We’ve had a few heated discussions on a few forums about what is considered natural and when you can say natural, or all natural. The FDA has no definition of natural. They are very strict on “Organic” but when it comes to natural, anybody can technically call anything they want natural. Cyanide is “natural” after all. So enter the debate.
What I have, in my opinion, determined to be “All natural” is anyone who uses only essential oils in their soaps for fragrance, and natural items used for color – turmeric for yellow, seaweed for green etc etc. Some argue that even essential oils can be chemically extracted and various solvents used. If you are going to be THAT specific of the term natural, nothing would be natural because everything is processed in one form or another, unless you went out to the garden, put it in a bag, and sold it as is. I found that people who truly want to be that ALL natural person, has done their research and has sourced their ingredients very carefully.
Many soapmakers will say all natural, but use fragrances, or dyes, because they feel their base is a natural product. And that is okay. This is based strictly on my own interpretation. I always encourage people to LOOK at the ingredients on their label. Hopefully they are compliant and do have the proper labeling. Some have sulfates and still label as all natural. The FDA has left this up to the descretion of the maker. Which is why research is key. Note : Soap with no claims does not need ingredients listed but you can always ask.
I have decided that I would like to be the balance between Natural, and the fun that people love. So we wont say ALL NATURAL. Bath products from China are running rampant in our country and many of them are so chemical filled that you wonder how it is even legal to sell. We arent nearly as strict as the EU when it comes to dyes and fragrances and chemicals allowed. The FDA has a list of GRAS – Generally Recognized As Safe ingredients and while this is okay, there has been much research as to what is NOT very safe, but hasnt been conclusively proven. Or has been allowed because of how the US is set up and corporate influences. Certain things you see on labels are still A-OK on the list, but there has been enough bad press that companies are doing the right thing. Notice BPA Free on plastics? Non GMO? Phthalate free? These are things that can be harmful but are still allowed. So here we are.
We use 100% coconut oil, 100% coconut milk, phthalate free fragrances, essential oils, micas for color, and we do not use any animal products or nut ingredients (a choice we made to appeal to those with allergies not because there is something wrong with nut oils- we just wanted to the nut free crowd to have fun too). Some of our bath products contain kaolin clay, baking soda, citric acid, tapioca starch. etc. All food grade ingredients. Our bubble bars are made with sodium lauryl sulfoacetate. Looks like a scary word. Looks like a sulfate. But rest assured it is not. SLSA as its called, is NOT a sulfate. The molucular structure is very different. The molecules are too large to pass through the skin like sulfates. It is also hydrophillic meaning it dissolves in water fast and rinses faster. Even sensitive skin seems to not mind SLSA. The extreme cases will probably still want to avoid the bubble bars, but they can try our bath bombs.
There is a place for the all natural crowd, the natural crowd, and the colorful bright dye your water crowd. It all depends on your focus and personal preference. One thing is for sure. We all love what we do!