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Non-Toxic Shampoo Trial (and Error)

by: Jill Richardson

Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 16:22:08 PM PDT

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I've been examining the safety of cosmetics all over again in the past few months. A few years ago, I switched all of my personal care products from mainstream to alternative (and hopefully safe). Then last year, an issue came to my attention. Did you know that there's barely any regulation whatsoever on organics in personal care products? That means that if your shampoo says it's organic, well... that means nothing. (If it has the USDA Certified seal on the label, THAT means it's organic.)

Hmm. So, my Aubrey Organics shampoo might not be organic? Nope, not organic. "Organics" is just the brand name! And the product makes no other claims that it's organic. Fortunately, a look at the ingredients shows that at least some of the ingredients are organic, so the name's not a total lie. And, in the scheme of things, it's not a bad product.

Organic might be my ultimate goal, but many beauty products out there aren't even safe. That was the topic of Annie Leonard's new Story of Cosmetics. Yikes! I just did an article for Alternet on two endocrine disrupting (and pretty much useless) common ingredients in soaps, toothpastes, shave gels, and more: triclosan and triclocarban. The EU bans 1300 harmful chemicals from its personal care products. Why don't we? A bill in Congress - the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 - would actually regulate the safety of our personal care products. You know, if Congress actually passed it.

In the meantime, I recommend using the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to find safe cosmetics. And, to save you some trouble, I'll report on what I've found (below).

Jill Richardson :: Non-Toxic Shampoo Trial (and Error)
A number of the safest "shampoos" listed in the database are actually "shampoo bars" - they look like bars of soap but you use them on your hair. And they are cheap! Awesome! Better yet, if you use these, you won't need to waste plastic bottles anymore. I bought one and tried it, with terrible results. (That doesn't mean they are all bad, but oh boy was this one bad!) I ended up with all kinds of gunk in my hair that I couldn't get out, no matter what I tried. Finally, I went in for a haircut and the hairdresser used some spray on my hair that he said he usually uses for swimmers. That fixed it.

How about Dr. Bronner's? In the past, I've used this as hand soap and body wash, but how about using it as shampoo? The label calls it 18-in-1 because you can use it for everything. As shampoo, it works great. And I think I'll start washing my dishes with it too. I can refill bottles of Dr. Bronner's at my co-op and thus re-use the bottles.

Another one I've wanted to try for ages is Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash. This brand is so crazy organic that you can even EAT most of the products because they use food-grade organic ingredients. You might not want to eat the hair wash because it contains bentonite clay, but you probably can eat it. (Survivors of E. coli are often told to eat bentonite clay because it helps their digestive tract.) I finally caved and bought a bottle to try it. It works great! The only downside to Terressentials is that it costs a fortune.

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Your mention of using a shampoo for doing dishes (4.00 / 3)
Harold and I do the oposite, we use the dishwashing detergent for our bathes and hair washing. I also use it for the egg washing.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

Funny (4.00 / 3)
In this case, it's just a generic soap that happens to work for both.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Costco (4.00 / 3)
Gosh this place is informative!

I use Kirkland Signature "environmentally friendly liquid dish soap" for dishes, pots, and pans. The last time I bought it, I used a Costco coupon, after which a 1-gallon jug set me back about $4, I think.

I use this detergent to clean the tub, but for some reason I never thought of using it to clean my hair or the rest of me. The ingredient list is somewhat uninformative, but the text says "water, plant-based cleaning agents, natural citrus scent, and 100% biodegradable preservatives." Also, "to avoid irritating fumes, do not mix with chlorine bleach." That statement often indicates that an ammonium compound is in the formulation, but I don't know if that is so in this case. If it is so, I don't have any feeling that the inclusion of ammonium compounds would be objectionable.

Other statements on the label: biodegradable cleaning agents, bio-renewable resources, no phosphates or dyes, mild on skin, cruelty free-never tested on animals.

This detergent works great for dishes. Think I'll try it on me - why the heck not?

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't (4.00 / 2)
to be honest. What kind of preservatives are they? The ingredient list is way too nonspecific for me to be willing to put that on my body.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 2)
I think Costco would be well advised to publish a more informative ingredient list, or publish a label statement about why the non-specific ingredient list is satisfactory. The ingredient list may be much like the one for  Johnson's Natural Baby Shampoo downthread, but I don't know.

