Is Your Shower Killing You?

A recent study by the Center for Environmental Health discovered a cancer causing chemical in at least 98 soaps and shampoos, some of which are labeled organic.

The Culprit

Is this worth your health?

Cocomide DEA is a chemically modified form of coconut oil that is used as a foaming agent.  Cocmide DEA is a Group  2B carcinogen, which means it is possibly carcinogenic to humans.  It also has a high irritation potential.  All this means is that the cocomide DEA in your soaps and shampoos has the potential to cause cancer and also severely irritate your skin.

To see the list of products found to contain cocomide DEA, follow this link.  You can also look at the list of ingredients on your soaps and shampoos for “cocomide DEA”.

What is the Alternative? 

The best alternative for you and your family is to choose soaps and shampoos that truly are all natural!

Completely Natural Soap (even the scent)

Here at Glynne’s Soaps we refuse to make a soap we wouldn’t use on us our our beloved pets!  We use only the finest all natural ingredients that are safe for you and your family.

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Why What We Do Is Not a Craft

March is National Craft Month.  Which makes me happy because I am starting to open up my creative side and be more crafty.  I have recently learned to crochet, and I have plans to begin making paper in the near future.   Actually, I probably have a million other crafty ideas out there just waiting to burst forth.

However, the bulk of what I do as soap maker for Glynne’s Soaps is not crafty – It’s Chemistry.  

Yes, it’s fun and creative, but it’s truly a science – not just a craft.  And here’s why.

  1. Research & Development - All of Glynne’s Soaps products have gone through rigorous research, testing and trial & error before coming to market.  We do not purchase pre-made base for any of our products.  Everything is made from the raw materials, and the amounts and proportions have been carefully selected based on the properties they give to the item.
  2. Safety – Because we start with raw materials in our soap making, we do use sodium hydroxide (lye) in the process.  As Gayle is fond of saying “You can’t make soap without lye, and anyone who tells you they did is lying.”.  Putting the fun play on words aside, her statement is 100% true.  But because of my science background and chemistry knowledge, I create a formula that includes enough oils to fully bond with the lye, removing all it’s harsh properties and leaving only safe, moisturizing soap.
  3. Knowledge -  My MS in Chemistry and 10 years experience working for a research & development lab of a pharmaceutical company gives me knowledge of the chemical process that goes along with the production of soap and also an understanding of the properties of the natural ingredients we use.  Each ingredient is chosen with regard to the specific properties it brings to the products – including the essential oils that are responsible for the scents and therapeutic properties they provide.

Soapmaking isn’t a cute hobby at Glynne’s Soaps. We put years of experience, copious amounts of research, a large amount of time and expertise into every product we create. We’re not saying there is no artistry or craftsmanship to what we do – have you seen our labels? You may even see us at a Farmers Market, and maybe even the occasional craft or Art show, but our soaps  aren’t just pretty and fun they are functional and environmentally safe.

There are plenty of craft soaps out there. People who buy a base (often glycerin) add scent or fun colors and say they are making soap. When what they are actually doing is crafting soap.

Look for more blog posts this month on the ingredients, and processes we use to create the best natural soaps and more for you and your pets.


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How To Tuesday: Fight a Cold the Natural Way

We all know that not wearing a hat in cold weather or going outside with wet hair do not cause colds, however there are things you can do that will decrease your immune systems ability to fight off cold germs.  And right now, after a busy weekend with little sleep, Gayle’s immune system needs some help.  So, while Gayle’s fighting her cold we thought we’d share some cold remedies with you.

  1. SLEEP – This doesn’t mean lay on the couch and watch TV or play with your phone / iPad or computer. Sleep, as in close your eyes and snore! Your body can heal itself, but you must allow it to do just that and sleep is just what the doctor ordered.
  2. DRINK – sorry to break the bad news, but drink water. Your body really needs to flush out the toxins, break down the mucus and those sugary sodas and juices aren’t gonna do a daggon thing to help. So have a few if you must but chug-a-lug some water!
  3. Combat cold symptoms with eucalyptus

    Get Steamy – A hot and steamy bath will help to open and clear congestion.  You can place a few drops of eucalyptus oil into your bath or you can also use Glynne’s Bath Soak in either the Aussie Rainforest (Eucalyptus) or Rejuvenation (Eucalyptus and Peppermint) varieties.

