What You Need to Know About Soap Fragrances

What You Need to Know About Soap Fragrances

My husband and kids are my top priority. Most of what I do centers on making their lives healthy and safe. In fact, our reason for being as a soap company was, originally, to create a soap we felt good about using on our kids. Commercial "soaps" often aren't soaps at all, they're synthetic detergents, full of ingredients I'd rather not soak my kids in.

For many of us, that means being extremely cautious, also, about fragrances. At Dayspring Farm Soap Company we offer two soaps that are totally fragrance free (Unscented, and Honey Oatmeal). But we like nice-smelling soaps too - a delight of making our own soaps is exploring all the great fragrances out there.

We scent our soaps with both essential oils (oils extracted directly from plants) and fragrance oils (scents that are man-made but which often incorporate essential oils as elements). Once upon a time I thought that essential oils were the superior choice, that they were safer and more pure. I was surprised to find this isn't necessarily true. 

Essential oils are extracted from plants by a few different processes, but they are sourced directly from the plants themselves and don't contain any other elements. Their purity, however, is unregulated, so they can be difficult to evaluate for quality. They can be therapeutic, but the fact that they can be powerful therapies in themselves means they must be used with care. Some are contraindicated under certain circumstances (Frankincense, for instance, should not be used if you are pregnant). Others should never be used in a skincare product because they create skin sensitivity when applied (citrus oils, cinnamon or clove oils). Finally, they sometimes endanger natural resources by overusing their plant sources (rosewood, for instance, is now endangered) - this is not in line with our value of environmental responsibility.

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are man-made. They may use essential oils as ingredients in regulated amounts. Some consumers worry that they may use problematic ingredients as well, like phthalates or parabens (adverse health effects may include cancer, reproductive problems, endocrine disruptions, allergic reactions, and respiratory issues). We absolutely share this concern - remember, every soap we make, we put on ourselves and our kids.

We promise our soaps are free of these problem ingredients, and we can make that promise because we source our fragrance oils from a responsible local company that certifies our oils are safe from them. This is one reason why we trust these fragrances, in fact, over essential oils that are unregulated. Fragrance oils actually have a regulating body - the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) - which is responsible for helping users of fragrance oils to use them at safe levels (or lets us know which fragrance oils aren't safe for people at any level). IFRA standards help us choose safe amounts of fragrance to use in our soaps and lotion bars. 

If your preference is for essential oils, our Farmhouse Lavender soap is made exclusively with lavender essential oil, sustainably sourced and used with care (and lavender essential oil is widely considered safe without many restrictions). Either way, we are proud to say that every ingredient we use in our soap is chosen with great intention and care - including our delicious scents.

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