Integrity in Cosmetics: The Secrets Your Favorite Maker Doesn't Want You To Know




5 Ingredient lists.

These are all things that stir up the desire to purchase from a vendor.


But what if I told you that your vendor was lying to you?

I've noticed an alarmingly deceptive trend with competitors - both those we know and those we don't that lists off certain items as bases. I.e. "Soap base" or "Foaming Bath Whip", even one that simply listed "glycerin melt and pour soap." 

On the surface one might think that this is an ingredient - but it isn't, and part of the integrity and transparency of items is listing off what is in it. 

Case in point - Let's take a look at one ingredient list on a "natural" item


Simple right? From our previous post, we already know that fragrance oils are proprietary ingredient protected items that are made in a lab. So we don't need to really address that - but what about Colorant. Is it food grade coloring? Is it mica? beet powder? What exactly is the colorant?

But the big one. Foaming Bath Whip. Let's take a look at a couple of ingredient lists for the big two foaming bath whips:

Glycerin, Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. 

Glycerin, Water, Sorbitol, Sodium Cocoyl/ Lauroyl Isethionate, Disodium Lauryl sulfosuccinate , Salt, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA


Now, I'll not list where any of these items are from, because frankly it doesn't matter - all of the items listed are generally pretty safe, though I'm not sure we can totally call them natural - thus it would seem that the shop that listed the item has - for lack of better terms deceived the customer. Frankly, there isn't any true regulation of the word "natural" anyway, so the real deception is in the ingredient list.


Let's look at another one:

What is Organic Soap?

I've never heard of it. In our post about the history of soap making and the use of lye, we lightly grazed over the fact that while soap made with sodium hydroxide is considered natural - it is by no means considered organic. ever. We utilize USDA certified organic oils where applicable (and its listed in our ingredient lists as organic), but we'll never call our soap organic. As for a soap to be a legitimate soap, sodium hydroxide lye is used - and seeing that there's no such thing as an organic lye - there isn't a such thing as an organic soap. That ingredient list violates USDA labeling regulations. Keep in mind, this is different in Europe, where lye isn't counted as an ingredient in an organic percentage.

and the last one... this one bugs the heck out of me, likely simply because I feel that there is more of an art in the chemical analysis and mathematical formulation of cold process soap making than there is in melt and pour soap making (To my melt and pour friends please understand I'm not trying to slight you again... ok... maybe a little). "Melt and Pour Soap base"


I've also seen it listed as "Shea butter base" and other types.

The most popular shea melt and pour base is made by Stephenson (its truly a great product for M&P, I can't knock it), and the ingredient list is 

Glycerin, Water, Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sorbitol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea butter), Sodium Hydroxide, Palm Acid, Palm Kernel Acid, Sodium Citrate, Titanium Dioxide, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate

Nearly nothing different from a CP soap aside from a couple of stabilizers and items that make it easier to melt, pour, and mold. It's a safe bet for the M&P community and again, its pretty popular.


So then why am I so particular about this?

Because we have an obligation as hand makers to give our customers the down and dirty about what's in our product. I don't care if you've been in business for a year or two decades. With the focus shifting on to more natural and organic products - we should be as transparent as possible, moreover by not listing our ingredients properly, we all open ourselves up to USDA and/or FDA violations. 

Fellow hand-makers, trust your customers. Explain what items are, take the time to write blogs and share experiences with them, and don't be afraid to tip your hand and show what your ingredients are - because at the end of the day, integrity matters as much as sales do - and honestly - customers remember that. 


Do the right thing. List your ingredients. 

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  • Donna on

    Absolutely! It’s not that the customers want the ingredients list to make their own….we’re only too happy that you want the job of making it for us. Intergrity and transparency are everything to developing trust…without trust…customers find other suppliers ….who won’t lie to them! We need to know who we can trust! At the end of the day a successful business is one where customers keep coming back because they believe in the whole package, not just the marketing…we like to know we support companies with integrity in business practices! Keep on doing what you do, we love it!

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