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FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS

  • What is soap?
    Soap is the result of a chemical process called saponification. Historically, Soap was first made by leaching Alkali from wood ash and saponifying animal fat with the leachate. During World War I, requirement for cleansing agents sky rocketed. But the raw materials for making soap were not easily available. So, German scientists created a new form of cleansing agent by using synthetic compounds and as a result detergents were born which are still used in commercial beauty bars, shower gels and all our favourite cleansers. But handmade luxury soaps continued to be made by the traditional saponification process and are still made the same way, although, animal fats have been replaced by nourishing vegetable oils. At Earthsutra we use all natural ingredients to the maximum possible extent. Our soaps are made entirely by good old saponification of fats (Vegetable Oils) by Alkali (Sodium hydroxide). We do not add any detergent to the soap base.
  • Why handmade soaps melt easily when exposed to moisture / why my soap is so soft?
    Contrary to the store bought popular beauty bars brands handmade soaps contain glycerine (glycerol), which is a byproduct of saponification. Glycerine has been used as a moisturiser since long before the commercial moisturisers came into existence. The humectant properties of glycerine which are responsible for keeping your skin moisturised are also responsible for making the handmade soaps soft. Glycerine tends to trap and retain moisture. This keeps your skin from drying and it unfortunately also keeps the soap from drying out fast. In store bought soaps, glycerol is removed during the factory process and bottled up and sold as the commercial glycerine. For this reason, they tend to dry the skin. Another factor is the amount of hard oils and soft oils used during the manufacture of the soap. Soft oils are the ones which remain liquid at zero degree celsius, eg Olive oil. Its these soft oils which render the moisturising property to the soap but also make the bar soft. Hard oils are the ones which harden as the temperature lowers, eg Coconut oil. The hard oils give render a firm bar of soap and they impart the cleansing ability to the soap. This cleansing ability could rip the skin of its natural oils and render the skin dry. Earthsutra soaps are specially formulated so that they do not end up on the rim of your sink or bathtub and have a balanced amount of hard oils and soft oils so that they nourish and cleanse your skin without interfering with its natural processes.
  • Why are handmade soaps expensive?
    Handmade soaps are not easily available in stores because they are not manufactured at a bulk level in factories with hundreds of workers and machines. The makers of handmade soaps are few individuals who put equal effort, love and care in creation of every single bar of soap. Soaping is more a work of art for most soap makers. Hence, there is only a limited quantity that can be produced by each individual soap maker, based on the number of moulds, mould capacity, work hours committed and the level of intricate details and designs of the soap. In addition to the personal commitment, dedicated soap makers use the best natural ingredients possible for making their handmade soap stand out and deliver upon the expectations of the customers. All these factors combine to increase the cost of a bar of handmade soap. We at Earthsutra strive to keep our prices competitive without compromising on the quality of ingredients, so that everybody can have a shot at healthy personal care without burning a hole in their pocket.
  • How can I make handmade soap last longer?
    When as a customer you switch from the easily available and low priced store-bought soap to the much inaccessible handmade soap and pay four times the price for it, you wish for it to last longer and not just melt away and end up on the sides of your bathtub or all smeared up on your soap dish. The easiest way to deal with this problem is ‘Soap Savers’. Soap Savers are small pouches in which you can wrap your soap and use it. these are available in different materials. Some of them gently exfoliate the skin while applying soap. Earthsutra soaps do not have a problem of melting away unused but our mission is to generate awareness about the benefits of handmade soaps and everything natural hence we encourage consumers to purchase handcrafted soaps from not just us but any soaper offering quality products.
  • How do the oils used in making the soap affect the property of the soap?
    Every oil has a unique property after saponification. Oils like Olive, Canola, Rice bran, Castor oil etc. are known for their high moisturising properties. They cleanse without stripping the skin of its natural oils. But some might not lather, others might render the soap too soft. On the other hand coconut oil has great cleansing properties and it tends to dry the skin but it imparts good lather and makes the bar firm. cocoa butter is again great on the skin and conditions it but tends to crack the soap if used too much in the oil mixture while soaping. As a general rule, combination of Hard oils (oils which solidify under cold temperatures) yields a hard bar of soap and a combination of Soft oils (oils which remain liquid in cold temperatures) yields a soft bar of soap. Hence, given the property of each soap, recipes are developed after much research, trial and error, to create a bar which is considerably firm, has good lather and feels good on the skin. In addition to oils other ingredients such as vegetable and fruit extracts, essential oils, clays and minerals added to the soap also affect its properties.
  • Why Handmade soaps do not have a strong fragrance like store bought soaps?