[ Parent ]
Natural (4.00 / 2)
Noted with irony.

[ Parent ]
I'm ranting a bit here, count (4.00 / 2)
labeling laws are something of a hot item for me.

At least give people a chance. If they're too illiterate to understand the labels, that's a separate problem.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
satisfactory? It shouldn't (4.00 / 2)
even be legal.

I don't think I'd be happy with a non-specific label statement about how the non-specific ingredient list was non-specifically satisfactory.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
yeah (4.00 / 2)
"biodegradable preservatives," oh well, that's amusing. They'll decompose after they poison you; guaranteed.

And what's "plant-based" mean? Synthesized using a chemical formula similar to that in a plant somewhere? Some vague actual botanical that may or may not be safe?

One thing about Aubrey, is that they do tell you a bit better what they're using, IIRC. I used to buy their stuff, but it's out of my budget. I always liked it though.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Annie Leonard (4.00 / 3)
The Pot Calls the Kettle Black: Cosmetic Industry Responds to The Story of Cosmetics

Surprise, surprise:  the big cosmetics companies aren't such big fans of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010-legislation introduced yesterday to more strictly regulate their business-or of our new movie. The Personal Care Products Council went so far as to issue a statement calling The Story of Cosmetics a "repugnant and absurd...shockumentary." Whoa!

I've never tried Bronner's for shampoo (4.00 / 3)
Thanks for the tip. I used to work at (and for awhile ran) a health food store, and I can't remember anybody ever having a bad word for DB products. Be happy to give them the trade.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

I was told (somewhere) that Bronners recommends (4.00 / 3)
the Shikikai soap as a shampoo now instead of just the regular 18-in-1 stuff. But I'm a cheapskate, so I didn't buy the Shikikai soap.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I tried Dr Bronners for shampoo (4.00 / 4)
It's too harsh for my head, even diluted. It works great for removing grease and dirt from hand, cleaning up cat accidents, and washing woolen items, but I need something a little different for my hair.  

[ Parent ]
I bet that's why they said (4.00 / 3)
to use the shikikai soap as shampoo instead of the regular stuff.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Stuck in a chemical purgatory... (4.00 / 4)
My skin problems (psoriasis and eczema) are bad enough as to where I have to visit a dermatologist three or four times as often as I visit a regular doctor, sometimes I think what they give me only exacerbates the problem.  

But I'm scared to try anything else, because believe me living with this shit is not fun during flare-ups when it's at its worst (which it has been for a while now with my liver acting up and my immune system all out of whack, and yes I'm half-deaf and yes I'm only 30 right now... heh), and I'm even more scared of what could happen if I try something on my own.  The doctor's gotta know something, right?  Right?


Anyways, I'd love to give something like these things mentioned a try.  I brought it up last time (May), but the doctor wasn't too enthused about my suggestion.  Next visit's October.  Maybe I'll bring a list with me.  And no matter how expensive they are, they can't be much worse than the prescription stuff I have to pay for out-of-pocket with no coverage...

soap and shampoo (4.00 / 2)
What does your doctor recommend for everyday items like soap and shampoo?

[ Parent ]
Soaps... (4.00 / 4)
...he gave me a list about a mile long, containing 'the usual suspects' (Dove, etc), but I'm currently using some bar from the co-op which I can't remember the name of and can't find the packaging.  Some fair-trade thing.  Haven't really noticed any difference either way.  I figure I have some leeway on soap since he just 'suggested' those.

For shampoo, I use this $12-per-like-3-oz. thing which he told me I must use (non-prescription strength), along with a combination of other things (prescriptions, skin gels / creams and scalp lotion) which cost altogether about $350 when i have to get them refilled (once every other month or so, since I only have to use them when it's really bad... like the other month when my knees were so bad I couldn't bend them and I was painfully lumbering around like a mummy, not easy to work as you can imagine).

[ Parent ]
expectations (4.00 / 3)
That's funny, when coupled with my expectation. I thought the answer might be something like, Ivory bar soap and Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

Not that I have any reason to believe that Johnson's Baby Shampoo would be particularly good for you.

