Joy's Handcrafted Soaps are made with moisturizing oils and butters, natural essential oils and colorants to give you the most natural soap that I can make. I use as many organic and/or non-GMO ingredients that I can.
Yes, I use lye to make my soap. You can’t make soap without it. If you purchase soap that doesn’t have lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) of some sort, you are purchasing something other than a soap. I’m not going into great detail or scientific verbiage, but the lye and oils go through saponification, which turns them both into something different…soap. If the soap is made properly the only harm with using lye is in the making of the soap, not the using of the soap. Taking precautions and using lye properly minimizes any dangers during the soap-making process.
I make cold process soap. Cold process is mixing the lye solution with oils and other additives, pouring it in to molds for a day or so, cutting it then letting it set for weeks to let as much moisture evaporate.
I only use essential oils for adding a light, lovely scent to my soaps (or I use no scent at all). I’m not affiliated with any brand, but I do have my favorites. I always try for non-GMO/organic unless it’s extremely cost prohibitive (don’t want to pass those costs on to my customers) or I’m unable to find them.
If you’re not familiar with essential oils, please read up on any concerns you may have and be aware of your allergies. I always recommend that when trying a new soap with ingredients you haven't used before, use it on the inside of your wrists a few times to see if you have any reaction. I’ve used essential oils on a daily basis for a multitude of things from leg cramps to diffusing oils to help me relax. Used properly they are amazingly helpful.
Admittedly, essential oils are fragile and may lose some of their scent. This is both a bad thing and a good thing. It’s bad because the scent can/may fade from the bar over time, but it’s good because when using the soap it doesn’t leave an over-powering scent on your skin that might interfere with perfumes/colognes. I like to think of the scent in my soap as being therapeutic while you’re actually using it (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use the word therapeutic, but I’m gonna). Lavender soap before bedtime can be relaxing, citrus soap in the morning can be uplifting. Is that a guarantee? Nope, but it's tried and true. Do these scents always work for everyone? Nope, we are all made differently.
I also only use natural colorants and they will be listed with the ingredients of each soap, though I am looking into micas from reputable companies that list their ingredients. For example, for the Tyler’s Woodlands Campsite Soap I used cacao powder and spirulina powder to make an interesting hanger swirl. Fortunately, the spirulina completely loses its algae smell (did not know it smelled like that) once the soap dries and it’s a very pretty, natural green. Natural colorants can change color (it’s like magic…or something) and may not be anything like I plan but my main focus is making soap that is cleansing, moisturizing and natural.
The first time I saw someone add silk to their lye solution I thought I had misunderstood what they said. Once I looked up the benefits of adding silk to handmade soap, I really wanted to try it. Just a tiny bit adds a silky feel to the soap, it makes it a bit shinier too. I purchase my silk from Brambleberry and it is cruelty-free, the fibers are collected from the cocoons after the silk worms have emerged.
I will always list every ingredient I use on each bar and in each description on my website. Please, please read them carefully to look for anything you may be allergic to or may irritate your skin. While I do wash all my utensils very thoroughly between each batch, I do use the same utensils for all the soap I make. It’s like the peanut warning stickers on labels letting people know that while a particular item does not contain peanuts, it was manufactured in a place that uses peanuts for other things.
I use as much biodegradable packaging and shipping materials that I can. It really is a thing to me.
I use biodegradable bubble wrap when I need to add it to any shipment, I definitely want packaging and shipping to be as eco-friendly as I can make it!