    Handmade Soaps usually use Fragrant oils for the scent. These Fragrant oils are mostly essential oils obtained usually by distillation of herbs, spices or flowers and are highly volatile. Oils saponify under a harsh environment i.e presence of a very strong Alkali NAOH. Saponification being an exothermic reaction increases the temperature of the soap. The delicate fragrant oils have to endure this harsh environment to impart that delightful scent to the soap. A small percentage of fragrant oils is lost during the process of soap making and whatever is left continues to fade slowly. Hence, for a handmade soap to smell nice we have to add a good amount of fragrant oil, but not more than the permissible limit as it might sting the skin if used too much. Additionally, more the amount of fragrant oil used more is the price of soap as essential oils are quite expensive. Store bought soaps smell so strongly and the scent lasts as long as the soap does, because those contain synthetic perfumes which are usually chemical cocktails containing hundreds of ingredients. Synthetic perfumes commonly contain long list of toxic chemical ingredients, including acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, methylene chloride as well as phthalates, stearates, and parabens. They impart a strong and lasting perfume but are harmful for your health. Numerous studies have found that the most commonly used ingredients in commercial fragrance products can induce mild allergic reactions like headache, sinus inflammation, itchiness, runny nose and can contribute to worse issues such as hormonal imbalances, organ damage, and even cancer.
  • How can I avoid the dangers of toxic perfume chemicals and still smell good?
    Avoid most commercial personal care products from big box stores – this is a general piece of advice, considering the fact that most of the very large manufacturers use low quality, toxic ingredients to increase profit margins. Unless you know your favorite product has switched to a more organic label deck, you’re better avoiding them. If you are unsure about your regular products quality/toxicity, then simply check the labels. Look for any of the chemicals we listed here and also avoid any product with the ingredient “fragrance” or “perfume” on the label. These are usually chemical cocktails containing hundreds of ingredients. Look for products that contain recognizable, natural ingredients and scent their products with organic essential oils. If you are unsure about an ingredient, look it up before buying. For those of you who cannot live without lasting fragrance on yourself, the best bet would be Investing in essential oils or Attar.
  • Do Handmade Soaps have a shelf life?
    Although handmade soaps usually get better with age, it is recommended that they should be used within 12 months of purchase. Scented soaps should be used within 3 months after removing them from the box. Although the soaps will not be “spoiled” after that time, you may notice some changes as natural soap ages. Some natural colours may fade over time and the scents from pure natural essential oils will fade over time. Some discoloured spots might appear on the soap. But these are just aesthetic concerns, the Soaps are safe for using, in fact older the soap the better cured and firm it is.
  • Why are Parabens, Sulphates, Triclosan, Phthalates commonly found in soaps harmful?
    Parabens are commonly used in soaps as they prevent the growth of micro-organisms in the products and increase their shelf life. But Parabens have properties that mimic oestrogen and hence have been linked with increased risk of breast cancers. Another common toxic beauty ingredient found in soaps is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). It’s found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products because it acts as foaming agent. but SLS’s are connected with irritation of the skin, lungs, and eyes. When it combines with other chemicals, the mixture can form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen. Aside from causing cancer, this combo can also lead to Kidney and respiratory damage. Many soaps also contain triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical that is known to disrupt the endocrine system, including thyroid and reproductive hormones. It’s also a known skin irritant. Studies have shown that triclosan can make bacteria antibiotic resistant, which poses a great risk to ones health in future. Triclosan is also commonly found in deodorant and toothpaste. Phthalates, a family of industrial chemicals used as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products, can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Recent studies in human populations confirm some of the adverse impacts on male reproductive tract development, sperm abnormalities and lower testosterone levels. Recent studies also show that prenatal exposure to phthalates is associated with adverse impacts on neurodevelopment, including lower IQ, and problems with attention and hyperactivity and poorer social communication.
  • Are handmade soaps harmful to soil and plants and environment?
    Factory made beauty bars are synthetic detergents and contain a lot of chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) a surfactant and is shown to be harmful to aquatic life and increase soil toxicity. Triclosans are anti microbial agents known to kill earthworms and useful microorganisms in the soil. Parabens are also known to cause ecological harm by harming fishes and killing corals. These are some of many chemicals used in the manufacture of personal care products which are harmful to our bodies, our food chain as well as our environment in general. They are responsible for causing soil infertility and may end up in our food causing health impairments. Handmade soap on the other hand is not harmful for the soil and plant. Because it itself is a natural product. Saponification reaction yields triglyceride of fatty acid (glycerol) and sodium salt of fatty acid (soap). Both these products can be found in nature. eg. when we eat oils and fat they are saponified inside our intestine by enzymes called Lipase so that they can be assimilated by the body. Handmade soaps are made by this process and do not contain any ingredients that are synthetic and harmful to environment in any way.
  • How long does it take for the the orders to process?
    It takes approximately 1 to 2 days after ordering to process the order and dispatch it. If the order entails special gift packaging request then the processing time is 3 to 4 days.
  • How long does it takes to process custom orders?
    We take a minimum of 2 months for Custom orders. This duration might seem long but is inevitable for complete curing of the soap before it is ready for use
  • Does Earthsutra organics provide Third Party Manufacturing?
    We do not provide Third Party Manufacturing but we take custom orders to make soaps for hotels, resorts, hospitals etc with their logos on the label.
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