Johnson's Natural Baby Shampoo

Decyl Glucoside
Sodium Coco-Sulfate
Glyceryl Oleate
Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate
Xanthan Gum
Sodium Benzoate
Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose
Citric Acid
Sodium Hydroxide

Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate
Sodium Trideceth Sulfate
PEG-150 Distearate
Tetrasodium EDTA
Citric Acid
Yellow 10 and Orange 4

May also contain: Sodium Hydroxide.

[ Parent ]
I've read you can't make soap without lye (4.00 / 2)
I don't know that this is true, but a lot of people seem to believe it.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Traditional way (4.00 / 4)
Almost by definition, soap is the result of a reaction between a fat and an alkaline substance. The alkaline substance could be sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, etc. Once upon a time, fat was boiled with wood ash, which contains potassium carbonate, or potassium hydroxide could be made by hydrating the potash. "Lye" is loosely used to mean either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

The fat could be animal fat (tallow, lard, etc.) or vegetable fat (olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, etc.)

I think the shampoo formulas above, and many modern cleaning formulations, would not be called "soap".

[ Parent ]
Farmers' markets... (4.00 / 4)
There's well over a dozen artisan soapmakers at the farmers' markets around here, but unfortunately I can't use any of their products (I've tried almost all) since they all tend to be scratchy and rough as hell on my skin.

Oh how I'd love to buy my soap from a fellow Oregonian, at the stall right next door to where I get my kale, though...


[ Parent ]
Fels-naphtha (4.00 / 2)
I remember a particularly heavy-duty (read nasty) soap that used to be brought out on laundry days. That was in a time before the wonderful laundry equipment and detergents we have today. Large brown smelly bars. Ick. I'm surprised to discover that a reformulated version of Fels-Naphtha is still made and sold today, by Dial. I wonder if it is carried in supermarkets around here.

Why was Fels-naptha smelly, and why was it such a good stain remover? The "naphtha" part of the name should be a clue.


Fels-Naptha used to contain Stoddard solvent, a skin and eye irritant. According to the ingredients list on the Fels-Naptha website, Stoddard solvent is no longer included in the soap.

Stoddard solvent is another name for mineral spirits, which are, like petroleum distillates, a mixture of multiple chemicals made from petroleum. Exposure to Stoddard solvent in the air can affect your nervous system and cause dizziness, headaches, or a prolonged reaction time. It can also cause eye, skin, or throat irritation.

[ Parent ]
"Petroleum-free soap" (4.00 / 2)
That would be a catchy marketing label.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Thanks (4.00 / 2)

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Nizoral... (4.00 / 2) the name of the shampoo.

[ Parent ]
Ketoconazole (4.00 / 2)
I think I'd talk to a lot of people outside of the AMA before I got too heavily involved with something like that.

I hope you looked around for feedback from others.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Awww, crap... (4.00 / 2)
Not what I wanted to hear!

But, thanks...

I never thought to look too deeply into the stuff, but it's worked better than anything else so far.

Fwiw, I only use(d - haven't had to use it in a few weeks, as my scalp is currently okay) it twice a week, as the doctor specifically said not to use it any more than that.

[ Parent ]
well having seen a LOT of derm drugs (4.00 / 4)
a lot of the stuff out there for psoriasis and lupus are just REALLY potent stuff. Ditto on acne. Some fix your skin but then cause cancer. Obviously, that's not the first thing they try on you - they go to that when NOTHING else works I would assume. And often you have to get 2 pregnancy tests if you are female before you can take the drugs because they would fuck up any fetus so bad.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
that was what I was reading (4.00 / 3)

If they're down to their last, cancerous resort as far as medicating you...well, I'm not telling anybody what to do or anything, just to suggest that one really look into what one is getting in to.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Harold has terrible problems with chemicals and strong scents in perfumes, soaps, etc. (4.00 / 4)
Once when he was planing his hunting trip to Alaska, home of the Monster 'Skeeter, a friend suggested a product called Skin So Soft, forget whether it was an Avon or Amway product. Harold got a bottle of it, opened it and took a sniff. The scent was so strong he thought he was going to have to go to the hospital because he couldn't breathe.

