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 (NOP) described on our Organic Labeling page.
Other ingredients, like base oils, botanicals and natural additives 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 92% 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 legally labeled "organic soap" based on the NOP.
Soap certified by the USDA is always in 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 web page about the rules for "Certified Organic Soap Labeling."
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!
A Special Note: We were told that another company makes 95% organic soap by substituting an organic liquid, like apple juice or aloe juice, for all of the water (water is not counted as an organic ingredient). So we decided to work out a recipe on paper with an organic liquid as a substitute for water. Our conclusion--this was an exercise in futility.
We superfat our soaps more than most, meaning we use more organic oils and less lye per recipe. In addition to the organic aloe juice above, we tried doubling the amount of extra oil--it changed our new recipe from 89.7% to 91.2%.
We then tried doubling the normal amount of liquid needed and still only reached 92.3% (this would make a very soft, mushy soap which, if it ever hardened, would shrink tremendously and melt quickly).
Trying as hard as we could, we were not able to bring the level of certified organic ingredients above 93%--still not enough to call our soap "organic."
Knowing that we do not use organic ingredients simply to make products that we can call USDA organic, we decided to abandon the idea.
Click here to read, "The Truth About Organic Soap Labeling."