A few words about ORGANIC Soaps and Shampoos

Organic Castile Soap

We make our "organic" soap and shampoo as organic as possible

Since it is impossible to make real soap without lye (learn more) and organic lye does not exist, there is no such thing as a "100% organic" soap or even "organic" soap based on the three tier system of the USDA National Organic Program described on our Organic Labeling page.

All of the other ingredients (base oils, botanicals, natural additives, etc.)in our “Organic” soaps and shampoos are certified organic.  Since we superfat our soaps at a pretty high rate (which means less lye), our "organic" soap is about 88 to 90% organic.

Due to the chemistry of soapmaking (learn more), it is impossible for any soapmaker to have a much higher percentage than that based on the USDA standards as they now exist.

Soapmaking adds another dimension to the labeling issue in that it is the result of a chemical reaction. Personal care products such as creams, lotions, etc. are simply a mixture of ingredients. By definition, a mixture is composed of two or more substances and each substance keeps its original properties in the final product.

As a result of the chemical reaction of soapmaking (saponification), there is no lye left in the finished product. If we were allowed to exclude the lye in calculating the percentage of organic ingredients in our finished bars, our "organic as possible" soaps could be labeled organic.

In the US, organic soap certified by the USDA is always on the "Made with Organic Ingredients" tier for labeling. This means that soap may display the organic certifying agent's logo but not the USDA organic logo. Our certifying agency is OEFFA (The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association). Read our blog about the rules for "Certified Organic Soap Labeling."

It is interesting to note that in Europe the lye is NOT counted as an ingredient and as a result soap can be labeled as Organic.  For example, you will see soaps certified by ecocert labeled as organic.

Truth in labeling is important to Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve.  Educated, informed consumers make the best choices. Hopefully as consumer awareness grows and the natural and organic personal care products industry also grows, the federal government will adopt labeling standards for personal care products which will include the special circumstances of organic handmade soap!

For more information read the article from the Organic Trade Association: Questions and Answers About Organic