He also has psoriasis something terrible. He attributes the psoriasis and chemical sensitivity to his time spent on the fire department. When he went on, there was no such thing as 'safety' equipment, and then later, when they did have respirators, and what not, if you're in a situation that's so time sensistive that if you put on the equipment the person in the burning house will probably be dead by the time you get to them, or you take off into the house and save a life and worry about the safety equipment after you get them out, what do you do? You go in and then choke afterward. Needless to say, he was exposed to lots and lots of burning chemicals.

We have to be very careful what chemicals for cleaning, especially soaps and shampoos for our own washing, and laundry. He uses Selsun Blue to help control the psoriasis on his scalp and face. It's got coal tar in it I think, and smells like a hospital.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (4.00 / 3)
I worked in environmental remediation for nine years, basically exposed to any and all nasty chemicals, Superfund sites and etc, you can imagine for 8 to 12 hours a day, 50 weeks out of each year.

I don't know if that was a factor, but my skin has been worse than it ever was for the past few years.

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't rule it out (4.00 / 3)
Harold said that some of the firefighters at his station were given blood tests to measure things like carbon dioxide levels. The tests came back the each of the firefighters died of carbon dioxide poisoning. The only problem was that none of them were dead. They just had levels so high they should have been dead. I can't imagine that people exposed to the things firefighters are exposed to could go with no chemical damage.

Harold said that L.A. County, when it retires a firefighter, automatically considers him or her disabled, whether they show signs of disability or not.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
interesting thread, to say the least (4.00 / 1)
Makes a lot of sense.  

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
During excavations... (4.00 / 2)
...I used to notice that sometimes the drillers only wore hard hats and safety goggles at some of our sites (not Superfund, those were very strictly regulated and required all kinds of PPE before you'd even get to enter the gate), while the people from the environmental consulting & engineering firms were in Tyvek suits, face masks, sometimes full respirators, etc...

I generally wore nothing but a hard hat and safety goggles myself when collecting sample to bring back to the lab.

Makes you think.  Just like when I worked at the Boeing contractor up near PDX a few years ago, and I could still smell the paint fumes (very, very, very strongly) through my full-face respirator, and ditto the waste in the shams when I was sealing the bags and getting ready to dump them into the big dumpster with the rotating fork truck...

[ Parent ]
some would argue (4.00 / 1)
that your skin problems are all those toxins trying to get out.

I don't want to get too metaphysical here, but AFAIK it's true that skin disorders aren't very well understood.

How good of you to spend all those years doing such good work. And what crappy payback.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
And you never know just how much exposure can hurt you in the long run (4.00 / 3)
I knew a cement finisher who worked on one of the exhibits when they were being built up at the zoo in Portland. Gunnite was used for the rocks, and unbeknownst to the cement finishers, chromium had been added. He started to exhibit signs of what he thought was cement poisoning, but which turned out to be chromium poisoning. The skin on all of his joints would split open and bleed, was scabby all the time, and incredibley painful. He filed a workers comp claim, and it took him over a year, but he finally got a pay out, not much though. I think he only worked on that job for a couple weeks.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
gunite (4.00 / 2)
I know of no legitimate reason to add a chromium salt to a gunnite formulation. I wonder if some Mafioso did that as a way of getting rid of a hazardous waste.

[ Parent ]
Phil Stanford... (4.00 / 2)
In Portland, you'd have to ask Phil Stanford about that.


[ Parent ]
And I'd get right back into it... (4.00 / 2)
...if only I could!

Never, ever, ever in my life have I loved any job more than that one.  There's a few companies around here (including one about fifteen blocks from my apartment) I've been trying to get on with, but they're all small and these are the types of jobs no one generally leaves.  Maybe one day!

Heh, and for that matter my old lab has a branch in Beaverton, but unfortunately it's not transit accessible so that was ruled out long ago.  Plus, that branch is nowhere near as big as my old place and they don't quite offer the same services as what I did back in NJ.

[ Parent ]
Jay, some info about body soap. (4.00 / 4)
My skin reacts to just about every soap in the supermarket. Even Dove. So, about 20 years ago I found an aloe vera soap that was wonderful. No rashes, no itching, no unsightly dryness and scaliness. It's expensive, of course, about $4/4.75 oz. bar, but oh so worth it.

