Why We Preach All Natural and What does it Mean?

No matter where you look, you are bombarded with the phrase “all natural” or “natural”.  But what does this word mean?  What do you think of when you hear or see the word natural?  I’m betting that every person reading this blog has a different picture in their mind’s eye right now.

Unfortunately, there is very little government regulation on using the word.  So when you see it, you can’t be certain that it means what you think it means.  In fact, much of the time, it doesn’t mean anything at all except a way to make money.  Which brings up an important question -

How can you determine if a product is truly natural?

There are a few things you can look for that will help you choose wisely.

  • Read the ingredient list.  Most unfamiliar long scientific sounding words are probably describing heavily processed ingredients or chemicals.
  • Do your research.  The Environmental Working Group is a great place to start.  They have information on a multitude of products and ingredients.
  • Avoid products that contain dyes and fragrances.  Companies don’t have to define them and they are full of toxins.  The worst offenders are the words “parfum” or “parfume”.
  • Stay far away from parabens, formaldehyde, dimethicone, dioxins and pthalates.  These are the main toxic chemicals found in skin care and have been linked to all sorts of health issues.

You might be asking yourself, why is this important?  Why should I care?

Well, let me tell you….

From a scientific standpoint, you should care because there are ingredients out there that are toxic and harmful.  Even if it’s not immediately dangerous, a buildup of these chemicals can cause all sorts of health problems – things like kidney failure, cancer, asthma, migraines and a host of other problems.

Why We Preach All Natural

From a personal standpoint, don’t you want your family to be healthy?  I know I do.  And avoiding toxic chemicals is one way we can do that.  It’s a lesson we learned the hard way.  Which is why we preach the importance of using truly all natural ingredients whenever possible.  And why you will find nothing but the best most natural ingredients in all our products.

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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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Fall Skin Care

As summer transitions into fall there are changes all around.  And whether you enjoy the changes or not, they will happen.  It’s probably best to just go with the flow and accept that summer is leaving and winter is on it’s way.

You don’t have to feel like a dry scaly alligator as the weather changes.  Just a few simple steps and you can keep your skin looking and feeling silky soft.

You might not realize it, but your skin care should change with the seasons as well.  Your skin has different needs as the weather gets cooler.  Here are some things you should make sure to do to keep your skin looking great through the fall season.

1. Drink plenty of water.  It is essential to keep your skin hydrated throughout the year.  This is easier to remember in the summer, but is just as important as the weather cools.

2. Don’t forget your feet.  Just because they are covered, doesn’t mean they are gone.  They still need TLC. Glynne’s Soaps Flip Flop Balm is the perfect addition to any fall skin care regime.  This lotion will keep your feet soft all winter.
3. Choose a soap that will keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.  An all natural soap is better for your skin and won’t dry you out like the detergent bars you can buy at the grocery store.
4. Sunscreen is still important.  Even though the temperatures are cooler and the sun is lower in the sky, your skin can still be damaged by it’s rays.  You should be wearing a sunscreen everyday.
5. Keep your lips soft and smooth with an all natural lip balm.  Glynne’s Soaps lip balms are great at keeping your lips hydrated and protected from the cold wind.  Choose one with zinc oxide for added safety.
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Go Ahead – Sing Out Loud in a Public Restroom

As you might imagine, Glynne’s Soaps is committed to helping people find and use products that are healthy and good for their skin.  We also feel it’s important to provide people with information that will help them make the right choices when it comes to their skin care.  One aspect of caring for skin that everyone does many times a day is hand washing.    And while washing your hands is an important part of keeping you germ free and warding off any illness that might be running around, it’s also important to wash your hands properly.  This includes using the right soap, one that is not too harsh and that doesn’t contain chemicals that are bad for your skin or bad for the environment.

According to a poll by the American Cleaning Institute, 74% of Americans use antibacterial soap.  In our opinion,  antibacterial soap falls into the “bad to use” category.  Using antibacterial soap is not only bad for the environment, but it will also kill any “good bacteria” while it helps breed resistant strains of bad bacteria, all of which leaves you open to even more infections and illnesses.