  4. Neti Pot –  It’s most useful to use it before you are majorly clogged up. As a preventative measure, it can be used daily.  It cleans those pipes out! But the salt water can be drying in cold weather, so follow up with a bit of sesame oil or tea tree essential oil in each nostril. Gayle loves her neti pot and swears by it!
  5. Lavender and Tea Tree oils also have antibacterial properties, and Tea Tree oil will help heal dry nasal passages.  You can mix a few drops of each of these oils (add some eucalyptus as well) with a carrier oil such as olive oil or shea butter and use it as a chest rub.
  6. Enjoy some Ginger Tea – Combine a piece of ginger root with water in a pot. Boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Add a touch of raw local honey or lemon and drink.
  7. Eat Chicken Soup – Turns out Grandma was right chicken soup is good for helping to fight colds. So enjoy some delicious chicken soup (it’s best if someone who loves you makes it for you – DON’T discount the TLC factor <grin>)
  8. Avoid Dairy - Dairy creates excess mucus in the body. So don’t drink milk or eat cheese right now.
  9. Wash Your Hands – nothing prevents the spread of germs like hand washing. You should be doing it often anyway, but do it MORE when you’re fighting a cold or have a cold.
  10. Drink some more and sleep some more!

Start these therapies at the first sign of a cold.  You can decrease the severity of your cold and also alleviate the symptoms.


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The Health Risks of Hand Sanitizers

Image courtesy of Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

You have heard us say many times that the use of commercial anti-bacterial products that contain triclosan are dangerous to your health.  Well, scientists have discovered yet another reason to rethink these products, especially around your kids.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a link between the levels of triclosan in the urine and the presence of antibodies in the blood that are found in people with  allergies.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that kids with high levels of triclosan in their bodies are also the kids who have the most allergies. The children with high levels had over twice the risk of food allergies and almost twice the risk of environmental allergies as those with low levels .

Triclosan can be found in many soaps, mouthwashes and toothpastes, but is most commonly found in hand sanitizer.  It has been shown to affect hormone production and also contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Over time, it does accumulate in the body and this most recent study shows that the accumulation can have dangerous effects on children.

This information should cause you to think twice about picking up that hand sanitizer over and over throughout the day.  Glynne’s Soaps does offer an all natural alternative to hand sanitizer containing triclosan.  Our All Natural Lavender or Lemon Hand Sanitizer is now available on our website and will soon be available at the Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market, The Poplar Grove Farmers Market, The Historic Downtown Wilmington Marketplace and any of the other events Glynne’s Soaps attends.  Get yours today!

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What’s The Benefit?

This past week, a customer was looking at all our soap offerings, looked up and asked me a question.  ”What are the benefits of all these essential oils?”

After answering his question, I continued to think about all the great benefits that were sitting on the table that I probably don’t highlight as often as I should.  Yes, the soaps are all natural, free from harmful chemicals and generally great for your skin, but the essential oils also have therapeutic properties.

So I thought today that I would list some of those for you.

  • Zen Aura (Lemongrass and Green Tea) – lemongrass essential oil has anti-depressive properties, it will boost confidence and give you feelings of joy – what would be better first thing in the morning?
  • Rejuvenation (Eucalyptus and Peppermint)the properties of these oils that make them a great soap are the pain relieving qualities, they are great at removing aches and pains, congestion and sinus problems
  • Simply Olive Oil Lavender (Lavender) – most everyone knows the benefits of lavender which include calming tension, reducing depression and inducing sleep
  • Frankincense & Myrrh – one of the little known benefits of both these oils are their cold and congestion relieving abilities.  This is a great soap for reducing the effects of those summer colds.
  • Citrus Zing (Orange and Ginger) - orange and ginger oils both are good at reducing inflammation which makes them great for easing the pain of arthritis and other aches and pains.

Aside from the fact that these products smell wonderful, they also have benefits you might not have thought about.  Buy some today and let them work for you.


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But Why? The Importance of Natural Products

I had a woman come to our booth at the Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and say, “My daughter says I need to switch to natural soap because of the dangers of parabens in commercial soap.  Why?  And how do I know if my soap contains parabens?”