It is called Real Aloe. The box says it is 100% vegetarian ingredients; 100% biodegradable; 100% organic aloe vera; no animal by-products; not tested on animals. And it is made in the USA, by Real Aloe, Inc. in Carlsbad, CA.

New Seasons used to carry it. They don't stock it anymore, but they do order it for me, at no extra cost. I usually get 4 bars at a time.

This has been a godsend to me. Maybe it would work for you, too.

[ Parent ]
Thanks! (4.00 / 2)
I'll ask about it at the Seven Corners store next time I'm there.

[ Parent ]
Friday... (4.00 / 3)
Oh hey, just realized I'll be there Friday!

Have to stop downtown for something, and while I'm there I plan to hit Kenny & Zuke's for some pastrami and corned beef.  Must pick up a loaf of rye on the way home of course, and New Seasons is right on the way!


[ Parent ]
good suggestion on Casey's part (4.00 / 2)
I used to know people who used it internally as well, for its healing effects.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Just got to thinking... (4.00 / 2)
How about pastrami shampoo or body soap?

Now that stuff heals!


[ Parent ]
rub it all over your body! (4.00 / 2)

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Makes sense, actually... (4.00 / 3)
That even explains the liver problem connection - my liver is overactive in trying to expel toxins, and it's affecting my skin.  Or so I've heard / read...

[ Parent ]
it's a way to think about it (4.00 / 1)
and that matters.

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
MEK / Butanone... (4.00 / 2)
Funny that I just looked up the wiki page for the chemical we worked with at the Boeing contractor which was widely considered the most dangerous, methyl ethyl ketone, or butanone.

We used it as a paint remover, and we used it by the 55-gallon drum.  Part of my duties were filling little containers of it straight from the giant drum via the hand crank pump, and you should have seen the signs on the doors of the waste room where we kept it in the big drums!


Suffice it to say, we had to wear the full respirators and extra-heavy rubber gloves when doing that.

On December 19, 2005, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency removed butanone from the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). After technical review and consideration of public comments, EPA concluded that potential exposures to butanone emitted from industrial processes may not reasonably be anticipated to cause human health or environmental problems.


So why did we have to treat it as if it was kryptonite, and why did my old supervisor there absolutely shit himself when I reported on my shift notes that one of our graveyard shift painters dumped waste into an overfilled drum mostly containing same, which then bubbled over a continuous constant stream of blue-ish green foam which I wasn't able to contain and nobody else was either until we used a month's worth of rags to sop up the floor and wipe down the barrel and quickly wheel it off to the staging area near the runway door where it fizzed angrily on the pallet until the waste management / removal folks finally got to it the next day?

I didn't want to be him, explaining that little incident to the FAA folks when they showed up for their weekly inspection, is the message I received there.

[ Parent ]
One of the reasons... (4.00 / 3)
One of the reasons I left there, btw - I was actually held mostly responsible for that incident.  I was hired in waste management there because I had experience in dealing with deadly chemicals and because I had experience doing security (I was gonna become a cop, until I got sick and lost half of my hearing).

I was supposed to do 3 or 4 jobs, and also always keep an eye on the waste drums.  If somebody tried to dump something there that they shouldn't have, I was supposed to stop them (hello, anybody ever hear of cameras?)

Except I was also supposed to mix paint, keep logs, constantly check on the waste levels of the shams and replace them as needed (via two fork trucks, since the electric rotating trucks weren't allowed in the hangar where the plane was as it might cause an explosive spark... so I had to move things around in there with diesels, play with giant rolling steel gates, switch to the electric rotating fork truck (and make sure it's always fully charged!) in the other hangar, bring the diesel back to its spot (and oh if the diesel runs low on fuel see security for a refill tank!, even though our graveyard security folks mostly hid or slept in spots unkown) etc, etc...), keep in touch with the painters' supervisors to see which colors (or primer) was needed, occasionally act as a spotter for the painters' scissor lifts when someone was out sick or whatever, restock the paint room shelves in my "spare" time, etc etc etc...

Sigh.  That paragraph made me sleepy just typing it!

[ Parent ]
Caution is always wise when working around chemicals (4.00 / 3)
When Harold was on the fire department, he had to deal with situation with chemicals all the time, especially when he became fire marshall. Mixing two innocuous looking chemicals together can result in all sorts of mayhem, as you found out with that waste container foaming over, etc. Everyone's lucky the thing didn't blow up.