Below is a video from Derm TV that demonstrates the proper way to wash your hands.  It includes tips such as what is the correct time to wash your hands.  I’ve always heard that you should sing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands to make sure you wash long enough.  The video recommends 10-15 seconds.  So, my scientific self went to get a watch with a second hand to time myself singing “Happy Birthday”.  Sure enough, it took me 13 seconds to sing.  (Both times, since it was more scientific to do more than one trial.)

All of the soaps we sell are all natural and gentle on your skin.  Some of the essential oils they contain are also natural antibacterial or antifungal.  Essential oils such as Tea Tree and Lavender are well known for their germ fighting properties.  We also make a natural hand sanitizer that is safe for the environment and you.  If you are concerned about protecting your family from germs and harmful chemicals, make soap from Glynne’s Soaps part of your hand washing routine.

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Got Soap? or are you using detergent? (the answer may surprise you)

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it is very good at absorbing most of what it comes into contact with.  This includes any toxins that might be in the soaps, lotions and makeup that you are using.  If you look at the ingredient list on the back of your store bought soap, you will probably see the following items:

  • SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) – used to create foam and lather, can be an irritant
  • Lauric Acid – irritating to mucus membranes
  • Pentasodium pentetate – used as a water softener, emulsifier and dispersing ingredient in cosmetic cleansing creams, lotions and soaps, can be an eye irritant
  • Tetrasodium EDTA – synthetic preservative Trisodium etidronate – a preservative and possible irritant BHT – (butylhydroxytoluene) – synthetic antioxidant to keep oils in formula from going rancid, it has been linked to tumor formation and liver enlargement
  • Triclosan (or triclocarban) – this is found in most anti-bacterial soaps and is registered with the EPA as a pesticide.  (It does kill the bacteria.  All the bacteria, even the good stuff you need to stay healthy) Commercial manufacturers of anti-bacterial soaps will tell you that it is used at such low levels that it is not harmful, but it has been shown that Triclosan can be stored in your fat cells and it will soon reach a toxic level.  “A study at Virginia Tech discovered that products containing triclosan produced either chloroform or other chlorine byproducts when exposed to tap water.(NewsTarget.com) In fact, triclosan decomposes into chlorine byproducts in as little as one minute when exposed to chlorinated tap water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.(NewsTarget.com)  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers the triclosan byproduct, chloroform, to be a probable human carcinogen that could cause cancer.” (Body Ecology)

Another reason to stay away from commercial soaps is that most of them are not really soap.  Look carefully at the label and you will see the words “beauty bar”, “cleansing bar”, “deodorant bar” or something similar.  This is because these products are not soap.  They are detergents.  The glycerin that is a natural by-product of the soap making process is removed so it can be made into lotions and other products that can be sold for a higher profit.  That natural glycerin is very moisturizing and when left in the soap, can keep your skin soft, reducing the need for lotions.  Using a commercial detergent strips your skin of the natural moisturizing oils that your skin needs, leaving it dry and irritated.  So, the next time you are at the store buying soap, take a look at the ingredients and consider an all natural alternative that is much safer and better for your skin.  Visit our website to purchase all natural soaps, lotions. lip balms and other skin care products.  Our products contain no chemicals and are very gently and safe for your skin.

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Battling the Winter Blues – With a Coupon?

Don't let winter weather dry you out

Like it or not, it seems that winter weather is here.  And with it comes dry, chapped skin.  Sometimes it seems like no matter what we do, we still end up with dry hands and chapped lips.  Well, fortunately, there are some things you can do to combat the dry cold weather and keep your skin soft and smooth all winter long.

