumer gets what the consumer wants.

Sunflower Oil: Very similar to olive with a lighter/cleaner feel to it. Can have a tendency to get "sticky" but the skin feels oh so nice when sunflower is used. I would use sunflower more, but too much can make the soap soft.


Shea Butter: Makes a creamier bar with a more "moisturized feel". Too much shea butter can make the soap sticky and reduce lather. With sensitive skin,  reduced lather can be a good thing, so shea butter can be a real assistant, but in the end this has to be "in balance" with the rest of the soap.


Organic Palm: When I use palm, we use organic "sustainable" palm, for the reasons of deforestation in tropical regions (see below for further explanation). Palm and similar, are pretty much necessary to make a harder, stable bar of soap.


Coconut: One word... Lather. Coconut adds to hardness and creates "big bubbles" in soap. A little goes a long way, too much can be "too effective".

Hemp: I use unrefined hemp to avoid chemical contamination possible in the refining process. It also gives a nice natural aroma to the soap. Hemp oil adds a unique skin feel and moisturizing effect.


Stearic Acid: A fatty acid commonly found in natural oils such as coconut, palm, and also in animal fats (we use  a vegetable source). Used in small amounts assists in the soap making process and balances some soap qualities. Stearic acid is used by many companies as a moisturizer in lotion and other formulas.



Up next a great explanation from my palm oil supplier on the use of palm oil and the controversy that surrounds it. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Handmade Paper- A How-To

Over at Crafting a Green World  Wenona Napolitano  wrote a great how-to on how to craft your own handmade paper! I used this to make some plantable paper for my soap tags (it's like you will be getting a free plant with your soap purchase!) She suggests to wait until your paper is in the molds, but I just threw them in the slurry pulp mixture AFTER it was blended. You can do what ever you think is best. 


So check out her how-to here How-to: Handmade Paper

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why buy handmade Yuffie Soaps?

Handmade soaps retain their natural glycerin content.
Glycerin is a naturally-occuring product that is formed in the saponification (soapmaking) process. It is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air ... for skin this means it helps the skin retain its natural water content. In commercially-made soaps, the glycerin content is extracted and sold to pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies - you'll often find it added to moisturisers, particularly skin-sensitive ones like sorbolene. In all handmade soaps, the glycerin content is left intact, where it helps to nourish and moisturise the skin.
They use a variety of skin-loving oils.
Look at the ingredients label of a commercially-made soap and you'll usually find one of these as the main ingredient: sodium tallowate (tallow, or beef fat), sodium cocoate (coconut oil) or sodium palmate (palm oil). These oils are used for one reason: because they're cheap. I'm not saying they don't have their place in soap, because they do, they just need to be used in conjunction with other oils. Tallow is actually very conditioning and restorative for the skin, but it doesn't cleanse well, so synthetic ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate needed to be added. Palm oil makes a hard, long-lasting bar but on its own cleans too harshly and will dry out the skin. Coconut oil gives an excellent lather, but again, on its own will dry out the skin.

My soaps contain olive oils and sunflower oil for moisturisation, balanced with palm, coconut and castor oils, to make a soap that is mild, feels nice on the skin, has a good lather and most importantly, cleanses gently but without stripping away the skin's natural oils, so there's no dry, tight feeling after washing. My soaps do not contain any animal fats - they are mostly vegan, except for the ones that contain animal by-products such as goats milk, honey and beeswax.
No nasties: sulphates, parabens, preservatives etc.
My soaps, like most other handmade soaps, don't contain sodium lauryl sulphate (or the slightly gentler version, sodium laureth sulphate), preservatives, parabens or any other nasty additives that so many commercial soaps do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Magic Hour


Just finished cutting my Magic Hour Bar! Some sweet and some spice, I used a complex (thank goodness I wrote it down!) of 10 essential oils to make this wonderfully fragrant soap. Needless to say, I am GIDDY with excitement.

The Rolling Stone gathers no moss....

Happy to say after months of planning, testing, and figuring out a name, my stone has started to roll and is slowly but surely shaking off the gathered moss.

I started making handcrafted soap about six months ago as a hobby, and as a desperate attempt to help the very sensitive skin I am plagued with. I started out slow, but soon move into with a fever. I found the whole process, from the chemistry, math and recipe concocting invigorating. I thought to myself, "This is something I enjoy doing, and I happen to do this well."

With that thought, Yuffie Soaps (of course the name came much much later) was born.

I will be posting updates and how-to's here, and of course taking suggestions. So next up, a little bit about Yuffie Soaps, my ingredients and my process!

Glad you are here.