Frequently Asked Questions
Why buy handmade?
There are so many reasons to go with handmade soap vs commercial! So many, I'm working on a longer blot posting about it. But for now, I'll list a few key points:
You'll know what you're putting on your face and body. Handmade bars are pure "soap", meaning a blend of oils saponified with lye. The FDA considers that the legal definition of "soap", whereas Health Canada does not have a legal definition. In the USA, most commercial bars would not be able to be listed as "soap" because they do not go through the saponification process and instead use synthetic detergents (syndets) such as sodium laurel sulfate or any derivatives. Those detergents are added for one purpose: to break apart oils. That will leave your skin extremely dry and may even cause reactions like dry spots or itchiness. Even soaps that have the reputation of being gentle to skin use a combination of synthetic detergents, preservatives, and saponified oils. For example, Dove bars list a syndet as the very first ingredient, along with some saponified oils.
It's so good for your skin! Handmade soaps contain glycerin, a natural byproduct of the saponification process which is great for your skin. They will also contain more beneficial skin-moisturizing ingredients such as natural vitamins and proteins present in natural oils.
It's better for our environment. Commercial soaps are made in huge factories which use up a lot of energy just to produce their lines. They are then shipped to a distribution center where they wait until they are to be shipped to a warehouse, and finally to a store to end up on the shelf. That's a lot of shipping, and a lot of fuel being used. As for packaging, they are usually bars wrapped in plastic encased in a plasticized cardboard box...also wrapped in plastic. Lastly, rather than focusing on sustainable sources of natural ingredients, these companies are largely responsible for creating the biggest negative impact on the environment via the use of unsustainable palm oil and other sources.
Sugar Bee uses minimal packaging to lessen the environmental impact. We source our ingredients from Canadian companies and make every attempt to use sustainable sources when possible.
You are supporting an individual and their family, not a faceless corporation.
Do you make lye-free soap?
Despite the claims made by many soapers, you cannot make soap without lye. Sugar Bee uses lye in the creation of our soap, but the finished product does not EVER contain lye. This is because when lye water is added to oil, it goes through a natural chemical process called "saponification". All soap by definition needs to go through this process to be called "soap". Many commercial products such as Dove use synthetic detergents along with natural oils. That is why they are called "bath bars" or "beauty bars" and not "soap bars". There is also a type of handmade soap known as "melt and pour" where the creator melts down a bar that has already been made with lye and has gone through the saponification process.
Do you make palm-free soap?
Not at this time; however, I can make custom palm-free, scent-free loaves. I did have a palm-free line but there was very little interest in it (as in NONE) and I ended up donating it to our local women's shelter.
Is your soap all-natural?
The word "natural" is often overused when it comes to cosmetics, and is not regulated in the industry. Really, anybody can slap an "all-natural" or "100% natural" label on anything even if it's incorrect. Rather than be vague, I'd like to cut to the chase and inform you about the ingredients:
I use naturally-sourced, skin-safe oils that have been processed to remove impurities.
I do not use any synthetic detergents.
The lye (aka sodium hydroxide) used in the process is not naturally created. Lye created naturally with wood ash is difficult to regulate in strength and may result in a very lye-heavy soap.
The process I use to make soap is a natural chemical process known as "saponification" that turns the lye and oil into soap.
Some of Sugar Bee's soaps use naturally-sourced essential oils for scent, some use synthetic fragrance oils, some have a blend of both. The type of oil used is listed on each description, and prices will reflect this as well.
The colors used are not natural unless noted in the description.
If you are looking for a scent-free, dye-free bar of soap we suggest our "Bare" bar, which is made from vegan ingredients and does not contain any scent or color.
What is the white stuff on top of some of your soaps?
That is called soda ash, and it's a natural byproduct of the saponification process. It is completely harmless. Some soapers steam it off or prevent it otherwise, I prefer to leave it on.