Just in case it wasn’t clear from our name, here on the Growing Organic farm, we are big fans of organic products. From our crops to our clothing, we strive to choose products made from organic and earth-friendly ingredients when at all possible. We know that for ourselves and for many of our customers, going organic (and growing organic) is a mission that is taken very seriously.
Over the past several years, we have been slowly replacing more and more of our daily-use and personal care products with organic alternatives. As a matter of fact, our commitment to live more organically and sustainably is to credit for the growing range of products that we now produce right here on the farm. However, we have also learned that when it comes to choosing organic, it is important to look beyond the labels.
THIS JUST IN: Organic Soap Does Not Exist!
Thankfully, more and more consumers are making it known that natural ingredients are preferred, but it is precisely because of this popularity that it is even more important to be a discerning customer. Corporate professionals understand that “organic” labels and marketing immediately make a product much more attractive to modern consumers, and this preference is an opening for exploitation.
Perhaps while combing the aisles of your local drugstore or farmer’s market, you’ve been tempted by labels promising organic soap. In the quest for wellness and sustainability in all facets of our lives, the prospect of wholly organic soap is very appealing. Unfortunately, we have to tell you the truth. Soap – ALL types of soap – can never be considered totally organic.
Yes, when we learned this fact, we were shocked and disappointed, too. But in order to explain why soap can never be considered organic, it would be helpful to begin by explaining what is meant when we use the word “organic”, and how this applies to the process of soap-making.
What does “organic” really mean?
The word “organic” is currently one of the most popular terms to include on all varieties of health and wellness products and can be seen emblazoned everywhere from fruit snacks to face serums. However, this word actually has a pretty narrow definition. Despite its common assumption to mean “from the earth” or “natural”, in the context of food and farming, organic is actually defined to mean “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.” In short, organic products can not contain any man-made or artificial additives at any stage in their production.
In the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic certifications through the National Organic Program, but these regulations are designed around the production of organic food. The USDA is clear that they do not regulate cosmetic or personal care products, but that certain products can apply for any of their applicable organic certifications if they contain primarily agricultural ingredients that are produced in accordance with the USDA NOP standards.
What is “soap”?
In order to understand why soap can not be considered organic, we have to know what is required to make soap.
Soap is created by mixing oils or fats with a chemical solution of potassium or sodium hydroxide. There is no way to make “soap” without undergoing this process. Potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide are manufactured inorganic substances, which means that they are substances not found in nature.
Soaps can (and should!) be made with organic ingredients, including organic oils, moisturizers, emollients, and exfoliants, but the process of turning these ingredients into soap inherently involves a synthetic chemical reaction, which means the final product can not be considered “organic”.
What should I look for in a soap?
There are many, many products on the market that are labeled as “organic” or “all-natural”, regardless of the product’s ingredients or production process. This type of misleading marketing is especially prevalent among personal care products, including soaps and shampoos.
Instead of choosing soaps that are simply labeled “organic”, we recommend looking for soaps that are made using organic, sustainably harvested, and fairly traded ingredients. This will ensure that you are not being duped by a deceiving label, and instead are only investing in products that will be good for your skin, the planet, and all the creatures involved in or affected by its production.
When looking for soaps made from organic ingredients, we especially recommend a skin-loving soap like our Lactosoapcillus line, which is made from organic coconut oil, organic coconut milk, organic castor oil, all-natural essential oils, and the probiotic microorganisms lactobacillus and bifidobacterium to help improve and maintain your skin’s microbiome.
In addition to looking for soaps made from organic ingredients, it is important to do a little bit of research into the production methods and business ethics behind the brand making the product. At Growing Organic, we are proud that each and every one of our soaps is all-natural, plant-based, 100% vegan, palm oil-free, and sustainably and ethically produced. If you have any questions about our soaps, production methods, or any of our other products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
[…] As we explained in our first blog covering how and why to make your own dish detergent, most traditional commercial dish soaps and automatic dishwasher detergents are full of irritating chemical surfactants that are harsh on our skin’s microbiome and have the potential to be ecologically destructive, as well. But alternative “all-natural” options can be quite costly, and all too often are not as natural as the label may claim. […]