Our decision to use essential oils to scent our soaps and other products came from the desire to keep them free from toxic chemicals.
When I started making soap five years ago, there were not that many choices in terms of scents. Sure, there was a wide variety of fragrances available, but I couldn't find anything that was certified phthalate-free. (Phthalates are the components in synthetic fragrances that have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, especially in young children, among other scary things.) So it was essential oils, or no scent at all. I was perfectly happy with that!
And then I started to wish there was a way to have citrusy soaps without its scent fading so quickly (citrus essential oils are the most volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly)...or creamy vanilla soaps...
So you can imagine how excited I was to find certified phthalate-free fragrance oil I could use for my soaps!
Fragrance oils are synthetic fragrances that are more stable in skin care products. The scent stays on a bit longer, and they allow me to have scents not normally available as essential oils.
Because it is our policy to be transparent about the ingredients we use, this is what you need to know about our phthalate-free scents:
1. They are not usually natural. Some of them may have natural components, but formulas for synthetic fragrances are trade secrets, and so their manufacturers are not required (and I'm sure not inclined) to disclose the ingredients. All I can tell you is that they are free of phthalates, the component which made me decide to keep away from synthetic fragrances to begin with.
2. I cannot guarantee you will not have an allergic reaction to it. While some people think synthetic = allergenic/bad, it's not necessarily so. Some people react, some people don't. Same with essential oils. I've had clients tell me that they prefer using essential oils or natural products because they are hypoallergenic. Please remember that pollen is natural, and people all over the world are allergic to it. Natural products are just generally considered less likely to cause reactions.
3. I would use them on my kids. Keeping true to the SoTrue promise of using ingredients we would willingly use on or around our kids, I certainly wouldn't think twice about using them :)
I'm very excited to have you try them, because I'm sure you will LOVE the new scents we will be offering. They're not going to be regular offerings (unless you demand that they be so!), so for now they will be available seasonally and in limited quantities.
Have an awesome week!
It's a prince!
I woke up this morning to the happy news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been blessed with a son. It's always such a joy to hear of new additions to the family (royal or otherwise)!
To say that having a child changes you is an understatement. It changes your whole world. Some people embrace it as soon as they find out they are expecting. For me, it took about a month after N was born.
(Ok, this wasn't where I was planning to go with this post, but let's go there and see where this takes us.)
Don't get me wrong. I was excited about having a baby! I just wasn't sure what to expect. Finding out I was pregnant was a shock in itself, it took a few days for it all to sink in. I loved being pregnant. (But not the 50lbs that came with it.)
N was already gorgeous, right there in the delivery room. I found out later that the nurses in the nursery nicknamed her 'Baby Beautiful'. And, like all babies do to their mommies, she just got more and more beautiful.
Then we took her home. My mom and mother-in-love were there to make sure my transition to mommyhood would be as smooth and as stress-free as possible. Bless their hearts for their intentions, but obviously, it had been a while since they had little babies, and I'm not sure if the addition of any newborn into a family can ever truly be stress-free. As they cooed and gushed over their granddaughter, I felt like was put in a washing machine of emotions ('rollercoaster' doesn't quite cut it, because a rollercoaster can be fun), sometimes feeling like I was trying to get my bearings as I was swished around while hanging upside down.
I was happy, but I was exhausted. I felt a lot of love and tenderness towards N, but I also felt that she, innocent and beautiful as she was (how could anyone fault her for anything?), took away my life as I knew it. I remember just staring at a wall as I nursed her one night, not really looking at anything, and feeling completely overwhelmed at the responsibility of caring for this person, this human being for the next two decades of my life. (Well, now we know it doesn't end at 20.)
I felt a fantastic new bond was formed with my husband, but at the same time I felt very lonely. I resented him when I had to get up several times at night to soothe N and nurse her, while he snored away. Don't get me wrong, he was wonderful and supportive, and did what he could (but he drew the line at nappy changing), but my hormones were having a party to which I wasn't invited, and they let me know it.
Now I know this is what they call the baby blues, or a mild form of postpartum depression. I know that I didn't have it as bad or as long as other mothers did (and do), but it was still a lonely place to be. Everyone around you is ecstatic about the baby, and you feel all this love and excitement when they are around you...and then it's a screaming kind of quiet when they leave. (And I have no idea why I'm crying now. Anyway.)
If you are reading this post and finding yourself in the same situation (or worse), please talk to someone about it. Also, postpartum depression doesn't just happen right after giving birth, it can happen up to a year after delivery.
Looking back, I realize that there were quite a few things that helped me keep sane.
1. I spent a lot of time in prayer. And I mean, A LOT. I spoke them, I sang them, I thought them. Never, ever, EVER underestimate the special blessing that God gives new moms. One of my favorite Bible verses is found in Isaiah 40:11, which says that God gently leads those who are with young. I truly and wholeheartedly believe it. There was no way I could have survived all those sleepless nights without getting sick!
2. I had support. I found a lot of this in my husband. I remember how at the lovely baby shower Ayen and Franco threw for us, Franco said that a great deal of the strength that a new mom will need will come from her husband. This was SoTrue!
