Me going green … and dragging my family with me, kicking and screaming!

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

Are they Lye-ers? May 31, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot of labels lately to see if these “all natural” products are all that natural.  I have the Burt’s Bees peppermint/rosemary bar soap at home, and the ingredients are super simple.  Several oils (coconut, palm, olive, peppermint, soy), an exfoliant (ground almond shell), and an extract (rosemary).  That’s IT.  However, while looking at some of their other products (like Baby Bee soap), I noticed “vegetable soap base” listed.  I didn’t know what that was, so I googled it of course.  Turns out, it’s fat, vegetable or animal, mixed with lye.  And according to THIS site, without lye, there is no soap.   They have recipes for all sorts of soap, castile included.  Now, I have a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s at home, and guess what is not on the label??  Lye.

So who’s lyeing?  Does that not have to be declared on labels??  Is it bad for us??  I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at soap making though, so I may just have to figure the answer out on my own.

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2 Responses to “Are they Lye-ers?”

  1. Dessa Says:

    I too have always wanted to make soap, but I have only found recipes with lye or a ton of glycerin. If you find a good recipe, please let me know. I will do the same. My cousin Kelli made soap a few years ago. It smelled fantastic, was super soft/creamy, and provided wonderfully, itchy red blotches wherever it touched me. I hope to avoid another another fiasco as that one.

  2. iaminchennai Says:

    for the Chemical process of soapanification Lye and a fat are required.
    The Chemical properties of lye are completely altered in the process of soapanification. any soap made through cold-process should be cured for atleast 6 weeks. Curing is very very important and it is the time when lye’s properties are changed. If hand-made soap is used before that the lye will react with skin with form itchy marks on skin. ofcourse a wash with venigar will neutralise that.

    If you dont want to use Lye then soap nuts are a great alternative.
    As an Indian i swear by them. Till I am 16 soapnut extract is my shampoo ( after that i took shampoo for its ease and fashion probably :-))
    The extract can also be used as a shower gel. (dont get it into eyes.. it stings a bit… though my mom saya tears clear the eyes)
    The pulp remaining after the extract can be used to wash jewellery and brass-ware.
    It can also be used in laundry. Just throw a few nuts into a small cotton pouch and throw the pouch into the machine. When handwashing woollen or silk clothes add some extract to the final rinse.. it softens and gives them a shine.

    You can make the extract by boiling the nuts in water for 20 mins and let them seep for another 20 mins. I am not sure if you can store it for a few days as we prepare it fresh all time.


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