In case you are wondering the same thing, I will tell you what I told her – Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives in many cosmetic and skin care products.  Parabens mimic estrogen which is thought to play a role in breast cancer.  There also is some evidence that parabens disrupt development and growth by mimicking hormones, fooling the body.  And, since there are paraben free products out there, why not avoid something that could possibly lead to cancer or other health problems.

The safe alternative is to use products that do not contain parabens; unfortunately, you can’t look at a list of ingredients and immediately see the word “paraben”, since there are many different chemicals that are types of parabens. The six most commonly found parabens are:

  1. methylparaben
  2. ethylparaben
  3. propylparaben
  4. isobutylparaben
  5. butylparaben
  6. benzylparaben

The safest thing to do for the health of your family is to avoid products that contain one or more of these ingredients, and purchase natural products, like Glynne’s Soaps whenever possible.


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Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid

I ran across this article titled “Nine Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products” a few weeks ago and thought it was worth passing along.   There are some dangerous ingredients in places you might not think to look.

So, here they are – look for them in the ingredients of your skin care products.  And remember, none of Glynne’s Soaps products will ever contain any of these toxins, or anything else that isn’t all natural and safe.

1. PARABENS: They’re in adult and baby shampoo and many other products, and they are estrogen mimickers that can lead to cancer.

2. FRAGRANCE: The FDA requires that food, drug, and body care companies list their ingredients on their products—but chemicals used to scent products can be clumped under the vague term “fragrance.” Found in everything from shampoo to deodorant, a single product’s secret fragrance mixture can contain potentially hundreds of toxic volatile organic compounds.

3NANOPARTICLES: Found in lotions, moisturizers, make-up, and particularly sunscreen, these untested ingredients are so small, many scientists are very concerned about their potential health effects, as they can penetrate cell walls and are highly reactive. Products with nanoparticles aren’t often labeled as such, so check your conventional body care products at

4. FORMALDEHYDE: A common hardener in nail polish and an ingredient in bath products, this chemical is a known carcinogen. Nail polish also often contains the developmental toxicant TOLUENE.

5. PHTHALATES: These hormone disruptors have been linked to male genital abnormalities, liver and kidney lesions, and higher rates of childhood asthma and allergies. They’re often hidden in the fragrances of an array of products for men, women, and children, and listed as DIBUTYL PHTHALATE in nail polish.

6. PETROLEUM BY-PRODUCTS: Listed as mineral oil, petrolatum, liquid paraffin, toluene, or xylene, these chemicals are found in a dizzying number of products, including many shampoos and soaps. Of most concern is the fact that they are often contaminated by cancer-causing impurities like 1,4 DIOXANE, which is a probable carcinogen. Industry has done very little to prevent such contamination.

7. TRICLOSAN: A primary ingredient in anti-bacterial soaps and products, triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteriaresistant “superbugs.”

8. LEAD: It’s a potent neurotoxicant, and it’s been found in several popular brands of lipstick and men’s hair coloring kits.

9. MERCURY: A neurotoxicant that can severely damage human health, mercury— often listed as “thimerosol”—is still used in some cosmetics like mascara.

It is important to know what you are putting on your body and on your children (both the two-legged and four-legged varieties).

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Why Our All Natural Soaps contain NO Palm Oil

Palm oil is widely used as a base oil in soapmaking.  It creates a hard bar of soap with a creamy stable lather, and is often used as the vegetarian equivalent to tallow because it imparts the same characteristics to the bar of soap. Because of this it is a very popular ingredient in handmade soap.

You might notice that in the list of ingredients on a bar of Glynne’s Soap, palm oil is not there.  We have made a conscious choice not to use palm oil because of environmental concerns.

If you keep up with our blog, or know us at all, you know that we are committed to being as green as possible.  We recycle, reduce and reuse.  We also try to only purchase materials that are also considered environmentally friendly.  Palm oil is not one of these materials.

Palm oil is a basic source of income for many of the world’s rural poor in South East Asia, Central and West Africa, and Central America.  Because of its increasing popularity, more and more rainforests are being destroyed to create more room for the palm plantations.  The destruction of the rainforests is harmful to the environment for many reasons:

Significant greenhouse gas emission.  Deforestation in tropical areas accounts for 1/3 of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Destruction of the habitats of many endangered species including the Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger and African Rhinoceros.  With their habitat destroyed, these animals will suffer extinction.