  • Use oil based moisturizers. Many products on the market these days have water as their first ingredient.  The higher the oil to water ratio is, the more moisturizing a lotion is.  The oil creates a protective barrier on the skin.   Glynne’s Soaps lotions are made entirely from skin softening oils such as shea butter and coconut oil.  They contain no water and so they are more moisturizing than other creams and lotions.
  • Drink lots of water.  Your skin can become dry due to dehydration, so don’t forget to drink lots of water and limit the amount of alcohol to stay hydrated.
  • Exfoliate. At least twice a week you can scrub away dead dry skin using a sugar scrub from Glynne’s Soaps.  The ntural oils will leave your skin soft and the great scents will relax and restore your mental clarity.
  • Skip the blow dryer. If at all possible, let your hair dry naturally.  Using a blow dryer just adds to the dryness of your skin by exposing it to the hot dry air.
  • Don’t forget your lips. Cold, dry weather and high winds can leave your lips dry and cracked.  Using a natural lip balm will get them back to kissable in no time.  It’s important to remember to stay away from products that contain petroleum because it will make the chapping worse.  A good rule of thumb to follow for not only your lip balm, but all your moisturizers is to only use things on your skin that contain ingredients safe enough to eat.  Food grade oils and butters instead of petroleum and chemical based products are safer for your skin and will keep you feeling soft all winter.

    Keep your lips soft and kissable this winter

The skin is your largest organ.  It is important to keep it healthy and looking good.  Following a few simple steps and making sure you use only the best all natural products is the best way to avoid dry winter skin.

As an incentive to our readers who are interested in keeping their skin healthy this winter, we are offering the following deal.  Purchase 5 soaps from our website, add a lip balm to your cart, use the coupon code KISS and the lip balm will be free.  You can also benefit from this deal when you see us at festivals.  Just buy five soaps and you will get a free lip balm.  You can find out where we will be by checking out our calendar.

Glynne’s Soaps make great Holiday gifts or stocking stuffers.  Buy yours today.

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Living Green

Yesterday we attended the Green Living Conference and Expo in downtown Wilmington NC. It was a fun event with many like-minded people. It is so nice to attend an event where the environment takes center stage! More and more everyone is realizing that everything we do affects the environment in one way or another.  Moreover, the things that have a harmful effect on the environment can have a harmful effect on our health. One area that can be improved is in the area of skin care. If the products you are using have a negative effect on the earth, they probably are not the best things you could be putting on your skin.

There are many reasons to go green with you skin care:

  • To keep your skin safe. The FDA does not require safety tests before personal care products enter the market. The chemical ingredients listed on the back of your favorite soap may not be healthy for you or the environment.
  • To keep the earth clean. Just because something is touted to clean your skin, does not automatically mean it is clean for the earth as well. If you see the ingredients mercury, lead acetate, toluene or petroleum, you might want to consider something that is safer for our rivers, lakes and oceans.
  • To support a sustainable economy.  Contributing to companies that have products and services that are healthy for you and the environment goes a long way toward bettering the planet and the global economy.

What are some things to look for when trying to keep your skin and the earth safe from dangerous chemicals? Research states that 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your blood stream. Be on the look out for these in the list of ingredients:

  • Parabens – including methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben — might be associated with skin problems like irritations, dermatitis and allergic reactions
  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  • artificial fragrances
  • lanolin
  • phthalates – dibutylphthalate, diethylphthalate, and butyl ester- have been linked to birth defects
  • petrochemicals – petroleum-based substances like mineral oil and paraffins – petroleum products not only take hundreds of years to biodegrade, but they might be linked to skin irritation, allergies and cancer. •
  • DMDM hydantoin – breaks down to release formaldehyde, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen.

Many natural ingredients can be used to protect, rejuvenate and soothe your skin. They are to numerous to list here, but here are a few examples of ingredients to look for when buying green skin care products.

Plant Extracts:

  • Cucumber soothes and reduces inflammation. (Like our California Cool)
  • Green and white teas have antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radicals. (Like our ZenAura)

Essential Oils:

  • Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and provides light hydration; it is great for acne-prone skin. (Like our Misty Mountain)
  • Lavender oil evens skin tone and balances moisture levels. (Like our Perfect Peace)

Other Natural Aids: •

So, as you are looking for ways to “go green”, do not forget your daily cleaning regimen. You can find all the soaps mentioned on our website. Your skin and your earth will thank you.