When I worked doing stone repair I was constantly using epoxies, polyesters, cyanoacrylates, MEK, MEK peroxides, benzoyle peroxides, acetone, alchohols, xylene. You name it, I've probably worked with it.

One interesting little factoid Harold shared with me a long time ago about MEK - it becomes shock sensitive when it's old. Harold did a demonstration with a pint of old MEK once. Made a nice big explosion.

Another reason I'm glad I'm farming. The chemical load is almost 0.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
Not All Soaps are Soap (4.00 / 5)
Most of what is found in the grocery store isn't soap, it's detergent. There are no rules for what is "soap," as long as it cleans.  There are "goat milk soaps" out there that are actually glycerin with a teaspoon on goat milk powder mixed in.
 I make goat milk soap, using my own's goat's milk in each batch. One third of all the oils in the soap is my goat's milk. Other people dilute their milk with water, so they can add more luxurious oils.
 Our soap contains no preservatives, or chemical colorants. If people are suffering from eczema or psoriasis, rosacea, or other skin conditions, they should seek out a goat milk soap maker in their area (or visit (End of self-promotion, sorry.)
 There is a bill in the House which threatens the availability of our soap, and others, because well intentioned people who don't know the industry. The Safe Cosmetics Act, put forth by Sen. Markey  (D-MA) will make us report every change in recipe to the FDA, make all the ingredients listed in scientific terms ( I use plain English, though no rules require it,) and the only exception is a waiver of the registration fee for anyone selling less than $1,000,000 a year.  
 Vegetable and goat milk soaps are a value-added product that small farmers can produce on farm without needing a commercial kitchen or a "home certified kitchen." Depending upon the state, that may be a simple task, or a difficult one. If you value locally made products, small farms, real soap, then help us keep these businesses viable. Visit Handmade SoapMakers' Guild (
for more information.
 There are real soaps and shampoos out there, but we don't advertise nationally, (usually) because we like to work locally and know our customers. A shampoo bar should contain the same oils that are in regular soap, and for most recipes, a preservative isn't necessary.

If I were you (4.00 / 4)
I'd call my member of Congress on this and ask for their help to get the bill language fixed.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I have tried (4.00 / 4)
and continue to do so. But no issue is as simple as good vs. bad, and while there is a need to regulate what goes into products, again "they" are trying to paint everything the same color.
It's got to come from more than just the soapmakers, as in every ag issue. It has to come from the "masses," who buy the products, not those who make them.

[ Parent ]
Aubrey was a great guy (4.00 / 4)
who embraced organics long before it was on the radar.  His philosophy was that any product he made should be eaten without any problem, since his products were all food based.

In the 80's I saw him take a spoon full of product from a mixing batch and eat it in-front of shocked visitors.

He spent a lot of time and money trying to get certification for organic cosmetics; going back to the initial hearings for the first organic rule in the early 90's. I can't speak to why they chose not to follow up on certification but the nastiness surrounding organic personal care standards was something Aubrey would chose to avoid.

He's been away from the company for many years now, last I heard he's producing of-Broadway shows, unless the company changed hands, I would say his products have always been and continue to be very legit.

I use Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds as my base cleaner for everything, it cuts grease and leaves my hands soft and silky, sorta-kinda-maybe.  Word of caution, Sal Suds will freeze if left under the kitchen sink on really cold nights.

Thank you! (4.00 / 2)
What used to impress me about using Aubrey hair care products when I lived in West Los Angeles, and was exposed to a fair amount of relatively bad air, was that I didn't have to wash my hair anywhere near as frequently. The cheap stuff seemed to have some kind of residue that picked up particulate matter from automobile exhaust; something like that.

Unfortunately, unless things have changed, you can't order from them wholesale without a substantial minimum, so small health food stores won't go for it. I've bought from them retail via mail order, but when they are out of stock on something, and I only get a few things and pay the same shipping, it starts getting pretty expensive.

It would be a good project for a buying club to do, put together an Aubrey's order.  

"If God were to appear to starving people, he would not dare to appear in any other form than food." - Mahatma Gandhi

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