Removal of the natural growth leads to loss of homes, farmland, degradation of food and water supplies and untold other environmental effects.

Because of these concerns, we have decided not to make palm oil an ingredient of our soaps.  The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil is beginning to certify certain palm oil producers as sustainable.  Because this is a new system, it is not certain which suppliers are truly using sustainable palm oil.  Until the certification process is less confusing, we will continue to stay away from palm oil.

What can you do?  There are many things that individuals can do to help increase companies use of sustainable palm oil and to help ensure that the sustainable certification is authentic.  Palm oil is used in many food products as well as beauty products.  Write to the companies that make these products and insist that they use certified sustainable palm oil.  Discontinue using any products that contain palm oil.  Let all your friends and family know the destruction that is being caused by the increasing demand for palm oil.  Every little bit helps.

We would love to hear your comments about the environmental impact of the increased use of palm oil. Keep it clean!

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No Animals Were Harmed in the Writing of this Blog

There is much conversation around products that are all natural, safe for the environment and free from nasty dangerous chemicals.  And Glynne’s Soaps is proud to provide a quality product that fits all these characteristics.  There is one other category that we fall in that is not mentioned as often, but in our opinion is just as important.

Glynne’s Soaps is proud to say that we do not do any animal testing on our products.  Well, unless you count giving samples to friends and asking for their opinions.  Or using new products on ourselves for a while before offering them to you.

Unfortunately, there are still companies that do test their products or ingredients on animals.  Even though it is not required by law, they continue, even though there are other ways to test the safety of a product.  The only place where animal testing is required is by the EPA – they require animal toxicity testing on all pesticides.  It has just been a common practice for so long that many companies don’t even think twice about the harm they might be inflicting.  And it is not just cosmetic companies.  Companies that make personal care products, household cleaning products and even fruit juice can be included in this list.

If you would like a complete list of companies that still test their products on animals, you can check out this list.  Awareness is the first step to creating positive change.

You can also go to our website and pick out soaps, lotions, lip balms, scrubs and hand sanitizers that are cruelty free, all natural and environmentally friendly.

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Coffee – It’s Not Just for Breakfast

For the longest time, we have kept a bar of our Java Scrub soap near the kitchen sink. The coffee soap was great for removing odors from our hands while cooking. Smells from foods like onions, fish, and garlic were gone with a quick wash. It was great! Then we learned from a friend of ours, who also does a lot of aromatherapy work with her spa clients, that the caffeine in the coffee soap can also reduce cellulite. A bar of Java Scrub soap was immediately carried to the shower.

Approximately 85% of all women have some cellulite on their bodies; that lumpy, bumpy, cottage cheese look just under the skin. It occurs more frequently in older women or larger women, but even those with low body fat can usually find some cellulite. Dr Ava Shamban, who owns the Laser Institute for Dermatology and European Skin Care in Santa Monica, Calif., states that cellulite “is a structural problem. It’s not only the fat, but it has to do with the connective tissue. The connective tissue acts as a mesh to keep the fat close to the legs, which happens for men, but not so well for women. So, in women, sometimes this connective mesh opens up and the fat bulges out. That bulging is cellulite” (“Caffeine is Latest Cellulite Weapon”)

The theory behind the benefit of caffeine is that it will increase your metabolism, which will reduce fat. The caffeine also will reduce some of the swelling or edema of the fat cells by drawing out water, making your skin smoother.

Other reports suggest that the benefits of the caffeine in soaps or creams can be enhanced by massaging and rubbing the needed areas. This breaks up the fat cells and decreases the lumps and bumps even faster. Our Java Scrub soap contains real coffee grounds which, aside from being exfoliating, can aid in this massaging process.

Still one more benefit of the Java Scrub lies again with its caffeine content. Just like drinking a cup of coffee, showering with coffee soap gives you that morning pick me up. Inhaling that great coffee scent will help wake you up in the morning and also can provide the afternoon boost without having to drink a cup of coffee.

So, pick up some Java Scrub for you and all your friends. Your thighs will thank you.

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