There were times I would cry on R's shoulder and I could feel his helplessness. He didn't know what to do with me. We were going through all of this together, and for the first time. I found a lot of strength in the words he shared with me while I was still at the hospital, unsure of how to deal with motherhood. He said, 'Mia, it's just like me before I have to do a show.' My husband is a singer and an extremely shy person, FYI. 'I just step onto the stage and open my mouth and trust that God has put me there and He will see me through it.' So yes, while there were times I glared at him in the dark as I walked to N's room to nurse her in the unholy hours, I still think my husband rocks.
I also leaned a lot on my mom. She moved in with us for the first five weeks after N was born (my husband is an angel), and she was great. I had all my ideas about how to take care of a baby, and SHE LET ME BE. She stepped back, even when I knew that the things I was doing were completely opposite what she would do. She had gone through a difficult time postpartum, too, and swore that if her daughters went through the same thing, she would be there for them. And she was. But you know what, she didn't really know that I was going through it, she didn't know I would cry to my husband at night while she watched over N in the next room. What was important is that I knew she was there.
I had a friend. If you are pregnant, I suggest you find a friend who is pregnant, too. If you don't have any, make friends with someone who is. I cannot tell you how big a help this will be. For both pregnancies, that friend was Rheea of Rainy Days and Mom Days. Both our kids were born within six months of each other. So if I was up at 3am, I could always count on Rheea to text back when I texted her. With D, my sister Georgia and I gave birth to our babies just nine days apart, so you can imagine how many hundreds (possibly thousands) of text messages were exchanged between us!
Our texts wouldn't be heavy or emotional or anything. It was just to let each other know that someone else was there, doing the same thing at the same time. You find great comfort in little things.
3. I am an info junkie. I like to read, read, and read. My husband cannot understand how I can spend hours on the internet, just reading about anything and everything. And so, even before I gave birth, I already knew my hormones would be out of whack. And when they finally went out of whack, it helped that I had somehow expected it, and that I could tell myself that a big part of what I was feeling was caused by my horror-mones, and that things were going to get better.
By the time D came around, looking like this (an old man):
I was a lot more chill as a mom. I had a major cry one night at the hospital, and after that I was fine. (Again, this may not be the case for everyone, so please, I repeat, talk to someone if you're feeling even just a bit blue.)
Let me post a photo of D here, just so you know he turned out looking okay:
Going back to the royal birth.
I am so happy for the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor! Hooray for babies! I truly wish them the best in this new journey.
If we've met before and you've bought one of our soaps, one of the things I may have told you about it is that true Castile soaps (that is, only those made purely from olive oil) have earned themselves the nickname 'the newborn soap'. This is because soaps made purely of olive oil are arguably the mildest soaps you can find.
Now, Castile soaps have another nickname: Queen of Soap. I believe it got the name because when Castile soaps were first made in the 1500s, they were used exclusively by royalty and noblemen. Now that olive oil is somewhat more ubiquitous, I like to think that it's kept the nickname because Castiles require some TLC, but more on that in another post.
Soapmaking resource website Cole Brothers gives a description of the properties of different oils when they are made into soap. Here is what they say about olive oil:
Olive oil is excellent as a base oil in soaps, either in whole (Castile soap) or in part...olive oil prevents the loss of your skin's natural moisture, softens skin and attracts external moisture to your skin. It helps keep your skin soft, supple and younger looking.
Soap made from olive oil is naturally hypoallergenic, which means that it has little likelihood of causing an allergic reaction. Olive oil is very similar to your natural skin oils, so your skin responds well to olive oil. The soap helps to add moisture to your skin and can help you to cleanse your skin without stripping the natural oils.
Another soapmaking resource site, Summer Bee Meadow, has this to say:
Olive oil attracts external moisture to your skin, helping to keep skin soft and supple.
It also cites olive oil's high oleic and linoleic acid content, which contributes to a soap's mildness and skin conditioning benefits. Compare the following oils popularly used in soapmaking, and their respective attributes:
|Oil||Lauric Acid||Linoleic Acid||Myristic Acid||Oleic Acid||Palmitic Acid||Stearic Acid|
Lauric and myristic acid contributes to a soap's hardness, cleansing properties, and fluffy lather. Lauric acid also can be drying to the skin.
Linoleic acid is responsible for the conditioning, silky feel of the soap.
Oleic acid is conditioning, gives a slippery feel to the soap, inhibits lather, and is mild to the skin.
Palmitic acid makes a hard bar, contributes to a soap's cleansing properties, and makes a stable lather (not quite as easy to wash off as fluffy lather).
Stearic acid also contributes to the hardness of the bar and stable lather.
So what exactly does all this mean?
Put simply, it means that a true Castile soap makes a fairly hard bar that doesn't lather much (and yes, is kinda slimy due to its high oleic content), but is very mild and gently cleanses and moisturizes your skin!
My next post will be about how soap works and why lather isn't all it's fluffed up to be! (Oooohh, controversy!)