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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” (http://www.cbsnews.com“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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Soap Spotlight

During a business meeting this morning over coffee, Wrigley, our sales manager, suggested that we dedicate one blog post a month to feature two all natural soaps from our collection.  The rest of us thought this was a great idea.  So, be on the lookout for our “Soap Spotlight” As new products roll out, you can read about them here.  You also will get a more in depth description of the properties and benefits of soaps that are already available.  Today, we will highlight one of our dog soaps and one from the “people collection”.

Coalman’s All-Natural Dog Soap (Lavender and Oatmeal) – Like all our dog soaps, Coalman’s soap was named for one of our kids.  Coalman was Gayle’s first Dalmatian and he lived with her for 13 years.  They had a very close, special connection and he was a very calming factor in her life back when times were tough.  The soap that bears his name is equally calming.  Coalman’s All Natural Dog Soap is  made with lavender essential oil and ground oatmeal.  Lavender essential oil has been called a “must have” for dogs.  It is very safe and gentle, with antibacterial, anti-itch, and nerve-calming properties. It should reduce the itching and also calm and relax your dog.  Never mind the fact that it just smells wonderful.  The addition of ground oatmeal helps to nourish, moisturize and soothe the skin.  Washing your dog with oatmeal leaves an invisible protective coating on their skin protecting them from further itching.  Oatmeal also has anti-inflammatory properties.  It reduces the swelling and pain caused by the dry itching skin and gives your pet relief.   Adding these qualities to the skin softening benefits of using an all natural soap makes this a great product for any dog.

Zen Aura(Green Tea and Lemongrass) – Zen Aura is one of our most popular all natural soaps for people.  It is made using actual green tea, including the tea leaves and lemongrass essential oil.  The anti-oxidant properties of green tea are thought to help prevent skin cancer by boosting the effects of sunscreen and also by reducing the swelling of skin cells that are exposed to the sun. They also have shown some wrinkle reducing effects.  The addition of a small amount of tea leaves makes this soap a gentle exfoliant.  The lemongrass essential oil, besides the wonderful smell, gives this soap many beneficial qualities.  Lemongrass is known for it’s antidepressant properties. It has been shown to boost self esteem, confidence, and mental strength.  Doesn’t that sound like something you want to start your morning with?  It can also reduce pain and swelling due to muscle or joint aches and arthritis.

Both of these products, along with all the other soaps we produce can be found on our website.  If you have a particular product you would like to know more about, leave a comment and we will add it to the spotlight schedule.  You still have one week to enter our contest.  Leave a comment on last week’s post and let us know what you are passionate about.

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What is Your Passion?

Both Gayle and I recently finished a book called The Passion Test, by Janet Atwood.  It has given us lots to talk about and think about concerning what we consider to be our passions in life.

Obviously, Glynne’s Soaps is a passion for both of us, but not just because it is our business and livelihood.  There is a reason that we are passionate about all natural soaps, and if you spend any time with us at all I’m sure you find that out fairly quickly.

There is so much stuff out there that people take for granted.  ”If it wasn’t safe, my vet wouldn’t be selling it”  ”If it was harmful, you couldn’t buy it at the grocery store.”  But that isn’t always the case.  Topical flea treatments are concentrated pesticides.   Soap (actually most of it is detergent, not true soap) that you buy at the grocery store is full of harmful chemicals.  We’ve discussed the whys and hows many times before, so I won’t repeat all of it.  But it is the reason we are passionate about all natural.  It is safer for you and your pets.  We want to make sure that you and your pet live long, healthy and happy (and clean!) lives.

Of course, we have other passions.  We are passionate about dalmatian rescue and participating in agility with Wrigley.  Gayle is passionate about social media, and Jenn is passionate about participating in triathlons.  But our main focus is on creating a quality product that is safe for you, your family and your pets.

What are you passionate about?  Leave a comment and let us know.  Everyone that leaves a comment, letting us know at least one thing they are passionate will be entered into a drawing to win a free sample stack of Glynne’s Soaps (including shipping).  The winner will be chosen on March 3rd.

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